Benjie de Ubago
Alfredo “Ding” Roces will be honoured with the Pamana ng Pilipino Award of the 2014 Presidential Awards. President Benigno Aquino III himself will be handing out the awards on 5 December 2014 at Malacanang, in recognition of the contribution of overseas Filipinos.
Few can claim the same achievement in a lifetime as what Alfredo “Ding” Roces has achieved. The Pamana ng Pilipino Award is well deserved and long overdue.
Rarer too, is one who excels in two fields of the arts – literary and visual; and in two countries – Philippines and Australia. Ding Roces has done just that. He built parallel careers, both as a writer and as an artist and has excelled in both art forms, few would dare even imagine.
A very creative mind
His words and pictures fused in works that proudly exalt the nation’s National Artists and highlights Philippine culture and heritage.
He has authored 18 books, and has collaborated with the country’s best to produce many more publications. His books on Kiukok, Hidalgo, Legaspi, and Adios Patria Adorada have won the National Book Award of Manila Critics’ Circle (2006, 2001, 1998 and 1993). ”Culture Shock” co-authored with his daughter Grace, has become a socio-cultural bible of the Philippines and is the most reprinted of his books. As editor-in-chief and in collaboration with some of the Philippines’ known experts, he produced a 10 volume “Filipino Heritage”, which was published by Hamlyn Publishers in Australia.
In the visual arts, to his credits, 20 one-man art exhibits, not to mention his numerous group shows. His paintings are part of esteemed private collections and hang in some of the most notable museums in the Philippines to include: National Museum of the Philippines, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Central Bank of the Philippines, Convention Center of the Philippines and Metropolitan Museum. His illustrations, photographs and words have found their rightful places in the pages of some of the most prestigious books.
Roces was a columnist for Manila Times in the Philippines and then he moved with his family to Australia in 1976 where he took on the role of Editor-in-chief of Geo Australasia’s Geographical Magazine.
In 2009, Roces collaborated with Aboriginal artist, Kevin Duncan for the “Sari Manok & The Rainbow Serpent: 5 Lands Walk” Earthwork Exhibit which combined Filipino and aboriginal cultures. The work was commissioned by the Gosford City Council for their annual festival.
The Filipino Australian Movement for Empowerment (FAME) recognized Roces for his achievement during its launch in 2007. He was also awarded by FAACES and most recently named the Filipino Australian Achiever of the Year, an honor given by the Filipino Communities Council of Australia Inc. (FILCCA).
Ding is the consummate artist, a rare breed of creative geniuses and indeed a true treasure. He is the pride of Filipinos overseas and he bequeaths his exemplary legacy to the next generation.
The biennial Presidential Awards is conducted by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) in recognition of Filipino individuals and organizations overseas.
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