February may be the month for lovers, but it is also National Arts Month (NAM), which the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) celebrates with festivities that began during the last week of January and will spill over into March.
Celebrations include Visayas Regional Celebration and Sayaw Pinoy, Roxas City, Capiz (Feb.15-18); and Mindanao Regional Celebration, Cagayan de Oro City (Feb. 20-22).
Theme of the celebration is “Ani ng Sining, Alab ng Sining” (Harvest of the Arts, Flame of Art).
NAM is organized by the NCCA Subcommission on the Arts, whose national committees cover the seven classical arts: architecture and allied arts, cinema, dance, literary arts, music, dramatic arts and visual arts. Each national committee will spearhead flagship projects in the three main island groups.
This was announced at a recent press launch at the NCCA office in Intramuros, Manila, led by NCCA chair Virgilio Almario, National Artist for Literature, and other officials.
A festive atmosphere reigned outside the building, with street dancers in native costumes and drummers stopping traffic and attracting the attention of passersby. Neighborhood children joined the fun, inspired by the TV cameras. Inside, there were performances in song and dance, but the one who stole the show was a ventriloquist, Ony Mercado, who kept up an amusing dialogue with a precocious puppet-mascot whom he introduced as “my student Nonoy.”
Ongoing is a forum cum exhibit to raise awareness and appreciation of Philippine architecture, which went to Bacolod City on the first week of February).
It will be in Baguio City and Davao City (second week of the month), Cabanatuan City (third week) and Batangas (fourth week).
Cinema, dance and music
This year’s Cinema Rehiyon Film Festival, a noncompetitive event which highlights some of the best works in the regions, usually in the local languages, will this time make the rounds of universities in Metro Manila.
“Sayaw Pinoy,” a traveling dance concert which brings together different dance forms (classical ballet, folk-contemporary-modern dance) will tour selected venues in Metro Manila and then go to various towns in Capiz and Surigao, and to Davao City.
“Maartext” blends literature with other arts through the spoken word, dance, music, theater performances, writing workshops, lectures and exhibits. This will be held in Bicol, Baguio City, Tacloban City, Pampanga, Cebu and Aklan.
“Musicapuluan” is a music festival with performances, workshops and lectures that celebrates local music. It will be held in Quezon City, Catbalogan City, Cebu City, Dumaguete City and Davao City.
The festival ends with Ani ng Dangal awarding ceremonies which honors artists who have received international awards and acclaim. (Call 09285081057.)
During the press launch, Almario unveiled a long tarpaulin titled “Mindanao-Sulu Timeline 2017 Pilot Edition,” which documented key events in the region, including the Ampatuan massacre “Ito ay larawan nating lahat (This is a portrait of all of us),” he declared. —CONTRIBUTED