MANILA—The Republic of the Philippines, named after King Philip II of Spain by the Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos during his 1542-1546 expedition, is a Southeast Asian sovereign state and a unitary constitutional republic, with the President as both head of the state and government. The Philippines is one of the founding members of the United Nations (UN) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), and currently has embassies and consulates in 62 countries all over the world.
The Philippines has a dynamic and vibrant cultural and artistic community for it has its own culture even before colonialism. From its languages, unique and diverse writing styles, rituals, traditional and contemporary music, crafts, to heritage structures, the Philippines has it.
Being a nation with a rich culture and arts, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) currently led by its chairman Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso was created through Republic Act No. 7356 signed on April 3, 1992, as the Philippines’ overall policy-making body, coordinating, and grants giving agency for the preservation, development and promotion of Philippine arts and culture.
Over the years, the NCCA has been actively appointing local artists and personalities to encourage Filipinos all over the world in promoting Philippine arts and culture. In 2020, NCCA named Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray as Arts Ambassador for diligently promoting Philippine arts and culture, before, during, and after her reign as Miss Universe. Currently, Catriona is hosting a cultural online program titled Kultura 101 with Catriona, wherein she will learn more about Philippine arts and culture along with the audience. She is also doing the #RaiseYourFlag on social media, where she not only travels but also discovers the abundant culture of towns and provinces of the Philippines.
Apart from this, Catriona, as the global ambassador of Smile Train, an international charity providing free surgery and care for children with cleft lip and palate, flies to Colombia to be part of the selection committee of the Miss Universe Colombia 2020, which will also be the local ambassador of Smile Train.