15 April 2016, 11:50 pm – THE CULTURAL Center of the Philippines paid tribute to the country’s nine new National Artists, including Thomasians Cirilo Bautista and the late Jose Maria Zaragoza.

Following ceremonies at Malacañan Palace, audiovisual presentations and performances were held at the CCP Main Theater Friday.

The tribute included performances by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Conservatory of Music professor Herminigildo Ranera, Ballet Philippines and the Philippine Madrigal Singers.

CCP President and Conservatory of Music Dean Raul Sunico emphasized in his opening remarks the CCP’s role of preserving the legacies of the National Artists.

“Together, the output of all National Artists, and also of other workers, that we put together, become the sources of inspiration and emulation for future generations to come,” he said.

Sunico added that the creative outputs of artists were important to the development of national identity. “They become a part of our search for national identity, because the soul of any nation rests on its culture, and we are a big part of that formation,” he said.

Bautista, a former Varsitarian literary editor, said being National Artist was the zenith of his life in literature, and that artists played a major role in transmitting culture.

“It should always be like that artists are in between the people and the culture. They are the transferer of culture,” Bautista said.

He also said the UST literary community should keep the Thomasian tradition of writing alive, particularly the sense of Catholic writing. “I will say to keep up that tradition because it is already dying in competition with the modern ways,” he said.

Architectural works of posthumous National Artist for architecture Zaragoza, who was represented by daughter Loudette Zaragoza-Banson during the CCP program, were shown in an audiovisual presentation.

Banson-Zaragoza said her father expressed deep love not only for the country’s cultural heritage but also for the Blessed Mother.

“My father was really dedicated to his work, especially to religious infrastructure during his latter years. He had this love for the Virgin Mary that our family is so proud of,” she said.

Zaragoza was influenced by his professor in architecture, the National Artist Juan Nakpil, said Zaragoza’s son Ramon.

“The first National Artist for architecture, Juan Nakpil, was one of my father’s greatest professors. That is why the family is more than happy with this award as he is now along the steps of his professor,” said the younger Zaragoza who also took up architecture in UST. Amierielle Anne A. Bulan and Cedric Allen P. Sta. Cruz



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