Six individuals were elevated to the pinnacle of artistic glory as President Benigno Aquino 3rd declared them National Artists of the Philippines in their respective fields.
They are Cirilo Bautista (Literature), Alice Reyes (Dance), Francisco Feliciano (Music), Ramon Santos (Music), Francisco Coching (Visual Arts), and Jose Maria Zaragoza (Architecture, Design, and Allied Arts).
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the declaration was made by virtue of Proclamation Nos. 807, 808, 809, 810, 811, and 812 signed and issued by President Aquino on Friday June 20, 2014.
The Order of National Artists was established under Proclamation No. 1001, s. 1972 to give appropriate recognition and prestige to Filipinos who have distinguished themselves and made outstanding contributions to Philippine Arts and Letters.
It is the highest state honor conferred on individuals deemed as having done much for their artistic field as recommended by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
Cirilo Bautista is a multi-awarded poet, fictionist, critic, and essayist whose body of works include Boneyard Breaking, Sugat ng Salita, The Archipelago, among others that has received various accolades from both here and abroad.
Alice Reyes is a dancer and choreographer who founded Ballet Philippines in 1969, which is widely recognized today as a cornerstone of the Filipino cultural identity and is known globally as the country’s flagship company in ballet and contemporary dance.
Francisco Feliciano is one of the country’s most important composers and one of Asia’s leading figures in liturgical music who has created more than 30 major works that include operas and music dramas and hundreds of liturgical pieces, mass settings, hymns, and songs for worship.
Ramon Santos is a world-renowned Filipino composer whose works have been performed in major music festivals around the world. He has also done extensive studies in Philippine traditional music and Southeast Asian and Southern China music.
Francisco V. Coching was an illustrator and writer regarded by many as one of the pillars of the Philippine comic book industry. He was the man behind popular comic book characters Pedro Penduko and Hagibis that graced the pages of Liwayway magazine.
Jose Maria Zaragoza was considered a major figure in the architectural development of the Philippines. Among the places he designed were the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City, St. John Bosco Parish Church in Makati, and the Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Posadas Village, Muntinlupa.
Coloma said President Aquino will confer the Order of the National Artist on these individuals in an appropriate ceremony in Malacañang. The artist’s Francisco V. Coching and Jose Maria Zaragoza will both be awarded posthumously.