via DTI | Multi-awarded composer, writer and producer Erwin Romulo sets direction for CREATE PH as its Creative Director

The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions, the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-CITEM), is looking to start conversations in the creative industries sector as they join the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) for a new event that will bridge business and the arts.

CREATE Philippines, CITEM’s industry platform for the creative industry, will partner with the CCP’s Manila International Performing Arts Market (MIPAM) on September 19 to 21, 2019 at the CCP Complex in Pasay City. Dubbed as MIPAM x CREATE PH, the event will bring together performing arts groups, creatives and ancillary service providers for three days of exhibits, design talks, networking and performances.

Setting the creative direction of CREATE Philippines is Erwin Romulo, a multi-awarded composer, writer and producer who has also worked as creative director and event curator for art galleries, museums and audio-visual productions. Romulo is currently a columnist and editor-at-large for the Philippine Star and was formerly the editor-in-chief of Esquire magazine. Among the awards he has received were the Gawad Urian Award for Best Music for Buy Bust, a film directed by Erik Matti; FAMAS Outstanding Achievement for Musical Scoring for the film Never Tear Us Apart, directed by Whammy Alcazaren; and a second place award in the Essay in English category for his essay Confessions of a Spaceboy in the Don Carlos Palanca Awards for Literature.

With his professional experience spread throughout at least three sectors of the Philippine creative industry, Romulo is indeed well-suited to lead CREATE Philippines’ creative vision for the event.

“We are thrilled to see what Erwin can do for CREATE,” said Paulina Suaco-Juan, CITEM’s Executive Director. “He has knowledge and experience in so many areas of the performing arts sector and that is something that we value greatly. We know he has a lot of ideas that will help MIPAM x CREATE PH become a standout event.”

For Romulo, being CREATE’s Creative Director is one way of getting personal with his craft. “What’s encouraging is that they’re trying to do the creative economy roadmap,” he said of CITEM and CCP’s partnership event. “I think that’s encouraging because it’s now tending towards synergy and community. That’s something that I’m really interested in pursuing—trying to get all these creative fields to work together.”
CREATE Philippines continues to tap the various sectors of the country’s creative industry and help it sustain its active participation in the local and global economy. With this year’s partnership with MIPAM, CREATE aims to touch base with the performing arts sector to see where business and development opportunities can still grow. During MIPAM x CREATE PH, participants and guests can take advantage of the performance and networking opportunities along with exhibits and talks to showcase their services and find more avenues for business.

‘Make it fun’

When asked what his goal is for CREATE this year, he said his aim was “simple—just to make it fun.”

“It’s one thing that does not get mentioned and they think has no value,” Romulo said. But for him, the value of making things fun—of putting in challenges and having a sense of play—keeps things interesting and removes the burden of routine. Working in conditions where fun and creativity is encouraged contributes to better productivity, economic growth and community development.

He also wants the participants and guests to make noise and learn how to have fun while being resourceful. Romulo points to the example of loud and colorful celebrations of town fiestas, where artistry is mixed with resourcefulness to help bring the town’s festivities to life even if resources are limited. “It doesn’t cost much to have fun,” he quipped.

One such example is the planned exhibit of musical instruments made by musicians and builders that will incorporate art, technology and classical music in the finished product. Romulo hopes visitors can see how resourcefulness came into play in creating the instruments made by artists and musicians who have never worked together before. These instruments will not only be put on display but will be used in a chamber orchestra performance.

But how can business merge with the arts? For Romulo, it starts with building the community and getting conversations started. “We have to talk to each other as a single organism rather than as disparate parts,” he said, adding that those in the performing arts sector must also engage in conversations with other industries, such as business and technology. By coming together to talk and bridge communities, Romulo hopes the performing arts industry will be able to determine how to answer their audiences’ needs and their industry’s challenges.

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