Arts & Culture News

Search for 2025 National Artists on

Filipino talents now abound and being cheered not only in native shores but also in Europe and in the United States.

Cultural Center of the Philippines Chair Jaime C. Laya said, “We have heard of this phenomenal Filipino-Finnish conductor Tarmo Peltokoski who is now a sensation world-wide at age 23 and this Filipino tenor (Arthur Espiritu) who is making waves in Europe from Germany to Switzerland, Warsaw and Bulgaria. These are the kind of talents we should look out for. We cannot be very parochial nominating artists in your own circle and not looking for real talents beyond.”

CCP chair Jaime C. Laya. Enough of parochial choices. Photo by NCCA.

Laya  urged cultural workers to actively participate in nominating their choices for the 2025 search for National Artists in Music, Visual Arts, Dance, and Theater adding that the nominees need not be famous for as long as they meet the criteria with solid documentation.

Laya spoke during the press conference for announcement of the search for National Artists in various categories for the year 2025.

Also present in the press conference were National Artist for Literature Gemino Abad, National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes, and National Artist for Film Ricky Lee.

The National Artists gathered backstage to have a common “keynote speech” but decided to just entertain questions from the media.

NCCA chair Victorino Manalo said the search for National Artists has always been taxing and rigorous. “We get all kinds of feedback. We were told why this and that artist was never considered at all. Foremost of all, the artist’s credentials should be well-documented. After accepting all the nominations, a research group goes over the documents and check the veracity of the curriculum vitae of the nominees for six months. Another six months will be spent on deliberations on the nominees before they selected ones are announced. I assure you there will be more rigorous argumentations than petty arguments.”

NCCA head Victorino Manalo at presscon. Photo by NCCA.

On the questions of more men than women being nominated especially in the visual arts, National Artist for Dance Reyes pointed out: “I believe the search should be genderless. The body of works of the artist should matter regardless of gender.”

CCP President Michelle Nikki Junia stressed that the country’s National Artists are the face and window for the arts of any country. “They are the face of the Filipinos in both local and international arenas of the arts. Their works define who we are as a country.”

Also, in the NCCA presscon were NCCA Executive Director Oscar Casaysay and NCCA Deputy Executive Director Marichu Tellano.

Only government or non-government cultural organization can nominate as well as private foundations and councils. “We no longer accept nominations by individuals,” Manalo said.

NCCA Deputy Executive Director Marichu Tellano said National Artists get P200,000 upon proclamation and P50,000 monthly allowance plus another P750,000 for medical needs. “They also get a state funeral when they pass away,” she added.

National Artist for Film Ricky Lee and National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes during open forum. Body of works should matter, not the gender of nominees. Photo by NCCA.

A day after the NCCA presscon, netizens had a field day nominating their choices.

Award-winning author Ninotchka Rosca and screenwriter Gina Marissa Tagasa posted on FB that the late writer Lualhati Bautista should be considered for National Artists for Literature.

Netizen John Iremil Teodoro suggested names from the Visayas namely Merlie Alunan, Leoncio P. Deriada and Magdalena Jalandoni.

Music lovers from all over the country are one in saying that national recognition for pianist Cecile Licad is long overdue.

Science City of Munoz (Nueva Ecija) Vice-mayor Nestor Alvarez said,” She was national treasure since age ten and is one of the country’s greatest living artists with solid credentials not just locally but in the international stage as well. My town has honored her as adopted daughter of Munoz, Nueva Ecija because of her exemplary status as world-class artist. Very few can match her status as national and international celebrity in music.”

National Artist for Film Ricky Lee said his life hasn’t changed much since he was declared National Artist for Film. “But I get extra pride in knowing that film writers are given the recognition they deserve. They work closely with directors and technically they should share equal credits with directors and cinematographers. I am getting used to being acknowledged in cultural gatherings. It takes some time getting used to it.”

The Order of National Artist (ONA) or Orden ng Pambansang Alagad ng Sining, was established by virtue of Proclamation No. 1001 dated April 27, 1972.

It bestows appropriate recognition and prestige on Filipinos who have distinguished themselves and made outstanding contributions to Philippine arts and letters.

Deadline for nominations is June 30, 2024.

(All inquiries and nominations should be submitted to: The Order of National Artist 8-5272192 local 507 Office of the Executive Director National Commission for Culture and the Arts NCCA Building, 633 General Luna Street, Intramuros, 1002 Manila.)