pop goes the world: a rose recognized

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  2 August 2012, Thursday

A Rose Recognized

The University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (CMC) is pleased to announce Rosa Rosal as the recipient of the 2012 UP Gawad Plaridel.

She received the award from UP president Alfredo E. Pascual and UP-Diliman chancellor Caesar A. Saloma in a ceremony in UP last July 31.

Rosal receives the Gawad Plaridel trophy from UP president Alfredo E. Pascual. Image here.

Rosal, whose real name is Florence Danon Gayda, “was chosen for her outstanding contributions to the broadcasting industry, particularly in the field of television,” according to CMC.

Dubbed the “femme fatale of Philippine cinema”, Rosal was born on 16 October 1931 to a Kapampangan mother and a French-Egyptian father. She started her career in broadcast during World War II as a newsreader on a Japanese-run radio station, and after the war worked at the San Lazaro Hospital.

Rosal is “an accomplished film and television actress whose career spans six decades. She began her film career in 1946 in the Nolasco Brothers Studio’s “Fort Santiago,” followed in 1947 with a small part in “Kamagong”, and by 1949 was starring in “Biglang Yaman” with Jaime de la Rosa and Pugo.

She “received the Best Actress award from the Filipino Academy for Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) in 1955 for her role in “Sonny Boy” and the FAMAS International Prestige Award for “Anak Dalita” in 1956.”

Rosal on the cover of a magazine in March 1956 to promote “Anak Dalita”. Image here.

In the ‘60s, she entered television in a couple of dramas but is best known for being the long-time host of the public service program “Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko” and later “Damayan”.

In the ‘50s, she began serving the Philippine Red Cross as a volunteer-member for its blood program. In 1965, she was elected to its Board of Governors, and is still serving. For her charity work, she was given the 1999 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service.

Her philantrophy, while primarily medical- and health-related, also extends to insurance coverage for volunteers and scholarship programs for poor children.

Education is important to her, as evidenced by this – despite a busy career as an actress, she still managed to obtain a degree in Business Administration from Cosmopolitan Colleges in 1954, taking night classes until she finished the course.

CMC honored Rosal for being a pioneer in using a form of mass communication to “be an effective medium for humanitarian work,” leveraging her popularity and “unquestionable integrity” to “benefit the less fortunate without fanfare and sensationalism.”

Rosal delivers the 2012 Plaridel Lecture. Image here.

The Gawad Plaridel, named after nineteenth century propagandist Marcelo H. del Pilar’s pen name, was established by CMC and is an annual program that recognizes “Filipino media practitioners who have excelled in any of the [mass] media…and have performed with the highest level of professional integrity in the interest of public service.”

The trophy was designed by National Artist Dean Napoleon V. Abueva and depicts del Pilar writing at his desk.

Rosal joins an impressive roster of awardees. The first Gawad Plaridel was awarded in 2004 to Philippine Daily Inquirer founder Eugenia Duran-Apostol (for print journalism); followed by Vilma Santos (2005, film); Fidela “Tiya Dely” Magpayo (2006, radio); Che-Che Lazaro (2007, television); Pachico A. Seares (2008, community print media); Kidlat Tahimik (2009, film), and Eloisa “Lola Sela” Canlas (2011, radio).

All awardees are expected to deliver a talk – the “Plaridel Lecture” – and Rosal spoke about “Harnessing TV as a Public Service Medium.”

Rosal at the Gawad Plaridel ceremony with  UP-CMC professor Pinky Aseron, noted radio broadcaster, who was the live voice-over talent at the awarding. Thanks to Ms. Aseron for allowing use of this image from her private Facebook page.

What is amazing about Rosa Rosal is her tireless dedication to the philantrophic causes she has selflessly taken up. I don’t recall seeing any of her films, but I do remember watching “Kapwa Ko” as a young child; Rosal’s face filled our TV screens every evening as she appealed to the public to help the endless number of patients on her show. For me and many of my generation and of the next, she is the face and voice of public service.

She also laid the groundwork for other public service TV programs and showed the world how to run an effective public communication campaign.

Other people of her age – she is 80 – are retired, immersed in their own concerns and that of their immediate families. She, however, has no plans of slowing down her efforts to help the less fortunate, and for this the country should be grateful.

UP-CMC gives this splendid woman her due through the Gawad Plaridel. May she and others who have dedicated their lives to genuine public service receive from the public the appreciation that they well deserve.  *** 


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