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Talisay photographer Bo Villanueva in his comeback solo exhibit entitled, Havana 20|20 held in Talisay City, Negros Occidental.

Havana 20|20: Comeback Exhibit of Talisay Photographer Bo Villanueva

Photographer Bo Villanueva held a successful solo comeback photo exhibit on February 7, 2020 in Talisay City, Negros Occidental.

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Talisaynon Photographer Bo Villanueva held a successful solo comeback photo exhibit on February 7, 2020 in Talisay City, Negros Occidental. Entitled Havana 20|20, it is a showcase of 20 of his best photographs of one of the most artistic cities in the world.

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Mrs. Lyn Gamboa (left), President of The Negros Cultural Foundation, graced the occasion. Pictured here with Bo Villanueva and Bacolod artist and designer, Lea Carmela Bantug.

About Talisaynon Photographer Bo Villanueva

Hailing from an old Negros clan that’s so much into sugar, tradition could not contain the natural artistry and creative genius of Philip “Bo” Villanueva. He is one passionate photographer with a natural eye for beauty and the natural inclination to creatively document what he sees.

Since 1975, he has snapped his way into people’s lives with moving portraits. He also dabbled into documenting events and natural occurrences as well as street photography.

The hobby soon turned into Bo’s way of expressing his personal views about the world around him. He gets inspired by the visual appeal of things and situations, finding a lot of spontaneous and artistic settings with children as models.

There was also a time that Bo dabbled into printing his own pictures, which enabled him to inject more of his artistry into the prints. Immersed in his dark room, he would play with light and darkness to make his photo stories come to life.

Getting Published and Holding Exhibits

In 1997, his pictures were featured as part of The Philippine Gardens, a coffee table book by Shirley B. Sanders. Five years later, he held a highly successful one-man exhibit at the Negros Museum in Bacolod City.

However, Bo moved to the United States and stayed there for almost two decades. In this long span of time, we have experienced the development of technology and the rise of the use of the internet. Digital is in.

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Bo is flanked by his son Patrick and Mr. Jonathan Lo, president and CEO of CM and Sons Inc. He is the owner of Merzci Pasalubong and other local enterprises. A patron of Bacolod artists, he supported Bo’s exhibit.

With the changing of technology, Bo also shifted to the use of the DSLR camera as well as having his high-resolution photos printed on canvas.

Coming Home to Negros Occidental

Bo is now back in his hometown Talisay City for good. He is also back to pursuing is passion and holding photo exhibits. This is his first after a long hiatus and features a city that besotted him during one of his travels—Havana, Cuba.

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With his colleagues and old friends from the Camera Club.

A Visit to Cuba

After spending almost two decades in the United States, Bo decided to return home and retire in his beloved hometown, Talisay City.

But before he flew back, he spent a few days in Havana, Cuba. That trip made him fall in love with that old city.

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Bo Villanueva snapping at vintage cars in Havana, Cuba. These vintage cars are for rent, which you can use to go around the city.

Frozen in time, Havana is an artist’s paradise, full of history, culture, color, and creative vibe. Despite being under communist rule, Havana is actually a safe place. People there thrive and are very accommodating. Bo recalls that it’s just so easy for tourists to go around Havana – even in the wee hours of the morning.

Falling in Love with Havana

Needless to say, Bo was enamored by the laidback Cuban lifestyle, which had the quite the same atmosphere as the Negrense culture. He was able to re-live his youth driving around downtown Havana in a restored vintage car. That really excited him.

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At right is former Bacolod councilor and businessman, Bobby Rojas.

Strolling around with his DSLR camera, he can’t seem to stop clicking, forcing his shutter to capture all the elements that make the Havana lifestyle unique and so romantic.

Additionally, Bo went to Havana on a quest to find a guy who appeared on the cover of the National Geographic Traveler December 2008 issue that was dedicated to Cuba. He was so happy that we able to locate this guy and take photos of him.

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Hermenegildo Arensivia — now a Cuban icon after he was featured on the cover of the National Geographic Traveler in December 2008.

The man’s name is Hermenegildo Arensivia, a 60-year-old patriot who has become like a national icon for Cuba. Many tourists who travel to Havana seek him out in order to have photos taken with him.

Havana 20|20

Bo successfully showcased 20 of his best shots in a one-man photo on canvas exhibit entitled Havana 20|20. They are unframed and signed and come in various sizes and orientations. There was one item that was actually a series of small photographs.

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Featured artist of the night was Lea Carmela Bantug, a painter and fashion designer now based in Bacolod. Furthermore, she is the president of the Association of Negros Designers (AND).

Two of Bo’s photos that were printed on canvas were painted on by Carmela using acrylic paints, creating a different visual effect and texture on the finished artwork. These two items were the first ones to be sold during the exhibit.

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Carmeli Bantug with one of her words. She used acrylic paint on top of the photo on canvas.

The photo exhibit was not just a venue to showcase Bo’s work. It was also a reunion of sorts for old friends. Bo’s colleagues from the Camera Club as well as other professional and hobbyist photographers came to support him. Additionally, young and aspiring Bacolod photographers came to talk to him and see his work.

Bacolod vloggers and young filmmakers also attended the event, not just for coverage, but also to be inspired by this veteran artist. Moreover, it was just nice of Bo to exchange ideas with these young mind who are thirsty for knowledge. Armed with cocktails, it was just amazing how different kinds of artists converged to discuss art and possibilities.

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Bo gets the support of the millenials! Here with Bacolod vloggers and young filmmakers, namely Lex Nillos, Maureen Villanueva, Daryl Martizano, and Fredu Bayun-on.

It was a beautiful night to meld passion and artistry in one. Congratulations Talisay Photographer Bo Villanueva! Onwards to more future photo exhibits.

Contact Information

For portraiture appointments, you may reach the artist at  

Bo Villanueva, Artistic Photographer
Mobile: [0917] 185-3111
Email: bovillanueva@yahoo.com

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