Philippine Arts Festival 2014

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Thursday, February 27, 2014

THE month of February is almost over. It is our Philippine Arts Festival Month. It is the only national arts festival that cuts across architecture, cinema, dance, literature, music, theater, and visual arts.
The festival is about art diversity.

The official logo has been designed by two artists, Pandy Aviado and Peewee Roldan. It is inspired by the traditional “ukkil” floral motif of the peoples of the Sulu Archipelago. It is a stylized plant sprout symbolizing the blossoming of Philippine arts. The theme song is “Sining ng Pinoy” performed by NCCA Ambassador for Music Sarah Geronimo and young singer Denise Barbacena.

The NCCA envisions Filipino culture to be the wellspring of national and global well-being. Its official emblem is “Alab ng Haraya” or “The Flame of Imagination,” a symbol where the fire speaks of two things: as a stylized letter K it is about “kadakilaan” or greatness, while the fire in itself represents the highest level of imagination that the Filipino is capable of. The fire stands on three tiers of a censer, which stand for organization, economic support, and a rootedness in tradition and history.


Architecture on the edge is dealing with artifact and sensibility which among others take into consideration Philippine building typology that also includes sheltering the modern spirit. It also includes pioneer and modernist iconoclast, urban spaces, society and culture. For cinema, the focus was on regional films that we rarely see in mainstream theaters.

The films contain local lore and color and highlights truths and struggles of the marginalized. Here in Negros “Pureza” by Jay Abello awakens our hibernating consciousness in sugar industry. This is always channeled through “Cinema Rehiyon.” The trend now is on filmmakers educating communities about disaster risk reduction and management, climate change, environmental protection and preservation.

“Sayaw Pinoy” took center stage and gained popularity. For the Filipinos, dance is an effective way to express themselves, their ways of life, traditions, desires, wishes, and aspirations. The pinnacle of dance as an art is the collaboration and creativity of the different dance companies. The performing artists in their outreach program have permeated even unconventional venues.

The dramatic arts accepted the challenge of socio-cultural engagement.

The thespians develop theater workshops, cultural dialogue and encounters to create modes of cultural action that will jumpstart a new outlook in life and revive the culture-based livelihood. Here in Region 6, this was artistically presented during the “Kasadyahan Festival” in Iloilo sponsored by the Dinagyang Foundation and the Department of Tourism Region 6. The streets of Iloilo City became the moving stage.

Literary art was able to reach its peak in Subic, Zambales during the “Taboan: The Philippine Writers Festival.” This coming together of various writers from various generations and diverse practices hope to create a truly national character for Philippine literature. The Plenary Session was timely, “Panitikan sa Panahon ng Delubyo: The Literature of Disaster” by Virgilio Almario and Bienvenido Lumbera. Both are national artists for Literature.

Music took its form in “Taal-Tunugan.” In Western Visayas, Maasin provides a venue for the participants. This musical convergence opts to bring our significant Philippine music forms beyond geographic and cultural limits. The urgency is to have vocal forms in vernacular. This could be adopted by K to 12 curriculum in the Mother Tongue Presentation. Here, we can have the revival of tribal chants and yodels.

Visual art was on changing lives. In Yolanda-stricken areas, visual art should provide communities the capacity to rebuild what was destroyed.

Even DOT-Western Visayas hurled the slogan, “Bangon Western Visayas.” The province of Capiz accepted the challenge and literally rises from where it falls. Art therapy for healing workshop becomes a “must do activity.”

Philippines Arts Festival 2014 is about celebrating the best things that happened in the past and engaging with the new. Artists bridge differences and unify hearts. The festival is a total celebration of faith on what Filipinos can do. There are great challenges and there are also great artists to meet the challenges.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 27, 2014.


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