It’s all about creativity and the arts this February as the whole nation celebrates National Arts Month (NAM).
Being the country’s prime government agency for arts and culture, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA)—led by its chairman and National Artist Virgilio Almario, executive director Rico Pableo, and deputy executive director Marichu Tellano—is spearheading numerous events and activities to celebrate the seven arts with the theme “Ani ng Sining, Alab ng Sining” (Harvest of the Arts, Flame of Art).
The theme emphasizes the bounty of artistic endeavors in the Philippines and the passion of Filipino artists and cultural workers.
“NCCA’s NAM celebration will offer a wide array of events and activities that will show the diversity and richness of Filipino creative expressions,” NCCA’s Subcommission on the Arts (SCA) Commissioner Teddy Co noted.
The SCA’s seven national committees—Architecture, Cinema, Dance, Literary Arts, Music, Dramatic Arts and Visual Arts—will each have flagship projects headlining NAM events that will transpire all over the country.
The National Committee on Architecture and Allied Arts, headed by architect Rogelio Caringal, will present “Loob at Labas: Talakayan at Pagpaparangya,” an exhibit and forum which will travel around the country to enhance appreciation and awareness on Philippine architecture. After visiting Bacolod City, Negros Occidental on the first week of February, the traveling exhibit will head to Baguio City and Davao City on the second; Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, on the third; and Batangas on the fourth.
Meanwhile, the National Committee on Cinema will hold the tenth installment of Cinema Rehiyon Film Festival, a non-competition film festival which highlights some of the best works in the regions. 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. Over the years, Cinema Rehiyon has been held in different parts of the country. This year, it will make the rounds in universities in Metro Manila from February 25 to March 1.
The National Committee on Dance, headed by Shirley Halili-Cruz, will once again amaze the public with the traveling dance concert series “Sayaw Pinoy.” The dance tour brings together classical ballet, folk dance, contemporary and modern dance, among many other forms, with top dance companies performing local troupes of host cities and municipalities.
Sayaw Pinoy is the longest-running dance event of the country and has proven, over the years, itself to be the most attended of NAM events. It will go around Metro Manila, around the different municipalities of Capiz, in Surigao and in Davao City.
Then there’s the National Committee on Dramatic Arts, headed by Rossana Palm, which will hold Tampok, convergences in the regions to gather and document the pioneers and key theater practitioners. Workshops and performances will be conducted in Baguio from the February 15 to 17; Bacolod from the February 23 to 25; and NCR and ARMM from the February 26 to 28.
Moreover, the National Committee on Literary Arts, headed by Hope Yu, will be holding “Philippines with Maartext: National Arts Month Celebration,” an interdisciplinary arts festival that connects audiences and artists through spoken word, dance, music, theatrical performances, writing workshops, lectures, exhibits and more.
Maartext aims to engage the public with artists and their art works while participating in conversations and celebrations that further boost the artistic spirit of the Filipino community. Throughout February, Maartext events will be held in the Bicol Region; Baguio City; Tacloban City in Leyte; Pampanga; Cebu; and Aklan.
Mauricia Borromeo and her National Committee on Music is conducting “Musicapuluan: Music of the Philippine Islands,” a music festival with performances, lectures and workshops that will celebrate local music.
Musicapuluan will be at the Quezon City Memorial Circle on February 25; in Catbalogan, Cebu, and Siliman University and Dumaguete on February 22 and 24; and Davao City by the end of February.
Finally, the National Committee on Visual Arts, headed by Edgar Talusan Fernandez, successfully mounted the Philippine Visual Arts Festival Santiago City, Isabela, from February 1 to 3. Workshops, art talks, exhibits and numerous activities highlighted the works of visual artists around the country.
As a tradition, the NCCA’s NAM celebration will close with Ani ng Dangal awarding ceremonies. The Ani ng Dangal (Harvest of Honors) Awards recognizes artists who have earned international awards and accolades during the past year.
The annual celebration of National Arts Month started with the signing of Presidential Proclamation 683, in 1991, declaring February as National Arts Month. Over the years, NCCA, as well as private and government agencies, has been organizing events and activities to highlight the artistic brilliance of the Filipinos.