The Legend of Handiong as a Musical Production Debuts in Albay Ibalong Festival

Ibalon: the musical presentation of the legendary tale of Handiong, photo courtesy of PIA-Bicol.
The legend of Handiong as a musical production debuts in Albay Ibalong Festival.

That happened in Legazpi city, as part of this city’s month-long celebration. The Tanghalang Pilipino theater company, of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, unfolded last week with a two-day presentation, of “Ibalong the Musical” production, its first in the Bicol region.

Ibalong the Musical was a hit during its initial staging at the CCP’s Tanghalang Aurelio V. Tolentino hall last Feb. 8 to Mar. 3.

The theater introduces the musical that combines a neo-ethnic rock-type production, portrayed Bicol’s Ibalong epic in a musical format.

Tuxqs Rutaquio, the musical extrvaganza director has a Master’s degree in Theater Arts, at the University of the Philippines, and an official of the Tanghalang Pilipino.

The presentation featured 20 songs composed by Carol Bello, a song writer.

The play was written by Rody Vera, who made a research and wrote the script based on the 40-stanza epic, written by Prof. Merito Espinas of the Bicol University.

The two-hour program introduced an arrangement by the Ingkantada, a Filipino fusion band, with indigenous-inspired rhythms, fused with rock.

The band used different instruments such as chants, kalee drum, gong, tong atong, bamboo percussions, violin, jembe, chimes, tiboli bells, balimbing, kubing, rainstick, shakers, guitars and other organic sound effects.

The production offered the audience value-added attractions by ethnic costumes, dance and stunt choreography, sound and lighting design and stage props.

The story has 23 characters led by Oryol, played by Jenine Desederio.

Other characters are Gugurang, Handyong, Opon, Boringkantada, Onglo, Anino, Sarimaw, Kekeek, Angongolood, Aswang, Robot, Koro, Baltog, Bantong, Boring, Tombaloslos, Kalabaw, Bongo and Popo.

The play was presented at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation at Barangay Bitano last Wednesday and Thursday.

It was jointly sponsored by the city government, and the CCP Tanghalang Pilipino (The PNA contributed to this report.)

Dr. Elnora Brocales


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