How Bibo Reyes shed 70 pounds

How Bibo Reyes shed 70 pounds
May 28, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Bibo Reyes in April 2015 and November 2015.
Young actor Bibo Reyes has lost 70 pounds over the past ten months through diet and exercise.

"When people ask what I did or am doing, I usually just tell them 'discipline,'" says the 25 year old actor who was seen onstage recently in two Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group (Ateg) productions -- "Saturday Night Fever" (which toured Kuala Lumpur and Singapore after its Manila run) and "Bridges of Madison County."

In September, he'll be part of Ateg's "Jersey Boys," a musical about the formation, success and eventual break-up of the 1960s rock 'n roll group The Four Seasons.

Nyoy Vollante will play Frankie Valli and Christian Bautista will play Bob Gaudio.

Photo by Earle Figuracion
"When we think about weight loss, we tend to talk about drastic diets and workouts when, really, the answer is simply 'balance,'" says Reyes, who'd always been on the heavy side since childhood.

"I had never experienced not being overweight. I would really eat anything I wanted, whenever I wanted."

He ballooned to 230 pounds on a 5 foot 8 inch frame. This all changed last year.

"I wanted to begin a new chapter in my life and be done with all the frustration and disappointment that comes with being an overweight child who grew into an obese adult. "

His efforts began with an initial weight loss boost by using food supplement products from Yoli Better Body System.

"My mother heard about the program from her coworkers," he says. "My parents and I did it for one month and I lost 25 pounds."

"The program really taught me about taking care of one's body and how you simply cannot eat whatever you want and expect to be slim."

From there, he lost an additional 45 pounds by watching what he ate and maintaining a physically active lifestyle, an average of 4.5 pounds per month or a pound a week.

These days, he keeps his diet "reasonable" and does aerobic exercises three to four times a week.

"I just mainly run and do dance classes. On jogging days, I do one hour. On cycling days, I do two hours on my stationery bike with a sauna suit on."

Twice a week, he takes a two-hour street dancing class.

A fan of mixed martial arts, Reyes is also excited about MMA fighter Mark Munoz's upcoming school in Manila. "I would definitely love to enroll. Wrestling is the base of all combat sports and it intrigues me as a martial art."

Photo by Celine Bengzon
After shedding the excess weight, "I feel lighter and more confident," he says. "Sometimes I feel like climbing on top of stuff or doing floor exercises that I couldn't even imagine doing before."

As far as his theater work is concerned, "It has changed the psychological aspect of my acting. As actors, we need to be free of tension onstage, but as a large man conscious of his weight I unknowingly carried a lot of insecure energy which manifested physically; I'm learning to kill that now."

Reyes was into rock music in high school and sang in a few bands. He would also join high school dramatic contests and get cast in lead roles. "That's what initially woke up my theater bones, so to speak."

When the movie version of the musical "Rent" came out, Reyes saw "a marriage of what were quickly becoming my two performance-involved passions, and so musical theater became an interest ever since."

He joined Ateneo Blue Repertory in college and has been performing on stage since. He's done turns as Dennis in "All Shook Up," Tank in "Zanna, Don't!," Berger in "Hair," and Peter in "Bare."

Aside from playing Michael in "The Bridges of Madison County," he's also done Sonny in "In the Heights," Franz in "Rock of Ages," and "Trekkie/Nicky" in a Singapore staging of "Avenue Q," all for Ateg.

Before "Jersey Boys" in September, he has two productions in the next few months.

In July, he'll be in Twin Bill Theater's "Suicide, Inc.," a dark comedy about a company that writes suicide letters for its clients.

In August, he'll be in Upstarts Productions' "Love/Sick," a comedy featuring nine "slightly twisted stories exploring the pain and joy that comes with being in love."

Meanwhile, when he's not performing or rehearsing, he enjoys his collection of figures, video games and comic books that have to do with science fiction, pro-wrestling and mixed martial arts.

"I can go on and on for hours with in-depth discussions about their many intricacies. It's an outlet for my obsessive side, how I express my love for my interests and passions through merchandise that I can identify with and enjoy."

"Suicide, Inc." runs July 8 to 24 at Performing Arts and Recreation Center, 494 Lt. Artiaga St., San Juan City. Contact 0927-4604652 or 0916-7759374. Visit

"Love/Sick" runs Aug. 5-20 at The Mind Museum Auditorium, The Mind Museum, Jose Yao Campos Park, 3rd Ave., Taguig City. Contact 0917-8116516. Visit

"Jersey Boys" runs Sept. 23 to Oct. 16 at Meralco Theater, Ortigas Ave., Pasig City. Contact 650-5144, 0917-8381534 or Ticketworld at 8919999 or Visit link:

Liesl Batucan is new associate artistic director of Tanghalang Pilipino

Liesl Batucan tackles a new role-as associate artistic director of Tanghalang Pilipino
May 21, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Liesl Batucan.
Photo by JC Inocian.
Liesl Batucan has been appointed as the new associate artistic director of Tanghalang Pilipino (TP), the resident theater company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. She fills the position formerly held by Tuxqs Rutaquio.

After Batucan played the titular role in the restaging of "Mabining Mandirigma," a musical about Apolinario Mabini, TP artistic director Fernando "Nanding" Josef and president Jolly Gomez invited her to a meeting to discuss "the future of Tanghalang Pilipino."

"At the time, I wasn't aware of the full extent and scope of that enigmatic phrase, but because I love Tanghalang Pilipino and because its future is important to me, I said yes," recalls Batucan.

The gentlemen offered her the position, citing the "breadth and range of her body of theater work, as well as her training, discipline, artistic excellence and integrity."

"Most touchingly, Tata Nanding noted the quality of my heart," she says. "He said I have a heart for people, for the Filipino, for the country. I was very humbled and honored by the trust of these two great men, both pillars in their respective fields, and who both love TP fiercely and deeply."

Batucan has had to hit the ground running as the company prepares for its 30th anniversary next year; she has already joined its planning session for its 2016-2017 season. The company was established in 1987 with Felix "Nonon" Padilla as founding artistic director.

[Read about TP's 2016-2017 season line up here.]

Tectonic shift
Batucan (seated) as Apolinario Mabini
in "Mabining Mandirigma"
Born in Cebu and raised in Manila, Batucan had the usual student exposure to performing while in school, being assigned to sing for this or perform for that. "I'd won a declamation contest in grade school and was in the drama club in high school."

Professional theater wasn't in her sights. She'd already been working as a corporate finance consultant with SGV & Co.-right after graduating from the University of the Philippines with a Business Administration degree, magna cum laude-when a coworker told her about auditions at Repertory Philippines.

She was cast in the ensemble in her first Rep musical, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," in 1993.

"It felt like a tectonic shift," she recalls. "It shaped a whole new landscape in my life. I fell in love with the world of theater. The artistry of it. The creative synergy of it. The pulse of it."

She adds: "I was so young, I just dove in! I felt completely at home. That's probably what drew me in. That sense of feeling completely at home."

Since then, she's moved up to support and lead roles in over a hundred productions. Recent credits include Paula in "A Portrait Of The Artist As Filipino"; Maria in "The Sound of Music"; Mayzie La Bird in "Seussical"; Susy Henderson in "Wait Until Dark" for Rep; and a hilarious turn as multiple characters in "Forbidden Broadway" for Upstart Productions.

She received the Philstage Gawad Buhay for Female Featured Performance in a Musical for her role as Beggar Woman in "Sweeney Todd," and for Female Featured Performance in a Straight Play as Karen Weston in "August: Osage County"-both with Rep.

For Tanghalang Pilipino, she has acted in "The Golden Child," "American Hwangap" and "Stageshow."

"I have always loved working with TP," she says. "I have always loved being at CCP. It resonates with me and is soul-enriching."

She adds: "Having breathed in both the English and Filipino theater worlds, this I know: Good theater is good theater whatever language it may be in. Good theater is transformative. It inspires, it uplifts, it ignites something powerful inside us, it galvanizes action, it casts a glaring light on certain truths, it helps heal what is broken, it helps us become better people, better human beings and more evolved versions of ourselves. Theater is so important."

As part of her administrative duties, she's tasked to help mentor the Actor's Company (AC), TP's resident pool of actors. The AC is given continuous training during its stay in TP, from script analysis and scene study to dance and stage fighting.

Batucan credits Rep founders Zeneida "Bibot" Amador and Baby Barredo as her own mentors.

"They were the toughest and the most exacting of teachers," she says, "demanding nothing but the highest level of excellence. I will always hold them in high esteem, and I will always be grateful."

She's eager to give back to the profession. "The AC's artistic growth as a group and as individual actors will be a prime focus. People are at the very core of the theater-making process," she says.

"TP has the finest teachers on board and has a solid curriculum," she adds. "The goal is to keep improving all systems, so we are making the curriculum even more comprehensive. I will step in to teach, as needed."

Tanghalang Pilipino's 2016-2017 season line-up can be read here

Contact TP at 8321125 loc. 1620 or 1621. Like Tanghalang Pilipino on Facebook. link:

Virgin Labfest, Shakespeare, John Arcilla in Tanghalang Pilipino's 2016-2017 season

Virgin Labfest, Shakespeare, John Arcilla in Tanghalang Pilipino's 2016-2017 season
May 21, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

John Arcilla
Tanghalang Pilipino's planned 2016-17 season opens with the Virgin Labfest. While the annual festival of new plays had always been a co-project of playwrights group Writer's Bloc and TP since it was founded, it is now officially part of the company's season offerings.

Midsummer Night's Dream
To commemorate the 400th death anniversary of William Shakespeare, TP will stage "Pangarap sa Isang Gabi ng Gitnang Tag-araw," Rolando Tinio's translation of "A Midsummer Nights Dream," with dramaturgy by Rody Vera and to be directed by Carlitos Siguion-Reyna.

Audie Gemora is slated to play fairy king Oberon and Liesl Batucan is slated to play fairy queen Titania.

Planned cast includes Marco Viana as Lysander, Lhorvie Nuevo as Helena, Toni Go as Hermia, JV Ibesate as Demetrius, Jonathan Tadioan as Nick Bottom, Aldo Vencilao and Doray Dayao alternate as Puck.

Former AC member John Arcilla, who rose to mainstream fame for his portrayal of the titular character in the movie "Heneral Luna," is slated to play the lead role (Handyong) in TP's restaging of the musical "Ibalong."

Premiered in 2012, it's an adaptation of the origin myth of Bicol with libretto by Vera, music and musical direction by Carol Bello, costume design by Leeroy New, choreography by Alden Lugnasin, fight/stunt choreography by Jerry Ramirez, lighting design by Katsch Catoy, and set design and direction by Rutaquio.

Planned cast includes Delphine Buencamino as Oryol, Remus Villanueva and Cheeno Macaraeg as Young Handyong, May Bayot as Gugurang, Jonathan Tadioan as Aswang,

To follow is Guelan Luarca's Filipino translation of Sarah Ruhl's "Eurydice," an adaptation of the Greek myth, to be directed by Loy Arcenas.

Planned cast includes Nonie Buencamino as Eurydice's father, Lhorvie Nuevo as Eurydice, Marco Viana as Orpheus, Jonathan Tadioan as Lord of the Underworld.

Mabining Mandirigma
A restaging of "Mabining Mandirigma" is also in the plan. The musical has a libretto by Nicanor Tiongson, music and musical direction by Joed Balsamo, set design by Toym Imao, costume design by James Reyes, choreography by Denisa Reyes, lighting design by Catoy, sound design by TJ Ramos, video projection design by GA Fallarme and direction by Chris Millado.

The musical won 12 Philstage Gawad Buhay trophies this year, including Outstanding Ensemble Performance for a Musical and Outstanding Musical.

Batucan is slated to reprise her role as Mabini.  Also returning to the cast are Arman Ferrer and David Ezra alternating as Emilio Aguinaldo.

30th anniversary concert
Concluding the season is "Perlas," a planned concert to celebrate TP's 30th anniversary featuring songs from its repertoire of productions, including songs by composers such as Balsamo and Ryan Cayabyab.

To be directed by Millado, the show will have a script by Dennis Marasigan, set design by Imao and choreography by Denisa Reyes.

Planned productions may change or be omitted as the season progresses; contact TP to confirm.

Productions will be staged at different theaters at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Contact 8321125 loc. 1620 or 1621. Like Tanghalang Pilipino on Facebook. link:

Clint Ramos bags Tony nomination for his costumes for Lupita Nyong'o

Dulaang UP alum Clint Ramos bags a Tony nomination
May 7, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Lupita Nyong'o and Clint Ramos.
Photo from Lupita Nyong'o Facebook page.
New York-based set and costume designer Clint Ramos has been nominated for a Tony Award for his costume design for "Eclipsed," a play featuring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years a Slave", "Star Wars'" Maz Kanata, "The Jungle Book's" Raksha).

"I am very shocked, honored and humbled," he says. "Even though I've worked hard to be the best designer I can be, I still don't take anything for granted. This is a big deal and I know that, and I am very humbled by it."

This is his first Tony nomination. Ramos' set and costumes for the production have been described by critics as "meticulously detailed" (Variety) and "evocative" (Hollywood Reporter).

Nyong'o plays one of five women who survive the second Liberian Civil War. Written by Danai Gurira and directed by Liesl Tommy, the production received five other Tony nominations: Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for Nyong'o, two nominations for Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Play, Best Direction of a Play, and Best Play.

Ramos praised Nyong'o as a consummate professional.

"Lupita is a creature of the stage and is unbelievably talented. It was an honor to work with her because she takes the work seriously. Although she is a style icon, she was willing to go to a grittier, more desperate, more broken down place in terms of appearance and she earned my deepest respect for it. She is an example to all young actresses out there."

Ramos' costumes mixed distressed T-shirts emblazoned with American pop-culture images, such as a shirt with Rugrats cartoon characters for Nyong'o, and traditional African fabrics such as lapa, woven cotton cloth with colorful patterns. Some characters were given brand-name footwear to show status.

"I buried myself in the research. The Liberian Civil War happened not too long ago and is one of the most photo-documented wars. I studied the characters that Danai Gurira had written and found examples of these ladies in those photos. I tried to replicate the looks," he says.

Ramos discovered that Liberia is "a depository for America's discards," receiving donated secondhand clothing from Christian missionary groups. He also noted that soldiers would steal clothing or shoes from people they'd kill.

"I wanted to also highlight America's involvement in that war and in that country through the vintage American T-shirts. They were a constant visual element in all those photographs of these women. I distressed them to the level of grittiness that was evidenced in those pictures."

His costumes were cited by as "essential to helping piece together an identity that war has the potential to destroy."

"It is wonderfully fulfilling to have played a part in shedding light on such a dark moment in immediate world history and to highlight the plight of a group of African women who are victims of war because, sadly, the story of these women is all too familiar to us and reappears in the exact form in almost every war-torn country in the world," he says.

Cebu to New York
Born and raised in Cebu, Ramos took up theater arts at the University of the Philippines, doing design work for Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, then a Master of Fine Arts in Design for Stage and Film at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts on a full scholarship.

He has since designed costumes and sets for over a hundred productions in New York, across the US and internationally.

Recent credits include costume designs for the Broadway production of "The Elephant Man" featuring Bradley Cooper and the Off-Broadway musical about Imelda Marcos, "Here Lies Love," for which critics praised his work as "vast and fabulous" (New York Times), "[providing] beautiful symmetry" (The Hollywood Reporter), and "top-notch" (New York Magazine).

Both these productions were also staged on the West End. "Here Lies Love" will be staged by San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater in June 2017.

Ramos is multi-awarded, having previously received the 2013 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Costume Design, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts' 2014 Ani ng Dangal Award for Dramatic Arts, and the 2014 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Costume Design for his work on "Here Lies Love," among others.

For productions in Manila, he's designed the sets of Tanghalang Pilipino's "Mga Gerilya sa Powell Street" and DUP's "Mary Stuart/Maria Stuarda," "The Duchess of Malfi/Ang Dukesa ng Malfi" and "The Country Wife/Ang Misis Kong Promdi."

Upcoming projects include costume design for "Frozen: Live at the Hyperion," a new musical based on Disney's animated film, slated to open at Disney California Adventure Park in May 2016. (A separate Broadway production of "Frozen" with a different artistic team is scheduled to open in 2018.)

The Tonys will have its 70th annual ceremony on June 12.


"Eclipsed" runs until June 19 at Golden Theatre, 252 West 45th St. (between Broadway and 8th Ave.), New York, New York. Visit

"Frozen: Live at the Hyperion," opens May 27, 2016 at Hyperion Theater, Disney California Adventure Park, Anaheim, California. Visit link: