CLARK FREEPORT -- The Clark Freeport has hosted a series of meetings that tackled various local and international issues on culture and the arts, the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) announced.

CDC President Benigno N. Ricafort said the Philippines had been declared as the Asean Culture Capital for 2010 to 2011.

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The country is playing host to the Fourth Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Ministers for Culture and Arts (Amca) meeting from March 22 to 26 here.

Ricafort said this was also followed by the Amca+3 meeting, the 7th Senior Officials for Culture and Arts (Somca) meeting, and the Somca+3 meeting. These were all held at the Clark Education City Amphitheater, formerly the Clark Expo.

The Philippines will also be hosting the Fourth Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Festival of the Arts (AFA) as discussed and approved during the Third Amca meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar last January 12 to 13, 2008 through the efforts of National Commission for Culture and the Arts Chair Vilma Labrador.

The country’s hosting of the festival of the arts was made possible by the support of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Labrador and NCAA Executive Director Cecile Guidote Alvarez.

During the Asean Committee on Culture and Information (Coci) meeting in July 2009 in Tagaytay City, the Asean member countries were given an invitation to send 10 member-artist groups to the festival, which will have the theme “The Best of Asean.”

The AFA will highlight the creativity of Asean nations and will foster the exchange of ideas among the best artists from Asean countries.

Each Asean member will showcase one of their country’s finest works in their chosen field of the arts.

As its contribution to the festival, the Philippines will be restaging "Baler sa Puso Ko,” an original zarzuela that reflects the wealth of heritage and the 400-year history of the town of Baler.