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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

entry arrow7:00 AM | Poetry Wednesday, No. 163.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

entry arrow9:14 PM | Back Home

Got back to the hotel very late last night after the Palancas, and didn't bother getting any sleep because I had an early flight. Which meant that as soon as I got back home to Dumaguete, I went straight to bed to grab sleep till late afternoon, waking only to do my 4 PM class. Then I grabbed a foot massage because my feet were aching from the Manila trip, then I attended a birthday dinner for Renz's Aunt Mitzie. And now it's 9 PM. There's a whole mountain of to-do's to tackle! I'm on it.

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Thursday, November 23, 2023

entry arrow11:47 PM | Doing 'Dyamante'

It's Thanksgiving, an American holiday, but I'll take this chance to be thankful for today. Today, we finally pulled off doing the Opening Salvo for the 75th Charter Anniversary and Diamond Jubilee Year of Dumaguete City. A few months ago, someone who was part of the diamond jubilee team gave us several options to do an opening salvo: a cultural program of songs and dances, or a political program of speeches, or a dramatic program of historical reenactment, or a military program with a pass and view and a Philippine Airforce flyby. As the designated scriptwriter for the program we were soon going to call Dyamante, I replied: "Why choose? Why not all? This is after all, the 75th anniversary. This will never happen again."

So began our adventure, with the date set on November 19, a Sunday. It was going to be a grand program never before attempted in Dumaguete, using for a stage all the iconic sites around the heritage area of Dumaguete: the Presidencia, the Campanario, the M.L. Quezon Park, Calle Burgos, and the Pantawan at the Rizal Boulevard. Yes, we were going to utilize all areas for the program! The logistics was immense, but why quiver from the challenge? In my vision while writing the script, I saw Wowie Remata Villanueva starting the program by singing Katong Villariza's iconic "Dumaguete [Do You Hear Me Calling?]" at the Campanario, singing to the adapted score composed by Levi Alaban, while dancers trained by Angelo Sayson would start dancing at the Presidencia Grounds, for all the elements to meet at the kiosk of M.L. Quezon Park, the traditional stage of the Dumaguete community, where the audience will be seated. There, a full reenactment of Dumaguete's story — the legends of how it got its name and the history of how it gained its charter in 1948 — will be done. At the end, the performers will usher all the guests to a grand parade led by the Silliman Band dressed in American colonial regalia. The parade will go around the park in the style of a Flores de Mayo, with the VIPs aboard all six present-day Dumaguete tartanillas, then through Calle Burgos, then ending at the Rizal Boulevard, where a red carpet would meet them and become their pathway towards the stage area at the Pantawan. At the Pantawan, we would have a pass and review and a flyby with the Philippine Air Force, where the formal opening ceremony would take place. That was the plan! And we were ready to pull it all off.

Until news of a coming superstorm forced us to reconsider everything: What do we do? Do we go ahead on the 19th, and just donate eggs to the Carmelite sisters, and hope for the best? [PAG-ASA said no.] Do we see December as an option? [Definitely no.] Do we postpone until the 24th, and incorporate the show during the Civic Military Parade? [Doable but it will make a long program even longer!] Compromises had to be embraced. Before last weekend came on in the wake of a storm that did not really touch us, all the stakeholders came to a decision: do everything on the 23rd instead, and retool the show so that it will all be staged at the Pantawan. There was some disappointment in my part, of course, since I believed in the initial grand, and once-in-a-lifetime, vision: but I also know compromises must be honored. It's just the way life goes. And I do believe an artistic vision can often become even better when saddled with challenges.

And so we finally staged Diyamante today, with changes made all throughout [e.g., a music video stand in for Wowie, because she had travel plans and could not be present; a new sound system, because initial plans of sharing a sound system plan with the also-postponed Ben & Ben concert was no longer feasible; a last minute cancellation of the flyby because the air force was needed in storm-affected areas, etc.]. But I am still very happy with the result, because I felt every ounce of talent and sincerity from everyone involved. And I love that we all pushed on despite all the compromises and the whiplash of many changes — but with a vision of using all of these challenges now as a chance to learn, because we are now aiming for a fuller realization of the original vision for the culmination program next year.

And because it's Thanksgiving, I would like to express my gratefulness to everyone involved: to our director Fionabelle Marie Cabe for giving my script a shape; to our choreographer Angelo Sayson for the robust dances that filled out the story; to Levi Alaban for a musical score that organically gave life to the narrative; to Tyrone Tejam, who did not hesitate when asked to be our narrator, even if he was so geographically removed in the United States [his recording was impeccable, and when I was writing the script, it was really his voice I heard]; to Louise Remata Villanueva, for being our songbird, game to do everything for the sake of perfecting good music; to Mathilda Limbaga Erojo and Orkestra Sin Arco for providing the music for the rigodon; to Joseph Albert Basa and the Silliman Marching Band for providing the cadence to the pass and review; to Elizabeth Susan Vista-Suarez for being our voice of reason, and for that rousing finale with the Campus Choristers; to Juni Jay Tinambacan, who took on the daunting task of managing our sound requirements; to Mayumi Maghuyop for taking the vast challenge of costuming everyone with no time at her disposal; to Jansen Tan for dressing our stage; to Aj Maloy who took the challenge of making a music video in three days; to Janna Sylvester Lavestre for assisting everyone, and for generally being our muse; to everyone at the Dumaguete City Tourism Office for the support; to Jack Repollo for being our captain of production; and finally to Katherine Aguilar whose heart is huge, and who tirelessly facilitated all our ideas and requests with no sign of fatigue, and always with a positive push. And to Mayor Ipe Remollo who granted us a stage for all our crazy ideas in the name of love for our beautiful city.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2023

entry arrow7:00 AM | Poetry Wednesday, No. 162.


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Thursday, November 16, 2023

entry arrow11:48 PM | Compromises Will Make Me Stronger

I don't know what's happening to me but I'm actually eager to tackle logistics challenges now, of course with the help of very supportive people. Because of my undiagnosed ADHD before, I used to feel frustrated over compromises to my "artistic vision," but now that I know who I am mentally, I'm like: the challenges will make me a better artist. Of course I prefer the ideal: the artistic vision fully fleshed out, unhampered, undiluted. But that's not how the world works. Acknowledging this has made doing things less stressful, to be honest.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

entry arrow7:00 AM | Poetry Wednesday, No. 161.

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Sunday, November 12, 2023

entry arrow7:54 PM | The Poetry of Gemma Racoma Tadena

I knew of the late Dumaguete poet and dancer Gemma Racoma Tadena, but except for a poem or two published in the pages of the Sands and Coral, I barely knew anything about her. I knew she was the wife of Artemio Tadena, the much-awarded poet and teacher who gave Foundation University its literary glories [but died too young at the age of 37, of a heart attack, a day before he would have turned 38]. Of Artemio, at least we know a sufficient amount of information, and a few years ago Myrna Peña-Reyes and National Artist for Literature Gemino H. Abad edited together a book of his poems [This Craft, As With a Woman Loved, published by UST Press], most of which came from several Palanca-winning collections. But of Gemma, almost nothing. Which is why I was so happy to stumble across a slim volume of her poems, a chapbook really, titled Tidal Edge, which collects 26 of her poems, and is dedicated to her family [including her sons Ireland Luke and Adrian Gregory], and to Edilberto and Edith Tiempo. Published in 1981 by GT Dance Center, her dance studio, it's only 46 pages in all — but this contains the poetic voice of a Dumaguete writer long sadly forgotten. I'm glad I got hold of this book. Hopefully Foundation University can reprint this book.

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Saturday, November 11, 2023

entry arrow2:38 PM | A Hamilton Workshop

A few weeks ago, I flew in to Manila with some high school friends to watch the touring production of Hamilton, the smash Broadway hit from Lin Manuel Miranda that has galvanized American theatre since it debuted in early 2015 and won a slew of awards—among them the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Musical—in the process. Hamilton injected new energy to the Broadway stage, but above all, it also reconfigured our way of thinking about history—specifically, how our received narratives about who we are as a people and where we come from are often cast in stone [or on the graying, unimpeached pages of history books], but also how also in our retelling of these stories we can resort to imaginative reinvention [without necessarily rewriting history] to be able to speak to broader, more contemporary concerns. Coming off the show at Solaire, I had to think to myself: I guess that’s one way of making history that’s so far removed from us become alive. Miranda did it by casting the play in diverse colors, to make an on-the-nose point about the pallor of history made up mostly of white men; and making it sing in a contemporary voice, and in this case, having a musical about Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers, be told to the tune of Broadway melodies infused heavily with hiphop.

The result will not always be to everyone’s liking. I have heard contemporaries of mine agonizing over the rapping, and I have seen white nationalists go up in arms over the “wokeness” of Hamilton’s intensions. I like Hamilton, but this is not my favorite musical—I’ve never taken to it like many of my friends have done, who I knew to have waxed rhapsodic over the original Broadway cast recording some years ago, many committing entire songs to heart and memory. [I guess, in the way I did for Les Miserables or Spring Awakening, or ehem, The Sound of Music or West Side Story when I was much younger.] But I like it. I know snatches of lyrics [“I am not throwin’ away my shot”], I have seen the film recording of the Broadway production on Disney Plus, I know many of its original stars and have followed their careers since then—but I went to Solaire knowing I was not exactly its audience [fine, let me admit it: I do not get hiphop, but my partner schools me about it constantly anyway—in fact, he wooed me using lyrics from Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy].

But when the curtain came down on the Solaire stage with that last spotlighted look on Eliza looking up and shouting in revelation, I was in tears: I liked that by the end—after a whirlwind of an epic retelling of the American Revolution and the subsequent hard work [and political manipulations] of nation-building—we get three confessions in two songs:

Hamilton, dying in slow motion after a duel, lamenting: “Legacy, what is a legacy? / It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see”; Aaron Burr, the man who killed Hamilton in that duel, prophesying: “History obliterates, in every picture it paints / It paints me and all my mistakes / When Alexander aimed at the sky / He may have been the first one to die / But I’m the one who paid for it / I survived, but I paid for it / Now I'm the villain in your history”; and Eliza, Hamilton’s widow, feeling the full weight of history on its great men: “It’s only a matter of time / Will they tell your story? / Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?” And the answer to her questions? “Time,” the song goes.

The power of stories and the privilege of narratives have always been things I think about constantly, even in my creative work: I have written lots of stories about the writing of stories, and I have written stories about reseeing history with new lenses, often to give voice to the muted. So that ending in Hamilton—more powerfully received live on stage than on a recording—really got to me. I teared up.

But this essay is not a review about Hamilton.

It’s about how, a few weeks later, after getting back to Dumaguete from that Manila trip, I come home to the news that the director of the touring production of Hamilton was going to be in Dumaguete to give a workshop on November 6! It felt like coming full circle for me as a new fan of the material, to actually be able to meet with the Australian director Dean Drieberg, in my hometown no less.

His workshop’s official title was “Theatre-Making Workshop and Technique Masterclasses for Theatre Performers and Practitioners,” and what participants—which included theatre artists not just from Dumaguete and Negros Oriental, but also from Cebu, Bohol, Negros Occidental, and Panay—got was an in-depth exploration of inclusive theater practices, and above all, making any material become relevant to the contemporary. That last one is particularly important, with Mr. Drieberg saying right from the get-go: “Theater has the ability to change the way we see the world. It normalizes the way we look at the community, and it is important that we see ourselves onstage.”

He began the workshop by demonstrating to participants how he exactly goes about directing his performers tackle the music they have to interpret for musicals. First up, we had Louise Remata Villanueva performing “With You” from the musical, Ghost—a lovely rendition from Wowie, and which Mr. Drieberg workshopped with a series of probing questions: Who is this song for as a character? What do you think your character has to gain by singing this song? What has just happened just before the first lyric was sang? What happened in the moment? (In other words, ask: “What am I doing?”) Why do you think your character sings this part? Why does this song exist? “Emotions [called for in the scene] are too high that you can’t speak about [them],” he reminded the participants, “[but at the same time] we need to sing about this.”

He asked Wowie to explore key changes, to investigate why certain choices are made, to see the moment of acceptance after the peak of release, to breath [and to reset], and even to speak of the song as if it was a monologue. “What word is mostly sustained?” he asked.

“[The word] you…,” Wowie replied.

“Underline that word, [that’s] who she misses.”

She sang the song one more time, differently this time. More felt. More real.

Next up, we had Jon Riam Quizo, singing “Being Alive” from Company. Mr. Drieberg asked him: Who is this song for? “Picture a mirror in front of you,” Mr. Drieberg said. “There’s just a mirror confronting the character. Don’t play the room too much.” He asked JR to delve into the “moment before”: “That feeling of being cornered, suffocated, ganged up on,” he said. And then, other questions: Who is this character and why are they singing this? Why is this a song, and why is this not just a written text? What is the character doing in the scene?

“Play the punctuation mark,” Mr. Drieberg reminded everyone. “Or is it a question mark? Is the comma a pause? Read the scores, because there are notes there you can’t see in lyrics alone.”

Later, he delved deeper into actors as theatre makers, and the challenges of staging stories for contemporary audiences.

“We can all create theatre, we can all put an idea together,” he said. “The type of theater that I really love, what I like to create, is about reimagined stories—taking an existing show and reimagining it for a contemporary audience.” For him, re-imagined stories tackle best social issues, even politics; re-imagination can make an old story still relevant today. Which was why he was eager to do production work for Hamilton—and he noted that the casting alone can really be powerful thing to wield, because presence on stage is a form of activism, a bold statement. “[Imagine seeing on stage] people of diverse cultures [become the] Founding Fathers.”

He cited that other Broadway shows have taken this tack, especially Six, which chronicles the stories of the wives of Henry XIII, set to contemporary music, remaking the historical into pop, recalling Beyonce and Adele.

He also cited recent productions of older shows, which are now being revived with a fresh outlook of adaptation. “Why must we restage them the same way many years ago?” he asked. “I like to watch revivals that are reimagined, and made more relevant. Like the 2019 Broadway revival of Oklahoma!

Revivals are important, according to Drieberg—but the adaptation must answer three basic questions: Why this? Why now? What are the parallels happing to the world now?

With that in mind, he put the participants, divided into four groups, to task: to reimagine three old tales—Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, and Hansel and Gretel—choosing just one, or several of these choices, and to work around the material(s) with respect to the culture, to people, and others. “What is integral to the storytelling without perpetuating stereotypes about culture and gender, and other such things?” Then he told them to put on a showcase of their adaptation with only an hour of conceptualization and execution and rehearsal.

All the groups turned in fantastic productions—some even with music and choreography—but the efforts of two groups are burned into my mind. One group called their piece, “Burn the Bodega,” and in it, they retold the Goldilocks story as the [often funny] story of a strike—eventually leading the characters to call for the titular act, and ending their strike with a grand conflagration, only to be provided with a twist: an innocent girl trapped in the flames. Which begged the question: what are the lines dividing social action and crime? In another quick production, one group presented “Influence”—a deeply disturbing story, following the conceit of the Pied Piper story and told mostly in mime, which follows a young woman trapped in COVID-19 quarantine. She finds a way to alleviate her boredom with social media, and soon she develops a growing presence on TikTok. She becomes so influential that when she dares her followers to do challenges, they do them without any question. And then one day, she dares them to go to high places, and jump. And they jump.

Talk about making old fairy tales relevant again.

Thank you for the visit, Mr. Drieberg!

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Thursday, November 09, 2023

entry arrow4:57 PM | The Secret Lives of Oriental Negrenses as Drama

For the longest time, whenever I see senior directing students at Silliman University put on a play, I’d discover that the invariable title would always be a play from Manila, by Manila authors. And I’d go: “Manila na pud…”

Quite frankly, it irritated me, given how I vent about the Manila-centric nature of our culture.

It also regularly pained me because Dumaguete is supposed to be a City of Literature, and we do have an abundance of writers and playwrights here—but their plays don’t seem to get any traction about being staged locally!

Case in point: In My Father’s House by Dumaguete playwright Elsa Martinez Coscolluela. A play about a Dumaguete family torn apart by World War II, it won the Palanca Award in 1980, but was first staged not in Dumaguete but by the University of the Philippines Playwrights’ Theatre at the Faculty Center Studio [and then later at Teatro Hermogenes Ylagan in UP Diliman, and at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Huseng Batute] in 1987. In 1989, they restaged it at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, but with a Filipino translation, Sa Tahanan ng Aking Ama, by Raul Regalado. That year, it became the country’s official entry in the 11th Singapore Drama Festival. According to the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, its productions in the United States included one at the Astor Place Theater in New York by the Ma-Yi Theater Company in 1990, and then at the Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles by Stage West in 1996, both directed by Chito Jao Garces. In Japan, it was presented in 1995 at the Clapbard Garden Theatre in Kyoto by the Kapatiran-Kyoto, co-directed by Matthew M. Santamaria and Josefina Estrella. In 2010, a new translation in Filipino by Jerry Respeto was presented by ENTABLADO at the Rizal Mini Theater at the Ateneo de Manila University, co-directed by Respeto and Jethro Tenorio.

That play was being staged everywhere except the place it truly belonged to: Dumaguete. Only in 2013, thirty-three years after it won the Palanca, did the play see production at the Luce Auditorium, with Amiel Leonardia directing.

Many other award-winning plays by Dumaguete and Silliman playwrights—Lemuel Torrevillas, Leoncio Deriada, Edilberto Tiempo, Aida Rivera-Ford, Linda Faigao-Hall, Luna Griño-Inocian, Ephraim Bejar, Beryl Andrea Delicana, Michael Aaron Gomez, and so many others—suffer from the same oversight.

I understand why: Manila plays have the most recall power especially among younger theatre artists because they are constantly being staged and talked about, especially on social media. And they’re also accessible. Whereas, with Dumaguete plays—where can we even begin to get hold of copies of these plays? And how come nobody talks about them? It’s a conundrum.

It’s not that there is no universality in locally-set plays: the playwright Alexandra May Cardoso took my short story “The Sugilanon of Epefania’s Heartbreak,” set in Bayawan at the turn of the last century, and adapted it into the fabulously written Ang Sugilanon sa Kabiguan ni Epefania, and that play, which started its journey at the CCP’s Virgin Labfest in 2016, has been performed everywhere—and people seem to love it.

Which is why I was delighted that Dessa Quesada-Palm came to me months ago to hatch a plan: why don’t we ask our senior directors to stage plays by Dumaguete playwrights, and why don’t we begin with Bobby Flores Villasis? I jumped at the invitation.

When the Dumaguete writer Bobby Flores Villasis passed away on last May 2 this year, he left behind a great array of literary works and books that defined a life dedicated to creative writing. He was also a persevering cultural worker, having spent most of his working life as the cultural officer of the Negros Oriental Provincial Tourism Office, but it is his poems and his short stories and his plays—which chronicle the storied lives of Oriental Negrenses from Bayawan to Dumaguete—that would come to be the foundation of his legacy.

In his 1998 book Demigod and Other Selections, Villasis first gathered together a sampling of his oeuvre, anthologizing plays, poems, and short stories that showed his unique worldview, crafted with obvious mentorship from teachers like Edith Tiempo, Edilberto Tiempo, and Albert Faurot. In his 2001 short story collection, Suite Bergamasque, he embarked on an even more ambitious literary project: gathering interlinked short stories that told, as a whole, the dazzling and devastating lives of the denizens of Dumaguete’s Rizal Boulevard, particularly the families of local sugar barons whose mansions—colloquially called the Sugar Houses—line the seafront. The book became Dumaguete’s answer to James Joyce’s Dubliners or Carlos Ojeda Aureus’ Nagueños.

Of particular interest, however, are his plays, for which he won an impressive number of Palanca Awards, seven in all, which include Vigil [first prize for one-act play, 1978], Demigod [second prize for one-act play, 1979], Fiesta [first prize for one-act play, 1987], Salcedo [first prize for one-act play, 1988], Brisbane [second prize for one-act play, 1989], Eidolon [honorable mention for full-length Play, 1990], and Caves [third prize for one-act play, 1994]. They are a mix of historical and domestic dramas, but all of them invariably dramatize the secret lives and public sorrows of privileged Oriental Negrense families. These plays were acclaimed in their time, but they have never been staged, even during Villasis’ lifetime.

For the first time ever, four of these Palanca-winning plays will be performed in Dumaguete in a festival at the Woodward Blackbox Theater in Silliman University, on select dates from November 8 to 18. The productions are all under the auspices of the Speech and Theatre Department of the Silliman University College of Performing and Visual Arts, in cooperation with Artista Sillimaniana, the Silliman University Culture And Arts Council, Youth Advocates Through Theatre Arts, Buglas Writers Guild, and the Dumaguete City Tourism Office. The event is also one of the highlights of the 75th Charter Anniversary of Dumaguete City going into its Diamond Jubilee Year.

Opening the festival is Vigil, directed by Andrea Nazareno, which bowed November 8. I had a raucous good time watching it, and guffawed at the unexpected queer sensibilities. I had no idea! I could see traces of Nick Joaquin’s Portrait of the Artist as Filipino [the unseen father in the next room, plus the bickering women, plus the strapping young man in their midst], and the glorious madness of women in Tennessee Williams’ plays, with the paraplegic plot of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? [the one with Joan Crawford and Bette Davis] thrown in for good measure. That’s a lot of queer ur-texts to see limning the lines in this play about a nun named Manul [played by Lady Elmido] who comes out of the convent to take care of her overbearing paraplegic mother [played by Jecho Adrian Ponce]. Things go awry when the father comes home to die after leaving them eight years ago for another woman, and as if that is not enough, the other woman [played by Rhayana Marie Dalisay] enters the picture during a stormy night—and soon secrets and hijinks are revealed!

That ending, which involves an inevitable sexual romp that happens right in front of a paralyzed woman who is all but forced to get out of bed in sheer horror, was something else: it is the definition of choice, and I am glad Villasis chose to end the story this way.

Then there’s the fact that Nazareno had cast a queer man [Ponce] in the role of The Mother, which made everything all the more camp. Dalisay acquitted herself well as Ponce’s foil, but what would have completed the whole draggish illusion Nazareno [probably unwittingly] started would have been to cast another queer man as The Other Woman. Because for these two, to borrow from drag terminology, the “library” was way wide open, and they were reading each other to filth! [Ponce’s exquisite line reading of “I ... hate ... you” or his “You haven’t even begun to work on anything successfully!” deserves a Tony Award.]

It was all melodramatic fun, for sure. It was not perfect—the production design needed a more imaginative rendering, the sound design was deeply wanting, and sometimes the actors’ voices could not be heard because of challenges of projection and enunciation—but I have no deep complaints. Some might even say the play is dated—but I think literature that provides a snapshot of olden times and olden ways is its own valuable thing. True, the English deployed in the dialogue [“Husk and chaff!”] had an unreal quality to it that I somehow liked, although I also kept wondering: what if this play was translated to the Binisaya/Kiniray-a of Tolong Viejo [the old name of Bayawan], which is the setting of this overheated drama? The impact would probably be more considerable, but I can appreciate this play for the gifts it brings, foremost of which is recalling the unique voice of Bobby Villasis. He died early this year, and his birth anniversary is next week [the 16th of November]. I like to think of this festival as a good birthday gift. He would have been happy.

The rest of the festival showcases the following plays:

Demigod, directed by Elouise Zapanta, on November 11, Saturday at 8 PM. In this play, we are transported to Bacong, Negros Oriental in 1898. It has been 300 years since the start of the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, and discontent is everywhere. People are starving and guardia civiles are watching. A revolution has started, led by none other than Pantaleon Villegas, a.k.a. Leon Kilat, and no one can catch him. He is quick like lightning. But too much light can blind you. Be careful who you trust. In these trying times, faith will be tested and love will be questioned.

Salcedo, directed by Gillian Inocente, on November 15, Wednesday at 7 PM. The play follows the members of the Salcedo household, Lourding’s family, along with their close friends, the Bouffards, who are mourning the loss of Lourding’s husband, Pedrito. Amidst this period of grief, Lourding grapples with the challenges she encounters in her relationship with her daughters, and the Salcedo retainer leading to a surprising revelation.

And Fiesta, directed by Neve-Rienne Fuentes, on November 18, Saturday at 7 PM. The play takes place during fiesta in Bayawan, which is something everyone looks forward to, except at the Ragada household. For twenty years, Ines Ragada has been a thorn in the side of Corito, Manuel, and Soling. But everything changed with the arrival of Lucia Solon, and dark secrets and big revelations are revealed.

I do hope more people in Dumaguete will come to enjoy these plays, because these are our stories, penned by one of our best writers. Long live Dumaguete theater!

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Wednesday, November 08, 2023

entry arrow7:00 AM | Poetry Wednesday, No. 160.


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Tuesday, November 07, 2023

entry arrow11:55 PM | Protect Your Energy

My mantra for the past few days ever since Undas has been this: above all else, protect your energy. I found myself in a whirlpool of to-do’s and to-meet’s that absolutely threw my schedule [and my sense of balance] into a tailspin, and I knew going into Monday that I was hanging on from the knife’s edge. In the old days, I would have succumbed to paralysis and moped away in depression, but knowing how my brain works now afforded me new ways to get around the familiar darkness. I think it has worked, more or less. I had to say “no” to some things though, and rescheduled others for better days. [I love having the power now to say “no,” something I’m still training myself to do. Sometimes it’s easy to say no though. An organization just gave me an invite to do something of considerable responsibility for an upcoming event. I asked: “Is this a paid engagement?” The response: “We will give you a nice certificate.” I happily said no, hahaha.] Anyway. Protect your energy above all.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2023

entry arrow7:00 AM | Poetry Wednesday, No. 159.

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