In October 1973 Mrs. Marcos broke ground for a National Arts Center within a 500-hectare government reservation on the slopes of Mount Makiling, 60 kms. from Manila. The site is rich in legend about a beautiful and generous goddess, Maria of Makiling, who helped the simple folk in times of distress and calamity and whose unseen presence yet fills the air with melancholy song.
The NAC was conceived by Mrs. Marcos as “A training academy for the arts, a center for the fullest development of man as artist and the artist as man.” It assists the cultural enrichment of the nation through the development of young talents in dance, music, theater, film, photography, painting, sculpture and literature. Dormitories, classrooms, rehearsal rooms, sports and recreation facilities, a clubhouse, a 5,000-seat auditorium and guest house for faculty artists were built in seven cluster on forested slopes overlooking Laguna Lake — a self-sufficient sylvan retreat where the artist may live and work without distraction.