Peter Bruce Captures Cebu’s Rich Cultural Tapestry

Peter Bruce is a visual artist who blends photography and watercolor to express his creativity, experiences, and love for the Philippines. Combining these two mediums became his signature style, allowing for a deeper exploration of various multi-cultural themes.

Educated in London and now a resident of Cebu, Peter draws inspiration from the vibrant tapestry of everyday life in the Queen City of the South. Despite being a non-Filipino, he deeply connects to his surroundings by mainly featuring Philippine-themed places and attractions, such as local streets, sari-sari stores, historical places, and jeepneys in his art pieces. These commonplace elements are transformed into a rich palette of light and colors in the artist’s eyes.

Revealing his artistic process, Peter uses a high-resolution camera to capture everyday scenes meticulously. Moving from a printed photograph to a large canvas, he infuses vibrant colors–creating a mix that authentically mirrors local hues and settings.

"Cebu Life, Babae Na May Payong" by Peter Bruce

Cebu Life, Babae Na May Payong
31.5″ x 23″ x 1″
Mixed Media on Fine Art Paper

During a morning stroll in Cebu’s business district, Peter recounts capturing a unique moment. He was exploring an area and was fascinated by a perfect light illuminating the houses on one side. As he waited, a lady crossing the road provided him with what he deemed an ideal opportunity to create a distinctive and compelling scene.

This particular composition allows him to subtly depict social status by contrasting the buildings in the background against the houses alongside the road.

"Jeepney Busay" by Peter Bruce

Jeepney Busay
21″ x 16″ x 0.8″
Mixed Media on Fine Art Paper

"Jeepney Busay Overtaken" by Peter Bruce

Jeepney Busay Overtaken by Growth
21.3″ x 16″ x 0.8″
Mixed Media on Fine Art Paper

Also known for his Philippine jeepney-themed paintings, Peter aims to capture images of the iconic jeepney to evoke happiness and offer a glimpse of the locals’ commuting culture. For him, the jeepney is a great reminder of the Philippines’ distinctive and vibrant history and colors.

Looming Jeepney Phaseout

On January 16, another national transport strike occurred, drawing approximately 15,000 jeepney drivers and operators. The strike responded to the Philippine government’s public utility vehicle modernization program.

The program mandates the replacement of jeepneys, buses, and other public utility vehicles older than 15 years with electronic alternatives, such as e-jeepneys, whose makeup and aesthetics don’t resemble the jeepney’s original form.

The Land Transport Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) requires drivers and operators to consolidate by December 31, 2023, to qualify for loans to purchase the new e-vehicles. It allows operation only until January 31, 2024.

However, concerns remain among drivers and operators, with around 30,000 jeepneys yet to undergo consolidation despite the government’s relatively small subsidy.

— Toby Denise Concepcion

Photo: Jilardon Bamba