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15/06/2018: PH CULTURE AND ARTS CHIEF SEEKS TO INSTILL “FILIPINO PRIDE” DURING WASHINGTON VISIT

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-49-2018
15 June 2018

NCCA Chairman Virgilio Almario reads his poem, Ang Bangkay (The Corpse) as introduction to his lecture, “Recovering the National Memory: The Quest for a Pre-Colonial Filipino Past” held at the US Library of Congress on 11 June 2018.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – “We need to constantly remind our kababayans abroad that they are a part of our nation. We also want them to feel proud of our country,” said Philippine National Artist for Literature and National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Chairman Virgilio S. Almario in his speech during the opening of Sentro Rizal Washington DC on 10 June 2018.

This statement has also been the Chairman’s main message all throughout his three-day visit in the US capital this week.

In a conversation entitled, “Philippine Culture & Arts in Washington DC: Reflections by Virgilio S. Almario”, held at the Carlos P. Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy on 11 June 2018, Chairman Almario, together with Georgetown University Professor Erwin Tiongson engaged a solid Washington crowd in discussing several Filipino artists who left imprints in the history of Washington, D.C. Included in the list are visual artists Romeo Tabuena, the Blanco family, and Guillermo Tolentino; and writers Jose Garcia Villa, Bienvenido Santos, Manuel Viray, and Arturo Rotor.

When asked to address Filipino artists in the diaspora, Chairman Almario stated, “You are citizens of the Philippines, which we also have to recognize and if possible, help. If you are a writer or an artist, then it is the duty of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts to give you support so that you can be more fulfilled in your profession.”

Chairman Almario also delivered a lecture “Recovering the National Memory: The Quest for a Pre-colonial Filipino Past” at the US Library of Congress in the afternoon of the same day, during which he highlighted the importance of “rediscovering the nation’s lost memory,” referring to Philippine culture that is unrecognizable to many Filipinos.

“The task for the cultural sector is to have a more direct and active role in the act and process of national re-imagination. It must wield its various educational tools and cultural instruments and provide foundations to the execution of its mandate to make culture part of the mainstream of nation-building,” Chairman Almario stressed.

“The re-education of the Filipino into someone capable of re-imagining himself and the nation entails a re-visiting of Philippine history,” he further added.

After the lecture, the Chairman together with the delegation from the National Museum of the Philippines had a tour of the Library of Congress courtesy of the Asian Division, led by its chief Dr. Dongfang Shao and reference librarian Mr. Hong Ta-Moore.

On 12 June, Philippine Independence Day, Chairman Almario met with US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Jennifer Galt to take stock of current cooperative projects in the socio-cultural field, and discuss new areas for potential collaboration.

Both officials underscored the importance of devoting resources to the preservation of intangible cultural heritage, such as languages and artistic traditions, in the face of technological and other advancements.

Chairman Almario’s visit to Washington, D.C. is part of the Philippine Embassy’s celebration of Kalayaan 2018. Ms. Mary Anne Luis, head of NCCA’s International Affairs Office, supported the Chairman during his Washington engagements.

“Chairman Virgilio Almario conveys a message that is very relevant and timely. The Filipino people have so much to be proud of and to share in terms of cultural wealth and artistry, and all of us should ensure that this wealth is preserved for the next generation of Filipinos. The Philippine Embassy vows to continue working with the NCCA in this regard,” Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez said.

PHOTO RELEASE
WDC-96-2018
15 June 2018

Chairman Virgilio Almario and Professor Erwin Tiongson during “Philippine Culture & Arts in Washington DC: Reflections by Virgilio S. Almario” held at the Carlos P. Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy on 11 June 2018.

PHOTO RELEASE
WDC-97-2018
15 June 2018

NCCA Chairman Virgilio Almario meets with US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Jennifer Galt on 12 June 2018.

PHOTO RELEASE
WDC-98-2018
15 June 2018

NCCA Chairman Virgilio Almario (center) and US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Jennifer Galt (2nd from right), with NCCA International Affairs Office head Ms. Mary Anne Luis (rightmost), Third Secretary and Vice Consul Darell Artates (2nd from left) and the Embassy’s Cultural Attaché Lalie Gavino (leftmost).