The 1st Culture and Arts Summit achieved a crucial local triumph for Palawan as it celebrates “Sikatugyaw Festival,” a localized version of our country’s Arts Month Celebration last February.

Held on February 15-16, 2024 at the provincial capitol, the 1st Palawan Culture and Arts Summit marked a milestone for the province as it paved the way to identify essential actions for Palawan’s culture and arts to flourish. The summit, according to Culture and Arts Program Chairman Ceasar Sammy Magbanua, aimed to gather sectors related to and deeply concerned about Palawan’s culture and arts. The goal was to create discourse about current situations, challenges, and how to preserve and enrich our culture and arts for future generations.

“Culture and Arts are integral to our authentic human nature. They could be a means by which a human person could grow in union with the fullness of truth, good and beauty,” stated Palawan Governor Victorino Dennis M. Socrates.

Among those who took part in the summit were the officials and members of the Palawan Culture and Arts Council (PCAC) headed by Governor Socrates, various sectors related to culture and the arts, artists, cultural advocates, scholars, policymakers and representatives from Local Government Units and national agencies like the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

“This summit marks a significant milestone in the cultural landscape of Palawan and indeed the entire nation. It serves as a testament to the unwavering commitment of both the local government, the civil society, and the academe to preserving, safeguarding, promoting and celebrating its rich culture,”  NCCA Deputy Director for Operations Bernan Joseph Corpuz said during the opening of the summit.

The 2-day summit served as a venue to discuss pertinent topics such as: Defining Culture, Governing Culture, The Philippine Creative Industries Development Act and The Economics of Culture.

One notable point articulated in the summit was Palawan’s need for a “Cultural Inventory” and for “Cultural Officers” in the plantilla position in our local government. All recommendations were gathered to integrate culture and arts into Palawan’s developmental agenda. The province’s Culture and Arts Program is now formulating plans and programs to address the specific needs identified during the summit. 

Aside from this summit, there were other activities during the Sikatugyaw Festival staged by the Palawan local government to create awareness, strengthen community identity and foster economic & social development. For the entire month of February there was a free admission at the Palawan Heritage Center. Workshops in photography, visual arts, digital arts, performing arts, film showings, concerts at the park, puppet show by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and art talks were also organized.  With the culmination of these impactful activities and the achievements they brought, the recently concluded Sikatugyaw Festival in Palawan undeniably marked a resounding success.

Sikatugyaw stands for Sining, Katha, Tugtog at Sayaw – a term coined by the Provincial Government of Palawan to signify different art forms in celebration of Philippines’ Arts Month.