Cebu, Busan ink agreement for art-cultural exchange

By signing an agreement that is seen to improve each other’s art and cultural landscape, Busan and Cebu strengthened its sisterhood relationship and extended its long history of friendly cooperation.

Representatives signed a sisterhood agreement on art-cultural exchange between the Federation of Artistic and Cultural Organization of Busan and the Province of Cebu last Dec. 22 at Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu City.

The event marked the start of fostering better relations and gaining improved understanding and appreciation of the distinct cultures of Cebu and Busan in the field of music, arts and literature.

To Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino, it was “an opportunity to explore more possible exchanges and return Busan’s kindness” for giving Cebu opportunities for growth through exchange visits, educational events and scholarships.

For his part, Provincial Board Member Miguel Magpale said that the cultural relationship of Cebu and Busan, now formally established by the agreement signing, is a manifestation that “there is more to life than digits and gadgets.”

“In light of urbanization, our traditions does not need to die, our culture need not disintegrate. We need art and culture to balance things in life,” he said.

Song Tung Myung, chairperson of the Korean delegation, noted that the history of the friendship between Busan and Cebu can be traced a long time ago, longer than the time the sisterhood talks between the two local government units (LGUs) ensue in 2011 and the subsequent sister city signing the next year.

He remembered the 1950s, the period of the Korean War, when Filipino soldiers under the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea, fought side-by-side with South Korean soldiers. Busan, officially called Busan Metropolitan City, is South Korea’s second largest metropolis next to Seoul.

“Art is a peaceful way to involve people. Art can make the world in peace. We hope that after this signing, Busan and Cebu will help each other improve in the field of the arts,” he said.

Song mentioned that Busan is organizing an art festival on October 15 to 24, 2015 that will highlight Busan’s sister cities and focus on traditional music. He invited Cebu to send a delegation and assist them in promoting the event.

Sending art-cultural delegations and observation groups is just one of the formations of exchange under the recent agreement. Others are exchanges of publicity of exhibiting arts, exchanges and publicity of performing arts, exchanges and publicity of other genres, such as literature and film, and performance and exhibition for commerce, which will be subject to terms and agreements.

“This (agreement signing) is a good push for Cebuano artists and musicians to upgrade their artistic and musical skills. This is also a good venue to promote our very rich cultural heritage through the arts. I am personally excited at the thought of having the expectations of this partnership fulfilled,” said Dr. Mila Cañete, a retired music and arts supervisor of the Department of Education-Mandaue City Division and director of music at Tabor Hills College.

With her are some of Cebu’s finest representatives of various artistic and cultural fields.

Dr. Erlinda Alburo, secretary of the Creative Cebu Council and member of the Women in Literary Arts and Cultural and Historical Affairs, and Dr. Madrileña dela Cerna, director of the University of the Philippines (UP) in the Visayas Cebu College Central Visayas Studies Center, represented the field of literature.

For the field of fine arts, Palmy Pe-Tudtud, a full-time teacher at UP; Raymund Fernandez, program coordinator of the product design program of UP; Mariano Vidal, one of Cebu’s many talented professional visual artists whose work manifests love for the Philippines; and Juanito Karl Roque Jr., a UP teacher, were present to witness the event.

Cañete; Rudy Aviles, director of the Students’ Cultural Services and Instructional Media Services at the University of Cebu (UC) and resident artistic director of UC Theatre Workshop Company; Reynaldo Abellana, president of the Visayan Symphony Orchestra; Izarzuri Vidal, a soprano silver medallist of the 2009 World Championship of Performing Arts in Los Angeles; and Dr. Naila Beltran, director of External Affairs and International Linkages at the Cebu Normal University, represent the field of traditional music and performing arts.

Composing the Korean delegation are Jeung Youngja, representating the field of literature; Song Jae Yoon of the Busan Kukak Association, representing Korean traditional music, and Kwak Soongon for the field of sculpture.

In 2012, under Cebu Province’s previous administration, Cebu and Busan signed a sister-city agreement. Both LGUs are cooperating for co-prosperity by expanding exchanges in the area of port and logistics and tourism, which are strengths shared by both LGUs. Cebu is Busan’s 30th sister province. (Nancy Cudis-Ucag)