Posts by Ibarra Mateo:

    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


    2017 Cinemalaya is on Aug. 4-13

    July 19th, 2017

    Chris Millado and Cinemalaya staff Photo © Kiko Cabuena/CCP

    CHRIS B. Millado, Cinemalaya festival director, paid homage to the annual Cinemalaya audience and regaled the media, directors, actors, actresses, and all the people present during the press launch of the 2017 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.

    Millado, who is also the vice president and artistic director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), said: “The rainy season is upon us. There are warnings of stormy days ahead and flash floods. But these statements mean one thing. It is Cinemalaya season.”

    The assembled crowd at the CCP Main Theater lobby responded with applause and roaring laughter.

    All throughout the year, we receive complaints that CCP is so inaccessible. This condition is made worse by heavy vehicular traffic. But with the followers of the annual Cinemalaya, they do not complain at all,” Millado said.

    They willing wade through floods, brave the typhoons, and go to CCP despite the weather challenges. There is something magical in Cinemalaya to pull the audience through the typhoons, rains, and floods,” Millado said.

    Another round of strong applause was heard again to honor the nameless Cinemalaya fans and followers.

    During the 2014 edition of Cinemalaya, it breached the 100,000 mark in terms of audience or viewership. In 2016,despite showing only short films, the audience showed up to register 70,000 viewership.

    The CCP, in partnership with the Cinemalaya Foundation, presents the 13th edition of the biggest indie film festival in the country, the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, from Aug. 4 to 13, 2017, at various venues of the CCP and Ayala Cinemas.

    Since 2005, Cinemalaya has continued to discover, encourage, and support the cinematic works of upcoming and veteran Filipino filmmakers who boldly articulate and freely interpret the Philippine experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity,” Millado said.

    To date, Cinemalaya has supported and promoted the production of 127 full feature independent films and 106 short films. Many of these films have won awards in local and international competitions and festivals. Through the annual festival, Cinemalaya has showcased over 1,000 works by independent filmmakers including full feature films, shorts, documentaries, Filipino film classics, and art films.

    This year, following the theme “See the Big Picture,” the film festival will screen nine full-length films, namely: Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa (My Teacher Who Doesn’t Know How To Read) by Perry Escaño; Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha (The family That Doesn’t Weep) by Mes de Guzman; Baconaua by Joseph Israel Laban; Bagahe (The Baggage) by Zig Dulay; Nabubulok (The Decaying) by Sonny Calvento; Kiko Boksingero by Thop Nazareno; Requited by Nerissa Picadizo; Respeto by Treb Monteras II; and, Sa Gabing Nanahimik ang mga Kuliglig by Iar Lionel Benjamin Arondaing.

    For the first time in Cinemalaya history, there will be 12 short films, instead of the usual 10, competing for the grand awards. The finalists include: Aliens Ata (Maybe Aliens) by Karl Glenn Barit; Bawod (Bent) by TM Malones; Fatima Marie Torres and the Invasion of Space Shuttle Pinas 25 by Carlo Francisco Manatad; Hilom (Still) by P.R. Patindol; Islabodan (Free Men) by Juan Carlo Tarobal; Juana and the Sacred Shores by Antonne Santiago; Lola Loleng (Grandma Loleng) by Jean Cheryl Tagyamon; Manong ng Pa-aling (Man of Pa-Aling) by E del Mundo; Maria by Jaime Habac Jr.; Nakauwi Na by Marvin Cabangunay and Jaynus Olaivar; Nakaw by Arvin Belarmino and Noel Escondo; and, Sorry For The Inconvenience by Carl Adrian Chavez.

    Among the Cinemalaya mainstays are: Panoptika, the documentary section; Festivals Best, which showcases the best films from local festivals; Indie Nation, a special section featuring independent films; Asian Showcase, featuring award-winning Asian and Netpac films. There will be an “Outdoor Screening” (formerly Green Carpet Screening), as well as the best of animation in Animahenasyon and the Cinemalaya Institute showcase.

    Another festival highlight is a film and exhibit retrospective focusing on legendary actress Lolita Rodriguez. Films to be screened include Lino Brocka’s Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (1974) and Ina, Kapatid, Anak (1979), as well as Mel Chionglo’s Lucia (1992).

    This year, the festival will pay tribute to acclaimed director Gil Portes through a special screening of three of his best films: Mulanay (1996), Two Funerals (2010), and Mga Munting Tinig (2002).

    With his recent passing, director Portes left notable films, three of which are Saranggola, Gatas sa Dibdib ng Kaaway, and Mga Munting Tinig. The three films were chosen as official Philippine entries for best foreign language film in the US Academy Awards. One of his last films, Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli, was the closing film in last year’s Cinemalaya.

    The 29th Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video, considered the longest-running independent film competition of its kind in the ASEAN region, harvests the best of the best, with films competing in various categories such as Short Feature/Narrative, Experimental, Documentary and Animation. Pre-selected entries will be screened on Aug. 5-7, 2017, at the CCP.

    The Cinemalaya Campus, a major component of Cinemalaya, will also happen during the festival at the CCP Little Theater.

    The Cinemalaya Awards Night is on Aug. 13, 2017 at the CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).

    (For more information about Cinemalaya, visit, and the Cinemalaya Facebook page or CCP Media Arts at telephone number 832-1125 local 1704-1705 and the CCP Box Office at 832-3704.)

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    Actor-Director Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso is new Cultural Center of the PH president

    July 17th, 2017

    THEATER actor-television and film director Arsenio “Nick” J. Lizaso had been elected as the new Cultural Center of the Philippines president by the CCP Board of Trustees, CCP officials announced.

    Before his June 13 election as president, Lizaso has been with the CCP as member of the Board of Trustees since 2010.

    With a strong background in Western and Filipino literary classics, Lizaso joined the local film industry as a theater actor and director.

    He was a recipient of the British Council Grant Attachment with the Nottingham Playhouse and the Royal Shakespeare Company (London and Stratford-on Avon), as well as a Fullbright-Hayes Travel Grant to the US on theater arts, film, and television.

    Lizaso was a prominent figure in the Directors Guild of the Philippines, of which he president from 1983 to 1985.

    Born in Santa Maria, Bulacan, hometown of the “King of Balagtasan” Jose Corazon de Jesus, his maternal grandfather, Lizaso has played and continues to “play many parts,” using Shakespearean language, not only as an actor on stage and television, but as an active educator and advocate of community engagement in the arts, CCP officials said.

    Lizaso is a recipient of several awards, including Dangal ng Lipi Award in the field of Theater Arts (1999) from the City of Manila and the Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Arts (1995), Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan (1995) from his hometown Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

    In 2009, he was the only Asian to be invited as a member of the jury in the 6th International Student Theater Festival held in Belarus, where he also conducted a workshop on Voice for Performance. He had presented papers in international theater congresses.

    In July 2011, Lizaso organized the 1st Philippine International University Theater Association Festival/Conference/Workshops, a five-day international event wherein 24 foreign theater experts and educators conducted workshops and gave lectures at Miriam College in Quezon City, attended by around 150 teachers and students.

    In recent years, he had represented the Philippines in international theater events as a member of the Executive Committee of the International University Theater Association or IUTA, a unique forum where teachers, practitioners, creators, scholars, and theorists from over 1,000 universities and colleges based in 50 member countries share discoveries and discuss common concerns in the field of theater and performing arts. He is also a Vice-President of the Theater Education and Training Committee of the International Theater Institute-UNESCO.

    In July 2012, he helped bring Tanghalang Ateneo’s “Sintang Dalisay” to Minsk Belarus where it won 2nd place, besting other plays from countries with long theater tradition such as Italy, China, France, among others.

    Lizaso’s participation in international congresses and workshops affords him the opportunity “to share with others the unique perspective of the Asian, specifically Filipino creative artists involved in theater and the performing arts,” CCP officials said.

    Like a silent unseen stage hand, Lizaso is doing his share of keeping Philippine theater alive by connecting it with other theaters of other countries, hoping to infuse it with fresh insights, new blood, new trends,” officials said.

    Lizaso’s other personal advocacy is teacher empowerment, organizing workshops focused on teacher development, and infusing theater techniques to teaching to bring life to the classroom. He has conducted workshops in such places as Tagum City in Davao, Puerto Princesa City, and Legaspi City.

    In addition to the different outreach performances that the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) had done over the years, Lizaso has supported the performances of the PPO in a cross section of Philippine society from medical institutions to the Greenhills business area.


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    New QC art gallery opens with ‘Inhabit’ exhibition this month

    June 22nd, 2017


    Images © Artist Playground

    A NEW arts gallery along West Avenue in Quezon City is set to open its doors on June 25 with a maiden exhibition “Inhabit” featuring five visual artists from diverse background.

    “Inhabit discusses change, adaptation, and speculation on the concepts of reuse and negotiating the indelible traces of previous use and function. In this case, (the reuse of) portion of a tax collection office that has been left unused and underutilized for a long time,” the exhibit organizers said.

    Called District Gallery, the new venue is located at Arts Above West Venue Building along West Avenue. It was established by the Artist Playground, an arts and performance company.

    Among the aims of the new gallery are to inspire, engage, excite, and connect people through contemporary art.

    It is committed to providing a collaborative space and environment for emerging and established artists and to maximize local and global opportunities through institutional partnerships, organizers said.

    Participating artists in “Inhabit” came up with different creative responses to dramatize acts of take-over and settling-in beyond the confines of spaces, and possibly of habits, traditions and ideas, organizers said.

    “To open this new space is an act of embracing possibility. The organizers of this new arts space believe that art making can be produced and displayed anywhere beyond the usual precincts of art,” organizers said.

    “The gallery strives not to be only a place to view art but also to act as a community hub in which artists of all kind and disciplines as well as their followers can come to experience in ways the gallery,” organizers said.

    The participating artists are Mideo Cruz, Raquel de Loyola, Jes Aznar, Cian Dayrit, Buen Abrigo, Frances Abrigo, Cheese, Archie Oclos. and Nasser Lubay.

    Buen Abrigo is a fine arts senior at the University of the Philippines and is slowly establishing a reputation as one of the most promising emerging artists in the country today.

    Frances Abrigo travels across the city and expresses his thoughts via graffiti with a stencil and spray-paint in hand. In his first solo exhibition, a fresh set of works are situated within a site that is entirely different from any typical street in Metro Manila which is an art exhibition space.

    Aznar is a full-time documentary photographer based in Manila, covering Asia, the Pacific and nearby regions. He is a New York Times regular contributor and co-founder of @everydayphilippines on Instagram.

    Cheese is a graduate of UP Baguio Fine Arts and CIIT College of Arts and Technology. Among Cheese’s group exhibitions include 420 Vl 2013), Graffiti FIesta (2014) , Rebirth of Signs (2015), and Escape (2016)

    Cruz is an active cross-disciplinary artist-organizer based in Southeast Asia. His works shows strong allegorical images of the social order.

    In 2011, he became controversial when his installation “Poleteismo” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines was strongly criticized by the Catholic Church which ended up in exorcism rituals and a Senate hearing. Among his awards are the 2003 Cultural Center of the Philippines 13 Artists Award, the 2003 Sungduan Grant, and the 2006 Ateneo Art Award.

    Dayrit is an intermedia artist working with painting, sculpture, and installation. Straddling between fact and fiction, Dayrit’s works explore origins and histories, and their re-presentations invisual apparatuses, from the map, curiosity cabinet, and on to the museum. He graduated from UP Diliman in 2011, with a degree in Fine Arts, where his final project titled Artefact X was awarded Most Outstanding Thesis.

    De Loyola was a member of the former Kanto Artist Run Space in Makati City Philippines. She was shortlisted artist for the 2007 Ateneo Art Awards in Manila Philippines and a recipient of the Cultural Center of the Philippines 13 Artists Awards in 2009.

    Lubay is self-taught visual artist based in Manila. He won 2nd Place in the Celeste International Art Prize in Berlin, Germany. He was chosen as one of the Young Ambassadors of Jollibee representing the arts and was part of the 50 highlighted artists in the acclaimed 1st international traveling biennial, 2nd Animamix Biennale: Visual Attract and Attack.

    He was part of the 2010 Ondarte International Artist Residency in Akumal, Mexico. He was also shortlisted in Celeste Prize 2010 Digital Graphics and a finalist in Kuala Lumpur Design Week 2009.

    Oclos is a senior concept artist in a gaming company, a street artist, and a painter. With multiple awards in national art competitions, Oclos has held his own solo exhibitions and participated in many group exhibits over the last few years.

    (District Gallery is at Arts Above, West Venue Building, 112 West Avenue, Quezon City.)

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    Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Toruk’ holds Asian premiere in Mall of Asia

    June 20th, 2017

    Image © Cirque du Soleil

    THE world famous Cirque du Soleil’s “Toruk: The First Flight” will hold its Asian premiere at the SM Mall Of Asia on June 23 and will run until July 2, organizers announced on Monday.

    Toruk,” inspired by James Cameron’s record-breaking movie “Avatar” released in 2009, is Cirque du Soleil’s 37th production since 1984.

    After 15 months of touring North America and over 1.3 million fans, we are ecstatic to make our Asian debut in the great city of Manila. We heard Filipinos loved the movie Avatar, so we really hope they will join us to revisit Pandora in this visually stunning live setting,” organizers said.

    Toruk is a one-of-a-kind show with breathtaking video projections, impressive acrobatic acts, and gigantic puppets.

    There is truly something for everyone in the family,’’ Janie Mallet, Toruk publicist, said.

    Avatar is really meant to be a celebration of human motion and human emotion and Cirque is able to capture that absolutely perfectly because it’s all about human performance and physicality. It makes you feel alive to watch these performers,” James Cameron, writer and director of Avatar, said of “Toruk.”

    Since 2015, Toruk has traveled to Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

    Experience a storytelling odyssey through a new world of imagination, discovery, and possibility.

    Through a riveting fusion of cutting-edge visuals, puppetry and stagecraft buoyed by a soaring cinematic score, Cirque du Soleil applies its unique signature style to James Cameron’s imaginary world and “makes the bond” between two kindred artistic visions that capture the imagination, organizers said in a media statement.

    This live immersive experience also bears the distinct signature of directors and multimedia innovators Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon.

    It is a living ode to the Na’vi’s symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnectedness of all living things,” organizers said.

    Since 1984, Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to more than 155 million spectators in more than 300 cities in six continents.

    Cirque du Soleil has close to 4,000 employees, including 1,300 performing artists from an estimated 50 countries.

    (For inquiries, please contact: SM Tickets at 470-2222 or log on to

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    Traveling Prado Museum exhibit goes to Intramuros

    June 19th, 2017

    Images © Instituto Cervantes de Manila

    A GUIDED tour called “An Architect at The Prado Museum,” will be held this month at the Plaza Roma, fronting the Manila Cathedral, in Intramuros, Manila.

    Led by renowned architect William Ti Jr., the June 24 guided tour will start at 5 pm.

    José Maria Fons Guardiola, Instituto Cervantes de Manila Cultural Department head, said the traveling project showcased as “El Prado en Las Calles” is making its final stop in the Philippines after gracing the streets of several cities around the world.

    The open-air exhibit now Intramuros, also known as “The Prado in Philippine Streets,” was inaugurated on June 9 and will run until July 31, before traveling around the Philippines.

    Saturday’s special tour guide, Architect Ti, has an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Santo Tomas and in urban design from the National University of Singapore. He is the founder of the WTA Architecture and Design Studio and is a strong advocate of social architecture which promotes a more socially relevant practice of architecture.

    Among Ti’s major projects are The Book Stop Project, Chateau Lorraine and Omni Gardens in Manila, and One Mall Valenzuela.

    An initiative of The Prado Museum and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), carried out by the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines, Instituto Cervantes de Manila, and Intramuros Administration, the exhibit shows life-size reproductions of masterpieces from The Prado Museum in Madrid,’ Fons said in a media statement.

    The first stop of the traveling exhibit was Makati and was inaugurated there on April 22 at Ayala Triangle Gardens. The Ayala opening coincided with the celebration of “Día del Libro” (World Book Day), an annual event organized by Instituto Cervantes, Fons said.

    The traveling exhibit will provide visitors and passers-by a face-to-face encounter with 53 works of some of the great masters from the 12th to the 19th centuries in the form of high-definition photographic prints representing their actual size,” Fons said.

    Images © Instituto Cervantes de Manila

    The collection display includes different schools of painting: Spanish (Goya, Velázquez, Murillo, Sorolla), Italian (Titian, Botticelli, Caravaggio), Flemish (Rubens, Van Dyck, Bosch), German (Dürer), and Dutch (Rembrandt), Fons said.

    The exhibit also pays tribute to Filipino painter Juan Luna in celebration of his 160th birth anniversary with his “Cleopatra,” a silver medalist in the 1881 Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Exposition of Fine Arts) in Madrid, which has been in the custody of The Prado along with other works of his since then.

    Perhaps, it is not common knowledge that The Prado also houses some of the works of local artist Félix Resurrección Hidalgo along with those of lesser known but equally talented Filipino painters, particularly those who participated in the Exposición General de las Islas Filipinas held in 1887 at the Palacio Cristal in Madrid, which displayed Philippine culture, arts, and history,” Fons said.

    The Prado Museum first opened its doors to the public in 1819 with a collection of the principal artworks that used to adorn royal palaces in Spain.

    Since then, the museum is now home to more than 8,000 artworks that include portraits and canvasses, aside from sculpture, drawings, prints, and decorative arts. These treasures undoubtedly make The Prado one of the best galleries in the world.

    Admission to this guided tour is FREE on a RSVP basis (limited slots available) at this email: <>.

    For more information, please call 5261482 or visit or

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    The Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Virgin Labfest 2017 is on

    June 17th, 2017

    The Virgin Labfest 2017 organizers, directors, and playwrights Photo © CCP-VLF2017

    TUXQS Rutaquio, 2017 Virgin LabFest (VLF) festival director, said this year’s VLF lineup will “force” the audience to critically examine their concept of “truth.”

    “We bank on the lighthearted and the sublime, the rebellious and irreverent, as we always have. We fall back on the possibility that the productions we have chosen to stage will force our audience to re-think what they have always known to be true,” Rutaquio told reporters.

    In launching the annual festival of untried, unstaged, and untested one-act plays, Rutaquio said the organizers “hope that this means engagement in discussions that need to be had, no matter how difficult.”

    “Because it is real and honest conversations, that are important at this point, and it is conversations that we always seek to spark with Virgin Labfest. On our 13th year, our playwrights seek to engage in these difficult conversations.

    “Ultimately, we continue to do theater, and the VLF, because we are committed to contributing to nation’s intellectual and creative development. And at a time of falsity and lies, this might be enough,” Rutaquio said.

    The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), in partnership with its resident theater company Tanghalang Pilipino and the playwright group Writer’s Bloc Inc., hosts the 13th VLF, an annual theater festival dedicated to providing an opportunity for aspiring playwrights to create new works for the stage, from June 28 to July 16, at various venues of the CCP.

    In the same press forum, Rody Vera, of the Writer’s Bloc Inc., said this year’s total submission of more than 190 original manuscripts seeking to explore various facets of human condition, several of the themes tackled were communal secrets, local superheroes, racism, impact and effect of technology in everyday life, fake news, and life-changing conversations among people.

    The three-week festival promises to be a spectacular one offering 12 unpublished and unstaged plays and five new staged readings, written by 21 virgin playwrights, and three revisited plays all performed by 76 theater thespians and stalwarts and directed by 20 upcoming and established directors, the VLF organizers said.

    With this year’s theme of “Wagas,” the new plays are divided into four sets:

    Set A includes: “Loveteam,” written by Oggie Arcenas and directed by veteran actor-director Michael Williams; “Pilipinas Kong Mahal with All The Overcoat,” written by Eljay Castro Deldoc and directed by Roobak Valle; and “Birdcage,” written by Rick Patriarca and directed by Ian Segarra.

    Set B has:  “Ang Mga Puyong,” penned by Ryan Machado and directed by Ricardo Magno, “Hindi Ako Si Darna” by playwrights Maynard Manansala and U Eliserio, directed by Andoy Ranay, and “Boses ng Masa” by Joshua Lim So and directed by Guelan Luarca.

    Set C is comprised of “Si Dr. Dolly Dalisay at Ang Mga Ladybugs” by Layeta Bucoy, directed by Jonathan Tadioan, “Ang Bata Sa Bus Stop” by Sari Saysay and directed by Topper Fabregas, and “Dear and Unhappy” by Carlo Vergara and directed by Ricky Villabona.

    “Sincerity Biker’s Club” by playwright Adrian Ho and director Jenny Jamora, “Nothing But Dreams” by playwright Dingdong Novenario and director Carlitos Siguion-Reyna, and “Ang Bahay sa Gitna ng Kawalan” by playwright Eliza A. Victoria and director George de Jesus complete the list.

    Three plays in the 2016 edition of the VLF will be mounted again this year. The revisited plays include: “Ang Sugilanon ng Kabiguan ni Epefania” written by May Cardoso and directed by Charles Yee; “Ang Bata sa Drum” by Dominique La Victoria and directed by Dudz Teraña; and “Mula sa Kulimliman” by Carlo Vergara and directed by Hazel Gutierrez.

    The Staged Readings section features “Point and Click” by playwright Jamie Bautista, directed by Mara Marasigan; “Vertigo” by playwright Nicko Manipis de Guzman, directed by Yong Tapang; “Walang Forever Virus” by playwright Fatrick Tabada, directed by Elmer Rufo; “Ang Pag-uulyanin ni Olivia Mendoza” by playwright Rolin Miguel Cadallo Obina, directed by Emmanuel dela Cruz; and “Andiyan Lang” by playwright Kevin Tabora, directed by Dennis Marasigan.

    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 3rd Virgin Labfest Anthology, composed of selected plays featured in the latest editions of the festival, will be unveiled during the festival.

    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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    French pianist, PPO play Ravel to toast PH-France ties

    June 15th, 2017

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    2017 CCP Virgin LabFest writing fellows named

    June 10th, 2017

    Image © CCP-VLF2017

    THE Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) on Friday announced the list of 10 fellows accepted for next month’s Virgin Labfest 13 Writing Fellowship Program.

    The fellows for the July 4 to 16 fellowship are: Geene Sabrina Basilio, Trisha Marie Contreras, Patricia Isabel Lucido, Gerald Manuel, Angelito Nambatac Jr., Lloyd Alcedric Rano Opalec, Anna Bettina Petrasanta, Miko Jan Portes, Manuel Luis Pedro Tinio, and Maria Amparo Warren,

    “The Virgin Labfest 13 Writing Fellowship Program is a two-week mentorship program on the study and practice of dramatic writing for the stage. The program is part of the CCP’s desire to train young aspiring playwrights,” the CCP said.

    It consists of lectures, script critiquing, writing sessions, and interactions with established playwrights, directors, and selected actors.

    Fellows are to be mentored by Ateneo Prof. Glenn Sevilla Mas, an award-winning playwright.

    They will have access to all Virgin Labfest 13 plays and selected rehearsals as part of the program.

    The fellowship program also includes the staged reading of the fellows’ works to be directed by Dennis Marasigan. The staged readings will be held on July 16 at the CCP Bulwagang Amado Hernandez at 6 pm, and open to the public.

    The Virgin Labfest 13 Writing Fellowship Program is a project of the CCP Artist Training Division of the CCP Arts Education Department.

    (For further inquiries, kindly email the or call 832-1125 local 1605.

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