I first learned about BenCab or Benedicto Cabrera while gazing at the series of Sabel paintings hanging on the wall of my friend’s house. First, I was amazed at the size of the artworks, then I was intrigued by the fluid motion depicted by the dancing Sabel, especially by the graceful “movement” of Sabel’s clothes. I imagined her to be dancing one of the dances I learned when I was younger, the La Jota Moncadeña. I moved closer to the bottom of the paintings to read the name of the artist, then I asked her about him. Instead of answering my questions, she gave me a coffee table book that featured BenCab.
BenCab is a National Artist for Visual Arts, and is one of the respected individuals in the field of contemporary Philippine art. He calls Baguio City his home. He has a museum in the outskirts of the city that showcases his own works, which include paintings, drawings and sculptures. There are also guest artists who exhibit their own brand of artistic expression, so there is always something new to look forward to when visiting the museum.
A trip to BenCab Museum is a veritable indulgence that one should not pass up when in the City of Pines. The collection of artworks is extensive, from the Cordillera art pieces that are dominated by bulol statues (wooden carved figures associated with rice harvest) to the Erotica collection. Some are quirky, some are surprising while others are thought-provoking.
Café Sabel is located at the back of the museum. It serves dishes made from the produce of the garden and farm found beside the café. Eating there is very relaxing because you can look at the verdant garden and bask in the cool air of Baguio City. I ordered their pasta with dried tomatoes and tuna. Yum! 🙂 They also sell bottled products made by Baguio locals, perfect as pasalubong.
For more information, please visit www.bencabmuseum.org.