CCP prepaid cards now available

CCP prepaid cards now available
By Walter Ang
April 29, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

CCP artistic director Chris Millado
The Cultural Center of the Philippines now offers prepaid cards that can be used towards paying for tickets to selected shows.

Available in P2,500 and P5,000 denominations, the prepaid cards allow the user to avail of a 20% discount off ticket prices. Cards can be bought at the CCP Box Office; cash payments only, credit card payments not accepted.

"It's the perfect gift for any occasion," says CCP president Raul Sunico. "For graduations, birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, or simply give it as a token of love or appreciation. Businesses or organizations can also use it for employee recognition, sales and performance incentives and as corporate gifts."

"For more than 40 years, CCP has received more than 300,000 audiences in 700 performances with more than 10,000 artists," says CCP artistic director Chris Millado.

The CCP has several resident performing arts companies: Tanghalang Pilipino, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (Namcya).

Resident dance companies include Ballet Philippines, Philippine Ballet Theatre, Bayanihan Dance Company and Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group.

Affiliated school-based groups include University of the Philippines' Philippine Madrigal Singers and University of Santo Tomas Symphony Orchestra.

CCP also has activities related to film, literature and visual arts.

Membership card
Individuals can also become patrons of the arts by becoming CCP members for as low as P1,000. This amount entitles the donor to a membership card and access to Members' Lounges at the lobby of Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino and at the lobby of Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.

"Members are also informed about shows via email and they are the first ones informed about or invited to free or special events and promos," says Millado.

For donations P2,000 up to P4,999, donors receive an additional benefit: 10% discount on tickets to CCP-produced and co-produced shows.

Higher donation amounts receive more benefits, which can include access to rehearsal sessions, meet-and-greet opportunities with selected artists, and even the donor's name on a brass plate displayed in the center's lobby.

Filipinos (or anyone) abroad who want to become a member can do so by applying (and conveniently paying online) through the CCP website.

CCP provides free delivery of its prepaid cards and membership cards within Metro Manila.

Corporate social responsibility
Groups, organizations and companies can opt to become corporate donors, where their donations are tax-deductible.

"CCP can issue a certification of your donation. When you file your taxes, you can declare the amount you donated and it will be deducted from the tax that you're supposed to pay," says. Sunico.

Companies can also join a gift matching program where they match the amounts donated by their employees.

"For example, an employee donates P1,000. His or her employer also donates by matching that amount, for a total of P2,000. This way, the donor increases the value of his or her donation and is recognized by CCP at the total amount. Both employee and employer will be recognized as CCP members," he says.

Funding the future
"While we greatly appreciate the funding we receive from the government and the continuous support of our ticket-buying audience, we are still confronted with the growing costs of expenses related to expansion of programs," says Millado.

"Donations are essential to help bring excellence to our productions as well as and training programs for children, teachers and underserved communities. CCP has outreach programs including arts therapy modules in areas of calamity and armed conflict," he adds.

In addition to workshops, lectures and screenings that are open to the public, the CCP's library is also free admission. The CCP library has plays, film scripts, musical scores, audio and video recordings of events and performances, phono records, photographs, posters, slides, among other resources.

"We encourage everyone to share their passion for the arts and join our efforts to foster national pride, especially in our youth, the citizens of the future," says Sunico

One free way to help CCP is to volunteer for its events throughout the year.

"You get the chance to meet prominent artists, leading arts managers and international figures in culture and the arts.  You can immerse in the atmosphere of creativity while making new friends and enlarging your network," says Millado.

Volunteers can do tasks from answering calls at the Box Office to serving as backstage staff for productions, conferences, festivals, outdoor events and many other activities; from handling tours in the center to serving as translators for international guest artists.

Upcoming events that will need volunteers this year include Virgin Labfest (July), Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival (July-Aug), and International Choral Festival (Aug).

For details on CCP's prepaid cards, contact 8323704. For membership cards, contact 8321125. To volunteer for CCP events, contact

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How Dennis Teodosio became a prolific playwright

'Sugod lang nang sugod!'--How Dennis Teodosio became a prolific playwright, with help from the Virgin Labfest
By Walter Ang
April 27, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Dennis Teodisio
Except in the year 2011, Dennis Teodosio holds the distinction of being the only playwright to have been produced in every single installment of the Virgin Labfest (VL) since it began in 2005.

VL has grown into a much-anticipated annual event where new plays are given their world premieres, usually up to at least nine new one-acts per festival.

The fest is organized by Writers Bloc, a playwright group founded by Rody Vera that holds free critiquing sessions for established and aspiring playwrights, and Tanghalang Pilipino (TP), resident theater group of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Teodosio has had a total of nine one-acts, up to two per festival in some years, staged for VL.

Last year, he submitted a full-length play. His "Totong Hilot," about a boy who yearns to become a hilot like his grandfather, was selected to be staged.

It is his first full-length play for VL, but actually the 18th full-length from his prolific output.

"I've been writing two to three full lengths a year since 2007. I write plays because it's cathartic. I am more familiar with writing one-acts, but the experience of writing full-length plays is more orgasmic."

Day jobs
"The first play I ever saw was Orlando Nadres' 'Hanggang Dito na Lamang at Maraming Salamat' at Philippine Educational Theater Association's (Peta) fomer theater in Intramuros.  After watching Rody Vera's 'Ralph at Claudia' I started to get a feeling that I could write plays."

Teodosio had done work in communications-related fields such as advertising, public relations, events, and corporate communications before he shifted to scriptwriting and playwriting.

Alongside his playwriting, he has had scriptwriting "dayjobs," initially with Star Cinema and ABS-CBN, and currently with a television network in Myanmar.

In 2000, Vera invited Teodosio to join Writers Bloc. "I didn't think I could do it. But Danton Remoto once told me that I was very dramatic when I recounted stories and that I could write. So I pushed myself to write."

Writers Bloc members with American
playwright Henry David Hwang (seated center).
"Writers Bloc has been tremendously helpful. I'm able to polish my works from the comments of other playwrights. You learn from their experiences, tips they've formulated from their own writing experiences, things you can't learn in books."

His first ever play "Gee-Gee at Waterina," a fictionalized conversation between two characters based on Justo Justo, founder of the Home For The Golden Gays, and Walter Dempsey, Jr., more popularly known as Walterina Markova, a sex slave during the Philippines' Japanese occupation, received its world premiere at the very first VL.

And it was a Writers Bloc writing session that spawned it. "Playwright Rene Villanueva challenged us to write about two people having a conversation and their realizations. He eventually became my mentor. He told me to prepare myself because I would give birth to many plays. I think his prediction has come true. I hope I can properly raise all these plays I've delivered," he says, laughing.

While VL exposes audiences to new works and provides opportunities for actors, directors and backstage collaborators to hone their craft, the fact that it is primarily an endeavor "to encourage Filipino playwrights to create new works and define new perspectives in contemporary Philippine drama" is sometimes subsumed by the fest's large scale.

Nonetheless, while no formal auditing has been done yet, a sample survey of past VL playwrights affirms that inclusion in the fest does help spur restagings of their plays.

Plays that have been restaged after VL include Rogelio Braga's "Ang Bayot, Ang Meranao at Ang Habal-Habal sa Isang Nakababagot na Paghihintay sa Kanto ng Lanao del Norte," Floy Quintos' "Ang Kalungkutan ng Mga Reyna," and Layeta Bucoy's "Ellas Inocentes," "Doc Resureccion: Gagamutin ang Bayan," and "Huling Habilin ng Sirena."

"Audiences usually include students and faculty who eventually acquire the permission to restage the plays they've seen."

All of Teodisio's past VL plays has been restaged numerous times by university-theater groups throughout the country.

"VL has helped me with my playwriting career."

Directors and producers also monitor the fests. Because of his exposure in VL, Teodisio has received commissions from Gantimpala Theater's late artistic director Tony Espejo to write "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Ang Pagong at Matsing," both children's musicals, and from Peta to write two musicals for its clients.

"Hopefully, one day a theater group will stage something that's my idea and not commissioned," he says.

His advice for aspiring playwrights who wish to join VL (the festival accepts entries annually, even from non-Writers Bloc members) is "Sugod lang nang sugod."

And if selected, to enjoy the process. "I'm one of the few playwrights in VL who keeps on revising during rehearsals. That's my learning arena. I tweak the text for the director, the cast, the audiences."

Playwriting Fellowship Program
Glenn Mas (left) with students
from a previous playwriting program
VL and CCP will host a Playwriting Fellowship Program this year for college students and young professionals 29 years old and below to be taught by Glenn Mas. There will be a script-writing workshop, lectures, discussions and script critiquing.

"Fellows are usually required to write a ten-minute play," says Mas. "With my past students, after VL, several went on to write more plays. One of them, Isabella Borlaza, even had her play chosen as part of the main festival a year after it was presented in the staged reading showcase."

Accepted applicants will have a chance to interact with known playwrights, directors and actors during their rehearsals for VL. The program concludes with a staged reading of the fellows' works.

For information on staging rights of Teodosio's plays, contact; for staging rights to other Virgin Labfest plays or to join Writers Bloc's future sessions, email 

Virgin Labfest 2013 runs June 25 to July 7 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

To apply for a slot in VL Playwriting Fellowship Program 2013, contact 8321125 loc. 1605 or Deadline for applications is June 4, 2013.

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Contemporary dance highlighted in Dance Week 2013

Contemporary dance highlighted in Dance Week 2013
By Walter Ang
April 22, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

To celebrate Philippine National Dance Week and International Dance Day, Contemporary Dance Network Manila (CDNM) is presenting "X-hilirate! Contemporary Dance Map 2013," a metro-wide, week-long series of dance shows and related activities.

"Contemporary Dance Map is laid out once again, this year in its original format: with several studio shows spread out across the metro in the span of a week that culminate at the UP annex garden on April 29," says Angela Lawenko-Baguilat.

Lawenko-Baguilat, University of the Philippines (UP) Dance Company artistic director, is the chair of CDNM, an organization of contemporary dance companies, artists, school-based organizations, and institutions, whose goal is to promote contemporary dance in the Philippines.

Member groups of CDNM will present their latest works in their respective studios. "As the pioneering groups did in order to activate independent contemporary dance in the country."

CDNM has staged several Contemporary Dance Map events over the years, as well as organizing several Wifi Body Independent Contemporary Dance Festivals. The group's series began in 2005 and aims to "map alternative spaces for dance in a performance tour of these spaces."

The series has included performances in spaces such as the LRT2 line (2010), the streets of Araneta Center in Cubao (2011), and a performance at Dance Forum Space last year.

"This year, the network looks back on its roots to revive the excitement that blossomed into our current contemporary dance scene. We want to excite burgeoning dance artists and encourage them to explore, experiment, and exceed all previous experiments and explorations."

The series began yesterday (April 21) in San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City with "X-pose: In\Stall\Ment" staged by Airdance at their recently inaugurated studio.

On April 25, UP Dance Company will stage "X-traction: Linings in Between" in Diliman, Quezon City at UP College of Music's dance studio. This is followed by Chameleon Dance Theater's " New DireXion: Episode 1" in Cubao on April 26.

The series moves to Manila on April 27 as Lyceum Dance Theater stages "Xtension" at Lyceum of the Philippines University' Jose Laurel Hall of Freedom.

Philippine National Dance Week, celebrated every last week of April, began in 1993 as per Presidential Proclamation 154 signed by then President Fidel Ramos.

The series concludes in Quezon City with a gala performance and a dance-film screening.

The Contemporary Dance Map Gala will be staged at the UP College of Music's annex garden on April 29 featuring the works of choreographers Elena Laniog, Jun Saagundo, Rhosam Prudenciado, Rudoplh Segundo and Ava Villanueva.

International Dance Day, celebrated every April 29, was founded in 1982 by the International Dance Committee of Unesco's International Theater Institute. The date commemorates the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre, a French dancer and ballet master regarded as the creator of modern ballet.

Lawenko says, "The series ends at Dance Forum Space, the performance space created by CDNM founding chair and current vice-chair Myra Beltran, where it all began."

On April 30, Dance Forum Space will host the showing of two dance films with an open forum. "Uncensored Bodies X-plore" will screen "Merce Cunningham: A Lifetime of Dance" (about the American dancer and choreographer known for his involvement in the avant-garde dance movement) and "Meredith Monk: Inner Voice" (about the American composer, performer, director, vocalist, filmmaker, and choreographer known for her multi-disciplinary works that combine music, theatre, and dance.).

"Uncensored Bodies X-plore," a dance film workshop, will also be held from May 1 to 4.

Throughout the past few years, CDNM has nurtured the exploration of dance as part of and for film. "Past Wifi Body festivals have produced insightful short films that challenge artists hovering between genres, and the genres themselves."

The four-day workshop will have topics such as aesthetics, production, film language for choreography. Participants will then pitch their ideas to choreographers for collaboration.

Workshop facilitators Sherad Anthony Sanchez and Ruelo Zendo will choose seven projects to be mentored and realized.  The films will be screened at the end of May.

All performances begin at 7 PM. Some shows have student and senior citizen discounts. Contact or 09175760212.

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Musicals, Shakespeare, Pinoy opera–Tanghalang Pilipino announces 27th season (2013-2014) lineup

Musicals, Shakespeare, Pinoy opera–Tanghalang Pilipino announces 27th season lineup
By Walter Ang
April 20, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Tanghalang Pilipino, resident theater company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, will open its 27th season (2013-2014) with a children’s musical.

Luis Gatmaitan’s Palanca award-winning children’s book “Sandosenang Sapatos” will be adapted for the stage by Layeta Bucoy with music by Noel Cabangon and Jed Balsamo.

“The musical was commissioned by the Philippine Board on Books for Young People in cooperation with CCP as part of the celebration of the 28th National Children’s Book Day in July later this year,” says artistic director Fernando “Nanding” Josef.

“The play is about a shoemaker who dreams of having a daughter who will become a ballerina but ends up with a crippled daughter. Audiences will see how he shows her his love.”

TP board member and Inquirer columnist Tessa Prieto Valdes will have a special guest role in the show.

“Sandosenang Sapatos” runs July 13 -21 with 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. shows to accommodate student audiences.

Indigenous myths, world classics
The Rody Vera-Carol Bello musical “Ibalong,” based on a myth dealing with the origins of Bicol, will tour Legazpi, Albay, before returning to Manila as the season’s second production from Aug. 30 to Sept. 15.

“Ibalong” had its world premiere last year with Jenine Desiderio in the titular role.
Vera wrote the adaptation with music by Bello.

The same cast is expected to reprise their roles for the restaging this year.

This will be followed by “The Merchant of Venice: Der Kaufmann,” Vera’s Tagalog adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play about a Jewish moneylender who seeks revenge against a Christian merchant who has defaulted on a loan.

“Vera’s adaptation locates the action in the Holocaust, with Nazis directing imprisoned gay Jews.” This show runs Sept. 27-Oct. 13.

National heroes, Filipino families
From Nov. 29 to Dec. 8, as part of the sesquicentennial birth anniversary of national hero Andres Bonifacio on Nov. 30, TP will stage the world premiere of the opera “San Andres B.”

“Internationally acclaimed Filipino opera singers Abdul Candao and Clarissa Ocampo have already signed on to perform,” Josef says.

Libretto is by National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario and music by Josefino “Chino” Toledo.

“Bonifacio led the early stirrings of aspiring for Philippine nationhood but he’s considered to be an underrated hero compared to the highly recognized Jose Rizal,” adds Josef. “This production can help open the consciousness of Filipinos, especially of the youth, to the great virtues of Bonifacio.”

The season concludes in 2014 with National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s “Mga Ama, Mga Anak.” The production will use a Tagalog translation by Almario and Pete Lacaba of Joaquin’s English play that deals with conflicts between generations of Zacarias Monzon’s family and their fall from power.

Josef says that there are plans to cast film and television actors in some of the roles.

This show will run Feb. 21-March 9, 2014.

All productions feature members of Actors Company, TP’s resident pool of actors. AC scholars, apprentices and members go through continuous training in acting, movement, dance, voice, script analysis, improvisation, directing and other related courses.

TP associate artistic director Tuxqs Rutaquio is slated to direct the first three productions of the season, with Vera co-directing “Der Kaufmann.”

Floy Quintos is attached to direct “San Andres B,” while Joel Lamangan has been tapped to direct “Mga Ama.”

TP resident technical director Katsch Catoy will handle lighting design for the entire season except for “Mga Ama,” which will be lighted by Monino Duque.

All productions will be staged at Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino, except for “Sandosenang Sapatos” and “Der Kaufmann,” which will be staged at Tanghalang Huseng Batute.

“Ibalong” is available for booking as a touring production to different venues. Also available for touring is “Walang Kukurap,” written by Layeta Bucoy and directed by Rutaquio.

“Walang Kukurap” premiered last year and is a suspense thriller about a first-time vice mayor candidate sucked into corruption, deceit and murder.

“It’s part of TP’s commitment to spread awareness about corruption and political dynasties,” says Josef.

All shows are open for sponsors and show buyers. Group, student and senior citizen discounts available. Contact tel. 8321125 loc. 1620 to 1621, 2183791, 0917-7500107 and 0918-9593949. Tickets also available through Ticketworld (tel. 8919999).

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Nor Doming, actor and director-cinematographer, makes sorbets, too

This actor (and director-cinematographer) makes sorbets, too
By Walter Ang
April 13, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Nor Domingo
Actor and director Nor Domingo has sweet side to him outside of the theater world: he makes tropical fruit flavored sorbets.

Domingo was recently seen in Philippine Educational Theater's "Haring Lear" (a Tagalog adaptation of Shakespeare's "King Lear" featuring an all-male cast) as Goneril and a restaging of "Care Divas" as Jonie.

Lest audiences assume Domingo only portrays female characters (Goneril) and cross-dressing gay men (Jonie) on stage, he was also in Marie Eugenie Theater of the Assumption's "The Crucible" as the unmistakably male John Proctor.

"I am also a cinematographer for television commercials and films," he says. Last year he shot two full-length features: "Sta. Niña" for Cinemalaya and "Slumber Party" for Cinema One Originals.

Projects aside, being married with two children, he'd always felt being a freelance actor and cinematographer "wasn't 'stable' enough to raise a family."

More 'normal'
Domingo as Goneril in
Peta's "Haring Lear"
"For many years, I've been thinking of starting a business. A few years ago, I decided to take the plunge and do something more 'normal.'" He searched the internet for information on how to make sorbet, acquired an ice cream maker and started experimenting.

Last year, he finally got hold of a batch freezer and started Pepito's Pinoy Sorbet. Usually served as a palate cleanser during multi-course meals, sorbet is considered a light dessert for the figure-conscious and lactose intolerant since it contains no fat or milk .

Sorbet is made the same way as ice cream: freezing the ingredients as they're being mixed. While ice cream usually contains milk and has air whipped into it, sorbet has neither, resulting in a denser and more flavorful product.

The brand is named after his son Pepe. "We changed it to Pepito's to make it sound more Italian since the original idea was Italian Ice." Gourmands note that Italian ice is grainy, while sorbet has a smooth texture.

He'd been toying with changing the brand name to Pepe & Pilar to include his daughter's name but "the name Pepito's has already started to spread because of our friends and family who have tasted our sorbet, so we can't change the name anymore," he laughs.

His children are the real impetus behind this endeavor. "Cinematography work takes so much of my time away from the family. It breaks my heart every time I leave and the kids would look sad and ask when I'm coming home. So having a home-based business keeps me here with them. They sometimes help me out, too!"

Fruity flavors
Pepito's Pinoy Sorbet
guyabano (soursop) flavor
Domingo studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in New York City. Upon his return to Manila, he studied filmmaking at Mowelfund Film Institute where one of his instructors informed him that Peta was looking for actors. "I auditioned, was accepted and I haven't stopped acting since."

When he was living on Staten Island, he always had Italian ice or sorbet during the hot summer months. He had always dreamed of bringing that to Manila but didn’t have the means then.

"Sorbets are mainly made from fruit juice, water and sugar," he explains. "We get fruits, juice it, mix it with water and sugar then put it in the ice cream maker. I use a 6-quart batch freezer we imported from the US."

To make his product unique, Domingo uses local fruits to flavor his sorbets: sampaloc (tamarind), passion fruit, dalandan (Philippine orange), pineapple, and guyabano (soursop).

"We would like to help the Buy Pinoy campaign, promote the country's fruits and help the local industry in our own very small way."

The existing flavors are sourced from a supplier. For other fruit flavors, Domingo usually purchases from what's available in the market. "So it's a bit difficult to mass-produce some of our flavors except for the ones we are selling now."

Pepito's Pinoy Sorbet
sampaloc (tamarind) flavor
Actors are used to working with directors and stage managers who run the backstage machinery of theater making. In this case, Domingo's sorbet-making is fully supported by his wife of 13 years Pia.

"She actually runs this show but, to quote Walter White from [TV show] 'Breaking Bad,' 'I am in charge of the cooking.'"

"I make the sorbets myself while Pia helps keep everything organized! She was at one point a wedding cake maker and now runs a packed lunch service for school kids, so she knows the how-to's of the food business. She was the one who told me to make a spreadsheet for my recipes, how to keep track of expenses, how to cost our product, started the Facebook page, etc."

Given the scale of Domingo's operations, he can only produce small batches by advance order and all orders are for pick-up only at his residence in the Greenhills area.

But foodies have something to look forward to. "There are establishments who have shown interest in selling our sorbets in their stores in Quezon City, Makati and Alabang."

Pepito's Pinoy Sorbet is available at P190 per pint. Half-gallon (4 pints) and one-gallon 8 pints) orders accepted, at least three days in advance. Call 925-5817, 0920-907-2901 to 02.

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Bitten anew by the theater bug, Arnell Ignacio goes 'The Full Monty'

Bitten anew by the theater bug, Arnell Ignacio goes "The Full Monty" 
By Walter Ang
April 6, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Back row: Arnell Ignacio, Mark Bautista, Jaime Wilson.
Front: OJ Mariano, Nino Alejandro, Marco Sison

Arnell Ignacio has joined the cast of Viva Atlantis Theatricals' (Vat) inaugural production "The Full Monty." Ignacio will play Harold Nichols, one of six jobless men who set out to stage a strip show where they plan to go "the full monty"-or strip all the way.

Adapted for the stage by Terrence McNally with music by David Yazbek, the musical is an Americanized version of the 1997 British comedy-drama movie of the same title.

Vat is the newest theater-producing outfit in town, formed via a partnership between theater group Atlantis Productions, headed by artistic director Bobby Garcia, and music, concert, film, home video, and television (and now including theater) conglomerate Viva Entertainment, headed by Vic Del Rosario.

Headlining the production is singer Mark Bautista as Jerry Lukowski. Bautista made his stage debut two years ago as Crisostomo Ibarra in Tanghalang Pilipino's "Noli Me Tangere."

Chari Arespacochaga directs. Musical direction by Ceejay Javier, set design by Denis Lagdameo, costume design by Twinkle Zamora and lighting design by Jonjon Villareal.

Freewheeling approach 
Ignacio had been hosting a TV game show and a radio talk show up until early this year, but has been de-loading himself of broadcast assignments in favor of what seems to be a return to acting projects.

Last year, he was cast in Gantimpala Theater's "Sayaw ng mga SENIORita." Prior to that, he'd taken an Intensive Advanced acting workshop with visiting teachers from the Stella Adler Studio of Acting organized by Philippine Educational Theater Association.

"I do whatever I want, when I want," he says. "It's gotten me into trouble but it's also given me a lot of joy."

It's his freewheeling approach to life that got him started in theater work in the 80s. At the time, he'd already started his career in doing stand-up comedy/hosting in clubs like The Library. He'd accompanied a friend to the rehearsals of Repertory Philippines' "La Cage aux Folles," picked up one of the production's sheet music, sight read it (a skill he acquired as a music major from the University of the Philippines College of Music and as a member of the university's Philippine Madrigal Singers), and started singing.

"Founder and (then) artistic director Bibot Amador was staring at me. I didn't know who she was so I stopped singing and moved away. But she followed me and asked why I was singing. I told her it was because I was bored. She asked me who I was, so I asked her who she was!" Ignacio laughs.

He was cast in the show and went on to act in several Rep productions.

Familiar yet new 
Returning to the stage is akin to "starting from scratch" he reckons. "It feels wonderful! I am experiencing a renewed energy. It's exciting."

He was also surprised at how rehearsal methods have changed over the years. "The technique before used to be anchored on creating tension for the actors, so that you could use that tension in your acting. As such, there was usually a lot of screaming from the director," he laughs. "Now it's so relaxed!"

But he still feels a little pressure. "I think I'm the oldest person in the whole cast. My co-actor Jaime [Wilson] and director Chari were both only teenagers when I was with Rep! I don't want to be lagging behind. I want to make sure I'm always prepared. When an opportunity comes, you want to be ready."

Freewheeling approach nonetheless, once he commits to a project, Ignacio says he commits all the way. For this production, he has already learned the music and is now augmenting rehearsals with his own research. "I have multiple copies of the script so I can always study it wherever I am. I go on Youtube to study the accents of people from Buffalo, New York (where the musical is set). I have been experimenting with my character's appearance, like with his hair."

He notes that while the musical is about Americans, the story of their struggles is "Pinoy na Pinoy." He says, "The emotions that the characters feel, how they deal with their pride and their families, how they find ways to solve their problems, how friends help each other- it's a universal story that Filipino audiences will surely relate to."

"The Full Monty" runs from April 19 to May 5, 2013 at Carlos Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza Bldg., Makati. Contact 892-7078 or Tickets also available from Ticketworld (891-9999).

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'Made of Gold': Lavish book celebrates nearly 30 years of Metrobank art contest

'Made of Gold': Lavish book celebrates nearly 30 years of Metrobank art contest
By Walter Ang
April 8, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto Sobrepena,
former Philippine President Fidel Ramos,
former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban,
Federal Land president Alfred Ty, and
'Made of Gold' author Cid Reyes.
Made of Gold, a coffee table book featuring winners of past Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (Made) competitions, was launched as part of the bank's 50th anniversary.

The Made competitions, organized by the Metrobank Foundation, started in 1984 solely as a painting competition and eventually included sculpture, interior design and architecture categories.

Written by artist and critic Cid Reyes, the book documents "the significance of the Made competitions in the Philippine art scene and its involvement in uplifting culture and art as catalysts of nation-building."

Metrobank founder and group chair George Ty created the foundation in 1979 to "share the fruits of [the bank's] success with society." He serves as the foundation's chair.

The 252-page book is hardbound with gilted edging and features in full color winning artworks and designs from the competition: 140 paintings and 12 sculptures. It has profiles of seven sculptors, 13 interior designers and six architects.

Featured artists include former Made winners Elmer Borlongan, Mark Justiniani and Rolando Ventura, among others.

Selected artworks featured in "Made of Gold" are on exhibit at the Vicente Manansala Hallway and at the lobby of Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino, Cultural Center of the Philippines until April 14.

Other books
Two other coffee table books were also launched: The Metrobank Foundation Exemplars and Ten Outstanding Filipino Teachers (Volume 2).

"What you shall read in these pages chronicles the creme de la creme of sustained excellence, faithful service, and unyielding commitment to Filipinos," said foundation president Aniceto Sobrepeña. "We hope readers will be inspired by the amazing stories of our Outstanding Filipinos."

The Metrobank Foundation Exemplars features 15 of the foundation's awardees of its competitions for Outstanding Teachers, Country's Outstanding Police Officers in Service, Outstanding Philippine Soldiers, and Outstanding Journalists?individuals "whose shining examples, inspiring dedication and excellent performance in their respective fields have helped shaped their communities and the nation."

It's written by Ateneo De Manila University math professor and INQUIRER columnist Queena Lee-Chua, a 2003 Outstanding Teacher awardee.

Ten Outstanding Filipino Teachers (Volume 2) features ten awardees of the foundation's Search for Outstanding Teachers. It's written by 2003 Outstanding Teacher awardee Jaime An Lim, retired Dean of Far Eastern University's College of Arts and Sciences.

It includes a profile of Ateneo De Manila University history professor and INQUIRER columnist Ambeth Ocampo, a 2006 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Teacher awardee.

Contact 857-5918, 898-8855 or

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Philippine exhibition opens at Quai Branly Museum in Paris

Philippine exhibition opens at Quai Branly Museum in Paris
By Walter Ang
April 8, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Musee du quai Branly (Quai Branly Museum)
Musee du quai Branly (Quai Branly Museum) in Paris, France will host "Philippines: Archipel des échanges" Philippines: An Archipelago of Exchange), an exhibition featuring artwork and artifacts from the country's pre-colonial period.

"To date, this is the biggest exhibition in scope dedicated to the Philippines in Europe," said museum president Stéphane Martin.

The exhibition aims to show the Philippines' Austronesian roots and maritime culture before the arrival of Europeans through selected pieces such as sculptures, pottery, textiles and personal ornaments from various collections in the Philippines, United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Austria.

The exhibition will be at the museum's Garden Gallery and contains three sections: the traditional works of the northern highlands of Luzon; the textiles, costumes and ornaments of warriors from Mindanao; and the influence of the shipping network on the items produced by the southern coastal societies such as Palawan, Mindanao and Sulu.

The exhibition opens on April 9 and runs until July. Curated by anthropologist Corazon Alvina and Constance de Monbrison, the exhibit is mounted in collaboration with the National Museum, Central Bank of the Philippines, and Ayala Museum.

Anthropologist Alvina is a former director of the National Museum of the Philippines, and a trustee and consulting curator of the Metropolitan Museum in Manila. Art historian Monbrison is in charge of Quai Branly's insular Southeast Asia collections.

Martin explained the choice to put the Philippines as the focus of the exhibit. "The arts of the Philippines are little known in France and rarely shown in their entirety and diversity," he said. "We pay homage to these multiple artistic expressions."

Not just for French visitors
Located on the banks of the Seine River at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and designed by architect Jean Nouvel, the Quai Branly Museum is considered one of Europe's premier museums dedicated to the arts and civilizations of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas, housing a collection of over 400,000 objects, 700,000 photographs 3,500 artworks, and 10,000 musical instruments on permanent display.

The museum receives an average of 1,400,000 visitors annually. French Ambassador Gilles Garachon said, "The museum will promote Philippine culture not only to the French public, but to its visitors from all over the world."

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault visited the Philippines last year and signed, together with President Benigno Aquino, an accord for the loan of Filipino artifacts to France for this exhibition.

The museum will host a Philippine week from April 27-May 5, offering cultural performances and workshops on Filipino language, music, dances, cuisine and traditional martial arts.

Other events
Several side events throughout France featuring Philippine contemporary art are also scheduled. Alliances en Résonance will be held April 10-May 10 in Paris, featuring music, photography, and cinema under the auspices of the Fondation Alliance Française.

22 Filipino artists will be featured in Musee International Des Arts Modestes (International Museum of Modestes Arts) in an exhibition opening on April 12 and will run until October.

Located in Sete in southern France, the museum is a repurposed wine cellar designed by architect Patrick Bouchain. Curated by Manuel Ocampo, this exhibition features contemporary artists such as Poklong Anading, Bea Camacho, Lena Cobangbang, Louie Cordero, Maria Cruz, Kawayan De Guia, Dina Gadia.

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9 Works Theatrical's 9PO is the new orchestra on the block--with a difference

New orchestra on the block--with a difference
By Walter Ang
April 1, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

9PO is the new orchestra in town. It's an affiliate group of 9 Works Theatrical and "was formed to cater to the growing demand for professional musicians," says conductor Joseph Tolentino.

"The 'P' stands for philharmonic, pit and pop-representing what 9PO is capable of servicing in terms of orchestral demand.

"Traditionally, a philharmonic orchestra consists of an ensemble with a large number of musicians. Usually the repertoire consists of mainly classical pieces.

"A pop orchestra's repertoire caters more towards the general public outside of the classical realm, such as show tunes, popular movie themes, etc.

"A pit orchestra is an accompanying orchestra for works that require orchestral accompaniment. An example of such works would be musicals, ballets, and operas. This was how 9PO started."

Tolentino had been a musician in several 9 Works productions and was eventually tasked to be the musical director of their 2011 musical "Sweet Charity."

"I was required to form a group just for the show. At first it was daunting. It was hard to find musicians and to get them to work together as one, rather than a pre-made ensemble where the musicians have played together for years."

They managed to get things off the ground during the show's run. "We realized that we'd stumbled on something special and decided to turn the 'Sweet Charity Band' into a resident orchestra for 9 Works Theatrical.

The new group had its debut as pit orchestra for 9 Works' "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" last year.

Making music
Joseph Tolentino
Born in Manila and raised in New York, Tolentino started his education in music at the Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, the school featured in the 1980 movie "Fame" and its 2009 remake.

"Both movies are obviously a bit more over-the-top in some aspects, like the students dancing on tables. This famous highlight from the movie does not happen in the real-life. At least not while I was there. If it did, I probably missed all the fun," he laughs.

It was probably because he was too busy making music, having joined "as many ensembles as my schedule could permit." Aside from the orchestras in LaGuardia, he was a member of at least four other orchestras and even performed a few times along with the New York Pops, the only symphonic orchestra in New York City specializing in popular American music.

For his efforts, Tolentino graduated with high honors and also received the Presidential Music Award accorded by former US President Bill Clinton. "It's hanging in my living room above my piano."

Love and passion
"After graduating, I wanted something different and chose the farthest place from New York I could think of: the Philippines."  He'd originally planned on completing his music degree (major in piano under Raul Sunico) at the University of Santo Tomas' Conservatory of Music and return to New York.

"But things changed as I began to enjoy living here. The people I've met here and the new 'families,' such as 9 Works, have become a part of what has sealed my decision to live here for good."

After spending a few years here, he's also observed a unique trait among Filipino musicians. "The one thing I admire the most about [them] is their love and passion for their music. In the States, there are many opportunities for musicians to develop their skills and talent at a young age … something many musicians here wished they had when they were children. However, this does not hinder their spirit."

For now, he'll be busy handling the group's core of 13 musicians. "However, we have a roster of dozens of musicians we may call upon depending on what the performance will require."

The orchestra is composed of professional musicians "all trained in the fields of classical, modern, and contemporary or popular music, from the sonorous tones of the acoustic to the high-energy flavors of the electric. We can do classical, big band, acoustic and latin music."

He'll also oversee the different services they will be providing their clients, from professional productions and corporate events to private functions like weddings, debuts and parties-even pit work for other theater productions. "Anything that helps contribute to the theater industry."

"9PO can also provide musical composition and arrangement services. We can rearrange existing songs and music or come up with original pieces to suit our clients' needs."

9PO will provide music for 9 Works Theatrical's summer acting workshop recitals in May and for its production of "Grease" in November. To book 9PO or for more information about 9 Works' summer acting workshops for kids, pre-teens, teens and adults starting April 8, contact 557-5860, 586-7105, 0917-55405560 or

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