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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Writers, Artists to Stage “Penitence” on Good Friday

Arts and culture groups led by the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) and the LIRA poetry organization will gather at the Plaza Balagtas, Pandacan, Manila on April 2, 2010. The day falls on both Good Friday and the birthday of Francisco Baltazar, popularly known as the revered Filipino poet Balagtas.

Dubbed “Mag-alis ng Dungis ng Bayan: Penitensiya para sa Dangal ng Bayan,” the demonstration will feature writers and artists symbolically cleaning Balagtas’s monument, trading in their pens for brooms and rags. The short program will start at 8:00 A.M. and will end before noon.

National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario, a.k.a. the poet Rio Alma will read a proposed cultural agenda for those who are running for office in the May 10 national elections, especially the presidentiables.

The venue, Plaza Balagtas was erected in honor of the greatest Tagalog poet. Born on April 2, 1788, Balagtas penned Florante at Laura, one of the masterpieces of Philippine literature, and lent his name to the art form balagtasan, a debate in extemporaneous verse.

Individual writers, artists, organizations, and members of the media are encouraged to join and cover the demonstration. They should register their participation by contacting the event coordinators, namely Mariane A.R.T. Abuan (0917-9017090) , Carla Payongayong (0927-7145539) , and Rommel Boquiren (0917-6985037) , on or before March 26, 2010.

The organizers

LIRA, or the Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo is the premier institute of poets in Filipino. Founded in 1985, the group is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The Araw ni Balagtas demonstration is part of LIRA’s year-long celebrations. The current president is Phillip Kimpo Jr.

UMPIL is the largest organization of Filipino writers in the country. Founded in 1974, the organization was known for a time as the Writers Union of the Philippines. The current chairperson is Prof. Victor Emmanuel Carmelo D. Nadera Jr.

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