NCCA Confers Dangal ng Haraya on Legarda

December 23, 2016

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has conferred on Senator Loren Legarda its highest honor, theDangal ng Haraya Patron of Arts and Culture.


The NCCA confers the Dangal ng Haraya award to individuals and institutions/organizations that have rendered significant and lasting contributions, support, patronage to preservation, development and promotion of Philippine culture and arts.


The award was given to Legarda “in grateful recognition of her unmatched contribution to the development of Filipino identity and sense of nationhood, her unwavering commitment to the flowering of our artistic creativity and protection of our indigenous heritage, and her steadfast devotion to the social empowerment of our indigenous peoples.”


Before presenting the award, NCCA Chairperson Felipe de Leon Jr. said, “Senator Legarda is definitely one who loves the nation. One who loves the nation knows its worth and appreciates its multifaceted genius. More than any other legislator, Senator Legarda has sponsored and had laws passed that promote and protect the genius of the Filipino.”


National Artist F. Sionil Jose, National Museum Assistant Director Dr. Ana Labrador, and Luis “Junyee” Yee Jr., one of the pioneers of installation art in the Philippines, gave testimonials about Legarda’s work.


Junyee narrated how he was inspired to do a portrait of the Senator, “not of her lovely face, but a portrait of her mind”, which he titled Lalim ng Isip (Deep Thinker).


“Senator Legarda is associated with a group of people I describe as the Don Quixote type, people who dare to do things that others would not do, who solve things, have original ideas. People like her have this ability, which many ordinary people don’t have, to jump over a necessary data, put together scattered information and analyze it,” said Junyee.


Dr. Labrador described her as an exceptional legislator and vanguard for heritage. She added that through Legarda’s vision and support, the extraordinary reception and growth of the exhibition “Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: the Artistry of Philippine Textiles” have been possible.


The Hibla gallery is the most visited gallery at the National Museum of Anthropology. Legarda also helped establish the Baybayin Gallery dedicated to ancient and traditional Philippine scripts, and Rice and Climate Change, as well as the Biodiversity and Climate Change exhibitions.


“Most often, visitors would say that they had not realized before their visit how wonderfully talented and artistic we Filipinos are. This is the pride and unifying effect of the exhibitions Senator Legarda has inspired us to create. Thank you for being a legislator of action and not just of words. You got us started, rallying many people to work together to increase awareness of our heritage,” said Labrador.


  1. Sionil Jose explained that culture is not static. “It’s a growing and living thing. I want attention to our indigenous customs to continue and to flourish.”


“The value of what Loren has done is show to us the roots of our culture, which many of us have forgotten or have not imbibed to make it a living thing in their minds and in their creativity. Art is important in shaping a nation and I pay tribute to Loren as one of those who have helped our nation grow and I hope that it will not only grow but eventually it will prevail,” he said.


Legarda thanked the NCCA and the culture and arts sector for the recognition.


“It is with great honor that I accept the Dangal ng Haraya Award. Yes, I am a legislator; but I am, foremost, a perpetual student and steward of culture,” she said in her acceptance speech.


“More than 18 years after I first set foot in the Senate, the struggle for a shared sense of national identity continues. This award only tells us we need to do more. Culture is what binds people, the public and living spaces, and the beliefs and practices of people.  Culture defines our soul as a people,” she said.


Legarda added, “This award speaks to all of us. It is a profound recognition that culture gives us a sense of belonging and is a source of knowledge and pride and creates our shared identity. It is, therefore, essential to nation-building. It is time to build together.”


The NCCA cited Legarda’s contribution in terms of legislation that have impact on culture, arts and indigenous peoples such as the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law, Enhanced Basic Education Act, Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education, Batanes Responsible Tourism Act, Climate Change Act, and the People’s Survival Fund Law.


Aside from her projects with the National Museum and her support for weaving communities and schools of living tradition (SLTs), the Senator was also instrumental in the return of the Philippines in the Venice Art Biennale after 51 years of absence and the country’s first participation in the Venice Architecture Biennale. She has also collaborated with the NCCA and the ABS-CBN News Channel to produce Dayaw TV Series, a documentary series on Philippine indigenous culture.


As Vice Chairperson and, eventually, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, Legarda ensured that programs and projects for culture and the arts were also given appropriate government concern and funding.


The awarding ceremony, which was held on December 21, 2016 at the Marble Hall, Bureau of the Treasury in Intramuros, Manila, also included cultural performances like theSuguidanon epic chant and Binanog courtship dance of the Panay Bukidnon, gongs and bamboo instrument performance by the Kalinga, Pangalay dance by the Tausug, and kulintang and dabakan music.


Vim Nadera, Director of the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA), also rendered a poem dedicated to Legarda, calling her a “Diwata ng Pamana”.


Among those present during the event were the Senator’s father, Antonio Legarda, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, National Artist and Commission on Filipino Language Chairperson Virgilio Almario, National Museum Director Jeremy Barns, Rep. Len Alonte-Naguiat, Vice Governor Edgar Denosta of Antique, former senators Sergio Osmeña III and Heherson Alvarez, and members of the culture and arts community. Members of the diplomatic corps present were Ambassadors Luis Calvo of Spain, Franz Jessen of the European Union, and Gordon Kricke of Germany, and the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Philippine Embassy in Manila, Michael Klecheski.