CCP’s Simbang Gabi goes digital

FOR the last 15 years, it has been a tradition at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) to hold Simbang Gabi when the Christmas season comes. For the Center, holding the novena (nine) masses is no ordinary program, but a special event that needs careful and meticulous planning. The dawn masses would be  held at the CCP Main Ramp, while the Misa de Aguinaldo (Christmas Eve Mass) at the Main Theater, with performances from resident companies, would draw a capacity crowd, spilling over to the Main Theater Lobby. But as the pandemic made such large gatherings impossible, the CCP Simbang Gabi 2020 migrates to the digital platform. The virtual Simbang Gabi runs from Dec. 15 to 23, 9 p.m. (anticipated masses), and Dec. 16 to 24, 5 a.m. (dawn masses), and is streamed via the official CCP Facebook page and YouTube Channel. It will also be broadcast on CNN Philippines Channel. For the masses, the Center has partnered with parishes all over the country — Our Lady of Sorrows in Pasay City; St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Loboc, Bohol; Our Mother of Perpetual Help (Redemptorist) Church in San Miguel, Iligan City; Holy Cross Parish (Margot) in Sapang Bato, Pampanga; Our Lady of Montserrat Parish in Jaro, Iloilo City; San Pedro Cathedral in Davao City, Davao; Our Lady of Piat Basilica in Piat, Cagayan; Sto. Niño de Tacloban Parish in Tacloban City; and St. Francis Xavier Parish in Pueblo de Oro, Cagayan de Oro City. On Dec. 24, 9 p.m., the Misa de Aguinaldo will be celebrated from St. Gregory the Great Cathedral Parish (Albay Cathedral) in Legazpi City. The CCP Simbang Gabi will culminate with a special Christmas Day Mass (Dec. 25, 10 a.m.) with Cardinal Luis Tagle celebrating from Rome, Italy. As a pre-mass event, there will be a 10 to 15-minute video clip of the past Simbang Gabi activities (i.e. performances of the Philippine Madrigal Singers and other groups, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Tanghalang Pilipino, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, among others).

Webinar on art community challenges

THE METROPOLITAN Museum of Manila and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) through the Philippine Arts in Venice Biennale present the webinar “Taking Care of Ourselves: Art & Community,” on Dec. 19, 4-6 p.m. The event will bring together artists, art managers, and gallerists — Rocky Cajigan, Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, Charlie Co, Kublai Millan, and Isa Lorenzo, moderated by Patrick Flores — to discuss the relationships between various stakeholders in the artworld in different places in the Philippines, and examine the strengths and potentials of the the current systems of collaborations, as well as the challenges that stem from competing interests, structures, and forces that we encounter. “Taking Care of Ourselves” is the first installment of “Art and Community,” a series of dialogues that examine and explore the ecology of relationships within the Philippine art world and its ties to society. Free and open to the public, This webinar will be hosted on Zoom with Facebook Live.

Usapang MaArte: webinar on marketing to Filipinos

THE MUSEUM Foundation of the Philippines presents the webinarUsapang MaArte: Marketing the Filipino Way” on Dec. 19, 1-2:30 p.m., via Zoom and Facebook Live. Admission is free but limited slots are available. To register go to Dr. Felipe M. de Leon, Jr.’s lecture will enumerate essential conditions that can attract and persuade Filipinos to buy. Dr. De Leon, Jr., is a professor, writer, and composer who is active in promoting and preserving Philippine indigenous cultural heritage and specializes in aesthetics, music theory, and culture and human development issues.

Gateway Gallery holds a webinar on Rizal

THE GATEWAY Gallery will air its fifth KulturaSerye webinar “Rizal Kritikal: Mga Aral sa Sibika, mga Isyung Panlipunan, at Pagbubuo ng Bansa,” on Dec. 19, 2 p.m. It will be live-streamed from Gateway Gallery’s Facebook page GatewayGalleryPH. The free webinar is open to the public and does not require pre-registration. The KulturaSerye webinar will be delivered by historian John Ray Ramos, a History lecturer at Ateneo de Manila University and author of the book Bayani Biographies: José Rizal. The talk gives an overview of Rizal’s critical ideas as seen from his novels Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo as well as his political and social writings. Games and prizes await the viewers during the KulturaSerye talk. For inquiries on KulturaSerye webinar, contact Gateway Gallery at, 8588-4000 local 8300, or via its social media at Facebook (GatewayGalleryPh), Instagram (, Twitter (gateway_gallery), and YouTube (Gateway Gallery).

Tuloy ang Pasko at MOA

FOR a unique drive-in experience, visit the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds on Dec. 19 and 20, where two dance films — The Nutcracker Ballet Act 2 and Tuloy Ang Pasko — will be screened back to back at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. An added treat, behind-the-scenes footage documenting the making of these dance films will be shown in between the two productions. This treat offers audiences a rare opportunity to enjoy a twin-bill of one classic Christmas ballet and a contemporary work by the artists of the CCP Dance Workshop, and have a fun outdoor movie experience while staying safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a presentation of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, in cooperation with SM Mall of Asia and the support of Century Tuna Premium Red. Both dance films are directed by Carlos Siguion Reyna, and were filmed at the CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo without a live audience. For tickets, log on at or call 8470-2222 for inquiries.

Ballet Philippines’ Christmas treat

IN CELEBRATION of Christmas, Ballet Philippines (BP) presents the world premiere of Fantasy on Christmas Eve and Maligayang Pasko. In honor of the 180th anniversary of P.I. Tchaikovsky, Fantasy on Christmas Eve is a heartwarming story celebrating the Christmas Season. It centers around a girl who experiences a fantasy she wakes up to on Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, Maligayang Pasko features a coterie of dancers, set to Christmas classics performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Aside from the performance videos, BP OnStream Centerstage, which focuses on dancers who live and breathe the art of dance, presents this month’s feature: Mark Balucay – Pursuing his dreams amidst uncertainty. All the videos can be viewed on

Muni-Muni Stories focuses on church songs

FILIPINAS Heritage Library and the OPM (Original Pilipino Music) Archive present Episode 6 of MUNI-MUNI STORIES: A Podcast on Filipino Music. The episode focuses on Jesuit priest and composer, Fr. Manoling Francisco, who reflects on music as a form of praise to God. The podcast also highlights his song “Tanging Yaman.” The episode will be released on Dec. 18, 6 p.m., on Spotify. Muni-Muni Stories podcast is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. For updates regarding the episode upload schedules, visit Filipinas Heritage Library and the OPM Archive.

Comics tackle Maria Clara

WHAT is the essence of a modern Filipina? This was the question raised by 23-year-old graphic artist and illustrator Marian Hukom in her comics Nagmamahal, Maria Clara, which explores the concept of family, community, and what makes a Filipino woman in the 21st century. In this series, Maria Clara, the embodiment of the traditional dalagang Filipina archetype, finds herself literally and figuratively lost in the chaotic city swarming with liberal values completely alien to her. Hukom, together with classmate Riza Malolos, initially created this concept as a thesis film requirement to complete their Multimedia Arts degrees in the School of Design and Arts of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. Nagmamahal, Maria Clara currently has four issues, all currently available on view on local online comic hub

Regular hours back at BenCab Museum

THE BENCAB Museum and Cafe Sabel in Baguio are back to regular hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last entry at 5:30 p.m.). They will be open on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 (Christmas eve and New Year’s eve) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (last entry at 3:30 p.m.). They are closed on Mondays, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. In light of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, safety measures are implemented to safeguard visitors and staff. Upon entry visitors must wear face masks, have their temperature taken, complete health declaration forms or present QR codes, and practice safe distancing. A “by appointment only” visiting system is also put in place. To book an appointment, send an e-mail to The museum is located at K. 6 Asin Road, Tuba, Metro Baguio.