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Monday, November 1, 2010

Moreno on Moreno - A response by Virginia R. Moreno

I saw an article on the Philippine Daily Inquirer ( regarding Poet Virginia R. Moreno's response regarding the controversy surrounding Gloria Macapagal's naming Pitoy R. Moreno as a National Artist. This was posted no June 14, 2009.

"Moreno on Moreno

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: June 14, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Poet Virginia Moreno has written us to react to the article “Pitoy Moreno to be named National Artist?” (Inquirer Lifestyle, June 5, 2009), which reports speculations that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would name her brother National Artist for Fashion Design, bypassing the official and democratic selection process for the awards.
She wrote: “...I’m aroused by this talk of brewing trouble – not of Moreno’s knowledge or doing – that if the President confers this (contested? questioned?) National Artist Award for Fashion Design on Jose R. ‘Pitoy’ Moreno, it is the President’s exclusive choice and judgment alone, on the 50 years – Ginintuang Sining/Golden Years of the Art and Life of Moreno in his million Fund Raising 2004 Tribute Show at the Cultural Center of the Philippines for Young Artists, for Gawad Kalinga and for Nuns of an Order I’ve forgotten, who pray over him. Implying, it’s the President’s lone personal choice?...

Consequently, all that manna of prestige, rituals and comforts granted to a proclaimed National Artist, such as the lifelong pension of originally P10,000, paid medical bills, a grand state funeral and, at last, a niche in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani. All such gifts of the State would be credited to the President’s largesse and majestic authority?”

She added, “As one of three members of the Moreno clan, honored, unquestionably, with the highest state awards by other republics, from the French Republic on the late Ambassador Luis Moreno y Salcedo to France and Unesco Paris, and the German Federal Republic on Oscar Moreno Lopez – here and now, I see clearly, ethically, and therefore advocate the need of the Philippine Republic to confer its National Awards for Artists under the same strictest Republican principles, with the dignity of the silence of monks in their election of the Pope, to be balanced more by the grace and ceremony with which the Japanese Emperor confers the poetic title National Treasures on peasant weavers to kimono design artists.”

Virgie said her brother had been received abroad by the late Princess Margaret in London, Spanish Queen Sophia in Madrid, the King of Morocco and “a Japanese princess at the exclusive Miho Museum. But, it’s not quite correct to call as “rubbing elbows” these royal hosting and Moreno’s official presence, approved by protocol, as performing envoy of Philippine culture. And no other creative credentials credited to him, why should he receive an Invitation and Award in his own country’s Palace when there are hopeful, waiting others?

“It’s hard labor, and at what cost, are those Moreno Theater of Culture Shows in the service of and glory to the Philippine Republic? Demanding of management skills with honed artistry. Extremely stressful and expensive as to put the family’s health and bank account at risk. I know, I’m the other Moreno in his brother-and-sister act in all the half-century celebrations of Philippine Independence Day: from the first, 12th June 1964, Giting Kayumanggi, a historic pageant, [with] Virginia R. Moreno as librettist, music by Lucio San Pedro, choreographer L. Urtula of Bayanihan, authentic costumes by Jose R. Moreno that opened in New York’s Lincoln State Theater of the Rockefeller Foundation. To Unesco Paris Theater, 12th June 1996, Philippine Independence Day, where the Filipino chamber maids paid their honestly earned francs to Moreno’s show for Father Tritz’s Erda Foundation Scholar Funds in Paco, Manila. To the 1998 Philippine Independence Day Centennial in the Walk the Last Walk of Our Hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal, where our grandchildren as innocents on this tragic day wore Moreno’s little Maria Clara and barong costumes.”

Virgie also cited her brother’s books on Filipino fashion – “‘Philippine Costume’ and ‘Kasalan’ richly documented the origins, crafting and beauties in our Teatro Tampipi Show: the family heirlooms of piƱa and jusi silks, mantones de Manila, ethnic jewelry, hats, canes and Ang Batis tsinelas.”

She added, “J. Moreno Foundation grants yearly scholarships to the best students of the UP College of Medicine and UP College of Fine Arts [his alma mater]... Surely, a foot doctor from out of those beneficiaries would care for a patient named Jose R. Moreno if he lands in the PGH charity ward, now cleaner and better-equipped from a Sofitel Plaza Hotel fundraising Moreno show.”

In closing, Virgie wrote: “What else would a Moreno need, crave for and run after? When, National Artist for Literature Jose Garcia Villa in his most profane and sacred wit, intoned: To reinvent God is unnecessary. All He needs today is a Designer’s Name.” –
Virginia R. Moreno, French Republic, Chevalier dans L’ Ordre des Palmes Academiques"

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