I have always known that the human race is a complex ball of momentum and potential. In the book, “What Every Teacher Should Know About Learning, Memory and the Brain” written by Donna Walker Tileston, the brain responds to information that are perceived by our senses 99% of the time. Considering this information true, 99% of our learning happens through our environment. The remaining 1% relies on our genes, yet the irony is in our relatives always sizing up our actions as to whether it’s our mom or dad whom we take after with some mannerisms and attitude manifestations.

In addition, the same book restated what Sousa had said in 1995 that the brain takes in about 40,000 bits at a time via these senses, namely, our vision, hearing, smell, tactile and touch. Mind you, that was a research made last 1995. Nowadays, as 2017 had kickstarted, it needs no elaboration on how everybody seem to be a certified multitasker. While going to work, you could be finding out a good deal for a flight to your hometown via your android, book that ticket and post on the social media, “Booked! See you (destination booked)!” all in just one way to work. So I’m sure, it’s taking in more than 40K now.

And this leads me to hailing the creative side of it all. The power of the human mind to create something from scratch “to stimulate rather than be stimulated” is beyond amazing. The thought puts me in awe and it’s quite out of this world to get to know an uprising visual artist who got the capacity to influence, who celebrates life through her paintings, photography, writing, creative arts and dance. And moreover, to inspire beginners in the field who are yet to develop their own artistic skills. This is Martina Marie Manalo‘s ultimate dream. And she is making it happen.

Martina’s expression of arts for a cause…


Forever inspired by his brothers, Michael Vincent Manalo, who had exhibited in more than 10 countries and had won awards in London, Italy and USA for his visual arts and Cedric Canlas, who had worked in visual effects and animation for “Avatar”, “Bridge to Terabithia”, “Iron Man 3”, “The Avengers”, “District 9”, “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” and many more, Martina pursues a career of a visual artist herself. (Click on the names for her brother’s own websites and profile for more info.) It was just in December 2015 that her eldest brother passed his old DSLR camera to her. From then on, she applied in several online jobs for photography apart from exploring continuously with the camera. 10 months of photography had made her see the world in a different way. Through the lenses, she had become fascinated particularly to people being seen in a different angle but also in its purest form and most candid and raw outlook. Her works had led her into getting features, invitations for exhibits and she was asked to talk about arts.

“Being an artist is so important to me that I couldn’t put it into words — I am deeply in love with art that I don’t know what and where I’d be without it.”


Martina gets preoccupied most of the time by her love for art. Most of the time, she dances, writes, paints and shoots photos. I have met this lovely woman through the happiest place on earth and we worked side by side as dancing performers and she is effortlessly amiable with the intent she puts with her signature moves. Her lengthy legs says it all with how good she is in letting go and taking control of the move to execute it expressively. And her balance as she does her pirouettes and attitudes are pretty set. With that much dedication, I know how hardworking she was during her training years and I have seen also how hard she worked into her transition to embracing doing visual arts fully.

Martina on her toe shoes delighting the audience with her strong performance.

From the beginning, Martina’s mum supported her passion towards fulfilling her greatest dream. And that is to serve as an inspiration not only to the younger generation but also to the higher-ups through perseverance and love for art. With 3 years in painting, 10 months in photography and a “forever” in dancing, Martina lives with a beautiful mantra, “If it makes you happy, it’s worth it.”

The humble artist admits that an inspiration dawns best to her when she feels down or hurt. Because of such a strong emotion, she could work endlessly rather than when she is happy. Being cynic can still reap beauty. She puts her heart into arts, just as how Meryl Streep’s speech encourages us all in the most recent Golden Globe Awards Night. Rest assured, every piece of artwork  she had done is born from a personal place for Martina. Check out some of these images in her website:

“Never stop dreaming, keep wondering. Stay hungry and thirsty for your craft. This will keep you inspired, and by this, you shall inspire the world.” – Martina Manalo


The biggest break that she recalls is an show she had along with Swiss artist Myriam Gamperli doing painting and a project with her brother Michael Manalo doing photography and installation. Last March 2016, University of the Philippines Optics had a workshop wherein Martina was a guest speaker and teacher. May of the same year, her work was showcased in the Tokyo International Art Fair entitled, “Kulay Diwa, Gallery of Philippine Contemporary Art”. This is just but a start of what Martina had had in her belt of experiences so far. And this of course comes with strengths that she possesses and I curiously asked her what are these that aspiring artists may need in their own journey. Being self-taught, Martina starts with determination. She had faced people who didn’t believe in arts and lashed her with negativity but she kept on going. She finds the whiplash of every successful project overwhelming for a little time, most especially when she got recognised internationally as an artist. Though this leads to a surge of wanting to create more and this drive lingers until she is finished with another project. As unique as she is, she dedicates her work to her mum but she includes the people who made her hurt and happy then because if not for them, a masterpiece may not have been created.

Photography: Martina Manalo
Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

That being said, the next most important strength an artist should have is to look at something from every angle and dwell on the “best” angle of things.


I trust the universe acting on Martina because of her effort and commitment she pours on finding her outlet to reach an audience. Starting off her 2017 is a show for a cause called “Morning After”. Martina collaborates with Bantay Bata 163, which caters to the welfare of abused children in the same country. She never sees all of her work reaching much perfection but as she sees an opportunity to serve her countrymen and to raise funds for charity, this, she knows will be a perfect combination. Stay tuned by visiting her website as she updates her followers through it in terms of events, new and fresh works and recent features.

Nowadays, it is important to take our time to listen to what the universe is telling us of our purpose. Usually, God whispers to us when we take our time in talking to Him. Or to those who are actually desiring something. Claim it as yours. For sure, God is working to making it happen. You just have to trust the process. If we truly want something, you will always read about it, find ways on how to get to your goals and you would “act” on it.

As a dancer, Martina works in Twinkle Dance Company in Hong Kong. Take her class or bring your young ones to learn from a sublime talent. Let me know by shooting me a comment or contact us!

Martina on flight.


You might want to read about:

  1. THE TRUTH IN BEING A DANCER – Things that you may need to know about performing artists, namely, dancers are here.
  2. 7 LESSONS I LEARNED IN ATTENDING THE WRITER’S DIGEST NOVEL WRITING CONFERENCE 2016 – If you are planning to attend a writing conference for the first time, you may learn a thing or two from here.
  3. RAFFLES SCHOOL OF DESIGN – An intimate encounter with Vancouver Fashion Week Hong Kong representative, Grace CY Lam, revealed wonderment with her creations.


I have a deep regard for your time. It's when I write and cook that time becomes non-existent. I love learning and while you think I am the kind of lady who has a lot of things to say, just take it that I was sharing what I had learned with full impact over a cup of Joe.

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