Home is wherever we sing


On its 54th anniversary, celebrated this month, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) is strictly speaking, homeless. The main building on Roxas Boulevard has been dark since January and at its traditional location, only the recently inaugurated Teatro Ignacio Gimenez (the Black Bos Theater) is in use. 


The curtain of Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo will not rise until 2026 assuming all goes well. One never knows what need to be repaired, replaced, or upgraded until the foundations, electricals, fire protection, sewage, and water lines are inspected. There may be disasters too behind the sound-looking walls, floor, and ceilings.


For the next three years therefore (not longer, with hope) the CCP will be everywhere, in numerous places where artists make music, dance, act, exhibit, create for public appreciation and enjoyment.

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(Photo from Noel Ferrer)


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(Photo from Gab Pangilinan)


Conceptualized by CCP vice president Dennis Marasigan and realized with the help of topnotch director Florencio “Floy” Quintos, the CCP marked its half-century of service by reminding us all that our artists are among the world’s best. In the program were artists who have achieved world recognition and artists of the next generation who are already known here and are bound to be next on the international stage. The Philippines, their home, is wherever they sing. The CCP, too, is wherever artists create and perform.


The CCP was in Makati, at the Samsung Performing Arts Theater at the Circuit the other week. Some of our top singers shared what international and Filipino audiences have applauded. Broadway and OPM songs were masterfully performed by singers headed by Joanna Ampil and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by National Artist Ryan Cayabyab and, for some numbers, his son Antonio Maria P. Cayabyab.


As the program note declares, “Joanna Ampil embodies not only Filipino talent, but grit, perseverance, adaptability, and resilience.” She has played leading roles in London, the US, Australia, and other countries. In London’s West End, she was Kim in a revival of Miss Saigon, Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ, Superstar, Eponine and Fantine in Les Miserables. She is the first female Engineer in Miss Saigon, originally a male role.


Sheila Francisco and Arman Ferrer received prolonged applause and loud “bravos” for their respective numbers. Francisco did a spirited number “Some People” from the musical Gypsy and duets with Joanna Ampil in “Happy Talk” and “Bali Hai” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific. She had played Bloody Mary to rave reviews in a London revival of the musical. Tenor and classical singer Arman Ferrer sang “Awit ni Isagani” from Ryan Cayabyab’s musical based on Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo.


Bets are on Arman Ferrer, Gerald Santos, and Gab Pangilinan as the first among the next generation to achieve recognition in New York’s Broadway and London’s West End. Reb Atadero and Aicelle Santos-Zambrano brought up the outstanding list of performers, rendering Pilipino and Broadway numbers.


The gala event was a total feast for the ears and the eyes with Floy Quintos’ dramatic direction, Eric Cruz’s production design, Ohm David’s set design, and Meliton Roxas Jr.’s lighting design. The CCP event celebrated both onstage and backstage talent.


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