During its Night of Tribute to National Artists, Erehwon Center for the Arts organized a special program for 2022 National Artist for Music Fides Cuyugan Asensio and 2022 National Artist for Literature Gemino “Jimmy” Abad.

Celebrated last June 24, 2022, the program was held at Behn Cervantes The Roofdeck.   The Center’s Arts Council head, Bonifacio Ilagan, welcomed guests, which included abstract painter and sculptor Joe Datuin, visual artist Boysie Villavicencio, Martin Lopez, Executive Director of FEU Center for the Arts, and several actors and performers.

Celebrated theater and film director and Erehwon Cultural Director Anton Juan recalled his many treasured memories of working with Fides and his high esteem for Jimmy.

Jimmy Abad shared his favorite poem, “I Teach My Child to Survive.”  Abad is a multi-awarded poet, essayist, fiction writer and editor of several literary anthologies and books that chart the history of Philippine literature. He has been the recipient of the Palanca Awards several times, as well as awards from the National Book Awards by the Manila Critics Circle, the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas, and the Patnubay ng Sining and Kalinangan from the City of Manila, among others.

Fides Asensio, on the other hand, shared a song with tenor Raymond Roldan who, along with his wife, Jeanelle, rendered several song numbers from the musicals, “Song of Joseph” and “Legends of M,” the libretto of which were written by Madame Asensio.

Fides is a well known opera singer, teacher, stage and film actor and librettist.  She was the first Filipino voice scholar who graduated at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, USA. Since then, she became one of the leading performers and producers of opera in the Philippines. She sang as coloratura soprano and appeared in the world premieres of Filipino operas such as Ramon Santos' Mapulang Bituin, Kasilag's Dularawan, and also voiced Sisa in Felipe de Leon's Noli Me Tangere in the 1950s and 1960s.  Her other awards include the PAMA-AS Gintong Award for the Musical Arts by the NCCA in 2005 and the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining Award in 2015.

The program finale was a set of song numbers from the cast of Bayan Bayanan, the Musical, preceded by a duet by tenor Greg de Leon and soprano Jane Wee.

2022 National Artists of the Philippines
National Artists Jimmy Abad and Fides Cuyugan Asensio