Manila Bulletin 15 Nov 2015 By FRANCO G. REGALA
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) on Thursday graced the unveiling of the historical marker of Emilio “Abe” Aguilar Cruz (EAC), a known Capampangan journalist and artist in Magalang, Pampanga.
NHCP Region 3 Executive Director Ludovico D. Badoy represented the commission and witnessed the occasion, which also coincided with EAC’s centennial celebration at the Abe’s Farm in Barangay Ayala.
Lorna Cruz-Ambas, Abe’s granddaughter said the unveiling marked the culmination of a year-long celebration starting with an exhibit of the Dimasalang group at the national museum, photo exhibit of his life at select malls, art workshops with the urban sketchers group, the donation of EAC artworks to the National Museum and the opening of the Emilio Aguilar Cruz Hall, where his works in oil and watercolor are now on permanent display. The Cruz family has donated many of the EAC’s artworks to the National Museum to highlight his centennial year and as part of his contribution to the Philippine Arts and Journalism, she said.
Cruz-Ambas said it was LJC’s wish to set up the Abe museum to exhibit his collection of paintings and memorabilia.
“A year ago when we were planning EAC’s centennial for 2015, we realized that to the younger generation, Abe was the popular restaurant brand of the LJC chain and not much else. So we set about to highlight his other accomplishments as writer, journalist and artist,” said Cruz-Ambas, also president of LJC restaurant group.
“We resurrected articles about him written by friends, which were put in the backburner when Nick Joaquin offered to do his biography in 2007. We coordinated with malls to host an exhibit, celebrating the life of EAC as journalist, artist and son of Magalang, the town in Pampanga where he was born,’’ she said in a speech.
Apart from being known as an institution of Philippine journalism and true artist, Abe was also Philippine Representative to the UNESCO in Paris from 1978 to 1980. He spent his later years painting, and mentoring and inspiring young visual artists and writers until he passed away in 1991.
Gracing the occasion were Deputy Director of the National Museum Ana Labrador, Magalang Vice Mayor Norman Lacson, and former mayor Pastor Guiao.