Philippine economy

Rody Vera launches book and first Filipino online playwriting course
The back-to-back launch is part of the 15th celebration of Virgin Labfest, a Filipino playwrights-led festival of unstaged works, under its first Playwrights' Fair on June 29 at the CCP Dream Theater and Little Theater lobby

Below is a press release from the organizers.

Some pains are too painful to confront, and so they keep recurring. But in good writing, it is possible to remember in a liberating way that allows one to move forward.

That is what critically acclaimed and versatile writer Rody Vera did with his latest book Two Women as Specters of History published by the Ateneo University Press. It contains two of his important Palanca award-winning scripts, Lakambini (screenplay) and Indigo Child (stage play).

Focused on two women in Philippine history, Gregoria de Jesus and a martial law activist, the book answers, in a literary way, the question of how significant remembering is to one’s healing and to avoiding repeats of mistakes of the past, as stated by award-winning writer Liza Magtoto in her foreword in the book. 

The book launch is part of the 15th celebration of Virgin Labfest, a Filipino playwrights-led theater festival of untried, untested, and unstaged works, under its first Playwrights’ Fair.

It is a back-to-back launch with the first ever Filipino online playwriting course with Pelikulove, a start-up multi-arts portal that hopes to help build arts communities through training, showcases and fora, to help strengthen the Filipino voice globally.

At the same time, it also aims to address age-old problems of artists such as limited reach, lack of residual income, and lack of platforms for continuing conversations between artists and their audiences, and among artists themselves.

The Rody Vera Online Playwriting Course (RCVOPC) features the co-founder of Virgin Labfest Rody Vera, a true game changer – an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, director, singer, and actor – as artist-mentor, plus 3 plays cinematically videographed. 

A combination of lectures and videographed live workshops with writing exercises and downloadable handouts (plus a bonus feature with well-received theater actors and acclaimed theater directors from Philippine Educational Theater Association, Cultural Center of the Philippines, and Sipat Lawin Ensemble), this 13-lesson course’s goal is to encourage more playwright-led festivals across the country as a way to complement and hasten the efforts of various institutions in developing Philippine culture and the arts, and to help bridge the gaps.

The course is designed in such a way that it will enable the kind of learning and engagement one will normally get in a face-to-face classroom setting. It features the “tambayan” forum for discussions and the “saluhan” workspace for uploading of and feedback on outputs but without the geographical and time zone limitations.

It aims to make for a consistent, diverse, and truly enriching learning experience, as students learn not just from the course or mentor, but from their peers as well.

This two-year project is a culmination of the dream of the people behind Pelikulove to marry their love and desire to contribute to the development of both theater and film, but this time maximizing new technology to be able to reach the widest audience possible locally, regionally, and worldwide.

The Virgin Labfest Playwrights’ Fair will be on June 29, 1 to 8 pm, at the CCP Dream Theater and Little Theater lobby.

The fair is a Filipino playwright-centered book fair where each writer will be given a time slot to pitch a project, launch a book, or sell a work to attendees, hopefully tapping producers, theater groups and other possible collaborators.

Some of the books to be sold at the event are Tatlong Dula: Adaptasyon by festival co-founder Rody Vera, and Kolab: Koleksiyon ng mga Dula by writers U.Z. Eliserio, Maynard Manansala, and Chuckberry J. Pascual.

Registration starts at 12 pm. Event is free and open to the public. Contact Ariane Sagales, Playwrights’ Fair Coordinator at or Almira Cauntongan, Playwrights’ Fair Assistant Coordinator at

For the Rody Vera Online Playwriting Course and Two Women as Specters of History book launch, slated at 7-8 pm, RSVP to Ferl Larrosa at 09664161357 or email them at

Online enrollment is now open. Visit the Pelikulove website to sign up and enroll. –