Art/Style/Travel Diaries

Metro Manila sits up as Ponce Veridiano turns to the canvas

Most sought-after landscape artist discovers yet another way to express himself and his passion for nature and color

Ponce Veridiano before his paintings at W17 in an exhibit running until March 23, 2024. (Photo by T. Sioson)

Ponce Veridiano’s painting sets the interior setting mood at W17. (Photo by T. Sioson)

A black-and-white diptych of foliage reflections on the riverside against a dramatic black wall makes you stop in your tracks. At the entrance of W17 furniture showroom, the artwork by landscaper-turned-painter Ponce Veridiano powerfully anchors the tropical lanai vignette which he accentuated with yellow vases and artfully composed boulders. Veridiano then adds life to the setting with abundant ferns and his signature seifrizii, also known as bamboo palm. The painting is almost Impressionist in style, as it suggests light reflected on the water and mirror images of leaves.  The work is not a realistic replication of a bucolic night scenery, but a mood.

This is how his paintings are meant to be displayed and appreciated—against a stylish corner with a high ceiling. Veridiano makes no pretensions about his art. “I create to express myself and to match the interior space,” he says. Hence, the flat dimensions, strong colors, and free-flowing shapes that are meant to complete an interior design.

Ponce Veridiano painting at W17 (Photo by T. Sioson)

Veridiano has been known for his Asian fusion-inspired gardens of the homes of the crème dela crème. To the public, his most notable works are the Zen-meets-the-tropics garden around Greenbelt shopping center, and the Pearl Farm landscape which was featured in Architectural Digest (now AD) way back in the ’90s. He cites the elements of his distinct style: “The round forms, bushes, boulders, clean lines, and big leaves.”

Quarantined in his condo during the lockdown in 2020, he discovered a new talent: drawing human figures. When restrictions eased, he retreated to his 35-ha property by the river in Nagcarlan, Laguna. To his humungous stone and glass house, he brought large canvases that were scaled to his cavernous rooms. With a palette knife and acrylic paint, he turned the canvas into his playground, letting loose on bold colors and dancing strokes. The knife was used to create textures such as striations, a recurring motif in his works.

Kaye Tinga before the Ponce Veridiano paintings at W17: Her visit to his Laguna residence gave her the idea to exhibit his artworks done during the pandemic. (Photo by T. Sioson)


When his client, social cause advocate and style-setter Kaye Tinga, visited his art-filled sanctuary, she invited him to hold his first-ever exhibit at her W17 store.  Forty paintings have been produced to complement the voluminous warehouse space. Canvases painted with disks and swirling lines capture the vibrant city lights from his travels, he says. Whirling masses of abstract forms, sinewy lines, and bright colors subtly reference the prints of Italian fashion designer Emilio Pucci.

Among the 40 works, abstract forms, sinewy lines, and bright colors subtly reference the prints of Italian fashion designer Emilio Pucci 

A diptych, depicting broken discs and slashes of dark lines, becomes more powerful as it is displayed over a table filled with stone discs and jade stones that echo the shapes of the art.

Some subjects were inspired by his sanctuary in Nagcarlan, such as the yellow dancing ladies in short, quick, and fuzzy brushstrokes; clusters of cosmoses; and swishes of white paint and dainty splatters of pinks and blues suggestive of midnight flowers against a black background. For variety, Veridiano experimented with letters of the Filipino alphabet as accents in one artwork. His homage to the Japanese aesthetic is a series of canvases in black and deep blue, highlighted by fine lines of yellow.

His fascination with Japanese culture is seen not only in his landscaping, but also in his penchant for painting geishas. In his nude works, Veridiano uses oil paint and fine paint brushes to etch the contours and depict the skin pores. He depicted his male model lifting his shirt to show his rounded butt. The model’s fiancée likewise flaunts the graceful curves of her behind, while her arms show off the textured patterns of her long gloves.

Ponce Veridiano’s natural arrangement of huge leaves and twigs serves as backdrop for his paintings at W17. (Photo by T. Sioson)

Ponce Veridiano exhibit at W17 (Photo by T. Sioson)

Ponce Veridiano’s Nudes in the mezzanine of W17 (Photo by T. Sioson)

Throughout the showroom, Veridiano lends his decorative touches using plants from his property. Horizontal arrangements of aglomenas, buddha bamboo poles, dried leaves, bucidas and pops of color from pandan and licuala fruits create a sense of calm on the antique table from Bohol and on an eight-inch-thick ironwood tabletop. The bright green sculptural leaves of the philodendrons spark joy from elegant vases around the room.

His work is a far cry from his training as an electrical engineer. Veridiano tells the oft-repeated story of how he started his career as a Meralco clerk and pursued his passion for plants by joining horticultural competitions. In one contest, architect Ramon Diyco spotted his talent and invited him to create a pocket garden in a Binondo home. Since then, Veridiano has been tapped by his Chinese clientele.

A friend then introduced him to curtain maker Inday Aurelio, who was searching for a landscape artist for tycoon and landowner Antonio Floirendo, Sr in Davao. The latter asked him to beautify the surroundings of Pearl Farm. He worked with the resort’s architect, National Artist Francisco Mañosa.

With his newfound painterly passion, Veridiano has turned a section of his house into a gallery and studio, named Studio 88

Veridiano’s reputation spread and before long, he was designing gardens for the Zobels who then tapped his talent to landscape Greenbelt and Marquee in Pampanga. Floirendo’s company, Anscor, asked him to landscape Abreeza Mall, a joint venture with the Ayalas. One of his residential projects, the residence of shipping magnate Doris Ho, was also featured in Architectural Digest in the ’90s.

With his newfound painterly passion, Veridiano has turned a section of his house into a gallery and studio, named Studio 88. The gallery manager, a fine arts graduate, also teaches 10 scholars from underprivileged families. Aside from the free lessons, they are given free meals, materials, and transportation allowance. These students are brought to Manila to visit galleries and art fairs.

Veridiano took his gallery manager to the Singapore International Art Fair to widen his outlook, and plans are afoot to visit the Venice Art Biennale in May and other art fairs in the West.

At 63, Veridiano is at a stage in his life when he’s working on a legacy, starting in his hometown.

Exhibit runs until March 23 at W17 at La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati.

A day before exhibit opening, Kaye Tinga and Arturo Go, with Thelma Sioson of

About author


She is a veteran journalist who’s covered the gamut of lifestyle subjects. Since this pandemic she has been giving free raja yoga meditation online.

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