The Philippine art scene is a vibrant and dynamic tapestry, woven with the threads of creativity, passion, and resilience. Three of the most revered artists in the country today – Thomas Daquioag, John Tabingo, and Ronald Ventura – have all played a significant role in shaping the canvas of Filipino art. Their illustrious careers, celebrated both locally and globally, are a testament to their innate artistic prowess and the nurturing influence of the Shell National Students Art Competition (NSAC).

Established in 1988, Shell NSAC is a prestigious art competition that aims to discover, encourage, and promote promising young Filipino artists. Over the years, the competition has launched the careers of numerous renowned artists, including Daquioag, Tabingo, and Ventura.

The creative journeys of these three esteemed artists, highlights their unique artistic voices, their unwavering dedication to their craft, and the profound impact they have made on the Philippine art scene. Through their stories, we gain insights into the transformative power of art and the role of artists as catalysts for change.

Thomas Daquioag: A Journey Fueled by Emotion

Thomas Daquioag’s story of determination and success shows how his artistic pursuit is fueled by passion and authenticity.

As a young artist, Thomas Daquioag was moved by the mastery of revered painters such as Juan Luna and Carlos Francisco. Their iconic works, including “Spoliarium” ignited in him a profound aspiration to follow suit. Daquioag says, “Art is not just about creating something beautiful. It is also about expressing your emotions and telling your story. When I look at the work of Juan Luna and Carlos Francisco, I feel the raw emotion and passion that they put into their paintings. Their work inspires me to be honest and authentic in my own art.”

Thomas Daquiag’s artwork, “The Family”

Participating in Shell NSAC served as a vital turning point, fueling Daquioag’s competitive spirit and validating his emotive artistic vision. He adds, “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve your dreams. If you are passionate about art, then go for it! Work hard, be patient, and never give up on yourself. One day, you will be successful.”

John Tabingo: Triumph Over Adversity

John Tabingo’s art transcends boundaries, exploring the connection between colors and cultures;
he is a true testament of resilience and triumph.

John Tabingo’s story is one of resilience and triumph. His Shell NSAC journey began in high school, marked by an initial disqualification that only strengthened his resolve. He shared, “But I didn’t give up. I learned from my mistake and came back stronger the next year. My experience taught me that it is important to be persistent and to never stop learning.”

John Tabingo’s artwork

Transforming a sketch lovingly created by his grandmother into an award-winning watercolor piece, Tabingo learned invaluable lessons from his first Shell NSAC victory, including the importance of self-belief, the inspiration drawn from esteemed judges, and being exposed to different cultures. Tabingo says, “When I traveled to Manila from Iloilo, I was struck by the difference in the art scene. The colors and styles were so different from what I was used to. This inspired me to experiment with my own work and to develop my own unique style.”

Ronald Ventura: A Visionary Pushing Boundaries

Ronald Ventura envisions a vibrant and dynamic Philippine art scene, where artists support and promote each other’s work.

Drawing from a rich tapestry of artistic influences that span from the Renaissance period to contemporary creators, Ronald Ventura’s work embodies diversity. Ventura says, “Art is a reflection of your own vision. It is important to study the materials and techniques of art, but it is also important to be true to yourself and to express your own unique vision.”

Ronald Ventura’s artwork “Beastmaster”

His extensive research and travels across different artistic epochs have shaped his perspective, with the Shell NSAC instrumental in helping him build connections and gain recognition on an international scale. Ventura believes that artists can help the Philippine art scene by being true to themselves and by expressing their own unique vision. Ventura adds, “We can also help by being supportive of each other and by promoting the work of other Filipino artists. Together, we can make the Philippine art scene one of the most vibrant and dynamic in the world.”

Artists as Catalysts for Change

In the eyes of Daquioag, Tabingo, and Ventura, the Philippine art scene still has room to grow. Issues of income sustainability, recognition, and international exposure are challenges yet to be fully conquered. Yet, through their unique artistic voices and stylistic innovations, these artists contribute to the evolution and empowerment of local artistry.

Artists act as catalysts for change in society, and this rings true for Daquioag, Tabingo, and Ventura. Their commitment to sincerity, self-fulfillment, and dedication to their craft underscores the transformative power of art. As they navigate the delicate balance between personal expression and societal impact, they carve out refreshing pathways within the Philippine art scene.

Empowering the Philippine Art Scene

The careers of Thomas Daquioag, John Tabingo, and Ronald Ventura are testaments to the power of perseverance, creativity, and the nurturing influence of Shell NSAC. Their achievements underscore the competition’s enduring legacy in fostering young Filipino talent and invigorating a vibrant Philippine art scene.

For more information about the Shell National Students Art Competition and to submit entries, please visit


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