NCCA introduces new ambassadors

Newly elected chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso expresses his desire to invite all cultural officers from the country’s different provinces to come to Manila for a two-week art management course.

Lizaso, who is also the president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), is actively involved in promoting arts and culture. He had already seen countless times the innate artistic and creative abilities of Filipinos all over the country. He, too, got to witness how the staging of musical events and the performing arts could easily gather a large crowd in one venue.

“It’s an extension of what I do in CCP but there, the focus is on the performing arts alone whereas here, the NCCA is involved in all types of art forms such as music, literary arts, dramatic arts, visual arts and others,” said the well-respected film and TV director as he gave an idea of the scope of his responsibility.

He continued, “The mandate is to promote different arts and culture sa iba’t-ibang lugar ng Pilipinas. And you will be surprised to know that each province has a very rich culture. Buhay na buhay ang kultura tulad ng sa pag-sayaw, sa musika, sa pag-sulat, kaya nakakatuwang pag-yamanin pa.”

The NCCA chair deems it best for cultural officers to undergo training in order to better manage every cultural center in provincial areas. His idea of gathering all provincial cultural heads had already been discussed with the rest of the NCCA officers during a meeting.

“We agreed that they will take the art management course at AIM for two weeks to learn more on how they can further develop the culture in their areas. Our aim is to train them so they can sustain their own art.” It is a fact that regions have diverse cultural influences and traditions. Muslims and upland tribal groups, for example, maintain distinct traditions in music, dance and visual arts.

Lizaso also encourages everyone to visit different provinces to appreciate the richness of artistic endeavors and heritage of local communities. “We only get to see what is here in Manila and I think it’s about time for those (talented Pinoys) in provinces to shine. Usually, they are only discovered through talent shows. Also, we should highlight some of the best works in the regions.”

This month, NCCA kickstarts the colorful and exciting arts and cultural events in celebration of the National Arts Month. New NCCA ambassadors Julie Anne San Jose and 2018 Miss Universe

From left: National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) chairman Arsenio ‘Nick’ Lizaso with NCCA ambassadors Julie Anne San Jose, 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray and KZ Tandingan during the formal launch of the National Arts Month celebration

, for music and arts, respectively, will help disseminate information on Philippine arts and invite everyone to participate in the government arm’s art and culture events. Meanwhile, music ambassador KZ Tandingan renewed her ties with NCCA recently.

Since the Presidential Proclamation 683 was signed in 1991, declaring February as National Arts Month, the NCCA annually spearheads the Philippine Arts Festival (PAF). It features activities comprising the flagship projects of the seven committees of the NCCA’s Subcommission on the Arts namely, Architecture, Cinema, Dance, Music, Literary Arts, Dramatic Arts and Visual Arts. With this year’s theme, Ani ng Sining (Harvest of the Art), NCCA aims to emphasize the ample artistic activities in the country and passion of Filipino artists and cultural workers. Various exhibits, seminars and performances are in the line-up to represent the different projects of the seven arts.

Shirley Halili-Cruz, head of National Committee on Dance, shared that there will be a month-long traveling dance concert series dubbed Sayaw Pinoy.

Among the seven arts, Lizaso is most familiar with Cinema and Dramatic Arts. “The universe definitely has a way of leading you to where you’re supposed to be. Did you know that I was going to take up law but something picked me out of that and brought me to the performing stage? I started as a theater actor and, then later on, I felt that I’m at home in theater. Tadhana ang nag-dala sa akin dito.”

Lizaso hails from Sta. Maria, Bulacan where his family put up the very first cinema house in Poblacion. He recalled enjoying his duty as the “takilyero” and operator of cinema equipment “kaya nakahiligan ko na din manood ng mga pelikula.”

He started his career in theater at the University of the East where he founded the UE Dramatic Guild. Later on, Lizaso appeared in a number of movies and, eventually, handled directorial jobs for film and TV.

“I also appeared in teleseryes, the last was in Playhouse with Angelica Panganiban and Zanjoe Marudo,” he recalled and added that he was also invited to portray a character in Ang Probinsyano but his schedule didn’t permit.

(For schedule of activities in celebration of the National Arts Month, visit


By: Boy Abunda
Feb 13, 2020