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Filipino Culture and Heritage

NCCA celebrates National Artist for Music, Prof. Felipe Padilla De Leon

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Felipe Padilla De LeonThe National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) celebrates the 100th Birth Centennial of Felipe Padilla de Leon, National Artist for Music (May 1, 1912- May 1, 2012).  Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III signed Proclamation No. 283, declaring May 1, 2012 to April 30, 2013 as the Centennial Year of National Artist for Music Felipe Padilla de Leon. Likewise, the House of Representatives has issued for the same purpose House Joint Resolution No. 25, introduced by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., Congressman Neptali M. Gonzales II, Congressman Edcel C. Lagman, Congressman Salvador H. Escudero III, and Congressman Rodolfo W. Antonino.

Composer, conductor, scholar and cultural educator Felipe Padilla de Leon launched his calling at a time of passionate striving for nationhood during the Commonwealth period, Japanese occupation and the post-war Philippine Republic, he stood out most prominently as the champion of Filipino cultural dignity and identity.  He always depicted what is noble, exalted and heroic in the Filipino, taking as his subjects the momentous events and symbols in our history and celebrated their deepest meanings through music.

Hence, he wrote the first full-length Filipino opera based on Dr. Jose Rizal’s novel of social realism, “Noli Me Tangere” (1957), with libretto by another National Artist, sculptor-linguist-Filipinist scholar Guillermo Tolentino.  He followed this up with another opera, again based on a Rizal masterpiece, “El Filibusterismo” (1970).  Two arias from this opera, “Kay Tamis ng Buhay” and “Awit ni Sisa” are now part of the international operatic repertoire.  Right after liberation, de Leon composed the symphonic poems “Cry of Balintawak” (1947) and “Bataan” (1947).

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 June 2014 17:17

NCCA Pays Tribute to Samaon Sulaiman with ‘Mamayog’

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Samaon Sulaiman On the occasion of the first death anniversary of Manlilikha ng Bayan Samaon Sulaiman on May 21, 2012, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) will launch Mamayog: the music of Samaon Sulaiman, a set of audio recordings with a book containing more than 300 pages of transcriptions of these recordings and a monograph about the Maguindanaon kutyapi, published by the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan. This will be held at the NCCA’s Leandro V. Locsin Auditorium at 4pm.

Samaon Sulaiman was conferred the title, Manlilikha ng Bayan (National Living Treasure), in 1993 for keeping alive traditional Maguindanao kutyapi music against the onslaught of modernity, in accordance with Republic Act No. 7355. This law recognized master folk artists who dedicate their skills to nourish traditional crafts threatened by extinction.

The recordings and book pay homage to the ingenuity of the Filipino traditional artists and Samaon Sulaiman’s final legacy to the Filipino people.

For more details on the activities and schedules, contact Cecilia V. Picache or Minviluz Diesta at 528-4434 or 527-2192 loc. 307; or NCCA Public Affairs and Information Office (PAIO) head, Rene Sanchez Napenas at (632) 527-2192 or 0928-5081057; or Log on to www.ncca.gov.ph or email us This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 June 2014 17:23

Las Pinas Bamboo Organ

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las pinas bamboo organThe Bamboo Organ is one of the Philippines’ national treasures.  It was built between 1816 and 1824 for the Parish Church of Las Piñas, a village nine miles from the center of Manila, which now has achieved its own cityhood.  Every year it receives countless visits from Filipino and foreign visitors alike.

Far from being an oddity, the Bamboo Organ is a serious instrument in the classic Spanish style, and a number of the world’s best-known organists have enjoyed its charm and color.  Fr. Diego Cera de la Virgen del Carmen was responsible for the construction of both the organ and the church.  An Augustinian Recollect, he was parish priest of Las Piñas and the son of a family of organ builders in his native Spain.  Records show that he also was an unusually gifted natural scientist, chemist, architect, community leader and organist.

The choice of bamboo for the majority of the pipes was made both for practical and aesthetic reasons.  Bamboo was abundant, in wide use as a building material, and when treated correctly, resistant to insects and rot.  Fr. Cera had long been experimenting with this material; in the end only the horizontal reed pipes had to be made of metal, but not for lack of trying, as suggested by the number of mute bamboo pipes mounted in the rear façade of the case.

Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014 15:40

Manila Christmas in Lights

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christmas in manilaAs early as the 17th century, candles were used to light and decorate Christmas trees. Over time, this decoration had evolved from candleholders, to small lanterns, to the electric bulbs, to the most recent led, we use this day.

Parol however, is a star shaped Christmas lantern, a traditional ornament Filipinos display that is usually made from bamboo and paper. Parols are said to signify the Star of Bethlehem.

Filipino culture, traditions and rituals are strong and are clearly demonstrated during the Christmas season. Metro Manila transforms when Christmas arrives. Christmas carols fill the air, giant Christmas trees are lit, dancing Christmas lights are on display, houses lit in the dark of night, light structures on parade and lighted parols are hung everywhere.

Due to the efforts of the barangay, to the traditions practiced by certain families, and to attractions built by certain malls, Metro Manila had lit in a different way when Christmas comes.

Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014 14:33

NCCA Celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Month in Davao Region

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dayaw 2011The National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ (NCCA) annual celebration of National Indigenous Peoples’ Month moves to Davao Region in Mindanao with Tagum City as its main venue. This October, Dayaw: Indigenous Peoples Festival 2011, under the auspices of the NCCA’s Subcommission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts and Mindanawon Foundation, in partnership with local governments, government agencies and the private sector, focuses the spotlight on the country’s indigenous peoples, celebrating their arts and ways of life, discussing important issues and making more people aware of the richness and importance of indigenous cultures.

The leaders and representatives of more than 100 indigenous peoples of the Philippines will converge together on October 6-10, 2011 to showcase their rituals, performing arts, cuisines, games, crafts and others. Additionally, they will be joined by delegates from Southeast Asian countries in simultaneous exchange and interactive activities such as performances, exhibitions, forums, lecture-demonstrations, workshops on traditional crafts and cuisines and indigenous games.

Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014 14:38
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