Roberto Vallangca was a trailblazer in the Filipino American community. He was one of very few Filipinos in the early to mid 1900’s, who carried on his vision to pursue his art. In his book Pinoy, Vallangca related how his artistic talents were recognized at an early age in his hometown in Lapog, Ilocus Sur. Lacking supplies, he remembered using native materials such as banana leaves and bamboo sticks to create art.

Vallangca arrived in San Francisco in 1927, with the first wave of Filipino immigrants who came to seek a better way of life. He overcame many economic and social barriers to get an education in the arts and in chiropractic medicine. He enrolled at the California School of Fine Arts (now San Francisco Art Institute) and studied privately under Maynard Dixon, George Post and Diego Rivera. He also worked for the WPA as an artist at Coit Tower in San Francisco, helped Diego Rivera with his murals at the Golden Gate International Exposition and assisted the sculptor, Beniamino Bufano. Vallangca was a member at the San Francisco Art Association and Arts Students League and actively participated in their annual exhibitions including shows at the San Francisco Museum of Art (now SFMOMA), the Palace of the Legion of Honor and the Oakland Museum. Vallangca’s paintings reflected the influences of his mentors and the early painters of the California West. He drew inspiration from nature and the places he visited. Vallangca's most prolific years as a painter were during the ’70’s when he retired in his private practice as a doctor.

Images: "Sonoma Wine Country," oil on canvas, 24 x 30"
"Mountain Trail," oil on canvas, 22.5 x 16"
"Krishna Chanting," oil on canvas, 24 x 30"