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Asia’s ‘Living Treasures’ named

The National Commission for Arts and Culture (NCCA) feted master artisans and culture bearers in the First Ceremony for Commemoration of the Asian Human Living Treasures held from May 20 to 21 at the Manila Hotel in Manila, Philippines. The event highlighted the Asian indigenous cultures and traditions.

The event included an exhibit of traditional cultures and crafts, talks and lectures by
experts, a cultural tour, and an awarding ceremony for Asian master culture bearers.

The opening ceremony opened with a ritual performed by a T’boli group of southern Mindanao. Laura del Rosario, undersecretary for International Economic Relations of the Department of Foreign Affairs, delivered the welcome remarks, while NCCA Chairman Felipe De Leon Jr. gave the opening message. Sen. Loren Legarda, meanwhile, delivered the keynote speech and led in the opening of the exhibit.

A conference followed the opening ceremony and exhibit inauguration. Topics tackled included: “Philippine Initiative for the Conservation of the Philippine Indigenous Culture” by Chairman De Leon; “Human Living Treasures and Country Efforts in the Preservation and Promotion of Traditional Crafts” by anthropologist and NCCA consultant Dr. Jesus Peralta; “ Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan: Philippine Recognition for the Traditional Artists” by Corazon Alvina, committee member of the Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan; and “Human Living Treasures and Country Efforts in the Preservation and Promotion of Traditional Crafts” by Dr. Supanee Chayabutra, associate professor of the ASEAN handicraft Promotion and Development Association of Thailand.

The awarding ceremony was held on the last day. Twenty traditional artists and cultural masters from all over Asia were recognized, including  J.A.D.G.D. Jayanisha from Sri Lanka; Kongthong Nanthayongduoangsy from Laos; Mao Mon from Cambodia; Lam Kezang Chhoepel from Bhutan; Nguyen Mai Hahn from Vietnam; Mohamed Al-Balushi from Qatar; Mostafa Akhavass from Iran; Pranom Thapaeng from Thailand; Farhat Shahid from Pakistan; Shri Mohan Lal Soni from India; Lucky Wijayanti from Indonesia; Nik Rahiman Nik Idris from Malaysia; and Abdulaziz Arti from Kuwait.

They will be joined by the seven living Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan of the Philippines: T’boli weaver Lang Dulay; Kalinga musician and dancer Alonzo Saclag; Panay Bukidnon chanter Federico Caballero; Yakan musician Uwang Ahadas; Pampangan metalsmith Eduardo Mutuc; Ilocano casque maker Teofilo Garcia; and Ilocano weaver Magdalena Gamayo.

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