Dekada Setenta, BF Mural Part 2

Youth lives on hope, old age on remembrance - French proverb

Noel David is neither a young man nor an old man; he is of the baby boomer generation, a generation long past its wild youth but still a long way before it waddles into senior citizenship. He teeters between hopefulness and remembrance, between hoping to inspire the next generation and paying homage to his friends who have gone.

A former animator and now a web designer and web animator, David belongs to one of the first families in BF Homes, moving here in 1971 where his family's house became a "tambayan" or hangout of his friends. Then came the heyday of the subdivision in the 70s and 80s. Dino Garcia, a good friend who moved here in 1974, recalls that "BF then was like a small community where everybody knew each other."

But, like a bad dream, their friends started dying--David counts 41 friends that they have lost--and sensing the bad feng shui in his area, which faces the Manila Memorial Park, he eventually moved out in 1987 after the death of many friends. In the intervening years, he lost touch with those that were left behind.

Fast forward to 2009 and the era of social networking. It was inevitable that the past would soon catch up with the present as has happened countless times in Facebook. And so it did for the BF old-timers who happily and giddily reminisced about the good ol' days in their own Facebook page, "You know you grew up in BF Homes Parañaque when.

Something stirred within David. "A sense of belonging triggered the first mural--a thread in our page about reminiscing. Someone suggested that I paint our group and they said they would support me so I created a page just for that project. I wanted to refresh whatever memories I had of this place so after almost a year I got all my old friends back under one roof in Facebook. This is a project initiated in Facebook with my barkada so we decided to name it the BF Barkada Project," he explained.
Dino Garcia and Noel David with the BF Homes Mural Part 1

But more than just memories, he knew he wanted to give back to the community. He found his inspiration in "It", Stephen King's bestseller about a shape-shifter who terrorizes children. For David, it was more than just a book. "Its themes, about the beauty and innocence of youth and having no substitute for friends, fired up my imagination. I saw a lot of parallelisms in the book and life in BF."

A second inspiration came from a former acquaintance, Cathy Duran, who eventually became his confidante and soulmate.  "Being a visual-oriented and copy-based Creative Director in an ad agency, she provided me the right direction for my works. We knew each other back in the skating rink in the 70's but never really had the chance to be friends. 23 years after, we got re-acquainted in Facebook and found out that we shared so many things in common."

A further motivation stemmed from his desire to exorcise the deaths that drove him away from the village. He sought to create a talisman that would counter what he believed to be the "sphere of influence" of the cemetery on the houses that faced it. "I wanted to put my work in alignment facing the twin cemeteries. 

"The first mural was actually an experiment--if I didn't lose anyone within the year then it proves my theory. Dino's sister may have had a stroke but she survived and the mural helped her," he muses. He didn't lose anyone. "After my friends died, I was scared," he confessed, "so maybe in honoring them I was able to seek repentance for this place."

David chose to locate the mural in the basketball court--then an open court in the old days--because it was formerly the center of activities of the small community. He finished the first mural in 9 months and launched it in February of 2009. The 15 ft by 30 ft mural, which he has registered since with the National Library, features 176 people, BF pioneers and old-timers and friends of the BF Barkada.

It hit a nerve in the collective memory of the people who saw it, some of whom came from the US. Many were moved to tears. They were back in their youth. Boy Concepcion, former-bad-boy-turned-priest and one of his good friends, came and blessed the mural.

The launch became a reunion, which became a party, which became a series of get-togethers online and in person. And the ripples promised to get bigger. But the biggest thrill belonged to David himself--not only was he able to gather his friends under one roof virtually and digitally, he was able to prove to himself and his doubters that he could successfully create something never done before. He had launched a new art form.
National Artist for Painting - J. Elizaldo Navarro

David's mural falls under the second definition, which is a large "photograph attached directly to a wall," rather than "painted or affixed directly on a wall or ceiling." But it is neither a photograph nor a traditional painting but something in-between. He has yet to find a definition for his type of artwork; for now, he simply calls it "digital painting." 

One thing is clear--it is product of the digital age and a product of his animation background. After five years in his job, he left animation, feeling too old for cartoons and wanting to do something more realistic. He yearned to explore new kinds of art and venture into unknown territory so he started experimenting. 

Then he got his eureka moment. 

Finding the program Illustrator to be limited, he accidentally discovered another use for a second program, which he then combined with a third to create his own art form, a trade secret he has assiduously guarded by working on the mural in secret, with the assistance of Cathy. "So the technology that I learned from animation, I applied it here, only I use it like a painting rather than an illustration," he disclosed. 

"A lot of artists use vector painting but mine has evolved into something different and I added a dimension of traditional painting in it; that's what makes it more difficult. (Unlike photos, vectors are shapes that do not get pixelized even when enlarged.) I wanted my work to be different from the rest.

"Only animators can do something like this since they are used to doing things freehand without tracing," he points out, "but they won't waste their time on it since they are paid by the second in animation and animators are honed to be factory workers.

"I try to take away the computer effect from the work to make it more airbrushed but it can't be all that perfect because I am using a wireless mouse, something I got used to. A tablet might give me more control but I use another process to give the mouse more flexibility in shading."

Apparently, this was just the start.  "I had a lot of congratulatory feedback and many wanted to join especially after the last elections.  People saw that and asked how could they join and luckily some knew me and referred my work to others.  They formed another group.  By that time I already had a new computer and had developed a new technique.  You have to evolve; so I think this is the most perfect I've done so far."
Lorli Villanueva

David also developed a new-found confidence in his abilities.  "After part one, I knew one man can do all that."  He also got a little help from his friends.  "I didn't have any intention of making a second one but Father Boy inspired me.  He said 'Brod, if God gave you a certain talent you should use it.'  I said, "Hey man, you forgot, I'm an atheist, I don't believe in God.'  He answered, "It doesn't matter, God believes in you.'  I thought he was right so I decided to do a second mural."  

Still, it wasn't easy sailing for him.  His principal sponsor backed out and his computer broke down.  His sister came to his rescue, giving him money to buy a new one.  He undertook commissions for family portraits to pay back what he considered to be a loan despite his sister's generosity.  He won't make excuses for putting in the families who helped sponsor the second project--they still belong, after all, to the BF Homes community.  But he did not want to just solicit--he wanted to give back something in return.

Because he envisioned a bigger project in terms of the number of people in the mural, his good friend, Dino, volunteered to help him.  A new committee was formed to oversee the project, which he called Dekada Setenta, for those who were born and grew up in the 70s.  David targeted 350 faces, 52 more than the Guinness record of 298 being held by a Pennsylvania mall (the final number reached 361).  "If you total the two murals, I would've done more than 500 faces.  Imagine this--we're the only one with a gym full of faces watching you.  This makes it unique."  

Unique and poignant.  Whereas the first mural was more about experimentation and wardship, this time he wanted the second mural to be about celebration, remembrance, and friendships.  "Basically it's about remembering a certain era when everything was new. It was just us then; there are only a few of us left.   I put value on our youth and friendship which I think is missing today.  What better way to immortalize that than by putting it into one single mural."

Among the friends he is honoring in the second mural are National Artist, J. Elizalde Navarro (a former Kyoto St. resident) whose style inspired his work; and, Lorli Villanueva, the award-winning actress of Oro, Plata, Mata fame, to whom he wrote, "to my close friend...who opened my eyes to the world of arts and culture...." Along with them is Fr. Boy. The lone outsider in the new mural is Louie Ysmael, his former boss for a good ten years.

What you will not find in both murals is a portrait of the man himself. David insists that the project is not about him but about the friends whom he is saluting. Because of this, he used an alias to sign his work. 

As the project evolved, so did his technique. "The new mural will be twice as bright or twice as finished as the first one; it's more detailed and the personalities come out better. Technique-wise, Part 1's results evolved into something more stylized and vivid, creating that striking difference in Part 2."  He had to upgrade his hardware as well.  "We are printing it on heavy canvass with one of the most powerful computers--a quad core with 6 gigabyte and that's not even enough. I'm adding another 2 gigabytes," he revealed.
Noel David and Cathy Duran

He applied for recognition to the Guinness Book of World Records for the record number of faces done in his unique style of digital painting. The record keepers could not find another work of its kind in the world but told him of the Pennsylvania mall record. They also told him of their conditions: pay an application fee of USD 2,000.00 or find a sponsor, otherwise his reference number will be banned. He balked and did nothing. 

David remains defiant. "Why do I have to pay them? Now that I know the facts, I'll just make the mural and let them disprove it." Turning reflective, he is grateful, nevertheless, for having come so far. "We had so many dreams back then that were never realized. I had reached a dead-end. Still, I had a chance to have a life and that is a far greater reward for me."

A far greater reward, too, is the sense of accomplishment he has gotten and the inspiration and challenge this may bring to his generation and the next. "I did the mural for the youth today so they can be greater than what they are now; so that they can dream. Maybe when they see it they can be inspired. May this be legacy for them to follow. Just stay off drugs. 

"I still see some from my generation who're still the same, doing drugs, and it saddens and sickens me. A friend of mine died of drug overdose just last month. Suddenly, after 30 yrs we see we're still like this, it's sad. We could've been somewhere else."

In explaining his work in his Facebook page, he said:  "Looking back at the 70's,I have realized how much of those times affected us.  It has shaped and molded us to what we are now.Some of us succeeded  while others failed.Some are living while others have moved on.Some have tried to forget it while others lived with it. Further down the road, only the memories of the faces will stir the senses when one sees the Mural at that part of the woods called BF Homes.

"I have gone back to the deep abyss of my memory, to wander to a place I once called home, to seek familiar faces I called friends and leave them pieces of that memory to last a life time.

"A feng shui master told me that if you do something out of the purity of your heart and of the highest of ideals, then the blessings go back 100% to those whom you intended to honor. That is why I did the mural, to change their lives."

Seeking to forget makes exile all the longer; the secret of redemption lies in remembrance. (Richard von Weizsaecker)
Maita del rosario
3/21/2011 05:49:24 am

Wow this is great noel... Was surprised tosee that my sister's page "you know you grew up in bf when..." which was created by bea robles, was mentioned in the article :) this was trullly a great work of art... Congratulations noel for a job well done :)

3/21/2011 11:18:36 am


noel david
3/21/2011 04:11:15 pm

a factual and articulate analysis of the project.My compliments to the writer and fotog.

5/6/2012 03:04:28 pm

way of writing about this blog is awesome dear. i really impress with this post. it's good and i really feel happy when i want to read someone good and find like this blog post...

Nanny carbonell
3/21/2011 09:07:03 pm

Noel buddy,

I for one have lived in BF Homes Pque. And from what I have read above, I felt something constructive too which would really be impossible to feel this way unless one reads the articles. And if only I can figure out how to sum up everything i feel into simple words the gratitude I have for this in what you've done then it would be something else.

But truly, it is impossible! There are just some things in life that one can never really express his feelings like for instance this great work art of yours!

Reading the articles above I have found it very unselfish and carrying of you! I would say that you have made something not only a piece of an art work but something that would touch every ones lives and be reminded of how beautiful and important it is to remember the roads where they have ones passed.

I congratulate you Noel and all of your supporters for making such a unique art work that comes with every beat of your heart! I am sure that everyone who gets to visit BF Homes pque. basketball court will always learn something just by the painting itself for it talks about us all. And on the other hand, it will also teach the young ones to treasure their friends, love ones and know the importance of unity.
Your great work has not touched only our lives but also those who are on the way....

Congratulations once again!!!
And may our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ bless you and your dreams! GBUMOR!!!

Francesca S Marquez
3/22/2011 03:27:54 am

My friend you're amazing and a good man God bless.

3/24/2011 07:36:54 am

i'm so happy to see the final result of your latest mural - you're awesomeness

emgee garcia
3/24/2011 12:46:28 pm

Senyor Noel,

Much of what Nanny Carbonell said here i guess sums it all up.
Allow me to add a little something. I'm sure a lot of us who grew up in BF during the 70's & 8o's couldn't help notice a guy like you. All of us were kinda weird in our own way but your way was just different. Our group, Leo, Dranreb, Jokari, Albert (from Teoville), Bobby a.k.a. Bobby tusok, Odie, Jun (from the back of the old commercial bldg) atbp always thought you were "not of this world" so to speak. Don't get me wrong man.
Now that I look back at the
way we made fun of you and laughed at your ways, man how wrong I AM ABOUT YOU. Like what Nanny said "reading the articles above I have found it very unselfish and caring of you!"
Lesson I learned from this..... "wag mang SMALL ng tao" kahit sino o ano pa man ang katauhan niya. Because you'll never know what can happen in the future.
Sorry pare!
Suffice it to say "Saludo ako sa iyong ginawa para sa amin lahat" Maraming salamat sa iyo. Its been a pleasure knowing you senyor!

Cathy Duran
3/25/2011 02:37:40 am

Congratulations on your well-written, interesting and insightful feature article on the BF Mural.It brought to light a different perspective of what it represents to both the residents and non-residents of BF Homes Paranaque.

More than just a visual expression of the faces of the youth that made BF what it is, the mural also served as a catalyst in many aspects.

When Noel broached the idea to me in August 2009, I knew that an endeavor of this kind can only do 3 things: re-connect people, renew and strengthen old ties, or break existing ones. And I was not wrong.

Growing up in BF since 1972 and having lived there longer than the artist did, I have always thought there was something good, notorious and strange about this middle- to upper-middle class subdivision in comparison to others. Was it the mindset? The culture? The seemingly "evil" force that echoes mini-series like "Twin Peaks" or "Smallville"? That's enough material for a book that I'm going to write someday, anyway.

I was with Noel from the very start of the project, seeing how complex and complicated, and how tedious and oftentimes emotionally-taxing the project was especially when it came to dealing with people you once knew and then finding out their true colors, for better or for worse. It made me realize that an artist couldn't be totally detached from his subjects because of certain attachments in the past.

But despite his frustrations and disappointments, Noel was never daunted nor discouraged. He had a passion for doing what he had been wanting to do, thus, creating the BF Murals 1 and 2 to date, uniting and immortalizing the people of BF Homes--something no other subdivision has ever had or done.He had blazed a trail and shall continue to do so with his non-traditional art forms.

The so-called "weirdo" may be seen in a new light today then forgotten tomorrow, but his present and succeeding murals will certainly be his legacy to the community called BF Paranaque.

Sylvia Habulan
3/25/2011 11:28:00 am

Congratulations Noel and Cathy - the artist and his inspiration:)

Francis Santos
3/25/2011 02:33:50 pm

A blast from the past. Even for a moment, we glance at what was BF Homes and the family we once knew and perk up each time we look at the many familiar faces that is now BF Murals. All made possible because one of our own took it upon him...self to make use of his talent and time so that we may enjoy reminiscing the past, the place and the people. Yes it was and will always be a very memorable part of our life and the only connection we have is the mural. We are amuse by just how many we have crossed paths with but even more puzzling is the many that had been forgotten. Our hearts are burdened to learn about those dearly departed and the only way now to relive our joyful reunion and be reminded of those forgotten memories is only through this mural. So let us celebrate the completion of this fresco as a tribute to overcoming the challenges of the past, the carefree and unrestricting way of life and yes the foolishness of our youth. Thank you to all who have made it possible for us to play a small part in capturing our past as our way of contributing to the molding of individuals.

Hermilda Dela Cruz
3/25/2011 09:32:17 pm

Greetings !!!

First, I would like to applaud “Good Living BF” for providing a website to the community of BF Homes. It is inviting --- fun to browse --- plus a generous offer for the residence (BF Homes Paranaque) to advertise their business on the website for --- FREE !!! Awesome !!! Love IT !!!

More, the article written by Cathy Quiogue for Noel David, sole artist in the “BF Homes Mural” was remarkable. It was delightful to catch a glimpse of Noel’s personal beliefs in life, his achievements, and lifelong friendships. Embraces hopes and dreams that the artist desires.

This mural communicates to us. It is a celebration of friendship.

Again, thank you Noel for making me a part of this fresco and will treasure IT forever.

BRAVO !!!!!!

Good Living BF
3/26/2011 11:15:35 am

Dear Hermilda,

Thank you for your kind words; it is very much appreciated. We are much encouraged by what you said and we hope to make our website even better and more reflective of this dynamic community.

Good Living BF

Katherina Delgado-Bryant
3/26/2011 05:23:09 pm

Thank uou Noel for having everybody together...Kudos to you!!!!
Getting everybody together was a huge achievement...whatever their affiliations are now...what matters is THEY ALL GREW UP IN BF! Whatever whoever wants to think otherwise...can go to H#@&?LL! Politics, MY ASS!!!

3/26/2011 05:25:23 pm

as a fellow artist and an admirer of your work, i know the amount of thought and effort that went into making this great work is astonishing. as always, you have delivered another captivating piece that truly captures the very essence of barkadang BF. thank you for making me a part of this magnificent project. and pay no mind to your detractors ~ you are bigger and more powerful than their bullets of envy. cheers to bigger and better endeavours to come!

Bland Alisasis Natividad
3/26/2011 05:28:45 pm

Thx Noel! You are very talented!! My sisters Baby, Nene, and Ging told me about their BF days with you :) Good luck with your entry, and thanks for letting us be a part of it :)

Wilfredo R. Adona
3/26/2011 06:31:51 pm

Just like the "Tapestry" of Carole King, the "Smiling Face" of James Taylor and "Stairway to Heaven" of Led Zeppelin, they all have in common, these songs were all loved by those faces that can be seen in that mural, forever lasting, forever faithful, forever true.

Jojo Gaston
3/26/2011 07:03:51 pm

Congrats Noel. Thank you for giving us magnificent, colorful and non-drug induced FLASHBACKS of the best times of our lives.

raymond santos
3/26/2011 07:13:18 pm

thanks for all the good work you've done for our generation noel...it will put a lasting imprint in our "once upon a time" community named "bf homes".

3/26/2011 07:16:56 pm

Noel, you're a genius...you make a real positive difference and people feel so elated and flattered being sketched by you....thanks for everything you do to make this world a better place! You've made a great impact on people's lives that will leave footprints in their hearts. Saludo ako sayo!!!

Mariles de Sequera-Lastrilla
3/26/2011 07:20:53 pm

I love your work, Noel! Your pieces are luminous, full of character, and all your own style. Congratulations, friend!!!

Rita Cacdac Dela Torre
3/26/2011 07:25:46 pm

Well done! Clearly you put your heart & soul into this project. Many thanks for giving me & the Captain the opportunity to be part of this. All the best to you, Noel!!

Monica Carney Marcial
3/27/2011 02:36:18 pm

Hi Noel,
I just wanted to thank you again for including me in your mural...I am really so honored to be able to be part of all this.I'm so happy for you and Cathy...I read that article and I hope you achieve all your dreams and also get into that world record !!! you did an awesome job and I'm proud to be a tiny part of it :)
thank you so much
take care always

Allan Visitacion
3/30/2011 01:33:34 pm

Noel D, Your the Man- On the wall you allowed us to feel young again - off the wall you made it... so real ,thank GOD for your hands that brought us back in time ,moving forward now on our wall of fame.

Chito Agoncillo
3/30/2011 01:37:10 pm

Hindi ka lang Talentadong Pinoy, isa ka pang Pinoy Genio. Ang galing mo talaga, Noel. Kuhang kuha mo ang pagka cute ko.

4/1/2011 10:27:05 pm

Congrats Noel! The mural was really a great work of art, and it makes me proud of being a part of the community. keep it up pare ko. GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD TO ALL OF US!

Lorelei Redor
4/4/2011 12:09:08 pm

Thanx Noel for including me here, u're one person that we can really be so proud of!;-)Btw, i also stayed in bf-pque in early 70's for about 5yrs. We should have met then!;-)

Raoul Casado
4/24/2011 07:21:36 pm

Wow.. what a flashback this site has given me, all of a sudden faces of friends from my past who have gone ahead.. good friends at that. Thanks for this Noel, the trip back memory lane was worth it. Cheers

Jazzy Yuhico
5/14/2011 05:41:24 am

This is awesome work, amigo!

As Thomas Campbell once said, "To live in hearts we live behind is not to die." Thanks for rekindling fond memories of our youth. It renews our vigor and makes us young all over again.

Congratulations on a job well done! More power to you, Noel! God bless you my friend!

Louise Esp[nas-Leung
5/21/2011 12:02:12 am

This is really an awesome work , Noel. Its been a year ago but I am still in awe.
Thank you for your God-given talent.

God bless you always.

Ed Finlan
6/2/2011 04:34:00 pm

Truly a work of art by an artist truly ahead of his time and, yet, able to remain in the renaissance times of great artists. Congratulations NOEL!

Juliet Barrios Waggoner
6/3/2011 02:03:10 pm

What a remarkable artwork. Your dedication to this art project is very commendable.
Your passion to arts, will give young aspiring artist an encouragement and inspiration.

Keep Up the Great Work! God Bless You!


Cat V. Meneses
6/4/2011 09:21:28 am

Noel, I am honored and happy to meet you. It is wonderful to hear from you and get to know something more apart from your amazing talent. I appreciate your Light and thank you for adding your Love to a world that needs all of your special gifts.

4/26/2012 01:37:51 pm

Nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! I've been looking for books of this nature for a way too long. I'm just glad that I found yours. Looking forward for your next post. Thanks :)



Your comment will be posted after it is approved.

Leave a Reply.