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Celebrating Art and Heritage: Batangas Shines During National Arts Month

Batangas' Provincial Tourism_upscayl_4x
(Photo courtesy of Lipa Actors Company and PTCAO)

Batangas City, Philippines – The Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office (PTCAO) in Batangas City is seizing the opportunity presented by National Arts Month to give a boost to the local economy and generate interest in the works of Batangueño artists and the province’s traditional goods.

Amado Hagos, Division Head of Culture and Arts at PTCAO, emphasized the significance of National Arts Month, celebrated every February, in showcasing Batangas’ vibrant cultural heritage and indigenous products. As part of the month-long celebration, the provincial government, through PTCAO, will be supporting various events that honor local artists who have achieved excellence in their respective fields.

One of the highlights of the celebration will be the inaugural “Gawad Kumintang Para sa Sining” (Kumintang Award for the Arts), set to take place on February 27. The award ceremony will recognize local artists who have made remarkable contributions in diverse artistic domains, including architecture, dance, theater, music, visual arts, media arts, and literature. This prestigious event aims to acknowledge and commend the valuable artistic talents within the community.

In addition to the award ceremony, other events are scheduled to captivate art enthusiasts. Renowned filmmaker Gabriel Malvar, a recipient of the prestigious Dangal ng Batangan award, will conduct a film directing session. Furthermore, there will be a film showing featuring the works of Kidlat Tahimik, a prominent advocate of the arts.

Highlighting the importance of preserving Batangas’ history, the Batangas History Society will organize “Unang Pandayan,” a program focused on planning, researching, and sharing knowledge about the province’s rich historical background. Comprising historians, writers, and academicians, the society plays a vital role in strengthening initiatives that promote local culture and heritage to both residents and tourists. Last year, the society held consultative meetings with research centers from various colleges and universities in the province, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Hagos also emphasized the active engagement of the Batangas Culture and Arts Council in establishing a robust network with local artists, leading to the formation of numerous art groups. Local artists are frequently invited to participate in provincial government events, a practice encouraged by Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas. Concurrently, the cultural mapping of local government units (LGUs) is underway, further amplifying the rich artistic tapestry of Batangas.

Expressing his passion for the arts, Hagos stated, “I hope we celebrate art every day because being involved, engaged, and appreciative of it helps us ease the burden of life.”

Moreover, the provincial government’s “Lokal Eh!” program is playing a crucial role in showcasing Batangas products such as the “barong tagalog” (traditional Filipino formal wear for men), “balisong” (butterfly knife), “habing-Ibaan” (a traditional woven fabric), and local delicacies like tamales and suman. Hagos urged local government units to capitalize on the influx of tourists in their areas by actively promoting their traditional products. Notably, the establishment of “pasalubong centers” in Taal, Ibaan, Lobo, and Batangas City has garnered significant attention and support for the production of local cottage industries.

As National Arts Month unfolds in Batangas, the celebration not only serves as a platform to recognize the achievements of talented local artists but also as a catalyst to drive economic growth and foster pride in the province’s cultural heritage. Through the collaborative efforts of various organizations and the unwavering support of local government units, Batangas continues to establish itself as a vibrant hub for the arts and a haven for artistic expression.