A One Man's Destiny and Legacy
Are in the Palms of Pinoys' Hands

By Imelda Roberts

I have never met Yannie in person, but in a lot of ways it's indeed a small world. It was cool to know we have traveled the same paths. Both of us were also born in Sampaloc, Manila in the Philippines. We went to same schools in elementary and high schools. I graduated one year ahead of him at Legarda Elementary School in 1969 while he graduated in 1970. That tells you I am one year older, one year apart in terms of schooling. We also went to Ramon Magsaysay High School. It was in 1973 when I graduated, but Yannie graduated two years later in 1975. Hmmm… I wonder what happened?

Just like the family hardships that took a devastating turn for me and my family around high school time, I understood the time gap in his young life. A gap filled with life's challenges, perseverance, stories of hopes and dreams.

It was right around high school when Yannie's family lost their business in Carriedo, Quiapo. Enduring a devastating financial crisis, his family started all over again with hopes for a brighter future. They continued to do business, this time as sidewalk vendors at Plaza Miranda, Quiapo. Only this time, their source of income was from one small wooden box filled with cigarettes and candies providing meager income to feed the whole family. Following this brief stint, Yannie's mother decided to go back to their province in Nonoc, Surigao. She returned with a bright business idea that proved to be a wise one. At a young age, Yannie was involved in the family's successful handicraft business weaving mats, bags, and hats. It gave them comfortable life and even paved the way to an interview with ABS-CBN showcasing their products.

Dreams Went Up in Smoke

The good life afforded to them by this newly established NACIDA-registered cottage business was short-lived. A year after, Yannie and his family were homeless after a devastating fire engulfed their house and destroyed every material possession. The riffling effects of devastation in his family's and Yannie's young life were not over. It was also during his high school when his family fought to rebuild their house only to be demolished not once, but seven times. They fought the system that told them they did not have the right to build a house in the land they called their home. They fought for what they believed was theirs. In the end, they lost their house and lot, their whole family ended up in jail sleeping in cold cement. Their dreams of a better future waned like a fleeting cold wind.

But not for Yannie! A one man's dream to help himself and his family live a decent life became his personal crusade. With tears in his father's eyes, his words were clear, "Mga anak ko, mapatapos ko lang kayong lahat ng high school… Masaya na ako!” (My children, if I could just have you finish high school… I would be happy!”) his father's words were his inspiration. He worked very hard taking whatever odd jobs and studied at night. Though it took him eight years (1975-1983) to complete his degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts Major in Painting at the University of Santo Tomas, Yannie proved that one man's dreams and his own destiny are in his hands.

A Penny for His Thoughts

There are more similarities in our young life like selling delicacies near the railroad close to our school, and experiencing sleeping in sidewalks at tender ages due to abject poverty. Perhaps, the way we counted pennies with shine in our eyes, a smile in our face, and muds in our hands reflected upon similar hopes for the future. For every penny that Yannie counted, I bet he saw hopes and abundance ahead. Just like the railroad our roads now converge in a place much better than when we started. Today, both of us have a house in Fairview , Quezon City . Now married to long-time girlfriend, Rowena Tarre Soriano, Yannie's world is now transformed into a great and cool life for himself and his entire family.

Life Legacy Engraved in Coins - In the Palm of Pinoys' Hands

From penny for this thoughts to golden opportunity engraved in life's medals, only a true dreamer and a passionate man can achieve more and make a life he has dream of. For today and forever his legacy will leave on. Who would ever think that the man who barely had coins to feed himself and his family is the man who engraved Philippines circulated coins. Today, it is also great to know that a one's man dream was not just cast in an eight-to-five job, but his dreams are now realities through the inner talents God gave him – painting, sculpting and engraving. From solo to group art exhibits, his paintings represents life and places he has traveled. It is so awesome and great to know his work is not only revered at home and abroad. It was through his works posted in the Internet that I saw the beautiful spirit of a man whose dreams are now real. It is also a great discovery that the almost penniless man is now the man behind these Philippine's coins. For in the palm of every Filipino's hands, it is absolutely great to know that his work touches each and every Filipino's hand. His full name Bayani “Yannie” Rumbaoa, the first Filipino coin engraver.

Who is Bayani "Yannie" Rumbaoa Now?

He was the first Filipino who attended the course “Art of Making Medals and Coins” offered for the first time by the Italian Mint of State in Nov. 13, 1992-June 30, 1993 at the Istituto Poligrafico E' Zecca Dello Stato Scuola Dell' Arte Della Medaglia, Roma, Italia . He was one of the 12 scholars from different countries. Yannie attended the course as a BSP scholar and represent the Philippine Mint, He achieved “Excellent” both from the artistic and technical point of view.

He has been working as Senior Engraver at Philippine Mint Operated by the Mint and Refinery Operations Department of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) since August 6, 1986. Officialy he is the “First Filipino Engraver” of the BSP. He is also making a great history in the field of engraving in our country and in the World Coin Designing. His duties are essentially designing and engraving circulation coins, medallion and special coinage. Some of his designs were already published in World Coin Book. He also done designed in gold, silver, as well as non-precious metals commemorative medal for private organizations and government agencies. Among his outstanding works are the, 50th Anniversary Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Gold Coin in 1999, Philippine Centennial Commemorative Medal in 1998 and APEC Gold Coin in 1998, special medal issues for Pope John Paul II visit in Manila, World Youth Day in 1995, Anniversary of Leyte Gulf Landing in 1994, 25th Anniversary of Petron Incorporation in 1993, 30 th Chess Olympiad in 1992, 6th Anniversary of People Power Revolution in 1992, 16th South East Asean Games in 1991, 75th Anniversary of Philippine National Bank in 1991. The most awaited and popular Gold commemorative medallion he designed for “Pope John Paul II The Great” in June 20, 2005.

1990 was a remarkable year in the Philippine Mint history in the making medals and coins. Yannie designed and engraved (obverse and reverse) the first “Gold Commemorative Medals” minted in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas exclusively for Equitable Bank Corporation and China Banking Corporation.

In 2001, Yannie also had a privilege to attend the “Advance Training Course” in direct metal engraving for medals and coins at the Istituto Poligrafico E' Zecca Dello Stato Scoula Dell' Arte Della Medaglia in Rome, Italy and mark an “Excellent Result.” The artwork was a requirement for completion of the course. Described as valuable by school. Yannie's other works during his training are now a part of the school's property and collection.

“Yannie's believes in the talent and creativity of the Filipino people and that if given enough support and opportunities can compete in equal footing with their counterparts abroad especially in coin and medal making”.

A multi-talented and multi-awarded person, Yannie can sing, dance and play basketball. He holds professional crowns as best in Fox-Trot and Most Valuble Player in his Barangay Sports Fest. His biggest feat is of course what he does best - painting and engraving. He is known for his paintings and have joined other great Filipino artists in Group Art Exhibits not only in the Philippines but in Rome , Italy. His list of contributions in coin engraving and sculpting is long. But one thing is sure -Yannie has truly used God-given gifts as a way of living his own dreams, but using his talents to give back to his family, to charitable organizations, his community, and our country!

Video Source: Youtube.com - GMA7 - Mel and Journey

Yannie receives Outstanding Alumni Award

The Man Behind the Philippine Coins

Yannie receives Outstanding Alumni Award

Completed an advance course in Medal and Coin Engraving received “EXCELLENT RESULT by the Istituto Poligrafico E' Zecca Dello Stato Scuola Dell' Arte Della Medaglia, Rome , Italy

Yannie receives Outstanding Alumni Award

Yannie receives Outstanding Alumni of the Ramon Magsaysay High School Manila 2009 in the field of Fine Arts

One-Man Show II

Yannie's One Man Show II held at Philamlife Insurance Inc., United Nations, Manila in 2009.

Pope Paul II the Great

Yannie's sculpting credits include the 2005 "Pope John II the Great, Gold Plated Coins, dated June 20, 2005, Obverse and Reverse.

Yannie's commemorative coin for former Philippine President Cory Aquino

Yannie's Coin in abstract painting.

Yannie with fellow distinguised UST alumni during Fellowship Dinner 2010.
Yannie with his wife and children.
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