Heroes of Filipino Culture Part 2

[Note by Jude Bautista: Whether its music, film, literature, art, fashion, weaving etc. Filipinos have been influenced in one way or another, whether it’s the West or some Asian culture. These names and people have distinguished themselves by being keepers of TRUE 100% unadulterated Filipino art and creativity, some of them have been passed on from their forebears. Two of them sadly have passed on but true to their contribution their legacy continues, Ginaw Bilog died in 2003 while Darhata Sawabi passed on 2005. (For Part 1 please scroll down to the Oct. 2 blog)

That is why the urgency to learn and promote these true living treasures is even more crucial now. I had the privilege and honor of being able to photograph Alonzo Saclang during the Filipino Heritage festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines last May 21, 2010. Most of the images you see in this post are from that event. The rest is from the exhibit I stumbled on to in the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in Intramuros. The text is also quoted directly from the exhibit for the benefit of the Filipinos and those beyond our shores. The Intramuros district is also home base to Carlos Celdran’s Walking Tours. It is no coincidence, for he too is a hero in my book.]

The list of 2010 awardees includes:

Alonzo Saclang, Federico Caballero, Haja Amina Appi, Lang Dulay, Salinta Monon, Eduardo Mutuc,  Ginaw Bilog, Darhata Sawabi and Uwang Ahadas.


Harvesting scene from the Filipino Heritage festival


Directly quoted from the Exhibit:

In April 1992, The Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan or the National Living Treasures Award was institutionalized through Republic Act No. 7355. Tasked with the administration and implementation of the Gawad ng Manlilikha ng Bayan is the National Commision for Culture and the Arts, the highest policy-making and coordinating body for the culture and the arts of the State. The NCCA, through the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan Committee, is mandated by the law, with support from all concerned agencies, to continue the search for the traditional artists, adopt a program that will ensure the transfer of their skills to the youth and undertake measures to promote a genuine appreciation of and instill pride among our people in the genius of the Manlilikha ng Bayan and our traditional cultures.

The artists honored in this exhibit embody the ideals established through the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan: to carry the best of our cultural heritage forward to a new generation.

Through their devotion to their art, their commitment to acquiring the necessary skills and craft, and their faithfulness to their community’s traditions, these folk artists have earned their status as National Living Treasures. The legacy they leave the next generation will live as long as their artworks exist, as long as their skills endure.

Recognizing the culture bearers with the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan encourages greater public awareness and appreciation for an aspect of Philippine culture which though endangered remains timeless and immutable.


Salinta Monon, a Tagabawa Bagobo of Bansalan, Davao Del Sur


Salinta Monon

Manlilikha ng Bayan

National Living Treasure

A Tagabawa Bagobo of Bansalan, Davao Del Sur, Salinta Monon was awarded for fully demonstrating the creative aspects of the Bagobo abaca ikat weaving called inabal when such art is threatened with extinction.


Eduardo Mutuc, a Kapamgpangan of Apalit Pampanga


Eduardo Mutuc

Manlilikha ng Bayan

National Living Treasure


A Kapamgpangan of Apalit Pampanga, Eduardo Mutuc was awarded for dedicating his life to creating religious and secular art insilver and wood. More than merely decorative, his works add character and splendor to their setting.



From the Phil. Heritage Festival



Ginaw Bilog a Hanunuo Mangyan of Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro


Ginaw Bilog (†2003)

Manlilikha ng Bayan

National Living Treasure

A Hanunuo Mangyan of Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro, Ginaw Bilog was awarded for faithfully preserving the Hanunuo Mangyan script and ambahan poetry and promoting it on every occasion so that the art will not be lost but preserved for posterity.


Darhata Sawabi was a Tausug of Parang Jolo, Sulu,


Darhata Sawabi (†2005)

Manlilikha ng Bayan

National Living Treasure

A Tausug of Parang Jolo, Sulu, darhata Sawabi was awarded for remaining faithful to the art of pis syabit weaving. Her strokes firm and sure, her color sensitivity acute and her dedication to the quality of her pis syabit unwavering. Because of her dedication to her art, generations of traditional Tausug designs have been preserved and are available for contemporary appreciation and future study.



An Ifugao Ascension in society ceremony from the Filipino Heritage festival



Uwang Ahadas, a Yakan of Lamitan, Basilan


Uwang Ahadas

Manlilikha ng Bayan

National Living Treasure

A Yakan of Lamitan Basilan, Uwang Ahadas was awarded for his dexterity in playing Yaan musical instruments such as kwintang, gabbang, agung, kwintagan kayu,tuntungan among others and for his deep knowledge of the aesthetic possibilities and social contexts of these instruments. In spite of the dimming of his eyesight, he has devoted his life to the teaching of Yakan musical tradition

6 thoughts on “Heroes of Filipino Culture Part 2

    • Thanks Janice! Although i was just basing my caption on the official program. I appreciate the heads up. And i trust you as part of the production. I already incorporated your correction. (For everyone else- Ms Janice Dee is an artist coordinator / production point person in the biggest concerts/music events both foreign and local like SUPAFEST, Jay Park- AOM Meet and Greet and of course the Filipino Heritage Festival)

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