Monday, January 12, 2009


When Philippine High School for the Arts Advisory Council Chair Nestor Jardin, president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, called for an emergency meeting, little did we know that it was about the resignation of incumbent PHSA Director Florina Castillo.

Health is the culprit, she said in her letter, so we could no longer disagree with her, the former grade school principal since 1983 at the St. Scholastica's College where she was recognized with the 2004 Pax Award!

All at once, we unanimously voted for Dean Raul Sunico to compose not an aria for her but the search committee (with Denisa Reyes, Charito Peralta, and the PHSA Selection Board for Level III Position as its Secretariat) for someone who could follow beyond the foot of Mt. Makiling the footsteps of its former mother/father.

Like the late architect Honrado Fernandez who shared PHSA's selflessness: "We’re all about nation-building. We are developing a cadre of talented young artists, and part of the school’s curriculum is to have them regularly go out and share their talents with the rest of the country, or other countries. Upon invitation, we perform in other schools, or in exhibitions, and we hold regular workshops."

Or actor Fernando Josef who would temporarily serve as officer-in-charge (after resigning as CCP vice president and artistic director when its Board denied the request of an artists' group to stage a fund-raising concert for the “sanctuary fund” of national broadband network corruption scandal witness Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada).

At this point, PHSA is literally in the thick of Mariang Makiling's clouds.

While looking for a perfect big boss, PHSA is searching for future big sisters/brothers, too, in the mold of writer Nick Pichay, ballerina Ardee Dionisio, pianist Rowena Arrieta, singer/songwriter Grace Nono, actress Leila Florentino, visual artist Nina Ricci Alagao, filmmaker Raymond Red, or the ethnic boyband Makiling Ensemble, to name a few, as it opens the 2009 Annual Nationwide Search for Young Arts Scholars (ANSYAS).

This 31-year old government-run school provides specialized studies for creative and artistic expressions in the following disciplines:
  1. Creative Writing (Fiction, Poetry, Playwriting, and Journalism in English and Filipino);
  2. Dance (Classical Ballet, Modern Dance, Philippine Folk Dance, Dance Composition and Staging);
  3. Music (Solo Voice/Solo Instrument, Theory, Composition, and Ensemble Classes (Chorus and Chamber);
  4. Theater Arts (Acting, Production Management, Technical Theater, History of the Theater, Theater Theory and Directing);
  5. Visual Arts (Visual Perception, Sculpture, Art Appreciation, Studio Painting, Materials and Techniques, Figuration, Pottery, and Printmaking)

Created within the mountaintop National Arts Center in Los Baños, Laguna on 11 June 1977 by the Marcoses, it has been accepting only a limited number of freshies with annual intake of 40 to 50 students to ensure a more individualized and differentiated academic and arts training programs possible.

Application forms and the list of requirements per discipline are downloadable from the PHSA website then you can send them directly to ANSYAS 2009 care of Assistant Director Reynaldo O. Wong.

For inquiries, please email or call telefax: (+6349)5365971 to 73 and 5362862. They must be received by the ANSYAS Committee on or before 30 September 2008 for Luzon applicants; 15 October 2008 for Visayas applicants; and 30 October 2008 for applicants from Mindanao.

Last Friday, we got an invitation to tell a story via Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI)'s Read-Along at the Pan de Amerikana Restaurant in Marikina Heights, Marikina City and it gathered 6 to 13 year-old kids who received books donated by councilor Bong Ubaldo.

Honored were we, not only because we picked Dr. Luis Gatmaitan's Sandosenang Sapatos (a first-placer during the 2001 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards) and they gave us, as talent fees, Bristol shoes and boxes of 1950s pandesal, but by how motherly/fatherly they treated us.

By they, meaning our hosts: Cafe Kapitan proprietress Aurora Lim; Marikina Zonta Club's Jeanete Lee and her Red and Yellow Ladies; Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) and Marikina Cultural Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotions Office head Lea Astrud Santiago; tour guide Bong Francisco, and Aklat Adarna storyteller Dyali Justo who won third place, Filipino Category, in the recent Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) and National Book Development Board (NBDB) Salaysayan Storytelling Competition during the 29th Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) at the Mall of Asia SMX.

And by us, meaning other readers: May Tobias Papa, best-selling author of Araw sa Palengke, and Jeffrey Hidalgo, the actor/singer/producer/composer who's not an Anak ng Pasig but, actually, an Anak ng Marikina!

This story-reading session with a time for giving children reading tips is held normally twice a month, on every second and fourth Saturday of the month, usually at the PDI building in Makati City led by such Read-Along volunteers as Minerva Generalao, Ellen Caparros, Lawrence de Guzman, Medy Gregorio, Ruth Navarra, Kate Pedroso, among others.

But last week was special since it was the first partnership of the PDI and the City Government of Marikina who hopes that the Read-Along will mark the start of a long-term program to promote reading among the young in every barangay.

Their formula is simple: teach mothers and fathers how to read and everything great will follow.
Say, free books from Adarna Publishing House Inc.!

Later that day, Tatay ng Bayan Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera, National Artist for Literature, delivered his lecture titled Si Lope K. Santos at ang Banaag at Sikat at the Pulungang Claro M. Recto, Bulwagang Rizal, University of the Philippines Diliman.

During the UP Likhaan's Centennial Panayam Series – the Institute of Creative Writing launched Anvil Publishing Inc.'s reprint of Banaag at Sikat, hailed as Santos' obra maestra and the Bible of the working Filipino and its workshop journal Poetika at Pulitika ng Malikhaing Pagsulat -- a collection of excerpts from the essays of Fellows UP National Writers Workshop from 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008.

The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.

It is nice to have shadows that run when you run, laugh when you laugh, and dance when you dance. For you only have shadows when your life is filled with light.

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