Steps in Creative Process

The creative process of the Battle of Mactan involves many different aspects—historical basis, talents, scheduling, modern technology and artistry. In this page we describe the basic steps in this creation, our schedule of completion and the output at each stage of the production. Progress is updated monthly until our final launch on March 27, 2021.

Step 1. The historical basis of the diorama design

D. Gerona
D. Gerona

        Creating the concept based on the latest historical data on the actual event from Prof. Danny Gerona’s 2016 book, based on primary sources, entitled “Ferdinand Magellan. The Armada de Maluco and the European Discovery of the Philippines.” Please read Dr. Gerona’s historical narrative on that day in April, 1521… In the link below.  

        Dr. Gerona is an adviser to this 12-month project by SULU GARDEN FOUNDATION that began in April 2020.  The idea emerged after conversations between Jonathan R. Matias and Dr. Gerona in Sulu Garden in 2017 about how important this event will be to the awareness of our national heritage.

        The estimated number of miniature warriors of Mactan and Lapulapu’s allies, Conquistadores and Cebuano Allies, and village people of Mactan —- 2,500+.  Installation of the diorama will begin on March 1, 2021, a month a half before the 500th anniversary of the Mactan.  

Please read Dr. Gerona’s historical narrative on that day in April, 1521… 


Step 2. Creating the visual concept from history


Here is a concept video, still in its draft form, prepared by our concept planner, Architect William Fusin, of Miag-ao. As the project progresses, this video is continually being upgraded to reflect the work of artists involved in the creative process.  Architect Fusin’s team is designing the foldable support system for the 50 sq m diorama, the real sea water scenery of the battlefield, the underwater coral designs and the land terrain.  Positioning of the warriors and Spanish soldiers, the burning villages and the overall look of the battle are the team’s major responsibilities as we make progress towards the launch.

STEP 3. 3D computer designs

Previous diorama of the miniatures in Sulu Garden were hand carved. Because of the immensity of the Battle of Mactan and the need for exacting details, 3D designers are needed to create realistic miniatures of warriors and the Spanish soldiers, including ships, caracoas and landscape (trees, coconut trees, houses and corals).   Here is our senior 3D designer, Juan Miguel Trivino, with his 14-year-old 3D design apprentice, Kian Angelo A. Lorella. Photos by Adbae Studios

3D design
3D design
3D design

STEP 4 – 3D printing

3D printing each miniature for the project can take about 4 to 20 hours of work, depending on the complexity. Each of the Spanish caravels takes about 5 days of printing operation, plus two days of assembly and surface preparations before the artists can take over for the painting. Currently, we operate four 3D printers to create the miniatures developed by the 3D Design team.

3D printing lab

Step 5. Bringing our 3D designs to life

The Miniature Art Team takes the 3D printed structures for cleaning, polishing and the final painting to as close to natural as possible. Colors and costumes are based on the historical records. The Team has eight miniature artists under the direction of Emilio Sanchez from Zaragoza, Spain and Ryan Fantillan of Miag-ao.  Half of our team are young artists who are still in high school doing their online classes because of Covid-19 pandemic during part of the day and then go back to painting after.