The Philippines’ National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is celebrating the National Arts Month all throughout February with their theme, “Malikhain, Mapagbago, Filipino” (“Creative, Changing, Filipino”).
It was in January 28, 1991 when then President Corazon Aquino declared through Proclamation No. 638 that was February is the National Arts Month of the Philippines.
One of NCCA’s many events for this month was a multi-workshop Sunday held on February 5, 2017. The seven workshops were: Laman + Loob: Sining sa Loob ng Bahay ([Content + Inside: Art inside the House] an upcycling workshop); Sinemadali (sine = Movie, madali = fast; filmmaking using mobile/smart phones); Just Dance! (folk, neo-classical, contemporary, and hip-hop dances); Buhay at Baybayin ([buhay = life, baybayin = shore/spelling/alphabet] a dramatic arts workshop); Literary Forum; Bamboo and Brass Instruments Workshop; and Animation Demonstration.
NCCA advised interested parties to pre-register online first for any of the workshops. The actual registration started at 1:30 PM. Most workshops that day began at 2 PM. All the workshops were located in Rizal Park, between the central lagoon and the flower clock.
My friend Arby chose to learn how to make videos using his phone while I picked the literary forum. The panelists for the forum were R.M. Topacio, Mayette Bayuga, Luna Sicat Cleto, and Gina Marquez, all of whom are published authors. We listened to their tales of how they started writing and the inspiration for their works, answers on how to overcome depression, writer’s block, and other hurdles, and their opinions about literature, writing, and career choices. Topacio said of writing: (Ang pagsusulat ay) pinagbubuwisan ng buhay, nilalambing, minumura. ([Writing is something] you risk life for, you caress, you cuss.)
After each workshop ended which was somewhere between 4:30-5:30 PM, all attendees were given a copy of the July-August 2016 issue of Agung, the official newsletter of the NCCA; the publication is named after the knobbed metal gong used for various rituals in Philippine communities. Also, the registrants received a copy of the Metropolitan Theater Coloring Book.