Monday, March 19, 2012


BALER, Aurora, March 19, 2012-Our hometown hero never fails to amaze me. I’m referring to Senator Edgardo J. Angara who again pulled off another first in Aurora by making the province the first to establish an artists’ village in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia.

Sometime last month, the artist village was inaugurated at the Dicasalarin beach resort in Barangay Zabali with the senator leading the way along with officials of the Board of Trustees of the Juan C. Angara Foundation.

The opening of the artists’ village was graced by national artists for literature Sionil Jose and Virgilio Almario and national artist for visual arts Benedicto Cabrera.

I was fortunate to interview internationally renowned installation artist and BOT member Jun Yee along with my friends, Manny Galvez of Philippine Star, Ronald Leander of GMA7 and we were informed that the artist-village will serve as a private-driven institution that will help revolutionize culture and the arts.

Yee, who has stayed long enough in Aurora to familiarize himself with the local culture and arts, explained that the village will serve as the private counterpart of the CCP and will provide a venue for seminars, workshops and lecture series on various art disciplines such as painters, architects, interior designers, landscape architect, dancers, musicians, poets, and writers and will eventually expand into the fields of film photography, food, fashion, furniture and even cyber media of the internet and mobile technology.

“Our vision is to invite artists from Asia and the Asia-Pacific where they can showcase their arts skills and impart their knowledge to our local artists so they can hone their home-grown talents by enrolling in our programs,” he said.

How the project was conceived was awe-inspiring. Yee was earlier asked by Senator Edong to draw up the conceptual framework for the project, a living testament to the passion shown by the senator for culture and the arts.

The project will accommodate a facility, called “longhouse,” for a lecture series and a clubhouse for social gatherings among artists. A second facility that will rise in the village will include workshop building for stone works, sculpture and experimental works of artists in the various arts disciplines.    The third facility is the construction of six cottages which can accommodate four artists each, where they may design their works of art using indigenous materials from the province.

Grand plans for the artists’ village include holding art festivals and painting exhibitions to enhance interaction among artists not only here but also abroad in coordination with the CCP.

We see this village as perfect compliments to the Aurora Arts Council which is also coordinating with various government agencies for art related events and activities in the province.

With this project, we won’t be surprised if Aurora becomes the bastion and hub of culture and the arts in Asia. We just have so much talent in our midst which needs to be harnessed to make us stand out in the global stage of performers, artists and the like.

We are hoping for more of this village to rise in other areas so that a genuine arts revolution could ignite in the Philippines and ingrain in us the artistic values of our talent.

After all, life imitates art.  (Jason de Asis) 


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