Emmanuel Miñana is an architect who has had a life-long interest in painting, drafting, photography and graphology.
He earned his degree in Architecture from the University of the Philippines’ School of Architecture in Diliman, and has had further education on Sustainable and Green Architecture, Hotel Design, Tourism, and Resort Design from the Graduate School of Design in Harvard.
Manny started his interest and study of graphology when he was 12. For the past 30 years, he has analyzed thousands of signatures here and abroad.
Manny is married to commercial and fine-arts photographer Denise Weldon, and they have two children: Alejandro, 13, and Carolina, 9.
Manny is a student of Siddha Yoga meditation. Last year, he ran the Paris and New York marathons.
The Yuchengco Museum presents a graphological lecture, “The Signature of Jose Rizal: A View From Within by Architect Emmanuel Miñana” on Oct. 8, 3 p.m. at Yuchengco Museum, RCBC Plaza, Ayala and Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati.
This talk forms part of a series of lectures on the life of Rizal on his 150th birth anniversary. This is Miñana’s first public lecture on graphology.
This lecture is open to the public with limited seats only. Call 8891234.
I WAS 10 years old when I decided that I wanted to be an architect. My love for lines, spaces, shapes and forms were founded on an early, inherent interest in art. I enjoyed drawing, sketching, sculpting and painting.
When I was a grade 4 student, my teacher in Perspective Drawing was unable to make it to class one day.
With alacrity, I volunteered to teach a whole hour of perspective drawing to a room-full of schoolmates. That was an early intimation of my future lifework.
My interest in lines, spaces, shapes and forms took a slight detour a few years after. On one occasion, I surreptitiously learned to forge the signatures of my parents on bank checks while they were abroad. We were soon to run out of checks (and funds) they had prepared before their departure. So in 1973, at the age of 12, I became an amateur forger.
The next summer allowed me time to expand my growing collection of signatures which, by then, had included those of political figures and personalities. I attentively tried to capture and understand the nuances of a signature’s pressure, slant, form and rhythm.
I was 14 when I stumbled upon two books on graphology, the study of handwriting, in our high school library.
I poured over them assiduously, reviewing the concepts like I was learning to decode a new and hidden language.
Eventually, I had forgotten about my facility for graphology until four years after, while in university. On a number of occasions, I would bring friends together to share brief anecdotal readings of their natures as revealed by their signatures. My reputation among friends found its way to other people. At home, my family found my readings insightful and generally accurate.
After college, I traveled extensively through Europe and the US from early 1985 to late 1986. At this time, I analyzed hundreds of signatures, letters and manuscripts from newfound friends, acquaintances, and fellow travelers. I realized that I had the talent for telling the abridged life stories of my unsuspecting subjects, many of whom left our meetings with a clearer understanding and appreciation of who they were.
Much like my early memory of teaching perspective drawing in grade school, I was now sharing with people another perspective, one that had been formed by their unique circumstances and experiences from childhood to the present time.
In 1985, I took to photography like a fish to water, eventually having two solo exhibitions depicting images of my travels, with the kind support of friends like Jaime Zobel and Rudy de Leon.
Eventually, my career as architect began in earnest, forever enriched by my friendship with architect Leandro V. Locsin. I worked briefly with architect Gabby Formoso as an apprentice one summer while in school. In 1990, I set up my private practice with Lindy’s encouragement.
Twenty-one years later, my architectural firm, EA Miñan & Associates, Architects, continues to create residential and commercial projects around the country and in some cities abroad (www.eaminanaarchitects.com).
The convergence of art, drafting, photography, graphology, and architecture is no coincidence in my life. They are all the study of lines, spaces, shapes, and forms. Together, and apart, they continue to inspire and inform my journey as a human being and my work as an architect.
More importantly, these quiet pursuits in art and graphology have given me clarity and depth beyond the many dimensions of architecture, and have led me to the nuances of the human spirit.