In the balmy coastal town of Santa Monica is fabled Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte, with its foaming waters for surfing and seaside rock formations for diving. The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) recently held three-day workshops here for the seven lively arts: architecture and allied arts, cinema, dance, dramatic arts, literary arts, music and visual arts.
The arts festival was titled “Amping Sining” (Embrace Art) and was held with the support of the municipal government headed by Mayor Fernando Dolar.
“We chose Santa Monica because it has never been a recipient of an NCCA grant,” said Ferdinand Isleta, head of NCCA’s art section. “We want to reach out to the communities.”
The principal facilitators were Rogelio Caringal (architecture), Teddy Co (cinema), Dessa Quesada-Palm, actress-singer and Peta alumna (theater), Hope Sabanpan-Yu of the Cebuano Studies Center (literature), Mauricia Borromeo (music), Zenaida Halili (dance) and social realist painter Edgar Fernandez (visual arts).
The stress was on local cultural identity, and workshop participants consisted mostly of students and teachers.
The allied arts workshop participants came out with recycled (or “upcycled” as they termed it) waste materials transformed into useful objects.
The cinema workshop sought to turn the students into young filmmakers, and the result was shown right there on the stage screen.
The dance workshop seemed to have the largest participants. The theater workshop involved choreography and stylized movements, with the performers acting out scenes from folklore.
The literature workshop came out with two winners, in my estimation: an essay read by a scholarly-looking girl, and a short story performed by a young man with brio. The output of the visual arts workshop was also impressive: two murals which were painted right there on the left and right side of the stage.
It was quite an event for Santa Monica, “sleepy” yet progressive town, the residents speaking four languages (Surigaonon, Binisaya, Filipino and English). The modules should ensure a multiplier effect for the teachers, students and out-of-school youth of the scenic town. —CONTRIBUTED