Last school year, the students of Liceo de Cagayan University Paseo del Rio’s Arts & Design strand staged an original musical play dubbed “Binhi” (written by Nicolas Salcedo) at Rodelsa Hall. It was a resounding success and the students were overjoyed that a lot of people enjoyed the show.

That success also meant the A&D students had done their part well in their four major subjects: music, visual arts, dance, and theater.

Christy as Manilla
Christy Aboniawan as Manilla (March 9 – 3pm/March 10 – 10am and 7pm)

This year, less than a week from now, batch 2019-2020 of the LDCU Arts & Design grades 11&12 classes will once again go onstage at Rodelsa Hall to share their original production of a story by Clariza Gamba, a theater major. Manilla will be shown on March 9&10 as the grand production and culminating activity of this year’s aspiring, talented, and passionate artists.

How It All Began

I started teaching theater at Liceo de Cagayan University Paseo del Rio in December 2017. I accepted the challenge because of my love for theater and my advocacy in helping young artists pursue their passion. My aim is to help the students understand the role of theater – of performing arts in general – in molding them to become well-rounded persons. Of course, I also want them to learn to love and appreciate theater more.

So, when I was presented with the idea of staging a grand production in December 2018, I couldn’t say no even if I didn’t know where to start – considering that it had been years since I last stepped inside a school or university. But I didn’t give up. There was some point when I wanted to, but I didn’t because I know my students had been working hard to make sure they came up with a good show.

There were a lot of challenges, but we made it and the students successfully staged their production.

This year, I vowed to do everything in my power to make sure that things would go smoothly. So, when the Liceo de Cagayan University Alumni Association offered to partner and sponsor the production, I didn’t hesitate a single bit.

Norman Bel as Manilla
Normann Bel Sarmiento as Manilla (March 9 – 10am & 7pm/March 10 – 3pm)

Manilla: An Original Musical Play

Manilla is an original story written by Clariza Gamba, who is a part of my theater class. She decided to focus on a character that anybody can relate with regardless of age, gender, or social background. Manilla is an artist, a singer who has big dreams for herself. She’s passionate about everything, especially about music. Along the way, she encounters several challenges, including her family’s disapproval of her plans. This is one of the many issues highlighted in the play.

The story also talks about sacrifices. It prompts you to ask questions like, “Will I give up my personal goals just to make sure my family survives?” and “Am I willing to sacrifice my future for the sake of others?”

Rosh as Pacifico
Dawid Rosh Mahilum as Pacifico (March 9 – 3pm/March 10 – 10am & 7pm)

On the surface, Manilla sounds like a simple story, but it will actually ask you to explore different paths. It will dare you to ask yourself, “Am I Manilla?” or “Am I willing to take the road less traveled?”

All the songs and music in the play are by the grades 11&12 Arts & Design students, as is with every other creative aspect of the show. This is a showcase of all their talents and skills as artists.

Why You Should Support Manilla

Why should you support Manilla? Simple – because it is a faithful work of art by local artists who have no other intention except to entertain, satisfy, and encourage Kagay-anons (and the rest of the world) to embrace what they love.

You should support Manilla because it is a story; a production born out of love, passion, and dedication.

More Show Details

Marc as Pacifico
Marc Harvey Alvarez as Pacifico (March 9 – 10am & 7pm/March 10 – 3pm)

Manilla will be showing at Rodelsa Hall on March 9 (Monday) and March 10 (Tuesday). There are three show times for each showdate: 10am, 3pm, and 7pm (gala).

Tickets for the morning and afternoon shows are at PhP99 while evening shows are at PhP150. Students enjoy a special rate of PhP99 for the gala shows, but they have to show their school ID.

The proceeds of the show will go to the Liceo de Cagayan University Alumni Association Scholarship Program. A portion of the proceeds will also be allotted to future Arts & Design program projects.

Manilla is directed by theater major Mart Vhon Ledesma II. Assistant director is Joseph Khent Rivera. Alternating as Manilla are Christy Aboniawan and Normann Bel Sarmiento. Alternating as the male lead, Pacifico, are Dawid Rosh Mahilum and Marc Harvey Alvarez.

It is also supported by Congressman Rufus B. Rodriguez and Gov. Jose Ch. Alvarez.

See you at Rodelsa!

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