Tracking down two suspects in the stealing of an 88-year-old painting in Silay City, Negros Occidental took off intensively as representatives from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) have extended help in the search.

The 1936 painting by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo dubbed “Mango Harvesters” went missing from a Philippine Art collection of the Hofileña Museum in Silay City.

Museum administrator Rene Hofileña confirmed that representatives from NHCP helped in tracing possible locations where the artwork could be taken.

The Hofileña family also has its own private investigators focused tightly on the recovery of the artwork deemed an important item in Philippine art history.

The Hofileña Museum is closed to the public beginning July 9, 2024, to facilitate an inventory.

It is possible that works of other eminent Filipino artists such as Juan Luna and Dr. Jose Rizal would not be displayed anymore at the museum to avoid another incident of theft.

“Mango Harvesters” was bought by the late art dealer Ramon Hofileña from Amorsolo himself, at P25 then, long before Amorsolo was hailed as a national icon in painting.

Ramon Hofileña, a culture and heritage enthusiast and advocate, and Fernando Amorsolo, National Artist for Painting in 1972, were said to be good friends who were fond of attending various art exhibits.

The police have determined the identity of the male suspect. They are confident that they will be able to establish the identity of the female accomplice as well.