by Neil Arkhe P. Azcuna, OPI

The Institute’s resident theater company, the Integrated Performing Arts Guild (IPAG), and its artistic director, the recently retired Prof. Steven Patrick C. Fernandez, DFA, are among the eight Mindanao awardees to receive the first Gador Awards given by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

The Gador Award, named as such in reference to the famed Maranao brass jar, Gador, recognizes Mindanao’s outstanding artists, cultural workers, and arts organizations who have done admirable works and services in artistic and cultural endeavors for 10 years or more.  

The Gador Award is a good way for IPAG to open its 43rd season. It is also one of the many accolades that IPAG received this year. Recently the guild was shortlisted by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) for Gawad Para sa Sining Award, the highest distinction awarded to Filipino artists in the country. 

For Prof. Fernandez, the Gador Award is but another feather on his cap. He has been the recipient of various other honors including the Palanca (first prize), CCP Gantimpala, UP Likhaan, CCP Pilak, and the Francisco Balagtas Award from the Unyon ng Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL).

The Gador Award, which was two years in the making, was conceived by the CCP’s Kaisa Sa Sining (KSS) program through its Cultural Exchange Department headed by Ms. Carmencita “Chinggay” Jasareno-Bernardo, the Department Manager. 

Aside from IPAG and Prof. Fernandez, the other Gador Awardees were Maria Todi of Lake Sebu Cotabato; Nestor Horfilla of Davao City; Agnes Locsin of Davao City; Sunny Noel of Dipolog City; Joey Ayala of Davao City; and Sining Kambayoka of MSU-Marawi. All of them were awarded for their exemplary works in research, development, preservation, education and promotion of arts and culture in Mindanao.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gador Awards Ceremony was conducted virtually, and broken up into a series of small ceremonies taking place on different dates and at different locations in Mindanao, with one even conducted in Manila.

The awarding ceremony for IPAG and Prof. Fernandez, which was live streamed, was conducted at Homestay Ilihan in Iligan City on July 7, 2020. A separate ceremony was held the day before for Sining Kambayoka of MSU-Marawi.

The awarding ceremony was attended by guests of the awardees: MSU-IIT Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol and Dr. Christine F. Godinez-Ortega, Board Chair of the Mindanao Creative and Cultural Workers Group (MCCWG). Chancellor Tanggol and Dr. Ortega provided the testimonies for both IPAG and Prof. Fernandez. Their pre-recorded messages were played at the ceremony.