President John F. Kennedy said, “If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.”
Some people must have taken this message by heart by valuing the importance of the arts in our society not just as a mere expression of truth and emotion, but of an idea, self-worth, self-identity, relationship and values. Some of those made it a duty and expressed it by continuing to preserve our rich cultural heritage and promote all forms of art and culture.
Bridging the generational gap
Last February marked the 2nd year Celebration of Arts and Culture month. The committee chairman, Board Member Miguel Magpale and Vice-Chairman Board Member Arleigh Sitoy in collaboration with the dynamic officers of Museo Sugbo and Cebu Cultural Center (CCC), held a month-long schedule of activities and events. This year’s theme, “Mga Batan-on: Ang mag-amuma ug magpaluntad sa atong lumad nga mga hiyas” emphasizes social awareness and responsibility of the young generation in keeping our traditional values alive and intact.
To kick off the month-long celebration, the launching was held at the historical Museo Sugbo last February 1 which was attended by some government officials, university students, representatives of city museums, teachers, artists and exhibitors. Renowned local artists, fine arts students from University of the Philippines (UP) and University of San Carlos (USC) publicly displayed their artworks at the newly opened gallery of the Provincial Museum and Legislative Building of the Cebu Provincial Capitol.
Acting Provincial Vice-Governor Julian Daan had expressed his appreciation and gratitude to Board Member Arleigh Sitoy for authoring the ordinance that established the annual celebration of Cebu Arts and Culture Month. “It’s the only way for each of us to be reminded of who we are and where we come from. We have a beautiful language and we should be proud it,” he said.
Board Member Magpale shared the same sentiment and he added that he will do the best that he can to continue the vision of Board Member Sitoy by creating more projects that involve the children and the youth to impart and inculcate our traditional values into them for posterity’s sake.
Saturday activities were dedicated to the children. With Ms. Ma. Cecilia Cabañes and Mr. Rex Fernandez acting as hosts, workshops on pottery, painting and basic watercolor painting at the Museu Sugbu found enthusiastic learners and future artists in the Grade 5 and 6 students of Tejero Elementary School. Both teachers and children were very pleased to be involved in these activities as this would make them understand more and appreciate Cebu’s culture and history.
Arts learning and learning through the arts engages the interest of the children, embraces learning preferences, and encourages them to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
Revitalizing the local music scene
Widely popular among the young, Bisrock is a recent cultural phenomenon and is instrumental in the revival of Cebu’s local music scene. This is why Board Member Magpale ensured Bisrock to be part of the celebration by giving free concert performed by Missing Filemon in Danao City last February 23.
On February 28, the most awaited culmination activity was an afternoon of music, dance, literature and art held at the CCC. They showcased talented individuals and artists from different prestigious literary organizations in Cebu and student organizations from UP and USC. Meanwhile, the masterpieces of the winners and finalists of Joya Awards greeted guests and participants at the lobby.
Each presenter gave a delightful performance during the show as they portrayed the different visual arts of the Cebuano culture. An impressive theatrical presentation of the National Anthem was performed by the UP P.E. Class while the UPStage did a few cultural dance numbers. Our very own soprano singer, Maria Kim Martinez stunned the audience with her powerful voice by singing classic Cebuano songs such as “Usahay” and “Sa Kabukiran” along with Basco Fernandez who accompanied Kim with a guitar. Furthermore, an emotional reading of a poem entitled “Gugma ug Kasakit” was delivered by Women in Literary Arts (WILA) and the USC student organization. To close the program, Focus Production performed a thought-provoking stage play that had audiences erupt into a round of applause.
Cebuano talents and organizers were all recognized for their contribution, dedication and unwavering support in making Cebu Arts and Culture Month a success. It was a remarkable accomplishment. But this was just the beginning. In the coming years, the committee hopes to build off their success by having an even bigger, better and more encompassing set of activities and events!