First look: PH-made art, jewelry up for UNICEF auction

By Karen Flores,

Posted at Sep 19 2012 06:36 PM | Updated as of Sep 20 2012 07:14 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Eighty Philippine-made works of art – from a Kenneth Cobonpue chair to a Joyce Makitalo pendant – will be put up for auction on eBay next month.

The “Auction for Action” auction, now on its second year, aims to raise funds for programs of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), particularly those that are targeted at disaster and conflict areas.

The project is the brainchild of television host and furniture designer Daphne Oseña-Paez, one of the country’s two UNICEF ambassadors along with singer Gary Valenciano.

"Fly Up" by Michael Cacnio, which depicts a boy climbing a ladder to chase balloons, is part of this year's Auction for Action.

“This year’s Auction for Action revolves around a theme of play. Play because as we all know, it’s the greatest equalizer of every child. No matter if you live in the city or in rural areas, you’re rich or poor, every child has the right to play,” Oseña-Paez said during a preview of the items for auction on Wednesday.

“We had some time to ask our artist-donors to work around that theme. Some got from their existing catalog, but the items still reflect a very playful theme,” she added.

The week-long auction on eBay Philippines from October 1 to 7 will offer art lovers and collectors the chance to bid for high-quality Philippine-made items at almost half the price.

UNICEF hopes to raise P3 million from the project, more than double the earnings of last year’s Auction for Action at P1.3 million.

“We’ve got double the items so hopefully we can raise double the funds,” said Angela Travis, chief of communication and private fundraising at UNICEF Philippines.

“We can’t do this without Daphne. We need people to come here and help us to give the time and the energy to tap into those sectors that we are not aware of,” she added.

Daphne’s top picks

UNICEF’s Auction for Action exhibit is curated by Oseña-Paez, who sought help from several local artists this year.

The TV host said she decided to have not only artworks by established names but also playful pieces from up and coming artists to make the auction less intimidating to consumers.

“There are a lot of art auctions in the country and it can be intimidating to have these big names. But if you have up and coming and small, playful pieces, it’s sort of softens it, it’s not so serious,” she explained. “We’re not doing fine art, we’re doing objects.”

While she finds all of the 80 items worth buying, Oseña-Paez singled out some of her favorites in an interview with

Here are some of them:

Golden South Sea Pearl Necklace

This necklace is made of 35 Philippine golden south sea pearls.

Filipino-French company Jewelmer donated this necklace composed of 35 Philippine golden south sea pearls. It has an estimated value of P212,500 and will be sold at the auction with a starting bid price of P127,500.

Oseña-Paez, who was wearing the necklace during the media preview, said of the item: “Gold south sea pearls are endemic to the Philippines. So when you see a gold south sea pearl like in Chanel or in some other major brand in Europe, 99% of the time it’s from the Philippines. So it’s a major acquisition. We thought they’re just going to give an earring …but they gave a strand.”

Bloom Chair

The Bloom Chair sits on top of a steel base to counter its playful organic form.

This award-winning chair by Cebuano furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue has been bought by prominent figures such as Queen Rania of Jordan. Made of microfiber, fiberglass and steel and shaped like a flower, the Bloom Chair has an estimated value of P145,000 and has a starting bid price of P94,250.

“I also love the Kenneth Cobonpue Bloom Chair. It’s not available in retail so when you order a Kenneth Cobonpue, you have to wait for months. So here, you can bring it home right after the auction,” Oseña-Paez said.

Gregoria White Chair

The Gregoria White Chair is named after Ito Kish's mother.

Another award-winning piece, this time by Ito Kish, the Gregoria White Chair is made of balustrades from houses built during the Spanish colonia era. It has an estimated value of P92,500, with a starting bid price of P55,200.

“Ito is a good friend of mine,” Oseña-Paez said of Kish. “I really support his work. And it’s an award-winning piece.”

Vomit Boy

Vomit Boy is said to be Zamoranos' way of depicting innocence betrayed by the harsh realities of adulthood.

Made by JJ Zamoranos, this unique resin figure features one of his characters throwing up green liquid. It has an estimated value of P7,500 and a starting bid price of P4,500.

“At first I didn’t know how UNICEF would react to that but they were very supportive,” Oseña-Paez said of the playful piece. “And it’s great because this kind of urban art is a growing genre and I really like that they’re willing to support us, that we’re doing this great thing together.”

Pinoy/Pinay Bike

The Pinoy/Pinay bike uses old or spare bike parts.

Kawayan Tech’s Pinoy/Pinay Bike has a bamboo frame and metal inserts, making it both efficient and environment-friendly. It has an estimated value of P18,000 and a starting bid price of P10,800.

“It’s made by hand, it’s a special, one-of-a-kind piece. It’s hard to get – even foreigners are waiting to get their hands on that,” Oseña-Paez said.