Celebrating Salvador Floro Bernal: The National Artist for Theater and Design of the Philippines

Salvador Floro Bernal was a renowned artist from the Philippines, known for his exceptional skills in stage design, film and music. He was born on January 7, 1945, in Dagupan, Philippines.

Bernal’s passion for the arts began at an early age, and he pursued his dream of becoming an artist by earning a degree in philosophy from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1966. During his college years, he developed an interest in literature and stage design, which paved the way for his illustrious career in the arts.

In 1969, Bernal’s career took off when he began working as a freelance stage designer for various theater companies. His designs were innovative, imaginative and impactful, earning him acclaim from critics and audiences alike. He went on to design over 300 productions in theater, film and music, and became a pioneer in the field of stage design in the Philippines.

Bernal’s contributions to the arts were recognized when he was awarded the National Artist for Theater and Design in 2003, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an artist in the Philippines. This prestigious award was a testament to his exceptional talent and dedication to his craft.

In 1995, Bernal organized the Philippine Association of Theatre Designers and Technicians (Patdat), through which he introduced Philippine theater design to the world. He also mentored and inspired countless aspiring artists, encouraging them to pursue their passion and express their creativity.

Bernal’s work as a stage designer was chronicled in the book “Salvador F. Bernal: Designing the Stage,” written by Nicanor G. Tiongson. The book features over 200 full-color photographs of Bernal’s sketches, models, costumes and sets, providing a comprehensive review of his remarkable career.

Sadly, Bernal passed away on October 26, 2011, at the age of 66. However, his legacy lives on through his timeless designs and the countless artists he inspired throughout his career. He will always be remembered as a visionary artist who left an indelible mark on the Philippine arts scene.