May is National Heritage Month. The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is celebrating with activities kicked off by a concert featuring popular, folk and classical music artists.
This was held recently on the grounds of the magnificent San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila, preceded by a dinner at nearby Barbara’s Restaurant with formally dressed NCCA staffers in attendance.
The heritage concert, held at the Unesco World Heritage Site, was known as “Taoid: Pamanang Pinoy.” It was in support of the 2014 Taoid Program Celebration. Taoid is an Ilocano word for “heritage.”
The concert also aimed to raise more funds for survivors of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” in Eastern Visayas.
Athlete and ABS-CBN actor Enchong Dee, NCCA’s 2014 Ambassador for Heritage, said he learned discipline as a swimmer. And he called for discipline in the preservation of our cultural heritage. While still in Bicol, Dee added, he became aware of the country’s heritage.
Performers were Aretha Angcao, Fr. Jonas Meires, Noel Cabangon, Joey Ayala, Philippine Madrigal Singers, the UP Singing Ambassadors and NCCA Rondalla. Program host was veteran actress-author Rustica Carpio.
The repertoire of the UP Singing Ambassadors included the Visayan “Pobreng Alindahaw,” the nostalgic “Maalaala Mo Kaya?” by Constancio de Guzman, and the soprano showpiece “Ang Maya” by José Estrella and Severino Reyes.
Ayala led off with one of his signature pieces, “Magkabilaan,” dealing with irony, two-sidedness, and contrasting social attitudes: “Ang katotohanan ay may dalawang mukha…”
To illustrate the meaning of his song, he pointed to San Agustin’s façade—” for some the church is a symbol of salvation, for others oppression.”
In another song, he paid tribute to what was “organic,” describing his piece as “an environmental love story,” but for some reason, singing it in a fake Americanized accent. The song “1896” was based on a poem by Maningning Miclat, reviewing the events leading to the Revolution: “Humele na, humele na, ang ating bayani sa España…”
Chart-busting Cabangon issued a stirring call to enrich the country’s “golden heritage,” for parents to give a good example to their children, and for children of the rich and poor to attain greatness: “Pagyamanin ang mga gintong pamana. Mayaman o dukha, kaya mo maging isang dakila.”