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Sining Filipina opens call for entries for the Philippines’ first-ever all-female national art competition

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — In a significant move towards women empowerment in visual arts, BDO Unibank, Inc. and SM Supermalls have collaborated with the Zonta Club of Makati and Environs to launch Sining Filipina, the first-ever all-female national art competition in the Philippines. The groundbreaking competition lays down the foundation to give more Filipino women a chance to showcase their perspectives in art and, as renowned journalist Ces Drillon said at the media launch on January 10, 2024, hopefully kickstart the mission to finally have a female national artist in visual arts. 

The competition is open to all women across the Philippines, regardless of age and professional background. Participants can enter the Figurative and Non-Figurative categories until January 31, 2024, to be later put up in an exhibition in March in time for Women’s Month. Through its generous sponsors, the competition offers a cash prize of up to PHP 250,000 for the First Place winner, and a significant boost in pushing their artistic journey further. 

Speaking on the conglomerate’s commitment to championing women, SM Supermalls President Steven Tan shared, “Today’s just the start of our year honoring women, which [has] long been a passion of SM. Through this, we continue to provide opportunities to hone women [and] to continue our collective journey towards an inclusive and empowering society for all.”


BDO Unibank Vice President and Head of Sustainability Office Marla Alvarez also spoke on behalf of the bank, and noted why this initiative is vital in its core mission to ‘find ways’ for Filipinos: “Not a lot of people know that BDO actually has a very extensive art collection. This is not new to the bank. But on the sustainability level, gender empowerment is also very important to the bank. 75% of our population is women, and 58% of our leadership is women. This is close to our hearts on many levels.”

She added, “It’s one of the ways that BDO finds ways to support women. We already support them as consumers, entrepreneurs — we can share that more than 50% of our consumers are women — so we know that they are a formidable group of consumers for the bank. We know that providing them a platform to express themselves is an extension of that support.”

Zonta Club of Makati and Environs Vice President Joanne Zapanta-Andrada shared that the theme of the competition is “Women Power,” or an answer to the question: “How do women see themselves?”

“Artists have been helped by mentorship, sponsorship and people who believed in them. Their success would not have been possible without the support of these people. But how will they be found? This is that opportunity,” she remarked, emphasizing the importance of competitions such as these in stretching out the art world to be more inclusive and authentic, as well as find and propel Filipino artists to new heights.

“Art, to me, is a sensory expression of the human experience and I think the time has come that women be given the spotlight in the field of fine arts [to share their worldview to the world],” Joanne stressed. 

When the women on stage were asked about what they hope to see from the inaugural batch of submissions to Sining Filipina, as women themselves, they each told adobo Magazine something different. But one thing they all agreed on is they want to be surprised. 

Joanne answered, “Personally, I would like to see something that’s not a stereotype, something that’s fresh. It’s all about impact and emotion; I’d like to be able to be surprised because it’s an insight that my generation, perhaps, was not aware about. That’s what I hope to see.”

Marla added, “I also am looking forward to see women’s representation of themselves across various stages of their lives. Because I want to know what the young women of today are thinking about, what their concerns are or what’s important to them. I also am wanting to hear more about women of my age who may be a little older, and what they think about where they are now.” 

She furthered, “Because personally, in my case, I’ve gone through a lot of changes over the decades. Not just because of the pandemic, but when you hit a certain age, you realize that so many things change in terms of how you think, how you relate to others, and how you look at your career. So I think those are very exciting thoughts that can be expressed, and I’m looking forward to be part of those self-expressions across different stages of a woman’s life.” 

Interested participants can find the detailed mechanics, application process and guidelines at Inquiries can also be directed at 

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