10 Jul


This post is part of a series of posts on artists, designers and illustrators making their way in the Philippines.


Dan Matutina is a force to be reckoned with. He’s become known, not just in the Philippines, but around the world, for his designs and illustrations using simple lines, shapes and textures. He’s the founder of Plus63.net, a design blog focused on Filipino designs, and also Plus63.com, a showcase of the sights and sounds of the Philippines. He’s the creative head and co-founder of Idea!s, a social enterprise design & communications agency that helps bring great design to nonprofits and NGOs. If that’s not enough, he’s also a lecturer at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts.

He’s worked with Popular Mechanics, Wired (Italy), CondeNast, The Few Gallery, AllDayBuffet, BBDO, DDB, Rogue Magazine, McDonald’s, the Coca-Cola Foundation, SEAir, FormFiftyFive and more. We’re lucky to have gotten the chance to interview him today, and even luckier to have him on our advisory board.

Our own Daiox Del Fierro asked him some questions (after the jump).

Read More Inside…

03 Jul



We’re happy to say we’re finally a licensed 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Actually, that’s an understatement. We’re ecstatic.

Ten months ago, we sent in our application to become a nonprofit in the United States. We waited. In December of last year, we were finally able to get ahold of someone inside the Internal Revenue Service who knew about our case, but unfortunately it sounded as if they hadn’t even started going through our application yet.

We didn’t know what to do. We wanted to start fundraising as soon as possible, but would we be able to do that without our coveted 501(c)(3)? We didn’t know. We decided to plow ahead with a Kickstarter campaign without waiting for the government to approve our nonprofit application. But we were nervous about marketing our fundraiser. Would people expect us to already have our 501(c)(3)? Probably. We didn’t market the fundraiser as much as we should have, and with our high goal of $50,000, and low word of mouth, we didn’t reach our goal and received nothing.

A few days ago, though, a letter from the IRS arrived. We opened it with a mix of anticipation and trepidation, figuring the government probably had a few more hoops they wanted us to jump through. But to our surprise, the letter opened up with what you see up there: “We are pleased to inform you…” Terrific!

Several months ago, we applied for a nonprofit PayPal account to accept donations. Of course, not having a 501(c)(3) yet, a hold was put on the account. Yesterday, that hold was released and we’re now happily accepting donations via PayPal. You don’t need a PayPal account—they’ll accept all the major credit cards.

We also added a new goalometer over in the sidebar. That’ll keep track of how much money we receive, so if you want to see that needle raise, send in a contribution! (Note the needle’s slight bounce. I’m updating the graphic by hand every time it needs it, so that bounce gives me a little leeway to not update it for every single donation. So, if you want to see it move up, larger contributions will speed up the process.)

Anyone who donates at least $250 will get their name on one of the walls of our finished building, in beautiful three-dimensional letters. The larger the donation, the larger your name.

Thanks for your patience and generous support. The letters, emails, facebook messages, and twitter DMs all make my day.


29 Jan


This post is part of a series of posts on artists, designers and illustrators making their way in the Philippines.

The Man-Child

Right: The Man–Child. Popular cartoons flock the headspace of this eight-year-old boy, yet a beard amasses on his chin. This work displays the contradiction of a child mentally growing in an accelerated mental state that sprung from his exposure to adult activities and innuendos found in paraphernalia he is exposed to.

Dex Fernandez, a fine arts and advertising graduate from the Technology University of the Philippines, quit his job at an advertising firm to become a full-time artist. And the art world is better off for it. His art transports the viewer to another land—a tea-stained technicolor mash-up of the darling and the sinister—where both children and adults play with imaginary creatures, and otherworldly beings haunt us with the ugly truth about what’s right and wrong in the world.

Dex has an art show titled – + * running currently until February 24th, at Pablo Gallery at The Fort in Taguig, and was kind enough to answer some questions from me.

Read More Inside…

29 Dec


Happy New Year 2010!

The New Year is a time for setting goals; for bettering ourselves and getting closer to that ‘ideal person’ we hope to become. I’m nowhere near that mythical ‘ideal person,’ but for the first time in my life, I truly feel I’ve become the person I want to be. I wake up each morning happy with the goal I’m working towards, and feeling like I’m doing exactly what I’m meant to do in life. I’m lucky to have this opportunity, for as you know, many people around the world are struck by such poverty that they’re never able to pursue their dreams.

There’s still things about myself, however, that I’d like to change. My stomach seems to know no boundaries, expanding past my waistband to inch ever closer to its own dreams—one of which seems to be the dream of someday becoming the new mascot for Pillsbury. I know, however, that if I ate at home more often, and ate at restaurants less often, I’d not only save money, but I’d also lose some of this weight.

Read More Inside…

14 Dec


Watch this video on: Vimeo | YouTube | Facebook
or as an iPhone-friendly downloadable .M4V

We just launched our first fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.com! This is exciting for us, but, for me anyway, it’s also a little bit terrifying.

Read More Inside…

06 Nov


A “leading” Australian online logo design company recently announced they’re outsourcing all logo designs to the Philippines from now on.

Terrific, right?

“Unfortunately we were getting squeezed by online global competitors in the U.S. and U.K. that outsource their logo design services to the cheapest offshore bidder, to places like India and Russia. This has driven prices to a new low of $50 USD and under.” says Impact Art Director Lara Johnson.

“In the end it was a case of if you can’t beat em’ join em’.”

I’m happy Filipinos are getting jobs, but reading their press release makes me feel a little sick inside. It’s like they’re apologizing for hiring Filipinos, when what they should be apologizing for is using Filipinos as cheap labor.

“[…]We have generally found Filipino Designers have a better education (degree qualified) are more likely to commit long term to a role and have outstanding creativity and design skill. No to mention their English is near perfect [sic]. All of these aspects make the Philippines a stand out in terms of quality design outsourcing.”

All of this is true, but if Filipinos are as qualified and as talented as your Australian employees were, why aren’t you paying them the same, Impact?

As someone who’s passionate about both design and the Philippines, I want to see Filipinos charging what they’re worth. Filipinos should be paid more, and designers from around the world shouldn’t be losing their jobs to the underpaid and overworked. I know many talented Filipino designers, more talented than myself and perhaps even you, who earn 1/10th what they would in other countries. Are you talented? Don’t sell yourself short.

Nothing makes me happier than going to an art gallery here in the Philippines and seeing a piece of art I could never even hope to afford. It makes me giddy with optimism.

Come on Filipino designers, make me giddy with optimism too.

17 Oct


JeffToday’s October 17th already in the Philippines, so this morning, Alwyn came into my bedroom and wished me a happy birthday. Then he said, “you need to get up, everyone’s here now.”

Surprise birthday party with street children!

They’re a really sweet group of kids. One of them, Jeff, was a kid I remember meeting last year. He was sitting outside KFC, and when I tried to give him some chicken and rice, he couldn’t handle any of it. He just laid on the ground moaning and clutching his stomach in anguish. I felt so bad for him, but there wasn’t anything I could do. I heard in July that the other kids hadn’t seen him in a couple months, so I was really worried for him. Well today, he looked happy and healthy; a sharp kid. I almost didn’t recognize him.

To see the whole set of photos, visit my flickr account.

27 Sep


Ondoy Situation Map for Metro Manila—They’re posting updates on the situation caused by Typhoon Ondoy in Metro Manila, Philippines (and nearby areas) based on what we gather from various sources, such as radio, TV, internet, etc.

Rescue InfoHub Center— Keep tracts and collates information about relief and rescue workers on who needs for rescuing immediately.

Typhoon Ondoy Emergency Hotlines and Relief Operations— Keep tracts and collates information about relief and rescue operations.

How You Can Help, by MLQ3—Posted dozens of ways to help in dark times like this.

Ondoy Donation Drop-off Points & Pick-up Routes—Areas where to drop-off your donations of clothing, relief goods and other essentials. Some offer pick up service as well. Please indicate if they accept CASH, DRY GOODS or FOOD.

Ondoy Places to Donate Relief Goods—List of places to drop relief goods.

TXTPower: Help Typhoon Victims in Luzon, Philippines—You can make donations via PayPal or SmartMoney here.

Dynamic Teen Company—Another charity you can donate to; they have US and Philippine bank accounts you can contribute to, as well as online donations via PayPal.

Ayala Foundation USA—allows online donations from America.

GMA Kapuso Foundation—allows donations by check or credit card.

Read More Inside…

26 Sep


We really wish we could be launching our new site under happier circumstances. I originally wrote this post a few days ago, but since then, Typhoon Ondoy has ravaged the Philippines; so much that the government has declared a “state of calamity” in Metro Manila and about two-dozen storm-hit provinces as more than a month’s worth of rain fell down in six hours. The most rainfall in recorded history.

I don’t feel there’s anything meaningful I can add to the news. People are dying. This is terrible.

Now seems like a terribly inappropriate time to launch a website for a Philippine nonprofit graphic design school.

But we’ve had this date set for a while now. I’m boarding a plane in a few days, headed back to the Philippines, after spending several months in Alaska preparing nonprofit documents for our launch.

A very ambitious Ferdinand fundraiser was supposed to launch today as well. It has been delayed. For now, please donate to The Philippine National Red Cross or the Kapuso Foundation.

BIG BOLD NOTE: This storm, and any future storm, has not weakened our will to start Ferdinand Center for the Creative in any way whatsoever. It has only strengthened our resolve—there are so many more people who need help, now, and we will do everything we can to help.


These are the hotlines that Filipino citizens can call for disaster emergency situations, especially urgent rescue and relief needs.

National Disaster Coordinating Committee

Help hotlines:

Bureau of Fire Protection, National Capital Region

Bureau of Fire Protection, Region III (Central Luzon)
Hotline (045) 9634376

Philippine Coast Guard

Red Cross

Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)

Taguig emergency hotline


Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. emergency hotlines
for dumptrucks going to flooded areas for rescue of stranded people:
0917 4226800
0917 2414864
0927 6751981

Sen. Dick Gordon (Philippine National Red Cross)
Please send address of stranded friends/family to

18 Jul


At 2:30 pm yesterday, in the middle of a torrential downpour and flooding in Caloocan City, Philippines, something really cool happened. A young man, just turning 25, waited outside a police station.

His name’s Alwyn Cortez, and he wasn’t in trouble. He was waiting for some street kids he’d talked to earlier.

Today’s Alwyn’s birthday, and a few months ago he confided in me that he didn’t want presents this year. He wanted to share his birthday with street kids, and let them experience a stress-free day of fun and games, a good meal that filled them up to beyond full, and some of the luxuries that you and I take for granted.

Read More Inside…

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