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Posted by Dexter Matilla - - 0 comments

By Dexter R. Matilla
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:22:00 01/26/2009

Filed Under: Arts (general), Culture (general), Government

THE National Arts Month (NAM), renamed the Philippine International Arts Festival, opens with a bang Feb. 1 in three sites.

According to Shirley Halili Cruz, head of the National Committee on Dance of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the festival will be launched in colorful activities on “Sining Gising,” NCCA’s TV show on NBN 4; in a noontime variety show on another TV network; and at Concert at the Park.

But the festival has really been going on since Jan. 13. That day, the festival began its celebration at the Clamshell Tent 2 in Intramuros Manila as part of the 18-day countdown to the National Arts Month 2009.

NAM began 18 years ago when then President Corazon Aquino signed Presidential Proclamation No. 683, designating February each year as NAM.

During the start of the countdown, artists sang, danced, played musical instruments, read poetry and painted on the spot.

Performers included Chin Chin Gutierrez, Joey Ayala, Bayang Barrios, Catherin Loria, Cercado Sisters, Quezon City Ballet, Halili Cruz Dance Company, Ramon Magsaysay High School Chorale, Karangahan Philippine Dance Company, Teatro Marikeno, Pamanadanse, and Zimon’s Percussions.

The official jingle for the festival, composed by Joey Ayala, was also played.

Present during the event were NCCA chair and Education Undersecretary Vilma Labrador; NCCA executive director Cecile Guidote-Alvarez; and NCCA commissioner Ricardo de Ungria, chair of the NCCA Subcommission on the Arts and overall chair of the 2009 NAM.

Also present were Halili Cruz; Egai Talusan Fernandez, head of the NCCA Committee on Visual Arts; Gerard Lico, vice head of the Committee on Architecture and Allied Arts; Teddy Co, vice head of the Committee on Cinema; and Eduardo Perez Jr., vice head of the Committee on Dramatic Arts.

With the annual theme “Ani ng Sining” (Harvest of the Arts), the PIAF will be a countrywide celebration with key events involving hundreds of artists from different disciplines, reaching people from all walks of life.

Multidisciplinary event

The activities include “PA(ng)LABAS,” a multidisciplinary show that combines a traveling exhibition, lecture forum and film showing. It will examine both film and architecture, the title referring to both the concepts of projected moving image (palabas) and the exteriority of architecture (panglabas).

It will take place on Feb. 10, 4 p.m., with a symposium at Forefront Gallery and Aldaba Hall University Theater of University of the Philippines-Diliman; and Feb. 17-21 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Vernacular architecture

The “Walai-Vernacular Architecture of Mindanao” is an architectural drawing and photography exhibit of the vernacular houses of Mindanao culled from the Walai Pangampong project. It is complemented with a lecture series, ritual dances and craft works associated with house building and construction, and a model replica of indigenous structure.

It is slated Feb. 6-13 in General Santos City and Feb. 20-28 at University of San Agustin, Iloilo City.


Meanwhile, Sinerehiyon will showcase emerging cinema from the different regions in the Philippines—from the hinterlands in and around Baguio to Naga City in Bicol; Cebu, Bacolod and Iloilo in the Visayas; and Cagayan de Oro and Davao City in Mindanao.

The festival, a showcase of a new generation of artists telling stories of their own cultures and people in cinematic form, will run Feb. 18-22 at the CCP.

Sayaw Pinoy

Sayaw Pinoy will be a touring dance concert that brings together different dance forms. It features dance troupes of the host cities and municipalities performing back to back with professional dance companies.

It will run Feb. 6-9 in the Visayas and NCR; Feb. 13-16 in Mindanao; Feb. 20-23 in Luzon.

Dramafest at Letran-Calamba

Tanghal! The 3rd National University Theater Festival will be hosted by Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Calamba and will feature university-based theater groups from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and NCR in cooperation with Lusong Luzon Arts and Culture Network.

It will take place Feb. 10-14 on Letran’s spacious pastoral campus in Calamba, Laguna.

Writers’ fest

Taboan: Philippine Writers Festival will be a celebration of the word—written, painted, sung or performed—and will assemble writers from all regions and across generations. They will interact with one another and with their audience, tackling issues pertaining to their craft or the situation of writing in the country, and reading their new works.

This will be on Feb. 11-13 at UP Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University and Cubao Expo.

Music fest

Organik Muzik is a series of four concerts showing the metamorphosis of elements of Philippine music from village roots to urban variations, from Cordillera traditions to Kadangyan’s world music, from Leyteño siday to Junior Kilat’s reggae Binisaya, from the virtuoso kutyapi-playing of Gamaba (folk arts) awardee Samaon Sulaiman to the hard-driving neo-ethnic rock of Popong Landero, from the traditional Balagtasan to the acid-jazz rants of Lourd de Veyra and the Radioactive Sago Project.

Joey Ayala weaves the various musical traditions and idioms in a coherent whole during the concerts on Feb. 7 at SM Baguio; Feb. 15 at SM Cebu; Feb. 22 at SM Davao; and Feb. 28 at SM North Edsa, Quezon City.

Visual arts fest

Philippine Visual Arts Fest ’09 will gather Filipino and foreign artists in interactive art sessions and performance art. It will be held at Robinson’s Place in Ermita, Manila, and on Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong, Feb. 18-22.

The 17 regional schools for the arts of the Department of Education will gather for the 2nd Sining Pambansa in Baguio City for a conference. Keynote speaker is Malou Jacob, secretary-general of the International Theater Institute.

Under the Cultural Caregiving Program of the NCCA and the poverty-alleviation program of President Macapagal-Arroyo, the NCCA will sign a memorandum of agreement with the provincial government of Rizal, headed by Gov. Jun Ynares, for the establishment of the Artists’ Housing Village in Angono.

Also to be launched is the restoration of the Metropolitan Theater. Moreover, Urdaneta Park in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan, will be unveiled in commemoration of Fray Andres de Urdaneta’s 500th birth anniversary.

For more details, contact Rene Napeñas, head of the NCCA Public Affairs and Information Office at 0928-5081057; or Vanessa Marquez, NAM deputy festival manager, at 0918-6380412. You may also call (02) 5275529, 5272192 loc. 508, 612-615. E-mail or public_ Visit or

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