Toward becoming Southeast Asia’s top creative industry

“Wake me up when September ends.” So goes the 2005 song by the American rock band Green Day. So catchy is it that the words have become a recurring meme on social media, usually on the first day of the month in question. But people working in the creative industries may not want to forgo the month by sleeping through it as the song suggests, as it is now a one massive celebration, September having been declared as the Philippine Creative Industries Month in accordance to Republic Act 11904, otherwise known as the “Philippine Creative Industries Development Act.”

Signed in 2022, the new law mandates the “development and promotion of the Philippine creative industries with programs aimed at creating opportunities and employment, nurturing human resources, ensuring financial-enabling mechanisms and providing incentives to encourage and sustain Filipino excellence in the creative industries.” The aim is to protect and strengthen “the rights and capacities of creative firms, artists, artisans, creators, workers, indigenous cultural communities, content providers and stakeholders in the creative industries.”

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Department of Trade and Industry, in partnership with other government agencies, lead the celebration of this year’s PCIM with the “Celebrating Filipino Creativity, Advancing Creative Philippines.”

The month-long series of events aim to recognize and celebrate the contributions of the creative industry by promoting Filipino creativity and innovation and fostering a vibrant cultural landscape.

During a press conference on 3 September, DTI Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba read a message from Loren Legarda, Senate President Pro-Tempore and chairperson of the Senate Committee on Culture and the Arts. Part of the message read: “As we embark in this exciting journey of celebrating Filipino creativity and advancing the creative industries in the Philippines, working hand in hand, we can use this occasion to highlight the importance and impact of the Cultural Mapping Law, also known as Republic Act 11961, which I principally sponsored and authored. This law is a valuable tool in documenting, preserving, and promoting our cultural heritage, ensuring that it remains a source of inspiration and pride for future generations.”

In his speech, congressman Christopher “Toff” de Venecia, principal author of Republic Act No. 11904, lauded the various agencies that make up the creative industries council which is tasked to lead the development and creation of creative industries.

“The goal is for the Philippines to be the number one creative industry in the ASEAN by 2030,” he said.

According to the representative of the fourth district of Pangasinan, the creative industries contribute P1.6 trillion or seven percent to the country’s national gross domestic product, but these industries still remain largely untapped. The lawmaker said that those working in the sector need all forms of support and with the law now in place, the sector is expected to grow.

“We now have a developmental framework in place,” he said.

“With PCIDA and with the push towards a malikhaing Pilipinas and a more malikhaing Pinoy, we dream the arts, culture, and creativity are one that all 110 million plus Filipinos will realize, value, celebrate, cherish, call their own and, most especially, love,” he added.

Bayang Barrios

This year’s PCIM highlights eight key aspects of the creative industry: exhibitions, displays, workshops, competitions, exchanges, discussions, domain-specific events and platforms for business collaboration.

The creative industries have nine domains, namely: Audiovisual Media, Digital Interactive Media, Creative Services, Design, Publishing and Printed Media, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Traditional Cultural Expressions, and Cultural Sites.

To kick off the celebration, there will be simultaneous workshops and a concert at the Rizal Park in Manila, previously planned to be held on 3 September, but was postponed to 17 September because of typhoons and the monsoon rains.

The simultaneous workshops, to be held from 2 to 5 p.m., will tackle different topics under the different domains.

Meanwhile, the live concert at the Rizal Park Open-Air Auditorium, happening from 5 to 9 p.m., will feature Bayang Barrios, Color It Red, Halili Cruz Dance Company, J Crisis, Joey Ayala, Johnoy Danao, Kammerchor Manila, Sarah Straschko, National Ballroom Ensemble, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, Sindaw Philippines, Teatro ni Juan, and The Nightingales.

After the opening program, Perya ng Sining, Bukal ng Galing will be held in Bacolod City and Iloilo City. It is an exhibit featuring the domains of creative industries. Activities for this event include demonstrations, lectures, art markets, art and crafts demo and film showing.

To be held on 29 September, the Summit of Philippine Creative Industries Month will serve as a venue for idea exchange among various stakeholders: government officials, creative industry leaders, professionals, and students.

The FiestaKucha: Philippine Regional Creative Festival will be held in three sites: Cebu City (8 to 30 September), Davao City (24 September), and Baguio City (27 to 29 September). FiestaKucha is a regional initiative that will serve as a platform for the celebration, promotion, and enrichment of the diversity of talent and creativity in the various regions of the country. It focuses on cultural exchange, collaboration, support for emerging artists and creatives, creative entrepreneurship, and community engagement.

Lungsod Lunsad: A Call for Creative Proposals Toward Building Creative Cities is a program that seeks to identify and support program, project, and/or activity from Philippine cities, particularly those that would best utilize the creative assets and resources in their respective jurisdictions, and that would lead to socio-economic growth and cultural reinvigoration. Selected proposals will receive funding (maximum funding available is P3,000,000) and technical support from DTI. Proposal submission period is from 17 August to 30 September.

Young Creatives Challenge is an initiative that aims to inspire, recognize, and showcase creative talents in the fields of songwriting, screenwriting, playwriting, graphic novel, animation, game development, and online content creation. It is open to natural-born Filipino citizens, aged 18 to 35 years. Submission of entries is from 15 July to 30 September. Check out for details.