Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has paid tribute to the valuable contributions of National Artist for Theater Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio to the country’s education, culture and arts.
In his House Resolution No. 1470, the House Chief expressed the Lower Chamber’s condolences on the demise Lapeña-Bonifacio, who was tagged as “Grande Dame of Southeast Asian Children’s Theater” and “Mother of Philippine Puppetry.”
The multi-awarded playwright, author, puppeteer and educator died on December 29, 2020 at the age of 90.
“Lapeña-Bonifacio’s immense talent, artistry and passion for children’s literature, puppetry and theater made a profound impact on Philippine arts and culture, and her life and work will undoubtedly continue to inspire countless generation of artists to hone their craft and create new avenues to further explore and enrich our country’s culture, literature and tradition,” the resolution read.
Lapeña-Bonifacio, a Fulbright scholar, was conferred the rank and title of National Artist in 2018.
In his resolution, Velasco cited that Lapeña-Bonifacio, a graduate of the University of the Philippines with an AB English degree, has written 44 plays, 136 short stories, 26 books, and one novel, as well as several poems and essays.
According to him, Lapeña-Bonifacio has been the recipient of many well-deserved awards and accolades in her lifetime: as a student, two of her plays won awards at the Wisconsin Playwrighting Competition and staged at the University of Wisconsin Play Circle Theater; in 1995, she was given the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awarded in Literature; in 2013 and 2017, she received the Most Outstanding Citizen Award for Quezon City and the City of Manila, respectively.
Under the resolution, it was noted that Lapeña-Bonifacio was among those behind the establishment of the University of the Philippines Department of Speech and Drama in 1959, now the esteemed Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts.
In 1977, Lapeña-Bonifacio decided to stage Abadeja: Ang Ating Sinderela, a puppet play she wrote and directed based on a Visayan folktale, upon the invitation of the Department of Speech and Drama for her to present one of her plays, the resolution states.
Lapeña-Bonifacio was the founder of Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas, the official theater company and puppetry troupe of UP, which has become well-known for its musical plays.
Lapeña-Bonifacio was born on April 4, 1930 in Binondo, Manila.
Lapeña-Bonifacio is survived by her husband, UP Professor Emeritus of Sociology Manuel Flores Bonifacio, PhD, her daughter, Professor Amihan Bonifacio-Ramolete, PhD, the current Dean of the UP College of Arts and letters, and her grandchildren.