CCP Tanghalang Manuel Conde new marquee -- Photo by Michelle Anne P. Soliman

IN March 2020, following the lockdown brought by the coronavirus pandemic, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) canceled 800 shows which would have welcomed 800,000 visitors. After two years of project postpone-ments, cancellations, and online transition, the CCP is now reopening fully and has presented its plans for the rest of this year.

“We usually make at least P34 million [in] box office revenues and we lost all of that (during the lockdown),” CCP Vice-President and Artistic Director Chris B. Millado said during the institutional press conference on May 4.

“But what we tried to do is to save as many jobs as possible,” Mr. Millado said. From 2020 to 2021, at least 3,000 artists, cultural workers, and production staff had been affected by the COVID-19 lockdowns. “I’m glad to say that at least 80 to 90% of the jobs that were initially entered for these projects were saved,” he said.

This year’s projects include live performances, hybrid showcases, film screenings, exhibits, new publications, and workshops.


Popular theater, film, and music festivals are returning this year, with live performances held alongside online screenings.

The Virgin Labfest (VLF) festival of new plays returns to the stage from June 16 to 26, and will have online screenings of its productions from July 4 to 10. The Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival will return to thea-ters in August, followed by online screenings of the full-length films that are part of the festival. And the National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA) will be held onstage in November.

The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) will have a concert season, starting in September. The orchestra hopes to hold its annual Tricks and Musical Treats: A PPO Family Concert on-site this year. It is an annual orchestral adventure for children to appreciate, learn, and experience the different sounds of musical instruments in the orchestra. Meanwhile, the PPO Young People’s Concert, featuring talented young soloists accompanied by the CCP’s resident orchestra, will premiere online this year.

The CCP Intertextual Division projects focus on providing opportunities for artists to contribute to the canon of Philippine literature through its various events, such as the National Children’s Book Day, the Virgin Labfest Play-wrights’ Fair, and the Performatura Festival.

The CCP will also launch literary publications in digital format: Mithi, a joint book project focused on literary works in the new normal by the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) with the CCP; Natatauhan, edited by Luna Sicat Cleto, featuring VLF stage plays written by women, and Mga Piling Dula Mula sa Virgin Labfest (2017 to 2019) edited by Rody Vera. The digital copies will be available through the CCP Collections website (


For Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang, selected stories by Severino Reyes will be adapted into short animated films.

The CCP Board of Trustees will be offering the CCP Animation and Comics Grants which will focus on adapting Filipino folktales and epics. The output of these grants will be uploaded in the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Arts Digital (EPAD).

“The goal right now is to make comics of the existing folktales, myths, and legends. Not really creating new content just yet,” CCP Board Trustee Benedict Carandang said.

Commercial viability will also be considered for the pitches for game development grants. “You have to present a business plan to support your project proposal. We have to be more market savvy right now,” Mr. Carandang said. For details check the Game Development Application form: ( and the Animation and Comics Grant Application form (

Meanwhile, the EPAD will be continuously updated with new content, including the Media Gallery which is a virtual repository of still and moving images, and the timeline of Philippine art documenting its history. The timeline for Philippine film and dance will be launched in June, while those of Philippine literature and architecture will be launched in August, Philippine broadcast and visual arts in October, and Philippine theater and music in December.

The CCP Channel, under the Cultural Content Department, will premiere its own productions, such as #FromTheArchives educational videos based on the center’s events, #AllInADaysWork documentations of day-to-day activities of the cultural workers at the CCP, and The Buffeteria Conversations with cultural movers sharing stories about their arts.

Soon to rise at the ASEAN Park of the CCP Complex is the CCP Digital Hub, where the general public can access all CCP digital projects through touch screen wall monitors and other immersive devices. It will also have a pop-up café and a hole-in-the-wall boutique.


The CCP Arts Education Department (AED) will be holding the second Children’s Biennale in November.

The ongoing projects are Young At Art, a series featuring children having conversations with artists, which is now on its third season; Arts Online, a learning resource and lecture series for art educators; Sining Sa Eskwela, teacher trainings in the arts; Sining Galing which are art-based psycho-social activities; the CCP Summer Arts Academy, a specialized teacher training program in the arts and K-to-12 arts and design; and the Hands-On Choral Workshop, among others.

AED will also launch Indigenous Lullabies featuring poems and music as music videos for parents and other nurturers. The lullabies from the regions are based on ethnomusicological research, arranged by an esteemed musical director, performed by contemporary artists and nurturers, and visualized on-screen by young filmmakers.

The Production and Exhibition Department has been providing technical theater and design training on lights, sets, and sound. They also have an apprenticeship program which provides hands-on training and exposure to vari-ous performance genres and interactions with designers and technical theater practitioners.


The Cultural Exchange Department (CED) will continue to expand its partnerships in the regions through its Kaisa sa Sining (KSS) program. Currently, the CED has 23 regional partners in Luzon, 19 in the Visayas, and 18 in Mindanao.

Under the KSS, the CCP provides an Apprenticeship Program for regional cultural workers and gives awards and recognitions to outstanding regional artists, cultural workers, and organizations.


Aside from the announcement of its plans for the year, the CCP also revealed the new marquee of the Tanghalang Manuel Conde (CCP Arthouse Cinema).

Originally launched in June 1988, the 100-seat theater was named after renowned actor, director, and producer Manuel Conde. Also called the Dream Theater (and formerly the Audio-Visual Room), it was the first di-rect-to-home satellite venue for art and culture films, and videos on the arts of the Philippines.

To give the space an identity, the new marquee’s designer, Production Design and Technical Services staff Ricardo Eric Cruz, decorated the surrounding walls with images from Philippine movies bordered with repurposed wood. The letters of the cinema’s name are built with LED lights.

“We hope that this becomes like a continuing venue for titles and works of Filipino filmmakers, which seldom find the place in commercial cinemas. That’s why it’s called the ‘art house cinema.’ And we are very happy that it has sort of developed its own niche audience throughout the years…,” Mr. Millado said.

The Tanghalang Manuel Conde will showcase screenings of remastered films of legendary film actors and directors

In celebration of National Heritage Month and the director’s death anniversary on May 22, the cinema will screen Lino Brocka’s Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwawag for free on May 20, 2 p.m. Pre-register for the event through


The Office of the Artistic Director has been working on the inaugural season of the Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez (CCP Blackbox Theater), as well as the CCP’s upcoming 53rd anniversary.

The CCP Blackbox Theater’s inaugural shows include a production of Anak Datu, which is based on the life and works of National Artist for Visual Arts Abdulmari Imao; an experimental work with an international theater compa-ny directed by former Tanghalang Pilipino executive director Nonon Padilla; and the PPO chamber music series.

Within the year, the CCP, with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, will also be proclaiming the new National Artists and the Gawad CCP Awardees. For more information on CCP programs and projects, visit the CCP’s website ( and its official social media pages. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman