Artist talks about “CalligraFilipino”, emphasizes love for own culture

| Written by Fred Dabu

Visual artist Ian “Taipan” Lucero (right) shows a magazine featuring a story on the contemporary usage of the ancient Baybayin script. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.


“Napakaganda ng ating kultura! Mahalin natin ang sariling atin!” (We have a beautiful culture! Love what’s ours!), said visual artist Ian “Taipan” Lucero, as he shared his passion and advocacy for Filipino culture and our ancient script known as Baybayin in his lecture as the guest of the Philippine Association of University Women (PAUW)-University of the Philippines (UP) Chapter at the UP Executive House in Diliman, Quezon City on January 20, 2020.


Visual artist Taipan Lucero describes the Baybayin characters etched in Philippine peso coins and bills. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.


Attended by members of the Philippine Association of University Women (PAUW), teachers and staff of PAUW-UP Child Study Center, and visiting students from Japan, Lucero’s lecture-presentation on “CalligraFilipino” focused on the beauty of the indigenous and pre-colonial culture of Filipinos and how these could inspire modern-day patriotism through fine arts. He revealed that he used these as his inspiration for developing the distinct artistic style he called “CalligraFilipino”, and that this highlights the fusion of the ancient Baybayin writing system, calligraphy, and elements from traditional art and jewelry across the archipelago, such as the Sarimanok, the Kulintang, and the Okir, among many others.

“We had our own thriving civilization and system of writing long before the Spaniards came,” Lucero said. He further said that the ones seen in the ancient Angono Petroglyphs were used in teaching children; the Boxer Codex illustrated people and culture in pre-colonial Philippines; and the Tagalog’s Baybayin was just one of our many ancient systems of writing. Our ancestors, he added, also had gold jewelry with remarkable and intricate designs said to match those made by modern goldsmiths. “Our language is as important as our script. Be proud of what’s ours!” Lucero emphasized in his talk.


Members of the Philippine Association of University Women (PAUW), PAUW-UP Child Study Center, and guest students from Japan listen to the presentation by Taipan Lucero. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.


Lucero developed his distinct creative style by combining the above-mentioned elements, Baybayin, and calligraphy, and called it “CalligraFilipino”. He graduated cum laude from the College of Fine Arts, UP Diliman in 2012, worked as a graphic artist here and abroad, and studied calligraphy in Japan. There, he was inspired by the Japanese calligraphers’ love and respect for their culture. When he decided to return to the Philippines, he came home with this novel style and advocacy of promoting nationalistic Filipino art and design.


Visual artist Taipan Lucero emphasizes the importance of the ancient Filipino written and spoken language. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.


Lucero said that “CalligraFilipino” followed some rules to form graphic designs, words, or illustrate concepts using Baybayin characters.  “I put them together, stylized, into what would look nice,” he said. The style incorporates principles of: Kapuwa, for the characters’ positions to symbolize strong ties among family and friends; Kasiguraduhan, for the sureness of strokes and direction, without hesitation or error; and, Katuwiran, for the straightness of the character’s path, to symbolize steadfastness. He added that he had featured some of his works on his website ( and social media platforms ( and since technology and art were vital in preserving our culture and transmitting these to future generations.

Through the years, Lucero has participated in solo and group exhibitions that have been sponsored by UP, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), or private galleries here and abroad.


The Board of Directors and members of the Philippine Association of University Women (PAUW), teachers and staff of PAUW-UP Child Study Center, and the guest artist Taipan Lucero. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO.


The PAUW-UP Chapter Board of Directors is comprised of: Atty. Gaby R. Concepcion (President); Ms. Carmen M. Pascual (Executive Director); Prof. Elizabeth L. Diaz (Vice President); Prof. Adelaida F. Lucero (Secretary); Prof. Ma. Vanessa L. Oyzon (Asst. Secretary); Prof. Rosella Jean M. Puno (Treasurer); Ms. Sigrid Buendia (Asst. Treasurer); Dr. Elvira S. Verano (Auditor); Prof. Carmelita C. Ramirez (PRO); and, Prof. Belen Medina, Prof. Selma G. Cortes, Dr. Sylvia H. Guerrero, Dr. Consolacion R. Alaras, and Prof. Catalina Tolentino as Board Members.