Reen Barrera's "Ohlala" is already sold.

8 Ways To Maximize Your Art Fair Visit

For the last five years, the Philippine Art Fair has helped make contemporary art more accessible to a wider and younger demographic. This is my second time to attend; the first was back in 2015. Whether you’re a loyal follower or first-timer, here are useful tips.

1. You can get in for free (or a discount).
Standard entrance fee is ₱250 per head. Students can get in for only ₱50, while Makati students can get in for free. Just show your valid school ID. BPI premium cardholders will also get in free when they show their credit card. It’s ₱200 for senior citizens.

One of these humans is the installed artwork.
Wawi Navarroza is a Filipina I look up to. She’s a musician, photographer, and artist. This is her self-portrait, “I Want To Live a Thousand More Years,” which she made after surviving dengue last year.
Silverlens Gallery at the 6/F
My favorite piece from the Gallery Kogure: “Daruma Cat – The Sun” by Kayo Nishinomiya

2. Go during off-peak hours.
The fair opened yesterday (February 16) and will run until February 19, Sunday, from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. The best time to go is 10 a.m. to 12 nn, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. If you arrive during lunch break and after-office hours, prepare for a long queue at the elevators, ticket lines, and popular art installments. You won’t get that perfect Instagram moment when there are dozens of people squeezing in to get the same shot. Go when there are fewer visitors.

The Bench exhibit at the 5/F features photographs and ads of celebrity endorsers from way back. You’ll also see the boat Richard Gomez used in the iconic Bench TV ad back in the 80s.
Would you laugh if I told you I have this exact same poster of The Gwapings from the ’90s? Be honest and tell me who your favorite gwaping is. Photo is part of the Bench exhibit.
Confession: My cousin Arden and I were thinking of intentionally leaving a pair of glasses on the floor, in hopes of hoaxing people into thinking it’s an ironic art installment (of course this isn’t an original idea), but we backed out of the prank.
Maria Jeona Zoleta’s whimsical walk-through installation

3. Use the stairs.
The Art Fair is located at the 5th to 7th floors of The Link Parking Lot. To get to the other floors, forget the elevator. The lines are always long and the lifts are always full. Add steps to your pedometer by taking the stairs.

Dear artist behind this painting,
We caught a little girl licking your artwork. She screamed, “Ooh, candy!” and then proceeded to lick the canvass. Her mother grabbed her a little too late.
Yours truly,
Two bystanders
Please touch! Some exhibits allow you to touch, step on, and interact with the art. This one is “All Watched Over By The Machines of Loving Grace” by WSK.
Retro technology meets art. This multimedia installation at WSK invites visitors to tamper with the lights and sounds.
Winnie Go’s “Growing Towards the Sun,” 32 artworks made of paper clay and stoneware clay

4. If you want to see everything, take shifts.
My cousin and I decided to visit every single area and admire every single artwork in the 3-floor exhibit (whew!). By the third hour, there was still so much to see, but we were already tired and our knees, aching. I suggest you start at the 5th to 6th floor first, and then take a break (there’s a café at the 5/F) before covering the 7th floor. If you want to see everything—and I mean every single thing—it will take about four hours.

“Sampaghija” by Max Balatbat, 7/F Yavuz Gallery
Meet my cousin, Arden. He wanted to be an artist when we were kids, but he opted for the “practical” route and joined the workforce. Visiting the Art Fair for the first time ignited his interest in the arts. It’s not too late, Kuya! I hope to visit your future gallery one day.
Secret Fresh at the 6/F
Inside Secret Fresh’s secret room. Can you guess who the secret artist is? Okay, I’ll tell you. People have been Tweeting about it anyway. It’s BENCAB!

5. Research before going there.
If you have only an hour to visit the fair, prepare a game plan. Research online for a list of must-see installments and artworks. List down the highlights, such as Secret Fresh’s secret room and Maria Jeona Zoleta’s whimsical walk-through exhibit. Buy a map for ₱10 at the entrance to help you navigate.

Riel Hilario’s “What The Black Dog Saw” at Tin-Aw Gallery, 7/F
Although I’ve seen so many empty bottles of Mountain Dew turned into art, this one by Francis Commenye takes it to a higher level. Location: Tin-Aw Gallery.
Look away if you have odontophobia. “Eruption” by Pauline Abayon.
“…no way out..!?” by Ambie Abano at the Tin-Aw Gallery

6. Read and learn.
Aside from taking #OOTD selfies and photos of artworks that you liked, take time to see the name of the artist, his/her bio, and the brief description of the collection. Instead of tagging the outfit brands you wore in the photo, tag the artist when you upload Instagram photos of their art. Take time to browse their websites or social media accounts. Sure, we may not know the history of contemporary art or what makes a certain brush stroke considered “good technique,” but it wouldn’t hurt to learn more about Manila’s thriving arts culture. The Art Fair also offers free art talks for guests.

Juan Alcazaren’s “Drink, Paint, and Die” at Vinyl On Vinyl’s Exhibit
Vinyl On Vinyl’s hidden corner. Watch the TV set to see how those painted records were created.
Retro technology meets art. This installation at WSK invites visitors to tamper with the lights and sounds.

7. Don’t expect to see everything you saw on Instagram.
The artworks are selling like hotcakes! I remember taking a photo in front of one painting I liked, and then minutes later it was covered in bubble wrap, ready to be delivered to its new owner. A lot of the artworks are taken down just hours after being displayed, and majority of the paintings have a little red or green dot sticker (a sign that someone already bought it).

Reen Barrera’s “Ohlala” is already sold.
A collection of found items at Silverlens
Yavuz Gallery

8. You can buy something for less than ₱1,000.
Most of the artworks range from five to six digits, but you can purchase a little souvenir for a fresh grad’s budget. Go to the Bench exhibit at the 5/F, National Bookstore stand at the 6/F, and at the 7/F for more affordable items like postcards, coffee table books, and art supplies for P100 to ₱1,000. You can purchase the exact same items at the mall, but psychologically you will feel artsier if you bought it at the Art Fair.

The Art Fair Philippines runs from Feb. 16-19, 2017 (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.) at The Link Parking Lot, Ayala Center, Makati.