Friday, November 25, 2016

Harlequin Theater Guild's "Kabilang Ibayo" Is A Cultural Excursion That Should Not Be Missed!

"Kabilang ibayo man ang pagitan, hindi ito hadlang sa patutunguhan."

So goes the line from a song in "Kabilang Ibayo", a play composed of three acts written by Palanca Hall of Fame Awardee, Sir Nick Pichay. Directed by Sir Raffy Tejada and performed by DLSU Harlequin Theater Guild, "Kabilang Ibayo" tackles various cultural issues in a rather entertaining and poignant way. The venue almost exploded from the boisterous laughters of the audience!

"Mystery Land"

DLSU Harlequin Theater Guild
The cast of "Mystery Land"

People from various countries in Asia line up for the auditions as performers in Mystery Land, a fictional amusement park in the United States of America similar to Disney Land. “Mystery Land” is a musical that talks about the extent of what people would do just to fulfill their “American Dream”. It highlights the commoditization of labor, as well as losing one’s cultural identity, just to fit in the standards of America.


DLSU Harlequin Theater Guild
The cast of "Robot"

This is a story of the two scientists who invented a “Filipina” robot with “malfunctioning program”, but who, surprisingly, could follow instructions using a language different from its inventors. Indeed, there is no superior language. Thus, it is unnecessary to force one’s language to others, as they can function properly using their own.


DLSU Harlequin Theater Guild
The cast of "Ahjima"

A hilarious play featuring three old Korean women, one of which was about to marry (for the first time) an equally old man whom she had met only a few months’ back! One the wedding day, one of the women revealed that she was a comfort woman during the Japanese Occupation, and was abused by a Korean soldier serving Japan. It was exposed that the old man was a Korean soldier serving Japan in the past and it’s possible that he was the one who raped her. The play emphasizes that it is not easy to let go of the past and forget the history. There was, however, a happy revelation at the end.

Priced at only Php 250, this production that runs for 2.5 hours is really worth the money (and the effort of braving the traffic just to get to La Salle!) Watching "Kabilang Ibayo" is a cultural excursion that you would want to experience over and over again. If there's one thing that "Kabilang Ibayo" promises you, it's that you would go home smiling.

Congratulations, Harlequin Theater Guild!

DLSU Harlequin Theater Guild
With our PETA mentor and director of "Kabilang Ibayo", Sir Raffy Tejada

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tastebuds Travel at International Burger Co., San Juan City

Your tastebuds will travel in this new burger place in San Juan! Aptly named “International Burger Co.”, this ambient restaurant boasts of its variety of burgers that will transport you to a world of flavors!

Delicious Burger Wilson San Juan
International Burger Co.

International Burger Co. offers distinct variants of mouth-watering burgers, which include: Classic (cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, fresh tomatoes, and lettuce); American (cheddar cheese and crispy onion strings doused with sweet and tangy barbecue sauce); French (creamy b├ęchamel sauce, gruyere cheese, ham, Dijon mustard and a sunny side up egg on top); Mexican (beer braised Mexican pulled pork, cheddar cheese, salsa, and corn topped off with a cilantro garlic dressing); Italian (special marinara sauce, prosciutto, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil); Korean (tender slices of bulgogi, fresh lettuce, mayonnaise and kimchi); Japanese (grilled slices of shiitake mushrooms, special teriyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, and strips of nori); and of course, Filipino-flavored burgers (freshly made sisig balanced with slices of fresh cucumber and tomatoes)!

Delicious Burger Wilson San Juan
Filipino Burger (it has sisig!)

I ordered Filipino burger because I was curious about the “sisig twist” that they put into it. I was right! The sisig was too yummy, you can eat it with rice!

Priced at Php 280 (plus a service charge of 10%), your burger comes with a 1/3 pound of beef patty, ground fresh daily. Burgers are served with either onion rings or twister fries. What’s good about their burgers is that the burgers are not oily.

Delicious Burger Wilson San Juan
International Burger Co.'s interior
Delicious Burger Wilson San Juan
International Burger Co.'s wall decoration

Delicious Burger Wilson San Juan
Travel with these paper planes and global clocks!

International Burger Co. is the type of burger place that you will want to return to over and over again. Apart from burgers, They also serve other food such as Chicken Karaage, Fish Poppers, Burger Steak, and Kimchi Fried Rice, priced starting at Php 220. They have unlimited beer for Php 280/person!

Delicious Burger Wilson San Juan
Burgers from around the world!
Let your tastebuds explore the world of flavors at International Burger Co. Visit them at 6, Citiplace Building, 8001 Jose Abad Santos, San Juan City. Like their Facebook page!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

You won’t be bored at ONBOARD Game + Gastro Pub, Circuit, Makati City

Boardgames Restaurants in Makati
Onboard Game+Gastro Pub library of board games!
Tired of the usual bonding activity with your friends?

If you are looking for a place that could offer something new, why not try Onboard Game + Gastro Pub at Circuit, Makati? It has a wide selection of board games, which you can play while (or after) indulging in your food. With prices almost similar to those of your favorite coffee shops, the amount of happiness that you would experience here is priceless.

Last October 29, 2016, after watching the wildcard entries of Short+Sweet Manila 2016 and having dinner at Shrimp Bucket, my friends and I decided to have our desserts at Onboard Game + Gastro Pub. The prices at Onboard Game + Gastro Pub were reasonable, considering the fact that you would stay there for more than an hour. We ordered Dulce de Leche Molten Cake (molten cake with dulce de leche filling, topped with vanilla ice cream, Php 180), Cookies and Cream Milkshake (oreo chunks/cookie dough bits, Php 190), Strawberries and Cream (strawberries marmalade/amaretto, Php 195), and Almond Matcha (matcha/vanilla/toasted almond flakes, Php 210).

Boardgames Restaurants in Makati
Karen's Dulce de Leche Molten Cake (Php 180)

Boardgames Restaurants in Makati
Rhose's Strawberries and Cream (Php 195)

Boardgames Restaurants in Makati
Aiza's Cookies and Cream (Php 190)

Boardgames Restaurants in Makati
Harold's Cookies and Cream (Php 190)

Boardgames Restaurants in Makati
My Almond Matcha (Php 210)

According to the House Rules, each person must order an item from the menu, except for drinks. If he or she opts not to avail any of the items, he or she will have to pay Php 180. Thus, it is better to order! Onboard Game + Gastro Pub offers rice bowls, salads, pastas, breads, pizzas, desserts, beers, and liquors, among others. Prices in their menu are inclusive of VAT and the final bill will include the service charge, which will go to their pleasant and accommodating staff.

Boardgames Restaurants in Makati
With Rowel, Onboard Game + Gastro Pub staff

We were assisted by Rowel, one of the staff, in the selection of the possible board games to play. We first played Jenga, followed by Tapple, Crap About Filipinos (Pinoy version of Card Against Humanity), and Quack-a-doole Moo! Except for Jenga, all the board games we played were new to me! These games were fun and challenging at the same time! After a stressful week, we all needed that good laugh! It also felt great to learn something new.

Boardgames Restaurants in Makati

Boardgames Restaurants in Makati

Boardgames Restaurants in Makati
Crap About Filipinos

Boardgames Restaurants in Makati
Quack-a-doole Moo!

We decided to look for places similar to Onboard Game + Gastro Pub in our next meet ups, because the money spent was really worth it! Also, I would probably buy these board games soon! Visit Onboard Game + Gastro Pub Facebook page for updates!

Boardgames Restaurants in Makati
I Let Them Win in "Quack-a-doodle Moo!"

Boardgames Restaurants in Makati
Could be an advertising material, oh! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Workshop Weekends: PETA Theater Arts Workshop Is More Than A Performance Training

THEATER ARTS WORKSHOP is a better alternative for personal development and leadership training programs that companies can consider.

The 12-day Theater Arts workshop in PETA that I attended from July 30-September 11 has taught me valuable lessons that I could bring with me as I go back to my workplace.

1. Focus on your objective. All your actions and reactions must be guided by this objective.
2. Do not be afraid to take risks. Plunge in. You cannot discover your limits unless you are brave enough to break the monotony.
3. Look at things from different perspectives. Be creative in exhausting possible solutions to a problem.
4. Collaborate. There is no monopoly of knowledge. Everyone has his or her own genius. There is no small or big roles. Let everyone shine.
5. Be sensitive to the people you work with. Listen intently. React accordingly.
6. Prioritize. Be critical in selecting the details that you will highlight. Drop irrelevant details that could weaken your message.
7. Be open for criticisms. Respect each other and remain humble. These will keep the team stronger.
8. Never let your teammates fail during the actual show. Their failure is also yours. Be ready to catch them when they are about to fall.
9. Do not stop. Be committed and persistent. Finish what you have started. The show must go on.
10. Love what you do. Have fun. That is the only way that you can sustain your energy.

I will be forever grateful for this experience. I will definitely miss my Saturdays and Sundays spent in PETA Studio with my awesome (and crazy!) "siblings" in theater and our nurturing "parents" (facilitators). More than a training center, PETA Studio has been a home, and these people have been a family.
I encourage everyone to build their characters through theater workshop. It is truly worth it.

Visit PETA's Facebook page for details.

Below are some of our photos and a video during our final showcase:

PETA Workshop Weekends
With my awesome (and crazy!) theater siblings

PETA Workshop Weekends
Re-enacment of our version of "Creation". God created everyone equal.

PETA Workshop Weekends
Our youngest sister, Ani, delivering the piece that she composed about racism.

PETA Workshop Weekends
The performance on child trafficking with myself, Micha, and Hanna.

PETA Workshop Weekends
Rolyn (our Irish friend) delivers her monologue about a foreigner's view
on Philippine culture and politics.

PETA Workshop Weekends
Acting as sea creatures, Kat, Fons, LA, Sam, Steena, Red, and Karl, showed
the importance of the freedom of expression.

PETA Workshop Weekends
Raph, Ninz, Chin, Sam, Mike, and Ani in "Ding, ang Bato!",
a performance on extra-judicial killings.

PETA Workshop Weekends
Edsel delivering his intense piece about his anger and frustration
about what he observes in the society.

PETA Workshop Weekends
Receiving the Certificate of Completion

PETA Workshop Weekends
I'm proud of my newfound family!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Theater Review: Red Turnip Theater’s “TRIBES” Is About Listening Through Your Heart

Communication is the key to a lasting relationship. But what if your loved one was born deaf? This is the premise of “Tribes”, a riveting play produced by Red Turnip Theater and was staged at Power Mac Center Spotlight, Circuit, Makati City.

Red Turnip Theater

“Tribes” follows the story of Billy who was born deaf. He was raised by a dysfunctional family who never taught him how to do sign language as he was growing up. He wore hearing aid, and learned to read lips. He met Sylvia, a woman who was not deaf when she was born, but due to genetics (her parents were both deaf), she was slowly losing her hearing. Billy fell in love with Sylvia and asked her to teach him how to do sign language. The conflict began when Billy introduced Sylvia to his family, but he was not speaking anymore. He was doing sign language, instead, which his family did not know how to interpret.

Red Turnip Theater's "TRIBES"
With Kalil Almonte ("Billy")

Red Turnip Theater's "TRIBES"
With Angela Padilla ("Sylvia")

Written for stage by Nina Raine and directed by Topper Fabregas, this poignant story was given justice by a stellar ensemble led by by Kalil Almonte as “Billy” (who has been one of my favorite theater actors, from the time I saw him in “Kwentong Komyut”), Angela Padilla as “Sylvia”, Teroy Guzman as “Cristopher” (Billy's father), Dolly de Leon as “Beth” (Billy's mother), Chris Pasturan as “Daniel” (Billy's brother), and Thea Yrastorza as “Ruth” (Billy's sister).

Red Turnip Theater's "TRIBES"
With Teroy Guzman ("Christopher")

Red Turnip Theater's "TRIBES"
With Dolly de Leon ("Beth")

Red Turnip Theater's "TRIBES"
With Chris Pasturan ("Daniel")

Red Turnip Theater's "TRIBES"
With Thea Yrastorza ("Ruth")

“Tribes” is one of those plays that you will be thankful that you have seen, because it brings you to an unfamiliar world – or, a familiar world, which you just don’t understand that much. For example, we have seen deaf people communicating with each other through sign language. But, we haven’t really understood – nor have we become interested – in their issues, struggles, and frustrations.

Red Turnip Theater's "TRIBES"
The set of "TRIBES" at Power Mac Center Spotlight, Circuit, Makati City

After watching the play, I realized that I should listen more, especially to the ones I love. More important than listening through the ears is listening through the heart.

Truly one of the best, “Tribes” will be shown until September 4, 2016. Visit Red Turnip Theater’s fanpage for updates.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Theater Review: The 12 Virgins of "The Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag"

The Vigin Labfest 12: Binyag (VLF 12) hatched from its egg last June 29, 2016. I was able to catch all the 12 new plays as they saw the light during the first week. Being the cream of the crop this year with 197 submissions, the plays in VLF 12 tackled various offbeat topics that would bewilder the audience.

The Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag
The Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag Program and Festival Pass

There were 5 sets that included the 12 plays (SET A-D) and the revisited plays, composed of  the three best plays last year (SET E). Each ticket costs Php 350/set. I availed of the Festival Regular Pass for the Premiere Week for Php 1,400 (with a savings of Php 350). However, with all the surprises and twists popping right before me for five straight days, what I spent for The Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag was really worth it.

In my Facebook posts right after the show, I put my initial thoughts on the plays on each set. I would like to add my other insights about the plays in this blog entry, particularly, what to watch for in each of the stage plays.


Playwright: Soc Delos Reyes
Director: Adolf Alix

A story of father-daughter love, this play is about acceptance and letting go. Knowing that the brilliant Mailes Kanapi is included in the cast, you’re assured that this is a no-nonsense drama.

The Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag
Cast, Playwright and Director of "Dahan-dahan Ang Paglubog Ng Araw"

Playwright: Alexandra Mae Cardoso
Director: Charles Yee

“Sugilanon” (in English, “stories”) reminds me of one of this year’s revisited plays, “Si Maria Isabela At Ang Guryon Ng Mga Tala”. While Maria Isabela travels places to collect all the materials for the gigantic kite that would fly her to the stars,  Epefania controls the weather to prove her love. So much for teenage admiration, huh?! You would love Epefania and the three drunken men in the play!

The Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag
Cast of "Sugilanon Ng Kabiguan Ni Epefania"

Playwright: Oggie Arcenas
Director: Roobak Valle

A story of friendship, “Si Jaya, Si Ronda, Si Barbra At Si Barbra At Ang Mahiwagang Kanta” is a funny play that explores the lives and issues of three middle-aged friends, set inside a videoke bar on a Halloween. Be ready to laugh out loud and roll on the floor with all the punchlines you’ve never heard before!

The Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag
Cast, Playwright and Director of " Si Jaya, Si Ronda, Si Barbra
At Ang Mahiwagang Kanta" 


Playwright: Herlyn Alegre
Director: Ricardo Magno

Herlyn Alegre’s play is another heart-breaking drama about four refugees of civil war and their quest to find a new home and start a new life. What I live about Alegre's plays (at least from what I've seen so far) is that she gets inspiration from events abroad and make it "Filipino", like her last year's "Huling-Huli".

Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag
Cast, Playwright, and Director of "Bahay-Bahayan, Tagu-Taguan

Playwright: Dominique La Victoria
Director: Dudz Terana

The boy who’s always being punished by his father would opt to stay inside the drum, despite the persuasion of his sister because he feels safer being inside that container than outside. I love the accent of the actors in this play, and yes, the whole time, the boy stayed inside the drum.

Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag
Cast and Director of "Ang Bata sa Drum"

Playwright: Kanakan Balintagos
Director: Law Fajardo

I would guess that this play is partly autobiographical. The young Kanakan Balintagos, the name of character in the play (and the name of the playwright, as well) argues with his mom, who’s a Marcos loyalist, about the truth behind the Marcoses. This, indeed, is a timely and relevant play that needs to be show to the 14M oblivious voters in the recent elections who desired to welcome the Marcoses to Malacanang, as if nothing happened.

Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag
Cast, Playwright, and Director of "Loyalist"


Playwright: Ma. Cecilia Dela Rosa
Director: Ariel Yonzon

Jean and her husband Brad left the revolutionary movement years back. As they face challenges in their relationship, Jean, who is in search for love and affection, is left confused. As she goes through her struggle, her friends from way back visit her, and reminisce the good old days they shared, leaving her more confused. This play makes you understand that members of revolutionary movement are also capable of loving, and they also experience the same problems of ordinary people, in terms of love. Perhaps, even more complicated.

The Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag
Cast, Playwright, and Director of "Ang Mga Bisita Ni Jean"

Playwright: Guelan Luarca
Director: Mara Paulina Marasigan

A Christian kid eventually died when he’s pushed by a Muslim classmate from the building, when the former desecrated the Quran, or Islam’s religious text. The exchange of dialogues between the teacher and Muslim kid’s father will make you think if it’s a crime to defend your own faith.

The Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag
Cast, Playwright, Director of "Bait"

Playwright: Carlo Vergara
Director: Hazel Gutierrez

Fans of comic books would love this story of a family where the ordinary housewife, a kakanin (rice cake) vendor is perplexed about the revelations from his husband who claims to be the superhero in the comics “Mula sa Kulimliman”, and is tasked to defeat Brukuka. Accepted as a staged reading in The Virgin Labfest 11, “Mula sa Kulimliman” definitely deserves to be staged this year.

The Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag
Cast, Playwright, and Director of "Mula sa Kulimliman"


Playwright: Eliza Victoria
Director: George de Jesus

Eliza Victoria’s futuristic play, “Marte”, is set in Mars, where Filipinos would be sent to work in factories. Yes, story opens the possibility of our OFWs finding jobs not only in other countries, but in other planets, as well! However, as the the play postulates, the oppression of workers would prevail, regardless of location, as long as the system and the leaders perpetuate this. Among all the plays, “Marte” has the most impressive set design for me.

The Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag
Cast, Playwright, and Director of "Marte"

Playwright: Ricardo Novenario
Director: Nicolas Pichay

Expect that the audience would whisper “Yuck, incest!” initially, but Daddy’s Girl is more than just a forbidden father-daughter affair. It’s about love and finding your soulmate. Chasing would never cease, unless you find the one destined for you. You will born, die, and reborn. I have read the initial script of this play during the Writers’ Bloc session and I already loved it then. With Nick Pichay’s direction and the acting of Marco Viana and Skyzx Labastilla, the play becomes even more brilliant. (Spoiler: expect a number of kissing scenes and an audience participation!)

The Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag
Cast, Playwright, and Director of "Daddy's Girl"

Playwright: Ricardo Patriarca
Director: Chris Martinez

A parody about a typical middle-class Filipino family, this play is one of the most entertaining plays this year, and a strong contender for being revisited. Before the dining table, the family talks about important issues about their members – the daughter’s unwanted pregnancy, the father’s infidelity, the son’s drug addiction – in a satirical way. Awesome cast led by Adriana Agcaoili! (Be warned that every line has “f*ck yous” and “P***ng ina’s”. To say that these expletives are countless is an understatement.)

The Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag
Cast, Playwright, and Director of "Hapagkainan"

With these “untried, untested, unstaged” plays, The Virgin Labfest, proves  that, indeed, the Philippine theater is alive! Catch their remaining shows until July 17, 2016.

The Virgin Labfest 12: Binyag
Happy me!