Stepping inside Crimson Resort & Spa Boracay immediately gives the impression that the people behind it—the Gotianuns—know art has the power to transform spaces. Paintings and unique accents adorn the interiors, adding pops of color and personality to the restaurants, the corridors, the spa, and the well-appointed rooms and villas.
The overall feel is “contemporary yet distinctly Filipino,” says Francis Gotianun, senior vice president of Filinvest Hospitality Corporation. The geometric patterns that dominate the property were inspired by the local banig. The motif was applied in different ways and mediums, creating an overall theme for the resort.
The 2.9-hectare Crimson property, located at Boracay’s exclusive Station Zero, is not only a dream hideaway but very conducive to contemplation and creation, like making art. In fact, according to general manager Patrick Manthe, Crimson Boracay is actually poised to become the island’s artists’ haven.
ANCX was at Crimson last weekend for its first major art exhibition called “50 Shades of Blue,” which featured the works of 50 professional and amateur artists from all over the country.
About 200 sculptors, painters, photographers, and mixed media artists joined the competition. Fifty were shortlisted, and two emerged as grand winners (one for the amateur category and one for the professional category). They were selected by a roster of judges that included famous painter and sculptor Nemesio “Nemi” Miranda Jr., Crimson Boracay’s artist-in-residence Eric Egualada, and artists Juno Galang and August Santiago.
Visual artist Ian Maigan, who hails from Baler, Aurora, and Filipino-Japanese multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker Ruka Azuma, each won P30,000 cash and a two-night stay at the resort. Their works, along with those of the 48 others, will be on display at Crimson til the end of June.
According to Manthe, “50 Shades of Blue” is just one of the many activities that Crimson Boracay has lined up as part of its arts and culture program which started about a year ago. Over the last several months, Egualada has been holding mentorship programs among young local artists. The output from these workshops were also exhibited at the resort and these provided the inspiration for the “50 Shades of Blue” art competition.
Manthe, who is an artist himself, says the idea behind the exhibition is to provide another platform for both up-and-coming and professional talents in the island. It’s also a way, he says, to encourage more people to develop, nurture, or rekindle their passion for the arts.
The Swiss artist and hotelier says he’s had 24 years of experience working in the hospitality industry. What he’s observed is that most hotels are focused on providing the best F&B and accommodations to guests and stop there. He thought Crimson could offer so much more by incorporating arts and culture-related activities.
“If we could bring back people’s childlike creativity thru the activities here at the resort, that to me is providing guests a great holiday experience,” he says. Art, after all, can also be a way to escape worries and stress, he adds. Egualada has an art studio located inside the resort. Here, kids and adults can take up painting classes under his mentorship.
Crimson Boracay also occasionally holds an event called Art on a Plate. Here, guests get to enjoy a special five-course meal while watching Egualada paint. This is usually accompanied by guest performances by musicians, dancers, or singers.
Another creative endeavor is slated on July 8 and 9. The resort will be hold its second round of Kitchen Takeover on these dates, this time around it’s Quezon City-based Filipino restaurant Hapag creating the dishes. “They will take over our kitchen and do their own interpretation of Filipino food,” offers Manthe. Desserts courtesy of award-winning Auro Chocolate will also be served. Egualada will be painting accompanied by a saxophonist.
There are more activities in the pipeline for Crimson’s art and culture programme—a photography workshop, a music festival, an arts and crafts fair. Manthe says this could be a good opportunity for the island to establish a new identity after its closure and rehabilitation. “Other than being a party destination, I think arts and culture should definitely be part of [its identity],” says the GM.