Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Albay arts and culture flourish under Salceda
By Johnny C. Nunez

LEGAZPI CITY, June 14 (PNA) -- Albay’s arts and culture have flourished richly under the administration of outgoing Governor Joey Salceda, playing an invaluable role in the province’s robust tourism.

The visual arts, specifically, went through a dramatic change in Albay during the past nine years, as artists found their way into and actively participated in local government-sponsored exhibits and year-round festivals and cultural activities, mostly with a package of outlay support.

For the past nine years, the provincial government alone had sponsored over nearly 70 exhibits at the Albay Atrium Gallery for local and visiting painters, sculptors, photographers, installation and graphic artists, ceramics and handicraft designers, according to Apo Gonzales, the provincial curator.

Salceda, who finishes his three (9-year) terms as governor this month to take over his post as the new Representative of Albay’s second district in Congress, has been credited for his province’s robust growth in arts and culture.

Speaking at the opening of the 24K Exhibit at the Atrium Gallery last week — the last visual arts display he attended as governor — Salceda praised local artists for their devotion and for their creative role in the development of Albay’s culture. He promised his continued support to their group.

The outgoing governor said visual arts has also been an integral part of Albay’s robust tourism surge. The province now being a popular global tourist destination.

“I feel privileged to have personally known you and your arts and to have had a hand in the promotion of your talents. Rest assured that I shall always be supportive of your projects,” he said.

“You are the true agents that make our culture and our arts lasting. With you around and always active in your creative ways, I am confident our local arts will be handed down to our next generations,” added Salceda.

Known for his philanthropy for artists, Salceda’s top agenda in Congress include the legislation of a measure that will establish a national Special Trust Fund of P20 billion for Arts and Culture, and similar such facility for a few other concerns.

Through the governor’s efforts Albay’s Daragang Magayon legend was staged at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2013, which set a new record in Philippine Art History as the first full-length ballet rendition of a provincial epic.

The story of Daragang Magayon is the love story of Mayon Volcano and the people of Albay. The ballet epic was a collaboration among big names in arts, music and literature. Composed and arranged by Ramon P. Santos in rondalla fashion, it became the first multi-media ballet masterpiece by ballet artist Gerald Mercado. Its filmography was orchestrated by Chuck Escasa. Poet Rio Alma and writer Abdon Balde took charge of its poetry and story line, respectively.

The Daragang Magayon epic version integrates the love story legend of Mayon’s origin and the pre-Hispanic mythology of Bicol with two community bonding - haliya (protest against incoming threat) and atang (offering for good harvest). (PNA) LAP/JCN/EDS