George SK Ty pays homage to Filipino masters | Inquirer Business

George SK Ty pays homage to Filipino masters

By: - Business Editor / @tinaarceodumlao
/ 12:31 AM January 29, 2017

George S.K. Ty, founder of the Ty group of companies, unfailingly finds the extraordinary in the ordinary.

This rare ability has allowed him to capitalize on business opportunities that arose where most only found adversity and challenges, thus the founding of the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. in 1962 and the rapid expansion into other fields such as property development, insurance, automotive, infrastructure and power generation.

His unwavering belief in the Filipino extends to his choices in art.


The 84-year-old Ty, ranked by Forbes as the 5th richest in the Philippines with an estimated family net worth of $3.8 billion, has an extensive personal collection of works executed by Filipino masters, particularly those who celebrated everyday Filipino life.


Ty, group chair of holding firm GT Capital Holdings Inc., started his personal collection of Filipino artists’ works in the 1970s and among the first that he bought were those of Fernando Amorsolo, Victorio Edades, Vicente Manansala, Hernando Ocampo, Carlos “Botong” Francisco. Later, he added those of Anita Magsaysay-Ho.

Fernando Amorsolo  “Pandanggo sa Ilaw,” 1956

Fernando Amorsolo “Pandanggo sa Ilaw,” 1956

Vicente Manansala  “Market Scene,” 1980

Vicente Manansala “Market Scene,” 1980

Vicente Manansala  “Market Scene,” 1980

Vicente Manansala “Market Scene,” 1980

This love for the arts is reflected by the banking giant that was founded because he was once refused a loan.


The Metrobank Foundation has a separate art collection containing winning artworks of the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (MADE) Recognition Program. These are also displayed in the various offices and subsidiaries of the Metrobank Group.

Ty spearheaded the recognition program for artists as he believes that the youth should be given a venue to channel their creativity and provide inspiration. Combining his philanthropic vision for national progress and his personal love for the arts, he started the first Metrobank Painting Competition in 1984. The competition has become an annual stint and was renamed Metrobank Art and Design Excellence, which launched the careers of many contemporary art masters of today.

His personal collection and that of the Metrobank Group are extensive indeed, but of course, there are those that stand out.

Here, Ty shares his thoughts on his favorite works of art.

Anita Magsaysay-Ho “Tawaran,” 1983

Anita Magsaysay-Ho “Tawaran,” 1983

Anita Magsaysay-Ho  “Women with Fishing Nets,” 1985

Anita Magsaysay-Ho “Women with Fishing Nets,” 1985

On market, trade, and business

“I like art that communicates to me at a personal level. Beauty in art appeals to me. I can relate to paintings that capture something of everyday life. I appreciate paintings of people who work, their environment, the energy. As a businessman, I understand the value of working hard and when I see it in a painting, I can understand what it means.”

“The works of Anita Magsaysay-Ho and Vicente Manansala depict lively scenes of trade and business in the Philippines.  In particular, their paintings capture what happens in market places and in busy districts.

“In ‘Tawaran,’ Magsaysay-Ho shows Filipina women bartering goods.

The market scenes and public transportation of Vicente Manansala are lively and colorful. It is alive with activity that happens in Manila.

“I am interested in people in crowded places. The vendors, the buyers tell us something of what they are preoccupied with, what they value. It is busy but it is not disturbing. They are interacting with each other. My business grew because of people like them. They worked hard, earned money which they saved in a bank. I am grateful to them for trusting us to take care of their funds. I always think of them in our business, how we need to be careful with their money and how we can help them achieve their goals for a better life.”

Carlos Francisco “Bayanihan,” 1961

Carlos Francisco “Bayanihan,” 1961

Jose Joya  “Abstract Mural,” 1977

Jose Joya “Abstract Mural,” 1977

Carlos Francisco   “Prinsesa Urduja,” 1957

Carlos Francisco “Prinsesa Urduja,” 1957

On Culture and Tradition

“I have Chinese roots, but the Philippines is in my heart. I collect paintings of Filipino history and culture. They are rich in values that I share. The works of Carlos ‘Botong’ Francisco and Fernando Amorsolo show the richness of our country’s tradition.”

“Francisco’s ‘Bayanihan’ mural captures the Filipino civic spirit. It depicts the Filipino value of working together to achieve a common goal for the community.

“Amorsolo is known for his skill in the play of light. That is something I admire in his paintings. His ‘Pandanggo sa Ilaw’ captures the festive spirit of our people, as well as their grace and skill as seen in the dancing girl.

“My collection shows fine qualities about people, their values, the artistry, their humanness. It inspires me to help them. My philanthropy is a way of contributing to nation-building by enabling people whose values I share to attain better lives and living conditions.”

On Abstraction

“I only have a handful of collections of abstract art, because I prefer paintings that capture the reality of the everyday, but Jose Joya’s Abstract Mural is one of my favorites. Large in scale and rich in texture, it speaks of grandness. This is Philippine abstraction at its best.

“I like looking at it. The bold strokes speak of restraint and movement. I feel positive energy. The colors have Chinese elements, particularly the red which is considered lucky and I believe in luck.”

On Art Collection

“Collecting paintings and other works of art is something that is very personal to me. It takes great talent, skill and hard work to create good art. That makes it a good investment.

“My art collection is part of a personal legacy to society. For a long time, Filipino art was underappreciated. Investing in our painters was one way of expressing my belief in Filipino talent and gifts. The businessman in me saw the investment side of buying good works. The other side was a way of giving back by supporting local artists.

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“I believe art contributes to a people’s higher awareness of what is important and essential in life. It serves to inspire and enlighten. When people are inspired and enlightened, they are likely to contribute in building the nation. That has always been my vision.”

TAGS: art, Filipino artists, George S.K. Ty

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