Akin to the Spanish que sera, sera and the English whatever happens, happens, the Tagalog bahala na is,
at first glance, a simple, albeit fatalistic, phrase. However, the term bahala na encompasses much more
meaning beyond that. With the phrase deriving its roots from the word bathala, meaning “God”, this
linguistic expression signifies leaving something, or someone, in the care of God. No longer is bahala na
a hallmark of pessimism; rather, bahala na shows an optimism in life as people entrust their fates to God.
Over time, this attitude has become a philosophy of life deeply grounded in the Filipino psyche.
In this exhibition, Di Legno explores this intriguing bahala na attitude with two artists – Jeffrey “Wipo”
Baligad and Nasser Lubay.
Through his art, Wipo depicts the bahala na of action. The semifinalist of the 2017 Metrobank Art and
Design Competition and a participant of multiple exhibitions across Asia, Wipo fuses the bahala na
attitude with contemporary visual art techniques to produce art that sifts between reality and surrealism. If
one observes closely, there is almost an irony in each piece, with Wipo’s bold and dramatic strokes
contradicting with the portrayal of leaving one’s fate to God. Yet, Wipo masterfully reconciles this
conflict by displaying how his serendipitous and dynamic style of expression all fall into a perfect mix of
chaos and cohesion. Truly, Wipo displays how our actions can be entrusted to God.
On the other hand, Nasser Lubay takes a slightly different approach. The winner of the 2009 Celeste
International Art Prize, Lubay focuses on the bahala na of the mind. His pieces are vibrant and
whimsical, reminiscent of the way the human mind tends to wander off to fantastic, far-flung places. In
other words, Lubay equates the bahala na of the mind with the human imagination. The richness of his
paintings is not just the richness of colour, but also of thoughts, emotions, and memories. Yet, for all its
magical and mystical glory, the dreams and fancies of our mind are only wistfully impermanent. Our
imagination is random, abstract, and left to the care of God; once imagined, never again.
Through this exhibition, Di Legno complements the bahala na of action with the bahala na of the mind.
Together, they form the bahala na of the human person. Through the works of Wipo and Lubay, Di
Legno hopes to leave with the viewer the message of bahala na, to face life’s setbacks with optimism,
vigour, and faith.