By PRINCESS FRIEL LONTOC and MERY JOY SISCAR
MANILA – The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) celebrated the success of Children’s Biennale 2022: BALANGÁW, A Colorful Multi-Arts Festival for Kids last November 20.
Balangaw is CCP’s arts festival geared for children, showcasing their potential on arts and culture through various events. Held onsite at the CCP, the festival ran from November 11 – November 13, 2022.
With the theme, Samu’t saring kulay, magkaugnay, CCP brought color and wonder to kids through this three-day festival. The activities revolved on three themes: Kultura (Culture), Kalikasan (Nature), and Kalinga (Nurture).
Dubbed as “Biyaheng Balangaw”, different artists and personalities from all over the country shared their talent and bonded with the children during the in-person activities. The activities included Bahaginan (Conversations), Likha (Creation), Pagtatanghal (Presentations), Palabas (Film showing), and Palihan (Workshops).
Sharon Cortez, one of the guest speakers for Bahaginan: Kalinga at Kalayaan, emphasized the importance of nature in children’s development and awareness.
“I am just grateful that nature finally has a voice through me, the representative of Forest School. I am happy and thankful that we were able to let the children experience nature and amplify that the kids can be one with nature and that it is an integral part of bringing up our children,” Cortez said in Filipino.
Workshops were also crucial in enriching children’s skills, as well as their intellect. Maria Payb, one of the facilitators at the Shadow Play Workshop, was amazed at the kids’ eagerness to learn.
“Even at a young age, they begin to realize that mental and physical health, as well as the health of the community and nature, are all interconnected. It’s a nice full circle moment to see children, from being confined to their homes, flourish when they get together in communal spaces,” Payb said.
Serena Magiliw, one of the storytellers in Kwentong Kakaiba, stressed the importance of queer representation in children’s stories. “Children’s stories can also become a bridge for the kids to be more clear about their feelings while growing up,” she elaborates in Tagalog. “It was a precious moment for me to be able to share something that’s close to my own experiences as a part of the LGBTQIA+ to the children.”
Abner Torres Delina Jr., the festival curator-director, believes that the future of Balangaw is bright. “Various communities got together to celebrate our different colors and I want to thank our partners – from individual to group artists and institutions – we believe that they will continue bringing art and culture education to the children,” Delina stated.
Balangaw had 2,839 participants in its three-day run. The pay-what-you-can festival earned a total of P18,000, which will be donated to the Typhoon Paeng relief efforts.
“Our world is colorful and wonderful, and we can always remember to bring back the colors and wonder for each other. We hope to see you at Balangaw’s next journey,” Delina said, closing the children’s biennale. The festival will be held again after two years. (JJE, RTS)