Passings and legacies

AMELIA Lapena Bonifacio

The year 2020 paralyzed the world as the Covid-19 pandemic raged and caused the detahs of 1.93 million (and counting). The works of artists, writers, cultural workers, entertainers and many others in Philippine culture and the arts became our diversion, shelter, comfort and beacon of hope. Sadly, a number of them also passed away in the same year, but their legacies live on and continue to inspire us. We honor and salute them. Here are those who passed on in July to December 2020:

Father Alex Bautista

Priest, architect and heritage advocate

(1 August 1969-9 July 2020)

The work of Fr. Bautista is seen in the designs of many churches, shrines and other religious structures. He was known for designing the altar that Pope Francis used at the Mass held at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park during the January 2015 papal visit to the Philippines. He designed the Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer Parish Church in Gerona, Tarlac. He was also behind the designs for Manila Cathedral’s sacristy during its renovation and the Saint John Marie Vianney Parish Church in Lalaan II, Silang, Cavite. He also worked on the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Piat in Piat, Cagayan; the interior of the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Peñafrancia in Naga City, the sacristy of the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag in Pangasinan; the interior of the Minor Basilica of San Sebastian in Manila; and a number of churches in Batangas. He served as executive secretary and later consultant for church renovations to the Commission on Cultural Heritage of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). He was instrumental in the crafting of the National Heritage Law Implementing Rules and Regulations, and in forging a stronger partnership between NCCA and CBCP for the protection of cultural heritage.

Alex Bautista


Father Manuel Maramba

Monk, musician and composer

(4 July 1936-12 July 2020)

A Benedictine monk of the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat, Fr. Maramba was one of the Philippines’ leading musical figures. Prior to the production of his composition, Lord Takayama Ukon, he had composed two operas, Aba! Sto. Niño and La Naval. His other major compositions were “Awakening,” commissioned by Ballet Philippines; music for the Philippines Ballet Theater’s production of Seven Mansions; a sarswela entitled Ang Sarsuela sa San Salvador, and the official hymn of the 1996 National Eucharistic Congress, among others. He founded the San Beda College Alabang Symphony Orchestra.

Manuel Maramba


Susan F. Quimpo

Theater artist, writer, art therapist, cultural worker and activist

(6 February 1961-14 July 2020)

As a student during Martial Law, Quimpo became involved in theater and activism against the Marcos dictatorship. Six of her siblings, also activists, were incarcerated and tortured. A brother remains missing and another was killed by the military. She wrote the informative and moving book Subversive Lives: A Family Memoir of the Marcos Years (Anvil Publishing, 2012; Ohio University Press, 2016) together with his brother Nathan Gilbert Quimpo.

It recounts the family’s resistance against the Marcos dictatorship, covering the period between the 1960s and the 1990s, and the horrors they experienced. Quimpo helped create the iconic children’s television show Batibot and contributed to the formation of Rudolf Steiner schools in the Philippines. She also worked as a counselor and teacher.

SUSAN Quimpo

Gilbert Guillermo

Magazine founder and publisher

(21 July 2020)

Guillermo established Jingle chordbook magazine in 1970, and served as its editor-in-chief. The magazine became influential both in music and music journalism, whose contributors went on to become prominent figures in Philippine culture and entertainment. The magazine was published until 1997.

Brian Tenorio

Designer and activist

(26 September 1977 -27 July 2020)

Tenorio is known for his work in different areas where design is significantly employed such as fashion, print, communications and the Web, for different advocacies and development efforts from local design to mental health, and his activism for LGBTQ+ visibility and rights. He founded his own design firm, Brian Tenorio and Company and the coffee shop Kape Tayo. He also launched in 2004 his fashion brand, Tenorio Manila, specializing on shoes. Tenorio produced and hosted the show Design Para Sa Lahat (Design For All) that aired in the United States on GMA Pinoy TV. He was one of the founding directors of Communication Design Association of the Philippines, chair and lead designer of Designers for Development Network and a proponent of Republic Act 10557 or the Design Competitiveness Act of the Philippines, which aims to promote and strengthen Philippine design industry.

BRIAN Tenorio



Manny Pambid

Playwright and director

(9 June 1952-30 July 2020)

Pambid was a playwright, actor, director, poet and mentor to many theater artists and playwrights. His work with Philippine Education Theater Association had been long and substantial. He brought its theater workshop pedagogy to various places in the Philippines and abroad. He also received several awards for his plays and cultural work. He published a collection of works, Canuplin at Iba Pang Mga Akda ng Isang Manggagawang Pangkultura, in 2015.

Manny Pambid

Em Mendez


(20 July 1982-2 August 2020)

Mendez was awarded fellowships at the UST National Writers’ Workshop in 2009 (for poetry), at the Iyas La Salle National Writers’ Workshop in 2012 (for drama) and the Silliman University National Writers’ Workshop in 2013. In 2012, his play Ang Unang Regla ni John was staged at the Cultural Center of the Philippines as part of the Virgin Labfest 8. He also participated in the Virgin Labfest 9 with Ambong-Abo; 10 with Barbie Girls and 11 with Ang Nanay Kong Ex-NPA, co-written with Genevieve Asenjo. He co-wrote with Jose Victor Torres the libretto for Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag, the Musical, which was staged in 2017. He won at the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature in 2013 for the full-length play The Son of Ashes, and in 2019 for Ang Huling Mambabatok, which was staged by HTG at the seventh China (Nanning) ASEAN Theater Week in 2019. His book of plays, Anagnorisis: Apat na Dula, was published by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in 2017.

EM Mendez

Eddie Ilarde

Broadcaster and politician

(25 August 1934-4 August 2020)

Ilarde was a popular radio and television host who became a politician. He hosted television variety shows Student Canteen and Swerte sa Syete and the radio programs Kahapon Lamang, Dear Kuya Eddie and Napakasakit Kuya Eddie. He served as councilor in Pasay City from 1963 to 1965; representative of Rizal; senator; and an assemblyman during the Marcos dictatorship.

EDDIE Ilarde

Albert Almendralejo

Filmmaker and film producer

(4 September 1954-7 August 2020)

A public relations practitioner, marketing specialist, event manager and supporter of Philippine football, Almendralejo was also into film. He worked for the network GMA 7. He co-directed the documentary Journeyman Finds Home: The Simone Rota Story, shown at the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2018. He produced the Cinemalaya entries Bakal Boys, Tumbang Preso, Malamaya and Children of the River.

ALBERT Almendralejo

Dr. Benito J. Legarda Jr.

Historian, economist and writer

(6 August 1926–26 August 2020)

Writer and historian Legarda served as Deputy Governor for Economic Research at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, board member of the National Historical Institute, consultant to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, finance attache and economic counselor at the Philippine Embassy in the United States and a founding trustee of the National Museum of the Philippines. He wrote numerous scholarly articles and books on Philippine history, providing a better and deeper understanding of the Philippines and the Filipinos from the Spanish colonial period to the Japanese Occupation.

Bonifacio Escoda Benito Legarda Jr.


Gilda Cordero-Fernando


(4 June 1930-27 August 2020)

One of the Philippines’ well-known writers, Cordero-Fernando was also a publisher, newspaper columnist, fashion designer, playwright, visual artist, curator and producer of shows. Her collections of short stories — The Butcher, The Baker and The Candlestick Maker (1962) and A Wilderness of Sweets (1973) — are beloved classics in Philippine literature. She also wrote several children’s books. In 1978, she established GCF Books, which published beautiful Filipiniana books. Later in life, she delved into producing memorable stage productions such as Jamming on an Old Saya (1995) and Pinoy Pop Showtime (2001) and into painting, mounting exhibits and illustrating children’s books. She received many awards for her works.

Gilda Cordero-Fernando

Augusto M. Concio


(10 December 1936-30 August 2020)

Architect, chemical engineer, environmental planner and professor, Augusto Horacio M. Concio taught at the College of Architecture and Fine Arts of the University of Santo Tomas and became its dean from 1974 to 1980 and then from 2001 to 2004. He also established his own firm, Concio Architects and Design Associates. Among his works are the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology building and the Engineering Complex of UP Diliman; the Benavides Building of UST, built in 1978 in International Style; several buildings at the Miriam College and the Ciudad Clemente Resort in San Isidro, Paombong, Bulacan.

Augusto M. Concio

Edberto M. Villegas

Writer, professor and political economist

(6 May 1940-7 September 2020)

Villegas was a grandson of General Miguel Malvar who served as interim president of the First Philippine Republic after Emilio Aguinaldo was captured by the Americans in Palanan, Isabela in 1901. He was active in the underground movement against the Marcos dictatorship. He was a long-time professor of political economy and social studies at the University of the Philippines. He served as chairperson of the UP Political Economy Department and Social Studies Department of UP Manila and a board member of research group Ibon Foundation. He wrote books and pamphlets on economy and imperialism, as well as fiction and poetry.

ED Villegas

Marichu Vera-Perez

Film producer

(6 May 1940-7 September 2020)

Vera Perez-Maceda was regarded as one of the matriarchs of Philippine cinema, born into the industry and the Vera-Perez clan that owned Sampaguita Pictures. She worked in different aspects of film production until she became a producer. She was the executive producer of Dyesebel (1978) and Batch ‘81 (1982) of Mike de Leon. She helped establish the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation or Mowelfund, Metro Manila Film Festival, Film Academy of the Philippines, Philippine Motion Picture Producers Association, Experimental Cinema of the Philippines and the Film Development Council of the Philippines where she headed the International Film Festival Committee. Prior to the creation of the FDCP in 2002, Maceda served as the chair of the Film Development Foundation of the Philippines Inc. She was given the Natatanging Gawad Urian.

Marichu Vera Perez

Juan S.P. Hidalgo


(12 July 1936-23 October 2020)

One of the well-known writers in Ilocano, Hidalgo’s works included novels, short stories, poems, biographies and translations. His novels were mostly serialized in the magazine Bannawag. His short stories were anthologized in many books and he selected foreign works and translated them into Ilocano. He received the Gumil Filipinas Award of Distinction in 1971; the Gawad CCP para sa Sining in 1991; and the UP Vanguard Inc. Achievement Award for Literature in 1991.

Al Quinn

Choreographer and television and stage director

(13 November 1933-24 October 2020)

Quinn was a stalwart of the Philippine entertainment industry a director for events, stage and television, who worked with Dolphy, German Moreno and Nora Aunor. He started as a dancer and choreographer at the Manila Opera House, where he was discovered and then appeared in a number of films. He choreographed for film and TV musicals and crossed over into directing. He directed Binibining Pilipinas coronation nights, movie awarding ceremonies, television specials and live shows.

Al Quinn

Lito Casaje

Playwright and director

(2 May 1957-27 October 2020)

One of the respected figures in Philippine theater, Casaje founded, with his brother-in-law Bienvenido Noriega Jr., the theater company Dramatis Personae in 1988, and served as its president and artistic director. He wrote plays and screenplays that won the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature and other competitions. He also directed films, conducted theater seminars and workshops, and taught at De la Salle University and La Consolacion College. He directed, managed and acted in more than a hundred stage productions. His collection of five award-winning plays, Mga Premyadong Dula (Award-winning Plays, 2006), won the Manila Critic Circle’s National Book Award for drama in 2007.

LITO Casaje

Mila del Sol


(12 May 1923-10 November 2020)

Del Sol starred in Giliw Ko, the first movie produced by the legendary Doña Sisang who owned and managed LVN Pictures. She continued to do many more films including Orasang Ginto (1946); Sarungbanggi (1947); Don Juan Teñoso (1949); Ibong Adarna (1949); Anak ng Pulubi (1951); Tatlong Magdalena (1960); and Batya’t Palu-palo (1974).

MILA del Sol


Don Conrado “Ado” Escudero

Patron of the arts and heritage advocate

(13 July 1933-21 November 2020)

Escudero was known for transforming his family’s coconut plantation that traverses San Pablo, Laguna, and Tiaong, Quezon, into a resort and tourist attraction known for providing a taste of Filipino hacienda life and a glimpse of old Catholic Tagalog traditions, thus, promoting a love for heritage. He was also famed for organizing Catholic processions in his town and in Intramuros, Manila, known as the Grand Marian Procession, every first Sunday of December.

ADO Escudero

Jamir Garcia


(5 September 1978- 26 November 2020)

Garcia was known as the lead vocalist of the hard rock band Slapshock, which gained prominence in early 2000s. They toured the country and abroad and produced several albums including Headtrip (2001); Project 11-41 (2002); Novena (2004); Silence (2006) and Cariño Brutal (2009).

JAMIR Garcia

Iskho F. Lopez

Screenwriter and journalist

(29 January 1948-26 November 2020)

Iskho F. Lopez wrote and co-wrote several screenplays including Pagputi ng Uwak, Pagitim ng Tagak (1978), which won the Gawad Urian for best screenplay, and Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa (1974). He also served as editor in The Manila Chronicle, Bongga, The Manila Standard, The Philippine Post and The Manila Times. He headed the Presidential news desk of the administration of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III.


Freddie Santos

Actor, composer and stage director

(29 February 1956-17 December 2020)

Santos was a stellar name in Philippine theater, starting in Repertory Philippines and later in other production companies. He wrote and staged the musicals Widows, Orphans and Wildebeests; Il Divino; and Sabel: Love and Passion, among others. He also wrote pop songs such as the hit “Points of View.” He became known for staging and directing events, concerts and grand theater productions such as the ones mounted at Resorts World Manila. He was awarded the Natatanging Gawad Buhay Lifetime Achievement Award for Theater at the 2020 Philstage Gawad Buhay Awards.

Freddie Santos

David Medalla

Poet and visual artist

(23 March 1942 – 28 December 2020)

Medalla created paintings, sculptures, kinetic art, installations and performance art, and was known for his inventiveness. He shuttled around Europe and Manila. He founded Signals Gallery in London and Mondrian Fan Club in New York; toured around to give lectures; and participated in collectives, expos and other art events. He gained a cult following for his writings and art, including his Cloud Canyons sculptures and “A Stitch in Time.” Medalla won awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Jerome Foundation of America.

DAVID Medalla


Domini M. Torrevillas


(28 August 1940-28 December 2020)

Torrevillas worked for the Manila Bulletin and its magazine, The Philippine Panorama, from 1961 to 1987, where she became an editor. During the Marcos dictatorship, she and other women journalists were threatened and harassed by the military. She wrote the long-running column “From the Stands” for The Philippine Star. She received the Outstanding Sillimanian Award in the field of journalism in 1980.

Gloria Garchitorena Goloy


(13 November 1927-28 December 2020)

Goloy was a literary editor of The Varsitarian, University of Santo Tomas’ student publication. She went on to become an associate editor of the Sunday Times Magazine and supplements editor of The Manila Times. She also contributed articles to different publications such as Sunburst, Mr. & Ms. and The Philippine Daily Inquirer. She was the only journalist who accompanied Gloria Diaz to the Miss Universe pageant in 1969. She also wrote poems which were collected in the books Adams and Eves and Other Poems (1969) and Two Voices (with Doris Trinidad, 2013). Some of her poems are in several anthologies.

Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio

National Artist for theater and literature

(4 April 1930-29 December 2020)

Lapeña-Bonifacio was the Grand Dame of Southeast Asian children’s theater. She was the founder and playwright-director of the Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas, which placed the Philippines on the artistic map of world theater.

She had written most of the plays performed by the group based on materials culled from careful researches. She was involved in the production and design of puppets. What she achieved was an innovative fusion of puppetry, children’s literature, folklore and theater.

Amelia Lapena Bonifacio

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