Arcenas was born in the Philippine island province of Cebu, studied in University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City for pre-med, went to London for theater studies and found work in New York where he is currently based. Like in the Philippines where he is known as a theater director, Arcenas also first made his mark abroad in theater as a stage set designer. His works are top class: the Steppenwolf productions of Topdog/Underdog, Beauty Queen of Leenane and Nomathemba, Goodman productions of Good Person of Setzuan, Cry The Beloved Country and The Night of the Iguana, the premieres of Love! Valour! Compassion!, Prelude to a Kiss, Once On This Island, Spunk, Dessa Rose, Blue Window, Corpus Christi, A Man of No Importance, and the off-Broadway and national tours of The Vagina Monologues, to name a few.He has received Drama Desk nominations, L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award, Jeff Award, Bay Area Critics Circle Awards, and the Obie for sustained excellence in set design. Arcenas also ventured into directing in theater in the U.S. and among his credits are Jorge Ignacio Cortinas’ Blind Mouth Singing for Teatro Vista and Victory Gardens’ The Romance of Magno Rubio, Warren Leight’s No Foreigners Beyond This Point, Lonnie Carter’s The Romance of Magno Rubio (Obie), Han Ong’s Middle Finger, Swoony Planet and Watcher, and Philip Gotanda’s Floating Weeds. As a film director, he dazzled critics and moviegoers alike with his film debut, Niño, which won in 2011 the Special Jury Prize New Breed at the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and the New Currents Award at the Pusan International Film Festival. In 2012, the same film won Special Mention of the International Jury and the Emile Guimet Award–Special Mention at the Vesoul Asian Film Festival.