“Life is not a race, it is a marathon.”
Thomasian artist painter and engraver Mr. Bayani “Yannie” Rumbaoa has learned this lesson on his way towards achieving his success.
An alumnus of then College of Architecture and Fine Arts, Mr. Rumbaoa is one of the first official engravers of coins of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. He started working as a coin engraver for the Central Bank in 1986.
As he recounted his journey towards reaching his dreams, he emphasized the value of hard work especially since he was a working student through his eight years of studying in the Royal and Pontifical University.
“Back then, I was a working student. It was hard time for me surviving my college years, because I have to think where and how to get money to pay my tuition fees,” he said.
Despite all the challenges he had to face, mostly financial struggles, Mr. Rumbaoa persevered and finally earned his Fine Arts degree, major in Painting, in 1983.
Mr. Rumbaoa admitted of not being able to make a lot of acquaintances in college because of being reserved, but still had a few good friends who helped him when he was in need.
“I have a few friends back then, because I’m shy and a student with no money,’ he said. “Sometimes I can’t afford to buy art materials so I ask my friends if they could lend me some of oil paints.”
Even the fact that he only had one canvas to use in school for his art projects did not stop Mr. Rumbaoa from pursuing his studies.
“Every after one project, I paint the canvas again to make it look new so I can use it again for my next projects,” he shared, explaining why he was not able to make a portfolio of his works as a student.
Mr. Rumbaoa said he chose to pursue the field of fine arts because even when he was still in high school, he always won in several art contests. For him, UST had played a huge part in honing his skills and talents, which opened a lot of opportunities for him after graduating.
“UST is known in the field of arts,” he said. “When the officers in Central Bank were interviewing me, they were amazed with the skills that I have, especially in sculpting portraits for coins, medals and medallions.”
Mr. Rumbaoa was the first Filipino to be sent to Italy, as a scholar, to study at the prestigious Instituto Poligrafico E’ Zecca Dello Stato Scuola Dell’ Arte Della Medaglia.
“I got a scholarship to study coin- and medal-making in Rome. We were 12 scholars from different countries, such as the United States, Australia, Brazil, Switzerland, among others,” he said. “I represented the Philippines and became the first Filipino coin engraver there. We were recognized as high caliber engravers.”
For Mr. Rumbaoa, the University contributed a huge part in his passion and success.
“I learned to be grateful for all the knowledge and skills that our professors taught us,” he said. “This guided me and also inspired me to teach young artists to develop their skills as well.”
According to Mr. Rumbaoa, for young artists to be successful in their careers, they should always remember to live by these three Ds: “Discipline,” “Determination,” and “Dedication.” These three Ds were the same virtues that helped him achieve his dreams and aspirations.
Without a doubt, Mr. Rumbaoa is one of the accomplished artists that the University is truly proud of. His remarkable works include commemorative coins for the People Power Revolution and the Philippine Centennial Commemorative Medallion for Rizal Banking Corporation, including commemorative coins for UST’s Quadricentennial Celebration. He also co-founded the then called Central Bank Art Club, now known as BSP Visual Arts Club.
Mr. Rumbaoa was also recognized by the UST Atelier Alumni Association, Inc. for his “exemplary talent and contribution in the society” during the 80th Anniversary of Painting and Alumni Grand Homecoming in 2015. He also once became the association’s president.
Just recently, Mr. Rumbaoa held his fourth Solo Art Exhibit last June 9 at the Security Plant Complex in Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.