Posts by Ibarra Mateo:

    Pulso Filipinas gala celebrates diverse Philippine dances

    June 30th, 2018

    Ibarra C. Mateo

    Image courtesy of CCP

    THE Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) production “Pulso Filipinas” is a gala showcasing and celebrating the country’s diverse dance culture, dance groups, and dance artists.

    Thus said artistic director Paul Alexander Morales as he notes in an interview that the “Pulso Filipinas: Filipino Dance Gala 2018 Synergy in Philippine Dance,” on June 30 and July 1, highlights works ranging from ethnic/folk, contemporary, hip-hop/jazz, ballroom to classical ballet, said.

    Morales said “dance is always a cause for celebration.”

    “In the Philippine dance scene, there is always cause for celebration. Dance festivals in the country are few and far between. The the last dance festival we had was two years ago,” Morales explained.

    He also said that “Pulso Filipinas celebrates dance companies that have endured as well as the new elements in our contemporary scene. We hope to showcase some of the best groups in this all-Filipino gala.”

    “We will be showing local treasures unearthed and shining examples of current and new work and talents,” Morales stressed.

    The Pulso festival was preceded by activities such as “Body Talks,” workshops, forum, dance talks, and other dance appreciation activities.

    The festival assembles major dance companies such as CCP resident companies Ballet Philippines, Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company, Philippine Ballet Theatre, and the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group.

    Image courtesy of CCP

    Also participating are the Bacolod City’s Dance Pull Project; university-based dance companies such as the UP Dance Company; and various groups from Metro Manila, including Ballet Manila, Airdance, G-Force, Philippine AllStars, and Belinda Adora Ensemble. It also features performances of Abbey Carlos and Michael Barry Que and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Ligaya Amilbangsa with the AlunAlun Dance Circle.

    Other activities included CCP Arts Online talk with Morales, open rehearsals, roundtable discussions with dance organizations, dance talk (“Dignity and Character-Building through the Discipline of Dance”) with Ms. Gina Katigbak, and lecture (“Modern Dance History”) by Gia Gequinto.

    There were also dance workshops on hip-hop, ballroom, modern dance and adult ballet.


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    ‘Labfest’ audience hungry for original, daring, brave stories

    June 27th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    Image © Cultural Center of the Philippines

    THE audience’s “hunger for original, brave, daring stories” are among the factors that sustained the growth of the annual festival Virgin Labfest or VLF.

    This according to Cultural Center of the Philippines Vice President and Artistic Director Chris B. Millado as he acknowledged that the early years of the VLF attracted mainstream performers.

    VLF is now on its 14th year, with a theme “silip” or “to take a peek. It opened on June 27 and will run until July 15 at various CCP venues.

    “Best of all, the VLF attracted and grew a large audience following. Those who had watched VLF in the years 1, 2, and 3 are now bringing their sons and daughters,” Millado, who is one of the artistic directors of VLF 2018, said.

    “Appeal (of the VLF) is in the catch phrase staging of unpublished, untried, untested, and unstaged works. There is now a hunger for original, brave, and daring stories,” Millado said.

    “As much as the playwrights are willing to take risks, we have audience who are also willing to take the same artistic risks as well. This is the appeal of the VLF. Now, we are having its 14th edition,” Millado said

    Tuxqs Rutaquio, VLF 2018 dramaturg and festival director, said throughout the years, “the VLF evolved from a festival of veteran, emerging, and newbie playwrights into one of each year’s much awaited theatrical events.”

    “It has solidified itself as a viable platform for the continuous development of playwrights by not only de-virginizing their plays but by first and foremost providing an avenue where their voice is given top priority by encouraging them to churn out plays according to their desires without the trappings of imposed themes or other concerns,” Rutaquio said.

    This year, Rutaquio said, “we chose 12 new plays, we remained true to the festival’s vision of de-virginizing playwrights alongside directors, actors, stage managers, and audiences.”

    Rody Vera, co-founder of the VLF and executive director of The Writer’s Bloc, said there were about 150 entries for the 2018 VLF edition, from which 12 plays were selected for staging.

    Vera named the six new playwrights this years: Dustin Celestino (Mga Eksena sa Buhay ng Kontrabida); Rolin Migyuel Obina (Mga Bata sa Selda 43); Anthony Kim Vergara (Ang Inyong mga Anak: Si Harold At Napoleon); JV Ibesate (Tulad ng Dati); Lino Balmes (Amoy Pulbos ang mga Alabok Sa Ilalim ng Riles ng Tren); and Tyron Casumpang (Marawi Musicale).

    The “non-virgin” playwrights are; Ma. Cecilia dela Rosa (Labor Room); Juan Ekis (Ensayo); Allan Lopez (River Lethe); Sari Saysay (Ang Mga Propesyunal); Jose Dennis Teodosio (Rosas), and Carlo Vergara (Edgar Allan Hemingway).

    The plays in the VLF Staged Reading category are: Jay Crisostomo (Without the Drama); Peter Zaragoza Mayshle (Dolorosa); John Lapus (Bagyolanda); and Dominic Lim (Asalto).

    The 2018 Revisited Plays are: Eljay Castro Deldoc’s Pilipinas Kong Mahal With All The Overcoat; Adrian Ho’s Sincerity Biker’s Club; and Rick Patriarca’s Birdcage.

    The CCP partners with its resident theater company Tanghalang Pilipino and The Writer’s Bloc, in staging the VLF.

    The new plays are divided into four sets. Set A includes: “Mga Eksena sa Buhay ng Kontrabida,” written by Dustin Celestino and directed by Roobak Valle; “Mga Bata sa Selda 43,” written by Rolin Migyuel Cadallo Obina and directed by Ian Segarra; and “Ang Inyong mga Anak: Si Harold at Napoleon,” written by Anthony Kim Vergara and directed by Ricardo Magno.

    For Set B has “Bagyolanda,” written by John Lapus and directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio, “Ang Mga Propesyunal,” penned by Sari Saysay and directed by Carlitos Siguion-Reyna, “Rosas” by playwright J. Dennis Teodosio, directed by Charles Yee, and “Edgar Allan Hemingway” by Carlo Vergara and directed by George de Jesus III.

    Set C has “Labor Room” by Ma. Cecilia “Maki” dela Rosa, directed by Jose Estrella and Issa Manalo Lopez, “Ensayo” by Juan Ekis and directed by Eric Villanueva dela Cruz, and “Tulad ng Dati” by JV Ibesate and directed by Olive Nieto.

    Set D is composed of “Amoy Pulbos ang mga Alabok sa Ilalim ng Riles ng Tren” by playwright Lino Balmes and director Tess Jamias, “Marawi Musicale” by playwright Tyron Casumpang and director Ariel Yonzon, and “River Lethe” by playwright Allan Lopez and director Chris Martinez complete the list.

    Three plays in the previous edition of the VLF will be remounted. These are: “Birdcage” written by Rick Patriarca and directed by Ian Segarra; “Sincerity Biker’s Club” by Adrian Ho and directed by Jenny Jamora; and “Pilipinas kong Mahal with all the Overcoat” by Eljay Castro Deldoc and directed by Roobak Valle and Tuxqs Rutaquio.

    The Staged Readings feature “Without the Drama” by playwright Jay Crisostomo, directed by Renate Bustamante; and “Dolorosa” by playwright Peter Zaragoza Mayshle, directed by Chic San Agustin.

    The main play features will be staged at Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater), while the VLF Revisited will be performed at Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP Studio Theater), and the Staged Readings will be at Tanghalang Amado V. Hernandez.

    The Virgin Labfest Writing Fellowship Program, a two-week mentorship program on the study and practice of dramatic writing for the stage, will also be held as part of the festival. The fellowship program aims to train young aspiring playwrights through a series of lectures, script critiquing, writing sessions and interactions with known playwrights, directors and selected actors.

    Tickets are for sale at the CCP and all TicketWorld outlets. For ticketing information, please call the CCP Marketing Department at 832-3706 or 832-3704 or email the Sales and Promotions Division at


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    PHL films highlighted in 23rd French Film Fest

    June 12th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    AS THE Philippines marked its 120th independence today, June 12, this year’s French Film Festival showcased three films by Filipino directors who had garnered awards in French film competitions.

    French Ambassador to Manila Nicolas Galey said the screening of Filipino films during the Philippine Independence Day is a “tradition of paying tribute to Philippine cinema.”

    On June 12, Philippine Independence Day, the French Film Festival honored the films by Director Raymond Red, a pioneer of Philippine independent cinema and the 1st Filipino to be awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000 for his short film, Anino.

    Anino still shot. Image © French Embassy in the Philippines

    The 13-minute Anino was screened together with another Red film, Himpapawid.

    The third film to be shown at the 23rd edition of the festival was Bagahe, the latest film by Director Zig Dulay. Bagahe won the grand prize, Cyclo d’Or, in the 2018 Vesoul Asian Film Festival.

    “Among the aims of French cultural diplomacy is to promote cultural diversity through cinema. In the Philippines, the French Film Festival has been giving the Filipino public a glimpse of French culture and society for 23 years. It provides an alternative to the commercial programming of movie theatres, thereby promoting this diversity to the local audience,” Galey said.

    This year’s festival offers a panorama of contemporary French productions, from family dramas to romance, modern-day comedies, action and animation.

    “I am also proud to announce that this year will be the first time ever for us to organize this festival in Luzon, in Visayas and Mindanao,” Galey said.

    Martin Macalintal, French Embassy audiovisual attaché, said French cinema “has found an audience in the Philippines” in the last 23 years.

    Image © French Embassy in the Philippines

    “While the commercial circuit continues to be dominated by Hollywood blockbusters, international festivals have provided Filipinos an alternative programming that gives them the chance to see a different kind of cinema – to witness stories that look into human values, relationships, and socio-economic conditions in contemporary French society that they may, sometimes surprisingly, identify with,” Macalintal said.

    Commercial theaters have opened their doors to festivals to offer their loyal clients diversity in film choices, even for limited periods, Macalintal said.

    This year, the Ayala cinemas are hosting the French Film Festival in several venues in Metro Manila: Greenbelt 3 in Makati City, Central Square in Bonifacio High Street, Taguig, and UP Town Center in Quezon City, as well as in Ayala Center in Cebu and Abreeza Mall in Davao.

    As Philippine cinema celebrates 100 years, the French Film Festival pays tribute to the centennial of the birth of one of France’s great directors, Jean-Pierre Melville, Macalintal said.

    The groups behind this year’s film festival are: the Embassy of France to the Philippines, Institut Français, UniFrance, the Alliance Française de Manille, Film Development Council of the Philippines, Ayala Malls Cinemas, SSI Group, and Central Square.

    From Makati, Taguig, and Quezon City, the film festival goes to Davao City for the first time through the Abreeza Mall – Davao on June 21 and 22, then makes its way to the Ayala Center Cebu from June 25 to 27.

    Tickets for each screening are priced at PHP150 to cover the operational costs of the cinema and may be purchased at the box office or through

    Image © French Embassy in the Philippines

    For its 23rd edition, the French Film Festival screens 21 French films embodying the “richness and depth of French society through the creativity of French filmmakers.”

    The line-up includes critically-acclaimed films such as Personal Shopper (Official Competition, Cannes Film Festival 2016), La Prière (The Prayer) (Silver Bear for Best Actor, Berlin Film Festival 2018), and the jazz biopic Django (Opening Film, Berlin Film Festival 2017).

    Art serves as the backdrop in telling stories about passion and relationships – between artist Paul Cézanne and writer Emile Zola in Cézanne et moi (Cézanne and I), between a Russian ballerina and a French dancer in Polina, and between the fashion icon and his business partner and lover, Pierre Bergé, in Yves Saint Laurent.

    This year’s line-up presents films for a variety of audiences: dramas Orpheline (Orphans) and Une Vie (A Woman’s Life), comedies Epouse-moi mon pote (Marry Me, Dude) and Rock ‘n Roll for the light-hearted, the dystopian science fiction film Seuls (Alone) and animated film Louise en hiver (Louise by the Shore)for the younger audiences, and the documentary Voyage à travers le cinémafrançais (A Journey Through French Cinema) for film aficionados.

    Highlighted this year is the recently released 5th installment of the action-packed blockbuster, Taxi, which screened for the first time in Manila.

    The festival also features a retrospective of films by acclaimed director Jean-Pierre Melville, who pioneered French film noir between the 1940s to the 1960s.

    For the film line-up and screening schedule, or

    For inquiries, contact the Embassy of France to the Philippines at or 0966-389-9119.

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    Global, Asian Shakespeare scholars, theatre people assemble in PH

    May 29th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    PROMINENT Shakespearean scholars and theatre practitioners from all over the world, with focus and keen interest in “Shakespeare as produced in and by Asia,” have started on Monday in the Philippines the 3rd biennial conference of the Asian Shakespeare Association.

    Filipino organizers of the Shakespeare, Traffics, Tropics – jointly hosted by the Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines in Diliman – said the three-day conference includes a mini-festival of Shakespearean performances from Japan, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

    The conference features plenary, panel, and seminar sessions on several aspects of Shakespearean pedagogy, publication, translation, adaptation, and theatrical histories in various Asian locations, organizers said.

    Selected papers from the conference will be published as a special issue of Kritika Kultura, a Thomson-Reuters-indexed and Scopus-listed internationally refereed online journal on literary, language, and cultural studies published by the Ateneo de Manila University.

    On Monday, Prof. Peter Holland, chairman of the International Shakespeare Association and one of the central figures in performance-oriented Shakespeare criticism, delivered the keynote speech of the conference. Holland teaches at the University of Notre Dame, where he holds the McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies and is associate dean for the arts.

    The Monday keynote by Holland, “On the Shakespeare Trail,” was followed by an exhibit opening for the 2nd Graphic Shakespeare Competition. The 1st day was capped by the performance from Tanghalang Ateneo of “The Squaddies’ Shrew” directed by Ian McLennan at the Doreen Black Box, Areté.

    The 2nd day of the conference moved to the UP Diliman’s College of Arts and Letters, with sessions on Shakespeare and Manga, Shakespearean Translations, and other panel discussions. The KL Shakespeare Players will stage “Shakespeare Demystified: Macbeth” at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theatre, Palma Hall, UP Diliman, also on Tuesday.

    Organizers said Day 3 is expected to close with a performance of “RD3RD”, directed by Anton Juan and Ricardo Abad, with dramaturgy by Judy Ick at the Fine Arts Blackbox at ADMU, alongside other panel discussions held throughout the day.

    The event is sponsored by Japan Foundation and the UPD Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts, among others.

    The Asian Shakespeare Association is a non-profit, non-government organization dedicated to researching, producing, teaching, translating, and promoting Shakespeare from an Asian perspective.

    Members of the association include scholars, artists, and students from Australia, Brunei, Canada, China, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

    Professors Judy Celine Ick and Ricardo G. Abad are conference co-convenors.

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    EU launches 1st Euro-Pinoy music concert on May 30

    May 28th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    THE European Union delegation to the Philippines gathers musicians from Austria, Spain, Sweden, and in the country to perform in the 1st Euro-Pinoy Concert in a bid to expand EU-Philippine collaboration and cooperation among its artists.

    Admission to the Euro-Pinoy Concert is free. The concert is set at 7:30 pm. on Wednesday (May 30), the The Ruins in Poblacion, Makati City. The concert is part of the celebration of the Viva Europa 2018 and the European Year of Cultural heritage.

    The EU said the featured performers will be Stefan Löwenstein and Michael Rattinger (Austria), Alex Alcaraz (Spain), Jeanette Kamphuis (Sweden), and Jean Paul Zialcita and Bhutta B (Philippines).

    European Union Ambassador Franz Jessen said the EU Delegation is pleased to collaborate with the Embassies of Austria and Sweden, and Instituto Cervantes de Manila to present the Euro-Pinoy Concert.

    “Through the concert, we want to bring the distinctive fusion of collaboration between and among European artists and musicians along with their Filipino counterparts,” Jessen said.

    “Music is the language of the soul, and this concert tries to bridge the EU and the Philippines together,” Jessen said.

    Austrian Löwenstein is a sound artist, music producer, and percussionist from Vienna who develops music environments for events and brands with his company. He composed the score for Austria’s Biennale Venice entry and developed his own interactive sound installations showcased at art festivals in Manchester and York in the UK, New York, and Manila.

    Manila-based Austrian Rattinger is a record digger interested in all types of percussion-heavy, dubby, and soulful sounds. Since 2013, he is the co-organizer and DJ at Afro Beat Club, Manila’s only, and highly irregular, African and Afro-inspired dance music party.

    Image © EU delegation

    Spanish Alcaraz is a Flamenco guitarist who was born and raised in Granada, Spain. In 2012, he decided to move to the Philippines and since then, he has been collaborating with Flamenco academies in Manila and several Filipino musicians.

    Swedish Kamphuis is a jazz artist and violinist and uses piano for her compositions. She is also a visual artist and has appeared in a television program for a major network in the Philippines.

    Zialcita is a Filipino percussionist who uses an exotic mix of upcycled found objects and local materials combined with elements of Filipino martial arts to re-imagine the Philippines on the world stage.

    Butta B has been a figure in Manila’s night life industry for four years now. Her career began when she started promoting “Bad Decisions Wednesdays” in Black Market. She is known for serving up anything from old school hip hop and RnB, to heavy bass, trap, house, funk, and dance music. Her fresh sound has landed her gigs both locally and internationally.

    Michellan Sarile-Alagao is to render a Spoken Word Performance.

    For more details, please visit,

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    Actors, rappers, opera singers headline Huseng Batute tribute at CCP

    May 25th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    Image © CCP

    HOW does one explain to the young Filipino millennials the life and literary achievements of poet José Corazon de Jesus, considered as the first king of “balagtasan”, who is marking his 86th death anniversary on May 26?

    The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), under its President Arsenio J. Lizaso, has enlisted a phalanx of seasoned actors, ventriloquist, opera singers, traditional mambabalagtas from Bulacan, and young rappers to do this.

    The roster includes established actors John Arcilla, Ronnie Lazaro, Lou Veloso, ventriloquist Ony Carcamo, the Philippine Opera Company, and rappers Beware and Negatibo.

    It was revealed in a news conference that Lizaso is a nephew of De Jesus on his mother’s side.

    In the same news conference, Lizaso announced that the CCP’s production of “Pagbabalik-Tanaw sa Unang Hari ng Balagtasan” coincides with the 86th death anniversary of De Jesus.

    “The CCP is honoring Jose Corazon de Jesus or Huseng Batute through this event because his works exemplify artistic excellence, cultural values, Filipino aesthetics, and our national identity. These are embodied in our performance pledge to attain a humanistic global society,” Lizaso said.

    “In this digital age, we would like to introduce the millennials to traditional poetry, the balagtasan, and the kundiman music which are the precursors of Spoken Word, the rap battles, and the modern Filipino love songs,” Lizaso said.

    Activities begin at 1:30 pm. at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute. The theater, a black box intended for experimental performances, was named after the poet’s pen name Huseng Batute. The event is free and open to the public.

    Image © CCP

    De Jesus was born on Nov. 22, 1896 and died on May 26, 1932.

    A native of Sta. Cruz district of Manila, his parents were Dr. Vicente de Jesus and Susana Pangilinan.

    De Jesus wrote his Buhay-Maynila column in verse at the Taliba newspaper for 10 years. His poems were published in six books, namely, Mga Dahong Ginto, Gloria, Mga Itinapon ng Kapalaran, Sa Dakong Silangan, Ilaw sa Kapitbahay, and Maruming Basahan.

    He also penned lyrics for songs, most of which are kundiman or the traditional Filipino love songs. He translated the song “Nuestra Patria” to “Bayan Ko” which is considered as the second (unofficial) national anthem of the Philippines.

    Aside from writing poetry and lyrics, Batute similarly excelled in performing in balagtasan.

    The balagtasan, named after Francisco Balagtas who wrote Florante at Laura and Orosman at Zafira, is a Filipino literary form of debate where rhymed verses are created in spontaneity under topics that range from Philippine politics to culture.

    Batute received numerous recognition for balagtasan. He won the title Hari ng Balagtasan in 1926 and again in 1929, where he beat this closest contender, Florentino Collantes.

    “Pagbabalik-Tanaw sa Unang Hari ng Balagtasan” is being staged in cooperation with the Provincial Government of Bulacan.

    The literary event has two segments. The first is the forum where invited speakers discuss the works of Batute and their relevance to the contemporary times. Second is the “Pagtatanghal” where 10 of Batute’s works are to be performed.

    Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado is one of the speakers in the forum.

    Among the Batute works to be performed are five poems, sections from the first balagtasan held at the Instituto de Mujeres in Tondo, Manila on April 6, 1924, and five songs which he provided lyrics to.

    Multi-awarded writer and performance artist Vim Nadera and Louise O. Lopez will host the event.

    The event is spearheaded by the CCP Office of the President and implemented through the Intertextual Division.

    (For more details on “Pagbabalik-Tanaw sa Unang Hari ng Balagtasan,” contact Kimberly Lim at 551-5959, 0919-3175708, or at


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    ASEAN creative economy, IPR issues discussed in CCP

    May 25th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    Margie Moran Floirendo, chairperson of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (6th from left, front row) welcomed on Thursday / May 24, 2018 the participants to the 1st ASEAN Small and Medium-sized Cultural Enterprises (SMCEs) Caravan gathering ongoing at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Photo © Rodel Valiente

    SOUTHEAST Asia’s prominent artists and craftspersons have assembled in the Philippines in an unprecedented gathering since May 21 to discuss the pioneering regional collaboration on creative economy and issues on cultural intellectual property rights.

    Held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), 23 artists and craftspersons from all 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members are discussing ways on how their individual expertise can intertwine and contribute to improving their crafts and artistic outputs.

    Participants come from the fields of performing arts, furniture-making, bamboo-weaving, sculpture, loom-weaving, beading, traditional Chinese hand puppetry, classical dance, art and design, traditional performance and costume and accessory design, and lacquer-making.

    Lilian C. Barco, ASEAN focal person at the CCP, said “nurturing, encouraging, and supporting the creative industry is among the strategic measures in the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025.”
    Barco is the ASEAN Small and Medium-sized Cultural Enterprises (SMCEs) Caravan project coordinator.

    Chris B. Millado, vice president and artistic director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (2nd from left, front row) opened on May 21, 2018 the 1st ASEAN Small and Medium-sized Cultural Enterprises (SMCEs) Caravan gathering at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Photo © Rodel Valiente.

    Ariel S. R. Yonzon, CCP’s associate artistic director for productions and exhibitions, said: “There is a felt lack of appreciation and implementation of intellectual property rights (IPR) guidelines and regulations on SMCEs in the region. This situation exposes the SMCEs artists and craftspersons to intellectual property losses and vulnerability to exploitation.”

    Yonzon is also the project director for the ASEAN SMCEs Caravan; which, after its Manila launch, is slated to move across the other nine member-states. Among the aims of the project is to build on the gains at every stop and to adopt the best practices along the way.

    A number of ASEAN members have started to address the IPR gaps in the creative economy or cultural enterprise sector in the region.

    “This ASEAN SMCEs Caravan, as we call it, is intended to familiarize the region’s artists and craftspersons to current trends and exchanges on what is going on in their respective countries,” Yonzon said.

    An expert from the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, Aldrin Mendoza, shared on Friday the Philippine experience and situation on IPR issues. Mendoza discussed also how the Philippine IPR concerns compare with the rest of ASEAN.

    “The workshops, lecture forums, and exhibitions during the meeting are all geared toward assisting the participants to map the current status of the SMCEs in the ASEAN region and in their particular countries,” Barco said.

    “At the end of the gathering, we look forward to setting up linkages and network specifically to develop a plan of action addressing the SMCEs problems on a regional scale,” Barco said.

    Ricardo Eric Cruz, ASEAN SMCEs Caravan workshop director, said: “Interaction is important. Exchange of knowledge is valuable. One has to grow creatively, technically, and productively,” Cruz said.

    Cruz cited an example where one participant was interested in “calado” or open draw-work embroidery technique. He said this participant wanted to try and adopt the “calado” in crafting puppet costume.

    Cruz said they have requested each member-state to donate an art or craft item for an exhibition that would tour the ASEAN region.

    “Since this is the ASEAN Caravan, it is hoped that for every stop of the caravan in all of the 10 members, 100 pieces of art or crafts that are unique to the region can be collected and exhibited. This is among the ultimate goals,” Cruz said.

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    Duque revamps senior PH health officials

    March 1st, 2018

    Dr. Francisco Duque III Image © wikipedia

    HEALTH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, in a sudden move on Wednesday, said he is reshuffling the Department of Health’s senior officials from the ranks of undersecretary down to directors.

    The changes in the DOH senior leadership is linked to the investigation involving Sanofi Pasteur’s dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, Duque said. The reshuffle takes effect next week.

    In a statement, Duque said the changes were made in light of investigations concerning high-ranking officials of the health department.

    On Feb. 21, two officials of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were relieved and reassigned due to their alleged connection with the issuance of Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) to Sanofi’s Dengvaxia.

    Duque’s Department Personnel Order on Feb. 21 immediately revoked the appointment of Ma. Lourdes Santiago as acting deputy director general for Field Regulatory Operations Office of the FDA and of Dr. Benjamin Co as director IV of the Center for Drug Regulation and Research of the FDA.

    The precautionary measures are being undertaken in the interest of transparency and to ensure the integrity of the audit being done by the DOH together with the FDA, Duque said on February. 21.

    The audit is on the issuance of the CPR to Sanofi’s Dengvaxia.

    On February 28, Duque said “under these changes, certain undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, and directors will be reassigned to other offices.”

    “I am re-assigning certain undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, and directors of the Department of Health in order to preserve the integrity of ongoing investigations and to prevent any potential undue influence on their findings,” Duque said in the statement.

    “I respect the recommendation of the (FDA) director general to support any efforts in ensuring that ongoing investigations remain fair and transparent and immune to undue influence,” Duque added. He assured the public that the DOH “is not taking allegations of impropriety lightly.

    Earlier, Duque said Santiago had “material participation in the approval” of Dengvaxia’s market authorization application.

    Meanwhile, Co was relieved following his admission that he received an advance copy of document or documents in a USB. Co’s receipt of said document violated a circular of the FDA.

    On Dec. 22, 2015, a CPR was issued by the FDA to Sanofi for its Dengvaxia product.
    Currently, the CPR for Dengvaxia is being suspended for one year, while Sanofi had been levied a fine of PhP100,000 for its failure to satisfy and comply with with post-marketing authorization requirements of the FDA.

    Santiago and Co were ordered to work at the Office of the FDA director general.
    The controversial Dengvaxia mass vaccination was launched and implemented during the term of then Health Secretary Janette Garin under the Aquino administration.

    Garin’s successor under the Duterte government in June 2016, Paulyn Jean Ubial continued the controversial mass vaccination, despite initial hesitation.

    Upon Duque’s appointment as secretary of health, following Ubial’s rejection by the Commission on Appointments, he suspended the Dengvaxia program in November 2017. However, at the time of the moratorium, around 830, 000 school-aged children from Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Cebu had received Dengvaxia.

    Presently, the controversy and uproar surrounding Dengvaxia is negatively affecting the expanded immunization program of the DOH, with several regions reporting declines in rates of immunization.

    As a response to this drop, Duque ordered DOH personnel to intensify and persistently talk to parents in a bid to convince them to use the other vaccination programs of the government, such as those intended to combat measles and mumps.

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    Nation to pay homage to National Artist Napoleon V. Abueva

    February 20th, 2018


    National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon-Abueva. Image © Cultural Center of the Philippines

    THE Cultural Center of the Philippines leads the nation in paying homage to the late National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon V. Abueva, who died Friday.

    Abueva, 88, also called the “Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture,” was survived by his wife Cherry and three children, Amihan, Mulawin, and Duero.

    In 1976, Abueva, who was mentored by Guillermo Tolentino, was elevated to the Order of the National Artist, becoming the youngest member of the elite order at the age of 46. Three years earlier, Tolentino was honored as National Artist for Sculpture.
    The CCP hosts the state necrological ceremonies to be held on Feb. 24, 8:30 a.m, at Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater). Internment immediately follows at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

    The CCP said Abueva’s wake is being held at the Delaney Hall of the Church of the Holy Sacrifice at the UP Diliman.

    Born on Jan. 26, 1930, Abueva “has shaped the Philippine sculpture scene by utilizing local and indigenous materials such as molave, acacia, ipil, and kamagong to create artworks replete with his nationalistic sensibility,” the CCP said. He has also utilized other modern resources like metal, steel, cement, marble, bronze, and brass.

    Adept in both academic representational style and modern abstract, the Boholano artist pioneered the buoyant sculpture, an early artistic innovation in 1951 where the sculpture juts out from the surface of a placid pool, the CCP said.

    He was one of the first Filipino artists who have put up a one-man show at the Philippine Center in New York in 1980. His piece, The Sculpture, can be seen at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

    Among his notable works are the Blood Compact Monument in Bohol, Eternal Garden Memorial Park, UP Gateway (1967), Nine Muses (1994), UP Faculty Center, Sunburst (1994) at the Peninsula Manila Hotel, the bronze figure of Teodoro M. Kalaw in front of National Library, and marble murals at the National Heroes Shrine in Mt. Samat, Bataan.

    He also designed the door handles in all the National Museum galleries.

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    Toasting love, life, loyalty through ‘Don Quixote’

    February 8th, 2018

    Cast of Ballet Philippines’ Don Quixote

    AS IF the Filipinos’ fixation on stories of love, life, and friendship were not being satiated by the everlasting telenovelas, current films such as “Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes,” “Changing Partners,” and “Call Me By Your Name,” Ballet Philippines is closing its 48th season with the famous romance between Kitri and Basilio in the classic ballet “Don Quixote.”

    BP President Margie Moran-Floirendo said Don Quixote is “truly a big, happy fiesta celebrating life, love, and dance.”

    “Don Quixote is very special to the company, and it has had a long history with us. We started staging its grand pas de deux in 1973, and mounted our first full-length of it in 1981, with Luminita Dumitrescu restaging the ballet,” she said.

    Moran-Floirendo said “one of the greatest ballerinas of all time, Natalia Makarova performed Don Quixote’s grand pas de deux here (at the Cultural Center of the Philippines) with Ballet Philippines in 1979.

    “Don Quixote is the perfect show for those watching ballet for the first time. A light and fun story, it is ballet’s rom-com. But it is also perfect for die-hard balletomanes, who will surely look out for Don Q’s signature leaps, dizzying turns, and death-defying lifts,” she told reporters.

    For the 2018 BP Don Quixote, an edition intended for millennials, the company is featuring American Joseph Gatti, who was a principal dancer of the Cincinnati Ballet and the Corella Ballet. Gatti was a first soloist of Boston Ballet.

    Joseph Gatti

    In 2005, Gatti became the first American male dancer to win the prestigious gold medal at the New York International Ballet Competition.

    Gatti and Candice Adea, BP’s resident guest artist, perform on the special gala nights of Feb. 9, 8 p.m. and Feb. 10, 7 p.m., accompanied by the Manila Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jeffrey Solares.

    The restager of the ballet is Adam Sage, who returns to BP as associate artistic director and ballet master. Sage has performed, taught, coached, and choreographed in four continents for nearly three decades.

    After his stint with BP in 1981-1983, Sage danced with Ballet West, Ballet Memphis, Hong Kong Ballet, and National Dance Company of Boputhatswana in South Africa. He also founded and served as artistic director of Missouri Ballet Theatre.

    Aside from Gatti and Adea, the principal roles of Kitri and Basilio will be portrayed by BP company members Jemima Reyes, Monica Gana, Victor Maguad, and Ian Ocampo.

    Inspired by the Miguel de Cervantes’ tale, the ballet follows the adventures of Don Quixote in Barcelona, where he meets Kitri, an innkeeper’s daughter whom he thinks is his lady love Dulcinea. Kitri, in turn, is in love with Basilio, the poor local barber. Kitri’s father does not like Basilio.

    Riot and confusion erupt as the gentleman from La Mancha unwittingly helps the two lovers attain their happy ending.

    Catch Don Quixote on Feb. 9 -11 and Feb. 16 -18 at the CCP Main Theater.

    For tickets, call BP at 551-1003, the CCP Box Office at 832-3704, or Ticketworld at 891-9999, or visit to


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    Fringe Manila’s 2018 edition sizzles the Nat’l Arts Month

    February 7th, 2018

    THE Philippine celebration of the National Arts Month this year further sizzles with the kick off of the 2018 Fringe Festival which runs until Feb. 25.

    Fringe Festival organizers said from Feb. 7 to 25, the 2018 Fringe Festival celebrates the Philippine Arts Month by featuring several of the “most dynamic interdisciplinary performances and groundbreaking new works in contemporary arts.”

    For its 4th year, the festival is presented by Pineapple Lab, a Poblacion, Makati City-based creative hub dedicated to finding innovative ways to present the works of Filipino art-makers, international artists, and collaborators.

    “Fringe’s mission is to make art accessible to audiences here in Manila who want to engage with the arts through fresh lenses and experience works that resonate with them. We built this festival as an inclusive platform for artists here in the Philippines, Fil–X artists (i.e. Filipino-Canadian, Filipino-American, Filipino-European, etc.), and international creatives to present original works that celebrate the diversity of talent that converge in the Metro,” Andrei Nikolai Pamintuan, Fringe Manila’s founding board member and festival director, said.

    This 2018, festival-goers can expect the comeback of Fringe favorites such as Deus Sex Machina, SPIT, ADHD Productions, Burlesque PH, Airdance, and more fresh, exciting local and international artists coming together for one reason – to celebrate the arts.

    Fringe is thrilled to showcase newcomers to the festival.

    San Diego International Fringe Festival’s “Artists’ Pick” and “Outstanding Comedy” awardee Theatre Group GUMBO from Japan, with their show “Are you lovin it?” A surreal romp with dancing Japanese businessman, crazy cartoon mascots, and fast food satire, GUMBO brings their gut-busting, award-winning, hilarious sense of humor to Manila. “Karera”, PUP Maharlika’s first dance theatre production.

    With choreography by Daloy Dance Company’s Buboy Raquitico and costume design by Daloy and Maharlika’s very own Jomari Cruz, “Karera” is inspired by the urban rat race and is an expression of the proverbial survival of the fittest in society.

    Also new to Fringe is Phi Palmos, presenting Eljay Castro Deldoc’s “Nobenta Nostalgia,” an unfinished live documentation about the 90s TV we dearly love and fondly miss told through interviews, monologues, and songs.

    Fringe will stage the championship round of the long-running live-painting competition, Art Battle, where painters battle it out for audience votes and the chance to compete in Art Battle International.

    Following Art Battle are performances from Kulintronica, a California-based musician who fuses the sounds of the traditional Philippine kulintang with modern electronic music, and “Pagbalik”, another California-based act performing a sound and dance narrative that reflects on the meaning of being a Filipino-American, along with the memories, history, and beliefs that the two wordsembody.

    Fringe highlights the variety and volume of workshops available to audiences at this year’s festival. Award-winning, Filipino-British alternative cabaret performer Sam Reynolds will be introducing workshops and performances aimed at assisting artists in developing their own cabaret pieces through the support of the British Council and Arts Council England.

    Among the roster of workshops are those being held by Filipino-Canadian yoga instructor and Lululemon Athletica ambassador Kaye Peñaflor at Beyond – Rockwell, focusing on techniques involving Philippine folk dance, partner yoga, and aerial yoga.

    Fringe also welcomes Andreas Vierziger, with the support of the Austrian Embassy in Manila, who is conducting a series of workshops to help develop awareness of contact points between music and various disciplines or industries (such as different musical genres, crossover, dance, visual arts, tech, and coding).

    Jodinand Aguillon, the festival’s creative producer and Fringe artist himself said “it’s so important for these types of festivals to exist.”

    “By bridging independent creatives with small businesses and working with cultural institutions – Fringe works closely with its communities to make the arts a vehicle for meaningful collaborations, and a safe space for ideas and expanding networks,” Aguillon said.

    The 2018 team has worked closely with creative hubs contributing to the culturally dynamic character of Barangay Poblacion and the City of Makati.

    Among these venues are Commune, Dulo, Kapwa, The Social, and Humble Heron, as well as Century City Mall, Beyond Rockwell, NEST, Yuchengco Museum, Alliance Française Manille, Lokal Hostel, 20:20, Green Sun, and Power Mac Center Spotlight Theatre.

    Included as well are satellite venues at the Philippine Educational Theatre Association (PETA) and The PARC Foundation.

    Under the umbrella of the internationally-acclaimed World Fringe Network, Fringe Manila is an open access, artist-driven community celebration that showcases “fresh, daring, and groundbreaking works” by emerging and established artists from the Philippines, as well as, international participants in theater, music, dance, visual art, film, cabaret, performance art, burlesque, spoken word, comedy, magic, workshops, and every other artistic genre in between, organizers said.

    Since its inaugural run in 2015, Fringe has hosted over 30,000 audiences in 45 venues, featuring more than 500 performances and exhibits of more than 1,000 artists across numerous venues all over Metro Manila.

    A collaborative effort, Fringe highlights the emerging art scene in Manila’s artistic landscape.

    Tickets are available at TicketWorld (891-9999) or at for some performances.

    For more details and updates, visit their Facebook page at or follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @fringemnl or visit

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    PTTA travel tour expo opens on Feb. 8

    February 6th, 2018

    Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) officers, led by PTAA president and TTE 2018 organizing committee chairperson Marlene Dado Jante, announce the holding of the 2018 Travel Tour Expo which opens on Feb. 8.

    THE annual Travel Tour Expo (TTE), organized by the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA), opens on Thursday with at least 400 organizations participating, the highest number in its history.

    Marlene Dado Jante, PTAA president and TTE 2018 organizing committee chairperson, said the unprecedented growth of TTE coincides with its 25thanniversary. She also said its growth challenges the PTTA to explore their “options on how they can expand TTE beyond its current format.”

    The TTE, an annual travel and tourism event in the country, has a lot of room for growth, PTTA officials said, citing the 21-percent jump in the number of exhibitors this year compared with 2017.

    “When we open on February 8, it will be a very special moment for the country’s tourism industry as TTE will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Since 1993, we have been bringing together stakeholders under one roof,” Jante said.

    “We are playing a key role in the growth of Philippine tourism. This is the reason why we are pushing forward and searching for ways to evolve the expo from its venue, program, and offerings to the public,” Jante added.

    The TTE will occupy the entire SMX Convention Center and cover more than 16,000 square meters of floor space.

    During the period 2011-2017, the number of exhibitors had grown by 30 percent. This year, the TTE will occupy all the meeting rooms of the SMX Convention Center

    “In November last year, when we held our exhibitors briefing, we had at least 60 companies and organizations waitlisted. It was a significant number that we had to address because we want the TTE to host as many industry players as we can,” Jante said.

    Beyond the Philippine tourism stakeholders, the TTE plays host to hotels and resorts, airlines, tour operators, cruise lines, theme parks, and national tourism organizations from overseas. It also features embassies and regional tourism offices, and local government units.

    Simultaneous with the TTE is the 3rd edition of the International Travel Trade Expo (iTTE).

    The iTTE is the business-to-business (B2B) component of TTE which allows PTAA members to have pre-appointed one-on-one meetings with executives from international tourism companies and national tourism organizations.

    Among the countries and territories expected to participate in iTTE are Australia, Cambodia, China, Egypt, France, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United States, and Vietnam.

    Two of the options being looked at by the PTAA is venue expansion or holding the TTE at two different locations.

    “The PTAA has to seriously consider having a plausible secondary venue open along with SMX in the future because of the sheer number of exhibitors that want to participate. At the same time, we also see the iTTE becoming a key element of the country’s tourism industry. There is really a need for more space,” Jante said.

    However, she said that any expansion has to make sense logistically and within the fiscal capacity of the PTAA. She added that venue for the TTE has to be easily accessible to visitors coming from any location.

    “We want to ensure that there will be no glitches during the expo specifically on all the exhibitors’ internet access. Transactions have to be seamless during the expo and the public must be able to book their travels with ease,” Jante said.

    “Over the years, the TTE has prided itself as the one-stop-shop for all the travel needs of our countrymen. We intend to keep and even exceed that commitment,” Jante said.

    This year’s TTE is supported by the Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, Philippine Airlines, Mabuhay Miles, and Citibank.


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    CCP unveils 2018 shows, new national artists to be presented in July

    February 2nd, 2018

    Cultural Center of the Philippines. Image ©

    THE Cultural Center of the Philippines unveiled its roster of 2018 shows, with the July conferment of the newest batch of national artists and the September gala concert to honor its first and longest-serving president as among the peak points.

    Chris B. Millado, CCP vice president and artistic director, made the official announcement of the 2018 CCP season in a press conference at the CCP’s Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Little Theater). He said the 2018 season productions “lead up” to the CCP’s 50th anniversary year-long celebrations from September 2019.

    “Come July, the CCP and National Commission for Culture and the Arts will jointly hold the conferment ceremony and tribute to the awardees of the Order of National Artists, the highest national recognition given to Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts,” Millado said.

    CCP Vice President and Artistic Director Chris B. Millado

    Millado also said discussions on the 2018 batch of national artists “have already started as we speak.”

    “This year, the CCP also celebrates the life and works of National Artist Lucresia R. Kasilag with a concert dubbed as CCP Gala: The King’s Concert in September,” he said.

    “Tita King,” as Kasilag was fondly called, spent her life developing the Filipino audience’s appreciation of music. Kasilag was the first and longest-serving CCP president, from 1976 to 1986.

    “She worked to discover the Filipino roots through ethnic music and fuse it with Western influences, an approach that current Filipino composers emulate,” Millado said.

    Most of the CCP productions will be mounted by its resident companies namely, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO), Ballet Philippines (BP), Philippine Ballet Theatre (PBT), Tanghalang Pilipino (TP), Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company, UST Symphony Orchestra, National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA), and the Philippine Madrigal Singers.

    The PPO, CCP’s resident orchestra company, celebrates its 45th anniversary with a concert featuring classical masterpieces under the baton of its music director and resident conductor Maestro Yoshikazu Fukumura, as well as outreach concerts, and performances all over the Philippines.

    Both the Saturday Group and Philippine Arts Educators mark their 50th anniversary with respective exhibits this March.

    In May, the Association of Pinoyprintmakers holds an exhibition for their 50th anniversary.

    The Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video, considered as the longest-running independent film competition of its kind in the Southeast Asian region, highlights its 30th run this year.

    The competition harvests the best films in various categories such as Short Feature/Narrative, Experimental, Documentary, and Animation. It will also be a year of collaborations with international artistic companies, as well as Philippine premieres of international productions.

    It started with the Japanese theater company Rinkogun which presented “Retire-Men,” a humorous play about the Japanese people who move to different Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and the Philippines, on Jan. 27 and 28, at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute.

    On Feb. 8 and 9, CCP hosts the UNIMA Chinese Puppetry, showcasing the magnificent and mystical tradition of Chinese puppetry and featuring performances by the Yangzhou Puppetry Troupe, the Pingyang Puppetry Protection and Inheritance Center, and the Sichuan Huge Puppet Theatre.

    The Russian Classical Ballet performs “Swan Lake,” featuring two of the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet Theatre dancers Alexander Volchkov and Nina Kaptsova, from Feb. 27 to March 11 at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.

    Image ©

    After 10 years, the Earth Hour returns to CCP.

    Organized by the Wold Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Earth Hour is the world’s largest environmental movement urging people to switch off non-essential lights for 60 minutes, as a way to protect and save the planet.

    On March 24, Filipinos are encouraged to participate at activities at the CCP grounds to mark #Connect2Earth in a festive night.

    In September, the CCP launches the Encyclopedia of Philippine Arts.

    Akapella Open International 2018, a competition for contemporary a capella groups which aims to promote the love for contemporary a capella and appreciation for vocal harmony performance, happens in October.

    Other highlights of 2018 CCP season calendar include: the Young Artists Series, which is co-produced with the Philippine Opera Company; Marawing Salamat: The Best of Opera and Fashion for Marawi featuring I Pagliacci, a two-act Italian opera with music and libretto by Ruggero Leoncavallo; 2017 Gawad Buhay Philstage Award, the pioneering industry awards exclusively for the performing arts; Triple Threats, a series of concept concerts featuring real life couples Julienne Mendoza and Stella Cañete, Robert Seña and Isay Alvarez, Franco Laurel and Ayen Munji Laurel; Wifi, a competition for choreographers; Festival of Arts and Ideas, now on its 2nd year; CCP Ballet Competition 2018, gathering ballet dancers, choreographers, and masters who will compete in classical solo variation and contemporary piece categories; Performatura: Spoken Work Festival, celebrating literature by engaging it with music, theater, dance, film, and visual arts; CCP Met Opera in HD at the Ayala Cinema; Kabataang Gitarista, now on its 6th year.

    There are also CCP regular festivals and shows such as the Pasinaya, considered the largest multi-arts festival in the country where Filipino people can pay as much as you want and see as many as you can; the Virgin Labfest, the annual festival of raw, untested and un-staged one-act plays; Cinemalaya, the largest independent film festival with the aim to support cinematic works by upcoming and veteran Filipino filmmakers.

    Proud of its art education and outreach programs, the CCP holds various training and workshops such as National Rondalla Workshop 2018, National Folk Dance Workshop for Teachers, CCP Hands-on Choral Workshop, CCP Summer Dance Workshop, among others.

    Must-see exhibitions include “Walking Still: Rene Aquitania Exhibit”; “Stretched Banners” by MJ Flaminiano; and, solo exhibits by Marlon Contreras, Froilan Calayag, Lesley Ann Cao, among others.

    (For more information, please call CCP at 832-1125 and visit



    Gian Magdangal leads all-Filipino cast of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’

    November 1st, 2017

    Cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Image © Resorts World Manila

    STAGE actor Gian Magdangal leads the all-Filipino cast of Resorts World Manila’s production of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” now running at the Newport Performing Arts Theater.

    Magdangal, who recently returned to the Philippines after a three-year stint at the Hong Kong Disneyland’s “The Golden Mickeys” and “Mickey and the Wondrous Book,” was also one of the lead performers for Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan.

    Magdangal plays the role of eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts, while actress Yanah Laurel plays his love interest Truly Scrumptious.

    RWM, in cooperation with Ultimate Shows, is staging for the first time in the country Ian Fleming’s “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” which premiered on Oct. 21.

    Thirty-four years after its movie version was released in 1968, the English musical was first staged at the London Palladium in 2002 and became its longest running show ever with a three and a half year run. A UK tour also ran from 2005 until 2008.

    Prior to the Manila production, the musical was also staged on Broadway, New York; the Capitol Theater, Sydney; the State Theater, Munich; and Singapore’s Esplanade, among others.

    I was very excited when I got the part. I’m really a fan of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and it was a big part of my childhood,” Laurel said. “I think it will appeal to Filipino audiences because it’s a spectacle of a show, the music is beautiful, and for those who are unfamiliar, it’s going to be an exciting treat for them because every single number is a production number,” Laurel said.

    For the role of Jeremy Potts, 12-year-old Noel Comia, a two-time Aliw Awardee for Best Child Performer and 2017 Cinemalaya Best Lead Actor for his role in  “Kiko Boksingero,” alternates with 11-year-old Albert Silos. Silos had acted in RWM’s” The King And I” and “Cinderella”.

    Isabeli Araneta Elizalde returns to the NPAT stage as Jemina Potts, after her breakthrough performance in RWM’s “Annie” which won her the Discovery of the Year award in the 2016 Aliw Awards. Alternating with Elizalde is Zoey Alvarade who had performed in stage productions such as “It’s a Giant World,” “Jewel of Antilles, “Two Worlds, One Island,” “Seussical Jr.,” Wizard of Oz,” and “Greased Lightning.”

    Other members of the cast are Mako Alonso as Boris. Reb Atadero (Goran), James Paolleli (Grandpa Potts), Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo (Baroness). Raymund Concepcion (Baron Bomburst), Michael Williams (Toymaker), and Lorenz Martinez (Childcatcher).

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” is directed by Jaime del Mundo, with assistant direction by Lauchengco-Yulo and artistic direction by Williams, with the music of the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Rodel Colmenar.

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang runs at the NPAT in RWM. For details, please visit, www.rwmanila.comor call (632) 908-8833.

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    Rock musical ‘Hair’ closes Rep’s 50th season, 51st opens with ‘Comedy of Tenors’

    October 31st, 2017


    THE rock musical “Hair” closes the Repertory Philippines’ 50th season this November-December while the hilarious “Comedy of Tenors” opens its 51st season next January.

    Directed by Chris B. Millado, “Hair” opens on Nov. 17 and runs until Dec. 17. Hair is considered as “the first-ever tribal love-rock musical on Broadway.”

    “We, at Rep, are more inspired than ever to keep showing quality theater to our audiences,” Mindy Perez Rubio, Rep president and chief executive officer, said.

    “For 50 years, we have been bringing the best of West End and Broadway to the Philippines and creating a space for theater arts and artists to develop. We are embarking on the next 50 years with the same passion and drive to bring live theater to more people,” Rubio said.

    “2018 is a good start, and we have a superb line-up of meaningful shows that are sure to touch and inspire,” Rubio said.

    For its 2018 season opener, Rep mounts the Paris-set “Comedy of Tenors, from Jan. 26 to Feb. 18; followed by the interesting story of female astronomers, Silent Sky,” from March 2 to 25.

    From April 6 to 29, Rep fans will be dazzled by “Arsenic and Old Lace,” a black comedy play popularized through a film adaptation starring Cary Grant.

    From Sept. 15, Rep returns with the Rep Theater for Young Audiences show Rapunzel, which runs until Jan. 27, 2019.

    The musical “Miong” about the life of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo is the season opener for 2019. It runs from March 22 to April 14, 2019, in time for Aguinaldo’s 150th birth anniversary.

    Rep aims to collaborate with the Ayala Museum for the anniversary of Aguinaldo activities that will feature snippets from the show, costumes of the era, and hopefully memorabilia of Gen. Aguinaldo.

    The upcoming Rep season is one we’re very proud of. We believe that this roster of productions offers something for all audiences to enjoy,” Joy Virata, Rep artistic director, said.

    “Everyone involved worked tirelessly to make sure we bring only the best stories that make those who watch feel and think. With the new season’s wide range of performances, from the magical and witty re-telling of Rapunzel to the historic and inspiring Miong, we’re hoping to show people that theater is for everybody,” Virata said.

    The Rep said that season passes for 2018 are already available.

    All the shows will be held at Onstage Theater in Greenbelt 1, Makati.

    Line-up of Repertory Philippines 2018 Season Shows

    Comedy of Tenors (Jan. 26 – Feb. 18)

    Ken Ludwig’s hilarious play centers on a colorful crew of characters who converge in a hotel room before an important concert. As an opera producer attempts to put on a show, his lead performer goes missing. In their misadventures, they involve a harassed producer, his frazzled assistant, an aging, temperamental and sometimes missing Italian opera star and his hot-blooded wife, their daughter, and her lover, an opera diva, and a singing waiter.

    Director: Miguel Faustmann

    Cast: Jeremy Domingo, Noel Rayos, Issa Litton, Loy Martinez, Mica Pineda, Arman Ferrer, and Shiela Martinez

    Silent Sky (Mar. 2 – 25)

    The play by Lauren Gundersen centers on historical figure Henrietta Swan Leavitt, an astronomer at Harvard College Observatory in the 1900s. She and her brilliant team of women made ground-breaking discoveries that shaped modern astronomy, despite the attitudes against women that marked the era. “Silent Sky” follows Henrietta as she navigates her personal and professional life in a man’s world.

    Director: Joy Virata

    Cast: Cathy Azanza Dy, Caisa Borromeo, Naths Everette, and Shiela Francisco

    Arsenic and Old Lace (Apr. 6 – 29)

    This 1930s-set play follows Mortimer Brewster as he goes off to visit his kooky family. While he loves his two aunts who’ve raised him, he considers the rest of his family—such as his brother Teddy who believes himself to be Teddy Roosevelt and his sadistic and murderous great grandfather — to be insane. During his short vacation back home, he finds out his beloved aunts murder lonely old men for fun. Mortimer now tries to stay on top of the crazy situation, getting rid of the cops and protecting his sweet fiancé, while trying not to turn crazy himself.

    Director: Jamie Wilson

    Cast: Joy Virata as Abby Brewster, Jay Valencia Glorioso as Martha Brewster, Nel Gomez as Mortimer Brewster, Barbara Jance as Elaine Harper, Jeremy Domingo as Teddy Brewster, Apollo Sheikh Abraham as Jonathan Brewster, Miguel Faustmann as Dr. Einstein with Steven Conde, Gabe Mercado, and Dingdong Rosales

    Rapunzel (Sept. 15, 2018 – Jan. 27,2019)

    REP Theater for Young Audiences

    This is a brand new magical musical re-telling of the classic fairy tale. The evil Lady ZaZa is determined to rule the kingdom by keeping the beautiful Princess Rapunzel trapped in a tower in the deep, dark, dreary forest. It is up to Sir Roderick and his hair stylist friend Edgar, who is on a quest to find the perfect head of hair, to rescue Princess Rapunzel and restore the kingdom with the help of a slightly neurotic Gypsy Woman and a tired, yet witty, old dragon named Socrates.

    Director: Joy Virata

    Cast: TBA

    Miong (March 22 to April 14, 2019)

    Hero Emilio Aguinaldo played a huge part in Philippine history. However, the story of his life is rarely told. Focusing on Aguinaldo’s youth, the story delves on his relationship with his middle-class provincial family, his marriage, and his beginnings in the Katipunan. “Miong” hopes to resonate with the youth and show them an example of courage and love of country.

    Director, Book and Lyrics: Joy Virata

    Music: Ian Monsod

    Cast: TBA

    For inquiries, please call Rep at 843.3570, or Ticketworld at 891.999, or log on For updates and show schedules, log on to, like and follow Repertoryphilippines on Facebook and Instagram, and follow @Repphils on Twitter.


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    Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra plays with cellist Ray Wang on Oct. 13

    October 10th, 2017

    Cellist Ray Wang Photo © Cultural Center of the Philippines-Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra

    THE Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO), under the baton of its music director Maestro Yoshikazu Fukumura, performs with Cellist Ray Wang at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Main Theater on Friday.

    The concert program, which starts at 8 pm., includes W.A. Mozart’s Symphony No. 32 in G, E. Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D minor, and I. Stravinsky’s Petrushka (Complete Ballet).

    Guest soloist Wang had performed in various musical centers and festivals in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. He had also concertized in Chicago, Cremona, Florence, London, Luxembourg, New York, Saarbrucken, Segovia, and Vancouver.

    Wang is a founding member of the Hong Kong Virtuosi, the Canzone Trio, and the New Art String Quartet in Hong Kong.

    He is known for his passion in teaching music and he has nurtured generations of outstanding young cellists who garnered awards and citations in international competitions and became members of major symphony orchestras in Asia.

    He was previously a music faculty member of the Baptist University and Chinese University of Hong Kong. He had taught in Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Australia, Fu Jen Catholic University of Taiwan, Wuhan Conservatory, Xinghai Conservatory, Central Conservatory of Music in China.

    Billed as “Romancing the Classics,” the 35th season of the PPO opened on Sept. 15, featuring pianist Yuri Shadrin. The Sept. 13 concert program included G. Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims Overture, F. Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.1 in E-flat, and S. Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No.2 in E minor.

    As a soloist with orchestras, as well as in solo recitals, Russian-born pianist Shadrin is widely known through South America, Asia, and the US.

    The PPO, a resident company of the CCP, is considered as the country’s leading orchestra and is widely regarded as one of the top musical ensembles in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Established on May 15, 1973 as the CCP Philharmonic Orchestra, the PPO has premiered Filipino compositions and featured works by foreign composers not yet performed in the Philippines.

    It continues to promote music appreciation through outreach concerts in schools, parishes, government agencies, and underserved communities in Metro Manila and in different regions in the country.

    (For inquires and subscription, call the CCP Marketing Department at 832-1125 local 1806; the CCP Box Office at 832-3704; or the TicketWorld at 891-9999).

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    ‘The Sound of Music’ in troubled times in Manila

    October 6th, 2017

    One of the many enchanting scenes of the musical Sound of Music Photo © Erickson dela Cruz

    THE Sept. 27 opening of “The Sound of Music” at The Theatre Solaire was timely, happening several days after Filipinos commemorated the horrors of martial law under then President Ferdinand Marcos.

    This London West End production of “The Sound of Music” overjoyed many in the audience who went to watch the Sept. 29 gala performance. At the end of the show, a roaring and well-deserved standing ovation was bestowed upon the cast who performed several of the most memorable numbers in musical theatre history.

    This touring production has the music of Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Jeremy Sams is the director while Kevin Kraak conducts. Production design is by Robert Jones.

    Who could forget “My Favorite Things,” “Edelweiss”, “Do-Re-Mi”, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” “The Lonely Goatherd,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” and “The Sound of Music” itself? With its 30-strong international cast now in Manila, the show had toured Singapore, New Zealand, and China earlier.

    Almost 58 years after it premiered on Broadway on Nov. 16, 1959 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, “The Sound of Music” is still “the world’s most popular musical,” despite initial criticism of it being too syrupy. The Filipino audience during the Sept. 29 gala resoundingly re-affirmed their homage to “The Sound of Music.”

    During the gala night, Carmen Pretorius (as Maria Rainer), Nick Maude (Captain Von Trapp), Janelle Visagie (Mother Abbess), Haylea Heyns (Baroness Schraeder), Jonathan Taylor (Max Deitweiler), Michael McMeeking (Rolf), and the Von Trapp children played Zoe Beavon (Liesl), Oren Soleta (Friedrich), Gwyn Dorado (Louisa), Dean Angelia (Kurt), Krystal Brimner (Brigita), Sam Lagma (Marta), and Faline Dorado (Gretl) plus the international company collectively showed their vocal prowess and clarity in their group, duet, and solo numbers.

    Special commendation must be made on the Filipino cast members who blended well with the international professional cast.

    On top of its beauty and near-perfect polish in almost all aspects of production, this touring “The Sound of Music” produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Company and David Ian Productions, and presented by the Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, Concertus Manila, and David Atkins Enterprises, becomes more meaningful and significant to its Filipino audience in these times of turmoil, torture, troubles, and “tokhang”.

    While Act I has more of the sugar-filled bouncy and wholesome numbers, remarkable is the dark tone and heavy mood of the Act II of this production. The set design by Jones in several of the scenes, notably those featuring Nazi followers, is almost funereal.

    It must be emphasized that this touring production of “The Sound of Music” starkly showed, if not reminded, Filipinos of the dangers of creeping authoritarianism, and its perils if left unchecked. European countries have dark chapters of fascism in their histories, the Philippines has the disheartening martial law years under the Marcos regime.

    Filipinos are slowly learning again the painful lesson that politicians who present themselves as anti-establishment and promise to start genuine change to improve the Philippine socio-economic conditions may morph into dangers to democracy and justice post-elections.

    In “The Sound of Music”, the Von Trapp family has the resources and connections to escape the wrath of the Nazis, and eventually leave Austria. Many Filipinos are not so fortunate. Thousands have already been killed in the war against drugs and in the name of protecting democracy.

    Authoritarianism (or fascism in the case of certain countries) is always complicated and contentious. Filipinos must become must be critical and aware of authoritarian tendencies masquerading as populist aspirations.

    “Never again” is heard again these days in the Philippines. The return of martial law must be vigorously opposed. The horrors of Nazism and Holocaust must not be resurrected.

    If “The Sound of Music” is able to remind Filipinos daily of these dreadful lessons, then by all means let them show the production annually. “The Sound of Music” may be good for democracy and justice.

    (The Sound of Music runs until at The Theatre Solaire until Oct. 15. Please contact 891-999 |

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    CCP’s NeoFilipino dance series soars on Oct. 7-8

    October 5th, 2017

    THE Cultural Center of the Philippines presents “NeoFilipino: Other Matters,” a platform where contemporary choreography becomes the process and medium of exchange that engages both artists and audiences.

    This year, the NeoFilipino event features five contemporary works by established choreographers JK Anicoche, Novy Bereber, Christine Crame, Ma. Elena Laniog, and Ernest Mandap. The event is to be featured on Oct. 7 and 8, at 2 and 7 pm., at the CCP’s Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino

    “The five choreographers engage in a discussion (through their works) on various contemporary issues such as homosexuality, role of social media, contradictory nature of life, tensions within a democratic society, and the canonic declarations of the classics through dance and movements,” organizers said.

    In “15 Minutes of Your Time,” Manila-based performance-maker JK Anicoche curates dance work that brings together people from communities who have been on the interface of social media: friends lists, friend posts, news and/ or viral Facebook videos to test, investigate and challenge proximity beyond the flat interface of everyday news and happenings online, organizers said.

    Anicoche piece explores the idea of performance as interface taking bodies on stage in shared space and time outside the confines of flat online interfaces of social media.

    Australia-based choreographer Novy Bereber takes inspiration from an octopus for his work “Fugue Pulpo 2.0.”

    Bereber has been intrigued by the sea creature, and is moved by its qualities (four hearts, three brains, no bones, communicates by changing its color and shape, and by creating myriad textures, as well as its frightening attitude towards love) and its cycle of life.

    With music by Krina Cayabyab and projections by Steven Tansiongco, Bereber enjoins his dancers to mimic the movements of octopus, and to delve with questions of love, and all the theories and philosophies that accompany it.

    Crame, artistic director of the St. Benilde Romançon Dance Company and the Seven Contemporary Dance Company, brings to the stage “Swans,” a re-staged excerpt from her recent production “Swan Lake: By the Lakeside.”

    Crame’s piece deconstructs one of the enduring pieces of the classical ballet repertoire, as it plays with broken lines to contrast with the canonic ballet line and experiments with syncopated movements.

    “On The Wings of 44,” Laniog dwells on her personal conviction about the passing of the SAF 44. Moved by current events, she takes this tragic issue as “an enlightenment.”

    Mandap’s “Zebra” focuses on homosexuality, its stereotypes, and one’s inner identity crisis. Strongly influenced by his colleagues, Mandap explores whether homosexuality should still be an issue today.

    Working with a new set of bodies, he uses all the dancers’ capabilities, and challenges them to trust themselves in his movements as they tackle a different style of dance.

    Initiated in 1987, NeoFilipino is the third part of the CCP’s Choreographers Series, specifically designed to nurture and further the choreographic art in the Philippines. Its particular focus is on contemporary dance.

    The brainchild of Denisa Reyes and Myra Beltran, NeoFilipino is a platform for Filipino choreographers to make dance the central force, the impetus, the muscle in collaborating with other art forms such as music, visual arts, theatre, literature, and film.

    Through innovative movement explorations, dance artists create experimental and provocative works that inquire about issues relating to Philippine traditional and contemporary life.

    For inquiries and other concerns, please contact 0917-513-6604. Tickets are at Php500 (with discounts for students, senior citizens, PWDs, and government and military personnel). Please visit the CCP Choreographers Series Facebook page.


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    Italian opera ‘L’Elisir d’Amore’ at the Cultural Center of the Philippines

    October 4th, 2017

    THE Italian opera “L’Elisir d’Amore” by Gaetano Donizetti will have two shows at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on Oct. 7-8 as part of the festivities marking the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Italy and the Philippines and to raise funds for the construction of the San Pablo Apostol Parish church in Tondo, Manila.

    Organizers announced that the international cast of ‘L’Elisir d’Amore’ in Manila is led by soprano Elena Monti, who had performed in prestigious Italian and international concert halls, including the famed Teatro alla Scalla, as Adina.

    Tenor David Astorga plays her paramour, Nemorino, while Nemorino’s nemesis, Belcore, is performed by baritone Byeong-in Park. The self-styled “Dr. Encyclopedia,” Dulcamara, is played by comic bass Francesco Vultaggio. Special guest Rachelle Gerodias-Park is the gossiping Gianetta.

    The opera-fund-raiser is produced by Zenaida R. Tantoco with Nestor O. Jardin and Dr. Raul M. Sunico as executive producers, organizers said.

    The artistic and production team is led by Director Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini, with Sisowath Ravivaddhana Monipong providing support as direction consultant.

    Organizers said set designer Maurizio Varamo brings the stage to life. Flavio Monti offers invaluable help as set project assistant. Costume Designer Otello Camponeschi ensures that the period costumes appear authentic. Lighting Designer Giovanni Pirandello makes color a character on its own. Coro Tomasino and the Philippine Ballet Theatre lend their vocal artistry and choreography, respectively, to the production.

    The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Ruggero Barbieri, provides the musical accompaniment.

    The Rustan Commercial Corp. (RCC), CCP, and The Peninsula Manila, in cooperation with the Philippine-Italian Association, present the opera under the auspices of the Italian Embassy, organizers said.

    The opera is staged with the sponsorship of Royal Duty Free Shops, Hermes, Debenhams, Rustan Marketing Corp., Rustan Supercenters, Megaworld, and Bergamo.

    The opera staging also celebrates the 65th Sapphire anniversary of the Rustan Group of Companies.

    First performed in Milan at the Teatro della Canobbiana in 1832, “L’Elisir d’Amore” is the most often performed of Donizetti’s compositions and has been continuously in the global opera repertoire.

    Set in a tiny hamlet in the Basque region of Spain toward the late 18th century, the plot involves a down-to-earth worker, Nemorino, who falls for Adina, a beautiful yet indifferent landowner.

    Enter Belcore, a belligerent military man who seeks Adina’s hand. The plot thickens with the whisperings of Adina’s friend, Gianetta. A wandering quack doctor, Dulcamara, intercedes on behalf of the love-struck peasant with the eponymous bottle of romance.

    The gala performance is on Oct. 7, at 8:00 pm, while the matinee is on Oct. 8, at 3:00 pm. Gala tickets are at P5,000, P3,000, P1,500, and P1,000 while matinee tickets are at P2,500, P1,500, P800, and P500.

    For ticket sales or other inquiries, interested parties can contact the CCP Box Office through 832-3704 or 06 and TicketWorld through 891-9999 or visit the CCP website at

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    ‘Concierge medical clinic’ now in PH

    October 1st, 2017

    Centre Medicale Internationale “front desk”

    PEOPLE in need of quality health care services always consider getting the best value for their money.

    Despite the high cost, the moneyed-class would even go abroad for their health concerns and consultations if they note they will get their money’s worth in doing so.

    Choosing a doctor, a clinic or a health facility to visit for consultation, nowadays, is like the stressful ritual of shopping.

    The comparison is not odd: best value for money; be it for a pair of shoes, cellular phone, watch, or clothes, and more important for health care services and providers.

    But for most Filipinos, the questions are: does one go to a doctor who charges anywhere from 500 pesos to 1,000 pesos for a few precious minutes of face-to-face consultation? Or is there an alternative?

    Seeing a doctor who charges 500 pesos to 1,000 pesos for several minutes of consultation may appear to be a rational choice because it looks ‘economical’.

    However, there is a catch. Before one gets to see his or her doctor, there is the inconvenience of waiting from one hour, if one were lucky, to two or three hours, if the doctor is busy. This waiting time is hidden cost.

    As they say time is money. Long hours spent waiting to see a doctor in a clinic or a hospital lounge can be costly.

    In the end, a patient may pay only 500 pesos to 1,000 pesos for several minutes of face-to-face consultation. The hidden cost of waiting time of several hours, however, must also be factored in and computed.

    For individuals who are always pressed for time and who do not have the luxury of waiting in line to consult with a doctor, there is a cutting-edge clinic in Bonifacio Global City staffed with experts, specialists, and health care professionals who will go out of their way to answer one’s health care services needs.

    The new clinic is called Centre Medicale Internationale (CMI) located at the 2F Ore Central, 31st St. corner 9th Ave. Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

    David Zuellig, chairman of the Z Healthcare Asia Holdings Corp., said the CMI is “envisioned to be the premier outpatient clinic specializing in concierge healthcare service.”

    The CMI will deliver a connected care patient experience through its efficient process workflow and advanced clinic operating system,” Zuellig told a media briefing.

    The CMI will provide a multi-disciplinary, integrated patient-centric service to its patients through ethical, excellent, and evidence-based management,” Zuellig said.

    David Zuellig and Dr. Hazel Zuellig

    We lived abroad. We have seen that the medical care abroad is so different from the Philippines. For example in Singapore, people don’t go to hospitals directly. One only goes to a hospital when he or she is bleeding. Or in serious condition. Or must be admitted,” Dr. Hazel Zuellig, CMI board director and president of Z Healthcare Asia Holdings Corp., said.

    Otherwise, there would general practitioners in clinics who would be observing and assessing patients before recommending admission to a hospital, Dr. Zuellig said.

    CMI, which specializes in “concierge medicine,” is owned by the Z Healthcare Asia Holdings Corp.

    Dr. Zuellig told media: “Imagine having your own care specialist organizing your medical appointments, having a team of more than 150 of the country’s highly-trained medical doctors representing 40 different specialties address your every health need at your most convenient time.”

    Dr. Zuellig said CMI was the first to introduce “concierge medicine” in the Philippines, although the model is common abroad.

    CMI will raise the bar of medical services in the country. CMI will set an example to other clinics and help the country improve its healthcare system and services,” Dr. Zuellig said.

    Concierge is a French word to describe a hotel employee who stands at the reception area, whose job is to make things comfortable for the guest. A guest goes to the concierge if you want a newspaper, if you want concert tickets, if you want to book a venue. The concierge is there to grant your wishes. We are offering concierge medicine in the Philippines. We have customized the healing processes,” Dr. Zuellig said.

    Among the reasons why CMI was introduced in the country is to address the increasing demand for high quality healthcare of the local population.

    The first of its kind in the country, CMI recognizes the uniqueness of every client and is responsive in offering a variety of specialized programs tailor fitted for every individual,” Dr. Donn Mc Angelo Valdez, CMI, said in the same media briefing. Dr. Valdez is the president and medical director of CMI.

    Concierge healthcare is further exemplified through CMI’s comprehensive healthcare service and customized healing approaches handled by a team of top-notch medical specialists assembled to fit a patient needs,” Dr. Valdez said.

    CMI offers medical consultations, personalized health programs, and a wide array of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures with its trademark healing with a heart,” Dr. Valdez said.

    The CMI has top-of-the-line medical equipment, online and mobile appointment system, and secure electronic medical records. All these within a tranquil setting that guarantees comfort, privacy, and confidentiality,” Dr. Zuellig said.

    CMI aims to “redefine the landscape of health services by focusing all efforts in nurturing every patient experience,” Deogracias Villadolid, a CMI board of director, said.

    Saying the quality of CMI services is comparable to the best healthcare facilities overseas, Villadolid said CMI doctors and medical staff “take time to make clients and patients feel comfortable and truly cared for.”

    By bringing world-class quality into healthcare, CMI is definitely changing the landscape of medical services in the Philippines. Without the long lines and the noise of big medical centers, the clinic provides a healing environment that is serene and relaxing,” Villadolid said.

    Dr. Valdez said the presence of the latest medical equipment in CMI diagnostic and therapeutic suites allows patients to have immediate and convenient access to laboratory exams, imaging, medications, and specialized services that are part of providing an efficient technology-based place of practice for physicians.

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    Ballet Philippines’s “The Exemplars” runs next month

    September 25th, 2017

    Image © Ballet Philippines

    FOR its 2nd offering in its 48th season, Ballet Philippines is mounting “The Exemplars: Amada and Other Dances” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Theater on Oct. 20-22.

    In a media briefing, BP President Margie Moran Floirendo said BP is “reintroducing its internationally acclaimed classics from the company’s repertoire to a newer audience.”

    “This production provides a rare opportunity to shed light on the long-unseen works that established the BP’s signature style and identity as an internationally and locally renowned dance company, paving the way to 48 years of artistic excellence and cultural contribution,” Floirendo said.

    “The Exemplars” showcases the company’s classic works such as Alice Reyes’ “Amada” which was one of the earlier pieces performed by the company. Amada is based on “Summer Solstice” by National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin.

    Set in Catholic, Hispanic, 19th century Manila, the traditional male-dominance is shaken by the Tadtarin, a native festival in which women suddenly reign supreme, shattering the established Hispanic molds and patterns.

    Amada premiered in Manila in 1970, with National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes herself in the titular role and music composed by National Artist for Music Lucrecia Kasilag. It has won critical acclaim in the Philippines and abroad, and represents the company’s work in Philippine material at its best.

    Another piece showcased is “Valse Fantasy” where a male dancer and three ballerinas dance in a ballet dotted with leaps, turns, beats, entrances, and exits.

    Set to Glinka’s music, Valse Fantasy is pure dancing tailored by the music’s breezy patterns and delightful rhythms. A neo-classical piece inspired by George Balanchine, it was especially staged for BP by Muñeca Aponte in 1974.

    For its 2017 edition, premier danseur Nonoy Froilan is re-staging the Valse Fantasy, where he himself danced the male role in the 1970s.

    Gener Caringal’s “Ang Sultan” is a heart-breaking story about star-crossed lovers, separated by the conflicts between social classes. Set in the pre-colonial Filipino caste system, it tells the story of the consequences when a man from a lower caste falls in love with a princess. Revolt and an uprising ensue due to inequity and social injustice.

    Kasilag, in composing the music for Ang Sultan, used Maguindanao-Muslim instrumentation. Since its premiere in 1973, it has become one of the most performed pieces in the BP repertoire.

    Norman Walker’s “Songs of a Wayfarer” is a story of unrequited love, featuring a hero who is in deep sadness because his love is about to marry another man. The hero is attempting to escape from the memories of his love.

    The Song is a story of “ultimately finding one’s self in the loneliness of life. Critical and popular acclaim has made this work a piece de resistance in the BP repertoire.

    Pauline Koner’s “Concertino” is considered a major landmark in modern dance. This classic tells the story of a lady of the court and her attendants who conduct themselves in various manners from the proper to the frolicsome.

    The lady feels caged by the rigidity of her environment and seeks liberation from her tedious life.

    Concertino was choreographed in the earlier style of American modern dance that has become a challenge to all who attempt this stylistically difficult piece.

    The Exemplars: Amada and Other Dances runs Oct. 20-22, 2017, at the CCP Main Theater, and on Oct, 25, 2017 at the Globe Auditorium, Maybank Theater, BGC Arts Center.

    For tickets, call Ballet Philippines at 551-1003, the CCP Box Office at 832-3704, or Ticketworld at 891-9999, or

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    Pianist Yury Shadrin opens the PH Philhamonic Orchestra’s ‘Romancing the Classics’

    September 15th, 2017

    Pianist Yuri Shadrin. Photo © Cultural Center of the Philippines

    INTERNATIONALLY acclaimed pianist Yury Shadrin makes his Philippine debut on Sept. 15 as he opens the 2017-2018 season concert of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) at 8 pm at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Theater.

    Under the baton of Maestro Yoshikazu Fukumura, Shadrin and the PPO will perform Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat by F. Lizst.

    I am very excited to perform with the PPO. This will be my first visit to the Philippines. I very much looking forward to the concert,” Shadrin said.

    A famous soloist and recitalist, Shadrin has appeared in major venues from Geneva to Caracas, including the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. Recently, he performed in concerts at the Central Conservatory in China and the Chicago Cultural Center. Last May, he returned to the Kennedy Center.

    The US-based Shadrin’s pathway to Manila began when he first worked with Maestro Yoshikazu Fukumura, the PPO music director and conductor.

    I was lucky to have a chance to perform with Maestro Fukumura before and have great memories of that concert where we performed Chopin E Minor concerto,” Shadrin said.

    Maestro Fukumura is a wonderful musician and I was happy to receive the invitation to perform with him again,” he added.

    Maestro Yoshikazu Fukumura Photo © Cultural Center of the Philippines

    Shadrin is the artistic director of Baltimore International Piano Festival, a program created to give an opportunity for young musicians of all ages to work with and observe the world’s most prominent musicians and teachers.

    Our program is very intensive, filled with activities such as master classes and private lessons; chamber music seminars; music history and music theory classes; performance practice and public speaking classes,” Shadrin said.

    Our youngest participants have a chance to perform on stage with our faculty members and attend all the classes regardless of their level. We believe in idea that highest level of music making is accessible for everyone,” he added.

    A Moscow Conservatory graduate, Shadrin studied with pianist greats such as Lev Naumov and Eliso Virsaladze. In the US, he studied at the Oberlin Conservatory with Monique Duphil, at Yale with Peter Frankl, and most recently at the Peabody Institute with the great American master Leon Fleisher.

    In addition to performing, Shadrin previously taught and performed as a visiting assistant professor at the Oberlin Conservatory.

    As a soloist, Shadrin has performed concertos with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Miami Symphony, Orchestra Sinfonica of Venezuela, the Salta Symphony Orchestra (Argentina), the Caracas Municipal Symphony, and the Vietnam National Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Peabody and Oberlin orchestras.

    He has been featured in radio and TV broadcasts in Vietnam, Venezuela, China, Japan, and the US.

    Russian-born Shadrin gained international recognition as a first prize winner of the Rome International Piano Competition and grand prize winner at the Siberian Piano Competition. In recent years, he has taken top honors at the World Piano Competition, the Maracaibo International Piano Competition, and the Yale Gordon Competition.

    Shadrin is married to international concert soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and duo pianist Tian Lu.

    Being married to a pianist has its advantages. We do perform a lot of wonderful music written for duo and 2 pianos,” Shadrin said.

    At the same time you can rely on an extra and very honest opinion about your playing as well.”

    In addition to practicing on the piano, Shadrin emphasizes it is very important to stay in great physical shape. “I do yoga and try to exercise at least several times a week. Meditation is also a great way to focus and make your performance very special.”

    Shadrin is one of 11 guest musicians to be featured in the 2017-2018 performance season of the PPO billed “Romancing the Classics.”

    The opening concert of “Romancing the Classics” features G. Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims Overture, F. Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat, and S. Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 in E minor.

    Noted cellist Ray Wang is the soloist in the PPO’s concert on October 13. Program consists of W.A. Mozart’s Symphony No. 32 in G, E, Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D minor, and I. Stravinsky’s Petrushka (Complete Ballet).

    Wang has performed in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. He is a founding member of the Hong Kong Virtuosi, Canzone Trio, and New Art String Quartet in Hong Kong.

    Tots Tolentino Photo ©

    Filipino saxophonist Tots Tolentino performs on November 17 with the PPO under the baton of Filipino conductor Gerard Salonga. The program features G. Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess, J. Williams’ Catch me if you can escapades and A. Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor “From the New World”.

    Tolentino is considered to be the most distinct and influential sax sound in the Philippines today. He heads the Jazz Studies program of the University of Santo Tomas, spreading the gospel of jazz to today’s youth.

    On December 15, Uruguayan guitarist Eduardo Fernández performs with the PPO. The program includes C. Debussy’s La Mer, J. Rodrigo’s Fantasia para un Gentilhombre, M. Ravel’s Valses Nobles et Sentimentales and Bolero.

    Recognized as one of today’s leading guitarists, Fernández is active as a teacher, as well as being very much in demand for master classes and lectures around the world. He has written a major book on guitar technique, a book on Bach’s lute music, and many articles in leading guitar publications.

    Welcoming the New Year is Filipino trombone player Ricson Poonin as he performs with the PPO under the baton of Maestro Herminigildo Ranera on January 19, 2018. Program showcases M.P. Maramba OSB’s Symphony Ode ”La Naval,” F. David’s Trombone Concertino in E-flat, and P. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor ”Pathetique”.

    A member of the PPO, Ricson earned his Master of Music in trombone performance and received the James Winship Lewis Memorial Prize Performance Award at the Peabody Conservatory. He also performs as the principal trombonist of the Peabody Concert Orchestra and the co-principal trombonist of the Peabody Symphony Orchestra.

    Greek conductor Stefanos Tsialis will lead the PPO on February 16 with an exciting program consisting of N. Skalkottas’ 5 Greek Dances, B. Smetana’s Sarka from ‘”My Country,” and D. Shostakovich’s Symphony No.5. Tsialis has been the chief conductor and artistic director of the Athens State Orchestra since 2014. He has worked with over 70 orchestras in many EU countries as well as in Canada, Cuba, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, and the US.

    Pianist Raul Sunico ©

    Filipino pianists Raul Sunico, the immediate past president of the CCP; and Ingrid Santamaria perform with PPO under the helm of Maestro Fukumura on March 16. The program includes T. Takemitsu’s Requiem for String Orchestra, F. Mendelssohn’s Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra in A-flat and F. Schubert’s Symphony No.9 in C ‘ “The Great.”

    Sunico is one of the 1986 Outstanding Young Men Awardees for Arts and Music, and he has performed with many of the most prestigious orchestras in the world. He has earned international recognition not only as a concert pianist, but also as a composer-arranger and promoter in the world of Philippine music.

    Santamaria was a regular piano soloist in Concert at the Park, a nationally televised cultural program broadcast from Manila’s Rizal Park, since its initial concert in 1978 up to 1986. Among her honors and citations are the Hall of Fame award from the Performing Arts League in Crestwood, Florida; “Who is Who” in Asia documentary feature by NHK Television, Japan; and from the French government, the Chevalier, Ordre des Palmas Academiques; and Chevalier, Ordre du Merite Nationale.

    The PPO concert series closes on April 13, 2018 with Filipino trumpet player Raymund De Leon. The program consists of F. Delius’ A Walk to the Paradise Garden, J. Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, and M. de Falla’s El Sombrero de Tres Picos (Complete Ballet).

    De Leon has won three 1st prize awards in the National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA) in Manila, Philippines. De Leon has performed and toured in Europe, the US, and Asia with international orchestra players and competed in international music competitions.

    (For inquiries and reservations, call the CCP Box Office 832.3704, TicketWorld 891-9999, or visit

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    PH theater group and Lilia De Lima among 2017 Magsaysay awardees

    July 28th, 2017

    Images © Ramon Magsaysay Foundation web site

    THE 50-year-old Philippine Educational Theater Association and Philippine Export Zone Authority’s Lilia De Lima are among the six 2017 Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) awardees composed of individuals and organizations from Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, and Sri Lanka.

    Considered as “Asia’s premier prize and highest honor,” the foundation officials said this year’s Ramon Magsaysay awardees are:

    • Yoshiaki Ishizawa, from Japan, who is being recognized for “his selfless, steadfast service to the Cambodian people, his inspiring leadership in empowering Cambodians to be proud stewards of their heritage, and his wisdom in reminding us all that cultural monuments like the Angkor Wat are shared treasures whose preservation is thus, also our shared global responsibility.”
    • Lilia de Lima, from the Philippines, who is being recognized for “her unstinting, sustained leadership in building a credible and efficient Philippine Export Zone Authority, proving that the honest, competent, and dedicated work of public servants can, indeed, redound to real economic benefits to millions of Filipinos.”
    • Abdon Nababan, from Indonesia, who is being recognized for “his brave, self-sacrificing advocacy to give voice and face to his country’s indigenous people’s communities, his principled, relentless, yet pragmatic leadership of the world’s largest IP rights movement, and the far-reaching impact of his work on the lives of millions of Indonesians.”
    • The Philippine Educational Theater Association, from the Philippines, which is being recognized for “their bold, collective contributions in shaping the theater arts as a force for social change, its impassioned, unwavering work in empowering communities in the Philippines, and the shining example it has set as one of the leading organizations of its kind in Asia.”
    • Gethsie Shanmugam, from Sri Lanka, who is recognized for “her compassion and courage in working under extreme conditions to rebuild war-scarred lives, her tireless efforts over four decades in building Sri Lanka’s capacity for psychosocial support, and her deep, inspiring humanity in caring for women and children, war’s most vulnerable victims.”
    • Tony Tay, from Singapore, who is being recognized for “his quiet, abiding dedication to a simple act of kindness – sharing food with others – and his inspiring influence in enlarging this simple kindness into a collective, inclusive, vibrant volunteer movement that is nurturing the lives of many in Singapore.”

    Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award “celebrates the memory and leadership example” of the 3rd Philippine president after whom the award is named, and is given every year to individuals or organizations in Asia who manifest the same selfless service and transformative influence that ruled the life of the late Filipino leader.

    RMAF President Carmencita Abella said “the Ramon Magsaysay Awardees of 2017 are all transforming their societies through their manifest commitment to the larger good.”

    “Each one has addressed real and complex issues, taking bold and innovative action that has engaged others to do likewise. The results of their leadership are palpable, generating both individual efficacy and collective hope,” Abella said.

    “All are unafraid to take on large causes. All have refused to give up, despite meager resources, daunting adversity and strong opposition. Their approaches are all deeply anchored on a respect for human dignity, and a faith in the power of collective endeavor. We have much to learn from the 2017 Magsaysay awardees, and much to celebrate about their greatness of spirit,” Abella said.

    The awardees this year join the community of 318 other Magsaysay laureates who have received Asia’s highest honor to date.

    This year’s winners will each receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late president, and a cash prize.

    They will be formally conferred the Magsaysay Award during formal presentation ceremonies on Aug. 31, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, which is open to the public.

    August 31 is the birth anniversary of the late president, who was born in 1907, and whose ideals inspired the award’s creation in 1957.

    Images © Ramon Magsaysay Foundation web site

    In citing PETA, the foundation said the Filipino theater company, was founded with the initial vision of creating a “national theater” in the Philippines.

    “Working out of a theater in the old ruins of Intramuros, Manila, this non-profit organization rose to prominence with ground-breaking productions in Filipino, the national language, that were remarkable for their artistry and social relevance, at a time of resurgent nationalism and deepening political crisis in the country,” the foundation said.

    “It is today an integrated, people-based cultural collective engaged not only in performance but also in training, curriculum development, national and international network building, and mobilizing communities using a participatory approach that is rooted in local culture and responsive to real issues in the larger society,” it said.

    PETA took the lead in the Greater Mekong Sub-region Partnership, which mobilized, mentored, and supported a host of performing artists from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and southern China to effectively undertake advocacy-through-the-arts on issues that included gender, health, sexuality, and HIV-AIDS, the foundation said.

    “In electing the Philippine Educational Theater Association to receive the 2017 Ramon Magsaysay Award, the board of trustees recognizes its bold, collective contributions in shaping the theater arts as a force for social change, its impassioned, unwavering work in empowering communities in the Philippines, and the shining example it has set as one of the leading organizations of its kind in Asia.”



    PH’s Cinemalaya Film Fest opens with “Birdshot”

    July 26th, 2017

    Image © of the CCP-Cinemalaya 2017

    DIRECTOR Mikhail Red’s coming-of-age thriller “Birdshot” is the opening film of the 2017 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater).

    Cinemalaya 2017 organizers said the film, which will formally start on August 4, will be screened at 7 pm., right after the opening rites set at at 6 pm.

    “Birdshot is the the story of a young farm girl who wanders off into a Philippine forest reserve. Deep within the reservation, she mistakenly shoots and kills a critically-endangered and protected Philippine Eagle. As the local authorities begin a manhunt to track down the poacher, their investigation leads them to an even more horrific discovery,” the organizers said, describing the film.

    The mystery-drama film has won production funding from the Doha Film Institute and the CJ Entertainment Award at Busan International Film Festival’s Asian Project Market.

    “Birdshot” has also received the Best Picture award in the Asian Future category of the 2016 Tokyo International Film Festival, and has been selected at the Goteborg Film Festival: The Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award.

    Young filmmaker Mikhail Red directed and co-wrote the film.

    Born in Manila, Red gained international recognition for his socially-relevant films such as his first feature “Rekorder” which won Best Production Design at the 2013 Cinemalaya. It also premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival, and won for Red the Best New Director at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

    “Birdshot” features Mary Joy Apostol as Maya, Arnold Reyes as Domingo, John Arcilla as Mendoza, and Ku Aquino as Diego.

    The production crew include: screenwriter Rae Red, executive producers Fernando Ortigas, E.A. Rocha, Maricris Calilung, and Vincent Nebrida; producer Pamela Reyes; cinematographer Mycko David; production designer Michael Espanol; music scorer-designer Teresa Barrozo; and editor Jay Halili.

    The annual Cinemalaya is viewed as the biggest indie film festival in the Philippines. It is from Aug. 4 to 13 this year, with screenings at various venues of the CCP and selected Ayala Mall Cinemas.

    It is a project of the Cinemalaya Foundation, the CCP, and the Ayala Malls Cinemas. Established in 2005, the film festival aims to discover, encourage, and honor cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers.

    Following the theme “See the Big Picture,” this year’s Cinemalaya features nine full-length films and 12 short films in the Main Competition section.

    In addition to the competition proper, Cinemalaya will showcase Best of the Festivals (best films from other local film festivals), Visions of Asia (featuring Asian and Netpac-winning films), Indie Nation (a special section featuring independent films), Dokyu (documentaries), Animahenasyon (showcasing best animation), Cinemalaya Institute showcase, Digital Classics, and Retrospective (winning films in the full-length and short film categories of the 2016 Cinemalaya).

    Activities include tributes to legendary actress Lolita Rodriguez and acclaimed director Gil Portes.

    The festival also features Cinemalaya Campus, a major component of Cinemalaya, and the Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video, considered the longest-running independent film competition of its kind in the Asian region, will be held its screening on Aug. 5 to 7.

    The Cinemalaya Awards Night is on Aug. 13, at the CCP Main Theater.

    For more information, visit, or Cinemalaya Facebook page. For ticket inquiries, call the CCP Box Office at 832-3704. 

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    Olazo exhibit shows his legacy to young audience

    July 20th, 2017

    Photo © Cultural Center of the Philippines

    AN EXHIBIT of Romulo Olazo paintings, titled “Olazo Large-Scale,” is ongoing at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

    The first major exhibit organized after Olazo’s death on Aug. 18, 2015, the Olazo Large-Scale re-affirms the master’s place as “a maker and marker of grand productions,” the CCP said.

    Born on July, 21, 1934 in Batangas, Olazo was quickly described as “one of the most renowned geometric abstract painters of the 2nd wave of Filipino modern visual artists.”

    Artist Jonathan Olazo, son of Romulo, curates the exhibit to honor his father’s watermark achievements and contributions to the Philippine visual arts. The exhibit also re-introduces Olazo’s works and legacy to contemporary audience, as well as reconnects the artist’s roots to the CCP.

    In 1974, Olazo did his 1st one-man show titled “The Silkscreen Process and Its Possibilities” at the CCP. In 1982, the almost similarly titled show, Large Scale Paintings, that showcased 13 black-and-white “Diaphanous” works, was also staged at the center, “affirming Olazo as an artist of grandeur, expansiveness, and sublimity,” the CCP said.

    Co-organized by Paseo Gallery, the current exhibition which will last until Sept. 8, proposes not so much a radical re-telling of his oeuvre than its place in the canon of the large-scale works conceived in the country and how it could be potentially read against the more contemporary works.

    Now, there seems to be no anxiety with regard to executing large-format works, and it pays to take stock of the contribution of Olazo who had prioritized magnitude in his opus. That he used the language of abstraction, chiefly the Diaphanous and the Permutation series, to enact his grand visions remains as one of the watermark achievements in the landscape Philippine visual arts,” the center said.

    A homecoming, a tribute, and a celebration of the man and his works, Olazo Large-Scale is the resounding conclusion to the opus of a singular artist who never once flinched at the face of immensity. In painting after painting, Olazo exerted the full range of his abilities to come up with some of the most elegant, sublime, heart-stopping forms in the vocabulary of abstraction,” it said.

    Scale is proposed as the defining factor of this exhibition, yes, but it might as well be heroism, the kind that burnishes resolve, propels sinew and soul, and crystallizes the marvel of human creation,” the CCP said.

    The exhibit is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm.

    (For more information, call the CCP Visual Arts and Museum Division at (632) 832-1125 local 1504/1505 and 832-3702, mobile (0917) 6033809, email, or visit