The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) has taken a major step in strengthening linkages and cooperation with educational institutions, nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and local governments all over the country.
Key areas of the partnership include training and apprenticeship, touring and move-over productions, sharing of resource materials; access to arts and cultural information, venues and facilities; and participation in major cultural events.
The project, known as Kaisa sa Sining: the CCP Regional Art Centers and University Art Associates, has been launched through the CCP’s Cultural Exchange Department headed by Carmencita Bernardo.
A three-year Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the CCP recently between CCP president Raul Sunico and vice president Chris Millado, and the various heads of organizations in the regions.
Enlivening the launching were performers from Barasoain Kalinangan Foundation in Bulacan, with actors portraying Ibarra and Elias in a “Noli” musical; dancers from Iligan City, and a rock band from Tagum City. The dancers, in white robes, interpreted the poem “Origami” by Marjorie Evasco.
Pilot sites include the following: St. Louis University, Baguio City; City Government of Batangas, Barasoain Kalinangan Foundation in Malolos City, Bulacan; Negros Cultural Foundation, Bacolod City; Central Philippine University, Iloilo City; Silliman University, Dumaguete City; Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, Iligan City; Musikahan sa Tagum Foundation, Tagum City; and Arts and Sciences Educators’ Association-Culture & the Arts Region 10 (Northern Mindanao).
With the signing of the memorandum and the partnership with the CCP, the various organizations and the local governments across the country now have an opportunity to bring their own shows and traditional art to the CCP once a year.
In a talk with media just before the signing, Batangas City tourism officer Eduardo Borbon said young Batangueños “are less aware of the traditional arts, which have long been forgotten, and are more into animé, and that is why we are reviving and modernizing these arts. It is time for young Batangueños to go back to their roots.”
Borbon added that one of these arts is the traditional subli dance, “which is now more advanced and not just in textbooks and in the memory of the elderly. The city is a real center for the arts in the region.”
Anita Llenberger of the Central Philippine University (CPU) in Iloilo said: “We are revitalizing and strengthening our heritage. The youth should have a historical sense. We have heritage houses and churches, festivals in the region which are our culture, a big auditorium at CPU with a seating capacity of 2,000, the Handbell Choir, the CPU Chorale, and other choirs and performers in other universities.”
Lucio Jamera of Tagum City in Davao del Norte said the city has 6,000 musical pieces and these are performed by children who have also been invited abroad.
“We have musical festivals by the indigenous, the community, Muslims and even the gay community because they have an important role to play in art and culture, also dance festivals, cultural performers and artworks,” he noted.
Jamera observed that Tagum was the crossroads to Bukidnon and Surigao, and the city was rapidly expanding. “We are reaching out not just to the children but street sweepers and vendors as well,” he said. “They understand indigenous art, modern art.”
Exciting two-year course
Zayda Macarambon and Steven P.C. Fernandez of MSU-Institute of Technology in Iligan City waxed enthusiastic about a two-year course which will meet the needs of cultural workers in Mindanao. It is designed by Fernandez, working with a team, and is expected to start in June.
Fernandez, an artistic director and playwright, said the course has three phases: performance studies, creative writing and literature, and arts administration. “It’s a graduate course which is the first in the Philippines,” he added. “It’s for middle-level teachers in schools and local government workers who deal with festivals.”
There was a needs survey conducted about the project and the response was overwhelming, Macarambon said.