Alejandro Reyes Roces is an essayist and fictionist committed to the propagation of Philippine culture through scholarly endeavor.
Roces was first recognized as a highly talented creative writer. His short stories were published and critically acclaimed both here and abroad. The collection of short stories, Of Cocks and Kites, 1959, had earned for him the reputation as the country's best writer of humor stories.
However, it was his scholarly contributions on Philippine culture that would be highly remembered. As Secretary of Education under President Diosdado Macapagal, Roces initiated various programs that highlighted traditional Filipino cultural practices, drawing the nation's attention to the significance of folk customs and festivals. Roces would then continue promoting folk culture as head of various cultural institutions that promoted nationalistic productions such as UNESCO, PETA and Philippine PEN.
His passion for Philippine tradition and culture led to the publication of Fiesta, 1980, a seminal anthology of essay on the various folk festivals, such as the ati-atihan, moriones, and turumba. He also wrote articles on culture in a number of national newspapers such as the Manila Chronicle, Manila Times, the Philippine Star, and in the Manila Bulletin as president.
For his invaluable contributions to the field of cultural dissemination by promoting the arts in the service of national development and nurturing the growth of social consciousness in Filipino society, the Parangal Sentenyal sa Sining at Kultura is hereby conferred on this 2nd day of February 1999 on Alejandro Reyes Roces.
*Source: The CCP Centennial
Honors for the Arts, p. 130