Pepe Herrera’s domain: music and acting

Published August 2, 2021, 11:36 AM

by Rica Arevalo

He stars in PETA’s ‘Rak of Aegis’ streaming worldwide

Pepe Herrera

The creative industry has greatly suffered with show cancellations, projects being shelved, and loss of income. How does the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) survive the COVID-19 pandemic and the confusing quarantine classifications of the country? Simple, by going digital and streaming their classes and productions via the world wide web.

Pepe Herrera and Aicelle Santos

The award-winning musical Rak of Aegis written by Liza Magtoto and directed by Maribel Legarda is streaming from August 7 to 8, 2021 on PETA’s official ticketing and streaming partner, bit.ly/rakofaegisstreaming.

We have seen its live performance back in 2014 and we were amazed by the “floodwaters” production set-up and Aicelle Santos-Zambrano’s performance.

The songs of the popular pop rock, Aegis Band, takes centerstage in Barangay Venezia as its resident, Aileen (Aicelle) dreams of becoming a singing superstar. Once again, we will hear the iconic “Halik,” “Sinta,” “Basang Basa sa Ulan,” among others from the musical direction and arrangement of Myke Salomon.

In a chat with Pepe Herrera who plays Tolits, a boatman hopelessly in love with Aileen, we asked why he accepted the role. “Because it’s a great role!” he says, “Tolits is a funny and lovable underdog. I love, we love underdogs, don’t we?”

The 34-year-old actor misses performing onstage. “I look forward to the day I go back to the theater!” he muses. “Rak Of Aegis opened the doors of opportunities for me.

Pepe as Tolits

Pepe recently finished filming the horror comedy, Bantay Bahay directed by Jose Javier Reyes. His motto in life, “Happiness is real when shared.”

Don’t be deceived by this man’s comedic presence because Pepe got a Bachelor of Music in Music Education at the University of Santo Tomas. “I wanted to become a performer since I was a kid, mainly as a singer,” he shares.

His mother is his greatest influence who encouraged him to finish his degree. “She said, ‘Anak, kung saan ka masaya, kusang susunod ang pera (Son, just be happy and money will follow),’” he recounts. His mother’s words of wisdom has been his guiding principle ever since. “I perform, I sing, I act, I share a story, then I let my prayers take over,” he confesses. “I have been performing wherever, whenever since I was a kid,” says the leading man of the upcoming Philippine remake of the hit Korean rom-com, My Sassy Girl.

In this looming lockdown, how will the audience benefit from watching the “Outstanding Original Musical” winner of the 7th Gawad Buhay? “Everybody loves entertainment!” he discloses. “Entertainment must live on and if streaming is the main venue at this moment, we will embrace it.”

When asked if he got any award under his belt, Pepe volunteers, “My awards—best youngest son to my parents, best husband to my wife, and best father to my daughter and our cats and dog.” But seriously, he won best actor in Sakaling Hindi Makarating (2016) at the 2016 CineFilipino Film Festival.

Beautifully set designed by Mio Infante, Rak of Aegis is perfect for this rainy habagat season. This show is timeless. We need all the Pinoy humor we can get in this pandemic. We need to appreciate our people’s resiliency over any calamity. Pinoy jukebox music is worth listening all the time. Most important, love prevails and dreams do come true in this small community.

Other cast members include Poppert Bernadas, Isay Alvarez-Seña, Robert Seña, Joann Co, Jimi Marquez, and Gie Onida.

PETA’s fundraising campaign is streaming worldwide. The goal is to attain sustainability to help cultural institutions and artists survive this pandemic. Let’s all support the creative industry by buying tickets. For bulk tickets and partnerships, contact Mitch Go, [email protected], 0917-5391112.

Check PETA’s official ticketing and streaming partner, www.ticket2me.net for details.

 
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