ARTS MONTH culminates on a magical Abatan backdrop

FEBRUARY IS NOT only the Love Month but it also is the time of year when Filipinos can have their fill of our rich culture and feast their eyes on colorful events and activities.

This is because the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has chosen February as the country’s National Arts Month (NAM).

NCCA is the country’s prime agency for arts and culture and is leading the whole nation in celebrating artistry, creativity and a whole lot of imagination, led by National Artist Virgilio Almario as Chair, and OIC-Executive Director Marichu G. Tellano.

The NAM had its opening salvo last February 5 at the Rizal Park, followed by a month-long celebration with an impressive line-up of activities and events all over the country.

NCCA’s Sub-Commission on the Arts (SCA) led by Teddy Co has come up with this year’s theme as “Malikhain. Mapagbago. Filipino.”

The SCA comprises the national committees on architecture, cinema, dance, literature, music, theater and the visual arts.

Here in Bohol, the Provincial Government led by Gov. Edgar M. Chatto celebrated the NAM with a string of activities like an exhibit on industrial design and visual arts, a theater festival, drama workshops, an art fair, printmaking workshop, a film screening and forum, and a musical tertulla.

The opening celebration at the Bohol Cultural Center last February 7 was followed by a “Drama Explosion of Creative Transformative Filipinos,” “Visual Arts and Literary Explosion of Creative Transformative Art Works,” “Cinema Explosion of Creative Transformative Filipino Films,” and eventually, the culmination and closing program, an expo/explosion of Boholano creativity, innovation and transformation.

The closing program consequently also became the blessing and re-launching of the enhanced Abatan River Amphitheater Space at the Abatan River Main Village Center in Cortes.

Gov. Chatto graced the occasion with his lady, Balilihan Mayor and Abatan River Development Management Council (ARDMC) Chair Pureza Veloso-Chatto; together with other local chief executives of the Abatan River Life Tour municipalities of Maribojoc, Antequera, Catigbian and the host-town of Cortes led by Mayor Lynn Iven Lim.

The musical and culture-rich evening began with an afternoon of sights, sounds and magic right after the blessing of the Abatan River Theater Space, which incidentally became a live backdrop of green mangroves and a rainbow of colors too beautiful to behold.

As always, the world-famous Loboc Children’s Choir and the HNU Chorale wowed the crowd with their usual world-class singing prowess.

Romulo Tagaan of the Center for Culture and the Arts (CCAD) of the Provincial Government gave the event’s statement of purpose, followed immediately by PROCESS Bohol Executive Director Emmie Roslinda.

Other true-blooded Boholano talents worthy of praise and applause who shared their God-given talents with the audience were the Lingcud Maribojoc Cultural Collectives, the WinArts Dance Company, HNU Diwanag Dance Theater, Rodolfo Mercado, Noel Tuazon, Paul Joseph Vistal, Kasing Sining Blue Way Dance Ensemble, Tagbilaran City Balitaw Champions, Kasing Sining Teatro Bol-anon Ensemble, and the Bohol Singing Champions, who have given additional laurels to Bohol by having won in different singing competitions.

Bernan Joseph Cruz of the NCCA Plan/Policy Formulation and Programming Division could not contain his excitement due to all the excellent and explosive performances he has witnessed and admitted that “as of this moment, I am already thinking of a thousand ways of how to make use of all these Boholano talents and promote Bohol, not only in the local, but also in the global market as well.”

Given the theatrical ambience, organizers deemed it apt to have the oath taking of the officers of the Bohol Film Commission at the culmination program with Gov. Chatto swearing them all in to subsequently officially assume their posts.

An excerpt of the musical drama “Dagon sa Hoyohoy” got an explosive encore from the audience, especially when its Masters of Ceremonies Lutgardo L. Labad and Marianito Luspo mentioned that First Lady Pureza Chatto was part of the original cast as Dagohoy’s wife.

For that wonderful evening of lights, sounds, dances, songs and world-class talents, Gov. Chatto had this to say: “Let’s keep the tradition of excellence going. We won’t settle for anything less. Behold the beautiful music! BEHOLD BOHOL!”

And this is more than the Muses could hope for. (JLV/PGBh/EDCom)

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