Order of National Artists
He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of the Philippines in 1953, and an MFA under a Fulbright Smith-Mundt grant. He pioneered abstract expressionism in the Philippines. His canvases at the peak of his career were characterized by dynamic spontaneity, quick gestures of action painting, heavy impastos, bold brushstrokes, controlled drips, and diagonal swipes. The Instituto de Cultura Hispanica of the Spanish government awarded him a painting grant in Madrid in 1954-55. He held a restrospective exhibit at the Museum of Philippine Art in 1981. The French government bestowed on him the”Order of Chevalier des Arts et Lettes” in 1987. He won several awards and distinctions, including: the TOYM Award for Painting and the Republic Cultural Heritage Award, both in 1961 and the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan from the City of Manila in 1971.