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OPINION: Icons who deserve to be National Artists

OPINION: Icons who deserve to be National Artists

National Commission for Culture and the Arts announced recently a new set of National Artists. The list includes respected artists comprising of  Tony Mabesa, Ricky Lee, Marilou Diaz Abaya, Fides Cuyugan Asensio, Gemino Abad, Nora Aunor, Salvacion Lim Higgins, and Agnes Locsin.

National Artist: Artist of the Motherland

Cultural Center of the Philippines facilitates the order as per Proclamation No. 1001 of April 2, 1972 and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. The first National Artist was Filipino painter Fernando Amorsolo.

National artists are Filipino artists who have brought exceptional contribution to the field of arts they belong to. Of course, their artworks must be a reflection and beacon of Filipino culture and aspirations.

The CCP and the NCCA give a shortlist of awardees to the Malacañang which will serve as the ceremonial conferrer of the Order.

Meanwhile, some famous awardees are composer Ryan Cayabyab, painters Fernando Amorsolo, Botong Francisco, and action star Fernando Poe Jr.

Undoubtedly, these men and women are deserving of their orders. However, I think there are artists who deserves to be lined among these artisans. Here they are:

Jomike Tejido (Contemporary Arts)

Jomike Tejido with the comic book series adaptation of his toy line “Foldabots”. (Photo: Jomike Tejido’s Foldabots)
My personal collection of Jomike Tejido’s Foldabots figures.

He is, indeed, the genius behind the famous toy franchise called Foldabots, a paper toy craft that looks like the famous Transformers.

This toyline franchise has 8 toy books and a comic series published on a famous kids’ magazine and two comic books. It ran from 2007-2016 and is now an iconic toy of my generation.

Jomike is now focusing on his art galleries and writing children’s stories after his toyline ended.

Cathy Garcia-Molina (Cinema)

Direk Cathy Garcia-Molina with Hello, Love, Goodbye stars Alden Richards and Kathryn Bernardo (Photo: Star Cinema)

On the other hand, Direk Cathy is a cinematic genius of our generation. She is the director behind the two highest grossing Filipino films, “Hello, Love, Goodbye” and “The Hows of Us”. Furthermore, she also directed the iconic local movies like “One More Chance” and “Four Sisters and a Wedding”.

Certainly, her works are the springboard of today’s stars like Daniel Padilla, Kathryn Bernardo, John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonzo and more.

Moreover, CGM also directed iconic Kapamilya series like “Pangako Sa’yo”, “Got To Believe”, “Forevermore” and “La Luna Sangre”.

Her current directing stint is for the sitcom “My Papa Pi” starring Piolo Pascual.

Lourd De Veyra (Film and Broadcasting Arts)

Subsequently, Lourd De Veyra is such a talented artist. He is a band singer, a visual artist, and a journalist.

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The generation today knows him as a journalist with a trademark satirical style. His shady and witty banters are a staple in the TV5 news block. In fact, his segment “Word of the Lourd” is on air for a decade now. Aside from that, he also has a segment in One News about history.

In addition, Lourd along with his partner Jun Sabayton have been hosts for programs like “History”, “Wasak”, “Kontrabando” which all have strong political satire themes.

Bob Ong (Literature), first-ever anonymous National Artist

My collection of Bob Ong’s books

Lastly, Bob Ong is an anonymous writer known for his funny writings often critical at Filipino politics and culture. If ever, he will be the first National Artist whose identity remains a mystery. How cool is that?!

He wrote several novels like:

  • Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin
  • Bakit Baligtad Magbasa Ang Mga Pilipino?
  • Kapitan Sino

His most iconic work is “ABNKKBSNPLAko?”, his autobiography novel with a bit of a nostalgia and a commentary on domestic education issues. .

Bob Ong deserves the order because he has been influential among his readers through humor and elevating the level of discourse of Philippine politics through his humours.

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