Out of the more than 1,000 students who joined the Shell 55th National Students Art Competition (NSAC), four young artists were chosen as the best of the bests in the categories of Digital Fine Arts, Sculpture, Watercolor and Oil & Acrylic.

The formal awarding ceremony was held last Tuesday (December 6) at the Ayala Museum, where all the works of the finalists are displayed in a special gallery located at the museum’s main lobby.

Serge Bernal, Pilipinas Shell’s Vice President for Corporate Relations, acknowledged the students’ “tenacity and eagerness to be part of the movement for a better world.” He said that the artworks evoke “hope, courage, and optimism, which is what we really need in times like these.” He thanked the artists for giving their efforts and creative juices in keeping Shell NSAC alive despite the challenges that the pandemic has brought to the art world.

National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Chairperson Rene R. Escalante commended all the artists, saying, “Putting your art out there for everyone to see takes courage… [which is] a value we want for every Filipino artist.” He also recognized NSAC as Shell’s “contribution to nation-building which empowers the young artists of tomorrow.”

Ayala Museum Director Mariles Gustilo lauded NSAC’s “Sulong Sining” theme for its “timely message about charging forward through art to lead the nation to a better, brighter future. This theme fits what we are valiantly pursuing today in the aftermath of the pandemic: we persistently and consistently forge great paths ahead. NSAC has not only showcased the youth’s artistic prowess but reaches new generations through Filipino art.”

Dennis Marasigan, Vice President and Artistic Director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), also pointed out art’s “supreme function: making our lives better than we live it … Without art, mankind could not exist.” He also encouraged all the artists, “Always stay optimistic for our country for the trials ahead. Let us all make good art, and make it an expression of who we are and what we believe in.”

The first-place winners in all categories were awarded P60,000 each, while the second-place winners and third-place winners individually received P40,000 and P30,000 respectively.

The following are the NSAC Awardees per category:

Digital Fine Arts

  • “Akong Makita. Akong Masulti. Akong Mabuhat”
  • Earl Marie Pabinguit from Cebu Technological University
  • 1st place, Digital Fine Arts
  • “The Avenue”
  • Louise Gabrielle Abing from Mindanao State University – General Santos
  • 2nd place, Digital Fine Arts
  • “Perception”
  • Xymon Cadric Calayag from Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology
  • 3rd place, Digital Fine Arts


  • “Generational String”
  • Mherlo Mahinay from the University of the Philippines – Diliman
  • 1st place, Sculpture
  • “Ang Paglayag Ni Juan”
  • Luke Eidref Agapito Berja from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines
  • 2nd place, Sculpture
  • “Hangang Pampang”
  • John Romer Pavilando from Tarlac State University
  • 3rd place, Sculpture


  • “Pag-asa, Dalangin at Pangarap”
  • John Michael Flores Ramos from Tarlac State University
  • 1st place, Watercolor
  • “Mulat at Nagmamasid”
  • Shara Mae Chan from De La Salle University – Manila
  • 2nd place, Watercolor
  • “Keep The Fire Burning”
  • Khaila Mae Faustor from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines
  • 3rd place, Watercolor

Oil and Acrylic

  • “Upturned Façade”
  • Densen James Almeda from the University of the Philippines – Cebu.
  • 1st place, Oil and Acrylic
  • “Bahay-Bahayan”
  • Marko Sarmiento from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines
  • 2nd place, Oil and Acrylic
  • “A Glimpse of Hope and Life”
  • Clark Myer Arquio from University of the Philippines – Cebu
  • 3rd place, Oil and Acrylic

Seasoned, prominent artists served as the Shell NSAC judges, namely: Nemi Miranda, Edgar Doctor, and Edgar “Egai” Talusan Fernandez for the Watercolor Category; Francis ‘Isko’ Andrade, Ronald Ventura, and Rolando Ventura for the Oil and Acrylic Category; Daniel Dela Cruz, Jan Leeroy New, and Carlo De Laza for the Sculpture Category; and Jose Tence Ruiz, Pablo Biglang-Awa Jr., and Victor Balanon for the Digital Fine Arts category.

The 55th Shell NSAC was sponsored by Bakuna Hero Health and Medical Services, McDonald’s, Grab, and Phirst Park Homes Inc.

Partners such as Anima Art Space, Art Elaan Gallery, Ayala Museum, Blanco Family art Museum, Iloilo Museum for Contemporary Art, Modeka Creative Space, Museo Iloilo, Orange Project, Stuart Gallery, and The Kabilin Center of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., helped make the 55th Shell NSAC possible.

To learn more about future Shell NSAC and related events, please visit: https://shell.com.ph/juanartnation

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