Back in my elementary days, there were no computers. Pencils and paper were all we had. Crayons were the next best thing. I like drawing cartoons. Colored pencils were a rare commodity at that time. When I got into the pet hobby, I focused my attention on it, though my passion for arts was always with me.

When I left the corporate world and started my own business, I was fascinated by the resurgence of computer art software. I was into multimedia as a hobby, focusing on photo and video editing. Designing fiberglass products for pet items was my favorite form of stress release. I enjoy using hand drawings, converting them into digital output, and finally bringing the products into reality.

Almost ten years ago, I started my on the job training program for college students.

My objective for the program was to assist students in getting experience for their course by letting them practice their skills, as well as giving them the opportunity to work in a professional environment. Students I welcomed were taking business, engineering, and design courses. Each year, I got to meet different students with unique individual gifts. Some of them chose to continue working for my company.

For industrial design students, I generally observe each student to see if their talents lean more towards creative or technical designs. Two years ago, a former OJT graduate of mine, Rosemarie Ann Solina, referred to me a classmate of hers to apply for my company as a professional graphic designer.

My objective is to get an artist who can immediately pick up on the ideas in my mind. I have experienced working with different artists numerous times and the hardest thing for them is to recreate in physical images what ideas I have.

Rosemarie mentioned to me that she has a classmate who had a quiet personality but was quite exceptional in her work during their college days. This was Vanessa Estarija, who applied for the job, and my only major test for her during the interview was for her to create an animated celestial goldfish character based on an actual picture. I was quite surprised and happy with the outcome.

As the cliché goes, the rest is history. Vanessa patiently transforms my ideas into reality, from creative and advertising to, more importantly, technical designs. She even designed our company uniforms and slogans. All of her work is great, but it is when she helps me with my articles for Animal Scene that she leaves me awed. I really enjoy and am mesmerized by the way she transforms animal pictures and situations. How I envy her! When we discuss how she does this, it is then where the magic of pets inspires her as an artist to greater heights.

Pets add harmony to almost everywhere, everyone, and everything. Look around and we see establishments such as coffee shops that offer interactions with cats; birds chirping in places for meditation; and pet galleries for family learning and bonding, to name a few.

Our country’s pride, world boxing champion and senator Manny Pacquiao runs as he trains for every upcoming bout with his Jack Russell dog. Senior citizens feel young when they interact with pets. Documentaries and television news have featured dogs that comfort and visit patients in the hospitals. Expensive koi paintings, figurines, and more pet-related decorative memorabilia are available nationwide.

As Vanessa would say, “pets provide us [with] a sense of freedom.” I definitely agree.


This appeared in Animal Scene’s November 2017 issue.