Last Saturday, May 18, our theater group, Oro Teatro Bulawanon, traveled to Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon to join the second installment of Tanghalan sa Kampo Juan. It was an experience I will forever cherish.


KampoJuan is one of the most popular adventure destinations in Manolo Fortich. It has everything you want for a memorable and fun time with family and friends: a zipline, hanging bridge, anicycle, and swimming pool.

Surrounded by tall trees and endless greens, it’s the best destination for those who want to escape stressful city life. What makes it truly interesting is the fact that it has a heritage house that was diligently, passionately, and painstakingly put together by Dr. Neric Acosta after each part was transported from the house’s original location (Pangasinan).

Although I’ve been to KampoJuan several times, it was the first time I was there as Dr. Acosta’s guest. And it was the first time I was there as a member of Oro Teatro Bulawanon. I saw the place in a different light, especially after we were escorted to the galleria where the tanghalan was to be held.

KampoJuan, for me, is the perfect venue for an art/culture/culinary adventure like Tanghalan sa KampoJuan.

The Ikalawang Tanghalan

Tanghalan sa KampoJuan is a three-weekend special that features the best of Northern Mindanao cuisine, art, and culture. On the first weekend, the spotlight was on Iligan artists. Last Saturday was Cagayan de Oro’s turn.

The evening started with a 5-course meal specially prepared by Chef Maricar Urbano of Don Narciso Restaurant in Claveria. First served was the amuse bouche – CURRENT STATE, which is Potter’s Garden vegetables rolled in rice paper with green chilli sauce. I loved how crispy and juicy it was! I thought it would be spicy, but it had just the right kick you need to get your appetite going. Perfect meal starter.

There were two appetizers: DRUNKEN NIGHTS and GAIL & GABY. Drunken Nights are actually mocked beer shots with bulad granules while Gail & Gaby had me feasting on twin bread with Potter’s Garden pesto dip. I’m a pesto junkie, so you can just imagine how much I enjoyed this part of the meal!

Chef Maricar called her salad dish WHEN SEPTEMBER ENDS. This dish had mushroom carpaccio, microgreens, and pickled mooli. Didn’t get to taste it though as I’m allergic to mushroom.

For the main course, we had UNDER PRESSURE, which featured sous vide fish with pineapple-corn salsa, a trio of mashed tuber, and smokey atsal sauce. I found the fish juicy and soft to the bite. The pineapple added a bit of sweetness and a pleasant tangy aftertaste.

I wasn’t able to eat the dessert as we were already about to start our show by the time it was served. BITTERSWEET SYMPHONY featured the classic combination of tablea cake, local ice cream (from La Favorita), and rose crumbs. I’m sure it was a hit because I know of some guests who had second and third servings of the dessert!

Chef Maricar wowed the guests that night with her unique and mouthwatering creations. Among the diners who enjoyed the feast were Cong. Malou Acosta-Alba and Director Marie Elaine Unchuan of DOT Region 10.

Ang Paglaya

After dinner, it was our turn to entertain the guests with our play “Ang Paglaya”. Our story put the spotlight on the father and daughter relationship of Manuel and Annika. It tackled an issue that many can relate with – what parents want their children to take up in college vs. what their children are really passionate about.

To add a bit of excitement to our play, we featured an enchanted forest, some Filipino mythical creatures, and a strange family whose only intention is to do good.

Ang Paglaya Cast and Prod Staff
The cast and production staff of Ang Paglaya

“Ang Paglaya” showcased local CDO talents Jc Salon, Christy Aboniawan, Leslie Encong-Yap, Kale “Bom” Ramos, Nicolas Salcedo, Mikay Abella, Maria Therese Palma, Jay Abcede, Allyza Buslon, Katleen Obsioma, Kent Irvin Dumaraog , and Zilpha Ybañez. Stage management was by Jean Jacques Agbon, assisted by her daughters Kendra and Nicky.

For our props and set, we used paper bags to create the backdrop for the forest. This was an idea that Nico (Salcedo) realized with his creative skills. Everyone in the cast pitched in to make sure we would come up with a visually appealing set.

Ang Paglaya Nimpas
We used paper bags for our forest-like set

Costumes were created and styled by Kent Irvin, while he and Nicolas worked on the makeup.

Ang Paglaya by Oro Teatro Bulawanon
Our play showcased the creative skills of Oro Teatro Bulawanon’s senior high school members

More than anything else, “Ang Paglaya” which I co-wrote with Bex Espino, helped showcase the talents of Kagay-anons, particularly the youth, as majority of the cast members are senior high school students.

Liceo Folkloric Dance Troupe

Led by its artistic director, Roger E. Odron, the award-winning and renowned Liceo Folkloric Dance Troupe wowed the guests with their graceful interpretations of two sets of dance suites highlighting the unique and colorful culture of Bukidnon and the Maranaos.

The featured Bukidnon dances were the Dugso, Pimintok, Binaylan, Pig-agawan, Palaspas, and the Mangangayaw.  For the Maranao dances, the Liceo Folkloric dancers interpreted Pangalay, Kapa Malong-malong, Kazilimut, Kuntao, Pag-apir, and my favorite, Singkil. The dancers were accompanied by live music played on ethnic instruments.

Aside from Singkil, what interested me the most was the Kapa Malong-malong, which featured a malong dance for men. It was my first time to see this dance performed live. I’ve always loved – and have even performed – the malong dance, so it was an exciting discovery for me. (I’m not so sure I can still do the malong dance, but it’s always good to try!)

Watching the Liceo Folkloric dancers color the night with their graceful moves inspired me to keep discovering and creating stories for Kagay-anons and Mindanaoans. I’ll focus my stories on the things that make life more beautiful, like the dances they beautifully interpreted.

Ikatlong Tanghalan

If you want to experience KampoJuan in all its majesty, take part in the Ikatlong Tanghalan sa Kampo Juan tomorrow, Saturday, May 25.

After featuring dance and theater, the spotlight will now be on Filipino and Italian cuisine courtesy of Jont Cabrera. It will be an evening of culinary delights as Jont, who was educated and trained in Melbourne, showcases an interesting set of Italian dishes using local ingredients.

For a visual feast, Tanghalan sa KampoJuan has invited premier multidisciplinary creative artist Chris Gomez to display his paintings, furniture, fashion, and accessories. A multi-awarded artist, Chris is an advocate of sustainable design and this will be evident in his masterpieces that will be showcased on Saturday.

Among Chris’ awards and recognition are the China ASEAN Youth Artwork Creativity Contest Award of Excellene (2016), the 2014 British Council Look of Style Awards, and the grand prize of the 2012 Metrobank Art and Design Excellence Awards Water-based Category. He was also a finalist in the 2011 National Philippine Art Awards.

Capping off the evening is a performance from the Bukidnon-based choir Youth for Culture and Arts Project (YCAP). This chorale, led by Ms. Mercibelle Barroso Abejuela, is not only well-traveled but also well-awarded. The biggest recognition they received was when they were awarded as the Mindanao Associataion of State Tertiary School Choral competitions grand slam winner.

On Saturday, YCAP will serenade KampoJuan’s guests with Original Pilipino Music (OPM), pop music, and classical music, as well and ethnic/lumad tunes.


If you want to experience the magic of Tanghalan sa KampoJuan, you may text or call Laclac Bongcawel at 0955-1539105 or send an email to Tickets, which are sold at Php1500 each (inclusive of the multi-course dinner), are also available at the Nanay Choleng’s Muron kiosk located at the ground floor of Centrio Mall (near Mercury Drug and Spruce).

Follow Tanghalan sa KampoJuan on Facebook and Instagram.

KampoJuan is located in Brgy. Dicklum, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

See you on Saturday!



Source: (Additional info)    

Photos: Leslie Encong-Yap and Jenjacqs Agbon 

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