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Alejandro ‘Anding’ Roces, 86

08:22 AM May 24, 2011

MANILA, Philippines— For the local arts and culture community, it is something to mourn about.

National Artist for Literature Alejandro “Anding” Roces, whose famous collection of humorous short stories is titled “Something To Crow About,” passed away Monday morning at the Makati Medical Center, long-time friend and collaborator Cecile Guidote-Alvarez told INQUIRER.net on Monday afternoon.

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Roces would have turned 87 on July 13 this year.

“Dr. Alejandro Roces joined our creator this morning,” Guidote-Alvarez said. “He will be forever remembered as a cultural animateur who revived the unifying significance of the fiesta, an educational innovator, an advocate of bio-cultural diversity with 007 Bond-like skills in retrieving the stolen Rizal manuscripts, a seer who appropriately shifted (the celebration of) Independence day to June 12.”

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From Roces’ collection of short stories, Guidote-Alvarez adapted the same-titled “Something To Crow About” a musical play that opened the UNESCO Theater Congress in 2006, the first international theatre festival to be held in the Philippines. Dubbed a modern zarzuela in English, the musical was also staged in New York City and other key cities in the US.

Roces was awarded National Artist for Literature in 2003. In recent years, he was content in writing his column, “Roses and Thorns,” in the opinion section of The Philippine Star.  On separate occasions during the previous administration, he served as member of the board of trustees of various government agencies and educational institutions.

In the 1960s, Roces served as Secretary of Education in the administration of President Diosdado Macapagal.  While serving as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in Far Eastern University, he was widely known for convincing poet Jose Garcia Villa to come home after decades of self-exile in the bohemian district of Greenwich Village in New York City to teach at the said campus along Azcarraga Street in downton Manila. Villa was the first National Artist for Literature.

In the 1970s, Roces fought the Marcos dictatorship. He ran in the 1978 Interim Batasang Pambansa elections as one of the candidates of Laban, the original opposition party founded by then detained Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

Roces is part of an illustrious clan of journalists, businessmen, artists and patriots that includes Joaquin “Chino” Roces and visual artist-author Alfredo Roces. Model Isabel Roces is a distant niece.

Known for his humor, in an interview with the press, he once introduced himself as “the ex-husband of Rosanna.”

He was married to the former Irene Viola, with whom he had a daughter, Elizabeth-Roces Pedrosa.

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Details of interment are yet to be announced.

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TAGS: Anding Roces, Books, Culture, Death notices, Literature, National Artist for Literature, Theatre
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