TP’s Season Opener Impressively Seditious

Define “seditious”?
According to the reliable Merriam-Webster dictionary…it means inciting or causing people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.

That is the clear cut premise of Tanghalang Pilipino’s 31st Season opener, Professor Nicanor Tiongson’s “Auelio Sedisyoso” a Rock Sarswela, playing at the Little Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines until September 17.

I can still recall a few months ago when this production was in the raw of preparations that included an intimate script- reading session open to the public. The same Artistic Team went on board headed by director Sir Chris Millado, coming off fresh from the highly-acclaimed super polished and refined repeat of “Mabining Mandirigma” featuring Ms. Liesl Batucan in the lead. And how she incredibly nailed it until the end!

The script by Prof Tiongson underwent meticulous revisions trying to include all the juiciest information possible on the colorful yet controversial life of Aurelio Tolentino who’s name and reputation was not music to the ears of the Americans in that particular period in Philippine history. His expertise in historical biographies is truly unwavering.


I was also excited how Musical Director Joed Balsamo would come up with his patriotic yet vocally challenging compositions. I learned from Maetro Joed himself that Sedisyoso was supposed to have a lot of songs than that of Mabining Mandirigma and this time what stands out are ensemble songs.

Promotions for Aurelio Sedisyoso got even more hyped with the surprising inclusion of an award-winning actor in the person of Baron Geisler, tasked to play the role of Tikbalang, an allegorical character, a shape-shifter that takes on the different faces and phases of American colonization.

Sedisyoso also marks Baron’s very first venture into theater after his many years in film and television. Everybody was wondering is he really ready to plunge into theater’s demanding LIVE performances? This is where I put on my give-the-benefit-of-the-doubt hat and let’s give him a genuine chance of proving something to himself and the prestigious theater community as a whole.


I was delighted when the lead role went to a good theater friend in David Ezra, who’s memorable role of Emilio Aguinaldo in Mandirigma is still on top of the list for me. Although opera is his forte, David has this impressive flair of dishing out rock solid and vocally challenging and straining numbers. This makes his famous and iconic mom, Ms. Dulce, truly proud!

Meeting former Rivermaya band co-vocalist Norby David for the first time was an extra sweet treat him having crossed over to theater as well. Aurelio marks his third stage production. I also liked his accoustic guitar duet with David.

And the rap duel scenes were entertaining and gives us a touch of modernism on a historically-based plot.

Majority of the cast in this production are very familiar to me and my awesome theater friends too! Watching such works become extra interesting when you are familiar with its actors thus cheering them on truly results to a more meaningful experience for them as performers.

When I saw Jonathan Tadioan’s version of Tikbalang during opening night, I had no tinge of doubt he would falter or commit an obvious mistake because based on his impressive roles done in the past, I was super confident, this character was a breeze for Tad. I am an eternal fan!


If you haven’t seen this rock sarswela yet, please, please I encourage you to do so. You will be amazed and be entertained on how cast member Sasa Cabalquinto makes all her stage appearances truly felt! She’s a gifted ace dancer to begin with and has a cute sense of humour in one partcular scene involving her, David, Baron, Kakki Teodoro (as Tolentino’s 2nd wife Natividad) with Aurelio’s children Didoy,Corazon and Onsing (remarkably performed by Phi Palmos).

Technical concerns on the lapel microphones were obvious on the first show during opening weekend which was duplicated on its 2nd week. That is something understandable in theater acts but expected it could be restrained towards the remaining shows until closing.

I guess I could award production designer Toym Imao and his genius on how he was able to invert the usual Little Theater stage to be half audience and half performing area which drew us spectators much closer to the theater artists. Impressive on the transformation of the default audience padded seats section bedecked with scaffoldings and an inclined plank (that reminded me of another rock sensation prod of Jesus Christ Superstar) and miniature lanterns.

Costume wise, I miss James Reyes’ genuinely classy steam punk wardrobes and accesories donned during the Mabini run and re-runs.
But I do appreciate how he still presented the cult-like and earthly brown hues and retained the red white and blue and star spangled stateside colonialism impression of the Uncle Sam period.

Kudos to the mastered lighting of Sir Katsch Catoy and his team which complimented GA Fallarme’s resplendent high quality projection design. And Ms Denia Reyes’ superb choreography never fails to impress.
I believe theater neophyte Baron got quite nervous on some of his scenes opposite more seasoned actors but despite that, he still managed to pull through with all his might and heart especially on his song numbers. One could not help but compare his make up and hair to that of Heath Ledger’s version of The Joker. For me he stands out on the beauty pageant portion and his punchlines were just right on time. It was so cool for the rest of the cast and ensemble to really rally behind Baron and make him feel that performing on the Tanghalang Pilipino stage is a remarkable stepping stone to a promising theater career should he decide to accept dramatic roles. Congrats BG!

Bravo and clap clap to the cast and ensemble:
David Ezra, Baron Geisler, Jonathan Tadioan, JV Ibesate, Aldo Vencilao, Blanche Buhia, Joshua Tayco, Eunice Pacia and Monique Nellas, as well as Remus Villanueva, Hazel Maranan, Kakki Teodoro, Norby David (former co-vocalist of Rivermaya), Jing Reyna-Jorge (former vocalist and violinist of Sugar Hiccup), Paw Castillo, Phi Palmos, Alfritz Blanche, Tope Kliatchko, Ali Santos, Sigrid Balbas, Aika Zabala, Sasa Cabalquinto, Raflesia Bravo, Jasper Cabra, and Lian Silverio,

Directed by CCP Vice President and Artistic Director Chris Millado with Book and Lyrics by Dr. Nicanor Tiongson and Music by Joed Balsamo. Completing the rest of the artistic team are Denisa Reyes for Choreography, Toym Imao for Set Design, Katsch Catoy for Lighting Design, James Reyes on Costume Design, GA Fallarme for Projection Design, and TJ Ramos for Sound Design, with Barbie Tan-Tiongco for Technical Direction. Francis de Veyra of Radioactive Sago completes the team as its Musical Arranger.

Remaining shows:
September 16 – 3pm & 8pm
September 17 – 3pm (SOLD OUT)

Tickets thru Ticketworld or call Tanghalang Pilipino at 02 8321125 local 1620 or 1621.

Photo Credit: Tanghalang Pilipino Facebook Page except for the Curtain Call photo.

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Hear Ye! Open Auditions From Tanghalang Pilipino

Calling all local Filipino actors out there…Please read on! Break a leg and see you at the Theater!

#AurelioSedisyoso#TanghalangPilipino#UtakPusoBayan

Majestic Mayon Volcano, Food and Sights Tripping When You’re in Albay

My family originally hails from Bicol, specifically in Camarines Norte. My father is from Daet, while mom was born in Jose Panganiban. Every trip back home is dearly cherished because for me, home is where the heart will always be.

I also advise my travelling friends to come and visit Albay province because of our majestic Mayon Volcano. I ran out of words on how to describe its unique beauty and sheer dominance of the province the very first time I saw it many years back. It’s also true that every angle wherever you go Mt Mayon looks back at you with wonder!

Albay is one province with many hidden and known beauties, it bears beauty that is pure, basic and grand.  Albay has a certain charm that will sweep you off your feet and bring you to the time that was or give you a majestic feeling that is simply indescribable.  With fifteen  15 municipalities and three 3 cities, Albay bears so many things to see and experience.

Governor Al Francis Bichara was a gracious host as he welcomed us to his place. Hospitality reflected on the people, from the people  and this was reflected by the people of the various local government units (Dept of Tourism and Dept of Agriculture) and that of Human Explore Travel and Tours.  The tour given to us was both informative and time worthy.  Tiring as it may be BUT truly worth every moment. Our gratitude to Ms. Dorothy Colle and her people from the Department of Tourism Provincial Division Region V – Albay, Ms. Che Rebeta of the Provincial Agriculture Department and Ms. Farah Sobremisana – owner partner of Pepperland Hotel.  They truly made our visit such a wonder thru their efforts and time generosity.

Albay is filled with old churches, old craft making, worthy places to go to, old houses, natural beauties and beautiful festivities.  With magnificent places around the majestic Mayon Volcano, if you do a whole 360 tour like the one we did ours, one would get to see this natural wonder in all its beauty.  Try to learn also the story behind this famous volcano and and unconver the Daragang Magayon mystery.

From the ruins of Cagsawa (with a average guest of 150pax per day) to the churches in Camalig, Ligao, Sto. Domingo and Daraga, to the calm Sumlang Lake and the historic Japanese caves in Quituinan Hills, to the traditional way of metal smiting in Tabaco, farms and various beautiful parks and landmarks all over Albay, you will never have a dull moment when you decide to do a full exploration of the province.  It is also filled of noteworthy food places that you could and should try out (story and review in another write-up).  Albay also has spring resorts with water source coming from near the volcano or underneath the ground making it cool or even cold depending on the time of the year – such resort is D’ Hacienda Spring and Nature Resort in Guinobatan, Albay.

For active people, I would highly recommend for you to try out the Japanese tunnels/caves in Quituinan Hills.  The trek is not that stressful but the crawling (should you be adventurous enough) is like having an archeological dig.  For historical buffs, try seeing the various churches of the different municipalities and compare notes in terms of its style and story behind it.  Should you wish to see various craftsmanship of the place, go to Sumlang Lake to see the woven beauties of Albay, the metal smiting of Tabaco, pottery shops in Tiwi and pili delicacy making in Legazpi.  Don’t forget to visit the various farms in the province that show the resiliency of the people as reflected in their farms – some of them are IG worthy too.

Experience Albay and, you get to see this natural beauty in all its grandeur.  With clouds or without, Mayon will surely captivate you may it be morning, noon, mid afternoon or sunset.  With its romantic yet tragic story behind this beauty, you will definitely want to be welcomed by it every time you are in the said province.

So when you are in Bicol here in the Philippines, don’t miss out on Albay in your must see list.
It’s one of those memorable trips that you will cherish and come to over and over.

Make lots of travel memories! ☺☺

 

Happy Philippine Independence Day 2017 the Google Way



Google doodle celebrates Philippines’ 119th Independence Day
Illustrator Dan Matutina designs Independence Day doodle 2017 

Google Philippines joins the country in celebrating its 119th Independence Day with a special one-day only doodle on the google.com.ph homepage designed by Filipino illustrator Dan Matutina. This year’s Independence Day doodle combines the beauty of the Philippine flag and the country’s unique island landscapes and is celebrated every June 12th.

This is Google’s eighth Independence Day doodle for the Philippines, and it features Filipinos gathered around the Philippine flag for a flag raising ceremony while sunrise can be seen over the water, symbolizing the Filipinos’ optimism in the face of adversity. The Philippine flag was first raised on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite as a symbol of the country’s independence from colonial rule. Now, flag raising ceremonies are held in all schools and government offices while singing the Philippine National Anthem.

“Doodle” is the name used for decorative changes made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists. Doodles make searches even more fun as we learn new things with each new design.

 

The first doodle was created in 2000 when Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin asked then intern and now Google’s chief doodler Dennis Hwang to design a logo for Bastille Day. Since then, the Google homepage has featured thousands of doodles, making search even more fun and entertaining.

 Past Independence Day doodles.

2010

20122013

2015

2016

 

Are You Ready for Ballet Manila’s “Don Quixote”?

dq-katherine-rudy-3

Ballet Manila Opens 2017 with a Classic Masterpiece

I personally always look forward to every shows and productions mounted by one of the country’s premiere ballet company, Ballet Manila. Most especially their year opener of a well loved classic—- DON QUIXOTE which I haven’t seen or watched in full on the ballet stage.

Happening on February 24 and 25, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. and on February 26, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. at Aliw Theater, Don Quixote is known in the ballet world as one of the most technically challenging pieces ever created, with some of the choreography raising the already high international standards when it first premiered in 1869at the Tsar’s Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg. It is especially known for its compulsory quick and strong movements, high vertical takeoffs, one arm lifts, quick fouettes, quadruple pirouettes, and Kitri’s signature move, the Plisetskaya head-kick.

Don Quixote is the closing act for Ballet Manila’s 21st performance season.Set in Spain, the story tells the tale of Don Quixote,who decides to become a knight and embark on a journey to find Lady Dulcinea, a lover that he has only made up in his head.  The ballet places special focus on the love story between Kitri and Basilio, a pair he encounters during his adventures.The production combines great acrobatic feats, lively music, colorful sets and costumes, and a lot of comedic elements. Specially for this run, Ballet Manila will bring in Kremlin Ballet Theater star and principal danseur, Mikhail Martynyuk, to play Basilio.

“Our 21st performance season, Revenge of the Classics, has allowed us to mark so many milestones not just for Ballet Manila, but for the country as well,” says Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, Ballet Manila’s CEO and Artistic Director. “Therefore, we only find it fitting to close it with a true classic—one that’s opulent, captivatingly elaborate, and serves as a true testament to the strength, passion, and skills of our dancers, who are all trained in the Vaganova Academy Style of dancing.”

She continues, “Don Quixote is kind of like my signature ballet. It’s the ballet that reallybrought me to the spotlight, and Kitri is my most performed role. I’m so excited for this production because I feel like this is me handing down the role to Ballet Manila’s next generation of principal dancers.” Alternating for the role of Kitri are Katherine Barkman, Pia Dames, andDawna Mangahas, who will be partnered by Martynyuk,

Lisa adds that the public should also watch out for the ballet’s production elements. “We are revamping some elements of our staging from previous ones. We are going all out with stage designs, props, and costumes. We’re not holding back for Don Quixote. Everyone should really watch out for it.”

Don Quixote is co-presented by the Manila Broadcasting Company, Star City, and Aliw Theater. Other sponsors include ACS Manufacturing Corporation, First United Corporation, Papa John’s Pizza, Hot Star Chicken, Oasis Paco Park Hotel, Microtel Wyndham Hotels, Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas, City Garden Suites Malate,Island Rose, and Philcom. Official ride partner is Grab Philippines. To learn more about it, visit http://www.balletmanila.com.ph or follow Ballet Manila on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tickets are also available through all Ticketworld outlets. Please call 8919999 or visit http://www.ticketworld.com.ph, for more information.

Here’s Looking At You New Year 2017

ny2017I guess it’s not too late to greet you and your families a very Happy and exciting New Year 2017 !!!
If you’re up to it, you can also share what are your New Year’s Resolutions no matter how cliche it sounds.

A lot of people I know are turned off with what happened last 2016 entertainment-wise. So here’s looking that this year will be a lot kinder.
Let\s just continue to hope and pray that globally, we will be more considerate and caring to Mother Earth so as to lessen the dangers that climate change could bring which is basically not so favorable. As for the rest, let there be world peace!

What is your kind wish for 2017?  ☺☺

2017-happy-new-year-png-28824

My Mom, My Travel Angel

When was the last time you said “Thank You” to someone?

I guess this written post is an overdue tribute in saying Thank You to a special someone in my life.
230834_220761107937357_6274623_nI have always expressed my Thank You’s and gratitude to my beloved Mama in private. And as far back as I can remember, I say it through love letters or small Post It notes then I would sneak it inside her bag, under her plate or even her blouse pocket. Once she finds out, she would always respond and give her feedback by writing me back or throwing me a big, tight Mom hug!

I guess I am more of a Thank You daughter than a saying I Love You person. Well, from time to time I do. But the impact of saying “salamat” is vast and wide and to be specific, I am extending an eternal Thank You to my everdearest Mama when it comes to travel. Because of her, I am able to go, see and enjoy places domestically and internationally. It is true that everytime you travel, appreciating the culture of a new place and territory and it’s people makes it even more exciting!

Mom is the most energetic travel bug and outdoorsy person I have known. Travel is her way of communing and being one with nature. And everytime she goes out of town it’s when she releases tension and stress from work and sometimes from stubborn daughters like me and my sister. Ouch!
29785_129130587100410_225939_nA dedicated and passionate teacher even before I was born, Mom has gone to many out of town provinces thanks to the travel subsidy of their school which they call “Lakbay Aral”. So every summer, she and her co-teachers pick a really good destination and get there. My sister Michelle at times was able to tag along and join her in many wonderful trips to Palawan, Cagayan de Oro, Leyte, Bukidnon, Cebu, Bacolod and even Thailand which was her first ever international trip. And what a memorable trip to Bangkok they had from staying at a great hotel, haggled shopping, riding the “tuk tuk”, food trip galore and being impressed with a 747 boeing plane.

And speaking of airplanes, I came across this “Thank You” video campaign from Air Asia Philippines during my research online for a blog I was doing. The ad was a brief reminder especially this Yuletide season that we must indeed spread gratitude. That we should be grateful to whoever and whatever. Very touching isn’t it? I believe that appreciation be not limited to Christmas, but should be expressed for all time.

So thank you to my travel mate Mom, I was able to enjoy our unforgettable mother-daughter bonding when we went to Beijing, China! Too bad my sister was unable to come along because of work. Climbing the historic Great Wall of China was extra memorable with her and so were our street food tripping, thrift shopping and cold evening walks outside of our hotel. The best international travels we had with my sister were our trips to Hongkong and Singapore where we teased Mom to be the girlfriend of The Merlion because she literally did not want to leave the famous iconic symbol for some weird and strange reason after seeing it upclose. Well, that’s my Mama! ♥ 
29785_129130557100413_5059594_nShe would always remind me to travel when budget allows and to travel while we were still young with family to better appreciate the many wonderful and awesome spots out there waiting to be seen. Speaking of budget during our family travels, she would collect our monthly share of a thousand pesos for like a year or six months depending where our itchy feet would take us. Our ever favorite destinations are Baguio and Boracay and for the latter, we would patiently ride the RoRo bus getting there which takes like 16 hours to do so. But once we have arrived, we kick back and relax and enjoy the best sunsets along the beach in between Stations 1 and 2. Su-weeeeet!!!
sgBut Mama’s ultimate dream travel destination is the Holy Land and visit all the places Our Saviour went to. She dreams of even taking a relaxing cruise with my Dad. Everytime she see Bethlehem on TV or in cable, I would always here her say, “One day I am going to get there by the grace of God.” She never ceased praying.

In the past couple of years, Mama travelled less due to health reasons. She got herself into various medications. Good thing she took a lot of travel videos and would play them from time to time and it made her feel really good. There were so many accumulated clips my sister and I transferred them on CDs coming off the video cam. There are still a lot of short videos left in our cellfones waiting to be relocated.

October of last year I received an exclusive invite to travel down Coron, Palawan aboard a vessel that specializes in going to Tubbataha Reef. I have never been to Palawan before so I excitedly told Mama I am going there with a limited number of media people and the rest would be experienced divers. Mom had been there before but she was opposed to the idea of me joining. Maybe it was the mother instinct in her that she felt something was not good. But after convincing her not once but a few more times, she gave the green light. On the day of my departure for Batangas, I hugged her really tight and informed I shall share all my great Palawan experiences after five days.
196010_209049915775143_4970169_nMom reminds me to always pray especially when travelling. Along the way en route to Batangas Pier she sent me several text reminders and to pray the rosary for safety and guidance to our destination. She’s really a loving and caring mother. And when our group finally arrived in Palawan after two days I was ecstatic and thankful for experiencing this side of paradise. Coron is such a beautiful piece of nature! Makes you want to stay there longer. I took lots of pictures and videos for me to show Mom afterwards.
217252_220761687937299_4761167_nBut for some reason, fate did not allow me to share all my selfies, videos and wonderful and unforgettable adventures of Palawan to her. Mama went to heaven on the day our group arrived back to Batangas en route to Manila. I was crushed…so devastated and emotional to the point of breaking down in big sobs when my sister broke the sad news on the phone. I was in denial she was gone. Moreso, I was away but on my way back to her when she left. I was really looking forward to hugging her and sharing all the stories comparing notes of beautiful Palawan. If only she waited for me much longer…
200152_210758472270954_441294_nThat was more than a year now. It still hurts everytime I would recall that very bittersweet moment. The pain of losing someone you love dearly will never go away. Her personal travel videos are more meaningful and seeing her so happy in them makes more sense now. As family we miss her so much! I still cry a bucket everytime I watch the vids.
11143570_1175819105764881_1294158158339650966_nMy Mom…My Travel Angel has gone to the Holy Land. And tomorrow or later, she’s at Vatican City or on top of the Eiffel Tower or sipping a juice or two by the shoreline of her favorite beach spot in Boracay…

Thank You Mama…for everything… and for the lovely gift of travel which I will continue to do because by visiting and exploring more places, you are very much alive! Love youuuuuu!!! ♥♥

1521537_950154808331313_4890712711350786131_nSo please say and express THANK YOU not later…but now…
ty

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