Visayas hosts opening ceremony for the first time
As the country’s leading government agency for arts and culture, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is currently celebrating National Arts Month (NAM) with a multi-venue series of events that kicked off on February 1 via a grand opening ceremony in the Visayas.
Dubbed “Ani ng Sining: Philippine Arts Festival,” the month-long event is under the auspices of the agency’s Subcommission on the Arts (SCA), led by Commissioner Teddy Co.
Held for the first time outside Metro Manila, NAM propitiously began in Bago City, Negros Occidental. Touted as the Home of Historical and Natural Treasures, the host locality under the leadership of Mayor Nicholas Yulo, collaborated with NCCA for a whole day of creative activities like workshops on Baybayin, calligraphy, photography, and upcycling art, spoken word poetry and dance alongside features on Arts in public spaces.
The city’s famed heritage house, Balay ni Tan Juan Museum, hosted an exhibit featuring the works of artists from the Visayas region.
The launching ceremony with the theme “Paghabol: Weaving Arts in the Visayas” was held at the Manuel Y. Torres Memorial Coliseum and Cultural Center with a performance by singer and National Arts Ambassador for Music KZ Tandingan. It segued into “Sayaw Pinoy” with a number of notable dancers and dance groups from all over the archipelago joining the celebration.
On February 3, NAM kicked off in the National Capital Region (NCR) with festivities at the Lucky Chinatown Mall in Binondo, Manila followed by the Sayaw Pinoy 2019 launch at the Open Air Auditorium in Rizal Park.
Attended by NCCA officials led by executive director Rico Pableo Jr, and deputy executive director Marichu Tellano, the NCR opening was made more exciting by the performances of Ice Seguerra, who is also National Literature Month Ambassador; Noel Cabangon, who rendered a special song as tribute to Pinoy rock icon Pepe Smith, who recently passed away; and the cast of “Rak of Aegis,” which will make a comeback on stage soon.
In the Rizal Park segment, Sayaw Pinoy mounted a dance concert that saw collaboration among different dance troupes and companies both professional and upcoming groups from all over the country.
The opening ceremony in Luzon happens tomorrow, February 11, in the municipality of Bagac, Bataan with activities that encompass participation by the public. Along with the NAM organizing committee, Bellas Artes Projects, a non-profit and non-collecting institution that supports and engages with art, has lined up activities such as mural paintings in collaboration with Guhit Pinas along Gov. J.J. Linao National Road where the Philippine-Japan Friendship Tower is situated.
A showcase of the mural paintings and parade organized by the Department of Education, follows the official opening with the theme “Ani, Pag-aari” set at the Bagac municipal grounds, graced by Mayor Louise Gabriel del Rosario and Governor Albert Garcia.
The Mindanao opening happens on February 15 in Koronadal City, South Cotabato.
Seven constituents of the Arts
The phrase “ani ng sining” emphasizes the richness of artistic endeavors in the Philippines and the passion of Filipino artists and cultural workers. As such, the wide array of events and activities lined up fittingly celebrate this bountiful harvest of Philippine arts, while aiming to inspire the nation to appreciate and immerse in the diversity of cultural expressions, insights and creativity.
Comprised of the flagship projects of SCA’s seven national committees — Architecture, Cinema, Dance, Literary Arts, Music, Dramatic Arts and Visual Arts — Ani ng Sining showcases Filipino artistry in different venues all over the country.
The plethora of activities via exhibits, workshops, shows, concerts, lectures, tours and other formats will then ensue through the rest of February.
Architecture and Allied Arts
The National Committee on Architecture and Allied Arts, headed by Rogelio Caringal, presents “Loob at Labas: Talakayan at Pagpaparangya,” an exhibit and forum which travels around the country to enhance appreciation and awareness on Philippine architecture from February 22 to March 21.
Over the years, Cinema Rehiyon, under the auspices of the National Committee on Cinema headed by Co, has been held in different parts of the country. On its 11th year, Cinema Rehiyon Film Festival, a non-competition film festival which highlights some of the best works in the regions, happens on February 23 until March 1 at the Foundation University, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.
The festival has been raising awareness on the efforts on and progress of filmmaking in the different regions, and providing platform for these films, most of which in local languages and showing culturally-rooted narratives, to be exhibited and appreciated by a wider audience.
Headed by Shirley Halili-Cruz, the National Committee on Dance once again sure to amaze the public with the month-long traveling dance concert series Sayaw Pinoy in different parts of the country.
The longest-running dance event and the most attended of NAM events, Sayaw Pinoy showcases the colorful tradition of dances and movements in the country as well as a venue to reach out to the grassroots to discover new talents and connect to more Filipino dance artists.
The National Committee on Dramatic Arts, headed by Rossana Palm, gathers and documents the pioneers and key theater practitioners in the regions via “Tampok” — a convergence of performances, workshops and discussions held from February 27 to March 1 in Malabon (NCR); February 26 to March 1 at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna (Luzon); February 28 to March 2 in Bohol (Visayas); and March 2 to 4 in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental (Mindanao).
The National Committee on Literary Arts, headed by Hope Yu, spearheads “NAMnamin,” an intersection of literature and writing about food — on February 25 to 27at The Orchid Gardens, San Fernando, Pampanga, with a food trip on February 27 in Angeles City.
The National Committee on Music, headed by Mauricia Borromeo, stages “Musicapuluan: Music of the Philippine Islands,” a music festival with performances, lectures and workshops that celebrate local musics held in different venues —Baguio City on February 8; Catbalogan City, Samar, on February 1 and 8; and Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, on February 23.
The National Committee on Visual Arts, headed by Edgar Talusan Fernandez, mounted the Philippine Visual Arts Festival in Manila from February 4 to 7. It included workshops, art talks, exhibits and numerous activities highlighting the works of visual artists around the country.
Ani ng Dangal
As tradition now for several years, the National Arts Month celebration closes with Ani ng Dangal (Harvest of Honors) awarding ceremonies in recognition of artists who have earned international awards and accolades during the past year with NCCA Chairman National Artist Virgilio Almario handing the mementos to the honorees.