National Artist for Architecture Francisco Mañosa was born in Manila on Feb. 12, 1931. He is known for his Filipino-inspired architectural designs, most notably the Coconut Palace at the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex. He has devoted his life’s work to creating a Filipino identity in architecture that is inspired by the bahay kubo and the bahay na bato.
Mañosa melded the use of traditional forms and indigenous materials with modern building technology to create structures that are best suited to the Philippines’ tropical climate. The newly-proclaimed National Artist for Architecture also played piano for The Executive Band, a jazz band.
National Artist for Film Eric de Guia, also known as “Kidlat Tahimik,” Kidlat Tahimik was born on October 3, 1942 in Baguio City, in the province of Benguetas Eric De Guia.
Tahimik earned an MBA from Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School, and worked in Paris for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. He tried selling Filipino souvenirs at the 1972 Munich Olympics, went bankrupt from that and sought refuge in a hippie commune—a series of events that that led to a chance meeting between Tahimik and Werner Herzog, who cast Tahimik in a small role in The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser. Tahimik became a film-maker and, in 1977, he debuted his first film, The Perfumed Nightmare, at the Berlin Film Festival, where it was received with great acclaim. He is also known for the films Balikbayan #1: Memories of Overdevelopment Redux III (2015) and Turumba (1981).
He was an artist sector representative to the John Hay Advisory Council, which helped in the orderly turnover of Camp John Hay in Baguio City to private contractors for its reestablishment as a tourism center. Tahimik is also a guest lecturer at numerous film forums, universities, and art events in Japan, the US and Germany.
National Artist for Literature Ramon Muzones (March 20, 1913-August 17, 1992) was born in Iloilo City. He finished his pre-law studies at the Far Eastern University in Manila and completed his law degree at the Central Philippine University in Iloilo City. He wrote 62 novels, of which were serialized in magazines, including Hiligaynon, Yuhum and Kasanag. His novel, “Margo sa tubig” was published by Diolosa Publishing House in Iloilo city in 1947. Muzones founded Sumakwelan, a group of Hiligaynon writers. He received the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas from the Unyon ng Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) in 1988, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Gawad Para sa Sining award in 1989.
National Artist for Literature Resil Mojares is a literary critic and Filipino historian. His prolific writings focus mainly on Philippine history and literature—and he is the foremost scholar on prominent Filipino politician, writer and labor activist and founder of the Aglipayan Church, Isabelo de los Reyes. Mojares has won several National Book Awards from the Manila Critics Circle for works in fields of literary criticism, urban and rural history, and political biography.
He was honored with a Gawad Balagtas award by the UMPIL in 1997 for his contributions to the development of Philippine literature. Dr. Mojares is Professor Emeritus at the University of San Carlos, Cebu City.
National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab is a musician, composer and conductor. His works range from commissioned full-length ballets, theater musicals, choral pieces, a Mass set to unaccompanied chorus, and orchestral pieces, to commercial recordings of popular music, film scores and television specials.
Cayabyab is a graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music composition from the University of the Philippines College of Music, where he taught music theory and composition for almost two decades. He was a recipient of the TOYM (Ten Outstanding Young Men) of the Philippines award in 1978, and he was the only winner from Asia in the 2001 Onassis International Cultural Competition in Greece with his MISA 2000.
His musical output includes several masses, award-winning film and television scores, short symphonic works, 10 full-length Filipino musicals, a major opera, full length ballets, solo and instrumental works, orchestrations of Filipino folk, popular and love songs, three one-man a cappella song albums, and scores of popular songs sung by top Filipino recording artists.
Cayabyab has won several international music festival competitions, as well as many awards from the film, television and recording industries.
National Artist for Theater Amelia Lapeña-Bonifaciois an author, educator, and puppeteer. Lapeña-Bonifacio graduated from the University of the Philippines with a literature degree. While on a Fullbright scholarship in Wisconsin two of her plays won awards, were produced and published: Sepang Loca (1957) and Rooms (1958).
She founded Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas where forty-five more of her plays were published, two-thirds of which were written for children.
Lapeña-Bonifacio studied Philippine traditional theater, Japanese traditional theater, South East Asian traditional theater, and international children’s theater. These studies convinced her there was a need for a theatre for young audiences that staged Asian and Filipino folktales and made use of puppets inspired by Japanese Bunraku and Indonesian wayang, so she founded Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas in 1977.
She is also known as “The Grande Dame of Southeast Asian Children’s Theater.” Her literary output consist of 20 books, 40 plays, 130 stories, and several essays that include the results of her research on theater. She is a professor emeritus of the UP, where she also chaired the university’s creative writing program and was director of the Creative Writing Center from 1986 to 1995.
National Artist for Visual Arts Lauro “Larry” Alcala (Aug. 18, 1926-June 24, 2002) was born in in Daraga, Albay. He obtained a Bachelor of fine Arts degree in painting from UP in 1950, thanks to a scholarship from Manila Times granted by its publisher then, Ramón Roces.
Alcala taught at the UP from 1951 to 1981. He received the Australian Cultural Award and a travel study grant in 1975.
He began his career as a cartoonist in 1946, while he was still a student. He created his first comic strip, Islaw Palitaw, carried by Liwayway magazine, after World War II. He created the comic strip Kalabog en Bosyo in 1947, using Taglish as his characters’ medium of communication.
Alcala pioneered animated cartoons for TV commercials for Darigold Milk (1957) and Caltex (1965). He was granted the title “Dean of Filipino Cartoonists by the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PPBY) in 1997
His body of work includes 500 cartoon characters, 20 comic strips, six movies, two murals and 15,000 published pages of cartoon strips across a 56-year career. His best known cartoon strip was called “Slice of Life” for Weekend Magazine.