Sunday, January 24, 2010

Showdowns and Showcases: Creative Continuance for the National Arts Months 2010

Most of the flagship projects, which remain the core of activities of the Philippine International Arts Festival (PIAF) in celebration of the National Arts Month (NAM) this coming February, are furtherance and continuation of last year’s undertakings, which are the gathering and showcasing of best works, thematically inclined or not. But they are no less interesting or intriguing.
“The flagship projects in each of the seven arts continue to explore new modes of expressions and collaborations with one another even as they firm up their connections with their roots and document their aesthetics,” explains the festival director, poet and professor Ricardo de Ungria, who is also the commissioner of the Sub-commission on the Arts (SCA) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), which oversees PIAF.
The NCCA has been holding the celebration, a series of festivities and activities mounted throughout the country celebrating Filipino artistry and promoting the arts and the artists, for 19 years now, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 683 signed in 1991.
De Ungria further says the celebration has “featured the genius and talent of the Filipino artist and affirmed the continuing and revivifying evolution of Philippine art from traditional roots to more contemporary forms of expression.”
Indeed, PIAF aims to feature the talents and performances of the many artists and arts groups in the seven arts on whose trainings, competitions, and creative expressions it has invested the past year or so. More than a way of looking back at past accomplishments, the festival is said to be a celebration of the fruits of the creative efforts for the past year and a looking forward to a richer, more fertile ground in the coming years for the evolution of artistic modes of expression available to the Filipino creative imagination.
All over the country, different arts and culture groups as well as local governments will hold events for the PIAF with funding and support from the NCCA with the theme “Ani ng Sining” or harvest of the arts.
“Starting from simple festivities held in Metro Manila and involving a limited number of fields in the art in the early nineties, the celebration of NAM has expanded since then to include the active participation of all the seven arts as flagship projects, to involve various regions in the country as art sites, and to accept as partners an increasing number of private organizations and government agencies at both the local and national levels,” De Ungria adds.
At the forefront and as the highlight of the PIAF are the major projects of the committees of the SCA, namely, Cinema, Dance, Literary Arts, Architecture and Allied Arts, Visual Arts, Music, and Dramatic Arts.

Grand literary gathering in Cebu with Taboan
The NCCA Committee on Literary Arts, also headed by De Ungria, follows up its successful Taboan: Philippine Writers’ Festival, with a sequel, this time in Cebu. Taboan again will gather writers from all the regions and across generations to interact with one another and with their audience on issues pertaining to their craft or the situation of writing in the country, or read from their new works. The three-day festival now gives focus on writers and writings in the Visayas region and expects lively participation from writers in the Visayas and Mindanao regions. There will conferences, seminars, workshops, performances such as a zarzuela and a poetry performance by Sakdap, and recognition of local writers in the first Taboan Writers Awards. For the first time, there will a conference for teachers on teaching literature. Interesting topics to be discussed includes “eco-literature” with Hope Yu, Dinah Roma Sianturi and Mindo Aquino; Visayan aesthetics with Erlinda Alburo, Simeon Dumdum and Macario Tiu; writing erotica with John Iremil Teodoro, Danton Remoto and Richel Dorotan; writing using dreams with Gemino Abad, Scott Sabot, Judith Salamat and Jhonnalyn Cruz; writing and spirituality with Renato Madrid, Calbi Asain, Clarito de Francis and Dante Rosales; and writing ethnicity with Anthony Enriquez, Teng Mangansakan and Arifar Jamil, among others. Slated from February 10 to 12, 2010, at the Casino Espanol del Cebu in Cebu City, Taboan 2010: The Second Philippine Writers’ Festival has the Arts Council of Cebu Foundation as proponent.

Moving images from the regions in Cinema Rehiyon
The NCCA Committee on Cinema, headed by Miguel Rapatan, will likewise hold a second Cinema Rehiyon, after audiences appealed for another run. This is a showcase of nascent cinema from the regions, culling the best from festivals held in various regions of the country. This year’s Cinema Rehiyon will feature 10 regions, four more than the first one. To be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), Cinema Rehiyon will show cinematic expressions from Bacolod, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Iloilo, Naga, Pampanga, Samar, Central Visayas (Cebu and Bohol), and Western and Central Mindanao, with for a and panel discussions. Showings are slated from February 16 to 20, 2010.

The continuing movements of Sayaw Pinoy
The NCCA Committee on Dance, headed by Shirley Halili-Cruz, will stage Sayaw Pinoy, now on its seventh year, which is a touring dance concert that brings together different dance forms and features local dance troupes of the host cities and municipalities performing back-to-back with the different professional dance companies in the country. Now, with the subtitle “Creating Venues of Creative Interaction Through Dance,” Sayaw Pinoy aims to become more accessible with performances to be staged in public places and to include other art forms as well as indigenous arts and artists. Sayaw Pinoy promises to be in at least 27 localities with at least 30 performances and 40 performing groups.

The sum of architecture
Last time, the NCCA Committee on Architecture and Allied Arts, headed by Henry Yap, mounted “Pa(ng)Labas,” a composite of a traveling exhibition, lecture-forum, and a film showing which examined both the medium of film and the form and style of architecture as they relate to the development of film media, architecture and urban landscape. A proposed project this year focuses on the role of water in architecture with “Aquatecture = Water + Architecture,” a multimedia and installation exhibit exploring the long-standing relationship of water and architecture in Philippine society. The exhibit will tackle themes such as water as design metaphor, water-borne architecture, water and sacred space, and designing with water, among others. However, the project changed. Instead, the committee gathered past exhibits for “Archi [types/text]: Architecture in Philippine Life.”
Eight distinct exhibits in different venues aim to “explore the many facets of architecture and the production space in Philippine life through a transdisciplinary lens, which converge landscape and urban planning, painting and photography, cinema, postcards and urban cartography to illustrate that architecture is imagined as at once type and text because it is both a thing and a subjectivity, an artifact and a sensibility.”
These are composed of “Imperial Reproductions: Imag(in)ing the Philippines in Color” at the atelier at the Bulwagan ng Dangal, University of the Philippines, on February 1; “Deco Decadence: Philippine Art Deco Architecture” at the Aldaba Hall of the University Theater of the UP on February 1; The Vargas Collection including “Province/Laan (1899-1934)” and “Unease/Ligalig (1935-1946)” at the Vargas Museum of UP on February 1; “Manila and the River that Runs Through It” at the Plaza Mexico Ferry Station in Intramuros, Manila, on February 7; “PA(ng)LABAS = architecture + cinema” at the Greenbelt mall in Makati City on February 7 ; “Andres Luna de San Pedro: Painter and Architect” at the Museum of the Filipino People, National Museum of the Philippines, Manila, on February 9; “Imperial Gaze: Representations of Far Zamboanga in Colonial Photography” at Fort Pilar, Zamboanga City, on February 16; and “Philippine Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, 1900-1960” at the Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu City, on February 20

Collegiate drama in Tanghal!
The NCCA Committee on Dramatic Arts will hold Tanghal! The Fourth National University and College Theater Festival, celebrating the outstanding achievements by theater groups based in the universities and colleges. Having seen rich exchanges of works and experiences in the past three years, this fourth Tanghal! will face the challenge of highlighting the contributions of university and college based theater groups to Philippine theater. It will have a conference on the contribution of these groups and a showcase of six outstanding works. The theater fest happens from February 1 to 5 at the De La Salle University in Manila.

Music as food for the soul
The NCCA Committee on Music, headed by Joey Ayala, will hold Organik Muzik 2: Palay Bigas Kanin, following up the first Organik Muzik, which was a series of four concerts showing the metamorphosis of elements of Philippine music from village roots to urban manifestations. This time, the committee is staging a collaborative musical production called Palay Bigas Kanin (PBK), with libretto and lyrics by poet Vim Nadera and music and performances by contemporary artists such as Radioactive Sago Project, Junior Kilat, Sigaw ng Tundo and Cynthia Alexander. It will be staged on February 19 at the Atrium in Tagum City, and on February 23 at the University of Baguio in Baguio City.

Feast of colors
The NCCA Committee on Visual Arts, headed by Egai Talusan Fernandez, will mount the Philippine Visual Arts Festival 2010, featuring the masterworks of renowned visual artists. The exhibit will also showcase the talents of the Filipino artists from different regions as well as make their works accessible to the public. Aside from the exhibit, seminar-workshops will also be conducted, and sand sculpture and body paintings sessions will also take place. The festival will be held late February at the Shangri-la Plaza mall in Mandaluyong City, and March on Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan.

Arts all-over
PIAF will be launched in Metro Manila at Rajah Solaiman along Roxas Boulevard and in Intramuros, Manila on January 31,2010, with a soft launching on February 1 in a morning show of a local TV network, featuring numerous performances. It will also be launched key cities around the country.
In addition to the flagship projects, the NCCA also awarded grants to new works, restagings and tributes to National Artists for the NAM celebration in different regions of the country.
Local artists of Jose Panganiban in the province of Camarines Norte will mount a showcase of art works and dance performances called “Pagkilala sa Ani ng Mambulao sa Angking Sining” at the town hall from February 1 to 28. The UP Visayas’ Balangaw and the UP Diliman’s Kontragapi Music and Dance Ensemble will stage a musical concert, Bag-o Nga Timpla Pinoy Performing Arts Festival, at the Balyu-an Amphitehater in Tacloban City on February 28. In Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao, the Capitol University Dance Troupe and Capitol University Glee Club will perform local and contemporary dances and songs in a series on shows called “Saulog, An Anniversary Concert of the Capitol Dance Troupe and Glee Club” at the Capitol University Gym on February 1 and 13, Cogon Market and Night Café DVsoria on February 6 and 20, and at the atrium of LimKetKai Mall on February 27.
An exhibition of art boxes that will showcase the dream and aspiration of Filipinos called “Damgo Quatros Ka” for the whole month of February in different venues in Bacolod City and Dumaguete City. “Mga Kwentong Pinagmulan,” a cutout animation film tackling the myths, legends, origin and culture of the Negros Island, will be shown in Silay City, Bacolod City, Kabankalan, Bago City, Sibulan and Dumaguete City.
Led by Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan awardee Bai Lang Dulay, the T’boli cultural community in Lake Sebu of South Cotabato will hold its first National Arts Month celebration with “Ken Kenhulung (A Celebration of Arts)” for the whole month in several venues in the town.
The “Pahandaja na Mamanua Ka Surigao” is a “one day gathering of the Mamanua cultural community in Surigao City to present, promote and develop creativity, specifically of local indigenous talents, through various form of expressions,” will be on February 24 at the Surigao del Norte capitol grounds.
A dance-drama called Hilum-na Pag-ampo, meaning “silent prayer,” promises to “give a moment of healing through dances accompanied by Mindanao divine chanting and lullabies” on February 25 at Malitbog, Bukidnon, and on February 26 at the Kung Hua Auditorium, Kung Hua School, Cagayan de Oro City.
From February 19 to 28, the Kaliwat Theater Collective, the Kathara Dance Theater Collective, the Magugpo Theater Guild and the TCNHS special Program for the Arts will mount a series of musical, dance and theatrical productions at the Tagum Trade and Cultural Center Pavillion in Tagum City.
Old works will be restaged for further appreciation such as Severino Reyes’s zarzuela Walang Sugat in Marinduque by Bulacan’s Barasaoin Kalinangan Foundation from February 15 to 21. “Interaksyon” of the group Tupada will again “set venues for instantaneous and independent performances, which enticed and encouraged local artists from various disciplines to explore performance art as a less restrictive and more inclusive form of creative expression” in Manila, Batangas and Cavite from February 17 to 21. Writers based in Baguio City and Benguet including young Cordillera writers will read their poems for “Panagbenga: Baguio Poetry Reading for Arts Month 2010” at the University of the Philippines-Baguio, University of Baguio and Benguet State University. The Philippines will host the 3rd ASEAN Puppetry Association, showcasing ASEAN puppet tradition from February 24 to 26 at the Tanghalang Abelardo Hall Auditorium of UP Diliman. “Pangalay at Musika ng Bayan,” an annotated performance of an endangered dance style indigenous to the Sulu archipelago, will be mounted on Feb. 12 at the Emilio Aguinaldo College Auditorium and February 24 at Holy Angel University in Pampanga.
In the Visayas the Arte Kalye: Art for Earth will have public art talks, street dance festivals, street fashion shows, painting, art workshops, art sale, music festivals and live street performances at Artekalye Street, San Agustin Extension, Bacolod City.
In Mindanao, Ballet Philippines will perform “Masterworks” in Davao City; “Silip Sayaw sa Mindanao,” a touring dance performance and workshop of indigenous dances and rituals of the Bukidnon, T’boli, Blaan, Maranao, Maguindanao and Tausug cultural communities, will be held on February 6 to 8, 13 to 14, and 24 to 26 in Camiguin and Lanao del Norte; and “Tecla: Mga Kwentong Kababaihan,” presenting the vulnerability of women in domestic violence through dance, poetry and music, will be shown on February 11 to 12 at the KCC Mall Convention Center.
Works of and tributes to National Artists will also be put so that people will have greater appreciation and awareness of our artist heroes.
A series of performances at the Rizal Shrine in Calamba City called “Ang Artista ay Bayani: Romancing the Arts at the Rizal Shrine” will highlight songs and stories that pay tribute to National Artists as well as music and narrative traditions of Laguna on February 5, 6, 12 and 13.
“Saludo! Tribute to Philippine National Artists,” a multi-media and multi-disciplinary presentation of National Artists from the Visayas region, will be held on January 31 in Bacolod City, February 7 in La Carlota City, February 14 in Silay City and February 21 in Ilog.
The Panaghugpong 2: Xavier Arts Festival will feature the art and works of Edith Tiempo (literature), Lucresia Kasilag (music), Jose Maceda (music), Ramon Obusan (dance), Lino Brocka (film) and Eddie Romero (film) throughout February in Cagayan de Oro City.
The arts will also be brought to different government offices through the “Ani ng Sining sa Iba’t Ibang Sangay ng Gobyerno” and the malls, particularly the Ayala malls. Also throughout the month, people can get free entrances or discounts to museums
Indeed, it will be an enriching month. “Come and join us one and all as we allow art to restore us to high spirits once again and to the wisdom of our still undreamed dreams!” De Ungria invites.

For more information, contact Rene Napeñas, head of the NCCA Public Affairs and Information Office and PIAF media director at 527-5529 or mobile numbers 0927-5582656 and 0928-5081057 or Vanessa Marquez, PIAF deputy festival manager at 527-2209 or 0918-6380412. Call also 527-2192 (local 612 to 615), e-mail at, or visit or

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