Friday, April 26, 2013

Mrs. Robinson, the Mother of all Cougars, Bares Onstage

It’s true, Mrs. Robinson, bares it all for the young, more than half her age, neighbor’s son, Benjamin. You didn’t hear it from me, but this classic scandal is still going on at Repertory Philippines with their version of “The Graduate”. Now you can see it with your very own eyes at Onstage Greenbelt on April 26, 27 and 28. 

This mature play is worthy of attention because of the dedication of these fine actors to their roles, going the difficult step of being vulnerable just to achieve the play’s objective and present a believable story.  The acapela background music, simplified stage, 60s make up and wardrobe takes you to that era of our parents and grandparents college days as you notice the similarity of conflicts and issues they had with the present day college students.  The universality and relevancy of the theme will cross over to future generations as well.  Perhaps what will distinguish this play from the movie version is the inclusion of a scene that presented Elaine’s reaction to the whole situation which was originally overlooked or ignored.  Her character was given more importance and thus the quiet voice was allowed to be heard and that hanging question was addressed. 

Pinky Marquez played the pivotal character valiantly, while Reb Atadero played the confused, lost boy with as much fervor.  Sweet Cara Barredo was a shoe-in for the role of Elaine, while Jeremy Domingo portrayed a powerful, distraught father and husband.  Joel Trinidad’s characters served as comic relief to an otherwise very serious play.  Angela Padilla and Natalie Everett were true to their roles even if it meant baring all.  Aside from an entertaining performance, expect a lot of skins exposed as an added treat.

The Graduate, a hilarious, satirical look at middle-class disillusionment and social mores, was first presented to the public in 1963 as a novel by Charles Webb. Four years later, it was adapted as a screenplay by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham. Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, and Katharine Ross starred in the movie version of the Graduate (17th on the list of the American Film Institute’s Greatest Movies of All Time) which tells the story of Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate who, after being seduced by an older woman, Mrs. Robinson, finds himself falling hopelessly in love with her daughter Elaine. Selected in 1996 by the US National Film Institute as being “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant,” the movie went on to become the 21st highest-grossing film in the US and Canada. It also featured the American Film Institute’s 6th most popular movie theme song in the history of American Cinema (“Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel), forever cementing the film in American popular culture.

In 2002, new life was breathed into the story when Terry Johnson adapted The Graduate for the stage. The theatrical production, which starred Kathleen Turner, Jason Biggs, and Alicia Silverstone, ran in London’s West End, on Broadway, and on tour all over the United States.

Now, Repertory Philippines finally brings The Graduate to Manila. Veteran director, playwright, and actor Jaime del Mundo (Shakespeare In Hollywood; The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe; Little Mermaid) directs the play, adding his own unique touch of wit, charm, and edge to this well-loved comedy. Heading the cast is multi-talented theater icon Pinky Marquez (No Way To Treat A Lady; Katy: The Musical) as the iconic “cougar” Mrs. Robinson. Sharing the stage with her are versatile up-and-comers Reb Atadero (Altar Boyz; They’re Playing Our Song) as the hapless Benjamin Braddock and Cara Barredo (Little Women; Rivalry: The Musical) as the charming and innocent Elaine Robinson. Rounding out the cast are theater veterans Jeremy Domingo, Angela Padilla, Natalie Everett, Joel Trinidad, and show director Jaime del Mundo.

With a hilarious script, masterful direction, and brilliant performances led by Ms. Marquez, The Graduate is sure to seduce audiences all over again.

Catch the Repertory Philippines presentation of  The Graduate on April  27(Sat) at 8pm and on April 28 (Sun) 3:30pm at Onstage Greenbelt 1. Tickets at Php1,200.00; Php1000.00, Php800.00 and Php500.00. Call 2150788 or 09175378313 or email for reservations. Show is for adults only. 

with the lovely Mrs. Robinson played by Ms. Pinky Marquez

Friday, April 5, 2013

An April Evening with a String Quartet . . . Finale to MCOF Music Series 2013

Press Announcement:
What a perfect way to spend a romantic summer evening enjoying the pure sound of four string instruments playing music in unison.  This April 17, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the Ayala Museum, join Manila Chamber Orchestra Foundation (MCOF) and Ayala Museum for an evening with the Philippine premiere of a string quartet, "Quartetto Espressivo" as the ensemble performs for you two of the most romantic works for string quartet ever written - Tchaikovsky's nostalgic first string quartet, and Verdi's heartwarming and the only String Quartet. This concert ends MCOF’s “Chamber Music Festival”, which opened last February 2013. 
Quartetto Espressivo won the first prize in the National Competition for Young Artists Chamber Music Category.  Each of the four members of the quartet are winners of the same music competition, and are regular members of the Manila Symphony Orchestra.  The quartet is composed by violinist Christian Tan, second violinist Sara Maria Gonzales, Violist Ray Casey Concepcion, and cellist Gerry Graham Gonzales.  The ensemble's mains advocacy is perform Filipino classical compositions in string quartet arrangements to bring further awareness on, and appreciation for Filipino Art Music.

Tchaikovsky's first string quartet work is considered the first major great Russian string quartet.  Its second movement, famous in its own right, was based on a folk song heard by the composer whistled by a house painter.  When the quartet was performed at a Tribute concert for Leo Tolstoy, it was said to have brought Tolstoy to tears.  As a tribute to Giuseppe Verdi on his birth bi-centennial this year, we present his dramatic and only String Quartet.  Written before the world premiere of his famous opera Aida, the work demands impeccable technique from its performers, but filled with beautiful melodies only the King of Opera can imagine.
The MCO Foundation is a non-stock, non-profit organization established in 1985 and is dedicated to the promotion of the classical arts.

For tickets, call Ticketworld at 891-9999, MCOF at 750-0768 or 0920-9540053, and Allan 782-7164 or 0918-3473027. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Beach Fun at Panglao and The Glasshouse

After countless feeble attempts to describe what the country is all about, we have finally hit the nail on the head with  a campaign that captures the essence of Philippine life which is simply “fun”. The upbeat music and  fast moving visuals with short text messages capture the spirit indeed.  

I mean what else can we hold on to . . . we are not an ancient city,  nor do we have castles or royalties to boast of,  we have no snow for skiing or ice skating, our recreation centers or movie studios are not as state-of-the-art as those of developed countries.  But “Fun in the Beach”, we will take any country on.  First, show us your finest beaches, only then we can advance to the “Fun” aspect.

So we also have some negative elements around like some corrupt official here or there, bad traffic enforcement and behavior,  some unmaintained toilets,   a roach crawling about, cheating on taxi rates,  and if you are careless with your things, a cunning snatcher will be around. Which country doesn’t have these pests? . . . But one thing is certain, we can live up to the “fun” image because it is a synergy of people and places.  Call Filipinos shallow and corny because it may be true, but in our standards, that which matter to us, we are having fun and if you don’t want to join us then that is totally up to you.  

Beaches, Fiestas, and Smiles , I believe, are the key words to describe  the Philippines.  If you want to beach and you want to party, then you have come to the right place.  We have them all over the place, and all the time.  Boracay is known with the International community but that place is just the tip of the iceberg.  We have lots more, some even unknown to the Filipinos themselves as these places may still be underdeveloped.  But let me take you to another growing popular beach spot that can boast of powdery white sand as well.  Welcome to Panglao, an island in Bohol province of tarsiers and chocolate hills that is gaining popularity with the European crowd.

After landing  at Tagbilaran City airport, an hour and 15 minutes flight from Manila,  I was picked up by a service that took only 15 minutes to cross over the bridge  to Panglao where I stayed at The Glasshouse at Dauis Highland.  This two-bedroom fully-serviced villa was my home for the next few days as I explored the city as well as the beaches.  

After getting comfy and settling in during my first day,  I was taken for lunch to a nice, popular,  reasonably-priced beach-front restaurant called Linaw, managed by its Belgian owners.  They grow their own organic vegetables and their meals range from P100 to P280. 

We passed by the town’s classy delicatessen called C.U. Bakery for some cheese and bread on our way back.  The ambiance was not something you would expect from a province establishment but more of an international level type.  I ravished the brie cheese with Tanduay Ice after dinner while savoring the romantic view of the  citylights from The Glasshouse veranda that overlooks the bridge and Tagbilaran city.

The next day, I had the chance to explore what the  city had to offer.  We had lunch, movie, and a gelato at one of their biggest malls, BQ  Mall.  The buko pandan gelato over crepes drizzled with chocolate sauce worth only P100 was something to keep coming back for at  the 3rd floor nook of the mall called, Gelateria.  It was clearly a favorite hang-out place for the students and foreigners.

Come happy hour, we drove 15 minutes to a tapas bar  near Alona beach called Le Rendez-Vous.  A healthy dinner of Ceasar’s salad with iced tea was their specialty for me.  This place became a hang-out for me in the next few days because of its strong wifi signal, nice friendly staff, as well as its proximity to Alona beach.  I also had the pleasure of meeting the nice French owner  who also happens to be the owner of L’Elephant Blue Cottages and Cougar boat services for beach activities such as snorkeling, sightseeing,  or island-hopping.

The next few days were precious as I woke up to a daily dose of gorgeous sunrises by the main veranda or the upper veranda near the room.  Late morning activities included swimming by the pool or doing some computer work by the settee beside an inspiring glass wall.   

This glass wall framed a live picture of the neighboring island surrounded with water that flickered by the strong sun rays, my constant uplifting view during my stay.  Afternoons were either spent  in the beach or sunset strolling or jogging around  The Glasshouse vicinity of rustic, rolling hills landscape.

Lunch out included a humble turo-turo, called Andreas,  patronized by divers and some foreign tourists which is walking distance to Alona Beach.  Another nearby beach called Dumaloan, located beside Bohol Beach Club,  is a cleaner and whiter alternative to Alona  but charged an entrance fee of P50 per head as well as parking fee.  They also rented out shaded tables which ranges from P250-P350 for whole day family  or barkada picnics (They charge for excess hours as well). 

On my last night, we picked up a hot and crispy  Sicilian pizza for dinner at Alfredo’s Pizzaria along the bridge from Tagbilaran City to Panglao island.  Their pizza prices ranged from P120 to P370 for gourmet type of regular pizza, you just have to drop by this little pizza shop by the bridge.   
Since this was my first trip to Panglao, this is all the experience I can share  for now.  If you don’t have any airport pick up service, there are nearby trikes or shuttles that can provide special trips for you straight to the beach that will cost you from P150 to P300. 

Airport pick up and drop off as well as beach trip car service is included in the package when you book at The Glasshouse.  For more information and reservation, visit their Facebook page at The Glasshouse in Bohol.

Monday, April 1, 2013

AirAsia Big Seat Sale P599 starting April 2

Press Announcement::
 CLARK, PAMPANGA, 1 April 2013 – Book your trips for 2014 now and enjoy early bird savings through Philippines’ AirAsia’s big seat sale promo starting today (April 2). All-in promo fares from as low as P599 only for international and domestic destinations are available for booking via  from 2 to 7 April 2013, and the travel period will be from 1 January to 30 April 2014.
“AirAsia continues to change the landscape of low-cost travel. With our big sale promo, planning a trip is easiest with our all-in fares and rates clearly laid out for our guests, so grab those promo seats now and enjoy huge savings,”  Freddy Herrera, AirAsia Inc. Commercial Head, said.

For payment convenience, AirAsia’s payment partner service provides guest the option to pay for promo seats booked online in cash through any 7-Eleven and Bayad Center outlets nationwide.
“AirAsia believes in providing convenient service to make traveling easier and more affordable for our guests. In the coming weeks, we are expanding our cash payment partner service to include Cebuana Lhuillier and other popular outlets and banks so that more and more people will have access to our promo fares and bargain deals,” Herrera added. 

The promotional seats are also available for booking via AirAsia’s mobile booking platforms through WAP enabled phones at and AirAsia apps on iPhone and Android devices. Philippines’ AirAsia call center also accepts booking of regular fares via +632 742.27.47 from Monday to Sunday at 0800hrs to 2100hrs.

“There are exciting summer vacation activities and places close to home and around Asean cities waiting to be discovered.  With our big sale promo and AirAsia’s awesome network of 186 routes with 85 destinations throughout 18 countries, you get a head start on your barkada and family summer getaways,” Herrera said.
Never miss out on updates about our bargain deals by following AirAsia via Facebook (facebook/airasiaphilippines) and Twitter (

Philippines' AirAsia is a low cost carrier operating from Clark Philippines. It is a joint venture amongst Antonio O. Cojuangco, Michael L. Romero, Marianne Hontiveros, and AirAsia Investment Ltd. It started operations only in 2012 with two brand new Airbus A320s, operating routes from Clark to Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Kalibo, and Davao.


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