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Arts and the Filipino youth

Manila, Philippines – LOOK around. How many of the youths of today are diehards of Korean, Japanese, or even Taiwanese telenovelas? How many of them ape their looks and mannerisms, and dream of moving to Korea, Japan or Taiwan?

After World War II, we saw generation after generation of Filipinos who wanted to look and act like Americans. The nationalists among us called their kind as people “stricken with colonial mentality.“ Sixty years later, Americans no longer have a monopoly of colonial minds. Today, millions of Filipino youths look closer to home for examples. They pattern their existence using Asian models. Still, not Filipino.

Some might say this penchant for the foreign is really harmless, a product of youthful exuberance. And yet, it must be said that it is in the arts that the cultural identity of a nation is born and bred.
As stated by National Artist in Music Felipe Padilla de Leon: “Art is an important part of our culture. It mirrors our collective soul, our consciousness and our emotions. It makes us aware of social, environmental and spiritual issues.“

Media, as the chief purveyor of popular culture, should be acutely aware of this need to preserve our cultural identity. Media should be the first to report on the rich cultural and artistic fare available right within our shores.

Let this week’s column be my personal invitation to the Filipino youth: You are invited to take part in the Philippine Arts Festival (PAF), the country’s biggest and longest annual arts event spearheaded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), through its indefatigable chairman, National Artist Felipe Padilla de Leon Jr., with the able support of NCCA’s OIC-executive director Adelina Suemith and Marichu Tellano, head of Planning, Policy Formulation and Programming Division.

Known, emergent and innovative artists take center stage to offer sumptuous samplings of the seven arts and a glimpse of what are in store for the whole month of February, in a production that embodies this year’s theme: Tradition and Innovation.

For more details on the activities and schedules, contact PAF Media Director and NCCA-Public Affairs and Information Office (PAIO) head, Rene Sanchez Napenas at (632) 527-2192 or 0928-5081057.
Log on to http://www.ncca.gov.ph or email them at ncca.paio@gmail.com.