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    It’s been 23 years since I’ve moved to Canada from the Philippines.  I remember that the first thing I looked for was a Filipino community paper so I can read some news about the community being new in Calgary.  I never found any Filipino community paper back in 1996. From them on I told myself that [...]

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Year in Review – the Philippine Arts in 2011

by Ida Beltran-Lucila

The year end  is always a time  to  look back  on  the year past  – as reflection, as learning, as an inspiration  in  facing  the  future.    Here, we  review the  biggest  news and achievements  in  the Philippine arts scene,  culled  from  direct  information, news  and  the  social  media,  focusing  on Filipinos around the world.


• Candice  Adea  and  Jean  Marc  Cordero,  principal  dancers  of  Ballet  Philippines,  garnered  Special Awards  in  the  Boston  International  Ballet Competition, winning  the  lead  roles  for  a Russian ballet performance and in addition for Candice, the Maris Liepa Prize for Outstanding Artistry.

• in  Edmonton,  choreographer/director  Jojo  Lucila  was  one  of  the  Cityʼs  Awardees  for  the Cultural Diversity in the Arts Award.


• Nino, a film  portrait on the decline of a wealthy family  by director Loy Arcenas, was awarded the $30,000 top prize New Currents at the Busan Film Festival in South Korea.   This festival  is one of Asiaʼs most important showcases.

• Auraeus Solitoʼs Busong won the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) International Critics Prize at the Eurasia International Film Festival, Kazakhstan.  Busong is a native Palawanonʼs term for fate or instant karma. The film tackles the environmental degradation in Palawan and stars acclaimed actress Alessandra da Rosi.

• Matthew Libatique, Filipino cinematographer of “Black Swan” won the Best Cinematography prize in the Independent Spirit Awards in California.  He was also nominated in the Academy Awards for his work on the same film, and in the same category.

• the documentary program Storyline created by writer Patricia Evangelista and filmmaker Paolo Villaluna bagged two medals in the New York Festivals International TV and Film Awards

• 18 year old Paulo Reyes won the top prize for his film First Steps to Recovery in a global film competition by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.  The judging panel included Hugh Jackman, Jet Li, Wendi Murdoch, and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, among others.

• Bisperas (Trespassers) won the Best Asian-Middle Eastern Film Award at the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival.  Directed by Jeffrey Jeturian, the film is about a family whose house is burglarized on Christmas Eve and amid the tension brought about by the burglary, the members of the family realize how treasured sentiments have been lost and relationships have evolved.

• Cannes 2009 best director Brillante Mendozaʼs independent film Lola got the Best Film award, and actors Anita Linda and Rustica Carpio tied for the Best Actress award, at the Tehran International Film Festival in Iran. This same film was also recognized at the 8th Asian Film Festival in Rome, won the Best Film at the Dubai International Filmfest, Grand Knight Award, the Miami International Filmfest and was also featured in the Tribeca International Film Fest in New York last April.

Arts and Culture Literature

• political prisoner Ericson Acosta was named a finalist in the prestigious 2011  Imprisoned Artist Prize  in  the  Freedom  to Create Award  Festival  in Cape Town,  South Africa.    The award  is given  to artists who are incarcerated because of their courage and creativity in pursuing their art, and  the role of  their work in highlighting  injustice.   He bested more than 2,000 nominees from  145 countries by a  jury  consisting of Hollywood actress Daryl Hannah, novelist Salman Rushdie and ballet icon Mikhail Baryshnikov.

• Jose Antonio Vargas, a  former  reporter  for The Washington Post who shared a Pulitzer Prize for  his coverage of  the Virginia Tech massacre,  revealed  in  The New York Times magazine that he is an illegal immigrant and has been hiding it for nearly 20 years.


• rise to  fame of YouTube sensation Maria Aragon  for her cover of Lady Gagaʼs song, and Thia Meguia for her entry in American Idol

• Karla Maye Carreon was declared grand champion in the vocalist category  in the K-pop World Festival in South Korea.


• the passing away of National Artist Salvador Bernal

Visual Arts

• Mideo  Cruzʼs  controversial  installation  Poleteismo,  which  mixed  Catholic  icons  with  pop culture  and  sexual  imagery,  caused  a  public  uproar  and  debate  on  artistic  freedom  and resulted in the shutting down of the exhibit at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

• Rodel  Tapaya  was  awarded  the  Signature  Arts Grand  Prize  2011,  at  the  Singapore  Arts Museum.   The winning entry selected from  15 artworks shortlisted from 130 nominations from 24 countries was Baston ni Kabunian, Bilang Pero di Mabilang (Cane of Kabunian, numbered but cannot be counted), an acrylic on canvas.

• the  entries  of  photographers  Reynaldo  C.  Mondez  and  Romeo  B.  Doneza,  Solar  Energy Panels and World Wide respectively, won top prizes in an Asia-Pacific Economic Competition, besting 204 photos from 95 other photographers.

• George Tapan  won  the National  Geographic  Photo Contest  – Places Category.    The most prestigious  international  photo  contest,  20,000  photographs  from  130  countries  were submitted.   George  is  the  first  Filipino  to  ever  win,  and  on  his  first  submission  too.    The winning photo showcased the beaches of Palawan.

• winning  entry   in  the  International  International  Childrenʼs  Painting  Competition  on  the Environment was 13-year old Trisha Co Reyesʼ  work showing a young girl pulling back a large grey  curtain  covered  in  images of  dying  trees  in  a  polluted  landscape,  to  reveal  a  colorful forest  filled with  abundant  life.   She was  formally  presented  the award  in  Indonesia by  the United Nations Environment Programme.

• Ifugao native Gilbert Bergano Alberto won the Silver Award and the Prix du Public (Audience Choice Award) at the 10th International Sculpture Symposium in Geneva for his sculpture A sitting old Igorot Man playing a Gong.

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