PRE-WAR Manila at its finest was brought back to life by Thomasian painter Dominic Rubio through his new exhibit, Balik Maynila: Binondo, Escolta, & Old Manila, at the Art Center of SM Megamall A in Mandaluyong from Nov. 12 to 20.

Known for his portraits of thin-necked men and women with enlarged heads, Rubio presented again nostalgic depictions of turn-of-the 20th century Manila.

Rubio again made the evocations through the use of solid background colors, making each scene look like a neat cut-out. Also notable is the scale of the character versus the buildings, providing emphasis on the figurative subjects while not dwarfing the whole scenery.

“Familia de la Escolta” depicts the importance of family ties in Filipino culture; it shows a family of three—the father looking crisp and neat in Americana, the mother with her illustrious Maria Clara dress, and their child neatly dressed in his barong—walking along old streets lined with stone houses.

“Almusal de Familia” features three women starting their day with seemingly warm remarks over cups of coffee. “Before the Cockfight” portrays a Chinese sabongero in siesta blowing a puff of smoke into his rooster to boost it before a fight.

Meanwhile, “Escolta Intersection” features illustrados and commoners coming together in a leisurely stroll along streets lined with shops. “Pasyal, Father, and Son” shows a father and a son on their way from Escolta sporting bayongs and tampipi.

“Loob ng Maynila” shows a mother and her child and a little dog passing by the Manila City Hall. Important landmarks such as Plaza Binondo and the Post Office serve as backdrop.

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Musical tribute to the Neo-centennial

A young couple standing side by side with an image of the University’s Main Building in the background is depicted in “University of Santo Tomas.”

Rubio took up Commercial Arts at the old UST College of Architecture and Fine Arts.

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