The ‘Daluyong Ng Diwa’ (‘Tides Of Our Soul’) debuted at the Jubilee Park of the Expo 2020 Dubai on the occasion of Philippine National Day on Friday. Photo by Walaa Alshaer (Expo 2020 Dubai Media Asset Management)
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
A highly technologically-crafted commissioned musical not only mesmerised and earned a standing ovation from a multi-national audience recently but had smitten online viewers as well.
The musical was the “Daluyong Ng Diwa” (“Tides Of Our Soul”) that made its international debut at the historic Expo 2020 Dubai for the Philippine National Day celebrations on February 11 (Friday).
Even Filipinos from the Jubilee Park, across the Bangkota (Coral Reef) Philippine Pavilion, where the one-hour performance took place, knew nothing about it. As they had cheered while being pleasantly surprised with the unexpected video clip message of Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, they were also astounded by the musical, produced and directed by veteran Philippine theatre personality Bart Guingona.
Among the audience was Newsline (UAE) correspondent Henri Abenis-Macahilo, herself an experienced theatre artist back in her hometown of Davao City in Southern Mindanao who also had stints in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. At some point, she whispered to Gulf Today: “Here now is the conflict as in every narrative is a conflict. I have been in goose bumps. I love the way they created this. It is both in English and Filipino with a combination of the genres in music.”
From the Facebook.com were a few of the comments that immediately cascaded from the live coverage:
“WOW, SUPERB” by Alexandra Nicha; “Way to go! Filipinos Rock! You make us proud! Bravo!” by Leizl Bardon; “Ang ganda nito! (Impressive!) I can imagine this as an Olympics Opening Ceremony,” by Renz Albert; and “Loveet! A marvelous production. Astig (Awesome). Kudos to all of them involved in this number. Mabuhay kayo! (Soar!) I wonder who the librettist and composer are. Saludo (Salute),” by Rhod Gonzalez.
Guingona, 58, a multi-awarded stage actor and director who grew up with the Repertory Philippines Foundation Inc., among the numerous theatre companies across the Southeast Asian archipelago and through its 54 years has been enjoying a huge number of patrons for its adaptations of broadway musicals among other English plays, was interviewed.
With a notable cast-the youngest of which is Alexa Salcedo (the Young Girl)-and production crew of 90-the musical was produced by Guingona’s own The Necessary Theatre, under mother company Silang Communications that bested three other contenders for the commissioning by the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry, the designated lead agency for the Philippine participation at Expo2020 Dubai: “I think they like our concept and I think they selected us also on the basis of cost-efficiency.
The whole concept of using the tides as a metaphor for the Filipino soul is based on the inspiration of the Bangkota theme of the pavilion. The idea that our souls or our lives are dictated by tides of fortune or misfortune; that we are deeply rooted by some kind of organic coral-like life giving strength. We acknowledge the journeys that shaped our nation and its peoples. But this performance is specially dedicated to our countrymen in foreign lands who, whether they know it or not, are the propagators of our culture.”
Written by Luna Inocian, a veteran in theatre musicals and plays; music and lyrics by “a young upcoming composer” Ejay Yatco; costumes and production design by “well-established” Leroy New; and video design by Steven Tansiongco and Philip Franco, the stage production traces the 4,000-year story of the Filipino people segmented into six suites.
The “Mito Ng Paglikha” (“Mythos and Creation”) visualizes the origins of life from mystic spirits to ancient oceans of the earth from which single-cell organisms were born. The “Bangkota” (“Coral Reef”) envisions these single cell-life cells gathering together and forming beautiful, complex yet fragile communities. The “Ang Lupa” (“The Land”) follows life as it rises out of the seas into a verdant fertile land that allows it to grow, flourish, and prosper.
The “Ang Mga Ninuno” (“Our Ancestors”) tells of the arrival of the Austronesians who begin to people an archipelago, bringing their influences and effecting change to what is now known among the Community of Nations as The Philippines.
The “Pagsubok” (“Adversity”) explores man’s battle against nature and man’s battle against fellow men-battles that can only be won by the Filipinos’ united will.
The "Iisang Bangka Tungo Sa Bukas" ("On A Single Vessel Towards The Future") offers the hope of a brave new world that awaits. A hope that assures the triumph of the Filipino soul.
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“Another proud moment as our nation’s flag sets a new World Record for the largest flag flown in free fall measuring 144.28 m² 🇦🇪 Happy National Day. #UAE” .
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