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Championing The Arts: CCP's Tribute To The Late Senator Edgardo Angara

On the night of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra’s commemorative concert at the CCP for the late Sen. Edgardo Angara, there were two National Artists in attendance. National Artist for Music Dr. Ramon Santos, who was there to perform his own composition, "Awit ng Pagdiriwang," was joined by National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose. Together, they were making the strong statement that Edgardo Angara may have had a brilliant lawyering mind, but his law-making legacy was also very much the stuff of championing the arts here in the Philippines, and he will never be forgotten for this by the artists’ community.




Sen. Sonny Angara with Ernest Escaler.

As CCP President Arsenio Lizaso expounded in his Opening Remarks, Sen. Edgardo Angara believed that ‘Exposure to the Arts is not a privilege or reserved for the elite and moneyed; but it was a right of every Filipino’. The laws Sen. Edgardo Angara authored pushed for this, in the belief that the preservation of our cultural heritage would lead to a stronger sense of nationhood. 


Amb. & Mrs. Joey Antonio with Mrs. Gloria Angara.

Tootsy Echauz-Angara with their youngest, Javier.

A lawyer and educator, Sen. Angara constantly strove to bring the arts closer to the people, and to ensure its survival and development. In 1985, he established the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra Society Inc., helping pave the way for the orchestra members to enjoy the financial support they needed, given their commitment to the Orchestra. His very realistic approach envisioned not only having the arts brought to the general public, but also ensuring that the artists could subsist, and even enjoy retirement. 


Zenaida Tantoco is the current PPOSI President, and along with Vice-Chair Nestor Jardin, she chaired the Committee that made this commemorative evening a reality. Present of course were the Angara family, led by Mrs. Gloria Angara and the late Senator’s son, Sen. Sonny Angara. Together, they went on stage to receive the two sculptures of Impy Pilapil and Ramon Orlina, gifts of appreciation to the family from the PPOSI and the University of the Philippines respectively. 


Mrs. Zenaida Tantoco, welcoming the guests on behalf of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra Society Inc.

Besides the aforementioned "Awit ng Pagdiriwang", there was also a Gershwin concerto, Tchaikovsky and Berlioz overtures, performed. And it definitely was an exhilarating night of music and remembering. 

Sen. Sonny Angara summed it up best when he mentioned that his father may not have had strong artistic talents of his own, but his deep love for the Arts and how vital a role it played in national identity and consciousness, meant that he found ways to champion the Arts throughout his lifetime.


Photos by Philip Cu-Unjieng

Lead image from @sonnyangara