The game of cock fighting is, by no means, for the fainthearted. In many Philippine towns,cockpits are often Sunday’s hub of activity as men bet on their favorite cock in a duel to the death. In Arden’s “Valor”, Filipino bravery and stout-heartedness is exemplified in the duel of the roosters, or cockfighting. In this gentleman’s sport, two cocks are matched against each otheras they lash out at each other with such single-minded ferocity.
The waters off Sorsogon and Oslob are often visited by these giant creatures of the deep. Although humongous in size, the “butanding” (“whale shark”) is, perhaps, the most docilecreature of the natural world. In “Tranquility”, Arden illustrates the Filipino’s loving and kind nature through this gentle giant. Not with standing its imposing size, the butanding quietly swimsin the warm tropical waters as it carefully skims the current for krill
“Ingenuity” speaks of the Filipino’s resourcefulness. This comes to life in Arden’s fightingspiders. Although small in size, the spider’s cunning has allowed it to survive and flourish. This characteristic is best displayed in the Filipino game of “awayan ng gagamba ” (spider fighting). More than power and might, the winning arachnid is the one that displays the most cunning and smarts to overpower his opponent and win the chance to mate. This symbolizes the Filipino’snative intuition
Gregarious and all-too-willing to take to the water, the itik (native duck") represents the Filipinos sense of innovativeness and versatility. “Inventiveness” shows the itik rising from her nest. In the lakeshore towns of Pateros, Cardona and Tanay, hundreds of itik converge in gregarious flocks, waddling hurriedly straight into the water. The itik is prized for its eggs, which are madeinto the succulent and exotic balut.
The Filipino’s strength in the face of adversity is represented in “Confidence”, characterized by the majestic Philippine Eagle. Endemic to Mindanao and already dwindling in number, thePhilippine eagle is one of the world’s most impressive avian species. Despite the on slaught of deforestation, the Philippine eagle continues to persist in bird sanctuaries and small pockets of mountain wilderness. The animal’s tenacity finds resonance in the Filipino’s own will to survive despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
In “Devotion” the artist illustrates the Filipino’s nurturing love. To express this, he uses a female Philippine Spotted Deer ( locally known as “pilandok”) nestling its young to protect it frompredators. Although highly endangered, this rare species of deer continues to survive in pocketcolonies in the Palawan wilderness because of the female pilandok’s nurturing care for itsoffspring.
“Perseverance” tells of the Filipino’s industrious trait, illustrated in Arden’s idyllic carabao. Ascene straight out of Philippine rural life, a harnessed carabao plowing the muddy rice field illustrates the Filipino’s patience and diligence. It is through the farmer and his carabao’s quietlabor, after all, that transforms vast tracts of land into fertile and verdant fields -- providing astaple food source and sustaining the life of an entire country.
The Filipino's for bearance is depicted by the tarsier. Filipinos are known to have an extraordinary amount of patience and the ability to keep serene amid the hubbub. The tarsier embodies this very trait. Living in its last stronghold in the remaining forests of Bohol, this small primate comes out at night to prey on small insects. Clasping a small tree branch, it remains quiet and still, waiting endlessly for a familiar sound or stirring. But once it ha s located its prey, the usually docile primatre jumps in full force from tree to tree until it catches its meal.