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MANILA, Philippines - Tanghalang Pilipino unveiled their latest production, “Ibalong,” a dance-theater musical interpretation of the Bicolano epic last January 16. Adapted for the stage by playwright Rody Vera and directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio ("Walang Kukurap"), the production promises great heroes, beautiful sirens, and fearsome monsters all amidst the background of a glorious, mythical Philippines.
“Ibalong” tells the story of Handyong (played by Remus Villanueva), the greatest hero of Ibalong, the ancient name of Bicol. Handyong, leader of Ibalong, ushers in the land’s golden age wherein harvest is abundant and all people are treated as equals. But this peace doesn’t last long.
Adding to the plot is the serpent-siren Oryol, played by Jenine Desiderio of “Miss Saigon” fame, who captivates men with her beauty and song. The cast is composed of other wondrous characters such as Rabot, a blind serpent who can turn you into stone with a stare; Gugurang, God of the Heavens; and Aswang, God of the Underworld and father of Oryol.
Opulent costumes designed by Leeroy New, glorious battle scenes with choreography by Alden Lugnasin, and magnificent backdrops enliven the spectacle. Music by Carol Bello and the Encantada band will weave in neo-ethnic music with rock to bring back the spirit of ancient Bicol and to infuse youth and energy to the modern production.
At the end of the production (we won’t spoil what happens in between), a new civilization will rise making way for new times, new practices, and a new people.
Check out our photos from the presscon:
("Ibalong" will run at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino of the Cultural Center of the Philippines from February 8 until March 3. For ticket inquiries, visit TicketWorld or call 891-9999. You may also call Tanghalang Pilipino at 832-1125 local 1620 to 1621.)
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