Events And Nightlife

Spirit Of Balagtasan Comes To Life At The Cultural Center Of The Philippines

Choose Philippines
Choose Philippines | Mar 15, 2017
Spirit Of Balagtasan Comes To Life At The Cultural Center Of The Philippines

The  Cultural Center of the Philippines will mount the Performatura 2017: Performance Literature Festival on March 31 to April 2 at its venues. It is open to the public. Audiences will have their fill of poetry readings, cultural performances, film showings, marathon readings, book fair, and interviews with renowned artists and writers from 9 in the morning to 9 in the evening.

Photo by Vim Nadera

True to the CCP’s mission of bringing our country’s diverse traditions for the common Filipino to experience, entrance to the festival will be practically free. However, the organizers will be requiring the audience to donate a book as their price for admission. Each donation will go to the CCP’s partner libraries.

Image taken from Sentrong Pangkultura ng Pilipinas - Tumblr

Performatura 2017 is the Center’s way of highlighting the Philippines’ rich tapestry of artistic traditions that leap beyond the written word and welcoming writers and performers from far-flung communities of the country.

In Honor of Balagtas

The festival’s theme, “Sa Loob at Labas ng Bayan Kong Sawi” (roughly translated as Within and Without My Sorrowful Country), is a direct quotation from Florante at Laura, the masterpiece of Francisco “Balagtas” Baltazar.

Balagtas’ spirit will likewise animate Performatura as various artists are set to give life to his body of work. Community children from Dagdag Dunong Reading Center will be doing a marathon reading of La India Elegante y el Negrito Amante; members of the Pinoy Reads Pinoy Books Club will give voice to Orosman at Zafira; and students from the Philippine National School for the Blind will read the Braille version of Florante at Laura out loud.

Cosplayers, students, and members of theater groups can take part by joining Franciscosplay – a cosplay contest where participants dress up as characters from Florante at Laura and recite at least 3 stanzas of the character they are portraying.

One of the highlights of the Balagtas tribute will happen on April 2, 2017 at 7 am in the Balagtas Shrine in Pandacan, Manila. National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera,  CCP officials, and Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino Director General Roberto Añonuevo will be heading a wreath-laying ceremony for the maestro. Pandacan-based Teatro Balagtas and the past winners of KWF’s Makata ng Taon will perform.

Balagtas is one of the first titans of Philippine Literature – his contribution to the country’s arts and letters continue to shape local poetic tradition and Filipino life.

Artists of Diverse Backgrounds Convene to Perform for Public

An arts festival will not be a festival without artists. This year, Performatura brought together a cohort of performers, writers, actors, filmmakers, singers, spoken word artists, and dancers for the public to experience Philippine arts and literature.

National Artist Virgilio Almario, AKA Rio Alma, will be sharing a few words on the opening ceremonies to be held at 9 am on March 31 in the CCP Little Theater. Ms. Nora Aunor will give lucky fans and attendees an intimate look into her practice as an actress on the same day at the MKP of the CCP Main Building at 2:00 p.m.  National Artist F. Sionil Jose will grace the opening show of April 1 at 9:00 a.m. at the CCP Promenade. Those familiar with Visayas’ Dr. Leoncio Deriada can attend his own session and understand his critical lens on the practice of poetry on the same day. Mr. Ricky Lee will talk about his craft as a scriptwriter in a separate café session (April 2). Filmmakers Sari Dalena, Giancarlo  Abrahan, and Jim Libiran will talk about the art of writing and the art of making films during the Peliteratura segments.

Musical acts will also be part of the festival fare. Traditional music ensemble Kontra-gapi and Sanghabi will be delighting the audience with sets highlighting indigenous instruments. Mr. Heber Bartolome is set to make an appearance and play his songs on Park Poetry @ Sev’s Cafe on April 2.

However, the festival does not anchor itself solely on the presence of popular artists. Festival Director Vim Nadera believes that the Performatura Festival is a great opportunity for artists to capture an audience for their art. “Not everyone can say they have performed at the CCP. It’s a privilege that National Artists and our best craftspersons share. Now, it is an honor we are giving to those who are practicing both new and ancient forms of performance literature in the margins. Filipinos may not have heard of them, but their work is just as important.”

Sharing the limelight who breathe life to the traditions of their communities are the T’boli chanters from Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, the raji performers from Itbayat,Batanes, and the Balitaw performers from Cebu.

The event is also not short of up-and-coming spoken word and performance artists like Juan Miguel Severo, Abra, Binibining Beats of Zamboanga, Tupada Action and Media Arts, and Nerisa Guevara.

About the CCP Intertextual Division

The CCP Intertextual Division, formerly the CCP Literature Division, is the organizer of the Performatura 2017.  According to Mr. Herminio Beltran Jr., writer and one of the brains behind the festival, the division organizes Performatura every other year to highlight Philippine Literature and its interconnections with other forms of arts, as well as the connection of artists to their audiences.  Intertextual Division believes that the real stars of the festival are the audience who show their support for the Philippine arts and literature. 

For details, check the CCP Intertextual Division Facebook page or  
contact Markus Aserit at [email protected], 551-5959 or 0919-3175708. 

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