Celebrate National Arts Month 2024 With These Fun and Insightful Activities

The National Arts Month is just right around the corner! With that, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), led by its chairman Victorino Mapa Manalo, executive director Oscar G. Casaysay, and deputy executive directors Marichu Tellano and Bernan Joseph Corpuz, will spearhead the celebration of National Arts Month (NAM) 2024 this February by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 683 issued in 1991.

Bannering the theme “Ani ng Sining, Bayang Malikhain,” NAM 2024 aims to outline the notion that the bountiful harvest of a Filipino creative nation is derived from collective human imagination, not just individual aspirations. Bayang Malikhain signifies a Filipino society that places a high value on imagination, innovation, and artistic expression as integral components of our identity and progress. In Bayang Malikhain, artistic pursuits are honored as vital contributions to the nation’s development and cultural richness.

National Arts Month 2024 NCCA

Photo: National Commission for Culture and the Arts

This year’s National Arts Month celebration aspires to channel the creative energies of artists towards nation-building, synergizing the arts into the lives of diverse populations and communities (LGBTQIA+, PWD, IP, youth, seniors, etc.), and stimulating critical discourse, awareness, and appreciation of various arts and art disciplines through different emerging platforms.

The celebration is mainly composed of the flagship projects of the Subcommission on the Arts (SCA), led by its commissioner and head of the National Committee on Music (NCM), Commissioner Arvin Manuel R. Villalon, with the heads of other six (6) national committees: head of the National Committee on Architecture and Allied Arts (NCAAA), LAr. Cathe Desiree S. Nadal, PhD; head of the National Committee on Cinema (NCC), Mahar Sulayman “Butch” L. Ibañez; head of the National Committee on Dance (NCD), Dr. Lordinio A. Vergara; head of the National Committee on Dramatic Arts (NCDA), Eduardo P. Perez; head of the National Committee on Literary Arts (NCLA), Niles Jordan D. Breis; and head of the National Committee on Visual Arts (NCVA), Dr. Dennis E. Montera.

Opening Ceremony 

National Arts Month 2024 NCCA

Photo: National Commission for Culture and the Arts

The opening ceremony of NAM 2024 will be on February 23 at Rizal High School in Pasig City. This event strategically targets the youth population of 14,000 high school students and strives to fervently uphold the objectives of NAM to conserve, promote, and popularize Filipino artistic creations. It will feature a diverse array of performances, immersive workshops, and engaging talks meant to empower the young minds attending

Art Fair 

An art fair in partnership with LUSONG Luzon Arts and Culture Network, Inc., ARTIST, Inc., and Provincial Government of Laguna will be held on February 29, 2024 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Laguna Sports Complex featuring various performances and artists such as: ARTIST Inc’s Tremolo Rondalla, Children’s Literature Performances (CLAP), Agarwood Rap Music, Letran Calamba’s Tining Chorale, classical guitarist Leandro Ong, contemporary dance by Corina Vallejos, spoken word poetry, and Luisiana’s Teatro de Luis y Ana.

Flagship Programs per National Committee

Architecture and Allied Arts 

SAAN KA LULUGAR 2024: Resiliency in the Built and Designed Environment 

Saan Ka Lulugar (SKL) 2024: Resiliency in the Built and Designed Environment is a series of seminars and workshops extending the discourse on architecture and allied arts that commenced in 2021.

This year, SKL aligns its activities with the theme “Bata, Bata, Saan Ka Lulugar sa Kinabukasan ng Bayan?” highlighting the youth’s role in shaping the nation’s future and their significance in Filipino family and community building. Rooted in Filipino values, SKL 2024 intends to encourage the youth to become innovators and visionaries, shaping them into Filipino architects, environmental planners, interior designers, and landscape architects. Discussions during the celebration will explore resilience in planning, designing, and creating the built environment at various scales, from dwellings to cities.

SKL 2024 will be held in different locations across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, embracing diverse perspectives in architecture and allied arts from numerous regions in the Philippines. Walk-and-Sketch Workshop at Tanghalang Rizal and Tour in Plaza Rizal will be held on February 23 in Pasig City. The SKL Youth Seminar Series will be held from February 24 to 25 in Laguna, March 5 in Ormoc City, Leyte, and March 21 in Dasmariñas, Cavite. Simultaneous SKL Workshops such as Environmental Planning, Filipino Architecture Model Making, Luntiang Pook, and Upcycling will be held from March 8 to 9 in Zamboanga.

Cinema

Cinema Rehiyon 

Cinema Rehiyon is an annual non-competition festival that presents some of the finest works by filmmakers from the various regions of the Philippine archipelago. Set to roll out from February to April, the festival will be hosted by the Visayan filmmaking community in Iloilo, led by festival director Noel Galon de Leon. Cinema Rehiyon 16 is back with its teaser, “TIKMAN ANG SINEHAN!” forefronting the recent declaration of Iloilo City as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in the latest UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The festival encompasses a range of activities across different sites, including:

Paano Magbasa ng Pelikula (How to Read a Film)

Paano Magbasa ng Pelikula (How to Read a Film) is a film appreciation workshop designed by film critic/educator and NCC Vice Chairman Tito Valiente that will take place in Rizal, Ormoc City, Leyte, Laguna, March 8 in Zamboanga, and other official NAM 2023 partner cities. 

Margaha Film Festival 

Margaha Film Festival is a regional festival supported by the NCC and NCCA, offering competition screenings, film talks, a fluvial parade, and more from February 25 to 28 in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.

NCCA Online Film Library

The NCCA Online Film Library is a project initiated by the NCC in collaboration with Bago City, Negros Occidental. It is an online audio-visual archive available nationwide and worldwide from March to April. It showcases independent Filipino-made films representing various sectors.

Iloilo Film Festival on Solarflix TV

Scheduled from February 25 to March, the Iloilo Film Festival on Solarflix TV will launch selected films from the Iloilo Film Festival, including the 2023 Gawad Urian Best Short Film, “Sa Paglupad ka Banog,” directed by Elvert Bañares.

Cinema Rehiyon 16 @ Iloilo City 

Taking place from March to April, Cinema Rehiyon 16 @ Iloilo City will bring together representatives from regional film festivals. It will feature film screenings, talks, and workshops highlighting recent festival winners and a thematic curation of relevant films.

Dance

National Arts Month 2024 NCCA

Photo: National Commission for Culture and the Arts

Sayaw Pinoy 2024: Dance for Healing and Peace (Sayaw para sa Kaayuhan ug Kalinaw)

Sayaw Pinoy, founded by its artistic director, Dr. Shirley Halili-Cruz, stands as a touring dance concert and the NCD’s longest-running flagship project within the NAM. It strives to discover, inspire, and offer a platform to emerging dance groups, promoting collaboration among schools, community leaders, local government units, dance directors, and artists. Sayaw Pinoy 2024 is composed of Sayaw Pinoy National Tiktok Dance Challenge, Sayaw Pinoy Dance Concert with the Sayaw Pinoy Dance Competition Champions, Sayaw Pinoy Online Dance Lecture Series, and Sayaw Pinoy Touring Performaces and Workshops.

Sayaw Pinoy National TikTok Dance Challenge

The activity aims to popularize the NAM Festival Song 2024, entitled “Ani ng Sining, Bayang Malikhain” by holding a TikTok dance challenge. Regional champions from the four island clusters (NCR, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao) will be acknowledged in this inclusive competition, welcoming participants from all corners of the nation.

Sayaw Pinoy Dance Concert with the Sayaw Pinoy Dance Competition Champions 

Set to happen in March at the Metropolitan Theater in Manila, the Sayaw Pinoy Dance Concert will be the culminating activity of NCD to showcase the Best of the Best of the Sayaw Pinoy National Champions.

Sayaw Pinoy Online Dance Lecture Series 

In this activity, dance experts will address emerging issues and concerns regarding the status of dance in the post-pandemic era. Four (4) online lectures are scheduled to run throughout the entire month of February.

Sayaw Pinoy Touring Performances and Workshops 

Sayaw Pinoy Touring Performances and Workshops will unite dance companies to perform in partner LGUs, highlighting various dance genres and showcasing the talents of dance artists and choreographers. Aiming to target beneficiaries among the four (4) identified partners, it will present shows and extension activities. It will be held on February 23 in Pasig City, February 25 in Leyte, February 28 at Balacat Festival Village, Mabalacat City, Pampanga and March 8 in Biñan City, Laguna.

Dramatic Arts

18th TANGHAL University and Community-based Theater Festival

The 18th TANGHAL University and Community-based Theater Festival, as a celebration, unifies theater artists and cultural workers for NAM 2024. This event attempts to recognize and emphasize the pivotal role of theater and its practitioners in addressing social and environmental challenges, thereby contributing to enhanced community building. The festival also endeavors to initiate intellectual discourse on the transformative influence of theater in society. Regional festivals in Laguna, Cebu, General Santos City, and Makati City will showcase works representing their respective communities. The dates and sites of flagship event are as follows: theater and storytelling for children on February 28 in Los Baños, Laguna; March 8 to 9 in San Fernando, La Union; March 11 to 13 in Ormoc City, Leyte; March 14 to 15 in Koronadal City, South Cotabato; March 15 to 18 in General Santos City, South Cotabato; March 16 to 17 at University of Makati; March 18 to 20 at Guang Ming College, Cebu; and March 21 in Dasmariñas, Cavite. 

Literary Arts

SURAT-TANGHAL: Reading the Regions 2024

SURAT-TANGHAL: Reading the Regions 2024 is composed of two component activities, SURATalakayan and TANGHAL-AKDA, which focus on the discussion and performance aspects of chosen literary works from various regions. This project, featuring two key segments, SURATalakayan and TANGHAL-AKDA, is a flagship project of the NCLA and serves as a precursor to the upcoming 2024 National Youth Literary Festival. NCLA events will take place across the nation on different dates and sites such as: February 24 in Los Baños, Laguna; February 25 in Bacoor, Cavite; March 5 in Ormoc City, Leyte; March 8 at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University; March 14 to 15 in Albay; and March 16 in Angono, Rizal.

SURATalakayan

SURATalakayan takes the form of public forums, talks/lectures, workshops, literary discussions/conversations, town hall meetings, networking sessions, live readings, and side events like book launches, literary tours, author meet-ups, and small-scale book fairs.

TANGHAL-AKDA

TANGHAL-AKDA presents chosen regional texts through collaborations with local writers, performance artists, theater groups, or dance troupes, aiming to make specific literary works more accessible to the public.

Music 

National Arts Month 2024 NCCA

Photo: National Commission for Culture and the Arts

Musikapuluan

Musikapuluan is a project of NCM that seeks to provide space to music groups and artists while offering a wide spectrum of music cultures. With a goal to reach audiences across the nation, it will simultaneously use digital and physical venues for their activities.

For the opening of NAM 2024, NCM will hold a lecture-demo and showcase kulintang, Cordillera music, and pop music on February 23 at Rizal National High School, Pasig City.

For Luzon, workshops on rondalla, music pedagogy, and choral sessions by Prof. Joey Soliman and performances that focus on youth and environmental themes will be delivered by National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) 2023 winners. On March 4, NCM will hold an event in Tiaong, Quezon, and on March 16 in Angono, Rizal. 

National Arts Month 2024 NCCA

Photo: National Commission for Culture and the Arts

Workshops with different topics will be held from March 13 to 14 in Ormoc City, Leyte, such as organizing and sustaining symphonic bands, a lecture-demo on strings and woodwind, songwriting and/or music arranging by Mr. Niño Bañares, and Cordillera Music and Dance by Prof. Benny Sokkong. Followed by the recital of the workshop participants and performances by local symphonic bands, choirs, and Visayan pop singers. There will also be an evening of music where audiences can listen to songs from Regions 7 and 8.

Musikapuluan will feature Tboli songs and chants, a music performance from the Moros, a sarsuwela excerpt, and choral performances. Workshops on instrument-making of rondalla and guitar by Mr. Jay Sarita, music composition by Jed Balsamo, and a masterclass in voice will be conducted by Prof. Nenen Espina. For the Mindanao leg, NCM will hold an event from March 8 to 9 in Koronadal City, South Cotabato. 

Visual Arts

Bagong Biswal 2024

In an attempt to celebrate Filipino art and bring it to a broader regional audience, Bagong Biswal 2024 will utilize online platforms alongside the mounting of physical exhibits in select spaces, highlighting the unwavering determination and evolving creativity of the Filipino visual arts community. Bagong Biswal consists of Sining Sanayan, Sining Sinag, Sining Biswal Scene, and Sineng Sining. NCVA will hold an event on various dates and sites: February 23 at the Rizal High School, Pasig City; February 24 in Los Baños, Laguna; March 2 in Cebu; March 5 to 7 in Ormoc City, Leyte; March 8 at City Museum of Zamboanga; March 15 in General Santos City, South Cotabato; and March 22 in Batangas.

Sining Sanayan 

A series of art workshops, led by distinguished members of the NCVA, will address individual skills and concept development in drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed-media, and mobile photography. The target participants for these workshops are young artists and students aspiring to enhance their artistic abilities and foster creative exploration.

Sining Sinag

Sining Sinag is a physical exhibition curated by the NCVA and Ormoc City LGU that will be set up in select spaces. It also aims to highlight and establish talents from the Visayas region. Plans for satellite exhibitions in Luzon and Mindanao are also underway.

Sining Biswal Scene

Sining Biswal Scene will gather artists to discuss current practices in the region, focusing on how to overcome challenges faced in the visual arts industry.

Sineng Sining

Sineng Sining is a presentation of video features or documentaries from artists or groups in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and NCR regions, showcasing art practices related to various visual arts genres such as painting, sculpture, installation art, performance art, video, new media, illustration, fine art, photography, animation, graphic art, street art, and comics.

Ani ng Dangal 

Ani ng Dangal Awards or Harvest of Honors Awards is an annual event serving as the pinnacle and culmination of the NAM. It seeks to acknowledge artists who have received the highest international awards and recognition in nine (9) categories: Architecture, Cinema, Dance, Dramatic Arts, Literary Arts, Music, Visual Arts, Folk Arts, and Broadcast Arts from the preceding year. For this year’s Ani ng Dangal Awards, there are 25 endorsed awardees. It will be held on February 29, 2024 at the Malacañang Palace.