Trustees and Officers

Grace S. Nono


Born and raised in the river valley of Agusan, Northeastern Mindanao, Southern Philippines, Grace Nono, Trustee and President of the Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts, is an music-performing artist, ethnomusicologist, and cultural worker. Grace received her bachelor's in Humanities and master's in Philippine Studies from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, and her doctorate in Ethnomusicology from New York University. Currently serving as Research Associate and Visiting Faculty at the Women's Studies in Religion Program of the Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Grace has also received fellowships and further training from the Global Research Initiative in Florence, the Asian Cultural Council in New York, the Asia-Pacific Performance Exchange program in Los Angeles, the Asia-Pacific Cultural Center for UNESCO in Kyoto, and the Asian Institute of Management's Managing the Arts Program in Manila. As music performing artist, Grace specializes in the contemporary performance of Philippine sung oral/aural traditions taught to her by elders all over the Philippines. She has been featured in concerts and presentations in forty-five cities and localities around the world. In addition, Grace has published six award-winning solo albums and has contributed tracks to around fifteen recording compilations. She also co-produced five recordings of Philippine oral/aural music traditions. As author, Grace has published two books (with accompanying recordings): The Shared Voice: Chanted and Spoken Narratives from the Philippines (ANVIL Publishing and Fundacion Santiago, 2008), winner in the 2009 Book Awards; and Song of the Babaylan: Living Voices, Medicines, Spiritualities of Philippine Ritualist-Oralist-Healers (Institute of Spirituality in Asia, 2013), winner in the 2014 Gintong Aklat Awards, and the 2014 Catholic Book Awards. As cultural worker, Grace founded the Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts, a Philippine non-profit organization engaged in cultural regeneration initiatives. Grace has also headed the Artists Welfare Project, Inc., a national non-profit organization that seeks to contribute to the improvement of Filipino artists' conditions. To date, Grace has won over 40 awards for her artistic and cultural contributions. For further information, please visit http://gracenono.com/

Fleur de Lys "Pinky" Cupino


Fleur de Lys "Pinky" Cupino, Trustee and Treasurer of the Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts, is an educator and social worker. Principally connected with the Center for Positive Futures where she serves as School Director, Pinky also acts as Secretary for the Asian Solidarity Economy Council, and as member of the Forum for Ethics and Responsibilities. In the past, Fleur de Lys served as Officer-in-Charge and Coordinator for the Coastal Resource Management Program in Maasin, Southern Leyte for the Organization for Training, Research and Development Foundation, Inc. [OTRADEV]; as Program Coordinator PH Domain Foundation (NGO providing Free Email to Remote Rural Communities); as People's Welfare Coordinator for SANLAKAS (A Confederation of Multisectoral Organizations); as Chief-of-Staff for SANLAKAS; as Executive Director for the Center for Urban Resource, Exchange and Development, as Socio-Economic Project Officer for Sapat Sambayanan, Inc. (NGO engaged in organizing urban poor communities); as Project Coordinator for the Alyansa ng Manggagawasa Department Store (a people's alliance of department store workers); as Project Officer for the Iraya Mangyans Project in Baclayan, Laguna Lake Project in San Pedro, Fisherfolks Livelihood Project in Biñan, Laguna OTRADEV; as Community Relations Officer for the Quezon City Planning and Development Office, Quezon City Government. Fleur de Lys received her Bachelors in Social Work, Masters in Women and Development, and Doctorate in Educational Development from the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

Mary Jane Real

Mary Jane N.  Real is a feminist and a long-time women's human rights advocate with over 20 years of experience working with women's rights and human rights organizations in the Philippines, Asia Pacific and internationally. She is a founding member and former Coordinator of the International Coalition on Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD IC), an international network for the protection and support of women human rights defenders worldwide. A lawyer by profession, she was part of establishing the Alternative Law Groups (ALG), a network of legal organizations that advocates for human rights in the Philippines.  Previously she served as Coordinator of Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), a network of over 150 law practitioners and women's rights organizations in Asia Pacific.  She was a Global Associate at the Center for Women's Global Leadership at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA.  She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the Ateneo Law School, and a Masters Degree in Development Studies at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands.

Rhodora P. Toyong

Dr. Rhodora P. Toyong is an Agusan del Sur-based retired school teacher from the Agusan del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Education from the Cebu School of Arts and Trades; a master's degree from Cebu Normal College; and a doctorate from the Mindanao University of Science and Technology. Originally from Agusan del Norte, Dr. Toyong has been based in Agusan del Sur for over forty years. She serves as the Local Coordinator for the Agusan del Sur – School of Living Traditions, Event Co-Coordinator for PAMATI 2015 and 2017, and Administrator for Balay Agusan, Tao Foundation's center in Agusan del Sur.

Ruth Majella Blanca Tao Aves


Tao Aves, Trustee and Secretary of Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts, is an independent singer-songwriter, stage actress, LGBT rights activist, and Assistant Operations Manager for Catch272 in Quezon City. She was once a researcher, documentor, and photojournalist for the Gender and Development Resource and Coordinating Office of the Quezon City Hall. She also served as co-head for the communications and campaigns committee of Task Force Pride for the 2014 and 2015 annual Pride March. As a stage actress, Tao played Carmen 'Nanay Mameng' Deunida in "Nanay Mameng: Isang Dula," produced by Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap and the Urban Poor Resource Center of the Philippines, and Zelima in "Orosman at Zafira," produced by Dulaang UP. In 2012 and 2013, she was project head for "Hubad: Mga Kwento ng Kalayaan", a project of Lesbian Activism Project, Inc. that staged collected monologues about coming out. Tao studied Folk Dance at the Philippine High School for the Arts, Arts Studies at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, and Public Administration in Kalayaan College.


Cristina Antonio

Cecilia Borromeo

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