2021-2022 Silliman University Culture and Arts Council

Diomar C. Abrio, Director
Moses Joshua B. Atega, Vice Chair for Marketing and Promotion
Warlito Caturay, Jr. , Vice Chair for Literary Arts
Angelo Sayson, Vice Chair for Dance
Joseph Albert Basa, Vice Chair for Music
Dessa Quesada-Palm, Vice Chair for Theater and Extension Program
Val Vinarao, Vice Chair for Architecture and Fine Arts

Members and Department Representatives

Renelito C. Caballo, Faculty , SBS-Junior High School
Joanne A. Gomez, Community (at large)
Rudy Juan, Research and Archiving
Leo Mamicpic, SU Alumni
Christel Kho, Luce Auditorium
Annabelle Lee-Adriano, Community (at large)
Lani M. Chua, Marketing and Sponsorships
Blanche M. Utzurum, SUSA
Jacqueline Veloso-Antonio, Tourism
Myka Reambonanza, President-SUSG
Urich Calumpang, Assistant Staff
James Alkene Lamuna, Assistant Staff
Nadine Padao, Secretariat


Elizabeth Susan Vista-Suarez, Chair, Advisory Board
Jocelyn S. Limkachiong
Karen F. Villanueva

Betty Cernol-MacCann, PhD, University President

Silliman University Culture and Arts Council: 
A Legacy of Persistence

The history and transformation of the Silliman University Culture and Arts Council of (SU-CAC) has followed the path of persistence right from the start to its 56th cultural season.

From its birth in 1962 at the Palmore home, it rose out of the dedication of individuals, artists, patrons, and groups who knew the significance of arts in society.  It was named  Cultural Affairs Committee with Amiel Y. Leonardia for theatre, Lucy Patrimonio-Jumawan for dance, Isabel Dimaya-Vista for music, Maria Antonia Escaño-Villegas for community, and Miriam Palmore as chairperson.

The move was to put all efforts in order, even if before that Dumaguete was already alive with music, theater, and poetry.  The culturati included the Pfeiffers, the Bells, Priscilla Madamo, Zoe Lopez, the Tiempos, and the Layagues, among many others. Dumaguete had musicians, painters, actors, and writers; Shakespeare’s pentameter was heard, Julius Caesar and Brutus were alive, and Handel was played by virtuosos. There was enough music to make you dance with Lucy Patrimonio and the Serion sisters. Eddie Romero was 16 years old and wrote screenplays in English.

Literary pieces abound as with the presence of the Tiempos and as influenced by theater performances. The grief of war came, but after its bullets, art was there again. Lucy Jumawan organized the Dance Troupe, DYSR of Silliman went on air, choirs were formed, and then enter the legendary Albert Louis Faurot who made art his teaching method.

The building of the Luce Auditorium in 1974, challenged cultural productions to rise to another level. The inclusion of culture in the Sillimanian curriculum introduced the students to the many facets of art and its relevance to education.

By the mid-‘70s,  internationally-acclaimed instrumentalists still came to Silliman, but in the waning days of Martial Law, the 80s saw a drop in the number of audiences as patriotic fervor made culture look elitist. Performances from  Repertory Philippines found their way to Luce, but the organizers had a hard time selling tickets. It was only in the 90s that the renewed cultural enthusiasm gave space for a combination of foreign and local performances such as harpists Leuan Jones and Tadao Hayashi, and violinists Joseph Esmilla and Jay Cayuca. 

The new millennium accommodated two Silliman theater greats, Paul Palmore and Junix Inocian, and the staging of  Eve Ensler’s the “ Vagina Monologues,” a production that challenged theater perspectives.  In 2003 Chairman Prof. Joseph Basa turned to local talents which revived the Silliman Dance Troupe, Kahayag. The year was capped by the hosting of the 2nd International Rondalla Festival.

In May 2006, Elizabeth Susan Vista-Suarez gathered the committee to redefine its operations. It was not anymore a group composed of university people but included the larger Dumaguete community. It signaled for the sophistication of efforts, an organized marketing concept, balanced cultural programming, and the inclusion of culture and arts in the institutional calendar.

When Prof. Diomar Abrio took leadership in 2009, he introduced CAC to masterclasses leading to collaborative performances with local artists. Giving artists equal opportunities became a new priority. It was also during his term in 2016 that the Culture and Arts Council officially replaced the Cultural Affairs Committee.

Silliman University CAC is in its 59th year today. Its efforts in nurturing culture and arts in Negros Oriental are no doubt a persistent experimentation with many risks that made a difference in the Dumaguete life. This year, despite the pandemic, the theme – The Arts for Everyone – sends a message that when culture and arts are shared, it redefines the people’s experience and erases boundaries.

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