Sep 16, 2019

Had it not for a very persuasive First Lady, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP)—or at least the idea of one, which the Philippine-American Cultural Foundation started to raise funds for in 1961—would have been built in Quezon City.

Long story short, an International style national theater funded through donations and a controversial million-dollar loan rose in Pasay in 1969, inaugurated three days before the birthday of then-president Marcos.

It was designed by Leandro Locsin, who prior to taking on this project, was famous for designing the first circular church inside the University of the Philippines Diliman, his first one to be constructed. He was then awarded the National Artist honor in 1990, for his architecture that includes the CCP, an 88-hectare national theater famed for its seemingly levitating structure anchored by cantilever columns.

This year the CCP turns 50. The golden anniversary will be marked by a two-day extravaganza that aims to raise funds for the renovation of the complex.

An estimated P1 billion is needed to upgrade the national theater from the main building to the stages, seats, and fixtures, according to CCP chair Margie Moran Floirendo. The renovation will last for five years.

“We’re also doing the development plan for the whole complex, and that means that we will soon be listening to offers from different development companies, the new proponents of the development for the CCP Complex,” Moran told the Inquirer.

The first part of this two-day anniversary effort will be on Sept. 20, a formal fund-raising event where tickets will be priced between P3,000 and P5,000.

On Sept. 21, a “People’s Gala” will be held for broader audiences. Tickets will be priced at P50 for the stratospheric seats to P100 for balcony and around P1,000 for orchestra.

Featured in the shows are the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ seven lively arts: architecture and allied arts, cinema, dance, dramatic arts, literary arts, music, and visual arts.

Musical and dance performances by local talents will headline the festivities. Performers will include pianist Raul Sunico, dance master Ligaya Amilbangsa, dancers Candice Adea and Julio Blanes, sopranos Rachelle Gerodias and Andion Fernandez, Poppert Bernadas, Gian Magdangal, and Lara Maigue. Actor-singers Joanna Ampil, Celeste Legaspi, Nonie Buencamino, Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino, Audie Gemora, and Monique Wilson will also be on the show together with conductors Yoshikazu Fukumura and Herminigildo Ranera, and choirmaster Mark Anthony Carpio.

As an homage to the golden years of Philippine cinema, Jerrold Tarrog and editor Chuck Gutierrez will screen an ode to Cinemalaya.

Meanwhile, the CCP’s resident companies Ballet Philippines, Bayanihan Dance Company, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Tanghalang Pilipino, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group and Philippine Madrigal Singers, will represent the performing arts.

A two-hour gala about the story of the CCP’s values: excellence, Filipino work, and the nurturing of the next generation of artists and audiences will also be shown, said CCP artistic director Chris Millado.

“We are an archipelago with different influences, and so we do that [with the show], and at the same time, we have to touch the different arts of the CCP—visual arts, literature, theater, cinema, dance, music,” said Loy Arcenas, director of the gala show.

“All that has been developed in the past 50 years we try to showcase or how that has influenced the Filipino identity within the country and also to the outside world.”

Millado also revealed their plan to film the gala in HD. The said footage will then be post-edited and shown in theaters nationwide to share this story to a wider audience.


Header photo courtesy of Cultural Center of the Philippines Facebook page

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TAGS: CCP ccp 50th anniversary Chris Millado Film leandro locsin Loy Arcenas margie moran performing arts theater