Archive for cultural center of the philippines

(lg2a) from silver to gold, from silver to blood

Posted in artifacts, culture, events, history, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, news, people with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2010 by mijodo

Precious (2009). Slumdog Millionaire (2008). Tsotsi (2005). Hotel Rwanda (2004). American Beauty (1999). Shine (1996). Strictly Ballroom (1992). Places in the Heart (1984). The Big Chill (1983). Chariots of Fire (1981).

These are some of the films which have captivated the hearts and minds of the cineastes who have come to watch such  in the Toronto International Film Festival or TIFF for almost four decades now.   Second to Cannes International Film Festival in terms of international media mileage and hoopla, TIFF awarded silverscreen flicks with the gold standard of excellence such that the results can be a barometer for Oscar wins in Hollywood. 

This year’s “seeming” Filipino entry in the festival is produced and directed by a Malaysian. A full length film, Pinoy Sunday which stars comedians Bayani Agbayani and Epy Quizon delves on a narrative of two men and a couch.  Somehow it is not sure how the audience responded to this film, but in recent years, there have been other Filipino Films which have garnered critical praises and plaudits in other international film festivals.

Moscow International Film Festival has awarded the International Critics Prize to Jeffrey Jeturian’s Kubrador (2006) which centers  on the illegal numbers game, Jueteng.  Also, the Berlin Film Festival has honored Auraeus Solito’s Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (2005) which is on how a family of men copes tenderly on the blossoming of an effeminate gay boy in a slum environment.

The newest golden boy in Philippine cinema is Director Brillante Mendoza whose account of films gives hope and shock to the Philippine and international cinephiles. His slew of dark, bleak, and almost raw films such as Masahista (2005),  Manoro (2006), Serbis (2008) has received numerous awards and citations in different award giving bodies. But it is in Kinatay (2009) where Mendoza gets recognized as the avant garde director, and who has snatched the Best Director plum at Cannes Film Festival.

Body Heat (USA). Gallipoli (Australia). The French Lieutenant’s Woman (Great Britain). Smash Palace (New Zealand). 36 Chowringhee Lane (India). Oro, Plata, Mata (Philippines).
These were the films which graced the defunct and much ballyhooed Manila International Film Festival (MIFF) in the early 80’s. It was a gargantuan project by Imelda Marcos who had wanted Manila as the international film market of the Far East. Again, just like any project of the Marcoses,the MIFF was seen as another whim and caprice by its project leader, Imelda.
However just days before the MIFF was formally opened, almost 200 workers who sped up the completion of  the Manila Film Center Building at the Cultural Center of the Philippines reclamation grounds in Pasay, met their tragic ending, which news was heavily controlled by the government’s news agencies.
Apparently, the scaffolding slab on the second floor had collapsed because of the shoddy and expedited work of the people. And the fast drying cement landed on the sleeping workers at the ground floor. Not many were able to escape catastrophe. For the few who were able to live and breathe under the rubble and cement, few had been taken out to actually survive and be brought to the hospital. There was not much time for rescue as the film festival was just days away.  There was little attempt to excavate people under the ruin. Some were left to die, and be finally covered with new cement. 
The Manila International Film Festival did not prosper, even with the visits of then Hollywood A listers such as Brooke Shields, Jeremy Irons, and Imelda’s good friend, George Hamilton. The international film fest was staged only for two years. Years after that, blue films  were introduced without censorship and cuts in the film showings inside the Film Center. This was done to placate political rumblings in Manila.
However such bomba pictures were said not to appease the ghosts of the construction workers inside the building premises. Imelda, and her Blue Ladies had even asked knowledgeable spiritual  advisors from Northern Mountain provinces to exorcise the haunted building of such malevelont dwellers, ready to avenge their untimely deaths.  One witness even mentioned that the ceremony had used live chickens and blood to cast out the restless spirits.
Strange rumors had been active then, right after inauguration. The accidental Tagaytay death of Betty Benitez, one of the active handlers of the film festival, was seen as a seeming result of such payback.
Had it been responsibly handled, MIFF could have been another prestigious film festival such as the ones in Toronto or even Cannes. However what remains of the Parthenon like – Film Center is just a reminder of a cavernous, sick excesses of the past and its proponent.

CCP: An Opus of 40 Years and More!

Posted in artifacts, culture, events, history, locales with tags , , , , , on April 17, 2009 by mijodo


curtain call for the "sleeping beauty" excerpt at ccp

(Author’s Note: Ms. Imelda Marcos seems to be in the glare of media again, owing to her inclusion in Newsweek’s greediest people. She may be notorious to many, but somehow she has made true contribution to Philippine Art and Culture through the development of CCP. After the postings on the Pasinaya to commence on CCP’s 40th year celebration ( ), and gallery of CCP’s art collection (, a posting is finally given to show a glimpse on the colorful history and background of CCP.)



“In that site, I will build the Cultural Center of the Philippines,” the First Lady Imelda Marcos said with pride to a foreign guest dignitary while on board a presidential automobile along the then Dewey Boulevard (Roxas Boulevard).


But the dignitary only saw the open waters of a bay. “How is that possible?” he muttered.


“Haven’t you heard of reclamation?” Imelda retorted back.


The whole scenario supposedly rang true more than four decades ago when Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos thought themselves as the Filipino mythic figures of “Malakas and Maganda.” (The Strong and The Beautiful”)  During this time, the Marcoses wittingly or unwittingly, started to develop personas which have been open targets of the political opposition and rebels. Ferdinand strengthened his cult like image through heavy handed or even dictatorial rule while Imelda took care of the supposed soul of the Filipino through artistic and cultural activities which some said were merely her eccentricities and caprices.


Imelda had a vision of putting up a national center for arts which was congruent with her favorite maxim during the later years of the Marcos Rule – “the true, the good, and the beautiful.”  But even in the early years of constructing the main theater of the CCP, many, particularly from the left leaning groups saw the whole project as extravagant whim and a total waste of government fund. The whole idea was seen as a symbol of profligacy and Marcos dictatorial ascendancy amidst the wasting economy and socio-political hardships.


But there was no stopping in creating a magnificent edifice above the waters of Manila Bay, as designed by National Artist Leandro Locsin.  The Main Theater was just part of the whole reclamation complex. In later years, Philippine International Convention Center, Folk Arts Center, and the Manila Film Center were erected under the helm of Imelda Marcos.


Although it was heavily criticized, CCP was able to showcase Filipino talents in a world class theater surroundings. Prodigies like pianist Cecille Licad were developed and honed under the auspices of CCP. Different dance companies in ballet and folkdancing were housed in CCP. Resident theater groups performing Filipino originals or foreign plays and musicals which were translated in Filipino language have been put up. During Imelda’s time, there was much dancing, singing and acting inside the different theaters of CCP. Art was buzzing although it could be said that art about politics and against the Marcoses was clearly suppressed.


As the Marcos regime abruptly ended in the middle 80s, the subsidy and support for the CCP from the next administrations have dwindled significantly. Art in general took a back seat in the agenda of the chief executives and partner spouses. CCP was on its own; it had to create its own finances which should support a plethora of plans and developments even if the interest of the audience has shifted to popular films, television and even malling.


Now CCP needs to become more relevant to the times, and try to appeal to an audience who might not be as highbrow as before and might not be as passionate as before. Hoping it can still develop a young appreciative audience at times CCP like any Filipino art and theater groups today, has to bargain their ticket prices and “coerce” elementary and highschool students to watch a performance,


Yet CCP is surviving and has thankfully reached its 40th year of existence.  CCP celebrates with a series of  special shows and programs and even gives a tribute to its foundress and true patron, Imelda Marcos entitled “Dahil sa ‘Yo” (Because of You), apparently the title as well of her favorite song.  Despite the gloom of the world economic crisis, and diminishing priorities of the Filipino family on traditional art, CCP forges on – tapping on the intrinsic musicality, the artistic brilliance, and healthy dose of  enthusiasm and liveliness of the Filipinos. Take a bow, CCP.


the repository

Posted in artifacts, culture, events, locales, people with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2009 by mijodo

an example of cubism from national artist ang kiukok

As there was a chance to roam around the CCP Theater Building during the start of the year long celebration of its 40th anniversary during the “Pasinaya,” (, it was time to take some pictures of the treasured visual contemporary arts hanging in different parts of the edifice. This might just not happen next time around as security during ordinary days could be a lot stricter.

Some  pieces were from obscure artists; some murals were from more known and established people.  Manyof the paintings seem to be from students who participated in contests sponsored by CCP.  But it is a wonder as to where one could find the painting gems of the old masters such as Amorsolo and Manansala insice CCP.

It should also be said that CCP has a library that contains books and research materials for those wanting to study and soak into the realm of  arts and culture. Aside from the paintings scattered in different parts of the building, CCP maintains its own gallery.  In fact, CCP has two exhibit halls – Bulwagang Amorsolo (Small Gallery) and Bulwagang Juan Luna (Main Gallery).  It is has to be commended that visual arts – whether as a sculpture, drawing, painting, or photograph –  is considered as important as the other arts by CCP which objective could have focused solely on performance arts. Well done, CCP.

fostering a renaissance

Posted in artifacts, culture, events, lifestyle, locales, people, tradition with tags , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2009 by mijodo

dance and romance at the ccp main lobby, kalilayan folkloric group fo catanauan, quezon

Many may not be aware but it should be highly noted that the Cultural Center of the Philippines has reached its 40th year in housing, promoting and nurturing Filipino artistic excellence. And last Sunday CCP has started its yearlong celebration with an open house festival, titled “Pasinaya”.

In this rare occasion, all theater doors were opened to the public which was asked to give some token donation in order to get a glimpse of what CCP has offered and fostered through the years.  Dance guilds from around the Philippines and  resident companies performed with gusto to an appreciative audience whether at the main theater or at its main lobby. From the young students of the Philippines High School of the Arts (  to the venerable Ramon Obusan troupe, dance artists graced the occasion and donned colorful Filipino and ASEAN costumes. Needless to say, CCP’s very own Philippine Ballet Theater performed – an excerpt from “Darangan ni Bantugen”  based on an Philippine epic poem.  The variety of dances was just a small part of what the people got to see. There was so much more from that particular day – music, film, theater and visual arts.

One interesting point to this experience is the enthusiasm of the audience, most particularly the students who most likely had been obliged to go by their teachers. Students, whether from public or private schools, were all agog and so much impressed of CCP’s offerings. This is  a welcome reaction for those wanting to seek new audience, specifically a young audience. CCP proves to be an alternative to the malls on a Sunday afternoon.

With all the moves from the great dancers inside the CCP grounds on that particular day then it can be certainly said that art is alive and kicking.