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Sinag: Festival of Radiance lights the world

                                                                          Photographed by Carl Llanto

1.A panorama of sights and sounds

When the classical precept on art and culture was constructed and invoked by Greek ancient philosopher Plato in his credo, “the true, the good and the beautiful,” it signaled a universal spawning of knowledge and lighted the learning goals of men. It went on from the olden to the postmodern world.The belief didn’t go unchallenged, though, as his fellow Greek thinker Aristotle defined anew what beauty was and what beautiful was in his own lofty ideals which also lighted men’s search for knowledge.

1.The ancient aphorism of “the true, the good and the beautiful” also in baybayin and Filipino language at the façade of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP)

Plato’s application and theory was an encompassing definition which was true to all concerns of men because it was divine, liberating and ideal in the pursuit of godliness. In the Philippines, the tenet was adapted by many Filipinos, artists or not, who want to achieve the highest form of peace, love and prosperity.

1.They dance away the Festival of Radiance in a plethora of colors symbolic of lighting the world

Even the former first lady Imelda Marcos rode the tide of idealism in life when she borrowed and applied it in her campaign for the achievement of the true, the good and the beautiful in her perception of what a true, a good and a beautiful art and culture were particularly when she was billed as patroness of the arts perhaps by ass lickers because how could she possibly and honestly believe in what Plato said when she banned and barred such true, good and beautiful pieces of creation like Ishmael Bernal’s “Manila By Night” and other truthful, good and beautiful masterpieces?

1.It’s an early Christmas time at the Cultural Center of the Philippines

Not because what Bernal showed in the film was the sleazy, ugly and problematic Manila at the time one was privileged enough to count that out as an example of the true, the good and the beautiful because there is always beauty in ugliness when created artistically in its truest, best and most beautiful sense.

A graceful silhouette to sway the elegant movements of the songs and dances

It was indeed arbitrary censorship and dictatorial policy.  Marcos did build the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the premier and national agency for arts and culture and attached to it until now the principle of Plato.

1.It’s the indigenous artistic concept and materials of the sundial to symbolize the role of arts and culture over time

These men and women of the CCP, after Imelda, surely believe and hold on to the real meaning of the creed. Mostly as artists themselves, the past and present CCP officers and members steadfastly embrace the operatives of the ideals of Plato.

1.Another colorful tapestry of lines and textures of the sundial to express the eternal role of arts and culture in the lives of men

It shows in the inclusion of the precept in Filipino at that—“kabutihan (good), kagandahan (beauty), katotohanan (truth)” in any order. It also has it baybayin (ancient Tagalog script or alphabet) to translate each word—in the colorful laser inscription of it at the façade of the CCP edifice along Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City. It is part of Sinag: Festival of Radiance which not only glimmers the light and hope in the country but signals as well the celebration of the golden year of the institution.

1.Glimmer and simmer in the musical nights at the CCP front lawn

Sinag: Festival of Radiance was lighted recently at the front lawn of the CCP attended by its officials and staff which included Vice President and Artistic Director Chris Millado and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Margarita Moran-Floirendo, also known as Margie Moran, the 1973 Miss Universe.

1.A mammoth of a grand CCP design for the Filipinos

The opening night was like a huge gallery of constellation of stars and heavenly bodies converged into one shining universe on the ground expressing the freedom of the arts.Despite the heavy downpour, the spirit of the people behind the festival and the crowd which gathered in the bleachers and on the sidelines wasn’t a bit dampened by the excitement and euphoria brought about by the festivity. Each member of the audience was given slickers by the CCP risk reduction team from water protection.

The show started a little bit late because the stage had to dry up for the performers like dancers of Ballet Philippines and other dance companies.

1.The stunning dance and magical music

According to Irene de Jesus Obligacion and Raul Asis, both from the Corporate Communications office of CCP, the launch of the festival featured one hundred dancers choreographed by Novy Berebre and Marciano Viri.

1.The fountain also dances with the lights and sounds

A few hours before the launch, though, a group of dancers still in civilian clothes were busy rehearsing their numbers at the side covered ramp of the Center. Presumably, they were the students of public high schools in Metro Manila as announced by a voice over.

As the opening ceremony ensued, these dancers came out from their shelters each one of them holding sulo (a light of fire at the tip of a bamboo stalk) or torch as they paraded down to the ground massing around the gigantic images of lanterns and the sun dial which represented the role of arts and culture in society over time. All over the front side of the Center were dancers with lights of various shapes and shades as if being offered to the temple of the gods of the native arts and culture. There were balls of fire hovering in the air.

  As if the sun rises in nocturne

Once all the lanterns were lighted and the lights danced gracefully, the music of “Pagdiwang sa Ginintuang Pagsilang” with lyrics by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera and music and orchestration by National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab were played and the audience was awed and amazed by the spectacle.It was indeed a sparkle of the true, the good and the beautiful in its majesty. It also conveyed the united participation of all the arts to make the celebration more relevant for the Filipino people.      The images of truth, goodness and beauty in stylized Filipino and baybayin which were radiated over the clouds on the façade were designed by award-winning multimedia artist Abdulmari “Toym” Imao, Jr. and crafted and installed by Kapampangan artisans and craftsmen from the renowned family of lantern makers, Arvin Quiwa from the City of San Fernando.

According to Obligacion and Asis, the installation consisted of one (1) unit 20-feet lantern-type structure also representing the role of arts and culture plays in the growth and development of society.Historically, the annual lighting of the CCP Facde has become a beloved tradition which the community looks forward to in several years.But this time, it has added a dimension because of the 50th anniversary of CCP as it brought the whimsy of twinkling parols (indigenous and native lanterns).The opening show, which was jointly directed by Millado and Ariel Yonzon, Manager of the Production and Exhibition of the CCP, lasted for ten minutes. But according to Irene and Raul, one can stay, during regular performance until January 5, 2019, for an hour or so to see the three programs that the Center prepares to delight passersby, tourists and visitors of the CCP Complex. Or better yet, added Obligacion and Asis, one becomes part of the light extravaganza and tries a hand in manually lighting the outdoor audiovisual feast.

“The show happens every night except Mondays and during increment weather at 7 pm and 8:30 pm intervals,” said Irene and Raul.While spreading the vision and mission of the Filipino art, one can also bring a picnic mat and enjoy the al fresco setting as flashed of lights and dramatic music set the CCP Façade ablaze.

It not only lights up the CCP and the whole Philippines, it also shimmers the whole world.

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