Our Team
J. Matias

JONATHAN R. MATIAS
Project Director

Prior to entering commercial ventures, he was director for Biological Sciences at Orentreich Foundation from 1988 to 1990 where he was involved in a wide range of research programs, including aging, skin research, pharmaceutical drug development, cancer and nutrition.  He was the executive director for Nova Biosciences, Ltd. from 1990 to 2000 where he was involved in development of insect repellents, malaria control, marine conservation, aquaculture and biofouling research.  Since 2000 and to the present, he serves as Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer of Poseidon Sciences Group, a research and development company with laboratories and strategic alliances worldwide.  He has over 130 publications in both academic journals and industry magazines, along with several awarded and pending patents.  He completed his undergraduate studies at York College of the City University of New York and graduate studies at New York University.

Jonathan also studied Chinese ink and brush painting under the mentorship of Master Chung-shiang Chao, the son of the last court painter of Imperial China, for five years until 1979 when he joined the US Army for a brief period. He continued his interest in art and supported artists throughout the following decades.  In 2012, he founded Sulu Garden in Miag-ao, Iloilo Province, to pursue development of unique gardens, art installations and miniatures. Cultural and historical heritage are his current passions.  Heritage preservation and archaeology also continue to be of major interest.

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ALLANAH JALEEL LORELLA
Manager, Communications

Allanah Jaleel Lorella is our administrative officer in charge of communications, web development and social media. She coordinates with the multi-talented teams to provide the world with an in-depth view of the activities of Sulu Garden Foundation.

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WILLIAM N. FUSIN Jr.
Manager, Concept Design Team

William Fusin Jr. is an architect, a history enthusiast and a visual artist. He received his degree in architecture from the University of San Agustin in 2009 and his license in 2012.  William’s staff in his architectural firm provides the design features of the diorama from top to bottom. 

Asked about his thoughts on the project: “The Battle of Mactan” is a huge challenge. It is simply exciting. Precision and patience are needed to render this event in as close to historical reality as possible. Our team must ensure that our depiction is historically correct, from the characters, the terrain of the actual battle site, their vessels, the tools that they used and the movement of the people. This Project brings back memories of  my childhood days when during rainy days, we would gather lumps of mud from the nearby paddies and mold it into different shapes and figures.”

J. Trivino

JUAN MIGUEL TRIVINO
Manager, 3D Design Team

Juan Miguel Trivino is an artisan and a 3D artist with extensive experience in character modelling. He studied 3D in Ateneo de Naga University and First Academy of Computer Arts. He worked as a 3D artist for 6 years doing freelance jobs and personal projects. For the Battle of Mactan Project he designs the Spanish ships, native caracoa and the 2,500+ characters for the diorama

K. Lorella

KIAN ANGELO A. LORELLA
Apprentice, 3D Design artist

Kian Angelo Lorella is a 14-year-old 3rd year high school student of St. Louise de Marillac School of Miag-ao. He is assigned as one of the 3D artist in the Diorama Project. A fast learner, Kian Angelo only learned 3D designing last June of this year when he was offered the job while waiting for his school to re-open. He developed his skills through video tutorials and was inspired by the works of Juan Miguel Trivino, the 3D artist for the project. Kian dreams of becoming a pilot someday.

J. Lorella

JACOB ADRIAN LORELLA
Manager, 3D Printing Laboratory

Jacob Adrian Lorella is a 3rd year college student taking up BS Pharmacy at Central Philippine University as his pre-med course in pursuing his dreams of becoming a doctor. As the Covid 19 pandemic is still a concern for in-person classes to be held, he works to manage the 3D Printing Laboratory. Jacob has always been interested in computers and learned 3D printing online through video tutorials since 2016. He is in charge of the operation of the four more advanced 3D printers for this diorama project. 

The Miniature Artists

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EMILIO ANDRES SANCHEZ
Manager, Miniature Art Team

Emilio Andres Sanchez is originally from Zaragoza, Spain. He recently retired from the Spanish Air Force [Ejercito Del Aire Espanol]. Emilio arrived in Iloilo Province with his wife, Gretchen, last February 2019. When he was 17, his cousin introduced him into painting miniatures but did not have the patience to do so until 4 years ago when he started to paint characters of a table game until it became a hobby. According to Emilio, one character can take about 4 to 5 hours of work depending on the quality he desired. He looks up to Duncan Rhodes, a famous miniature painter. Watching Duncan’s video tutorials helped him hone his skills in painting. According to Emilio the project has brought great impact to him personally since it’s a part of his heritage too.

GRETCHEN MAESTRECAMPO-GARCIA TANTENGCO SANCHEZ
Assistant Manager, Miniature Art Team

Gretchen grew up in Barangay Cubay in Miag-ao. While in school, she always excelled in painting and in arts and crafts, but did not have time or opportunity to pursue that inclination. Starting in 2008, Gretchen was already working in different places in Spain (Madrid, Canary Islands and Zaragoza). These professional experiences made her fluent in Spanish language. A few years later, she met Emilio Sanchez, a sergeant in the Spanish Air Force who was stationed in Zaragoza. They were married and together went home to Iloilo in 2018. Gretchen’s hobby for the last few years was doing miniature painting with her husband and continues to do so as a volunteer in Project Mactan. An accomplished miniature artist, Gretchen is a valuable member of the team. Now she found the time and the opportunity to express her love of the arts.

Ryan

RYAN FANTILLAN
Assistant Manager, Miniature Art Team

Ryan Fantillan is 29-year-old artist. His love of art was an accidental discovery as he realized he can draw when requested by his teacher when he was first year high school. In college he became interested in fruit carving and that led him to join competitions where he won many championships. Ryan dreamt of becoming a chef but when he applied at Sulu Garden Restaurant, the only available slot was for waiters. Sulu Garden’s management recognized his talent in arts and gave him the responsibility to maintain, many dioramas in the Art Gallery. Ryan strives to improve his skills through watching you tube tutorials so he can give his best for the diorama of the Battle of Mactan. 

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SALVADOR NUDGARA
Miniature Artist

Salvador is a self-taught artist who learned how to draw at the age of 4. He began joining competitions during his 7th grade and later became the president of the Artist Guild Club. He won 2nd place in a unique painting competition called “Pinta Banga” (Pottery Painting) in a community Festival. Amidst covid 19 Lockdown. This senior high school graduate creates portraits and sells these through social media for extra income in preparation for the upcoming online classes. Salvador aspires to become a renowned visual artist someday as he aims to be a teacher in drafting technology. Working on this project is an opportunity for him to grow and become a better artist.

Mike

MIKE JAYLOU NIM
Miniature Artist

At the age of 5, Mike Jaylou Nim’s father (an artist himself) introduced him into the world of art. He later learned the technique of mixing colors. Mike Jaylou’s skills were also honed through joining local competitions, such as editorial cartooning. He is a member of the Techno Forum Association. Since schools are closed and classes are postponed or suspended due to Covid 19, Mike Jaylou sells artworks to help him earn enough money to buy a cellphone needed for the upcoming online class. For Mike, being part of this diorama project is a window of opportunity to explore beyond his comfort zone towards a holistic improvement of his artistry.

Rodel

RODEL A. PORTALES
Miniature Artist

Local artist Rodel Portales learned painting from the art assignments given to him starting elementary. He said that he had to learn because his parents were busy with their work. He gradually improved at painting and drawing through video tutorials until it became his hobby. In 2019, he grabbed the championship title in “Basura Mo, E-parol Mo”, a Christmas Parol-making contest held at Iloilo Capitol. Rodel is now a first year college student taking up Bachelor of Industrial Technology major in Electrical Technology at ISAT-U, Miagao Campus.

Mary Joy

MARY JOY D. NIM
Miniature Artist

Mary Joy is a 22-year-old college graduate of Iloilo Science and Technology University in Miag-ao and taking drafting a major. Her love for traditional art was influenced by her father. Her experience in painting miniature houses as a requirement during her college years prepared her on her job with small figures in the Diorama. She declared that she finds her engagement in this project as an opportunity to enhance her attention to details. She further said that, having been considered as one of the artist in the team, helps her financially support her educational expenses as she dreams of becoming a teacher someday.  

Project Management

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ARLI JOHN NIM
Manager of Project Planning

Arli John’s career spans more than 30 years in private enterprises and government agencies in key positions in the area of organization development. A former broadcaster, training coordinator for UNHCR, banker, a certified micro-finance consultant and micro-enterprise developer, he has always sets his focus on endeavors aimed at development of individuals and communities. His last engagement was with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) as Consultant. He also recently helped facilitate the Mindanao Summit of Transport Cooperatives aimed at modernizing the Transport Industry for that part of the Philippines.

He earned a degree in Business Management from the University of the Philippines in the Visayas. The Rural Bankers’ Association of the Philippines certified him as a micro-finance Trainer/Consultant for Rural Banks. He is on-call at the Associated Resources for Management and Development (ARMDEV) for projects funded by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Historical Advisory Board

danny Gerona

DANILO MADRID GERONA, PhD
Senior Adviser to the Battle of Mactan diorama

Dr. Gerona is a faculty member in the Graduate School of Universidad de Isabel in Naga City, Philippines and a research associate of the University of San Carlos Press in Cebu, Philippines. He is the only non-Spanish member of Sevilla 2019-2022, which coordinates the global celebration of the 5th Centenary of Magellan’s Circumnavigation of the World. In 2016, Dr. Gerona published his epic book, Ferdinand Magellan. The Armada de Maluco and the European Discovery of the Philippines, based on primary sources from years of research in Spain and Portugal. The dramatic event of The Battle of Mactan was based on Dr. Gerona’s research using the actual accounts of Ferdinand Magellan’s chronicler, Antonio Pigafetta, and other historians long after the conflict.  

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JOSE NEREO C. LUJAN

Recently named as the Resident Historian of the Province of Iloilo, Mr. Lujan currently is the head of the Public Information and Community Affairs Office of the Province of Iloilo.  Prior to this position, he worked as a reporter and as a correspondent in local and national newspapers as well as international wire agencies.  A member of the Philippine National Historical Society, he has a deep passion for history, spending most of his time researching the history of Iloilo and its people.  His latest work, published in the 2016 Journal of History, was the paper, “The Life and Works of Pedro Casanave.”

PAOLO PADDEU

Mr. Paolo Paddeu is an Italian researcher and vexillologist.  He studied flags and symbols since 1990. Paolo is member of many vexillological Associations and groups like N.A.V.A. – North American Vexillological Association, C.I.S.V – Italian Center of Vexillological Studies and B.S. – Bandiere Storiche.  He has focused his interest on the flags and symbols of the Philippines and the “Moro” Sultanates. He is currently researching the flags, banners and symbols used in the Battle of Mactan.