Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts
The government provides support for institutions such as the National Museum in Manila. Libraries exists in colleges and universities. The best collections are in Manila. Museums are located in provincial capitals and in Manila. The Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila is a center for the performing arts that opened in 1970. It is a multi building complex created under the direction of former first lady Imelda Marcos, who encouraged musicians to enter the international community and receive additional training. Nongovernmental organizations preserve the folk heritage of the indigenous groups.

Literature is based on the oral traditions of folklore, the influence of the church and Spanish and American literature. Filipino written literature became popular in the mid-nineteenth century as the middle class became educated. The greatest historical literature evolved from the independence movement. José Rizal electrified the country with his novels. During the early years of American control, literature was written in English. The English and American literature that was taught in the schools was a factor in the kind of writing that was produced. Writing in Filipino languages became more common in the late 1930s and during the Japanese occupation. Literature is now written in both Filipino and English. Textbooks contain national and world literature.

Graphic Arts
The Filipino Academy of Art, established in 1821, shows early art reflecting Spanish and religious themes. Juan Luna and Felix Hidalgo were the first Filipino artists to win recognition in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. Contemporary artists use a variety of techniques and mediums to reflect social and political life. Crafts reflect the national culture. Each area of the country has specialties that range from the batik cotton prints of the Muslim areas to the wood carvings of the mountain provinces of Luzon. Baskets and mats are created from rattan. Textiles are woven by hand in cooperatives, storefronts, and homes. Banana and pineapple fiber cloth, cotton, and wool are woven into textiles. Furniture and decorative items are carved. Silver and shell crafts also are created

Sex and violence are major themes in films, which are often adaptations of American screen productions. American films are popular and readily available, and so high-quality Filipino films have been slow to develop.

Performance Arts
Drama before Spanish colonization was of a religious nature and was intended to persuade the deities to provide the necessities of life. The Spanish used drama to introduce the Catholic religion. Filipino themes in drama developed in the late nineteenth century as the independence movement evolved. Current themes are nationalistic and reflect daily life.

Dance is a mixture of Filipino and Spanish cultures. Professional dance troupes perform ballet, modern dance, and folk dance. Folk dances are performed at meetings and conferences and reflect a strong Spanish influence. Indigenous dances are used in historical pageants. An example is a bamboo dance relating a story about a bird moving among the reeds. People enjoy ballroom dancing for recreation. Dance instructors are available at parties to teach the waltz and the cha-cha.

Music performance begins in the home and at school. Amateur performances featuring song and dance occur at fiestas. Popular music tends to be American. Guitars are manufactured for export; folk instruments such as the nose flute also are constructed.