Atang de la Rama’s Birth Anniversary in the Philippines Date in the current year: January 11, 2024

Atang de la Rama’s Birth Anniversary in the Philippines The birth anniversary of Atang de la Rama is observed in the Philippines on January 11 every year. It honors a renowned Filipina singer and bodabil (vaudeville) performer who became the country’s first film actress.

Honorata de la Rama-Fernandes, commonly known as Atang de la Rama, was born in Manila on January 11, 1902. Her parents noticed her talent at an early age; by the age of 7, Atang was participating in zarzuelas, a Spanish genre of musical theater that combines song, dance, and spoken scenes. Filipino zarzuelas, referred to in some dialects as sarsuelas or sarswelas, focused on contemporary Filipino issues.

At the age of 15, Atang came to wide attention starring in the zarzuela Dalagang Bukid (“Country Maiden”) staged by Compañia de Zarzuela Ilagan at the Teatro Zorilla, where she played the main role of Angelita, a young flower vendor who falls in love with a poor law student while her parents want her to marry a wealthy elderly loan shark.

In 1919, Dalagang Bukid was adapted for screen by José Nepomuceno, and Atang reprised her role in the adaptation. Dalagang Bukid was the first Filipino produced and directed feature film. Since the film was silent, Atang would stand behind the screen during film screenings and sing the theme song “Nabasang ang Banga” (“The Clay Pot Broke”) to the accompaniment of a three-man band consisting of a pianist, a trumpet player, and a violinist. Despite mixed reviews, the film was a box office success.

Atang was also among the first bodabil performers in the Philippines. Bodabil was a form of vaudeville that gained popularity in the Philippines in the 1910s and soon became one of the most popular forms of mass entertainment. Bodabil stars usually performed their routines during intermissions in between zarzuelas.

During the American occupation of the Philippines, Atang worked to preserve and promote zarzuelas and kundiman, a genre of traditional Filipino love songs. Later in life, she also became a theater producer, talent manager, and playwright. Atang believed that art should be accessible to everyone, so she performed not only in theaters, but also on open plazas in cities and towns across the country.

Atang also worked hard to promote Filipino culture outside the country. At the height of her career, she performed in front of foreign audiences in China, Japan, the United States, and other countries, singing kundimans and other Filipino songs. To recognize Atang’s contribution to preserving and promoting Filipino art forms, she was recognized as the Queen of the Kundiman and Zarzuela in 1979.

In 1987, President Corazon Aquino proclaimed Atang de la Rama a National Artist of the Philippines for Theater and Music to recognize her outstanding artistry, devotion to Filipino performing arts, and her tireless effort to bring her art to the people of the Philippines and to the world.

Atang de la Rama’s birthday is not a public holiday, but it is officially endorsed by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts of the Philippines and observed by cultural organizations across the country.

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