Thursday, January 31, 2013

Daragang Magayon: A Bicolano Epic Love Tale at the CCP this Feb. 8

Press Update:
When clouds sheath the peak of the perfect cone of the Mayon Volcano in Albay, Bicol, locals say that the lovers Magayon, the lovely maiden after whom the volcano is named, and her handsome Ulap, must be kissing.

The myth of Daragang Mayon is a timeless tale of love that almost every Bicolano knows.   It is the story of Magayon (beautiful maiden), the only daughter of chieftain Makusog, and Ulap (Cloud), the brave son of a chieftain from another region.  They fall in love and are engaged when Pagtuga, a jealous suitor foils their plans to marry.  Pagtuga kidnaps Makusog and threatens to kill him unless Magayon consents to marry him instead of her beloved Ulap.  To her great grief, Magayon gives up Ulap to save her father’s life.  Magayon and Pagtuga are about to be wed when Ulap disrupts the wedding and slays Pagtuga.  Magayon rushes into the arms of Ulap but  is struck by an arrow.  As she lay dying in his arms, Magayon is fatally stabbed in the back by one of Pagtuga’s men. The ill-starred lovers are laid to rest, together for eternity, in a mound of earth that grew bigger and bigger with the passage of time, eventually becoming the volcano that is known as Mayon.

Fabled for its beautiful symmetry, Mayon Volcano has always inspired poets, painters and musicians. And, there are many works of art that depict and pay tribute to its beauty.  The legend of Mayon’s origins has likewise been told and re-told through  generations and remains very much a part of the Bicolano culture and imagination.

This February, the month of hearts and lovers, Filipino audiences will have the chance to witness a unique and exciting reprise of this age-old and romantic love story, retold through music, dance, poetry and film, in DARAGANG MAGAYON:  AN ISTORYA NI MAYON slated on February 8,  2013, with    matinee performance  at 3pm and Gala performance at  8pm, at  the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Blvd, Pasay City.

Daragang Magayon is a presentation of E-Dance Theater, the Provincial Government of Albay, Bicol University in cooperation with Goodwill Bookstore and Ballet Manila.  The production is supported by the Bicol Provincial government as part of its efforts to revitalize the tourist development program, highlighting Albay’s rich cultural heritage. 

Daragang Magayon:  An Istorya ni Mayon  boasts of a new twist---the use of multimedia---to tell the story of how Mayon volcano was born.

Adding luster to the production are two of the country’s foremost artists who collaborated on Daragang Magayon.  National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario (Rio Alma) penned the poetry for this new production while Gawad CCP para sa Sining awardee Ramon P. Santos composed the music.
Albay poet laureate Abdon Balde Jr. did the dramaturgy for the production, adapting the Mayon legend for stage. Aimee Escasa and Boni Ilagan did the storyline and script, while Leo Abaya and John Batalla did the set and lighting designs respectively.  Filmmakers Chuck Escasa, Niko Salazar and Henry Posadas worked on the filmic elements of the production that included animation, adding to the visual excitement of the production. Gerald Mercado did the choreography and direction for Daragang Magayon.

Daragang Magayon features the dancers of E-Dance Theater led by Ea Torrado as Magayon, Victor Maguad as Ulap, Francis Cascano as Pagtuga, Pamela Josef as Usa, Marcus Tolentino as Makusog and Roduardo Ma and Earvin Guillermo alternating as Linog.  The show is highlighted by the special participation of Ronnie Lazaro as Gugurang, Pontri Bernardo as the Aswang, soprano Stephanie Quintin, tenor Jay-El Viteno, Bass Jonak Del Fierro, and performing groups  E-Dance Theater, UP Rondalla and Novo Concertante.

For more information, please call: 4250509, 09209266387, 8321125 loc 1116; for ticket inquiries, please contact  829-3591,  09062735400 / 09228477639 / 09334372744 TICKET WORLD: (02) 891 9999.
L-R: Director Gerald Mercado, Albay Cong. Joey Salceda, Music Director Ramon P. Santos

Left, Albay poet, scriptwriter  Abdon Balde Jr. 

Left, Mrs. Mercado, Choreographer

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

RIVALRY The Second Round: Getting Into the Heart of the Musical

 Chickens. Yes, you heard me right, Chickens started the whole Ateneo-La Salle Rivalry.  That’s according to the Genaro Patricarch from the Rivalry Ateneo-La Salle The Musical which was set during the height of the famous, and still ongoing rivalry, in 1968.  It was not known which school won on that year as many have asked THE mother of all questions.  What is more important is the impact this rivalry has had on the student basketball fans and the public in general.

Through Quiot Valencia’s character, the whole rivalry was justified as a void that needed to be filled.   These student basketball players represent heroes that fans needed to look up to.  Everyone needs a hero to emulate..The parallelism with Don Quixote, the inclusion of such character, added a deeper insight, a touch of imaginative adventure to the otherwise perceived shallow level of skirmish.  Quito explained that though Don Quixote enemy’s were imaginary, he was nevertheless fearless in fighting his wars. So I gathered that the basketball arena is an imaginary war field where these young players bravely defend their castles and reputation. And the fans cheer for their heroes.

So maybe I’m getting a little complicated.  What really matters is that this Filipino original musical play is not only one great show  but it has cultural implications that define us as Filipinos.  To the world, we are not just victims of Spanish, American, and Japanese colonizers, an oppressed impoverished nation, but we are also fun people who belong to the privileged sector and enjoy having our own healthy competition with each other.

What makes this show great? Lots.  So let me point out some of my favorite scenes . . .
The intro song was fun and launched the mood of the whole play,  the Maryknollers singing  praises about a boy from la Salle, the great voice blending in the “harmony” song sung by the wives of the battling fathers, the visually appealing choreography of the students in their military uniforms, the choreography with the reporters and the  “mob fight” scenes,  and who can forget the confrontation between Tommy Basilio and Reena San Jose with the hilarious execution of their “unspoken conversation”.  I can go on and on . . . but every musical scene was fun and uplifting.  You can watch it over and over and the music is still as entertaining as the first time, take it from someone who has seen it three times already.

The lead roles taking the centerstage are OJ Mariano as Paco Valencia, the Ateneo star player together with Mako Alonso as Tommy Basilio, the La Salle Star; Athena Tibi as Reena San Jose, the Maryknoller who captures the attention and affection of an Atenean and a La Sallite; and Red Concpecion as QuitoValencia.

Cara Barredo (Reena San Jose - understudy), Altair Alonso (Tommy Basilio - understudy), Fred Lo (Quito Valencia – understudy) and Mayen Cadd (Andrea Valencia) are the four new faces who will surely infuse an all-new chemistry and onstage energy with the original and fellow Rivalry cast members.
The supporting cast includes Juliene Mendoza as Anton Valencia,  Raymund Concepcion as Demetrio Basilio, Sheila Francisco as Dolores Basilio; Joel Trinidad as the Ateneo coach and Chino Veguillas as the La Salle coach, and a special appearance of Noel Trinidad as Eliseo Genaro

Also featured are veteran theatre artists Caisa Borromeo, Kyla Rivera, Kakki Teodoro, Robbie Zialcita, Jun Ofrasio, Steve Conde, Will Angeles, Jenny Villegas, Diana Alferez,  Angela Padilla. Bulinggit Delgado, Nelsito Gomez, Bym Buhain, Mark Tayag, Kevin Concepcion, Andre Calixto,  Fran Jose. Jay Pangilinan, Francis Jovina, Harold Cruz and Anthony Tarossa Ong .

Rivalry: The Musical was first presented last January 2012 and received unanimous praise from the audiences and the press for putting up  a phenomenal original Filipino production about the real lives of students and how they cope up with day-to-day family rules and chores, school norms and academic proficiency.

The artistic and creative team of  “ RIVALRY Ateneo- La Salle The Musical – Second Round ” is led by Ed Gatchalian  (Musical Director, Composer, Arranger and Orchestrator), Jaime Del Mundo (Book and Director), Joel Trinidad (Lyricist), Nancy Crowe (Choreographer), Johnsy Reyes (Lighting Designer), and Lex Marcos (Set Designer).

The production staff is composed of Leah Reyes (Production Manager), Ems Bolanos (Company Manager), Ed Lacson (Stage Manager), Ace Urieta (Technical Director) Roan Cornejo (Deputy Stage Manager); Jeremy Aguado (Executive Asst); Toots Tolentino (Publicist); JC Inocian (Photography) and Meynard Penalosa (Videography).

A musical feast for every member of the family, “ RIVALRY:  Ateneo-La Salle The Musical – The Second Round runs from Fridays to Sundays starting January 25, 2013 until  February 17, 2013. (Friday – Saturday at 8 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday at 3 p.m.)

Tickets are now available at all Ticketworld outlets. For tickets and show information, call 891-9999 or visit

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Boeing Boeing : Naughty and Nice

Maintaining three girlfriends at a time is a matter of being organized and having a loyal housekeeper to cover for you.  That’s the advice of Bernard Whitford, the American playboy living in Paris  in Repertory Philippines’ season opener, “Boeing Boeing”.   This ‘60s sex comedy  is about living every man’s fantasy of juggling three girlfriends at one time---all flight attendants from different airlines and different nationalities.  An American, an Italian, and a German flight attendant, are all longing to be with the same guy.  So tell me that isn’t every warm-blooded male’s secret fantasy, aside from being James Bond?

The situation may make great locker room talk with the other guys but happiness is short-lived, and as the play proves, may be even be tragic or lonely in the end.  Reality is tweaked in this presentation since this is a comedy, so don’t  expect a tragic or suicidal ending. 

Giannina Ocampo, Jennifer Blair Bianco, and  Carla Dunareanu play the drop dead gorgeous sex kitten-like flight attendants who are scene stealers not only with their physique but funny acting performance and their brightly colored blue, red, and yellow uniforms.  It was a struggle for the guys to compete for the audience attention when these girls are on stage no matter what great actors they are.  No doubt they performed wonderfully but they were no match to sexy girls in lingerie.  It’s not their fault they were born male with less physical attributes to stare at.  Let’s face the facts, women have a way of getting attention no matter how smart or talented their male co-actors are.

Topper Fabregas is certainly one of Rep’s up and coming comedians to watch out for.  He was one of the scene stealers in last year’s Rep play “Leading Ladies” and he was memorable as well in his role in “Sweet Charity”.  David Bianco was notable for his gay role in “Next Fall” as the partner of Bart Guingona.

It was clear that the German flight attendant Gretchen played by Carla Dunareanu was the favorite of the audience for her loud antics and physical comedy. Her scenes with Topper Fabregas had the highest in the laugh meter.

Ms. Baby Barredo, the grand dame of Repertory, was not to be outdone.  She shone brightly in her short bursts of stage appearance as Bertha, the long-suffering housekeeper, with her one-liners and cocky-style of acting.  Director, set designer and veteran theater actor Miguel Faustmann did excellently in putting this play together.

The cast features David Bianco as Mr. Bernard Whitford, an American architect businessman living in Paris ---  A playboy who juggles love affairs with three air hostesses who touch down briefly but lovingly in his apartment between flights.

Topper Fabregas plays the role of the unworldly Robert, Bernard’s boyhood friend, newly arrived from Wisconsin. 

The three fiancĂ©es are played by: Giannina Ocampo as  Gabriella, the sentimental, lusty Italian stewardess. Carla Dunareanu as Gretchen, the hilarious, aggressive, dominating but thin-skinned German stewardess. Jennifer Blair Bianco as Gloria, the Southern belle with upbeat disposition take-charge health-obsessed American stewardess.

Baby Barredo plays the role of Bertha, Bernard's long-suffering housekeeper who is a chic, black-clad philosopher. A French existentialist maid who loves nothing more than to complain. Ms. Joy Virata is alternate.

The artistic and creative team of BOEING BOEING is led by Baby Barredo (Rep Artistic Director), Miguel Faustmann (Stage Director/Set Designer), John Batalla (Lighting Designer), and Raven Ong (Costume Designer).

BOEING BOEING’s production staff is composed of Juno Henares (Officer-in-Charge), Gidget Tolentino (Production Manager), Andrew Miranda (Stage Manager), Pol Roxas (Sound Technician), Pablito Salvador (Lighting Technician) and Adul Lasin (Set Execution and Scenic Artist).

The marketing, sales and publicity of BOEING BOEING is led by Toots Tolentino (Publicist), Charlie Barredo with Oliver Usison, Letty Barredo, Marie Talay and Rose Silva (Marketing and Sales) and photography by Jojo Mamangun.

For further inquiries regarding the details of show, please call 5716926 or 5714941 or email or log on to Tickets are also available through Ticketworld at 8919999 or visit

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