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Fly high, Sarimanok

Text, images, and video by DOM GALEON

There is something mysteriously regal about the sarimanok. This legendary mythical bird hails from Maranao culture, derived from the local folk’s totem bird called the itotoro. Over the years, the sarimanok has become a symbol not just of this unique Mindanaoan heritage, which it shares with neighboring South East Asian countries, but also of Filipino culture in general. It’s no surprise, therefore, that artist Patrick Cabral chose this mythical creature as the main design element for a collaboration with Starbucks. 


Patrick gained international acclaim for his work on “Endangered Species,” a multi-layered paper sculpture series that features 11 of the world’s endangered species. The young experimental artist is also no stranger to Starbucks, as he was included in its 2018 “New Strong” regional campaign. He created detailed paper sculptures of iconic animals that symbolize some of the world’s coffee-growing regions. These are on display at the Starbucks Reserve store at SM North Towers in Quezon City.

So the “Patrick Cabral x Starbucks” collection, although technically the first series Patrick has done for Starbucks, isn’t his first work to be featured by the coffee company.


Elegant in gold and black—the sarimanok in Starbuck’s latest collection

With predominantly black, white, and gold elements, each of the five items in this collection features the sarimanok. Asked why this was the main element he chose for this collaboration, Patrick says, “I always wanted to incorporate local themes in my design. The sarimanok has always been my favorite local mythical figure so it was an easy decision to make.”

Two birds with one stone, or in this case one bird with two goals. At a glance, you can see the the sarimanok as a dominant figure in each of the five items in this collection. 

The double-wall ceramic mug (P1,295) has the sarimanok set in a matte black background. The stainless steel tumbler (P1,595) puts the legendary bird in raised ink. The acrylic tumbler (P895), with its double-walled transparent inner cup, gives a shimmering magnificence to the Maranaoan symbol.

The double wall mug

The double-wall ceramic mug

The black LOQI water-resistant tote bag (P595), the brand’s first cross collaboration with Starbucks, features the sarimanok with its golden wings spread. Lastly, the collection includes a special limited edition “Patrick Cabral x Starbucks” paper card, with the sarimanok in gold and silver foil accents, available for an initial activation amount of P1,000.

The LIQO bag

The sarimanok printed on the water-resistant LOQI bag

Although the legendary bird is the prominent feature in each of the items, there is something surprisingly subtle and almost intimate in how its form hugs the shape of the mugs and the tumblers, or how its wings spread across that tote bag. That the sarimanok is set in black or a mostly black background, with gold and white highlights, makes it even more regal. 


The pouch containing the LOQI bag (left) and the limited edition paper card

Each of the designs blends Patrick’s maximalist style to create an elegant and classy reimagining of the sarimanok, resulting in an intricate mix of the traditional and the modern. “While my work is mainly focused on the theme of environment conservation, I feel that the conservation of cultural heritage is of equal importance,” Patrick says. 

The “Patrick Cabral x Starbucks” collection will be available in all Starbucks stores beginning on June 9.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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