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Amidst the forest of Mt. Makiling, the young former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, yearned for a people born to greatness and envisioned a society worthy of the heritage of the Filipino people.

Thus, under his governance, the National Arts Center (NAC) atop Mt. Makiling was conceptualized as a tribute to the Filipino artists. On the 7th day of April in 1976, the National Arts Center was formally dedicated to the pursuit of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Since then, the NAC played a pivotal role in the cultural upliftment of the nation through the development of young talents.

On June 11, 1977, the NAC became the official home of the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA) and continues to evolve as a training venue for artistically inclined students. In the same manner, it pursues to explore learning approaches, focusing on the arts.

PHSA implements a general secondary program which is integrated with a special curriculum in the arts. It aims to develop cultural leaders in the preservation of the environment and dynamic evolution of the Philippine Arts and Culture (P.D. 1287, 1978). It is committed to the conservation and promotion of the Filipino artistic and cultural traditions and makes every effort to develop the potentials of its young arts scholars as future cultural leaders with a nationalistic orientation.

In President Corazon Aquino's presidency, the PHSA as a special arts school was converted into a regular government institution on September 7, 1990, under Executive Order 420.

PHSA is presently attached to the Department of Education (DepEd). It consults with the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) for policy and program implementation pertaining to the arts. The institution offers five courses of specialization in the arts: Theater Arts, Creative Writing, Visual Arts, Dance, and Music. While students are specializing in specific arts field, PHSA also provides general education curriculum as prescribed by DepEd.

Since its inception in 1977, the PHSA has strived to develop the expertise and potentials of its artists-scholars, faculty, and staff to achieve the school’s thrust of instilling pride in the Filipino people’s artistic and cultural traditions.

Aside from academic and artistic training, the PHSA provides its students with opportunities for cultural appreciation that will contribute to their development as artists for others. The experience of living away from home and integrating with peers in this special residential high school cultivates in the young artists an attitude of independence tempered by the spirit of cooperation as they create art together. The site of the school is a vital factor in making the PHSA a most ideal learning institution. The mystical mountain of Maria Makiling is deemed to be powerful source of inspiration for artistic endeavors among young artists and their mentors. From time to time, local and foreign artists hold interaction sessions with the scholars of the PHSA to firm up their resolve to work for national understanding through culture and art education. Determined in its belief that artists play a key role in national development, the PHSA continously innovates programs that directly address the educational, social emotional, economic and cultural realities in the country.

Indeed, the creative works of our young artists celebrate past and the present view of their generation. By defining the past and the present, not only their works of art add value to our lives - they help us appreciate the future.