Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Soaring Soliloquies, Belting Songs and Moving Symbols In Himala, Isang Musikal.

From screen to stage, Himala, a 1982 critically acclaimed film by the late National Artist for Film Ishmael Bernal still reflects, replicates and resonates today. Thanks to the creative, collective and collaborative production effort of The Sandbox Collective and 9 Works Theatrical for bringing back HIMALA: Isang Musikal, their first co-produced full-length musical in Filipino. An original musical with book and lyrics by Ricky Lee, music and lyrics by Vince de Jesus and with direction and set design by Ed Lacson Jr. is now playing at the Power MAC Center Spotlight, Circuit Makati from 10th of February to 4th of March. "Walang Himala" debuted at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Tanghalang Pilipino's 20th theater season and returned on its 21st season due to popular demand. This new production with new cast took three years to reinvent. It became a rare iconic evening as the original and current cast and creative gathered during the invitational press and VIP night, in attendance of course is Nora Aunor, the original Elsa in the film, hailed as Superstar of Philippine cinema.

The very excited and scared Aicelle Santos stepping into the classic shoes of Elsa, considered the hardest role she have ever played. Her recent performance in "Maynila Sa Mga Kuko Ng Liwanag" was a thrilling and moving scene but in Himala everything was all about her. Santos tenacity, clarity and maturity was undeniably and unbelievably a signature. The creative process and motivation to discover the inner anguish of Elsa was definitively convincing, an act of moving silence. The vivacious and voluptuous singer turned theater actress Bituin Escalante playing the loving and caring Saling who adopted Elsa deserve highly recognition. Seated on a very good sightline and saw her very up close and personal made my watching experience moving and mesmerizing. A favorite of mine ever since she turned pro, I can't wait to see her vicious in the upcoming production of Rapunzel later this year. I like her because she's always a monster onstage regardless of the role. Pilo former lover of Chayong is Sandino Martin, a follow-up from his featured performance as Bitoy in the screen adaptation of Ang Larawan. The moment he entered the stage, it became statement already. The innocent looking face turning into a lunatic freak is hard to be missed, effectively insane. 
Regular and seasoned actor David Ezra, son of Dulce who originated the role of Saling, is playing filmmaker Orly who came to Cupang to document as the story unfold until the bitter end. It's not surprising that you will catch Ezra in full swing of his character, as always he never fails to amaze and surprise. For him to look mature, he had trimmed moustache, that's a pro. Everyone in the cast made a remarkable and notable improvisation and impersonation whether nonverbal or verbal, hauntingly beautiful and strikingly deep.

This new experimental staging has both minimal and permanent set to achieve realistic approach combined and complemented with mood dimmed lighting designed by Barbie Tan Tiongco. The idea of having patrons seated in theatre-in-the-round is suitably perfect for the actor-audience interaction. Authenticity is required for props and scenery because of the close proximity to the patrons. Lacson, responsible for stage businesses, blockings and movements was impressive. He created quite stunning placements of these actors specifically the ensemble, with proper emphasis on both symmetrical and asymmetrical balance despite the limited space as the story takes place. 
The Cast and crew of Himala:Isang Musikal with Superstar Nora Aunor and Master writer Rickey Lee.
Himala: Isang Musikal is a story about faith and truth, miracles and curses, morality and immorality, love and friendship depicted in the eyes of Elsa and the people of Cupang. A must see musical mirroring and lamenting Filipino values, cultures and traditions narratively and symbolically expressed in different forms and genres.

Text and Photos by Gilbert Kim Sancha. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Popular Folktale and Familiar Love Tale In "Nang Dalawin Ng Pag-ibig Si Juan Tamad"

Tanghalang Pilipino, the resident theater company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines will raise its final curtain as the 31st Theater Season concludes with " Nang Dalawin Ng Pag-ibig Si Juan Tamad, " Rody Vera's stage adaptation of the book, " How Love Came To Juan Tamad " written by National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin. Presented by Cultural Center Of The Philippines, Tanghalang Pilipino and Hotel Kamana Sanctuary Resort & Spa to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of Nick Joaquin, and brought by Yellow Pages. Included in Joaquin's 1979 " Pop Stories For Groovy Kids, " Critics weighed and described the exact depiction of the forever brokenhearted Mariyang Makiling and Juan Tamad hailed as pop idol and remained model to the youth. Following the love triangle of Filipino legends Mariya Makiling (Goddess Of Love), Monte Banahaw (God Of War) and Juan Tamad. 
The iconic characters are reinvented and reimagined to spice up the millennials through notable and quotable " hugot " lines and quotes wearing eclectic and colorful costumes where new age meets indigenous. The mash-up play will become more complex with Ba'I, brother of Monte Banahaw and God Of Laguna Lake who created a " love potion " for Mariya Makiling asked by Monte Banahaw. The spell worked with Mariya Makiling, Banahaw learned that she truly, madly and deeply fell in love with nobody but a loafer Juan Tamad whom she feeds and fawns. Juan who desired anything but to sleep and laze away asked help from Ulap to bring him back including the gilded and bejeweled bed given by the fairy.
Celebrate the month of " Feb-ibig " and world class Filipino artistry and craftsmanship with the staging of Nang Dalawin Ng Pag-ibig Si Juan Tamad from February 16 to March 11, 2018 at Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater) with evening performances every Friday and Saturday at 8pm and matinee performances every Saturday and Sunday at 3pm. Sponsors, show buyers and block buyers may call Tanghalang Pilipino at 832-1125 local 1620 to 1621. You may also reach Lorelei Celestino at 09156072275 or Juan Lorenzo Marco at 09998843821. Tickets are also available by calling CCP Box Office at 8323704 or Ticketworld at 8919999. Ticket Prices: Orchestra Center 1,000 and Orchestra Side 800 with 50% off for students and 20% for government employees, senior citizens and person with disabilities. 
The Cast JV Ibesate (Ba'I) Aldo Vencialo (Monte Banahaw) Lhorvie Nuevo (Ulap) Antonette Go (Abugada) Ybes Bagadiong (Juan Tamad) Manok Nellas (Mariyang Makiling) Eunice Pacia (Ina/Hukom) Guest Artists Cheeno Uy Macaraig Dessa Marqueses Jeremi Flores Ariel Cruz Jonalou Fabon Artistic Staff Rody Vera (Stage Adaptation) Jonathan Tadioan (Director) Marco Viaña (Production Designer) Paw Castillo (Production Designer Assistant TJ Ramos (Musical Director/Composer) John Batalla (Lighting Director) Ronelson Yadao (Choreographer) Doray Dayao (Stage Manager) Erick Sindol (Deputy Stage Manager) Cristina Adigue (Assistant Stage Manager)

Text and Photos by Gilbert Kim Sancha. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Don Quixote, Ballet Philippines' Quintessential 48th Season ender Ft. American Baseball Player Joseph Gatti

Ballet Philippines, the first resident company of Cultural Center of the Philippines, founded in 1969 by National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes and Eddie Elejar, is the preeminent classical and contemporary dance company in the country widely recognized today as a cornerstone of contemporary Filipino identity. Ballet Philippines presents this classic lavish and flourish tell tale of Miguel Cervantes following the lofty adventure of Don Quixote in Barcelona where he meets an innkeeper daughter, Kitri, whom he thought his ladylove Dulcinea.
Historically speaking, DON QUIXOTE was first staged in 1973 and 2011 was its last performance. This timeless splendor celebrating its crystal year in Ballet Philippines' stage, is a perfect show for first timer because of romantic-comedy theme, known for dizzying turns, signature leaps and death-defying lifts.
Joseph Gatti. 
For nearly three decades, spanning four continents, Adam Sage, current Associate Artistic Director and Ballet Master of Ballet Philippines is this year's "regisseur" Not only that he has mentored, coached and choreographed 50 works to his credentials, he performed as Don Quixote in 1981 production of Ballet Philippines. Appearing as International Guest Artist in the titular tole is 23 year old Joseph Gatti, born in Warwick (New York) and raised in Orlando (Florida).
Being the first American male dancer to win gold at the New York International Ballet Competition, a former Principal Dancer of Cincinnati Ballet and Corella Ballet and First Soloist of Boston Ballet, he was amazed how Filipino dancers supports each other during rehearsals. Sportsman Gatti who loved playing baseball, was mentored and influenced by Sage, arrived in Manila January 31, Wednesday is enjoying the Philippines for the first time. Playing opposite to Gatti as Kitri, is returning Resident Guest Artist for the fourth times this season is the beautiful Candice Adea.

The first Filipina to win First Prize at the 7th Helsinki International Ballet and Silver Medalist at the 2010 USA International Ballet Competition, quoted by National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes as a lucky girl to share a stage with Gatti. Adea is reprising her role, she played Kitri in 2011. Other Guest Artists to appear onstage are Jojo Mamangun as Don Quixote and Ronelson Yadao as Espada. Resident artists Jemima Reyes and Monica Gana as Kitri alternates, Denise Parungao and Katrene San Miguel as Mercedes alternates and Victor Maguad and Ian Ocampo as Basilio alternates.

Text and Photos by Gilbert Kim Sancha.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

PETA’s “Night, Mother”: Raw and Golden



Opening its curtains for 2018, PETA brings an intimate production of the Filipino adaption of  Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Night, Mother”. The play, adapted by Ian Lomongo and directed by Melvin Lee, will be PETA’s culminating production for its 50th season.

Set in EJK and Tokhang era of 2017, the play’s narrative revolves around the complex emotional and provocative issue of urban modern life. This two-woman play is a story of a night when a divorced woman, Jessie, reveals her plan of ending her life to her mother Thelma. Throughout the 90-minute course of the show, no intermission, would take the audience to rollercoaster of emotion as Thelma convinces Jessie how worth-living life is.
Entering the intimate PETA-Phinma theater, cross-sectioned typical middle-class Filipino home will welcome you on stage. Stacks of cubic façade is prominent on the stage bringing a strong and hard atmosphere in contrast with the cozy homey feeling of the house. Moreover, it is a working house which was really amazing. A working refrigerator and stove complete with kitchen wares makes it possible for Thelma to prepare hot chocolate on set! This great set design by Ben Padero, sends the audience back to their homes which makes it easy to for them to be immersed into the plot.  
Wouldn’t it be a big stage for just two actors? That’s a no, for Eugene Domingo and Sherry Lara. Their portrayal of the roles of Jessie and Thelma respectively were bigger than the stage itself. Waves of subtle emotions crashes as Thelma and Jessie exchange lines, bargains, favors and untimely last will. Sherry Lara’s motherly care is as natural as it can be- effortless and effervescent. On the other hand, Eugene Domingo’s Jessie is very relatable-no pretentions and sincere. The timing of the dark humorous banters is on point in a sense that you could catch yourself cracking a light laugh in the middle of a dramatic exchanges. There’s no particular time all throughout the act where you feel the stage is empty or seem spacious. Instead, you will be locked to where the two actors are. Just still and savor.
The exposition of the material was seamless. Although the original material was written four decades ago, the story-telling was very relevant to today’s setting. It bears the current socio-political climate that gives body to the material. The Filipino adaptation captures today’s context of a family, urban living and self struggles that even some millennials are going through.

The theme of “Night, Mother’ transcends time. The material has no absolute theme in general, but a web of themes that concludes to a night where the story all happens. One facet that can be literally seen is the theme of depression and suicide which is timely due to increasing awareness to mental health. Nevertheless, this play can give at least a peek to the face of depression and suicide and why it is an important human concern.
Furthermore, as what its director always emphasizes, the play encompasses beyond the literal and the obvious. It provokes us to talk about those taboo life themes that are essentials such as family relationships, isolation and loneliness. Specifically, it emphasizes the significance of an open and honest conversation between family members. Basically, the play is all about that night when Jessie and Thelma engaged to a meaningful family conversation which will also be their last. A type of conversation that can be done any time of the day and with a topic in which bidding goodbye would be the least. Instead, being full with her despair, Jessie had the strength to have the talk when she finally decided to end her life that night. This leads us to question that if an open and honest line between Thelma and Jessie could have avoided Jessie of committing suicide. Or, thus Thelma’s “motherly” instinct of overprotecting Jessie, to the point of sugarcoating bitter truths and realty, provoked her decision? Or, Jessie just fall out of love with life or with her family? Answers were unknown. Open-ended as it is, it leads to discussion of the value of human relationships, communication and listening.
PETA’s “Night, Mother” is a fresh breather from their grandiose musicals. Raw and pure, it would dig and bore to your consciousness the true sense of human relationship. This intimate play also epitomizes PETA’s maturity in staging theater productions and its relevance to society. Indeed, a solid culmination of its golden season.
Catch PETA’s “Night, Mother” which will run from February 2 to March 18, 2018 at PETA Theater Center, New Manila, Quezon City. For Tickets visit www.ticketworld.com.ph or contact PETA PR Office at 0927-603-5913.

Text and photos by Arriane Dave Farnazo. 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

REP’s A Comedy of Tenors: An Operatic Mayhem.

Repertory Philippines (REP) open this year with a bang with its first stage production offering “A
Comedy of Tenors”. Directed by Miguel Faustmann, this operatic comedy by Tony Award-winning Ken Ludwig promises a hilarious chaos that could left you gagging. A way to start REP’s 51st Season.

Set in 1930’s Parisian Hotel, the narrative revolves around the chaotic mayhem as the veteran tenor Tito Merelli, the uprising star Carlo Nucci and Max prepare for their concert that would be leave a mark as the concert of the century. As the preparation draws toward the performance night, the gang finds their selves in the intersection of secret love affairs, mistaken identities and romantic misunderstanding that stirs the quirks and qualms of the different personalities of the characters. Through-out the 2-hour show, humorous banters and timeless comedic acts will surely keep you indulging.
1930’’s Paris is known for their marble hotels which grandeur was captured by the set design. The comic yet plush hotel stage sets the tone of the show. Classy marble posts, elegant chandelier, and gold-lined French fixtures brings you to a time capsule back to its era. Moreover,  lighting on the set was light but with the right kind of vivid which is smooth to the eye without compromising the mood of the scenes. Overall, the set complements and did justice to the material.
A frantic producer and his equally frazzled assistant, an Italian age-insecure tenor and his hot-blooded wife, an actress-wannabe daughter and her uprising singer lover, the venetian-pride bell hopper, and the Russian vixen soprano make the colorful crazy ensemble. Aside from the difficult toll of delivering on-point comical punchlines, the actors must also have an operatic prowess in singing which is being asked by the material. Seasoned cast that possesses the best of both worlds give justice to the play. Lorenz Martinez was great in playing both the roles of Bepo and Tito at the same time in tandem with the very witty Issa Litton as Maria. Arman Ferrer’s debut performance on a full-length theater play was stellar and at par with his veteran co-actors paired with his impressive singing. Flawless performance from the cast really shows their experience and their veteran status in the theater scene.
Using and sticking to an original period-themed comedy piece does not always ensure to capture contemporary audience, but “A Comedy of Tenor” material pulled it off. It has a simple plot, but with intricate scenes with language that is both contextually accurate and still relatable. The use of fade away transitions between sections of the play creates a sitcom atmosphere which enhances the over-all experience of the play. Witty acting and big movements that uses almost the whole stage which never leaves a dull moment and would lock you up until to very last moment. Kudos to the director for putting a good ensemble for this kind of material which makes it not hard to chew instead offers a fruity bubbly experience. 
The play may come across as simple comedy that is plainly written to make you laugh and entertain you for a night but there are also snippets of takeaways with this play. It shows how the concoction of different egos could create a chaos, blur people’s judgment and leads to misunderstanding; how love and passion could conquer dreams and also how much it cost; and, that open communication and unveiling the truths would eventually bear harmony. Subtle depth messages may not come as obvious as being shadowed by its very good entertainment value but it manages to afloat above the comical skits.
Known for its grand productions and adaptation of award-winning international plays, Repertory Philippines again delivers with “A Comedy of Tenors”. With its up roaring and hysteric cast and story, Comedy of Tenors offers a light-hearted play with a taste of great operatic singing that will just lit up your weary hearts after a tiring week. Indeed, a solid jump-start for REP’s 51st season.
Don’t miss and join Tito, Carlo, Bepo and the crew as they put up the concert of the century! A comedy of tenors runs from January 26- February 18, 2018 at Onstage Theater, Greenbelt 1, Makati City. For tickets, visit www.ticketworld.com.ph or contact REP at 843-3570.


Text and photos by Arriane Dave Farnazo. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Himala: Isang Musikal, the 2018 comeback.

It’s been 30 years, but Himala the movie by the late Ishmael Bernal written by Ricky Lee is still an immortal icon in Philippine Cinema, it star no less but the Superstar Nora Aunor as the iconic Elsa, the lady from Cupang who brought many changes because of a miracle she witness.

This 2018, Sandbox Collective with 9 Works Theatrical is bringing once again the intense and dramatic stage version of this film, it features a new set of cast mostly young and proven powerful in delivering performance on stage.
Ed Lacson is directing this 2018 stage version, he is putting a lot of new things in this production that is extremely new to all theater fanatics.

“We’re trying something very different from typical musical theater, were experimenting on not using any lapel, not doing choreography, it’s a big risk and at the same time it excite me as the director as well as the cast. “ Lacson said.

Master writer Ricky Lee is happy and excited for this year’s staging of Himala, he find it more dramatic and not far from his movie version.

“Mas gusto ko yung magiging treatment nila sa musical, I think mas totoo yun sa spirit ng movie, diretso sa puso at kaluluwa yung connection mo sa audience.” Lee said.

Former Ladiva and the star of Rak of Aegis is playing the lead role as Elsa, Aicelle Santos find it challenging and complex since it is an iconic landmark for Nora Aunor.

“We go to rehearsal every day, character analysis because we know how complex the character of Elsa at kung paano nakapagandang ginampanan ni Ms. Nora yun at ni Ms. May Bayot sa Musical, hoping we could give justice to it.” Santos said.
Other cast include Kakki Teodoro as Nimia, Neomi Gonzales as Chayong, Sandino Martin as Pilo, Bituin Escalante as her mother Nanay Saling. Part of the cast also are David Ezra, Floyd Tena, Omar Uddin, Jenny Villegas, Glenda Liao, Cristy Peredo, Matel Patayon, Sigrid Balbas, Hazel Maranan, Raflesia Bravo, Roxy Aldiosa, Ej Pepito, Joshua Cabiladas, Kits Falcis, Roby Malubay, Gary Junsay, Mano Domingo, Neil Tolentino, Jasper Jimenez and so many more.

Himala: Isang Musikal is an original Filipino musical with book and lyrics by Ricky Lee and music and lyrics by Vince De Jesus, Direction and set design by Ed Lacson, Jr, musical arrangement by Jed Balsamo, lighting design by Barbie Tan-Tiongco and costume design by Carlo Pagunaling.

It will be stage at Power MAC Center Spotlight, Circuit Makati from February 10 to March 4, 2018. For Inquiries and tickets contact 0917.5545560, 586-7105, sab@thesandboxcollective.com or Ticketworld at 891-9999. For list of show buyer and contact details please visit TheSandboxCollective & 9WorksTheatrical in Facebook page. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Hiyas Books Help Kids to Be Helpful and Healthy

Nowadays, the internet has a huge impact on children. Nevertheless, parents still have other tools they can use in teaching values to their kids. A helpful tool is a good book that children will enjoy reading. But with so many children’s books available in the bookstores, it can be a challenge for parents to choose the right book.




Hiyas, OMF Literature’s imprint for children’s books, assists parents by publishing books that help children form healthy habits and grow in Godly character. Plus, the books are fun to read! Hiyas offers a wide selection of books on different topics, ranging from books on values and health to Bible stories and activity books.
A popular Hiyas series is the Dee the Bee series written by Joyce Piap-Go and illustrated by Maria Cristina Sison. The series helps kids develop positive values, stay healthy, and take care of the environment. In Bee Helpful, the seventh title in the series, Dee the Bee teaches young kids practical life skills they will need when they grow up, including lessons on how to be diligent, independent, and kind. The book also encourages adults to help kids nurture a caring and helping attitude by “deliberately creating opportunities for them to act compassionately.”
Dyaran! Ang Kambal na Hebigat! (Tada! The Heavyweight Twins!) by pediatrician and writer Luis “Tito Dok” Gatmaitan introduces the topic of weight management and good eating habits to children. The twenty-first title in the bestselling “Mga Kuwento ni Tito Dok (Stories of Uncle Doc)” series, Ang Kambal na Hebigat not only addresses obesity in children but also gives tips on how parents can help their kids have proper weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The book features the fun illustrations of Mike Amante.
Dirty ’Yan, Judy Ann! (That’s Dirty, Judy Ann!), is the second title in “Oki Dok!”, the new health series by Luis “Tito Dok” P. Gatmaitan specially written for younger kids. With adorable illustrations by Cy Vendivil, Oki Dok! features fun and simple stories that address the health and hygiene concerns of preschoolers. In the book, Tito Dok explains the value of cleanliness through the endless—but loving—reminders of a mother obsessed with being clean.
Bee Helpful and Dirty ’Yan, Judy Ann! are available for P100.00 each, while Dyaran! Ang Kambal na Hebigat! sells for P120.00. All three titles are available at National Book Store, OMF Lit Bookshop, Passages, and other leading bookstores nationwide. The book can also be ordered online through passagesbooks.com.If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Gegma Sa Daluyon. The first surfing competition in Palawan.

Duli Beach.
Palawan is not just about the beach that most of us love, wake boarding find its way to the northern part of the province.

The world’s best island is now the latest haven for surfers, the recently concluded Gegma sa Daluyon Eco Surf Event, held at Duli beach in El Nido, Palawan last December 27 and 28, 2017 is a proof that the last frontier province is also a good venue for surfing wannabe in the country.

The unspoiled and unexplored Duli beach in Brgy. Bocana is becoming popular in El Nido as alternative destination for local and foreign tourist, who want peace, quiet and relaxing venue that is not surrounded by any eye sore establishment, just pure nature. It’s almost one hour drive away from the marble cliff town to this area, approximately 20 minutes from Nacpan beach, another popular beach area of El Nido.
Organizers and participants of 1st Gegma Sa Daluyon.

Gegma sa Daluyon or Love of waves is just a gathering of surfers all over Palawan, mostly from El Nido, Narra and San Vicente, there are 30 registered surfers who join this first ever surfing competition organized the local surfers themselves.
Dexter Garcia
According to Dexter Garcia, one of the organizer of this pioneer event they just want to make this competition as merely gathering of Palawan surfers, they don’t invite expert or celebrity surfers yet since it’s just a trial event for them, this is a follow up of what they organize wayback at Nagtabon beach in Puerto Princesa City.

Each surfers pay a minimal amount for registration fee with a token of event shirt, prices in different category is not announce since it’s not the main reason why they join, more in camaraderie and unity among local surfers is what they promote, plus a help for the local fishing community since it’s a an off season in fishing due to high waves.

“Yung mga fisherman pag maalon wala ng trabaho sa place na to, di nila alam na puede nila pagkakitaan yung waves.” Garcia said.
Class B winners.
Duli as a beach destination have limited resources in terms of accommodation, most of its guest are into camping mode in order to enjoy its raw beauty. Surfers who offer wakeboarding lesson are in the area for a minimal fee. November to April is the best time to visit Duli and enjoy its mighty waves.

When the waves are gone during summer, paddle boat is the in activity for its guest in Duli.

“The Good thing na ma-promise namin sa Duli is nice beach, even not surfer mae-enjoy nya yung area at the same time maka-kapag-surf ka ng maayos lalo na kung beginner ka dahil wala ka mababangga, kasi hindi crowded.” Garcia added.

Here are the complete list of winners in different category of the first Gegma Sa Daluyon EcoSurf Event.

Class A Category winners.
1st place- Louie Canaleta
2nd place- Malic Mangotara
3rd place- Bert Cabin

Class B
1st place- Dexter Aguirre
2nd place- Hercules Delos Reyes
3rd place- Clint Manga

The second Gegma is now in the works most likely December of 2018. Garcia is also looking forward to invite surf experts and professionals someday to be part of their event, they are appealing also to Philippine Surfers Association to visit them, and probably update them in latest trend in surfing.

Gegma and Daluyon is a Palawan dialect (Cuyonon) means love while Daluyon means waves. For interested surfer who wish to visit El Nido, you may get in touch with SalatanSurf El Nido in Facebook. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Ang Larawan: Perfect casting, culturally interpreted and beautifully orchestrated.


Richard Kuipers of Variety.com quoted, "The Portrait" proves a handsomely produced big screen adaptation of Nick Joaquin's revered play." While Lawrence Harmon, former Urban Affairs and Political Columnist of Boston Globe wrote," Portrait provides a deep history lesson set off by a soaring score and crisp libretto. This is no light operetta. Instead, it is a searing musical journey into complex lives and emotions of fading Filipino members of the upper class." Manny, The Movie Guy, The Filipino Channel said. "Ang Larawan, has beautiful cinematography and intricate storytelling that swells up to an emotional crescendo...It's a thoughtful and powerful elegy on the death of Old Manila."
The painstaking years of pre-production, production and post-production for executive producers Celeste, Rachel and Girlie ended with a big, bang as the very first full-length musical film in Filipino was included in the annual Metro Manila Film Festival. ANG LARAWAN, a musical film based from an original play in three-act, A Portrait Of The Artist As Filipino,  by National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, translated by National Artist for Theater and Literature Rolando Tinio and directed by Loy Arcenas (Niño and REquime) is an official entry to the MMFF of Musicat, Inc. Shot in the beautiful wall of Intramuros and in an ancestral house in Taal, it tells the story of Candida and Paula set against the backdrop of World War II, struggling for their lives along with Don Lorenzo Marasigan, their ailing artist father amidst war and public scrutiny. Marasigan sisters experienced hardships when her father abruptly stopped painting and later got ill.

It centers on the last portrait of Don Lorenzo whether it will be sold to maintain the house. Larawan is an ode to the passing of the world of truth and beauty and a celebration of the tenacity of the spirit amidst the rise of materialism and consumerism. ANG LARAWAN opens in theater nationwide on Christmas day. The film was a Finalist, Asian Future Prize Award at the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival and the Opening Film, at the 2017 Cinematografo International Film Festival in San Francisco prelude to its official local screening. Already graded "A" by all eleven members of Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB), the film received unanimous highest regard.
A Spanish colonial house, a street and the century old San Agustin Church became the perfect location and a brilliant idea as the twisted story of Marasigan sisters unfolded. Loy Arcenas being a New York theater set designer and director, meticulously utilized, used and maximized the limited location for this period storytelling. Every part in the house tells a story, depicts a subject and symbolizes a character. Carefully and beautifully timed and angled shots were visually and perfectly edited and captured. The manner on how Arcenas executed those shots were very Les Miserables in nature. Joanna Ampil deserved an acting award as Candida. Her exhausting and tiring interpretation in film whether verbal or nonverbal, heavenly touching, moving, haunting and convincing, truly world class. Since joining in the 1998 restaging, Rachel Alejandro has grown up maturely in terms of acting on both theater and film. Reprising as Paula was specifically tailored for her, she owned it singing and acting per se. A perfect choice. After so much anticipation as Tony Javier, hunk Paulo Avelino was a revelation. Not with the singing though, but in terms of acting. Perfectly as a man with hidden motives and unclear ambitions.
Ang Larawan housed stellar and acclaimed Filipino actors from both stage and screen. It is the first full-length feature film of West End star international recording artist Joanna Ampil as Candida. Rachel Alejandro was too young when she first played Paula in the stage musical. Twenty years later, she was the right age to portray Paula in the screen adaptation. Heartthrob Paulo Avelino portrayed Tony Javier, a boarder whom Candida and Paula accepted to have a source of income. Theater actor Sandino Martin as a friend reporter Bitoy Camacho examined the painting, the role originated by Roeder Camañag. Cris Villonco who played Patsy in the 1998 musical appeared as Susan along with Aicelle Santos as Violet, both vaudeville artists who desiredly fantasized Tony Javier.

Stage stalwarts Nonie Buencamino and Menchu Launchengco-Yulo are the Marasigan siblings, Manolo and Pepang. Robert Arevalo as Senator Perico, wholeheartedly convinced the Marasigan sisters to stay in the house and take care their sick artist father was married to Doña Loleng portrayed by Celeste Legaspi whom Carla Martinez originated from the stage. Producer and actress Celeste Legaspi originated the role of Candida and reprised it in 1998 restaging along with Ricky Davao, the original Tony Javier. Cara Manglapus as Patsy, a young jazz singer and daughter of Don Perico and Doña Loleng. Zsa Zsa Padilla who originated the role of Paula from the musical stage version portrayed Elsa Montes whom the beautiful actress Dawn Zulueta played onstage, a Filipina socialite from New York and Rayver Cruz as Charlie Dacanay, being both friends of Doña Loleng.

The participation of Ogie Alcasid as policeman Tinio was a great shift and contradicting from his usual sidekick and comedic role made it hilariously beautiful along with Jojit Lorenzo as policeman Bernal. The rousing finale scene became a gathering of veteraned and seasoned actors from television, film and stage. Actress and film producer Armida Siguion-Reyna originated the role of Doña Upeng, but in the film Dulce made an impressive interpretation. Nanette Inventor as Doña Irene, Jaime Fabregas as Don Aristeo, Bernardo Bernardo as Don Alvaro, Noel Trinidad as Don Miguel and Leo Rialp as Don Lorenzo Marasigan. Other notable actors and actresses who made a cameo appearance were Mikee Cojuangco Jaworski who played Patsy in the stage version, Ricky Davao, Toma Cayabyab, Martin del Rosario, Ryan Cayabyab and Emmy Cayabyab.

Loy Arcenas (Director), Celeste Legaspi Gallardo, Rachel Alejandro and Girlie Rodis (Executive Producers), Rolando Tinio, National Artist for Theater and Literature (Librettist), Ryan Cayabyab conducted The ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra (Music and Score), Hit Productions (Sound), Lawrence Fajardo (Editor), Boy Yñiguez (Cinematography), Marilen Magsaysay (Colorist), Gino Gonzales (Production Design) and Alemberg Ang (Producer)

Showing nationwide in the Philippines on December 25, official entry to Metro Manila Film Festival. For updates: www.anglarawan.com or at Facebook/AngLarawanTheMovie 

Text and event photos by Gilbert Kim Sancha. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Tagumpay Transwoman crowned as Queen of Queens in Puerto Princesa.

Amidst heavy rains brought by Typhoon Urduja, the annual search for the most confidently loving gay/transwomen of Puerto Princesa still push last December 20 at Baywalk stage, out of 20 candidates the HIV advocate from Brgy. Tagumpay take home this year’s crown, Floriza Bracamontes is an early bet in this most awaited pageant for gay in the City, she also take home best in Swimsuit and long gown award.
Top Ten
Bracamontes is a free-lance make-up artist, a bread winner in the family who sacrificed so much in order for her siblings to stay in school. She is so proud and happy living with her “the one” as she call it her forever.

Crowd’s favorite Candidate #14 Anton Beyqueen Sanchez of Brgy. San Pedro, a BPO Manager land as Puerto Princesa Queen of Queens of the North, while pageant veteran Ma. Ryza Lucero of Sicisican grabbed Queen of the South title.  Future professional model representing Brgy. Princesa Baba Igual is the first runner up and aspiring Cabin crew from Brgy. Model Kylie Hale is this year’s second runner up.
Swimsuit round. 
Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc Program Manager Marvi Trudeau is the chairman of jurors that include JAMP Media owner and international Luxury Brand Photographer Joe Chua Agdeppa, Candili Foundation head Barry Sumpio, Chez Rose owner Rose Dantes, Bong Villanueva Salon representative Crystala Espina, Paboreal Hotel owner Enrico Coco, Q and A specialist Val Mangalino and many others.
Emman Ustares during serenade portion.
Upcoming young singer Emman Ustares serenade the finalist while waiting for the official result. Palawan’s most sought after events host Michaela Saludsod is the master of ceremonies. The almost 4 hour pageant merely focus on advocating the pressing issue of HIV and AIDS spread in the City. Councilor Roy Ventura and City Information Officer Richard Ligad deliver their speech respectively in support of the activity and for the LGBTQ community of Puerto Princesa.
Local Gay Icons. Jojie Locsin and Jimmy Puno.
Puerto Princesa Queen of Queens 2017 is part of the month long fiesta celebration of the City with auspices from the City Government thru Mayor Lucilo Bayron, it is now on its 5th year under Joey Ganda Productions. Local Gay veterans icon Jojie Locsin and Jimmy Puno were given award in honor of their contributions to the LGBTQ community. 

Also present in relinquishing the crown to their successors are PPQQ South- Bubbles Mercado, PPQQ North-Gengie Bautista, and PPQQ 2016 Joms De Leon. 

Here is the complete set of winners.
Miss Congeniality- Ma. Ryza Lucero, Sicsican.
Miss Photogenic - Russel Sanchez, San Isidro
Best in Talent – Emz Dela Vega, Maunlad
Ms. Natasha – Chloe Baluyot, Bancao-Bancao
Ms. MSE – Baba Igual, Princesa
HIV/AIDS Ambassador – Bianca Montecilla, Inagawan Sub.

Semi- Finalists. (Top Ten)
Baba Igual, Princesa
Kylie Hale, Model
Wenn Castro, Buenavista
Ma. Ryza Lucero, Sicsican
Aurora Sornel, Maligaya
Anton Beyqueen Sanchez, San Pedro
Russel Sanchez, San Isidro
Ariana Michelle Bautista, San Jose
Chloe Baluyot, Bancao-Bancao
Floriza Bracamontes, Tagumpay

Winners:
2nd Runner Up- Kylie Hale, Model
1st Runner Up- Baba Igual, Princesa
PPQQ-South- Ryza Lucero, Sicsican
PPQQ North- Anton Beyqueen Sanchez, San Pedro
Puerto Princesa Queen of Queens- Floriza Bracamontes.