|CUERDAS S PAGKAKAYSA|
During its 53rd regular session, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Quezon City passed the Ordinance No. SP-1662 as introduced by Councilors Rommel Abesamis, Jorge Banal Jr., Winston Castelo, Elizabeth Delarmente, Bernadette Herrera Dy, Victor Ferrer Jr., Allan Butch Francisco, Bayani Hipol, Edcel Lagman Jr., Wencerom Benedict Lagumbay, Antonio Inton, Jr., Restituto Malangen, and Ramon Medalla.
It is in response not only to the Department of Interior and Local Government's Memorandum Circular No.2002-61 stating the need to create bodies at the local levels Council for Culture and Arts – but also to Local Government Code's Section 16 providing that the local government units playing an important role in the development, promotion, and preservation of Filipino culture as well as Sections 447, and 468 vesting the local sanggunians the power to establish local councils whose purpose is the promotion of culture and the arts.
Thus, the concept of having the Quezon City Culture and Arts Council (QCCAC) was approved in 2006 – on 13 March exactly but the Quezon City Council okayed it in its third and final reading on 20 March.
As early as last year, Dr. Antoinette Bass-Hernandez had been inviting us to the QCCAC meeting with Mayor Herbert Bautista and private sector representatives -- no less than National Artist Virgilio Almario, Dean Ramon Santos, Susan Macabuag, Myra Beltran, Bong de la Torre and Tom Adviento, among others. On 11 January, Hon. Bautista formally appointed his Vice Mayor, Ma. Josefina “Joy” Belmonte-Alimurung, as the QCCAC Chairperson. We witnessed it together with Raffy Chico (Quezon City Tourism Council); Rosario Yara (Cultural Tourism Affairs Office); Tomasito Cruz (City Planning and Development Office); Greg Banacia (Public Affairs and Information Services Office); Marian Orayani (City Budget Office); and Alnasser Kasim (Muslim Consultative Council).
Next month QCCAC will turn five.
However, Mayor Bautista, an award-winning artist, or artista, himself who was the Presiding Officer then, deemed it necessary to launch it tomorrow.
Finally, along with other National Arts Month festivities as per Presidential Proclamation No. 683 in 1991, this fiesta will be highlighted by two events at the Quezon City Underpass: the oath-taking ceremonies of QCCAC members at 2 p.m. and the strings concert at 4 p.m.
Dubbed as Cuerdas sa Pagkakaysa (Strings of Unity), the 3rd International Rondalla Festival has its delegates traveling and transporting us through their music from its first leg on 12 to 19 February in Tagum City, Davao del Norte to its last leg at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City beginning today until Thursday.
After Cuerdas Nin Kagabsan and Cuerdas sa Panaghiusa: the 1st and 2nd International Rondallafestivals in Naga City (2004) and in Dumaguete City (2007), it has involved international contingents artists’ groups from Australia, Indonesia (North Sumatra), Iran, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Myanmar, Russia,Singapore, Thailand, and the United States. The Philippines is partly assisted by the UNESCO program on Cultural Diversity and the International Musical Council’s ManyMusics Action Programme on Sustaining and Enhancing Musical Diversity. And being the main convenor and founder, our beloved country has been designated as the permanent base of this international cultural feast. Actually, all the aforementioned achievements can be attributed to the initiative of Dr. Santos, its Festival Director, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts' National Committee on Music.
For his part, its incumbent head, Joey Ayala, who migrated from Davao City to Quezon City, has been doing his share in keeping our music tradition alive.
A rockstar in his own right, he gained popularity in popularizing indigenous music as well as musicians through a concert tour Organik Muzik produced by the Tag-ani Performing Arts Society. On its third year, it has been making waves bringing in together Maryjane Alejo, Onie Badiang, Popong Landero, Tapati Tarongoy, Chong Tengasantos, and other pop musicians who performed on 8 February at lobby of the Cultural Center of the Philippines's Main Theater; on 11 February at the Matina Town Square in Davao City; and on 20 February at the Capitol Park Square in Puerto Princesa City.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Edsa Revolution, Organik Muzik will visit on 25 February, at 8 p.m. at the world-class Silliman University's Luce Auditorium in Dumaguete City, where the World Rondalla Society was formed after a Congress.
One of salient features of Organik Muzik is that it goes beyond organic and music.
Personally, we experienced it with Teo Antonio and Mike Coroza when they included Balagtasan in the first Organik Muzik as part of the National Capital Region run in a “raplagtasan” with the Radioactive Sago Project and O.G. Sacred and other rappers from Jim Libiran's Tribu. Organik Muzik 2 was all about our collaboration with Joey Ayala and some of the country’s best contemporary music artists like Cynthia Alexander, Junior Kilat, Sigaw ng Tundo, and, again, Radioactive Sago Project who turned our poems about rice into songs. The said Palay, Bigas, Kanin collaboration was taken to academic institutions where our poetry was re-interpreted by teachers and students. Their outputs, in the end, were staged in different schools in Tagum City, Iloilo City, Baguio City, and Manila in 2010.
Once more, after two years, Kutyapi master Samaon Sulaiman of Maguindanao is back in Organik Muzik 3 with Yakan kulintang virtuoso Uwang Ahadas of Basilan. Both of them are recipients of the Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan like Alonzo Saclag of Lubuagan.
Also known as GAMABA , it began as a Philippine Rotary Club Makati-Ayala project in 1992 but, eventually, the government took over to institutionalize it via Republic Art No. 7335. So far, GAMABA has acknowledged folk and indigenous artists as our National Living Treasures. In 1993, honored together with Samaon Sulaiman were Ginaw Bilog, a Hanunoo Mangyan poet renowned as a master of the Ambahan poetry, and Masino Intaray, a Palaw'an epic chanter and storyteller recognized for his outstanding mastery of instruments like basal, kulilal and bagit. In 1998, two weavers were revered: Lang Dulay, a T'boli traditional weaver of "tinalak" as well as Salinta Monon, a Tagabanwa-Bagobo traditional weaver of inabal. In 2005, two more weavers were respected: Darhata Sawabi, a Tausug weaver of pis syabit as well as Haja Amina Appi, a Sama weaver of mats with her signature sasa andkima-kima; and Eduardo Mutuc, a Kapampangan artist from Apalit who is into religious and secular art in silver, bronze, and wood. In 2000, it was poets and musicians' turn again with Federico Caballero, a Sulod-Bukidnon epic chanter from Kalinog, Iloilo who recorded the epics of his people; and, of course, Alonzo Saclag, who is not just great as a Kalinga musician but also as a dancer and a performer of rituals, and Uwang Ahadas, who is virtuoso player of the kwintangan, kayu, and tuntungan too.
Tomorrow, at 1p.m., National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera will talk about Francisco Balagtas while Dr. Mohammad Ali Savadi will tackle Persian poet Hafez. Sponsored by the Likhaan: U.P. Institute of Creative Writing and the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, it will be held at the Faculty Center, U.P. Diliman. Stones-throw away, at the Vargas Museum, twisted artists will open their exhibit billed asTopak: All In The Mind, at 4p.m.
Tomorrow, too, Tupada Action and Media Arts (TAMA) will have DisKURSO # 2 with Jose Tence Ruiz, at La Salle Lipa in Batangas. Ronaldo Ruiz will conduct a workshop and will perform with Boyet de Mesa and the TAMA Core Artists. Then, DisKURSO # 3 on 24 February at the Technological University of the Philippines, Manila with Italian artist Daniela Beltrani and Marlon Magbanua who will perform with Jason Lim of Singapore. TAMA is based in Samba-Likhaan Artists' Community in Cathedral Heights, Quezon City.
The song most sung in the Philippines is not Lupang Hinirang, our national anthem. But the Happy Birthday Song.