Michael Cacnio on the art of fatherhood | Inquirer Lifestyle
Michael Cacnio
Michael Cacnio (leftmost) with his family (Clockwise) Jacob, Tess, Mateo, and Lucas

Michael Cacnio on the art of fatherhood

The world-class sculptor talks about his home life and how he builds stronger connections with his children.

The themes of Michael Cacnio’s sculptures showcase joie de vivre and the innocent bliss of childhood. “I want those who look at my work to feel better and happier. When you look at my work, you go into my world and into my mind and I can share my happiness with you. As a God-fearing person, I believe that God created us to be happy and not sad.”

The pandemic situation has not dampened his spirit, he adds. It made him appreciate the little things and look at life as a blessing. Of course, it brought him anxiety as he learned of friends who have contracted the virus. “At first, I thought it would not have that much of an impact on our country, but as the situation developed, I decided that I should not show fear and that I had to do my role as a father to protect my family from the virus. I know it is hard for my sons Jacob, Mateo, and Lucas to stay home because they are used to going out with friends, but I told them ‘As the Bible says, you have to cultivate before you harvest. When you persevere, it builds your character.”

Online support

Their time at home is supported by strong internet connections. “Internet has played a very important part especially for my children. Before, when you needed to research something, you had to go to the library. With the internet everything is here, that’s why I’m glad we are connected to PLDT Home Fibr. Having their strong and seamless internet service has helped us in many ways during this pandemic,” he says.

The artist talks about the activities that they enjoy at home under the ‘new normal’. “We spend time watching movies together. And instead of eating out, we eat together at home. My wife watches cooking tutorials online and she has developed her own pizza recipe that is really delicious. She is also taking an online spin class, and this has helped her to stay healthy.” His youngest son, Lucas, has started streaming his games online, “Yung naglalaro siya and the viewers watch him. That is one of his ways to communicate with others these days.” 

He’s also been bitten by the online shopping bug, he smiles. “I order my art supplies on internet sites. I’ve also bought garden supplies and car gadgets,” he grins sheepishly. “It’s very convenient.” The convenience has also extended to his work, as he is now able to reach more clients online and have a virtual viewing of his work instead of having them come over to his studio.

Michael Cacnio
Michael Cacnio’s “Online Class,” from his 2020 art exhibit entitled KWADRO.

The first two weeks of the lockdown, he took time to recharge but now he is as busy as ever. Late last year, he launched his pandemic series called Kwadro, which captures the Filipino’s resilient spirit in his sculptures encased in Kamagong boxes that perfectly encapsulate the current situation. “When you are an artist, you spend most of your time at home, and for me that is where the internet helps. Even if I can’t go out for inspiration, I can be inspired by what I see online, such as the images of the frontliners who are wearing their facemasks. I also do my research online; I look at new materials I can also incorporate in my designs so I am always innovating.”  His next series is about bugs, he reveals, inspired by the creatures that he sees around their swimming pool.

Dad duties

Family has always played a central role in Michael’s art, and art imitates life. He places importance on spending time with his children and letting them know that he supports whatever endeavor they decide on. His eldest son Jacob, he says, is taking up Law at the University of the Philippines (UP), “he is good at art at matalino siya”, he describes. His second son, Mateo, is the one following his footsteps. “During this pandemic, I had art stuff lying around, and I saw him drawing with them. He is better than I was at his age. So, when he took the exam at UP, I encouraged him, and I thought to myself, my son can continue my legacy in the Philippine arts.”

Michael Cacnio’s signature classic from his Balloon series

For him, fatherhood means taking a cue from his own experience. “I told my son when he was deciding on what path to take in art, to find his passion. Before, I thought that I would become a painter like my father, but after taking classes under Agnes Arellano and Napoleon Abueva, naging sculptor ako.”

“PLDT Home’s Father’s Day campaign is very true for me that by nurturing strong connections with our children and making their needs our priority make us the best dads that we could be for them. Truly, there is no dad like us,” he said. “For me, I make it a point to always tell them to believe in themselves. Mga bata kasi iniisip nila minsan, life is a game, na kapag natalo ka, give up na.” He dispenses this advice when they are alone together. “It helps them to open up to me when it is just the two of us, because hindi sila makakantyawan ng kapatid niya. We find time, and go on a date, and just talk. In any aspect of parenting, creating stronger bonds means constant communication.”

PLDT Home empowers parents like Michael Cacnio to celebrate their unique parenting styles in the new digital normal in a new video series called #NoDadLikeYou. Be inspired by the real stories of dads by visiting PLDT Home’s YouTube page or click the link here.