The new CCP president is up for the challenge of developing the 41-hectare CCP Complex into not just an Art Center, but a sustainable economic hub
BY MARIDOL RANOA-BISMARK
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MANUEL GENEROSO
If he were a film, Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) president Arsenio ‘Nick’ Lizaso would be an
adventure series packed with Indiana Jones-like scenes. He’s like a bouncing ball that ricochets everywhere, packing in a lot of power along the way. Lizaso may be 83. But he’s anything but a doddering
senior. He goes for less talk, more action. Even in his free time, he’d rather swing his tennis racket and hit that ball, rather than wait for things to happen in the Greenhills condominium that he shares with his lovely wife Belen. He took up the sport at the mature age of 56, and surprised even himself by becoming a two-time Wimbledon champ.
“I’m a late bloomer in the sport,” he chuckles. But this is not the case in the world of arts, which he has
embraced as a way of life and and a birthright. The maternal grandson of Balagtasan King Jose Corazon de Jesus a.k.a. Huseng Batute has been breathing art since he was a boy who sat mesmerized on the church patio in his native Sta. Maria, Bulacan, staring at a USIS service jeep. The jeep’s projector showed film on the cycle of water.
Lizaso recalls every detail of the film as if he saw it only yesterday. “Water from the sea is raised by the wind into the sky. Clouds hold it until it can’t keep the water any longer. Then, it falls as rain on the trees, the rivers, etc. Then it goes back to sea.”
Now that the awe-struck boy who ran like the wind and jumped pell-mell into pieces of broken glass is a man, that image has refused to go away. The USIS jeep is Lizaso’s inspiration for CCP on Wheels.
ART FOR THE MASSES
Tapping on his gift of gab and a passion for the arts, Lizaso got a donation for a brand-new bus from Victory Liner the very next day after he visited the giant transportation firm.
The bus comes with a huge LED screen (seven feet by 14 feet) on one side that shows ballet, symphony, and other cultural shows. The bus, with a mini-library inside, tours the entire country, spreading the gospel of art, not to the elite who can afford expensive shows in Manila, but to the masses who live in the provinces.