SINGKIT - Notes from the editor (The Philippine Star) - November 24, 2013 - 12:00am

It seemed incongruous, a dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila to mark the 50th anniversary of the Asian Cultural Council exactly a week after Typhoon Yolanda ravaged parts of our country. But the ACC has, through the years – through five decades –staunchly supported our artists and cultural workers, many of whom have gone on to earn acclaim not just on our shores but internationally.

It was a decidedly low-key celebration, measured against past affairs of the ACC, where the artists were given free rein to stretch the boundaries of their artistry. There was a tour of the Metropolitan Museum, with pocket performances by ACC grantees in some of the halls – dancer Myra Beltran doing improv to music by flutist Tony Maigue; the Philippine Madrigals matching visual art with music.

ACC Philippines chairman Ernest Escaler set the context of the evening’s affair in the light of Yolanda: “On Sept. 18, 2001, a week after the tragic 9/11 incident, the Asian Cultural Council Philippine Fellowship Program had its first ever fund raising event at the Stanhope Hotel in New York City.

“Today, exactly a week after the most devastating typhoon Yolanda wreaked havoc on our eastern shores, we are once again trying to raise funds for the Asian Cultural Council and celebrating its 50th year.

“When we were contemplating on whether or not we should continue the fund raising dinner event last September 2001, we had numerous discussions on whether to cancel in light of the 9/11 tragedy. After a series of discussions, we decided to push through with the event, if only to send a message to the world that we will not be cowed by terrorism or natural calamities.

“The whole purpose of the Asian Cultural Council is basically to support the arts, which is man’s expression of the eternal spirit and LIFE. We NEED to celebrate life despite the tragedies of our daily lives.”

So the hundred-plus people celebrated life, but Yolanda and all our suffering countrymen were never more than a thought away.


Ang lahat ng bagay ay magkaugnay... Magkaugnay ang lahat.

                                                                                                         – Magkaugnay/Joey Ayala


The night was about art and artists, all ACC grantees. Ballet Philippines performed Agnes Locsin’s paean to nature and humanity to Joey Ayala’s song about how we all – people, nature – are connected. The infectious rhythm, the arms and bodies of the young dancers linked in a continuous line drove home ever so eloquently our relationship to each other, to the world around us, and the respect we must show to each other and to Nature.

As our country is buffeted by over 20 typhoons a year, the late-season storms becoming ever more ferocious and destructive, we have to pause and consider the situation of the world around us, and what we are doing – and not doing – to keep it whole, if not make it a better place.


And when the broken-hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be...

And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be...

–Let It Be/Lennon-McCartney


The Ryan Cayabyab arrangement of this Beatle classic was sung almost like an anthem by the Madz, which hold the distinction of being named best choir in the world not once but twice. And how they deserve the honor!


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