This year marks the 40th
founding anniversary of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), Roxas Boulevard,
Pasay City. The year-round
celebration kicks off on February 1, at the CCP Pasinaya Open House
Festival, which coincides with National Arts Month.
A special presentation to the press took place last January 14, at the CCP Main Theater. The Center's calendar of events for 2009 and its
new logo with the slogan "Life Begins Anew" were launched during the event.
"The CCP for the last
four decades has helped discover, nurture and support Filipino artists. I think
that's one of the major achievements of the CCP," president and artistic director Nestor Jardin proudly said during the launching.
pointed out that the institution's various projects through the years
have "helped create an outstanding body of original Filipino work that speak of
us as a nation and has helped define our national identity."
TRIBUTE. In line with this year's celebration, the CCP pays homage to its founder whose vision undeniably
paved the way for Filipino culture and the arts to flourish both here and
Cultural Center of the Philippines was the brainchild of former First Lady
Imelda Romualdez Marcos.
It was instituted in 1966 through
Executive Order No. 30 and formally inaugurated on September 8, 1969.
"For this year, we're
not only inviting her, we're giving her a tribute," announced Mr. Jardin, who initially tried to withhold the information.
The current CCP heads
are fully aware that their decision to recognize the widow of former President
Ferdinand Marcos may not sit well with non-government organizations,
particularly among artists who fought against Marcos's martial law through their art.
Mr. Jardin addressed
the issue head on: "You cannot ignore the fact that this was her
vision, this was her idea. We're looking at it from an institutional point of
view. Hindi maganda para sa amin na hindi bigyan ng parangal ‘yong gumawa nito."
The special tribute
will take place on September 8, the 4oth anniversary of the CCP.
"It's a whole day event
capped by an eight o' clock gala here at the Main Theater. Then on September
11, we'll do a special tribute to her, featuring the artists whom she supported
in the past, mostly musicians."
HOMAGE IS NOT POLITICAL. In an interview with Aruel Yonzon, CCP‘s associate
artistic director for theater operations, he said that Mrs. Marcos has an idea of the forthcoming tribute.
"Parang alam niya but
not personally, like directly. Alex Cortez has been tapped to
direct the event, may title na nga siya, e, ‘Dahil Sa Yo' being her [Imelda]
favorite Filipino folk song ditty. Si Alex Cortez is a close friend of the
Marcoses even from way back, nung mga bata pa sila nila Irene [daughter of the Marcoses] so, I supposed she has a hint but she's not directly
informed about it. Pero we're having talks and coordination with the children."
Yonzon stressed that the CCP is paying tribute to its founder based solely on her
contribution and vision to help Filipino arts and culture. Imelda and her
family's political image is a non-factor at this point. On the issue that the CCP was built on the people's taxes, he argued:
ng mga kritiko niya hindi naman kanya ‘yan e, pondo naman ng bayan ang ginamit
sa pagpapatayo ng gusali. But we have to acknowledge the fact that to a certain
degree her administration, or the Marcoses, were some sort of a visionary [couple] for
having thought of putting up, say a cultural center, or in which case let's talk
about the Philippine High School for the Arts, The National Arts Center in Mt.
"The same thing with
the Cultural Center, if they did not come up with this building or with this
institution there'll be no CCP right now. As far as CCP is concerned, ganun ‘yong
contribution niya and we're benefiting from that now. So, for whatever misgivings
or for whatever ‘crimes' they may have had, what we're saying is we pay tribute
to what they contributed to the arts as far as the culture and arts sector is
concerned. Medyo isang-tabi natin ‘yong [political], you know, nobody's perfect