CELEBRITIES, thanks to their clout among their fans, make good endorsers. But beyond influencing us to buy and consume more T-shirts and face creams, four Filipino stars are now the ambassadors of far more important things, our arts and culture, with the goal of bringing them closer and making them more relevant to more people.
Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach is one of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ (NCCA) newest ambassadors for the annual National Arts Month (NAM) celebration which is held every February.
She’s honored to have been chosen as one of the ambassadors said the beauty queen during a press conference on Jan. 22 at the commission’s office in Intramuros, Manila.
For her, art and history are always intertwined.
“If you want to know more about a country, you look at their history and the art. And there you will see who they are. Identity is reflected in the arts. And while I know that the times have changed — it’s the age of millennials — but I hope that we don’t forget to support our local artists and the cultural arts in the Philippines,” she said.
She added that while she officially bears the Miss Universe sash, “Lagi natin tandaan in some way, may suot din tayong sash na Philippines (let us remember that in some way you also have a Philippine sash),” and encourages everyone to become proud Filipinos.
NCCA chairman and National Artist Virgilio Almario said in a press statement that the department is banking on Ms. Wurtzbach to serve as a model and inspiration.
“She has been one of the most influential Miss Universe, with this influence, I can see that she has the ability to profoundly promote arts and culture of the Philippines in the world, especially to the young generation. She is also a perfect icon of determination who can motivate aspiring artists not to give up on their passion,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.
Ms. Wurtzbach is joined other new ambassadors for Arts Month: actor and painter Ian Veneracion; TV personality and visual artist Heart Evangelista; and singer KZ Tandingan who gave a fresher take on the National Arts Month theme song “Ani ng Sining.”
TV host Boy Abunda, meanwhile, has been the NCCA ambassador since 2010.
A small woman with a powerful voice, Ms. Tandingan was chosen as one of this year’s ambassadors, specifically for music, because of her unique style, said Teddy Co, one of the commissioners of National Arts Month, during the press conference. He said that her “creativity and unique music ability” can be an inspiration for aspiring artists to create their own style and identity and embrace it.
February was declared as Arts Month through a presidential proclamation in 1991, and that period is used to celebrate seven fields in art — architecture and allied arts, cinema, dance, literary arts, music, drama, and visual arts.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Ani ng Sining (Harvest of Arts).”
A series of opening ceremonies for National Arts Month will be held around the country, starting at Bago City, Negros Occidental on Feb. 1 for the Visayas, then Lucky Chinatown mall in Binondo, Manila on Feb. 3 for the National Capital Region, the municipality of Bagac in Bataan on Feb. 11 for Luzon, and in Koronadal, South Cotabato on Feb. 15 for Mindanao.
Throughout the month, there will be many activities such as exhibits, workshops, shows, concerts, lectures, and tours, in different parts of the country.
For a detailed list of National Arts Month events, check NCCA website (www.ncca.gov.ph) and Facebook page. — Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman