Sunday, August 30, 2015


Press release

Jesse Lucas set to music a poem by Maningning Miclat titled  “Ginugunita Kita”  and was welcomed by viewers when first aired on TV and was passed online by hundreds of netizens last May.

Critics, music lovers and avid fans watched it, and seven other Lucas songs of Maningning poems, at the Aldaba Recital Hall of the UP Diliman Theater on the fifth and last Saturday of the same month. Said songs, and more, will be featured at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino of the Cultural Center of the Philippines on September 3, back to back with the 2015 Maningning  Miclat Trilingual Poetry Awards featuring Kammerchor Manila. It is aptly entitled “Ginugunita Kita.”

Lucas is a multi-awarded composer for film, television, theater and dance. Miclat was a trilingual poet, award-winning visual artist and art teacher. Directed by film and theater actor Roeder Camaňag, the performance will feature soloist Banaue Miclat-Janssen and master cellist Renato Lucas, together with singer Al Gatmaitan and artist Delphine Buencamino. 

            Maningning Miclat was a poet, fictionist and essayist in English, Filipino and Chinese as well as a painter in Western and Chinese genre. A Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate in UP Diliman, she was a fellow of the U.P. National Writer's Workshop,  Silliman Writer's Workshop and Rio Alma Poetry Clinic. Her Chinese poems made her one of the top-rated women poets in Beijing.

            With Ryan Cayabyab and Chino Toledo as mentors, Jesse Lucas won awards from FAMAS which catapulted him to the Hall of Fame, and from the Gawad Urian, Young Critics Circle, Gawad Tanglaw and Aliw. In 2005, he won an award from the Screamfest International Film Festival in Los Angeles, USA. CCP’s Tanghalang Pilipino, Dulaang UP, Dramatis Personae, Gantimpala Theater Foundation, Ballet Philippines and the Philippine Ballet Theater have adapted his music.

            Lucas was deeply inspired by Maningning’s book of poetry, Voice from the Underworld (Anvil Publishing House, 2000,  2002, 2015). He says, "I immediately connected with the words and verses. The words used form their own cadence. Each word seemed carefully selected to form a given rhythm that supports its theme.” He further says, “The poems of Maningning Miclat are almost melodious that I can hear the music through the poetic images. They spoke and at the same time sang to me poignant thoughts about life, pain and love. These are the foundation of Ginugunita Kita’s music.” 
            He adds, “The experience in writing the music was really meditative and cathartic at the same time. It feels like I have discovered a new language, a language that speaks directly to the soul."

Lucas set to music Maningning’s poems such as Ginugunita Kita, Tawag, Duet (nina Rizal at Bracken), Kulay sa Bagyo, Ang Naliligaw, A Stare, Verses # 2,  To Catch a Second and Turn it to Forever, Panibugho and Shi Bu Shi (in Chinese, translated “Isn’t It?). They will be sang by Banaue Miclat-Janssen with Renato Lucas on the cello and Jesse Lucas on the piano.
            Miclat-Janssen sings the opera, acts and dances on stage and hones young artists as  professor of theatre arts at UP Diliman. She obtained her Master of Fine Arts from the City University of New York and her Bachelor of Arts from UP Diliman. In New York, she attended voice lessons from Evelyn Mandac, Robert Carpenter, and CUNY's Judylee Vivier. She had a stint at the Metropolitan Opera in such productions of Salome, Faust, La Boheme, Don Carlo, I Puritani and La Traviata. She has performed at the CCP, UP Abelardo Hall, UP Theater and Ateneo de Manila University.

            Renato Lucas is one of the finest cellists in the country. His schools included UP Diliman College of Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music (USA), Royal Northern College of Music (England), Hochschule fur Musik Detmold (Germany), and Universitaet der Kunst Berlin (Germany). He has been the principal soloist of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra for three decades. He has performed as soloist with the Manila Symphony Orchestra, Manila Chamber Orchestra, and UST Symphony Orchestra, as well as the CCP's Filipino Artist Series, Pundaquit Arts Festival, Las Piňas Bamboo Organ Festival, and the Maningning Poetry Awards.
Kammerchor Manila and the Maningning Awards

            Kammerchor Manila (KM) stormed the Czech Republic by  becoming the  Absolute and Grand Prix winner in the 42nd Festival of Songs Olomouch last year. 

It garnered four gold medals in such categories as superior mixed adult choir  (earning 98 pts), mixed adult choir (100 pts), folklore a capella (100 pts), and the spiritual, gospel and pop category (100 pts). Its three perfect scores bested such finalists as Mesani Pevski Zbor Pomlad  of Slovenia, Vocalisti Rostochienses  of Germany, Temasek Junior College  of Singapore and Mesani Pevski Zbor Svoboda of  Slovenia. A nation’s pride indeed for a church-based choir in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish in West Triangle, Quezon City.  

KM will herald the winners of the 2015 Maningning Miclat Trilingual Poetry Awards.
            The Maningning Miclat Art Foundation, Inc. (MMAFI) was organized in 2001 to encourage creativity and to recognize, award, and nurture outstanding and talented young poets and artists 28 years old and below. Maningning Miclat passed on at age 28.

Its poetry competitions in Filipino, English and Chinese which started in 2003 are held during odd-numbered years and the painting contests in even-numbered years. The grand winners receive P28,000.00, a Julie Lluch trophy and books such as Voice from the Underworld by Maningning; Beyond the Great Wall: A Family Journal by Mario, Alma, Maningning & Banaue Miclat,which won the National Book Award for biography in 2007; Secrets of the Eighteen Mansions by Mario Miclat which made it to the list of the Man Asian Literary Prize; and Fairground: A Literary Feast.

The prizes reflect the Foundation's commitment to young talents. Founding MMAFI board member, Edna Manlapaz, likens them to young plants which "shoot up from the ground to reach for the sun and drink in the rain (and) grow into strong saplings. In time they stand tall on the hills, trees that mark our horizon."

Ginugunita Kita is presented by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, MMAFI, the Talent Factory, Inc and the Artists’ Playground. 

For inquiries, please contact, 0917-8478489; 0936-7097154. Tickets are available at the CCP Marketing Department (832-1125 loc. 1806), the CCP Box Office (832-3704) or Ticketworld at National Bookstore (891-9999). #

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Press release

Seven of the country’s finest theater artists are set to join forces on September 1 for PHILSTAGE’s fundraiser. Entitled “Mundong Entablado”, the show is part of the One Night Stand monthly cabaret at 12 Monkeys Music Hall, and features songs from eleven contemporary Filipino musicals.

Theater veterans Bituin Escalante, Cris Villonco, Sweet Plantado, Nonie Buencamino, and OJ Mariano take the stage with rising stars Kim Molina and Sandino Martin in this unique celebration of Manila’s vibrant performing arts scene. Under the direction of Topper Fabregas and musical direction of Ejay Yatco, the program consists of songs from Rock Supremo, Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, Bituing Walang Ningning, Lorenzo, Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo, Maxie the Musical, Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady, Sa Wakas, Rizal X, Isang Panaginip na Fili, and Rak of Aegis, all re-arranged for this cabaret.

Proceeds of the event will help fund PHILSTAGE’s projects such as theatre workshops, master classes, and the annual Gawad Buhay! Awards.

Founded in 1997, the Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group (PHILSTAGE) is the country's only organization of professional performing arts companies. Member companies include 9 Works Theatrical, Actor’s Actors Inc. (AAI), Ballet Manila (BM), Ballet Philippines (BP), Full House Resorts World Manila, Gantimpala Theater Foundation (GTF), Philippine Ballet Theater (PBT), Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), Philippine Opera Company (POC), Red Turnip Theater, Repertory Philippines, Tanghalang Pilipino (TP), Triumphant People’s Evangelistic Theater Society (Trumpets).

“Mundong Entablado” will be on September 1, 2015, 9:00PM at 12 Monkeys Music Hall, located at Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City. Tickets are priced at Php 1000, and may be purchased through any of the PHILSTAGE companies or at the venue. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Chuva Choo Choo: D' Mr. Kupido musicale excerpt video

Mr. Vehnee Saturno's music has influenced us Pinoys for many decades now regardless of social class, gender, etc., and worked with many recording artists up until now.  I had an opportunity to talk to him on one occasion during a presscon of one recording artist that he worked with more than a year ago.

Imagine if all those songs from those years are compiled to tell a story in a musical. This is what Stages Production Specialist Inc. is going to stage next month for 4 performance and then in January next year.

The plot of the musical was conceptualized two years ago. The story started with sisters Dina and Darla who witnessed a murder and went to Manila to hide and found refuge in a gay bar called Mr. Kupido where they pretend to be gay impersonators.

The musical is originally Pinoy so the target audience are local. There are only few musicals that we can be proud of and this is one production to add on that list. Vehnee Saturno always ponder about doing a musical but he didn't get a chance to start until Stages provided the right material and choice of songs to be included in the musical.

Here is one of the featured songs as interpreted by Joanna Ampil during the media launch. For more musical productions, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Night for Voices of Healing

Press release

The University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Fund, Inc. (UPMAF) will hold a concert called “Ang SOAP Opera ng Buhay Ko” (The Concert: Voices of Healing) at the new Marriott Grand Ballroom on August 26, 2015 to riase funds towards the creation of the New UP College of Medicine Academic Center,  a 7-story multi-million peso undertaking.

The dinner concert will feature several of the biggest names in the international and local concert scene, including the 50-piece ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Gerard Salonga, this special night will bring together Lea Salonga, Ryan Cayabyab, Jed Madela, Vice Ganda, Mark Bautista, Cris Villonco, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Bituin Escalante, Pinky Marquez, Franco Laurel, The Tux, Caisa Borromeo, Baihana, Catherine Fisher, among others, as they join the community in a collective voice of healing. A 70-strong chorus composed of The Mass Appeal, Ateneo Chamber Singers and UP Medicine Choir will also fill the grandiose ballroom.

This will be Lea Salonga’s last concert before she flies to New York to star in a show called “Allegiance,”  which previews in Broadway on October 20!

For ticket and sponsorship inquiries please contact, Dr. Melfred L. Hernandez (0917) 815-2029), Overall Chair, Dr. Karin Estepa (0922) 825-3146, Chair, Business Committee, or Ms Kareen Tapia (0923) 8568043 of UPMAF (02) 5264255,