Manila Symphony’s Iloilo Visit ushers art revival

The Ilonggos will have a rare treat of world-class music from The Manila Symphony Orchestra who will stage a two-day performance in Iloilo on August 25 and 26, 2017.

On the first night, The Manila Symphony Orchestra will render a performance at the historical St. Anne Parish or the Molo Church with a theme: “Sweet Symphonies: Bach vs. Beatles.” The event serves to highlight the daylong festivity of Iloilo City who is celebrating its 80th Charter Day.

On the second night, the orchestra will perform “Soundtracks and Symphonies” at the Iloilo Convention Center at the Megaworld in Mandurriao district.

The two-day performance of the Manila Symphony orchestra in Iloilo signifies a new milestone as Iloilo is working for its development to again become the center for art and culture in the country.

A period of art revival

Iloilo has been teeming with art events in the last three years with new art spaces having been established and with almost weekly events being held both from private and public initiatives by groups and institutions.

Pockets of small musical performances by Ilonggo artists are held monthly. Poetry reading and writing workshops have become regular in the calendar and with new collection of poetry and essays published in zine by local publications like Kasingkasing Press. Events like Iloilo Zine Fest are held which brought to the mainstream literary pieces that are both educational and socially relevant.

Iloilo is also the regional center for film development with film showing and film workshops held regularly after the Cinematheque of the Film Development Council of the Philippines was established. The venue became instrumental in the development of many aspiring Ilonggo filmmakers who have made award-winning pieces. Developed by Ilonggo filmmaker Elvert Banares, CineKasimanwa: The Western Visayas Film Festival have become an annual fair for all film enthusiasts and educators.

Art galleries have mushroomed which reactivated the seemingly dormant energy by local artists with art exhibits organized in galleries and public spaces.

There are around 12 galleries located in commercial spaces and in schools and universities. It hosts regular exhibits bringing different art forms to the public.

The Hubon Ilonggo Visual Artists Collective of Iloilo has produced an Iloilo Gallery Guide which serves as a map for Iloilo visitors and guests who are interested to learn about its art and culture. Recently, it established Gallery i (Gallery Iloilo) from the former Casa Real Gallery at the Villanueva Building, a heritage structure at downtown Iloilo known to many as the former Iloilo International Hotel.

Even bikers make their contribution. The Iloilo Folding Bike Riders (IFold) who holds its headquarters at the FitStop Bites and Bikes along the service road of the Diversion Road, has maintained regular VisitTour – welcoming guests to Iloilo with a night ride giving them the opportunity to experience Iloilo City by bike at night and by visiting parks, historical spots, and art spaces.

These initiatives are evident of the development and revival of the Iloilo art scene. The Ilonggos are experiencing the renaissance of Iloilo art, not only as a viewer of art pieces and performances, but likewise as a builder of their own art assets as a result of art sales organized periodically by Hubon Ilonggo and the experiences that events like the Manila Symphony Orchestra offers.

In 2016, the Ilonggo artists hosted the Visayas Islands Visual Arts Exhibition and Conference (ViVa ExCon) which brought to Iloilo City artists from other cities and provinces and abroad.

Upifting art literacy

The coming of the Manila Symphony Orchestra to Iloilo City is contributory to these developments for it offered an opportunity for around 2,000 students from 26 schools and universities in the province to watch the world-class performance for free.

The two-day performance is estimated to gather around more than 4,000 people.

The Manila Symphony Orchestra is one of the oldest orchestra ever established in Asia. It was established by Viennese conductor Alexander Lippay in 1926 and has since been recognized as the only professional orchestra in the Philippines.

The Manila Symphony Orchestra will be composed of a 55-piece world-class ensemble and its Iloilo visit is envisioned to offer a higher level of musicality, especially among the youth, with the hope that the students who will be watching will be inspired to become more active in the field of performing arts.

Its organizers believe that Iloilo possess an impeccable pool of creative talents forming its capital asset in art and which underlines the investment value of Iloilo as far as art and culture is concerned.

Performances like the one by the Manila Symphony Orchestra conveys a message that music and the arts is flourishing in Iloilo because Ilonggos have schools and has cultivated a learning environment for art and culture.

Bringing to Iloilo art events and performances raises its level of public literacy in the arts.

It is also believed that Iloilo’s refurbished architectural panorama will help attain the collective vision of the Ilonggos to revive the glorious days of Iloilo in performing arts which reached its tipping point in the late 1800s. (Archived News – August 24, 2017)

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