Resorts World OPPA scholars pursue art studies at Benilde

Original Pilipino Performing Arts (OPPA), an initiative of the Resorts World Philippines Cultural Heritage Foundation, Inc., recently announced its new batch of scholars under the Maarte Series, a campaign which aims to enlighten the youth on  the “merits of pursuing a career in the performing arts.” 

Original Pilipino Performing Arts (OPPA) scholars De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Production Design student Roberta Marie Santos and Theater Arts student Arjay Rosales
Two chosen scholars are presently pursuing their studies at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB), where they are currently meticulously mentored by the institution’s roster of award-winning artists and renowned industry practitioners.

Theater Arts

With influences from his favorite musicals such as Ang Huling El BimboRak of Aegis and Three Stars and a SunArjay Rosales, 18, found both solace and joy whenever he performed on stage. He believes that through his craft, he will be able to be an inspiration and touch other people’s lives.

Upon the discovery of his potential, his sister encouraged him to explore his talent by taking the Special Program in the Arts (SPA) with focus on Theater Arts and by honing it further through a Performing Arts track in Senior High School.

His early art education offered him the opportunity to take part in various local contests such as in the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Taga-Alog Dramahon, an event that promotes Pasig River as “a space for cultural identity and collective memory,” where his team finished off as the Grand Winner.

Rosales first heard of his present grant from seniors OPPA scholars, who pushed him to audition for the prestigious scholarship.

“Benilde is a school where you can hone your abilities,” he beamed. “The environment is really welcoming and it has facilities and perfect spaces that would help us to train well.” He also confessed that being an OPPA scholar in itself inspired him to strive harder towards his dream of becoming a well-known artist in the Philippines. 

Currently, Rosales is a member of community theater group Dulaang Apolonio Samson as its Associate Company Manager and devotes his time as a youth leader of He Cares Foundation, an organization whose mission is to feed the homeless. 

Production Design

Coming from an artistic and sporty family, Roberta Marie Santos, 20, specializes in installation and performance art with works that delve in the context of healing, societal stigma, Philippine tattoo, and sex and body consciousness.  She is currently practicing hand poke tattooing. 

Santos religiously served in their church’s art ministry groups and traversed visual arts under local talents including Lyte Seneres, Marc Cosico, Gerry Leonardo, Nuki Cuizon, Karen Ocampo Flores, and Joel Alonday. Her years at the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA) gave her opportunities in various exhibitions at the GSIS Museum, Arts Space and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Santos was also invited to PerYakToi: KARNABAL Young Performance Maker’s Laboratory Mentorship Program under JK Anicoche and Chris Aronson where she developed her desire for devising. She has also worked on various theatrical showcases of Sipat Lawin Ensemble and Komunidad X as facilitator and designer. 

In addition to her painting and illustration skills, Santos discovered her urge for creating sculptures and installations, which later led to performance. She believes that her chosen field is a source of empowerment and self-actualization and, through Benilde’s Production Design Program, she trusts she will be able to see more facets of its beauty through the college’s activities, facilities, and networks.

“OPPA Foundation is an organization that truly respects the craft and the potential of its artists and the performing arts and I’m very grateful I received their support,” Santos beamed. “Education has always been important to me for I can practice and play at the same time. There aren’t many courses like mine in the Philippines.”

The other scholars are taking their respective degrees at MINT College, University of Santo Tomas, and St. Scholastica’s College.

Topics: Original Pilipino Performing Arts , Resorts World Philippines Cultural Heritage Foundation , Arjay Rosales , Roberta Marie Santos
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