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    With mythical Mount Makiling, scenic Laguna de Bay, lush trees and gardens, and hot spring resorts providing the perfect backdrop, Calamba as well as the rest of Laguna province has been a source of inspiration for many artists.

    The establishment of the Philippine High School for the Arts, which combines a general secondary education level program with a special arts curriculum, in nearby Los Banos in 1977 has led the way for the training of a whole new generation of artists, including Marc Vincent Cosico.

    After graduating with honors from the PHSA as a Visual Arts Major in 1995, Marc pursued his passion for the arts and completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Painting degree from the University of the Philippines.

    Since that time, he has completed residencies in CASA San Miguel in 2003, the Kirkudbright International Art Festival in Scotland in 2007, the Seoksu Art Project in South Korea in 2010, and Project Space Pilipinas in 2011. He has also participated in numerous group shows, and enrolled in the Philippine Women’s University for Masters of Fine Arts and Design degree in 2010-2011.

    Although his many talents as a visual artist and graphic designer have brought him recognition here and abroad – he won the Grand Prize in the Sculpture category of the Metrobank Art and Excellence Awards in 2010 – Marc has chosen to go back to his roots, and has been a member of the faculty and an art teacher at the Philippine High School for the Arts since 2006.

    Here, he takes us around his beautiful Calamba and his SM.


    Marc Cosico (center)  during the My City, My SM launch with (from left) SM City Calamba Assistant Mall Managers Ryan Cuico and Cielo Flores, SM Vice President for Marketing Millie Dizon, and Calamba City Administrator Atty. Manuel Ladrido.

    “What I like about Calamba and the rest of Laguna is its proximity to nature.  I remember the Batu-Bato Resort in Calamba where we had our class outings in grade school.

    I spent my high school there, and had fun living close to nature.  It gave me a very good understanding of how trees and natural water are very essential and at the same time overwhelming while exploring the forests of Mount Makiling. I love Laguna so much I came back to work here as a teacher so I can spend more time surrounded by the trees.”


    Social realist artist at the Philippine High School for the Arts grounds with a view of Mount Makiling’s highest peak behind him.  The PHSA is a special school founded in 1977 and established by Presidential Decree 1287.  A government- run secondary school for artistically gifted and talented children and adolescents – it is today attached to the Department of Education in consultation with the Cultural Center of the Philippines – it implements a special secondary education curriculum and supports programs committed to the preservation, enhancement and promotion of Philippine heritage through culture and the arts.

    “Living in Laguna dictated my path towards the arts.  It was here where I found what I wanted to do and what I am good at.  I learned here how to draw and paint, to transfer my thoughts into visual commentary or simple images for my humor.”


    Marc is shown painting in his studio cum Visual Arts faculty room at the Philippine High School for the Arts.  His artwork, Ashtray ni Marbolong Ranger will be part of the Hapag exhibition.


    “What I like about Calamba City is the Rizal residence which we would often visit during our field trips as students.”


    Located along Calle Real, just a few steps away from the old Calamba City Hall (now the city college) and the parish church is the shrine dedicated to our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.  The shrine is a replica of the Spanish colonial style house where Rizal was born on June 19, 1861.

    The house was typical of the residences of the Filipino gentry of Hispanic times, with its ground floor in lime and stone, its upper floor of the best hardwood, and its roof in red tile. In the garden is a nipa hut – a replica of the one where Rizal used to spend his days as a boy – and a statue of a young Rizal made by Dudley Diaz for the 1996 Centennial Celebration.  There is also a wishing well at the back of the house, which visitors never miss to pass by because it is believed that it makes wishes come true.

    Reconstructed in 1949, the Rizal Shrine is now under by the National Historical Commission, and is now the center of the Rizal@150 celebrations.

    “If I would bring visitors around Calamba, I would tour them around Mount Makiling and the hot springs around it.  I would also probably bring them to the Philippine High School for the Arts to stay and enjoy the surrounding environment.”


    Legend has it that Mount Makiling is shaped like the profile of the sleeping Mariang Makiling, a legendary goddess, who according to folklore still dwells in the mountain and protects it from harm.

    But the mystical mountain, which rises 1,109 meters above sea level, is also legendary because of its breathtaking beauty.  The lower slope is a dipterocarp forest, while the summit is a dwarf mossy forest with a total of 2,048 different species of plants, making it a popular nature tripping destination – trekking, bird and butterfly watching, and even camping.


    “I would also bring guests to Crocodile Lake which has a spectacular view from the plateau of the National Arts Center.”


     Situated at the edge of Laguna de Bay, Crocodile Lake is, as its name implies, shaped like a crocodile.  It is a lake within a lake.

    “I would treat my guests to some of my favorite hometown delicacies – chocolate cake and buko pie.’


     Mer-Nel’s Cake House has the most scrumptious and to-die-for chocolate cakes, while Laguna’s buko pie will also be a merienda and pasalubong favorite.

    “SM has become the place to go for residents of Calamba and nearby towns.  Its tagline – “we’ve got it all”, says it all – SM in Calamba draws people including myself because of its accessibility and variety of shops.

    Also, SM has become a place for people to converge, meet or gather, much like a town or community center.”


    SM City Calamba has brought the SM shopping, leisure, and entertainment experience closer to residents in Laguna.

    “I love going to the Toy section of SM to check out if new toys – particularly action figures – are out.  I like to use toys in sale for some collages/assemblages that I make.”


     Marc is a boy again at Toy Kingdom Express inside the SM Department Store.

    “I am a voracious reader and like to go to Booksale, where I can find books at very reasonable prices.”


    Marc at Booksale, one of his favorite stops at SM City Calamba.