Raising Environmental Consciousness through Splashes of Color

by Luis Adrian Hidalgo

The long stretch of wall from the GT-Toyota Asian Center of UP Diliman down to Old Balara is lifeless no more, thanks to our own local artists and a band of enthusiastic volunteers led by eco-volunteer AG Saño.

Volunteers spend a Saturday morning painting the long wall at Katipunan Avenue with environment-related themes, such as this butterfly. Photo by Luis Adrian Hidalgo.

Under a project titled “KKK: Kulayan ng Kalikasan ang Katipunan”, the 1000-feet wall along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City, including the overpass, will be painted with murals depicting themes related to the environment and cultural heritage.

The project was soft-launched last October 22. Candidates of The Miss Earth Pageant also had their share of fun on November 5, as they helped paint the first batch of sketches prepared by Saño especially for the event.

The project resumed in the morning of November 24 and was attended by people of all ages. Students, bikers, joggers, kids – all of which were volunteers – painted away the walls with vibrant colors of their choice, withstanding the heat brought about by the afternoon sun. The final touches were added by Saño, the pack leader, who moved around the place, scrupulously adding artistic details to the murals while accommodating volunteers at the same time.

Amado Guerero Saño, or AG as he is fondly called, is a fellow Iskolar ng Bayan. A Landscape Architecture graduate, AG likes to describe himself as a traveler, as he has been traveling a lot ever since he was a kid. But more than that, he is an environmental activist best known as the man behind “Dolphins Love Freedom”, a movement that promotes love for ocean life.

AG Saño with his dolphin sketch, at a mural painting in Quezon City High School last September. Photo by Luis Adrian Hidalgo.

It was the award-winning documentary “The Cove” which launched Saño’s creative springboard to begin working on “Dolphins Love Freedom.” The documentary showed the atrocities of dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan killing 23,000 of the species every year.

For every dead dolphin, he gives birth to a new one – through painting. Pledging to paint a dolphin for every single dolphin slaughtered, AG has since lost count of the total number over the course of two years, both inside the country and abroad. When asked for an estimate, he said it could be around 50,000 dolphin murals in total, and counting.

“I’ve always wanted to paint that wall ever since I saw it being constructed, but it was the Operation Katipunan group who invited me to work on it,” AG shares.

Apart from beautifying the wall with art, AG also aims to send a message to everyone who sees it.

“I’m trying to tell the world that we are grateful to Mother Nature and to our ancestors,” he said. More than that, he hopes that the activity will also serve as a message of hope, most especially now that humanity is facing problems concerning the environment.

“The significance (of the project) is the message of hope in solving environmental problems, and honoring our past and our country in a collective effort,” said AG.

The project is set to resume on Saturday, December 1. There will be two batches: one at 8:30 to 11:30 in the morning, and the other at 1:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon.

Photo by Luis Adrian Hidalgo