Frequently eclipsed by the sheer struggle for physical
well-being are those aspects of life from which higher inspiration is drawn. The spirit
moves man to accomplishment against obstacles he may otherwise judge insuperable. During
past millennia of recorded civilization the performing arts have prompted man to realize
his inner potential in a manner matched by few other influences except religion.
Throughout the Philippine Archipelago only in this century with the coming of modern
transport and communication have most individuals found an opportunity to participate in a
truly national consciousness. Commerce, education and politics dominated this emerging
Filipino identity for many decades.
Meanwhile, a nucleus of artistically creative pioneers encouraged their fellow
countrymen to seek a deeper understanding of themselves. Upon foundations they built,
today's generation can enlarge the public arena in which theater, music and other
performing arts become a relevant experience to the majority.
Following in the path marked by founders of drama groups like Severino Montano,
Wilfredo Guerrero and Lamberto Avellana, CECILE GUIDOTE has added new dimensions to
Filipino theater. Born 29 years ago to a mother who supported her family as a nurse after
the death of her guerrilla captain husband during World War II, she early showed
precocious talent. Later, teaching at St. Paul College in Manila and studying at the State
University of New York and the Dallas Theater Center in Texas, she devised a practical
program for a national theater. Organized in 1967, this became the Philippine Educational
Theater Association, known familiarly as PETA.
While many have devoted abilities and time to PETA and its emphasis upon theater for
education, CECILE GUIDOTE, serving as Executive Director, has totally dedicated herself to
its purposes, despite inadequate funds and other handicaps. A "Theater in the
Ruins" at Fort Santiago is only one among numerous PETA efforts to make drama an
integral part of Filipino life. Consequential for both young and adult thespians are
PETA's training courses in writing, staging, directing and acting. These frequently focus
upon realities of today but insist that dramatic excellence comes first.
For culturally deprived rural Filipinos GILOPEZ KABAYAO, playing the violin and
occasionally the piano, has opened musical vistas they would not otherwise have known. Son
of a prosperous doctor-farmer, he learned first to play the violin from his father and the
piano from his mother. Eventually training under American, Italian and French masters, he
became an international virtuoso, invited to perform with the Vienna and Tokyo Symphony
Orchestras and at Town Hall in New York. Nevertheless his major effort since 1952 has been
devoted to bringing fine music to his own people. From schools in Panay, Bicol and
Mindanao, to cockpits in Negros and Romblon, improvised stages in Mountain Province, and a
boxing ring in Cebu, he has purposefully given of his talent, often contributing the gate
proceeds to community projects.
GILOPEZ KABAYAO thinks of music as much more than entertainment. In a world that
hardens men and women, he is convinced their callousness can be overcome by the
"soothing, elevating, humanizing and divinifying power of music." Accompanied on
the piano sometimes by his mother or sister, this 42-year-old violinist has won a
tremendous response from diverse audiences throughout the islands. Patiently, he has
taught students wherever he goes the theory of music and encouraged them to play
In their separate yet complementary ways these two gifted Filipinos have demonstrated
that the quality of life can be enhanced for a people by individuals who care and who
school their artistic talents to this purpose.
In electing CECILE REYES GUIDOTE and GILOPEZ KABAYAO to share the 1972 Ramon Magsaysay
Award for Public Service, the Board of Trustees recognizes their leadership in the
renaissance of the performing arts, giving a new cultural content to popular life.