WANTED: Albularyo, Babaylan, Manghihilot, and more

Published December 5, 2020, 10:55 AM

by Jessica Pag-iwayan

Here’s how to send nominations for the next National Living Treasures Award

The search for the next Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) or National Living Treasures is officially on. But what does this award really stand for? Who are qualified to receive it? And how to send nominations?

A National Living Treasure

Under Republic Act no. 7355, which was passed in April 1992, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is tasked to look for National Living Treasures, or citizens engaged in uniquely Filipino arts.

According to the NCCA, a GAMABA awardee actively practices excellent artistic skills that are also passed on to the present generation.

The qualifications

Here are the qualifications the GAMABA executive council is looking for in a candidate.

  1. An inhabitant of an indigenous/traditional cultural community anywhere in the Philippines that has preserved its customs, beliefs, traditions, and rituals.
  2. Must have engaged in a folk tradition that has been in existence and documented for at least 50 years.
  3. Must consistently performed or produced works of superior quality.
  4. Possesses the mastery of tools and materials needed by the art and established reputation in this art field.
  5. Must have passed on his skills in the folk art to other members of the community.
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NCCA also says that GAMABA qualifiers are not allowed to nominate themselves, instead, they should be nominated by their community or by an organization. “The Manlilikha ng Bayan in a link between the past, in which his traditional folk art found fertile soil for the growth and the future, during which, he seeks his art to be permanently sustained,” NCCA explains. “It becomes his responsibility to transfers the skills of his art to younger generation.”

New category

For this year, the GAMABA’s executive council has introduced a new category—Ethnomedicine (or traditional medicine or healing). This paved the way for ethnomedicine practitioners such as manghihilotalbularyo, and babaylan to be qualified for this highly coveted award. 

This is an addition to the 10 existing categories namely folk architecture, maritime transport, weaving, carving, performing arts, literature, graphic and plastic arts, ornament, textile or fiber arts, and pottery. To date, there are 16 individuals who have received the National Living Treasure Award. 

For more information and to download the application, click here.