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Enriching and colorful showcases of the seven fields of the arts are expected on February 2010 as the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), led by its Chairman Vilma Labrador and Executive Director Cecile Guidote Alvarez, through Ricardo de Ungria, Commissioner of the NCCA Sub-commission on the Arts (SCA), revs up effort for the Philippine International Arts Festival (PIAF) to celebrate National Arts Month (NAM).

Now on its 19th year, Arts Month will bring together thousands of artists from all over the country to cultivate love for the arts and preserve culture in line with the UNESCO observance of the International Year of the Rapprochement of Cultures. It promises to be grand on visuals and enriching in the mind as well. As arts goes to key cities nationwide the festival, which has gone international, aims to instill the richness of Philippine tradition to all Filipinos. The international component is undertaken in liaison with the IAO led by Deputy Executive Director and Philippine ITI Secretary General Malou Jacob.

According to NCCA Executive Director Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, the Philippines, under the leadership of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, holds the honor of being dubbed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as the 1st Culture Capital of Asean for 2010 and 2011. In 2007, the Philippines successfully hosted the heads of states summit in Cebu. Likewise, the Philippine International Theater Center, with the support from the Asean Director General and NCCA, organized the Regional Millennium Development Goals Performance and Media Arts workshop from Ancestral Roots to New Routes of Artistic Expression.

The NCCA chaired by Education Undersecretary Dr. Vilma Labrador has been bringing the “Ani ng Sining” celebrations to different agencies and institutions around the country since 2005 as an avenue for the application of culture as a force for education and a vehicle for social transformation

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 will 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.
At the forefront and 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, headed by De Ungria, who is also NAM festival director, 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, performances and recognition of prominent Visayan writers, among others. 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 Mike 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 and cities. To be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), Cinema Rehiyon will show cinematic expressions from Bacolod, Baguio, Bohol, Calabarzon, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Naga, Pampanga, Pangasinan, and Samar.

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
The National Committee on Architecture and Allied Arts, led by its vice head, architect Gerard Lico, will be mounting several exhibits in different venues highlighting architecture and its role and connection in Philippine life. “Archi(Types/Text): Architecture in Philippine Life” features nine different exhibits that tackle “landscape and urban planning, painting and photography, cinema and postcards” and recognizes notable works and contributions done by architect and painter Andres Luna de San Pedro. The committee also decided to feature the Vargas Collection at the Vargas Museum, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. Other exhibits include “Imperial Reproduction: Imagining the Philippines in Color,” “Imperial Gaze: Representations of Far Zamboanga in Colonial Photography,” “Manila and the River that Runs Through It,” “Deco Decadence: Philippine Art Deco Architecture,” “Philippine Landscape and Urban Planning 1900-1960,” and “Pa(ng)labas = architecture + cinema.” The exhibits will happen mostly in different venues in Metro Manila with one in Cebu.

Collegiate Drama in Tanghal!
The NCCA Committee on Dramatic Arts, headed by Glecy Atienza, 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.

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.

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 in late February at the Shangri-la Plaza mall in Mandaluyong City, and in March in Boracay Island, Aklan.

Old and New, All Over the Country
Aside from these flagship projects, the NCCA has given grants to different organizations to implement their own projects ranging from exhibits to performances all over the country. Check out PIAF Web site for listing and schedules.

Every year, the celebration of the National Arts Month has been getting grander. Indeed, this year’s celebration promises to be dynamic, exciting and enriching.

The University of the East Chorale

The Polytechnic University of the Philippines Dance Company

The Kislap Sining Dance Troupe

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