Music, drama or acting, and ballet belong to the fine arts. What we do along the fine arts contribute to the culture and progress of our country. Felicing Tirona was a Filipino woman who promoted the fine arts and established centers of study, making these arts available
The Bright Student
Felicing Tirona belonged to a family of educators. She was born in Imus, Cavite on June 9, 1903. Little Felicing grew up to bring credit to her well known family of teachers. She finished her primary grades in Imus as valedictorian. She graduated also with first honors from the University of the Philippines High School.
Felicing then entered the College of Law of the University of the Philippines. As a law student, she won honors after honors. She won the silver medal at the annual oratorical contest of the College of Law. She got a prize offered for the best composition on the life of Chief Justice Cayetano S. Arellano. She graduated with honors, cum laude, from the College of Law. In the bar examinations in 1925, she got one of the ten highest grades.
Beauty and Brains
Felicing easily became known as one of the most gifted Filipino women. She was beautiful and intelligent. But she had more than beauty and brains. She had also industry and perseverance.
She now developed her talents in acting. She acted with great success in many dramas. She also wrote articles for the English section of the Spanish paper La Mujer. In 1927, she went to the United States to study voice and drama. Afterwards, she went to Europe to continue these studies.
A Leader of Fine Arts
When Felicing Tirona returned to the Philippines she applied at once what she had learned abroad. She prepared two musical presentations called “The Leap Year Fantasy” and “The Story of Man.” Then, she suddenly became very ill. However, sickness did not discourage her. From her sickbed, she directed the two musical plays. She also continued her work of building up the fine arts in her country.
During World War II, she established the Philippine Conservatory of Music of the Philippine Women’s University and later on the College of Music and Arts. Music, ballet, drama and painting were taught at this college. She also formed a voice clinic where many studied to become opera singers. In spite of her continued illness this admirable woman found time to write a book, “Training of a Singer.”
Death, at last, took her on April 29, 1952.
In recognition of her contribution to the fine arts, the Manila Music Lover’s Society listed Felicing Tirona in the honor roll of “Outstanding Musicians” of 1950. In 1951, the College Editors Guild gave her an award for her contribution to the growth of the fine arts. In the silver jubilee of the College of Liberal Arts of the Philippine Women’s University, she was cited as the ideal woman who personified the fine arts. After her death, during the sixth celebration of the Philippine Republic on July 4, 1952, she received an award for her “advancement of music and the fine arts.”