[PHOTO - Artist Larry Memije’s paintings of a nostalgic street scene evokes memories of life in the olden times.]

MANILA, JULY 18, 2012 (PHILSTAR) You have to give it to the Pinoy when it comes to balancing modernity and tradition. He could be checking his Facebook account on his Internet-ready mobile phone while riding in a jeepney, bringing home a bag of pandesal and a box of donuts. He may be tech savvy, but he will just as readily embrace the traditions he grew up with, whether in food or in his lifestyle.

Pan de Manila takes note of that marriage of Filipino tradition and contemporary character with its latest packaging, which features a painting by Larry Memije.

“We had this concept of a Pan de Manila store with people, but in an old house similar to those in Vigan, with one side featuring the pugon, or the old-style oven made of bricks,” he says, describing the artwork that will be featured on the new Pan de Manila packaging. He says that it shows how timeless the pugon – and the pandesal – is to the Filipino culture, like the Spanish-style old houses.

“The painting is very Filipino. It depicts a traditional street scene, with adobe-walled buildings, a kalesa trotting along the cobblestone street, and a panaderia,” he explains.

The painting evokes memories of life in the olden times, a way of life that continues in many areas, especially in Vigan, Malolos and some towns in Negros, Bohol and Batangas.

[PHOTO- Pan de Manila continues to produce traditional hot pandesal for today’s Filipino.]

Memije describes himself as an “old houses” artist.

“Old houses are my favorite subjects. I reconstruct places in my mind based on the architectural designs when I see the place or see photographs,” he adds.

His works, done with photo-realistic accuracy, depict ancestral houses in Sampaloc where he grew up, Binondo and, of course, Vigan. It helps that he has a background in mechanical engineering and architecture, two courses he took up before finally finishing a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree at FEATI University.

Memije took inspiration for some of the details of his work when he visited one of Pan de Manila’s branches along Osmeña, South Superhighway.

“I always look forward to going to their store. I would bring home two brown paper bags of pandesal, and I would eat them on my way back home,” recalls Memije, who has had major exhibits here and abroad, notably one at Chicago’s Samuel Stein Gallery sponsored by the Philippine Consulate in 1984.

Given today’s fast-paced life, Filipinos still have affinity with some of the things considered part of history.

[PHOTO: Pan de Sal – meaning salt bread. Pan de Sal is made out of flour, yeast, water, eggs, salt, sugar and lard. Some ingredients may be added such as butter oil (for aroma), dough improver (improve the size of the dough), milk (texture and flavor) and margarine (to add more flavor).]

Pandesal – literally bread of salt – is an enduring image of Filipino gastronomy as it is an essential element not only in breakfast fare but also in Philippine cuisine, eaten with a variety of spreads, fillings or palaman, classic viands like corned beef, sardines or fried eggs, or even just plain, straight out of the supot (paper bag).

“I have an aunt who lives abroad who loves to eat Pan de Manila’s pandesal every time she comes home,” Memije shares.

Pan de Manila continues its time-honored tradition of featuring the work of Filipino artists, which has included painter Dante Hipolito, digital illustrator Joel Chua, and designer Rina Albert-Llamas. “Pan de Manila’s paper bags have consistently promoted Filipino values and traditions. Mang Larry’s artwork is a welcome addition as it depicts the timeless affair of Filipinos with the pandesal,” says Mari Sebastian, marketing manager of Pan de Manila.

Pan de Manila’s breads are freshly baked every hour. Visit your nearest neighborhood Pan de Manila store which is open 24/7 for that delicious taste of our enduring traditions.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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