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Cultural Activist Carlos Celdran Passes Away at 46

He was a fearless advocate of Philippine culture, history, and identity.
IMAGE Romain Rivierre
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Artist, writer, and cultural activist Carlos Celdran passed away earlier today, October 8, while in Spain. 

In a Facebook post, his wife Tesa confirmed his death, saying "he passed away from natural causes."

Celdran was known for pushing the boundaries of art and culture, and challenging historical narratives. He was a fearless advocate of Manila and his works and actions garnered notoriety for "offending religious feelings." 

A staunch supporter of reproductive health rights and HIV/AIDS awareness, Celdran drew the ire from the Catholic church when he publicly protested the church's opposition to the Reproductive Health Law. Dressed as Jose Rizal, he walked through mass with the name "Damaso" written on a placard, a reference to the villainous priest in Rizal's Noli Me Tangere.  

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His best known work was the performative experience "If These Walls Could Talk," a one man show that gave the audience an immersive walk through Philippine history from the Spanish colonial period to World War II. 

His death has shaken the community, and many have expressed their condolences to the family Celdran has left behind.

"He will be remembered in the tourism industry, not only for his brilliant and sought-after tours that breathed new life into Old Manila, but for inspiring countless tour guides with his passion and knowledge of Filipino culture and heritage," said Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

He was a bold voice that called to preserve Philippine culture and the national identity. 

Celdran was only 46 years old.

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Anri Ichimura
Staff Writer, Esquire Philippines
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