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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Pulumbarit

World Oceans Day: How a Filipino architect helps protect oceans

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

As June 8 happens to be World Oceans Day, we are featuring an ocean artwork by Architect Mariquit Reventar.

World Oceans Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008 to encourage the protection of oceans and marine life.

Architect Reventar’s underwater painting features her friend Jenny Litan, a marine biologist from UP Los Baños.

In the acrylic painting, the marine biologist is scuba diving above a lush coral reef as a giant leatherback turtle swims by.

Architect Reventar has long been a champion of the environment and is part of Rotary Club of Calamba’s ongoing coral reef restoration project in Camarines Norte that began in 2012.

Rotary, a worldwide service organization of business professionals and leaders, has been a big part of Architect Reventar’s life.

She joined Rotary in 1990 after her husband Raul passed away. She became the club’s first lady president in 1993, District Governor in 2002 and now serves as Trustee of Philippine Rotary Magazine Foundation, Inc.

Architect Reventar was also president of Laguna Lands real estate development company and owner of Palms Farms Resort in Mercedes, Camarines Norte.

Before she retired in September 2019, she took up acrylic painting, taking weekly lessons at the Senior Hub of Sunshine Place in Makati.

She says, “I enjoy painting next to Rotary!”

Painting has been therapeutic for her. “It’s an excellent activity for me because painting calms me down as I focus on it! I learned to relax, to keep my mind off the business I have been running as a widow for 30 years,” she says.

Architect Reventar says she dreamt of spending her first year of retirement in Paris, France, “just to be alone, go to museums, and travel around Europe.”

She was unable to do that, saying she realized that she prefers traveling with her family and her Rotarian friends.

Architect Reventar has four children who are all achievers in their respective fields: Raul Jr., currently president of Laguna Lands (architecture graduate of UP Diliman); Raphael (engineering and MBA graduate of UP Diliman); Rhoda (engineering graduate of UP Los Baños, MBA graduate of Ateneo, and law graduate UP Diliman), and Rachel (biology graduate of UP Los Baños and medicine graduate of FEU).

Architect Reventar says she never thought her first year of retirement would be very eventful. “First there was the Taal Volcano eruption, then this pandemic! Painting calms me down and helps me keep my sanity,” she says.

Despite being unable to fulfill her dream of living in Paris by herself after retiring, Architect Reventar has no regrets, adding that she is even happy that during the pandemic, she found more time to paint and meet her Rotarian friends via Zoom.

She has finished about 20 paintings since she began taking art lessons in March 2019. She intends to install most of her paintings at her Palms Farm Resort. “Some I will give to my friends and relatives who inspired me,” she says.

She encourages other seniors to take up painting as a hobby too and enroll in art classes to develop new friendships.

She says she has simple dreams: “for my family to stay healthy, work, and give jobs to our staff and crew; survive the crisis, and continue to have faith in God. Believe that all these will pass.”

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