Arts fest brings Philippine lullabies to Libya

The Himig Himbing project pays homage to native cradle songs. | Photograph courtesy of CCP

For two years now, the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Philippine Embassy in Libya have partnered to celebrate National Arts Month with Pasinaya sa Libya, a smaller version of the country’s largest multi-arts festival.

Through Pasinaya sa Libya, the Philippine Embassy aimed to reintroduce Philippine arts and culture to the Filipino community in Libya, as well as promote cultural exchanges between the two countries.

This year, Pasinaya in Libya was held on 16 February at the Philippine Embassy Building in Janzour, Tripoli, presenting selected music videos from the “Himig Himbing: Mga Heleng Atin” project. Featuring the modern interpretations of Philippine folk lullabies, this project by the CCP Arts Education Department aims to reintroduce Philippine indigenous lullabies to today’s audiences and develop nurturers who are grounded in our Philippine songs.

The selected videos were “Wiyawi,” directed by Carla Pulido Ocampo; “Ili, Ili, Tulog Anay,” directed by Law Fajardo; “Aba-Aba,” directed by Teng Mangansakan; “Tingkatulog,” directed by Thop Nazareno; and “Hele,” directed by Milo Tolentino.

In last year’s celebration, two short films about Filipino nurses from the 2022 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival — “Kwits,” directed by Raz Dela Torre, and “See You, George!” directed by Mark Moneda — were shown on 10 February 2023, through the CCP Arthouse Cinema program. The screening was followed by an online talkback session with the two filmmakers.

“We are happy to continue the partnership with the Philippine Embassy in Libya to keep the Philippines’ arts and cultures alive in the hearts of our kababayans living outside their home country. I’m sure some grew up hearing these lullabies from your parents and guardians. If you are not familiar with these heles, this is a good opportunity to learn about our lullabies. We have so many heart-touching lullabies we should preserve and promote. We don’t want the younger generation to not experience them. We don’t want these lullabies to be forgotten,” said CCP president ad interim Michelle Nikki Junia.

After the screenings, there was a talkback session with ethnomusicologist Sol Trinidad, whose research became the basis of the project, and musical director Krina Cayabyab, who did the musical arrangements of the featured lullabies. They shared their knowledge on Philippine lullabies, and explained the importance of preserving these songs.

Aside from the video screening, there were other events everyone can participate in. An art exhibit was opened, featuring the works of Ed Parrocha, followed by a series of performances.