Message: Philippine Pavilion Finissage

November 25, 2018

Message of Senator Loren Legarda*
Philippine Pavilion Finissage
November 25, 2018 | Fava Church, Venice, Italy

*Delivered by Ambassador Domingo Nolasco, Philippine Embassy in Italy


Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.


First, let me say that I regret missing the finissage today. But I am happy and proud that our fourth consecutive national participation at the Venice Biennale since 2015 is a success.


When I initiated our return to the Venice Biennale after 51 years of absence, I envisioned it to be permanent. A Philippine Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is a way for Filipinos to enter the minds of other people and cultures, thus expanding our horizons and helping much to bring about international understanding, harmony and peace. In the same way, through our pavilion, we tell the countries of our ‘now’, as we mirror our political and cultural realities.


The Venice Biennale is only one of the many global expositions that our artists and curators can engage in. My greater vision is for our government to continuously support the development of Philippine arts and culture. We should encourage our art—whether it be painting, sculpture, architecture, film, dance, music, theater or performance, and poetry—to flourish. We need thinkers, visionaries and those that nurture the soul as much as we need workers, doctors, engineers and public servants.


Art fosters patriotism and nationalism. It is an enabler of development. We hope to institutionalize the participation of our country in the International Exhibitions of the Venice Biennale so that more Filipinos will not only be encouraged to exhibit their expertise and craft but also help in promoting the importance of arts in nation building.


I also wish to emphasize that our participation in the Architecture Biennale has been particularly relevant in confronting challenges in our built environment.


The City Who Had Two Navels, juxtaposed with the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale theme Freespace, revealed the impact of architecture not only in our nation’s history and in our communities but also in every person’s life.


Today, we celebrate not the end of an exhibition, but another milestone in our country’s history of Philippine contemporary architecture.


I wish to express my gratitude to everyone who helped make this possible.


Thank you to the Department of Foreign Affairs for the untiring support. To Ambassador Domingo Nolasco and to Consul General Irene Susan Natividad, maraming salamat. This exhibit, I hope, has given our countrymen pride and glory in our identity as Filipinos. I hope it has nurtured, among our people, greater consciousness and appreciation of our heritage.


I would also like to thank Chairman Virgilio S. Almario of the NCCA and our Commissioner for the Pavilion. His passion and his continued leadership continue to ignite the spark to develop and promote the richness of our arts and culture.


My gratitude goes to Edson Cabalfin and to the entire team of exhibitors, Yason Banal, the University of the Philippines – Mindanao; the University of San Carlos in Cebu City; the University of the Philippines – Diliman; and De la Salle – College of Saint Benilde and TAO-Pilipinas Inc., a non-governmental organization of architects and planners. Our narrative as a community is strongly represented in our built heritage and in the souls and realities that we live in.


The discourse does not end with this finissage. The Philippines will continue to make its mark, in art, in architecture, in film, in the artistic arena. We strive to make a mark and become a resounding voice in the vast relevant expanse of art.


Thank you and see you all next year at the Philippine Pavilion in Arsenale. Mabuhay!