Sunday, July 15, 2012


I was scavenging for old reading materials at a thrift shop at the famous Cubao Expo when this book with a familiar green cover caught my eye. Yes! It’s the same textbook we used in Grade 4, if I remember right—entitled “Your Country and Mine”.

 It was authored by Catalina Velasquez-Ty, Tomas Garcia and Antonio A. Maceda, published in 1954 by Ginn and Company, a well-known American publishing firm that had offices in Boston, new York and—Manila!

Once I leafed through the pages, I was transported back to my grade school days, when I used to admire the beautiful full color artworks that appeared in the book.

Little did I know that the illustrations were done by Cesar C. Amorsolo (b.1903/d. 1998) – Fernando Amorsolo’s nephew. His father, Atty. Alejandro Amorsolo also painted. Orphaned at the age of 6, Cesar went on to live with his uncle Fernando, whom he would serve as his assistant for 30 years.

Coming into his own, he painted in Manila, Hong Kong and Los Angeles, where he stayed for 7 years. Gifted with a fine hand, his paintings of rural scenes carry the same unmistakable Amorsolo lighting. Ginn and Co. often commissioned him to do artworks for their books printed in Manila, doing illustrations in oil, pastel and occasionally, watercolor. Cesar Amorsolo belongs to the so-called Mabini artist group who painted in the folk genre for the tourist trade.

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