Awards galore
SUNDRY STROKES - Rosalinda L. Orosa () - September 11, 2004 - 12:00am
Institutions and individuals received highly deserved Gawad CCP Para sa Sining Wednesday night. These were Cecile Guidote Alvarez (theater), Barasoain Kalinangan Foundation, Inc. (regional cultural work), the late Santiago Bose (visual arts), Ryan P. Cayabyab (music), Eddie Elejar (dance), the late Doreen Fernandez (cultural research and education), Francisco T. Mañosa (architecture), Mindulani, Inc. (cultural research and advocacy), Rene O. Villanueva (literature), Peque Gallaga (film and theater), Cheche L. Lazaro (broadcast arts) and Antonio O. Cojuangco (Tanging Parangal, arts patronage and cultural promotion).

Being more conversant with the achievements of Cecile Guidote Alvarez than with those of other awardees, I shall herewith focus on her. Cecile founded the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), the first national theater company, and established the Fort Santiago Theater in Intramuros, a theater for the people actively in use to this day. Play after play at the Fort and at the CCP were oblique indictments of the martial law regime and the concomitant Marcos dictatorship.

In Cecile’s theater for the masses, Filipino was and still is the medium. She produced and directed plays in Tagalog, or plays translated into Tagalog, including Joaquin’s masterpiece Larawan ("Portrait of the Artist as Filipino"). Along with Rolando Tinio, Cecile pioneered in the staging of world classics (e.g., by Brecht, Durenmatt, Beckett) in Pilipino. She also invited eminent theater figures from abroad to direct plays, including the Romanian president and an American director who staged a street Passion play.

For years, and up to the present, Cecile has been producing plays over Radio Balintataw, on television and in popular venues. During her self-imposed exile in New York, she organized a group of Filipino players to keep alive Philippine theater there.

A few years ago, upon the suggestion of Cecile’s husband Sen. Heherson Alvarez, she organized the Dreams Ensemble, a group of young disabled, disadvantaged singers, dancers and actors, which group has repeatedly performed abroad to the highest critical acclaim. In its engagement this year in Tampico, Mexico, Dreams Ensemble so impressed the culturati that they decided, there and then, to hold the next International Theater Institute (ITI) Congress in Manila in 2006.

Both as director and producer, Cecile has been espousing the preservation and presentation of our indigenous arts nationally and internationally. Furthermore, she is a magnificent actress. For instance, her portrayal of Doña Teodora in Leonor Orosa-Goquingco’s drama My Son, Jose was searingly powerful.

Indeed, for decades the indefatigable Cecile – she has not allowed her recent bout with cancer to slow down her hectic pace – has been a major and an indomitable force in Philippine theater.
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Retiring as full professor at the UP Domingo Landicho will be honored by the Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature of the College of Art and Letters, as well as by writers and scholars, throughout the year.

Radio Balintataw, hosted by Cecile Guidote Alvarez, will sponsor a month-long Landicho Festival featuring the reading of Landicho’s poems, and a radio dramatization of Andres Bonifacio and Dupluhang Bayan which PETA staged during the martial law regime.

The UP Institute of Creative Writing and the Department of Filipino jointly sponsored Premyo Landicho in the Landichohan sa Modernong Duplo, the forerunner of the popular balagtasan proposed by Vim Nader, director of UP ICW. Participants recited impromptu poetry on topics chosen on the spot.

This was held at the UP Faculty Hall in recognition of Landicho’s role in propagating and popularizing the oral tradition of Filipino poetry on radio, TV, in balagtasan and poetic dedications to important events. The winner was awarded a glass sculptor of Roman Orlina.

The culminating activity in honor of the retirees will be the publication of the book Himaymay: Diwa at Pagkatao ni Domingo Goan Landicho sponsored by the Department of Filipino and jointly edited b Dr. Ma. Joseph Barrios, associate dean, College of Arts and Letters; Dr. Glecy Atienza, DFPP chairperson; Dr. Roland Tolentino, College of Mass Communications, and Dr. Edna May Obien Landicho, playwright-theater director.

Those who have written on Landicho’s works in the forthcoming book include National Artists Nick Joaquin, F. Sionil Jose, Francisco Arcellana and Virgilio S. Almario. Also Isagani Cruz, Bienvenido Lumbera, Nicanor Tiongson, Adrian Cristobal, Loren Legarda, Doreen Fernandez, Resil Mojares, A.N. Salanga, Rogelio Sicat, Petronilo Bn. Daroy, Landicho’s contemporaries, journalists, and those who have studied Landicho’s works for MA theses, doctoral dissertations and literary contests sponsored by the Komisyong ng Wikang Filipino

The Ateneo University Press will launch Landicho’s book of fiction Bathaluman at Ibang Katha. At 65, Landicho, one of the country’s most awarded writers, has published more than 50 books in almost all literary genres.
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Prior to the RM awarding rites, a book on the first 15 RM awardees was launched at the RM Center. Published by Anvil of which Karina Bolasco is president, the book titled Great Men and Women of Asia contains finely-crafted biographical essays on RM laureates from 1958-1967.

Written for Asia’s youth, the book is edited by Lorna Kalaw-Tirol and co-authored by Pennie Azarcon-de la Cruz, Ester G. Dipasupil, Ma. Ceres P. Doyo, Angelina G. Goloy and Socorro G. Naguit. Yasmin S. Ong did the pen-and-ink sketches.

The RM Award Foundation President Carmencita T. Abella welcomed the guests; vice chair Randy David presented each writer a copy of the book; trustee Emily Abrera read excerpts; Steven Rockefeller, representing the RM awards sponsors, gave concluding remarks, as did Johnny Santos, RMAF chair.

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