Mallgoers are welcoming 2022 with a selfie photo featuring “Bayani” and “Pag-Asa,” two iconic towering steel figures at Double Dragon Meridian Park in Pasay City.
Bayani can hardly be missed as it stands right at the entrance while Pag-Asia is leaning from the building top, waving at passersby along Edsa.
Standing at 64 feet tall, or about six storeys high, the sculptures were launched in a zoom event barely 48 hours before 2021 came to an end. Hosted by Gretchen Ho, the celebration featured the Valencianos—Gary, Gabriel, and Kianna. The three performed several musical numbers from their home gym which was transformed into a film studio for the launch. The segment was directed by Gary’s eldest son – Paulo.
A modern-day tribute to the Filipino youth, the stainless steel sculptures were designed by globally renowned Filipino-American public artist Jefrë Figueras Manuel.
Born and raised in Chicago Jefre’s parents hails from Ilocos Sur and Laguna. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and completed his degree in Landscape Architecture from Ohio State University.
For years, Jefri has been “creating icons for cities” and for his latest work, the artist was inspired by Double Dragon’s sprawling property and the youthful vibe in the area.
“It’s all about ‘Bayani’ and ‘Pag-Asa,’ hero and hope. The idea of a hero wouldn’t exist without hope and with hope, you can become a hero. It’s how the youth inspires the idea of purism, and the hope in terms of how we change our image and be recognized as global Filipinos,” he said.
“I believe that the Filipino youth has the potential to be recognized as active participants in worldwide activities, hence the globe for the head. They’re both composed of very hard metal that is polished and brushed to perfection – very much like the story of the Filipino youth,” he added.
Passers-by will immediately be caught in amazement at the larger-than-life figures almost touching the clear skies. ‘Bayani’ proudly stands tall with crossed arms, radiating a sense of pride, while ‘Pag-asa’ leans over the building, like a giant superhero greeting everyone in Edsa.
Both structures flash the popular peace sign, which according to the artist represents “the journey to find love for country and a sense of peace.” Equally symbolic are the headphones on the mesh heads, representing the global youth and technology.
The Filipino American artist has been creating modern public sculptures worldwide. He is responsible for the 12 meter Time Sculpture at SM Megamall, he also created the cultural installations at SM Aura and SM Ecom.
No doubt ‘Bayani’ and ‘Pag-asa’ are the latest selfie subjects in the area. But more than the spectacle and grandeur Double Dragon hopes that the public art honoring the Filipino youth will instill a strong sense of identity to the public.
“We hope that this tribute to the Filipino youth, ‘Bayani’ and ‘Pag-asa,’ will in some way or another spark inspiration in our hearts and minds to remind all of us that the Philippines has what it takes to become a highly prosperous first world country,” said Double Dragon and DDMP REIT Inc. Chairman Edgar “Injap” Sia II, in his statement during the media launch.
The Philippine economy is forecasted to become one of the world’s largest economies by 2050 and the deep sense of heroism and hope from the young population is expected to fuel the country’s impressive growth.
The iconic structure is housed at the 4.8 hectare DD Meridian Park complex. Now a distinguishing part of the landscape, the sustainable and eco-friendly figures are blending well with the business and lifestyle community.