[PHOTO AT LEFT - (Top photos, from left: Conde, Alcuaz, Moreno; Bottom, from left: Mañosa, Alvarez and Caparas) MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, JULY 30, 2009 (STAR) By Paolo Romero - President Arroyo has named the country’s National Artists for 2009 that included noted fashion designer Jose “Pitoy” Moreno, and comic book artist and director Carlo J. Caparas, Malacañang announced yesterday.

Named to the Order of National Artist were Manuel Urbano, a.k.a. Manuel Conde, for the Film and Broadcast Category (posthumous); Lazaro Francisco for Literature (posthumous); Federico Aguilar-Alcuaz for Visual Arts, Painting, Sculpture and Mixed Media; Cecilia Guidote-Alvarez for Theater; Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa for Architecture; Caparas for Visual Arts and Film; and Moreno for Fashion Design.

Mrs. Arroyo signed a proclamation for each, declaring them as national artists.

The title is given to a Filipino who has made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts, namely, Music, Dance, Theater, Visual Arts, Literature, Film, Broadcast Arts, Fashion Design and Architecture, and Allied Arts.

Members of the Order are given stipends and other benefits, including grants for artistic projects.

The search is conducted by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The NCCA and CCP submit a list of recommendees to the Office of the President for signing.

Conde, born on Oct. 9, 1915, was a Filipino actor, director and producer. He made his first film, Mahiwagang Biyolin in 1935, and later got contract with LVN Pictures, where he made scores of films, both as an actor and director. He died on Aug. 11, 1985.

Francisco was born on Feb. 22, 1898 in Orani, Bataan. He was known and cited for his various novels, including Singsing na Pangkasal, Bayang Nagpatiwakal, Sa Paanan ng Krus, Ilaw sa Hilaga, Binhi at Bunga, Cesar, Sugat ng Alaala, Ama, and Maganda Pa Ang Daigdig. Most of his novels were published in the Liwayway magazine.

According to his website, Alcuaz was born on June 6, 1932 in Manila and the sixth of 11 children. Among his professors at the University of the Philippines where he took up Fine Arts were National Artist Fernando Amorsolo (painting) and National Artist Guillermo Tolentino (sculpture) as well as other pillars of Philippine art, such as Toribio Herrera, Ireneo Miranda and Constancio Bernardo.

“Alcuaz’s works are included in the collection of some 20 museums and major cultural institutions in the world today including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Madrid, the Gulvenkian Foundation Museum of London, the Museum of Modern Art of Warsaw, the Museum of Modern Art of Krakow, and the Philips Cultural Museum of the Netherlands,” the website said.

“In his 55 year career Federico Aguilar Alcuaz has exhibited in leading galleries in Spain, the Philippines, Portugal, Poland, the United States and Germany,” it said.

In the September 2007 Sotheby’s auction in Singapore and, most recently, at the Christie’s auction in Hong Kong on Nov. 25, 2007, Alcuaz’s “Tres Marias” sold at HK$ 271,000 or P1.49 million or nine times above the minimum estimate, while “Still Life with Landscape” sold at HK$ 112,500 or P618,750, which is five times its minimum estimate.

Alvarez was born in Nov. 13, 1943 and is currently executive director of the NCCA. She founded the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), a pioneering theater group.

She was high school valedictorian at the St. Theresa’s College in Quezon City. She graduated AB-BSE - summa cum laude at St. Paul’s College in 1962 and was included in the first select group of Ten Outstanding Students. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Theater and took special Communications Arts Studies in the State University of New York in Albany, on a Fulbright-Hays and John D. Rockefeller III Fund Scholarship at the Dallas Theatre Center. She then proceeded to Trinity College in Texas where she finished an M.A. with honors.

To date, Alvarez is the youngest Ramon Magsaysay awardee. She is married to former senator Heherson Alvarez, who is currently presidential adviser for global warming and climate change.

Mañosa is founder of the architectural firm Francisco Mañosa & Partners.

According to the firm’s website, Mañosa “has championed the cause of ‘Philippine Architecture for Filipinos,’ bringing local architecture to new heights, both nationally and internationally.”

Caparas, born Magno Jose J. Caparas, is a director, producer, writer and a comics strip artist who created Filipino superhero characters such as Panday, Bakekang, Pieta and Totoy Bato.

Mrs. Arroyo recently awarded Caparas the Presidential Medal of Merit for his contributions to Philippine culture.

Moreno, on the other hand, is an internationally-renowned fashion designer dubbed as “The Fashion Czar Of Asia.” Because of his designs, the international fashion world was introduced to luxurious Philippine fibers like “jusi” and “piña.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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