OPPA introduces its new batch of scholars for SY 2019-2020

August 13, 2019 2:26 am Published by

OPPA scholars (L-R): Mica Mille Becerro, Brio Mikhail Divinagracia, Vanessa Ellaiza Jean
Celestial, Arjay Rosales, Zackary Flynn, Roberta Marie Santos, Vincent Del Rosario.

The Original Pilipino Performing Arts Foundation (OPPA), founded through the Resorts World Cultural Heritage Foundation, Inc.,recently announced its new batch of “Maarte” scholars for the current school year, increasing its number of current scholars to 49. Over the past three years, the foundation has granted a total of 59 scholarships.

The foundation initiated the “Maarte Series” campaign that started during the first semester of the 2018-2019 academic year that aimed to raise awareness among the youth about the merits of pursuing a career in the performing arts. The campaign’s name was devised as a wordplay that can appeal to the youth to emphasize that Philippine performing arts is alive and well in the country.

The new batch of the “Maarte” are seven students who applied for scholarships and passed the rigorous screening process and pursue formal education in the performing arts via courses offered by the foundation’s partner schools, namely Roberta Marie Santos (Bachelor of Arts in Production Design, De La Salle – College of St. Benilde); Arjay Rosales (Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts, De La Salle – College of St. Benilde); Brio Mikhail Divinagracia (Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts, De La Salle – College of St. Benilde); Zackary Joseph Flynn (Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts, MINT College); Mica Mille Becerro (Bachelor of Music in Voice, University of Santo Tomas); Vincent del Rosario (Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance, St. Scholastica’s College); and Vanessa Ellaiza Jean Celestial (Master of Music, Trombone, University of Santo Tomas).

The scholars each expressed their gratitude for the help provided by the foundation through the scholarships. “OPPA is giving me the opportunity to pursue my love for acting and theater,” said Flynn. “Had I not gotten this grant from OPPA, I would have just gotten through a gap year working to earn money to go to school,” he added.

“I definitely look forward to branching out with my original training as a visual artist,” according to Santos. “OPPA’s scholarship gives me a different perspective on responsibility,” she added.

A few OPPA scholars also shared their future plans upon graduating from college. “I want to flourish both at home and abroad and build a music school in our province,” according to Becerro who hails from Surigao. “I want to teach the kids who have the talent but not the opportunity to go to a formal school for performing arts, but most of all I want to perform,” she shared.

“The OPPA scholarship grant is very timely for me,” says Celestial. “I’m planning to pursue my masters but don’t want to seek financial support from my parents as much as possible. I want to earn a master’s degree so I can teach kids in college,” she added.

During the screening process, the OPPA scholars were asked to present a brief performance or work portfolio to determine their skill levels and help them determine the artistic facets that they could work on. “I’m looking forward to improving my orchestra skills in college. I want to increase my repertoire for my solo performances,” shared del Rosario.

Rosales, who has already had stage experience in his young age, has this to say about his future plans: “I want to explore production. I’ve been performing for the past six years and I want to learn more about what’s behind the stage”.

The scholars were also asked about their passions about their chosen fields of study. Divinagracia shared how he wanted to open up the Filipino’s minds about theater by someday being an influencer on social media. “I want to spread the word over the internet about how important theater as a tool is,” He shared. “I want people to know about how it is already accessible to audiences,” shared Divinagracia.

OPPA continues to nurture its scholars with relevant workshops on the performing arts while providing financial aid for their education. Most of the scholars are now either representing the country in international competitions or performing abroad with professional artists. This year the foundation’s first two scholars are set to graduate since the foundation started its scholarship program in 2016.

For more information on OPPA and its scholarship program, visit www.oppafoundation.org.


About Original Pilipino Performing Arts (OPPA) Foundation:

The Original Pilipino Performing Arts (OPPA) Foundation was established in 2015 with the guidance of its Founding Chairman, Dr. Andrew L. Tan, in the pursuit to recognize and uplift the Filipino’s illustrious talent in various aspects of performance.

Since 2016, the Resorts World Philippines Cultural Heritage Foundation, Inc. (RWPCHFI), through the OPPA Foundation, has been granting scholarships to deserving Filipino youth for various performing arts courses offered in the program. For the scholarship program, the OPPA Foundation has partnered with seven schools namely: Meridian International Business, Arts, and Technology College; Ateneo De Manila University; University of Santo Tomas; St. Scholastica’s College; St. Paul University of Manila; De La Salle College of Saint Benilde; and Assumption College San Lorenzo.

With partnerships from the academe, industry practitioners, and private stakeholders, the OPPA Foundation aims to institutionalize efforts in the advancement of Philippine performing arts by providing academic assistance, skills enhancement, and career opportunities to its scholars. The RWPCHFI and the OPPA Foundation remain committed in their objective to support the local industry, nurture potential talent, and elevate the quality of performing arts in the country.


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This post was written by John Paolo Acelajado

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