Sunday, January 14, 2007


I was supposed to have come from the CCP before this show to watch the Ramon Obusan's annual Vamos a Belen, but I overslept. In fact, i woke up on the dot, 3.30pm: By this time the show has started and I was still in bed. Drat. The National Artist for Dance just died a day before this and here I was wasting a ticket to what could have been his farewell performance! :-(

At any rate, I caught this Theater-in-the-Round Experience in Intramuros (Sidney, you weren't in Manila when this was happening, I think). Videos of the Philippines were shown to the crowd while waiting for the 'procession' to arrive.

These people dressed in Spanish-period outfits are members of the Tanghalang Pilipino, resident theater company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The location for tonight's performance is the ruins of the former Jesuit church in Intramuros, the San Ignacio.

"Taho! Taho kayo dyan!"
The 'procession', heralded by a band, nears San Ignacio. Theatre members posing as Chinese traders sells goods to audiences.
Crispin? Basilio? Must we ever miss out on the village idiot, a staple in many Filipino stories and films?

Huwag! Huwag po! San Miguel slaying the devil. These are real, live actors. I think they were at it for 20 minutes or so without moving!

Michael, the Archangel, figures many times in stories about Manila. During one of the many raids on the city by marauders, the angel was said to have been seen atop Intramuros raising his sword for battle. You can read more on that in Nick Jouaquin's book Manila, My Manila.
A prisoner is hoisted on poles for the community to see.
This boy was the narrator of events all throughout the performance.

Ha-la! The ruling class is framed in a retablo, symbolizing the power that they wielded during their time. On top of the pyramid of power is, of course, the fraile. Do you think things have changed through the years?
The galleons come home to Manila from Acapulco. Such safe returns are welcomed with much rejoicing in Manila, with Masses and Te Deums celebrated and sang for days on end.

Inspecting the goods that the galleons bring home.

The Chinese merchants have been part and parcel of Philippine history.

A theatre member, posing as a Chinese merchant, sells to the audience.
The burning of Parian.

Chinese merchants, in order to buck discrimantion, marry into the Filipino / Spanish ruling class and change their last names. With this, integration into society became complete.

The art of communicating using the fan.

Rebolusyon! I like the redness of this photo. Reminds one of blood. In Tales of Two Cities, Charles Dickens used a simliar allusion to revolution when a barrel fell from a cart and rivulets of red wine flowed through the streets of Paris.
Dancing as a form of celebration in the Philippines.
Inang Bayan (Mother Country) leads dancers in performing the Sinulog.
A member of the theatre group poses as a tourist and takes photos of the audience.
A choir serenades theatre goers (sorry for this really bad photo. I have problems with color adjustments).

I only saw Net25 here; no other major television networks. Sad. Culture obviously isn't part of their programming schedule.

San Ignacio comes alive again albeit only for a new nights.
All's well that ends well. Thanks to BC for bringing me here.


Sidney said...

Those events are not always well advertised. Mostly I read about it when the event is already finished! :-(

Ferdz said...

Hahaha! Thanks! I was tired of using "surreal" actually hahaha!

These are very festive photos. Natuwa ako sa expression ng guy on the 2nd shot.

Internet (PLDT) has normalized on our end here, hope yours too soon.

sayote queen said...

Looks like a fun show! And it's fun by the ruins ;)

iskoo said...

natuwa ako sa crispin basilio at dun sa arcangel. higit sa lahat mukhang maganda ang performance nila, pwedeng itapat yung stage design nila sa miss saigon. sana gawin nilang regular ito sa isang theater para marami pa ang makakapanood :)

Sidney said...

Wow! Great pictural account of the events. Sad I wasn't there but with your pictures it is almost as if I had been there! Nice work!
Superb costumes!