National Living Treasures Award

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The National Living Treasures Award, alternatively known as the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA; Template:Literal translation) is conferred to a person or group of artists recognized by the Government of the Philippines for their contributions to the country's intangible cultural heritage. A recipient of the award, a National Living Treasure or Manlilikha ng Bayan is "a Filipino citizen or group of Filipino citizens engaged in any traditional art uniquely Filipino, whose distinctive skills have reached such a high level of technical and artistic excellence and have been passed on to and widely practiced by the present generations in their community with the same degree of technical and artistic competence."[1]


The National Living Treasures Award (Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan) was institutionalized in 1992 through Republic Act No. 7355. The National Commission for Culture and the Arts, which is the highest policy-making and coordinating body of the Philippines for culture and the arts, was tasked with the implementation and awarding.[2] This is in line with UNESCO's criteria of Living National Treasures.


To become a National Living Treasure, the candidate must possess the following qualifications:[2]

  1. is an inhabitant of an indigenous/traditional cultural community anywhere in the Philippines that has preserved indigenous customs, beliefs, rituals and traditions and/or has syncretized whatever external elements that have influenced it.
  2. must have engaged in a folk art tradition that has been in existence and documented for at least 50 years.
  3. must have consistently performed or produced over a significant period, works of superior and distinctive quality.
  4. must possess a mastery of tools and materials needed by the art, and must have an established reputation in the art as master and maker of works of extraordinary technical quality.
  5. must have passed on and/or will pass on to other members of the community their skills in the folk art for which the community is traditionally known.

A traditional artist who possesses all the qualities of a Manlilikha ng Bayan candidate, but due to age or infirmity has left them incapable of teaching further their craft, may still be recognized if:[2]

  1. had created a significant body of works and/or has consistently displayed excellence in the practice of their art, thus achieving important contributions for its development.
  2. has been instrumental in the revitalization of their community's artistic tradition.
  3. has passed on to the other members of the community skills in the folk art for which the community is traditionally known.
  4. community has recognized them as master and teacher of their craft.


The categories are, but not limited to, the following categories of traditional folk arts:[2]

  • maritime transport
  • weaving
  • carving
  • performing arts
  • literature
  • graphic and plastic arts
  • ornament
  • pottery

Other artistic expressions of traditional culture may be added.


As defined by UNESCO, the bearers of intangible cultural heritage are to be known internationally as Living Human Treasures. The Filipino counterparts of this title are the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) awardees. There are currently sixteen declared GAMABA awardees, all of which have exemplified the highest standard in their respective field of expertise. The award is only given to individuals or groups that have exhibited the highest possible standard in intangible cultural heritage. A master of the heritage does not automatically qualify an individual or group for the award as the craft of the master should exude a higher meaning to the highest standard set by the highly critical council of the GAMABA board. Due to this lengthy and critical process, only sixteen of the thousands of traditional masters have been conferred with the award.


See also


  1. Executive Order No. 236, s. 2003 Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Briefer: Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved on 28 August 2016.
  3. GAMABA: Ginaw Bilog. Retrieved on 2019-12-14.
  4. GAMABA: Masino Intaray. Retrieved on 2019-12-14.
  5. GAMABA: Samaon Sulaiman. Retrieved on 2019-12-14.
  6. GAMABA: Lang Dulay. Retrieved on 2019-12-14.
  7. National Living Treasures: Salinta Monon - National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved on 2019-12-14.
  8. GAMABA: Alonzo Saclag. Retrieved on 2019-12-14.
  9. GAMABA: Federico Caballero. Retrieved on 2019-12-14.
  10. GAMABA: Uwang Ahadas. Retrieved on 2019-12-14.
  11. GAMABA: Darhata Sawabi. Retrieved on 2019-12-14.
  12. GAMABA: Eduardo Mutuc. Retrieved on 2019-12-14.
  13. GAMABA: Haja Amina Appi. Retrieved on 2019-12-14.
  14. GAMABA: Teofilo Garcia. Retrieved on 2019-12-14.
  15. GAMABA: Magdalena Gamayo. Retrieved on 2019-12-14.
  16. National Living Treasures: Ambalang Ausalin - National Commission for Culture and the Arts. (1943-03-04). Retrieved on 2019-12-14.
  17. Manlilikha ng Bayan - Estelita Bantilan. (1940-10-17). Retrieved on 2019-12-14.
  18. National Living Treasures: Yabing Masalon Dulo - National Commission for Culture and the Arts. (1914-08-08). Retrieved on 2019-12-14.