A national living treasure, a rock musician and an activist poet

Pristine de Leon remembers the artists and cultural workers from the Philippines we lost in 2022.

The Philippines lost many seasoned performers and cultural practitioners who were highly esteemed in their communities. Among them were award-winning actress Susan Roces, who spent a life in film; F. Sionil Jose, who was recognized as a National Artist for Literature in 2001; and Ambalang Ausalin, who enriched the textile weaving tradition among the Yakan community of Basilan. 

When an artist or cultural worker passes away, the loss is felt by their faimilies and loved ones and by the wider arts and cultural community in the region. As we mourn their passing, we remember, and are comforted by the legacy of their creativity and their contributions to their local and national arts communities, as well as to Southeast Asian arts practices.

 In the first of an annual series, ArtsEquator commemorates the artists and cultural practitioners lost across Southeast Asia in 2022. This year, we focus on Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and The Philippines, with plans to expand the series to other countries in Southeast Asia next year.

Image credit: Facebook/Cinemalaya

Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez

Independent filmmaker

7 June 1975 – 3 January 2022

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Image credit: Facebook/F. Sionil Jose

Sionil Jose

National Artist of the Philippines for Literature

3 December 1924 – 6 January 2022

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Image credit: Instagram/Angelito David

Angelito “Lito” David

Visual artist

28 July 1936 – 15 January 2022

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Image credit: Inquirer.net

Rustica Carpio

Veteran film and theatre actress

9 August 1930 – 1 February 2022

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Image credit: National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA)

Ambalang Ausalin

Textile weaver, awarded National Living Treasure

4 March 1943 – 18 February 2022

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Image credit: Facebook/Eduardo Roy Jr.

Eduardo Roy, Jr.


6 August 1980 – 21 February 2022

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Image credit: Ocs Alvarez, from Ballet Manila Archives

Luz Fernandez

Veteran film, television, theatre actress, and radio talent

13 July 1935 – 5 March 2022

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Image credit: Emmanuel Santos

Kidlat de Guia

Visual artist, photographer, filmmaker

28 May 1975 – 8 March 2022

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Image credit: Foundation for Filipina Women’s Network via filipinaleadership.org

Suzie Moya Benitez

Dancer, executive director of the Bayanihan Folk Arts Foundation

1 April 1951 – 28 March 2022

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Image credit: Jamie Wilson from Jun Lopito website

Jun Lopito

Prominent rock musician 

25 September 1958 – 29 March 2022

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Image credit: Facebook/Susan Roces

Susan Roces

Veteran actress

28 July 1941 – 20 May 2022

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Image credit: IMDB

Philip Lazaro

Comedian, director

12 June 1971 – 11 July 2022

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Image credit: Sara Black for Metro.Style

Cherie Gil

Veteran actress

21 June 1963 – 5 August 2022

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Image credit: Bolichie Suzara

Mon Legaspi 


16 July 1968 – 3 October 2022

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Image credit: Instagram/Jim Parades

Danny Javier

Musician, actor, TV host

6 August 1947 – 31 October 2022

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Image credit: Mik Santos

Steve Santos

Visual artist

22 December 1950 – 1 November 2022

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Image credit: Wig Tysmans for Tatler

Betsy Westendorp

Visual artist

14 December 1927 – 23 November 2022

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Image credit: Inquirer.net

Ericson Acosta

Poet, cultural worker, and activist

27 May 1972 – 30 Nov. 2022

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Image credit: The Filipino American Symphony Orchestra, from The Manila Times

Sylvia La Torre

Actress and iconic singer of Kundiman

4 June 1933 – 1 December 2022

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While we have done our best to be as comprehensive as possible, if there are artists or cultural workers we have missed in our list, please do add their names in the comments section, with links where possible, and we will update the article accordingly.
The layout for this series and the image treatment was designed by Jun Kit.

About the author(s)

Pristine L. de Leon is an art critic, researcher, and educator based in Manila. She lectures on art, writing, and collaboration at the Fine Arts Department of the Ateneo de Manila University. Since receiving the Purita Kalaw-Ledesma prize for art criticism in 2016, she has written reviews and features on visual art and theatre for The Philippine Star. Her research on public art in the Philippines was published in the journal Southeast of Now and was supported by the Emerging Writers Fellowship program. Currently working towards a master’s degree in Art Studies at the University of the Philippines, she researches and writes around space, site, tactility, and participatory practices.

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