UST celebrates Humanities with research award; Musicologist, poet-critic are first recipients

In a strong expression of support for research in the Humanities, the University of Santo Tomas and the family of Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua have formally launched a ten-year program to document the lifeworks of outstanding artists who have championed the Filipino in their craft.

According to D. Edgard A. Cabangon, son of the late ambassador, the program, borne out of the partnership with UST, is meant to honor the family patriarch and to continue his passion of being a good friend of artists.  He led the Cabangon family in establishing the fund that will be used for the award.

“I know that our father is smiling right now because we are continuing his noble legacy of supporting and honoring our Filipino artists,” said D. Edgard A. Cabangon. “It is also opportune that we are having this program with UST because our father was also very close to the Church.”

To note, UST was also given the endowment because National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, who was very close to the late ambassador, was a Thomasian, having been awarded an Associate of Arts degree by the University. 

On September 20, 2019, the first recipients of the UST-Amb. Antonio L. Cabangon Chua Research Award in the Humanities were introduced during the 2019 Nick Joaquin Literary Awards Night, which was held at the Citystate Tower Hotel in Ermita, Manila. The awardees, UST Conservatory of Music  faculty member Assoc. Prof. Maria Alexandra Iñigo Chua, Ph.D., and writer and poet Mr. Carlomar A. Daoana, an alumnus of the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters, were honored before an audience composed of writers and artists from all over the country. They were joined on stage by the family of Amb. Cabangon Chua and the representatives from UST, led by UST Secretary-General Rev. Fr. Jesús M. Miranda, Jr., O.P.

The annual Nick Joaquin Literary Awards is organized by the Philippines Graphic, which is under the ALC Group of Companies. D. Edgard A. Cabangon succeeded his father as chairman of this conglomerate. 

A researcher fellow of the UST Research Center for Culture, Arts, and Humanities, Iñigo-Chua is set to work on her study “Raul Sunico: The Virtuoso in the Performance of the Filipino Identity.” Sunico, a former dean of the UST Conservatory of Music, is an internationally acclaimed pianist.

Daoana, who is with the Ateneo Fine Arts Department, is a multi-awarded poet and art critic. His research is titled “Biography as Destiny: Danilo Dalena and His Pursuit of the Everyman.” Dalena took up Fine Arts in the old UST College of Architecture and Fine Arts. His mentors were among the greats, Galo Ocampo, Diosdado Lorenzo, and National Artist Victorio Edades. Today, Dalena himself is considered a maestro, being a visual artist well-known for his expressionist folk paintings.

Each of the awardees will receive a total of P150,000 for their research projects. 

Earlier this year, on February 26, the Cabangon Chua family signed the Memorandum of Agreement with the UST Rector Very Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., that established the research award. 

“With the UST-Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua Research Award, we are not only supporting, but also celebrating the Humanities,” the Father Rector said about the program. “This partnership will push forth the Arts’ noble mission.”

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