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Contemporary Arts in the Philippines 1
I. The Order of the National Artists
Established under Proclamation No. 1001, s. 1972, it is the highest national recognition given to
Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine
arts. The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Cultural Center of the
Philippines (CCP) administers the award. The president of the Philippines grants this award to a
person that is recommended by both institutions every three (3) years.
A. Objectives
The Order of National Artists aims to recognize:
1. Filipino artists who have made significant contributions to the cultural heritage of the
country.
2. Filipino artistic accomplishment at its highest level and to promote creative expression as
significant to the development of a national cultural identity.
3. Filipino artists who have dedicated their lives to their works to forge new paths and
directions for future generations of Filipino artists.
B. Criteria for Selection
The Order of National Artists shall be given to artists who have met the following criteria:
1. Living artists who are natural-born Filipino citizens at the time of nomination, as well as
those who died after the establishment of the award in 1972 but were Filipino citizens at
the time of their death. Filipinos who have lost and re–acquired Filipino citizenship,
through dual citizenship status for at least the minimum period of five years shall be eligible
for nomination.
2. Artists who through the content and form of their works have contributed in building a
Filipino sense of nationhood.
3. Artists who have pioneered in a mode of creative expression or style, thus, earning
distinction and making an impact on succeeding generations of artists.
4. Artists who have created a substantial and significant body of works and/or consistently
displayed excellence in the practice of their art form thus enriching artistic expression or
style.
5. Artists who enjoy broad acceptance through:
5.1 prestigious national and/or international recognition, such as the Gawad CCP Para sa
Sining, CCP Thirteen Artists Award, and NCCA Alab ng Haraya
5.2 critical acclaim and/or reviews of their works
5.3 respect and esteem from peers.
C. Honors and Privileges
1. The rank and title of National Artist, as proclaimed by the President of the Philippines;
2. The National Artist gold-plated medallion minted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)
and citation;
3. Lifetime emolument and material and physical benefits comparable in value to those
received by the highest officers of the land such as:
3.1. A minimum cash award of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00), net of taxes
for living awardees and a minimum cash award of One Hundred Fifty Thousand
Pesos (P150,000.00), net of taxes for posthumous awardees, payable to legal heir/s;
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3.2 A minimum lifetime personal monthly stipend of Thirty Thousand Pesos
(P30,000.00)
The above-mentioned privileges shall be given effective January 1, 2013.
3.2.1.1 Life insurance coverage for Awardees who are still insurable;
3.2.1.2 A State Funeral benefit not exceeding P500,000.00.
4. A place of honor, in line with protocular precedence, in state functions, national
commemoration ceremonies, and all other cultural presentations.
II. The National Artists (Source: ncca.gov.ph, 2015)
A. Architecture
1. National Capital Region
a. Pablo S. Antonio (1976)
Born in Binondo, Manila, he pioneered modern Philippine architecture. He
emphasizes function before elegance and the maximum use of natural light and
cross ventilation in his design.
Antonio’s major works include the following: Far Eastern University
Administration and Science buildings; Manila Polo Club; Ideal Theater; Galaxy
Theater; Capitan Luis Gonzaga Building; Boulevard-Alhambra apartments; and
Ramon Roces Publications Building.
b. Juan F. Nakpil (1973)
Born in Quiapo, Manila, he was known as the “Dean of Filipino Architects.” He
espoused architecture reflective of Philippine traditions and culture.
His major works are: Geronimo de los Reyes Building, Magsaysay Building, Rizal
Theater, Capitol Theater, Captain Pepe Building, Manila Jockey Club, Rufino
Building, Philippine Village Hotel, University of the Philippines Administration
and University Library, and the reconstructed Rizal house in Calamba, Laguna.
c. Ildefonso P. Santos (2006)
Born in Malabon, Manila, he is considered as the “Father of Philippine Landscape
Architecture.” His works include Tagaytay Highland resort; Mt. Malarayat Golf
and Country Club in Lipa, Batangas; and Orchard Gold and Country Club in Imus,
Cavite.
2. Region 3 – Central Luzon
a. Jose Maria V. Zaragoza (2014)
From Guagua, Pampanga, Zaragoza’s name became almost synonymous with
modern ecclesiastical architecture. His major works include Meralco Building,
Philbanking Building, Sto. Domingo Church and Convent, Metropolitan Cathedral
of Cebu City, Villa San Miguel Church in Mandaluyong.
3. Region 18 – Negros Island
a. Leandro V. Locsin (1990)
Born in Silay, Negros Occidental, he believes that the true Philippine Architecture
is “the product of two great streams of culture, the oriental and the occidental… to
produce a new object of harmony.” He used themes of floating volume, the duality
of light and heavy, and buoyant and massive in his major works.
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His largest single work is the Istana Nurul Iman, the palace of the Sultan of Brunei.
He designed the five buildings of the CCP Complex – the Cultural Center of the
Philippines, Folk Arts Theater, Philippine International Convention Center,
Philcite, and The Westin Hotel.
B. Visual Arts
1. National Capital Region
a. Fernando Amorsolo (1972)
Born in Paco, Manila, the “Grand Old Man of Philippine Art” was the first to be
awarded as National Artist in the country. The backlighting technique became his
trademark where the figures are seen aglow on canvas.
His major works include the following: Maiden in a Stream (1921), El Ciego
(1928), Dalagang Bukid (1936), The Meztiza (1943), Planting Rice (1946), and
Sunday Morning Going to Town (1958).
b. Cesar Legaspi (1990)
A pioneer “Neo-Realist” of the country, he is remembered for refining cubism in
the Philippine context. He made use of geometric fragmentation technique,
weaving social comment and juxtaposing the mythical and modern into his
overlapping, interacting forms with disturbing power and intensity.
Among his works are Gadgets I, Gadgets II, Diggers, Idols of the Third Eye,
Facade, Ovary, Flora and Fauna, Triptych, Flight, Bayanihan, Struggle, Avenging
Figure, Turning Point, Peace, The Survivor, and The Ritual.
c. Hernando Ocampo (1991)
A self-taught painter from Sta. Cruz, Manila, his canvases evoked the lush
Philippine landscape, its flora and fauna, under the sun and rain in fierce and bold
colors.
He also played a pivotal role in sustaining the Philippine Art Gallery, the country’s
first. His acknowledged masterpiece “Genesis” served as the basis of CCP Main
Theater’s curtain design. His other major works include Ina ng Balon, Calvary,
Slum Dwellers, Nude with Candle and Flower, Man and Carabao, Angel’s Kiss,
Palayok at Kalan, Ancestors, Isda at Mangga, The Resurrection, Fifty-three “Q”,
Backdrop, and Fiesta.
d. Arturo Luz (1997)
He established the Luz Gallery that professionalized the art gallery as an institution.
Among his other significant paintings are Bagong Taon, Vendador de Flores,
Skipping Rope, Candle Vendors, Procession, Self-Portrait, Night Glows, Grand
Finale, Cities of the Past, and Imaginary Landscapes. His mural painting Black and
White is displayed in the lobby of the CCP’s Bulwagang Carlos V. Francisco (Little
Theater). His sculpture of a stainless steel cube is located in front of the Benguet
Mining Corporation Building in Pasig.
e. Jose T. Joya (2003)
He pioneered abstract expressionism in the Philippines. He distinguished himself
by creating an authentic Filipino abstract idiom that transcended foreign influences.
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Most of his paintings of harmonious colors were inspired by Philippine landscapes
and his use of rice paper in collages placed value on transparency, a common
characteristic of folk art.
f. Benedicto Cabrera (2006)
He is from Malabon and has been noted as the best-selling painter of his generation
of Filipino artist.
He has christened the emblematic scavenger figure “Sabel” who is a melancholic
symbol of dislocation, despair, and isolation – the personification of human dignity
threatened by life’s ups and downs, and vast inequities of Philippine society.
g. Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (2009)
He is a painter and a sculptor from Sta. Cruz, Manila. An artist of voluminous
output, he was known mainly for his gestural paintings in acrylic and oil, as well as
sketches in ink, watercolor, and pencil.
After his exhibit at Philippine Art Gallery, he received a fellowship from the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Spain and proceeded to study at the Academia de
Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, where other Filipino expatriates like Juan
Luna, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, Fernando Amorsolo, Fabian dela Rosa and Jose
Ma. Asuncion received a similar classical training.
h. Francisco Coching (2014)
Born in Buting, Pasig, Coching was acknowledged as the “King of Komiks” and
“Dean of Filipino Illustrators.” Starting his career in 1934, he was a central force
in the formation of the popular art form of comics.
He was a part of the golden age of the Filipino comics in the 50’s and 60’s. Until
his early retirement in 1973, Coching mesmerized the comics-reading public as
well as his fellow artists, cartoonists, and writers.
2. Region 1 – Ilocos Region
a. Victorio Edades (1976)
The “Father of Modern Philippine Painting” grew up in Barrio Bolosan, Dagupan,
Pangasinan. Unlike Amorsolo’s cheerful hues, Edades’ colors were dark and
somber. His favorite subject matter are laborers, factory workers or the simple fold
in all their dirt, sweat and grime.
Among his works are The Sketch, The Artist and the Model, Portrait of the
Professor, Japanese Girl, Mother and Daughter, The Wrestlers, and Poinsettia
Girl.
3. Region 3 – Central Luzon
a. Guillermo Tolentino (1973)
Born in Malolos, Bulacan, he is hailed as the “Father of Philippine Arts.” His
famous works include the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan, and the UP Oblation
in Diliman, Quezon City.
He also designed the gold and bronze medals for the Ramon Magsaysay Award and
did the seal of the Republic of the Philippines.
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b. Vicente Manansala (1981)
Manansala was a cubist painter and illustrator from Macabebe, Pampanga. His
paintings are described as “visions of reality teetering on the edge of abstraction.”
He trained at Paris and at Otis School of Drawing in Los Angeles. Manansala
believes that the beauty of art is in the process, in the moment of doing a particular
painting, closely associating it with the act of making love. “The climax is just when
it’s really finished.”
Manansala’s works include A Cluster of Nipa Hut, San Francisco Del Monte,
Banaklaot, I Believe in God, Market Venders, Madonna of the Slums, Still Life with
Green Guitar, Via Crucis, Whirr, Nude.
4. Region 4A – CALABARZON
a. Carlos “Botong” Francisco (1973)
A poet from Angono, Botong single-handedly revived the forgotten art of mural
and was best known for his historical pieces.
His other major works include the following: Portrait of Purita, The Invasion of
Limahong, Serenade, Muslim Betrothal, Blood Compact, First Mass at Limasawa,
The Martyrdom of Rizal, Bayanihan, Magpupukot, Fiesta, Bayanihan sa Bukid, and
Sandugo.
5. Region 6 – Western Visayas
a. J. Elizalde Navarro (1999)
He was born in Antique. A versatile artist, being both a proficient painter and
sculptor, devotion to the visual arts spans 40 years of drawing, printmaking, graphic
designing, painting, and sculpting.
Three of his major mixed media works are I’m Sorry Jesus, I Can’t Attend
Christmas This Year (1965), and his Homage to Dodjie Laurel (1969: Ateneo Art
Gallery collection), and A Flying Contraption for Mr. Icarus (1984: Lopez
Museum).
6. Region 7 – Central Visayas
a. Napoleon Abueva (1976)
Abueva, a native of Bohol, was the youngest awardee (He was only 46 when he
was given the title) and was considered as the “Father of Modern Philippine
Sculpture.”
Being adept in either academic representational style or modern abstract, he has
utilized almost all kinds of materials from hard wood (molave, acacia, langka wood,
ipil, kamagong, palm wood and bamboo) to adobe, metal, stainless steel, cement,
marble, bronze, iron, alabaster, coral and brass.
Some of his major works include Kaganapan (1953), Kiss of Judas (1955), Thirty
Pieces of Silver, The Transfiguration (1979), Eternal Garden Memorial Park, UP
Gateway (1967), Nine Muses (1994), UP Faculty Center, Sunburst (1994)Peninsula Manila Hotel, the bronze figure of Teodoro M. Kalaw in front of National
Library, and murals in marble at the National Heroes Shrine, Mt. Samat, Bataan.
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7. Region 11 – Davao
a. Ang Kiukok
Born Ang Hwa Shing, he was a painter from Davao City. He fused influences from
cubism, surrealism, and expressionism in his style. He favored subjects such as
fighting cocks, rabid dogs, and people enraptured by rage. He also painted multiple
depictions of the crucified Christ.
Some of his works include Geometric Landscape (1969); Pieta, which won for him
the bronze medal in the 1st International Art Exhibition held in Saigon (1962); and
the Seated Figure (1979), auctioned at Sotheby’s in Singapore.
8. Region 15 – Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao
a. Abdulmari Asia Imao (2006)
A native of Sulu, he is a sculptor, painter, photographer, ceramist, documentary
film maker, cultural researcher, writer, and articulator of Philippine Muslim art and
culture.
Through his works, the indigenous ukkil, sarimanok and naga motifs have been
popularized and instilled in the consciousness of the Filipino nation and other
peoples as original Filipino creations.
Some of his works include Industry Brass Mural, Mural Relief in Filmmaking,
Industrial Mural, and Sulu Warriors.
C. Fashion Design
1. Region 14 – Cordillera Administrative Region
a. Ramon Valera
He was a fashion designer from Abra. His contribution lies in the tradition of
excellence of his works, and his commitment to his profession, performing his
magical seminal innovations on the Philippine terno.
D. Literature
1. National Capital Region
a. Jose Garcia Villa (1973)
He is considered as one of the finest contemporary poets. He introduced reversed
consonance rhyme scheme, including the comma poems that made full use of the
punctuation mark in an innovative, poetic way.
Villa’s works have been collected into the following books: Footnote to Youth,
Many Voices, Poems by Doveglion, Poems 55, Poems in Praise of Love: The Best
Love Poems of Jose Garcia Villa as Chosen By Himself, Selected Stories, The
Portable Villa, The Essential Villa, Mir-i-nisa, Storymasters 3: Selected Stories
from Footnote to Youth, 55 Poems: Selected and Translated into Tagalog by Hilario
S. Francia.
b. Nick Joaquin (1976)
He is considered as the most distinguished Filipino writer in English writing. Nick
Joaquin has also enriched the English language with critics coining “Joaquinesque”
to describe his baroque Spanish-flavored English or his reinventions of English
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based on Filipinisms.
Among his works are The Woman Who Had Two Navels, A Portrait of the Artist as
Filipino, Manila, My Manila: A History for the Young, The Ballad of the Five
Battles, Rizal in Saga, Almanac for Manileños, and Cave and Shadows.
c. Francisco Arcellana (1990)
He pioneered the development of the short story as a lyrical prose-poetic form. For
Arcellana, the pride of fiction is “that it is able to render truth that is able to present
reality”.
Arcellana’s published books are Selected Stories (1962), Poetry and Politics: The
State of Original Writing in English in the Philippines Today (1977), and The
Francisco Arcellana Sampler (1990).
Some of his short stories are Frankie, The Man Who Would Be Poe, Death in a
Factory, Lina, A Clown Remembers, Divided by Two, The Mats, and his poems
being The Other Woman, This Being the Third Poem This Poem is for Mathilda, To
Touch You and I Touched Her, among others.
d. Levi Celerio (1997)
National Artist for Literature and Music
Born in Tondo, Manila, Levi is a prolific lyricist and composer for decades. He
made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the only person able to make
music using just a leaf. Levi effortlessly translated/wrote anew the lyrics to
traditional melodies: “O Maliwanag Na Buwan” (Iloko), “Ako ay May Singsing”
(Pampango), “Alibangbang” (Visaya) among others.
e. Rolando S. Tinio (1997)
National Artist for Theater and Literature
A playwright, thespian, poet, teacher, critic, and translator, marked his career with
prolific artistic productions.
In the mid-1960s he decided to try writing in Tagalog and the product of this was
the collection of poems now called “Bagay.” He is the sole inventor of “Taglish”
in Philippine poetry.
Aside from his collections of poetry (Sitsit sa Kuliglig, Dunung – Dunungan,
Kristal na Uniberso, A Trick of Mirrors) among his works were the following: film
scripts for Now and Forever, Gamitin Mo Ako, Bayad Puri and Milagros; sarswelas
Ang Mestisa, Ako, Ang Kiri, Ana Maria; the komedya Orosman at Zafira; and
Larawan, the musical.
f. Alejandro Roces (2003)
He is considered as the country’s best writer of comic short stories. He is the
champion of the Filipino culture and was instrumental in popularizing several local
fiestas specifically Moriones and Ati-atihan. He also led the campaign to change
the country’s Independence Day from July 4 to June 12, and the language used in
Philippine passports, currency, and diplomas to Filipino.
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g. Cirilo F. Bautista (2014)
He is a multi-awarded poet, fictionist and essayist. He founded the Philippine
Literary Arts Council in 1981, the Iligan National Writers Workshop in 1993, and
the Baguio Writers Group. He is also holding regular funded and unfunded
workshops throughout the country.
His major works include: Summer Suns (1963), Words and Battlefields (1998), The
Trilogy of Saint Lazarus (2001), and Galaw ng Asoge (2003).
2. Region 1 – Ilocos Region
a. Francisco Sionil Jose (2001)
He is one of the most widely-read Filipino writers in the English language. His
novels and short stories depict the social underpinnings of class struggles and
colonialism in our society.
F. Sionil Jose is also a publisher, lecturer on cultural issues, and the founder of the
Philippine chapter of the international organization PEN. He has bestowed the CCP
Centennial Honors for the Arts in 1999; the Outstanding Fulbrighters Award for
Literature in 1988; and the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature,
and Creative Communication Arts in 1980.
3. Region 2 – Cagayan Valley
a. Edith L. Tiempo (1999)
She is a poet, fictionist, teacher, and literary critic who founded the Siliman
National Writers Workshop. Her works are characterized by a remarkable fusion of
style and substance and her poems are intricate verbal transfigurations of significant
experiences.
Tiempo’s published works include the novel A Blade of Fern (1978), The Native
Coast (1979), and The Alien Corn (1992); the poetry collections, The Tracks of
Babylon and Other Poems (1966), and The Charmer’s Box and Other Poems(1993);
and the short story collection Abide, Joshua, and Other Stories (1964).
4. Region 3 – Central Luzon
a. Amado V. Hernandez (1973)
He is a poet, playwright, and novelist from Hagonoy, Bulacan. He believes that
“the function of the writer is to act as the conscience of society and to affirm the
greatness of the human spirit in the face of inequity and oppression.”
He contributed to the development of Tagalog prose through the use of colloquial
style.
He wrote “Mga Ibong Mandaragit,” his first socio-political novel, while in prison.
His other works include Bayang Malaya, Isang Dipang Langit, Luha ng Buwaya,
Amado V. Hernandez: Tudla at Tudling: Katipunan ng mga Nalathalang Tula
1921-1970, Langaw sa Isang Basong Gatas at Iba Pang Kuwento ni Amado V.
Hernandez, and Magkabilang Mukha ng Isang Bagol at Iba Pang Akda ni Amado
V. Hernandez.
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b. Carlos P. Romulo (1982)
Born in Camiling, Tarlac, he is the first Asian president of the United Nations
General Assembly, then Philippine Ambassador to Washington D.C., and minister
of foreign affairs.
He was a reporter at 16, a newspaper editor by the age of 20, and a publisher at 32.
He was the only Asian to win America’s coveted Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for a
series of articles predicting the outbreak of World War II.
With 82 honorary degrees from different international institutions and 74
decorations from foreign countries, Romulo is perhaps among the most decorated
Filipino in history.
c. Virgilio S. Almario (2003)
Born in San Miguel, Bulacan, he currently serves as the chairman of the Komisyon
ng Wikang Filipino. His earliest pieces of literary criticism were collected in “Ang
Makata sa Panahon ng Makina” now considered as the first book of literary
criticism in Filipino.
d. Lazaro Francisco (2009)
He earned his reputation as the “Master of the Tagalog Novel” and it is backed up
by numerous awards he received and for his contribution to Philippine literature
and culture in general. His novels exposed the evils of the tenancy system, the
exploitation of farmers by unscrupulous landlords, and foreign domination.
Francisco’s masterpiece novels are Ama, Bayang Napatiwakal, Maganda Pa Ang
Daigdig, and Daluyong.
5. Region 4A – CALABARZON
a. Bienvenido Lumbera (2006)
He introduced Bagay poetry to Tagalog literature. As a librettist for the Tales of the
Manuvu and Rama Hari, he pioneered the creative fusion of fine arts and popular
imagination. As a scholar, his major books include the following: Tagalog Poetry,
1570-1898: Tradition and Influences in its Development; Philippine Literature: A
History and Anthology, Revaluation: Essays on Philippine Literature, and Writing the
Nation/Pag-akda ng Bansa.
6. Region 4B – MIMAROPA
a. Nestor Vicente Madali Gonzalez (1997)
He is a fictionist, essayist, poet, and teacher. He earned numerous recognitions
including the First Commonwealth Literary Contest in 1940, the Republic Cultural
Heritage Award in 1960, and the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining in 1990.
The major works of N.V.M Gonzalez include the following: The Winds of April, Seven
Hills Away, Children of the Ash-Covered Loam and Other Stories, The Bamboo
Dancers, Look Stranger, on this Island Now, Mindoro and Beyond: Twenty -One
Stories, The Bread of Salt and Other Stories, Work on the Mountain, The Novel of
Justice: Selected Essays 1968-1994, and A Grammar of Dreams and Other Stories.
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E. Historical Literature
1. National Capital Region
a. Carlos Quirino (1997)
In 1997, President Ramos created historical literature as a new category in the
National Artist Awards and Quirino was its first, and so far, its only recipient. He
wrote “The Great Malayan” one of the earliest biographies of Jose Rizal. His books
and articles span the whole spectrum of Philippine History.
His book “Maps and Views of Old Manila” is considered as the best book on the
subject. His other books include “Quezon, Man of Destiny,” “Magsaysay of the
Philippines,” “Lives of the Philippine Presidents,” “Philippine Cartography,” “The
History of Philippine Sugar Industry,” “Filipino Heritage: The Making of a
Nation,” and “Filipinos at War: The Fight for Freedom from Mactan to EDSA.”
F. Dance
1. National Capital Region
a. Alice Reyes (2014)
She is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and director from Manila. She made a
lasting impact on the development and promotion of contemporary dance in the
Philippines.
Her biggest contribution to Philippine dance is the development of a distinctly
Filipino modern dance idiom. Reyes utilized inherently Filipino materials and her
subject matters were expressed through a combination of movements and styles
From Philippine indigenous dance, modern dance, and classical ballet.
2. Region 3 – Central Luzon
a. Francisca Reyes Aquino (1973)
Born in Bocaue, Bulacan, Francisca was known as the “Mother of Philippine
Folk Dancing.” She made a research on the unrecorded forms of local
celebration, ritual, and sport, which later resulted into a 1926 thesis titled
“Philippine Folk Dances and Games.”
She served as supervisor of physical education at the Bureau of Education in
the 1940s. The Bureau distributed her work and adapted the teaching of folk
dancing to promote awareness of cultural heritage.
Her books include the following: Philippine National Dances (1946);
Gymnastics for Girls (1947); Fundamental Dance Steps and Music (1948);
Foreign Folk Dances (1949); Dances for all Occasion (1950); Playground
Demonstration (1951); and Philippine Folk Dances, Volumes I to VI.
3. Region 5 – Bicol Region
b. Ramon Obusan (2006)
He is a dancer, choreographer, stage designer, artistic director and an acclaimed
archivist, researcher, and documentary filmmaker from Legaspi, Albay.
Obusan’s work focused on promoting Philippine traditional dance and cultural
work.
Through the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group (ROFG), he had effected cultural
and diplomatic exchanges using the multifarious aspects and dimensions of the
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art of dance.
Among the full-length he choreographed are the following: “Vamos a Belen!
Series,” “Noon Po sa Amin,” “Obra Maestra,” “Unpublished dances of the
Philippines,” “Water, Fire and Life, Philippine Dances and Music–A
Celebration of Life,” “Saludo sa Sentenyal,” “Glimpses of ASEAN, Dances and
Music of the ASEAN-Member Countries,” and “Saplot (Ramon Obusan
Folkloric Group): Philippines Costumes in Dance.”
4. Region 6 – Western Visayas
a. Lucrecia Reyes-Urtula (1988)
She spends almost four (4) decades in the discovery and study of Philippine
folk and ethnic dances. She became the dance director of Bayanihan Philippine
Dance Company and choreographed collections of mountain dances, Spanishinfluenced dances, Muslim pageants and festivals, and regional variations and
dances of the countryside for the group.
Among the widely-acclaimed dances, she had staged were the following:
Singkil, Vinta, Tagabili, Pagdiwata, Salidsid, Idaw Banga, and Aires de
Verbena.
5. Region 15 – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
a. Leonor Orosa-Goquingco (1976)
From Jolo, Sulu, Leonor was dubbed “Trailblaizer,” “Mother of Philippine
Theater Dance” and “Dean of Filipino Performing Arts Critics.”
She produced highly original choreographies like “TREND: Return to Native,”
“In a Javanese Garden,” “Sports,” “VINTA!,” “In a Concentration Camp,”
“The Magic Garden,” “The Clowns,” “Firebird,” “Noli Dance Suite,” “The
Flagellant,” “The Creation…” and the dance epic “Filipinescas: Philippine Life,
Legend and Lore” which was considered as her most ambitious work. Orosa
brought native folk dance, mirroring Philippine culture from pagan to modern
times, to its highest stage of development.
G. Music
1. National Capital Region
a. Antonio J. Molina (1973)
He is known for introducing innovations such as the whole tone scale,
pentatonic scale, exuberance of dominant ninths and eleventh chords, and liner
counterpoints.
His most familiar composition is Hating Gabi, a serenade. Other works are Misa
Antoniana Grand Festival Mass, Ang Batingaw, Kundiman- Kundangan;
Hating Gabi, String Quartet, Kung sa Iyong Gunita, Pandangguhan; Amihan,
Awit ni Maria Clara, and Larawan Nitong Pilipinas.
b. Honorata “Atang” de la Rama (1987)
National Artist for Theater and Music
Honored as the “Queen of Kundiman” in 1979, she believes that, “the
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sarswela and the kundiman expresses best the Filipino soul.”
Atang began her career as early as seven (7) years old as a star in Spanish
sarswelas. By the age of 15, she starred in the sarswela “Dalagang Bukid,”
where she became known for singing the song, “Nabasag na Banga.”
c. Jose Maceda (1997)
Maceda is a composer, musicologist, teacher, and performer. He wrote papers
that enlightened Filipino and foreign scholars about the nature of Philippine
traditional and ethnic music. His experiment also freed Filipino musical
expression from the view that European culture is dominant.
His compositions like “Ugma-ugma,” and “Udlot-uldot” are monuments to his
persistent commitment to Philippine music. Other major works include
Agungan, Kubing, Pagsamba, Ugnayan, Ading, Aroding, Siasid, and Sulingsuling.
d. Andrea Veneracion (1999)
She is known for her achievements as choirmaster and choral singer. She
found the Philippine Madrigal Singers and spearheaded the development of
choral music in the Philippines.
e. Ramon Santos (2014)
He is currently the country’s foremost exponent of contemporary Filipino
music. A prime figure in the second generation of Filipino composers in the
modern idiom, Santos has contributed greatly to the quest for new directions in
music, taking as basis non-Western traditions in the Philippines and Southeast
Asia.
2. Region 1 – Ilocos Region
a. Lucrecia Roces Kasilag (1989)
She was instrumental in developing Philippine music and culture. Her
pioneering task to discover the Filipino roots through ethnic music and fusing
it with Western influences has led many Filipino composers to experiment in
the similar approach. She founded the Bayanihan Folk Arts Center for research
and theatrical presentations.
Her orchestral music include, Love Songs, Legend of the Sarimanok, Ang
Pamana, Philippine Scenes, Her Son, Jose, Sisa and chamber music like Awit
ng mga Awit Psalms, Fantaisie on a 4-Note Theme, and East Meets Jazz
Ethnika.
3. Region 3 – Central Luzon
a. Antonio R. Buenaventura (1988)
A musician from Baliuag, Bulacan, Buenaventura vigorously pursued a musical
career that spanned seven (7) decades. During that time, he committed himself
to the advancement of Philippine music frontier. In 1935, he joined Francisca
Reyes Aquino to conduct research on folksongs and dances that led to its
popularization.
He has written several marches such as the “Triumphal March,” “Echoes of the
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Past,” “History Fantasy,” “Second Symphony in E-flat,” “Echoes from the
Philippines,” and “Ode to Freedom.” His orchestral music compositions include
“Concert Overture,” “Prelude and Fugue in G Minor,” “Philippines
Triumphant, Mindanao Sketches,” and “Symphony in C Major,” among others.
b. Felipe Padilla de Leon (1997)
He Filipinized western music forms. His sonatas, marches, and concertos have
become full expression of the sentiments of the Filipino in times of strife and
peace.
De Leon’s orchestral music include “Mariang Makiling Overture (1939),”
“Roca Encantada, symphonic legend (1950),” “Maynila Overture (1976),”
“Orchesterstuk(1981)” choral music like “Payapang Daigdig,” “Ako’y
Pilipino,” “Lupang Tinubuan,” “Ama Namin” and songs “Bulaklak,”
“Alitaptap,” and “Mutya ng Lahi.”
c. Ernani J. Cuenco (1999)
His works “Bato sa Buhangin,” “Inang Bayan,” “Isang Dalangin,” “Kalesa,”
and “Pilipinas” brought contemporary Filipino music to a higher level. He
enriched the Filipino love ballad by adding elements of kundiman to his song
“Gaano Kita Kamahal.”
Cuenco played with the Filipino Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Manila
Symphony Orchestra from 1960 to 1968, and the Manila Chamber Soloists
from 1966 to 1970. He completed a music degree in piano and cello from the
University of Santo Tomas where he also taught for decades until his death in
1988.
4. Region 4A – CALABARZON
a. Lucio D. San Pedro (1991)
San Pedro’s work with town bands have significantly contributed to the
development of a civic culture among the Filipino communities and opened a
creative outlet for young Filipinos.
He is popular for his contributions such as the lullaby “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan”
which he made in collaboration with Levi Celerio, and the symphonic poem
“Lahing Kayumanggi.”
b. Francisco Feliciano (2014)
He brought awareness to the people all over the world Asian culture is a rich
source of inspiration and celebration of ethnicity through his works that brought
out the “Asianness” in music. By his numerous creative outputs, he has elevated
the Filipino artistry into one that is highly esteemed by the people.
His major works are, “Ashen Wings (1995),” “Sikhay sa Kabila ng Paalam
(1993),” “La Loba Negra (1983),” “Yerma (1982),” “Pamugun (1995),” and
“Pokpok Alimako (1981).”
5. Region 6 – Western Visayas
a. Jovita Fuentes (1976)
She was best known for her portrayal of Cio-cio San in Giacomo Puccini’s
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Madame Butterfly in Italy. Her performance was hailed as the “most sublime
interpretation of the part” and place the Philippines on the map in terms of
performing.
H. Film
1. National Capital Region
a. Gerardo De Leon (1982)
Born as Gerardo Ilagan, he is the most awarded film director in the history of
Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Awards. He produced
classics such as “Daigdig ng Mga Api,” “El Filibusterismo,” “Dyesebel,” and
“Sisa.”
b. Ishmael Bernal (2001)
Critics have hailed Bernal as “the genius of Philippine cinema.” He is
recognized through his films that serve as social commentaries and bold
reflections on the existing realities of the struggle of the Filipino.
Among his notable films are “Pahiram ng Isang Umaga” (1989), “Broken
Marriage” (1983), “Himala” (1982), “City After Dark” (1980), and “Nunal sa
Tubig” (1976).
c. Roland Allan K. Poe (2006)
Popularly known as Fernando Poe, Jr., he was a cultural icon of tremendous
audience impact and cinema artist and craftsman–as an actor, director, writer,
and producer.
The image of the underdog was projected in his films such as “Apollo Robles
(1961),” “Batang Maynila (1962),” “Mga Alabok sa Lupa (1967),” “Batang
Matador and Batang Estibador (1969),” “Ako ang Katarungan (1974),” “Tatak
ng Alipin (1975),” “Totoy Bato (1977)”, “Asedillo (1981),” “Partida (1985),”
and “Ang Probisyano (1996),” among many others. The mythical hero, on the
other hand, was highlighted in “Ang Alamat (1972),” Ang Pagbabalik ng Lawin
(1975)” including his “Panday” series (1980, 1981, 1982, 1984) and the action
adventure films adapted from komiks materials such as “Ang Kampana sa Santa
Quiteria(1971),” “Santo Domingo (1972),” and “Alupihang Dagat (1975)”
among others.
2. Region 5 – Bicol Region
a. Lino Brocka (1997)
He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and significant Filipino
filmmakers in Philippine cinema history. His films breathed life and hope for
the marginalized sectors of the society. He served in the organizations such as
Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) and the Concerned Artists
of the Philippines (CAP).
He has directed landmark films such as “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (1974),”
“Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (1975),” “Insiang (1976),” “Bayan Ko:
Kapit sa Patalim (1984), and “Ornoprobis (1989).”
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b. Manuel Conde (2009)
He is known for producing and directing films based on Filipino tales such as,
“Siete Infantes de Lara,’ “IbongAdarna,” and “Prinsipe Tenoso.” He also dared
to recreate on screen narratives of world history literature though his works
“Genghis Khan” and “Sigfredo.”
3. Region 14 – Cordillera Administrative Region
a. Lamberto V. Avellana (1976)
National Artist for Theater and Film
Known as “The Boy Wonder of Philippine Movies,” Avellana has plenty of
firsts in the film industry. He was the first to use the motion picture to establish
a point-of-view, the first to have his film shown at the Cannes International
Film, and the first National Artist of the Philippines for the film.
His first film “Sakay,” revolutionized the filmic language in the country and
was declared the best picture of 1938 by critics and journalists. He has also
directed films for worldwide release such as “Sergeant Hassan (1967),”
“Destination Vietnam (1969),” and “The Evil Within (1970).”
4. Region 18 – Negros Island Region
a. Eddie Romero (2003)
He is considered as one of the finest in the cinema of the Philippines and his
body of work delved into history and politics.
His works include the films, “Ganito Kami Noon… Paano Kayo Ngayon?,”
“Aguila,” “Kamakalawa,” “Banta ng Kahapon,” and his 13-part series “Noli
Me Tangere.”
I. Theater
1. National Capital Region
a. Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero (1997)
He served as the director of UP Dramatic Club for 16 years and founded the UP
Mobile Theater which started the concept of theater campus tour. By bringing
theatre to the countryside, Guerrero made it possible for students and audiences, in
general, to experience the basic grammar of staging and acting in familiar and
friendly ways through his plays that humorously reflect the behavior of the Filipino.
His plays include “Half an Hour in a Convent,” “Wanted: A Chaperon,” “Forever,
Condemned,” “Perhaps, In Unity,” “Deep in My Heart,” “Three Rats,” “Our
Strange Ways,” “The Forsaken House,” and “Frustrations.”
2. Region 1 – Ilocos Region
a. Salvador F. Bernal (2003)
Acknowledged as the “guru of contemporary Filipino theater design,” he
designed more than 300 productions since 1969. He adapted to the budget
limitations by using local materials such as bamboo, abaca, hemp twine, rattan
chain links, and gauze cacha.
He organized Philippine Association of Theater Designers and Technicians
(PATDAT) to promote and professionalize theater design.
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b. Severino Montano (2001)
He is the forerunner in institutionalizing “legitimate theater” in the Philippines.
He organized the Arena Theater to bring drama to the masses and established a
graduate program at the Philippine Normal College for the training of
playwrights, directors, technicians, actors, and designers.
3. Region 6 – Western Visayas
a. Daisy Avellana
She elevated legitimate theater and dramatic arts and encouraged the
establishment of performing groups and the professionalization of Filipino
theater. She co-founded the Barangay Theater Guild, together with her husband,
Lamberto Avelllana, which gave way for the popularization of theater and
dramatic arts in the country through radio and television.
She starred in plays like “Othello (1953),” “Macbeth in Black (1959),” “Casa
de Bernarda Alba (1967),” and “Tatarin.” Her directorial credits include “Diego
Silang (1968),” and “Walang Sugat (1971).”
References:
National artist of the philippines guidelines (2015). Retrieved from http://ncca.gov.ph/sentro-rizal3/programs/organizational-awards/national-artist/ on July 11, 2017
Order of national artists (2015). Retrieved from http://ncca.gov.ph/about-culture-and-arts/cultureprofile/national-artists-of-the-philippines/ on July 12, 2017
Panisan, W., Gazzingan, L., Samar, G., & Boongaling, C (2017). Contemporary philippine arts
from the regions. Malabon: Mutya Publishing House, Inc.
Perez, A. (2016). Philippine contemporary arts. Quezon City: Brilliant Creations Publishing Inc.
Ramirez, V. (2016). Contemporary philippine arts from the regions. Quezon City: Vibal Group
Inc.
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