On the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Jose Rizal, The National Commission for Culture and the Arts formally opened the country's very first Sentro Rizal at the NCCA Building in Intramuros, Manila on June 28, 2011.
The event was witnessed by NCCA Board Commissioners, diplomats, and National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose.
Senator Edgardo J. Angara, who delivered the keynote message, said that the Sentro Rizal would greatly help Overseas Filipino Workers who are the "invisible minority" abroad. "Sentro Rizal will be invaluable in fostering international exchange, dialogue and understanding. Today, we have the capability to bring the greatness of our heritage to the world."
Last June 12, Angara himself was in Madrid, Spain to open the first Sentro Rizal abroad. The second Sentro Rizal outside the country was opened in Prague on June 19.
The creation of Sentro Rizal is in accordance with Sec. 42 of the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 or R.A. No. 10066, which specifies a center " whose main purpose is the promotion of Philippine arts, culture and language throughout the world."
The Sentro Rizal, envisioned as the Philippine counterpart of France's Alliance Française, Spain's Instituto Cervantes, and Germany's Goethe-Institut, is expected to offer Filipino language courses for children and adults, as well as exhibits, small concerts, poetry reading, Philippine cuisine lessons in all Sentro Rizal branches.
The creation of Sentro Rizal at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts building is seen to encourage the creation of other Sentro Rizal centers not only throughout the country, but also in other countries "where there are children of overseas Filipino workers who need to be educated about their roots, as well as developed countries where there are large Filipino communities."
Download the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009
A roundtable discussion followed the opening of the Sentro Rizal on the following topics: "The Role of the NCCA in the 21st Century" by NCCA Chair Felipe M. de Leon, Jr.; "The Role of the Cultural Worker of the 21st Century" by Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera; "The Role of the Artist of the 21st Century" by F. Sionil Jose.
Also, an exhibit of oil works by Filipino artist Leonardo Cruz was opened at the NCCA Gallery. The said works depict key scenes in Jose Rizal’s "Noli Me Tangere," and were originally exhibited in 2007 at the Rizal Shrine in Fort Santiago, Intramuros, Manila, during the 146th birth anniversary of Jose Rizal.
Local libraries, offices, and groups with the capacity to create a Sentro Rizal and independently undertake its stated goals are encouraged to open such a center. For details on setting up a Sentro Rizal in your localities, please get in touch with the office of Ms. Marlene Ruth Sanchez, NCCA Deputy Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or at tel. (02) 5272193.