Last week, I got to check out an exhibit curated by Brian Tenorio. Ambassadors of the Philippine Brand is a feature on 18 personalities who represent the Philippine Brand to the World, as illustrated by several of the country’s emerging and established talent in illustration and visual design. Kudos to all the artists who worked on the portraits. AJ Omandac, Bren Baclan, Jose Daniel Castillo, Laraine Gazmen, Lawrence Anataran, Louie Lee, Meneer Marcel, and Valerie Chua. Brilliant stuff.

Scroll down to see who made the cut.
 Journey songster Arnel Pineda
 Filmmaker Brillante Mendoza
 Little diva Charice Pempengco
  Mother and son politicians Cory and Noynoy Aquino
My friend Mia with the dashing tycoon Jaime Zobel De Ayala
 Furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue. Gotta love a sourpuss.
 Songbird and broadway muse Lea Salonga
 No need for introductions for this one
 My friend Mia kissing male model Paolo Roldan
My personal favorite, the Filipino Healthworker. 
A shout out to my mom and pops, both in the medical field. 
I feel like this deserved a less cartoony rendition though.

I'm happy that people like Brian Tenorio are coming up with events such as these. At first glance, it is a list of famous people whose names have circumnavigated the globe. I was going to brush it off as a mere popularity contest, but then I realized the impact of the brand ambassadors around the world. Ignorant people are innumerable. Some people don't even know where the Philippines is. Some think that we all still live in Nipa huts and wear loincloths. Their image of being a Filipino is painted through interactions with domestic helpers, japayukis, Filam boys and girls who grew up in the hood. On the news and in movies, we are constantly portrayed as poor, dirty, and malnourished. KAWAWA ang dating natin in the international media arena. But slowly, with the help of the people listed here, that impression is changing.

Through these Ambassadors we are understood. Through them we live our dreams and aspiration as they bring us to the hearts and minds of people from all over the globe.  

Overall, the Ambassadors of the Philippine Brand Exhibition is a refreshing new way of looking at our country-- a brand that we all have to take responsibility for. Someday I hope that we can start introducing more homegrown talent who may not be known to the world. But they embody the best of us Filipinos. At the top of my head, I have names like: Street performer and activist Carlos Celdran, RockEd Philippines founder Gang Badoy, and the T'boli dreamweavers. 

The exhibit will be going to Trinoma on April 13-27 and Alabang Town Center on April 28-May 12