Relive the magic of theater as these iconic Filipino musicals go online

Watch 'Care Divas,' '1896,' and 'Juan Tamad' this weekend

"Theatre is a mirror, a sharp reflection of society," says French playwright Yasmina Reza. That has been the mission of theater for as long as it has been lit and watched throughout history, bringing stories to life on stage and educate its audience with unearthed lessons.

Even though the theaters in the Philippines are now temporary silent spaces due to the pandemic, the craft is not quitting on its mission as it goes to a new stage to perform, entertain, and above all, to educate.

One of the many local theater houses that is taking the digital leap is the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA). From Nov. 27 to 29 and Dec. 4 to 6, Filipino theater and arts fanatics can enjoy the works of the organization’s homegrown Kalinangan Ensemble with “K.E.-Pop: Kalinangan Ensemble Performers Overcoming a Pandemic.” 

From the tales of our past heroes and acceptance in the modern times to everyone's right to vote, marvel at these iconic musical plays as they go virtual.


The Palanca Award-winning musical 1896 is PETA’s thundering musical production and first and only sung-through musical. Written by Charley dela Paz with music by Lucien Letaba, the musical was staged in the run-up to the Philippine centennial celebrations in 1998 with a number of reruns. It starred Ariel Rivera as Emilio Jacinto, Rody Vera as Andres Bonifacio, and Bodjie Pascua/Lionel Guico as Emilio Aguinaldo, and Noel Cabangon as Jose Rizal. The musical was, in the words of political commentator Manuel L. Quezon III, “the highlight of the Centennial celebrations and a musical I wish would be constantly performed.” 1896 is directed by theater stalwart, the late Soxie Topacio.

Care Divas

Vincent De Jesus and Liza Magtoto’s Care Divas is a disarmingly funny and candid musical drama about five transgender Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in Israel who work as care givers in the morning and transform into glamorous drag queen performers at night. While desperate to make ends meet, they also struggle to search for acceptance in a foreign land. Care Divas is directed by PETA’s artistic director, Maribel Legarda.

Si Juan Tamad, ang Diyablo, at ang Limang Milyong Boto

Vincent De Jesus’ hilarious vaudeville musical play centers on Juan Tamad (nicknamed JT), a young apathetic, virgin voter. With the presidential elections drawing near, JT’s grandmother pushes him to register and vote for the next leader. When his candidate loses, he lapses to apathy and cynicism. But the series of events transforms JT to a pro-active Juan Tama. Through song-and-dance numbers, theater audiences will be entertained as well as educated about the importance of the electoral process and good governance. JT is directed by Phil Noble.

Click here to know more of “K.E.-Pop: Kalinangan Ensemble Performers Overcoming a Pandemic” lineup of shows.

Images from PETA