By Patrice Simone Dauz

Two nights ago, all roads led to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), to celebrate the 46th anniversary of the country’s prime center of culture and arts. To make the celebration significantly memorable, a musical journey of music and dance called Serenata, was staged at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater). It was well-attended by luminaries from the world of theater and the arts. 

BP dancers sway to the tune of PPO's Sarung Banggi
BP dancers sway to the tune of PPO’s Sarung Banggi

Serenata was a wellspring of some of the best performing groups in the Philippines. The main repertoire was the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra’s rendition of well-loved Filipino folk songs and melodies under the baton of master conductor Ryan Cayabyab. The event was hosted by members of the Tanghalang Pilipino Actors’ Company and featured performances from Philippine Madrigal Singers, Ballet Philippines, and Philippine Ballet Theatre.

Most of the PPO’s arrangements were done by Ryan Cayabyab, but he collaborated with other composers on some pieces. He was credited for arranging the songs “Atin Cu Pung Singsing” (Kapampangan), “Si Filemon, Si Filemon” (Visayan), “Ti Ayat Ti Maysa Nga Ubing” (Ilocano), “Salidummay” (Cordillera Northern highlands song), a medley of Ilocano songs (“Manang Biday”, “No Duduaem Pay”, and “Pamulinawen”), “Pepe en Pilar” and “Pen Pen di Sarapen” (children’s play songs), “Malinac Lay Labi” (Pangasinense), “Walay Angay” (Ilonggo), and “Ay Kalisud” (a Visayan song popularized by Conching Rosal).

Maestro Ryan Cayabyab acknowledged the audience's applause
Maestro Ryan Cayabyab acknowledged the audience’s applause

Cayabyab’s other collaborators were Doloros Paterno, Jose Santos, Greg Labja, Potenciano Gregorio Sr., Juan Cuadrado Sr., Eudenice Palaruan, Nonoy Gallardo. “Hanggang Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan” which Philippine Ballet Theater gave an interpretation to (choreography by Ronilo Jaynario), was solely composed by George Canseco. Herminio Beltran Jr. provided the lyrics of “Kulturang Pilipino, Alay sa Mundo”. Ballet Philippines, on the other hand, gave a dance interpretation for the piece “Sarung Banggi” which was choreographed by Paul Alexander Morales.

The event’s beneficiary was the CCP’s Art for Everyone Program which aims to bring the theater closer to poor people and those below the line, like the indigents. For the first half of the event, audio CDs of PPO’s latest album were given away to people who made the donation of Php 500 for the program.

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Regina Magbitang of PBT shows her flexibility dancing Hanggang sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan

Some socialites and notable people from the art sector were there, like Celeste Legaspi, Raul Sunico, Paul Morales (BP Artistic Director), ace lensman Wig Tysman, and more. Majority of the attendees wore Filipinianas, barongs, and other Filipino-inspired clothing since Filipiniana was the theme of the night.

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