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Let's get this out of the way right now: making a list of Filipino Masters is sure to be contentious, controversial, and open to debate. Instantly, questions will be raised: What makes a master? Is advanced age an essential factor in being declared a master? Who has the right to call anyone a master?

As the curator of the show MasterClass, all I had to do to find out what the word "master" meant was look it up in the dictionary. Very clearly, it states: "A master refers to people who have authority over others." In fact, "to master" means "to acquire complete knowledge of, overcome the difficulties of, or learn to be able to apply or use."

The word "master" comes from the Latin magis, meaning "more, better, more greatly."

Even in carpentry, there is someone called a master carpenter. He is an expert woodworker who has the skills to do any job that has to do with carpentry.

As in carpentry, so in painting and sculpture.

This master list is necessarily a personal and subjective one. A humorous impression: While the long list of names may erroneously convey that they are the talented students attending a masterclass, perish the thought. Each person on the list is a master of his or her own art, and because of this, each is capable of teaching a masterclass.


Through their works, join me in learning the lessons from the masters.

- Cid Reyes

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