Lambago Art Awards 2018 Artists and Recipients gather onstage by the end of the program to unite for a more inclusive artistic initiative for the community of Cagayan de Oro City.

by Angelo Lorenzo

Art flourishes in Cagayan de Oro, and they come in many forms as diverse as the people.

In light of the National Arts Month, a selection of the many passionate individuals whose artistic excellence continually supports this culture were honored and recognized during the Lambago Art Awards, one of this year’s many highlights in the Xavier Center for Culture and the Arts’ (XCCA) annual Panaghugpong which was held at Centrio Mall Activity Center last February 21, 2018.

Although Panaghugpong reaches its decade this year (a milestone for XCCA), this is the Lambago Art Awards’ second occasion to recognize local artists, promote their works, and showcase their endeavors since it launched in 2016.

The list was categorized in six (6) art forms – dance, literature, music, visual arts, film, and theater. It also honored CDO-based culture and arts institutions. The recipients consisted of individuals and groups that perpetuate CDO’s vibrant art scene.

CDO FILMMAKER. Kagay-anon filmmaker Julienne Anne Ilagan (second from left) receives her award from Xavier Ateneo’s vice-president for mission and ministry Irene Guitarte (first from left), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Arts Section head Ferdinand Isleta (second from right), and XCCA director Hobart Savior (first from right) in the film category. Last year, Ilagan’s short film “Balut. Penoy. Asin.” topped the Best Short Film category in the annual Cinemagis: Northern Mindanao Digital Short Film Festival.

Art for the community

As our contribution to the city. We accept this recognition with humility,” said CDO-based poet, Lina Sagaral Reyes, who was one of the awardees in the literature category.

LINA SAGARAL REYES. Carlos Palanca Memorial Award recipient Lina Sagaral Reyes, a prolific poet, gives her speech during the awarding ceremony. She stresses the need for inclusivity in artistic and creative endeavors.

Reyes would add this recognition to her list of accolades, all of which includes the Carlos Palanca Memorial Award which she had won years ago.

To receive this award does not mean that we are winners, but are acknowledged for our sustained excellence,” she added in her speech when she spoke onstage during the awarding ceremony.

The excellence she pertains relates to artists who takes the initiative to involve the community for inclusive engagement. Such was the background for Nagkahiusang Manunulat sa Cagayan de Oro (NAGMAC) in the same category.

A group of local writers, NAGMAC holds poetry readings and conducts writing clinics for aspirants of literature. Vel Marie Santillan, its founder and chairperson, received their award on behalf of the members.

CDO-based Poet Ton Daposala reads one of his poems. Daposala is a fellow of the UP National Writers Workshop.

But initiatives also come with a cause. Apart from honing skills and enlivening culture, the Dire Husi Initiative founded by Rhyan Casiño offers art as an alternative to rehabilitate individuals with a tragic history.

With various causes and their achievements, art also signifies the identity of the community, and it also contributes to progress.

Promoting local heritage and culture

The artists gave CDO and Northern Mindanao a place where arts and culture are revered and respected,” declared CDO City Mayor Oscar Moreno in his speech during the program.

According to Moreno, art is inspired by the city’s history and customs. He also stressed that it reflects culture. Just as some of the awardees have achieved global and national recognition for their works, he encourages the artists to integrate local heritage into their endeavors.

Students from the Cagayan de Oro City High School perform a traditional dance onstage during the awarding ceremony.

It is important for us to remember that we came from the same history, we breathe the same air, and we are destined for the same tomorrow,” he added, emphasizing the significance of art in a community’s direction towards progress.

He also praised the set of performances by some of the awardees which included a symphony of Filipino folk and contemporary music by the Lourdes College Strings and Xavier Philharmonia; and dance numbers by the Gintong Amihan Dance Troupe, Kagay-an Performing Arts Inc., the Integrated School for Theater, Arts N’ Dance (I-STAND), and Misamis Oriental Dance Sports.

LOURDES COLLEGE STRINGS. Student-musicians from the Lourdes College Strings strum their musical instruments to serenade the crowd during the awarding ceremony.
MOGCHS. Students from the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS) perform a traditional dance during the awarding ceremony.
XU GLEE CLUB. Xavier University Glee Club members sing for the crowd in their segment, led by their conductor Vic Atilano.
Composed of Xavier Ateneo student musicians and alumni, the Xavier Philharmonia serenades the audience during the awarding ceremony.

This (Lambago Art Awards) has recognized the artists who made CDO part of the map (by their works),” he said.

But CDO, through the initiatives conducted by the XCCA under the directorship of Hobart Savior, has already been regarded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts as a city where art takes part in development.

Naniniwala po ako na kayo ang katangi-tanging yaman ng bayan (I believe you represent the nation’s greatest asset),” NCCA Arts Section Head Ferdinand Isleta said to the evening’s recipients.

LAPASAN NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL. Students from the Lapasan National High School perform Pagapyr, a traditional Meranaw dance, during the awarding ceremony.

He stated this in light of NCCA’s continual support to establish and continue the art scene in Northern Mindanao through XCCA – one of their outlets in the region.

Sana patuloy kayong maging inspirasyon. Kailangan tayong magkaisa. (I hope you continue to be an inspiration to others. We need to be united.),” he added.

An avenue for convergence

The Lambago Art Awards has also set an avenue for these artists to converge for future collaboration. The ceremony has given them the opportunity to know each other’s works and engage in acquaintance.

XCCA ARTISTS. Various artists of Xavier Center for Culture and the Arts serenade the crowd with original Filipino music.

This is one of the continuing objectives of Panaghugpong, the main celebration for the month of February by the XCCA.

Termed from its direct Cebuano translation, “Panaghugpong” is a convergence of celebration that centers on art and reflects culture – an initiative encouraged by the NCCA.

“Our work is to nurture our artists within,” XCCA Director Hobart Savior pointed out. “Art is meant to be communal, as we are to develop a community of artists and the (Lambago) awards call for unity.”

Ballet dancers from the Integrated School for Theater, Arts ‘N Dance (I-STAND) leap in midair during their performance in the ceremony.

Lambago is a local term for a hibiscus tree that once forested the banks of the Cagayan de Oro river in pre-colonial Philippines.

Just like a tree, Savior hopes for arts in CDO, rooted in culture and heritage, to branch out so that the excellence of artists would yield promising opportunities for the development of the city and the rest of Northern Mindanao.

List of Awardees

· Capitol University Dance Troupe
· Gintong Amihan Dance Troupe
· Liceo Folkloric Dance Troupe
· Next Moves
· Urban Myx
· Xavier University Cultural Dance Troupe
· XUnified

· Deborah Cristi Cabague
· Emilor James Cabanos
· KARUMATA Republic
· Lourdes College Strings
· Jurillyn Zarate Padios
· Rae Anne Saltiga
· Jeremiah Torayno
· USTP Sanghimig Chorale
· Orie Jun Vamenta
· Xavier Philharmonia
· Xavier Glee Club

· Anthony Daposala
· Abigail James
· Lina Sagaral Reyes
· Eric John Villena

Visual Arts
· Esme Abalde
· Nicolas Aca Jr
· Arcadia
· Artsada
· John Bibal
· CDO Arts Guild
· Christian Gesta
· Memento
· Emmanuel Mulawan II
· Albert Vamenta

· Daniel Clark Cabantan
· Julienne Anne Ilagan
· Orpheus Nery
· Benjamin Padero
· Jeffrie Po
· Jameelon Rivera
· Joey Sendaydiego
· Irene Villamor

· Circulo de Entablado
· Dulaang Atenista
· Kagay-an Performing Arts Inc
· Ma Lourdes Asuncion Pilapil
· Oro Teatro Bulawanon
· The Xavier Stage

Cultural & Arts Institutions
· Cagayan de Oro City Tourism Council
· Department of Tourism X
· Dire Husi
· Dream Board Artists
· Historical Commission of Cagayan de Oro City
· Misamis Oriental Dance Sports

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