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Establishing both of their careers in the fields of Journalism and Creative Writing, Lydia and her husband, Manuel, engaged in authoring the book “Philippine Tales and Fables.” When the war broke out the couple joined the resistance group, the Marking’s guerillas and formed an underground intelligence unit against the Japanese Compared to other resistance groups consisting of young warriors, the Marking’s guerillas was composed of older civilians and soldiers who excelled both in physical combat and strategic planning. The Marking s guerillas was responsible in executing the mission of taking the Ipo Dam Lydia started out as a Lieutenant and afterwards became a Major. Unfortunately, she became a widow when Manuel was killed by the Kempetai at Fort Santiago in October 1944.

When the war ended, Lydia worked at the City Planning Commission and was given an opportunity to study at the Columbia University through a Roosevelt Leadership Grant At Columbia University she was able to earn units on public relations and city planning, and creative writing. Returning to her home country, together with her friends, she established the Promotions Incorporated, an advertising and promotions agency. Lydia and her friends often hung modern paintings on the walls of their offices, and this practice paved the way to the birth of the first-ever gallery of modern art in the Philippines, veering away from the traditional art that everyone knew about It was renamed as the Philippine Art Gallery (PAG) in the 1950s. They held monthly exhibits and catered artists to help them promote their artworks.

Lydia’s passion and love for PAG kept her going to keep the flames of modern art in the Philippines alive. As a painter, she won several awards from AAP and was able to make it into the international scene.



“15 Oct Lydia Arguilla: Mothering Modern Art.” Filipinas Heritage Library I Lydia Arguilla: Mothering Modern Art, October 15, 1970. https://www.filipinaslibrary.org.ph/articles/lyclia-arguilla-mothering-modern-art/.
“Lydia Villanueva-Arguilla – Google Arts 9 Culture.” Google. Google. Accessed from https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/lydia-villanueva-arguilla/3AHG6HIRT_rrSQ?h1=en.


Researched by: Justine M. Arguelles