|The Leyte Dance Theater
. A Knockout Performance
by Hector Magno
Photos by Nestor Ramirez
Now I believe what
other critics are saying about this young, exquisite dance theater from the
Leyte province in the Philippines. True to what they say, this artistic group
is considered the premiere dance company in the Visayas-Mindanao rim if not
in the whole country. After witnessing for the first time their superb
performance last Monday, June 6 at the Haft Auditorium of Fashion Institute
of Technology in New York City, the fusion of classical ballet maneuvers
with traditional folk dance steps proved to be a solid masterpiece that any
dance connoisseur will give a thumbs-up. Colorful, incredible, exquisite
and regal are just a few adjectives that could be said about their costumes
especially in the pageantry portion of their "Mindanao Sketches" featuring
the Muslim culture of the Southern Philippines. The dances were recreated
using acrobatic choreography yet its original context remains intact. The
effect is breathtaking and awe-inspiring especially when the ladies used
their umbrellas, scarves, fans and other Muslim ornaments as story-telling
tools. The audience received the very taxing Singkil, with all the glittery
and colorful costumes, difficult and fluid movements with an overwhelming
applause and ovation.
An adaptation of the artistic
director's performance thesis entitled "Limasawa" or "Five Wives" presented
a very powerful interpretation of modern ballet infused with dramatic portrayal
of true love against lust wherein forgiveness and reconciliation ruled over
physical gratification. The facial expression seen on the lead dancers were
so absorbing that only good actors can handle with ease.
Of the five segments in the program, the Recuerdos
de Ayer proved to be light in its presentation. Spain's colonization of the
Philippines for more than two hundred years had influenced the presence of
grace and elegance among the Filipinos as witnessed by the audience and
interpreted by the dancers. The Rigodon de Honor did not carry that much
dramatic effect because the audience knew what to expect in their basic
movements. But it was a nice change in the scenery. It was an emotional trip
to the Hispanic era. This portion is lively and the vibrant Spanish music
leads the audience to clap their hands.
The last portion is a tearjerker. It showed
a stirring interpretation of the struggle of the people for independence
and freedom. No patriotic pageantry will be complete without portraying Andres
Bonifacio and Dr. Jose Rizal in their pursuit for freedom. The choreography
here is so poignant, strong, and yet artistic and the objective of Mr. de
Paz to herald nationalistic pursuit and loyalty to motherland were achieved.
Dancers were so carried away with their dramatic interpretation as seen by
tears flowing on their cheeks. Guess what
.. Part of the audience is
crying, too. The highlight of the evening's program was the dancers' tapis
being held together to form a national flag while the dramatic Lupang Hinirang
is being sung. It was a very moving scene.
Previous reviews were absolutely right. The
Leyte Dance Theater was superb in communicating the Philippine history, little
bit modified with the infusion of classical ballet. The performance was extremely
nostalgic and culturally stimulating. Those young dancers were a package
of dynamo, fully charged and very energetic. Kudos to their artistic director,
Jess de Paz, whose expansive training at the Joffrey School of Ballet in
New York City, Joji Felix-Velarde Dance School, among others benefited the
group and made LDT a venue for dance development, artistic excellence and
national pride. Indeed, I was (and still am) a very proud Filipino in that
For anyone who missed the two-hour spectacular
show and for those who want to keep a copy of what they saw at FIT, you may
order a DVD tape by calling 732 563-4554. The show was a Magno PI Production
and presented by The Philippine Consulate General of New York and the Philippine
Independence Day Council, Inc.
here for more pics from the Leyte Dance Theater in NY!
Megastar Sharon Cuneta brings
her best to Atlantic City!
by Grethel Bolandrina
Photos by Nestor Ramirez
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ: I was there when it happened,
Sharon's first U.S. Concert Tour in seven
years. My confession is that I have never been to
a Sharon Cuneta concert, ever. Though I grew up in Manila, I've not seen
any of her TV shows either. I am in awe of this mix of heart, laughs, emotion
and beautiful music. The Mark Etess Arena, Trump Taj Mahal, May 22, 2005
3:00 PM, though not filled to a capacity crowd, buzzed with excitement.
Fans traveled from all over, even from Boston, Massachusetts.
The Philippines' Sharon Cuneta is recognized
all over the world for her recordings, movies, TV shows, quality product
endorsements and concerts. Exploring yet another side of her considerable
talents including her family life is very Filipino. She indeed brought in
a part of herself, her music, her movies, her love and her life. Who could
forget "Mr. DJ?" Or "Ikaw" and "Bituing Walang Ningning?" Her performance
completely mesmerized the Filipino-American audience, Trump Taj Mahal staff
included and this writer, to say the very least. I was completely disarmed
by the charm that she brings. I didn't think anyone could be really sweet
and coming from the best possible place. She has a quality that goes beyond
mere beauty seen by the eyes; she has an ethereal beauty and a luminosity
one could feel. She glows when she smiles, looking really happy and in love.
Fresh off having baby Miel December 2004,
in a physical challenge, Sharon bravely wages war with the battle of the
bulges. Her concert changes were all black but becoming. She jokingly makes
references "to get my old figure back!" Adding that she knows the responsibility
of being a celebrity, owing it to the people. I doubt that the audience minded
the "larger" version of Sharon, for beneath the enlarged size is her enormous
cinematic and musical success, and much more, beneath it all, lies a heart,
and a character that her fans loyally root for. The audience laughed at her
joke of not being a "bomba star," but certainly, every "bomba star" out there
would readily trade places to have Sharon's voice.
Sharon's performance zeroed
in on the heart, as well as the funny bone. She had a video interactive original
number with her movie leading men. She performed a collection of beautiful
Filipino love songs! And in good heaping servings, waxing nostalgic about
the Philippines, in music. One couldn't help but sing along or dance to the
beat. The "Manila, Manila" medley was superb. She performed with The Mega
Band, her band in all her concert tours. She did Canseco songs that must
have put a smile in Tito George's face in heaven. Her duet with Robert
Seña, "The Prayer" gave me goose bumps. Ogie Alcasid had the audience
on their feet when he did "Awitin Mo at Isasayaw Ko." He had the audience
in stitches as he posed with his different types of smiles. But the laughs
in the concert, including what seemed like an impromptu gig for Fanny Serrano
(TF) wasn't all it was about. It wasn't even just about the music or reminiscing.
It really was all about Sharon, a girl who found her happiness in her true
love Kiko and her daughters (KC, Frankie and Miel) and realizing what's truly
important. She even did a plug for her firstborn KC's "Beauty and the Beast"
in Manila. At some point during the concert, her little Frankie, probably
en route to the little girl's room didn't go unnoticed. As the spotlight
was on her, she blew the audience a kiss! Sharon commented "how very showbiz!".
Sharon's Mom, Elaine sat proud in the front row and must have enjoyed all
the applause too.
It was almost too good to be true. Sharon
made people smile, laugh and misty eyed. Her persona's strong message is
about seeing inner beauty, when everything in today's society is so focused
on the superficial. Though not lithe on the outside, she remains gorgeous.
The shell didn't really matter. What's important is her heart, very positive,
thankful and hopeful. The concert was indeed a celebration of the enduring
love and passion between Sharon and her audience.
The Mega Concert, though "It's all in a day's
work" for Sharon, inspired her fans, what with her display of patriotism.
Her singing praise to Filipinos excelling in their adopted country. All must
have walked away from the Mega Concert feeling good. With the Mega concert,
Sharon wanted to entertain and give back to her loyal fans. She made people
think and go through a range of emotions, as well as laugh. I think she
accomplished more than just entertain. She reminded Filipinos not to lose
their traditions and with head held high, proclaimed that she is "darn proud
to be Filipino." No doubt about it, she did all her "kababayans" proud.
This Mega Concert Tour was made possible by
Star Media Entertainment, Group Ole and Planet Philippines.
Catch the Mega Concert Tour 2005 San Diego
show, Starlight Theater, Pala Casino Resort & Spa, June 5, 6 pm; and
the Los Angeles show, the Shrine Auditorium, June 11, 8 PM.
here for more pics from Sharon's Atlantic City
Red hot Pops and Regine
set Atlantic City ablaze!
by Grethel Bolandrina
Photos by Nestor Ramirez
Pops and Regine have performed many times
before, in Japan and
Europe. They even performed early this year in the Philippines
(February at the ULTRA), at a pre-Valentine offering. This came to be what
they took on a US concert Tour: Queens... on Fire. It is not your typical
back to back concert where the majority of the show allows both artists to
do solo acts. Here, it was really Pops and Regine, together, most of the
time. It seemed that they sang 70-percent duets and songs turned into duets.
Save for Star In A Million champion Erik Santos, now the Philippines' Prince
of Pop. He was the only guest in this show and he held his own. Santos is
all praises for both Pops and Regine. It is safe to say that, the entire
audience felt the same. Queens... on Fire is indeed a collaboration showing
unexpected concepts, new ideas and surprises highlighting the Queens' individual
Pops and Regine are two very different performers.
Regine belts out so well, while Pops is more into dance music. A wonder
initially, as to how the show would flow. But it is this fact, their very
diverse styles that made the show highly interesting. The variety was pleasing
to everyone. There was a little bit of everything for everybody. They opened
with comedic lines ala Dolphy and Panchito to which Pops was quick to claim
she's Dolphy. Onwards to maybe ReyCards duet to which again, Pops maintained
she'd have to be Rey! Both settled to some other comparisons like the WEA
twins, if the audience could relate or even the Aldeguer sisters. We did
see a more dancing-side of Regine, albeit done cornball-style. She was game
and a good sport. Both Queens showed genuine onstage rapport. Just like regular
friends shooting the breeze or chatting over a cup of tea, they mentioned
their similarities: love of shopping, eating and mostly, their availability
(that of being loveless at the moment). Both subscribing to the philosophy
of constant reinvention, both dared to try new things, in music and clothes.
Or the lack thereof, almost like the Kelly sisters (Chicago) in glittery
tux complete with hat and a cane, Regine commented on their costumes' lack
of pants. They sang "Fever" with grit and passion. Then there was the cabaret
style of "Oops I Did It Again" ending with both exposing naked upper bodies
a fraction of a second before the lights went out (initially behind heart
shaped, high backed chairs).
Regine, as Asia's Songbird effortlessly rendered
soaring ballads and show-stopping tunes like Fantasia Barrinos "I Believe,"
the Metropop hit "Shine" and South Borders "Wherever You Are" (rearranged
to include a rhythm section). She did justice to "A Little Bit," "Suntok
Sa Buwan" and "Wag Na Wag Mong Sasabihin". As for her costumes, one outfit
in particular, a tan glittery dress was shorter than Pop's, showed more cleavage
and cut lower in the back. One would be apt to ask, this is conservative?
Those days must be gone because Regine here is anything but that. She's daring
Pops, the Concert Queen flawlessly delivered
hip-hop hits, the latest dance craze and lavish production numbers. Her Beyonce
(Naughty Girl, Lose My Breath and Crazy in Love) and Christina Aguilera/Britney
Spears (Dirrty and My Prerogative) medleys makes one want to get up and move
to the beat. True to being Concert Queen, Pops did her dance moves so well
and looked extremely attractive with her fit and shapely physique emphasized
in outfits that almost always showed off cleavage and legs. Her other well
applauded numbers were "You take my breath away" and a medley of tunes done
originally by male Filipino singers (Hanggang, Di Ko Kaya and Ikaw Nga).
Beyond all the grandeur
of Atlantic City's Trump Taj Mahal Arena, the exciting production numbers,
fresh musical arrangements, the fabulous gowns and costumes, the lively dancers,
brilliant choreography, the entire show encompassed many music genres: rock,
pop, dance and OPM. It was the ultimate showdown witnessed by proud Filipino
Americans on this side of the US. This was highlighted by their vocal powers
displayed when they did "Sana Maulit Muli" and "Kahit Isang Saglit" separately
with Erik Santos only to conclude with all three artists and both songs
culminating jointly in the end.
Of note, the show was a celebration of music,
friendship and womanhood. Featuring songs about love, sentiments, fantasies
and passions, the Queens aimed to empower women through music. "Have You
Ever Really Loved A Woman" rendered sensual and exotic gives the males in
the audience something to ponder. When someone yelled "Marteeeeen!" to Pops,
she took it, tongue in cheek. Commented only on the shouter's accent. Said
something about moving on. When someone else yelled "I love you" to Regine,
she coyly responds "we'll talk later!"
The encore had Pops and Regine, in denims
and identical white tank tops with huge red hearts, doing a medley of 80s
favorites "Gloria," "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," "What Have You Done For
Me Lately," "Im So Excited" and "Telephone". Pops, again was in her
element, complete with cute pigtails. All in all, the Queens brought out
the best in each other, even with all their personal revelations, no one
was cast in bad light, there was no rivalry apparent. Having the audience
privy to their shortcomings just made them more endearing. Their entire
repertoire lent them most entertaining, hot and most definitely, on fire!
Kudos are in order for the powers that made
Queens... on Fire possible in Atlantic City. Congratulations to Ms. Ana Puno,
President of Starmedia Entertainment and Drs. Ramon and Ching Legarda of
Group Ole Incorporated. Big thanks to Smart Padala, the Law Offices of Michael
J. Gurfinkel, Five Star Sea Cargo, Inc., Continental Airlines,and to TFC,
Planet Philippines,NY, Perlas ng Silangan, and Diamond Hut Jewelers.
For close-up views of the photos in this article,
plus additional photos,
Lynn Sherman: Beyond the
Dont ask. Just listen.
Its difficult to categorize my
music, confesses reluctant jazz chanteuse Lynn Sherman. I
wouldnt really call myself a jazz singer in the traditional sense.
If I had to put a label on it Id say its adult contemporary.
Its easy listening, but not what people would call popular jazz.
The contradiction becomes
all the more evident as soon as the Lynn Sherman trio goes onstage and unleashes
its multifaceted sonic palette. Its an experience akin to getting caught
in a crossfire of divergent musical idioms. On one hand, theres a
smattering of catchy pop melodies and R&B-tinged riffs that hint at the
groups early 80s influences. ON the other hand, theres
that unmistakable jazz vibe that betrays their affinity for that definitive
In the hands of jazz virtuosos Edgar Avenir
on guitar, Simon Tan on bass and Einar Drilon on percussion, every song is
bent, twisted and rehashed as each player puts in deceptively-clever
harmoniesall the better to lay down a blues-flavored canvass for Lynn
to solo over.
The stark irony is aptly encapsulated in
Lynns latest effort under the Dyna Music label, a CD 45 featuring her
remake of the haunting OPM classic, Sayang and A Beautiful
Sky, composed by music journalist cum jazz artist Pearlsha Abubakar.
A bonus track also features an English version of Sayang (So
Sad), will lyrics by Allan Aique.
Its the guys at Dyna who chose
Sayang, Lynn explains. For me, its always hard
to do a remake because people will inevitably compare your version to the
original. And Claire (de la Fuente, the songs original singer) has
such a distinct and beautiful voice.
The remakea bouncier, more upbeat version
of the Marilyn Villapando-Jameson Dy originalwas arranged by Rommel
Reyes. Its contemporary, Lynn adds. Hopefully, people
can now relate to something written during the 70s. Ive always
liked this song, and am doubly honored to be able to sing it in the album.
The other track, the plaintive ballad A
Beautiful Sky, was an offshoot of an interview Lynn once did for Pulp
magazine. I met Peach (Pulp associate editor) during the interview,
Lynn explains, and she said, Id like you to ear a song I made.
Shes a very good writer, singer and pianist. We heard it and we were
blown away by it the first time we heard it. Bond (session arranger and
Lynns better half) rearranged it with strings.
The CD 45 marks Lynns second solo effort.
My very first one was with Ugoy-Ugoy, she recalls. I sang
three cuts in that album called Step Into the Rhythm, released
around 1997 or 1998. It was like a hodge-podge of Latinized OPM
A few years later, she released her independently
produced album, Friends, which won the Best Jazz Performer and
Best Jazz Composer categories in the 2003 Katha Awards.
With her well-attended album launching last
November at the Dish, Lynn feels that the six-month-long production process
was well worth it. Im very happy working with the people at
Dyna, she exclaims. They were very easy to get along with.
These days, Lynn is busy at workthis
time reprising her theatric talent as she joins
the stellar cast of New Voice Companys grand
final for its 2004 season, Cabaret. Im sure
everyones familiar with the movie, Lynn quips. But this
versionwhich is based on the book, The Brilliant Stories, is a darker
version which chronicles the decadence of Berlins seedy pre-World War
II underworld, with its allusions on promiscuity, prostitution, sexuality,
oppression and the rise of Nazism.
Its a very strong cast headed
by Joy Virata, Leo Rialo, Bonggoy Manahan, Jake Macapagal, Roselyn Perez,
Ampy Sietereales, Joel Trinidad and many others, Lynn rambles on. I
play Fraulein Kost, one of the Kit Kat club dancers.
Aside from her stage work, Lynn is also looking
forward to being part of yet anther TV soap. It wasnt too long ago
when she had the time of her life playing Maritoni Fernandezs best
friend in the top-rating teleserye It Might Be you.
Looking back, Lynn feels doubly blessed about
having been kept busy by her new album and her spate of regular
gigscorporate and otherwise. Im very fortunate for having
worked with talented people I really like, she muses. I cant
ask for anything more.
But given a chance to dream, she would love
to work with Sting. I like everything he does, she blurts out.
Its like a melting pot of jazz, rock, pop and other genres.
Ten Summoners Tales ranks among my all-time favorite albums,
along with Diane Schuurs album with Count Basie andbelieve it
or notOlivia Newton Johgns Physical.
Jazz purists must be gasping in disbelief.
But then again, whoever said she was typical?
Article by Tinnie P. Esguerra, reprinted
from the Philippine Star, 12/05/04
Society of Seven, Lani Misalucha
Continue to Enthrall Audiences
(Jackie Regala-Katigbak, publicist for
the Society of Seven and Lani Misalucha show at the Jubilee Theater in Las
Vegas shares this wonderful review with our readers written by Arlene Krieger.
The latter is a novelist whose books are currently on sale at all mainstream
bookstores. One of her current titles is Freedom Twice Lost.
Another hit in the offing is Heart of a Designer.
Incidentally,Ballys Casino Las Vegas has renewed the contract of the
Society Of Seven and Lani for another nine months. They perform daily, Wednesday
to Sunday at 3 p.m. except Fridays at 8 p.m. Dark days are Monday and
In the grand buffet
of Las Vegas entertainment the Society of Seven featuring Lani Misalucha
is truly the stellar selection. The Hawaiian based group entertains the audience
with an eclectic revue of musical genres. Captivating for two hours, the
group makes us laugh, pulls at our heartstrings, instills the dramatic, and
makes us feel pride and euphoria. The audience becomes one with the entertainers
as the artists both begin and end the show with a salute to freedom.
Unlike so many Las Vegas shows, the acoustics
of the Ballys mid-sized arena were perfectly matched to the size of
the theatre. The varied instrumentation provided a subtle back- up for the
voices- every word and every sound could be clearly heard. From the cocktail
seats at front stage to the wing seats at the back of the theatre, every
note rang clear. The cool temperature combined with the newly refurbished
stadium seating provided an unusually comfortable venue. From the perspective
of the theatregoer, every need was anticipated, even down to cup holders
at each seat.
The show began with a video reflecting the
history of the group. Opening with The Ed Sullivan Show, the audience was
made aware of the longetivity and the staying power of the talented ensemble.
The Society of Seven took hold of the stage with the quintessential American
tune of This Land is Your Land, which burst of energy. The
multi-ethnic group glistened with pride as their voices meshed in a unique
and mellow harmony. Costumed in black tuxedo suits, they set the mood for
serious musical performance at its best. There was a plethora of
instruments- trumpet, saxophones, two sets of drums and keyboards, several
guitars, electric oboe, and to add luster to the more dramatic songs, and
a complete set of strings.
When Lani Misalucha took the stage in a svelte
black chiffon dress, the audience held their breath as she sang I Will
Always Love, in a stylized show-stopping rendition. A songbird able
to hit the high notes with the same finesse as the low, Lanis voice
made the hairs of the back of ones neck stand on edge. This Lani Misalucha,
a singer beyond reproach, is lighting up the Las Vegas marquees with her
unmatched talent. From the first note to the last, each sound is perfectly
formed and each perfectly performed- a talent unmatched by any other singer
on the strip. What makes her voice so special is that nothing seems to be
pushed, the sounds emulating are fluid and seem effortless. She has enough
energy to bring the audience into her soul so we share the music with her-
she doesnt sing at us, but with us. Inspirational, Lani has magic in
her voice and passion in her heart. As she finishes the first song, the audience
is left captivated and awestruck with emotion.
Ah, but this is a musical revue! From the
sublime to the humorous, the Society takes us on a comedic tour of the
strips legends through impersonations. Commencing with the humor of
the Rat Pack, to Chubby Checkers Twist, to the dramatic parody of Celine,
to the uproarious comedy of Sonny and Cher, to Gladys Knight with One Pip,
to Wayne Newton, and lastly, to Lanis flawless version of Barbaras
Evergreen sent the audience to its feet with raucous cheering
The impersonations continued as Lani parodied
Brittany, Shania, and Beyonce. Lani became a quick-change artist by transforming
from one diva to the next right on stage. Her ability to change costumes
as well as style and songs while interjecting humor is unsurpassed. Lani
is a talent in a league of her own.
Yet there was a serious side to the show when
Lani Misalucha and Gary Baltista stunned the audience with two operatic numbers.
Garys robust voice brought a standing ovation while Lanis love
song brought the audience not only to tears but also a standing ovation.
Each so intense, and each masterfully accomplished. The mood was dramatically
changed as the sounds of a full string orchestra served to enhance the drama
of the operatic renditions, as did the elaborate costumes and starlit backdrop.
A total transformation had swept the room as the audience sat motionless
in total captivation of the artists. At this juncture, the show could have
closed on a high note but the revue kept coming.
Animating the crowd with the sounds and
choreography from Saturday Night Fever, everyone got up and danced to their
favorite disco music as the miraculously quick costume and scene changes
flooded the stage.
Disneys Lion King was the
next presentation. The harmony by the Society of Seven was a joy to the ear
while the costumes were a delight to the eye. The clever puppetry was the
most unique spectacle of the show. The performance of Circle of Life
was the most memorable performance as the harmonies sailed through the air
as if on gossamer wings- truly ethereal. The theatric mood continued as the
finale included songs from Phantom of the Opera.
When all the audiences emotional energy
seemed spent, the show ended as it had begun- with impassioned platitudes
of freedom, love and the glory of living in America. The Society of Seven
and Lani Misalucha took a back seat as the American flag was unfurled and
the gold lame the curtains closed. What a show! Memorable and not to
Rica Peralejo at the San
Jose Sheraton: Encore! What you see is what you get, and then
by Fai Munoz
It was a wet Friday night, March 18, the rain was continous, traffic
everywhere so of course an hour before the show I was nervous. But, at 6:00
PM got so busy I forgot the time, and I would say at about 8:30 it was my
third time asking Alex, the hotel manager on duty at the Sheraton, I need
more chairs and he said that's it, I can't give you anymore, the place is
packed. Well, I would say that by the time Rica got on stage we had people
standing in the back of the room. It was a sold out show SRO turnout. I must
say this is my 5th time to see Rica perform and everytime she amazes me as
to how she is able to please a crowd of any age (I'm talking about the ones
that were up past their bedtime). She had the crowd singing, dancing along
with her, not a dull moment, the crowd couldn't get enough of her because
there was a long line after the show for the autograph signing, and yes she
signed all and posed for every single one in line. Rica must have some extra
battery stored somewhere because she never runs out of energy, she just keeps
going and going... an ultimate performer and a person with a big heart and
that's why she is loved by many and is blessed because she truly deserves
it. Everyone left with smiles on their faces, asking me when will be the
next F2K show, when will Rica be back, praises to the other talents Kriselle
Kelsey and F2K's talent Bong Deiparine who gave an amazing performance.
The F2K team headed by yours truly Fai Munoz,
and special mentions, my better half Bing Garcia, Anchet Manosca, Lerma de
la Cruz and the entire F2K family thank everyone for the support that evening.
here for pictures from the show!
Lea and I, under the "Orange
by Lucy Maurillo
On February 19th, 2005, at Boardwalk
Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, 7:00 in the evening, Saturday, hundreds
of Filipinos (Fil-Ams, Americans) gathered to celebrate the coming of the
Tony Award winning star of Miss Saigon, Lea Salonga. Although the show was
not due to start for another hour, the foyer was jam-packed with Pinoys anxiously
waiting to take their seats. As soon as the doors opened, I entered the
auditorium to a rupture of English, Tagalog, Ilocano, Visayan, and other
dialects breaking out in excitement. While the concert-goers patiently waited
for the show to begin, the sponsors, Northwest Airlines, Travel Outlet and
Network Dish had promotional commercials showing on two wide screens. I found
the Biyahe Tayo video the most entertaining. It featured various
Filipino artists, including the night's star, Ms. Lea Salonga. When Lea showed
up on the screen, I noted some Pinoys pointing her out to their Caucasian
company in case they didn't know who she was. But whoever didn't know Ms.
Lea Salonga before that night, surely would know and remember her after the
The show didn't start exactly at 8:00 PM and
some people in the audience were beginning to
get restless. Fortunately, a few minutes after, the
band came out and everyone knew the show was about to begin. As soon as her
name was announced, Lea came out in a beautifully dazzling blue sequined
dress. She lit up the stage singing I was walking along minding my
business until love came and hit me in the eye... . That tune started
the show off with a bang! Everyone was in awe. I came expecting
a mix of show tunes, jazz standards and other popular favorites. This being
her first National Concert Tour, I didn't realize it would be an intimate
show. It was, as if she was singing directly to me. She introduced her
handsome band and then broke into her first Filipino song for
the night. Throughout the rest of the first act she sang Broadway Classics
such as Flower Drum Songs Love Look Away and Chesss
Someone Elses Story. Lea passionately performed Barry
Manilows When October Goes and Billy Joels New
York State of Mind. She had playful renditions of Mulans
Reflection, Aladdins A Whole New World, and
Abbas Dancing Queen. After a ten minute break, Lea came
out wearing a red suit and belted more Broadway hits such as Les Miserables'
On my Own and her personal favorites from Miss Saigon: Love
is Blind and Too Much for One Heart. Lea ended her performance
with Freddie Aguilars highly acclaimed and world renowned hit
Anak, her own The Journey, and the theme song of
Overall, Leas performance just goes
to prove why she is an Outer Critics Circle Awardee, a Drama Desk Awardee
and the Laurence Olivier Awardee. Seeing her perform live is a wonderful
experience. Her vast array of theater credits brings her singing into a much
deeper light. The whole concert production had a successful turnout. The
diverse audience of young and old, first and second generation Pinoys with
non-Filipinos had an enjoyable evening. Lea truly is a spectacular entertainer
and a good-hearted, down-to-earth person with a wonderful sense of humor.
I believe I speak on behalf of everybody who saw her performance in saying
that throughout her show there was a little bit of something for everybody
and there were absolutely no disappointments.
Congratulations to Ms. Lea Salonga on a job
well done! Music truly is a wonderful gift and I am glad that she came to
share it with us! Under the orange colored sky in Atlantic City, New Jersey
that night, I came to be a full-fledged Lea Salonga fan. I hope to see her
again in future productions.
About the author: Lucy Maurillo is a senior
at Waltham High School, Waltham, Massachusetts. She is an honor student and
is with the "Rizal Class" of Iskwelahang Pilipino (IP), the longest running
Cultural School in the US. She played the lead role in IP's 25th Anniversary
production, "Alamat ng Ampalaya." She sings, dances and plays the banduria
for IP's Rondalla. She is currently the Masachusetts Youth Chair for the
National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA).
Fil-Am wins Best Director
Award at the New York International Independent Film and Video
New York, December
7, 2004. Fil-Am Independent Filmmaker Luis Pedron (with his co- director
Mark Levitt ) recently won the Best Director Award for their short film "Party
Games" at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival
last November 2004. Luis Pedron, together with other recipients, were
presented with their awards at a special ceremony on December 17th
at the Gallery Lounge of the Gershwin Hotel, NYC.
Other Filipino winners included Califomia-based
filmmaker, Eli Africa's "Selling Songs of Leyte," for Best Foreign Short
Documentary and Philippine-based filmmaker Gina Marissa Tagasa for Best Drama
Feature for her "Heaven's Cradle" (Sa Kandungan Ng).
Other notable winners were: Best Actor -Hugh
Jackman for "Making the Grade" and Best Actress -Kristianna Loken for "Worn
Like A Tattoo."
The New York International Independent Film
and Video Festival was founded in 1993 by entertainment impresario Stuart
Alson, constant champion of the progress and development of independent
filmmaking. Alson says of Pedron, "We are delighted to have Luis' film in
the festival. He is a talented filmmaker and a great promoter."
During the festival Luis Pedron 's marketing
expertise created a buzz.
Pedron says, "1 had great practice by helping
market Filipino Films in their US theatrical release with such features as
" American Adobo" and " Crying Ladies" under the tutelage ofMarketing/ Film
Distributor expert Vincent Nebrida. I implemented all I learned in promoting
my film for the festival." Pedron also gives credit to the support of the
"Party Games" was a labor of love from Filipinos
who assist each other through creative endeavors. Besides Luis Pedron as
Producer/Director and Actor, the Filipinos involved in the film were: Cecilia
Abraham, Make-up Artist, Ernest Concepcion, Assistant Director and Production
Designer, and Antonio Alvaira, Associate Producer/Crew and Actor. These four
worked on a common project for The Filipino Channel lOth Year Anniversary
Music Video, Produced by Christina DeHaven shot here in NYC last Spring.
"I want to showcase
Filipino talents as much as possible and as my career expands I will definitely
continue to collaborate with my fellow Filipino artists," Pedron explains.
Filipino community leaders also appeared in
cameo. Luis Pedron's parents Louie and Flor Pedron (stars of the documentary
YIP -"Very Important Pinoys"), Radio commentator Carlito Gallardo, Jonathan
Chan (Editor-in-Chief of www.fanclubx.com ) and representatives from the
Young Professional group -CORE namely Janette Lachica and Nothmar Noriel.
The film, the fourth collaboration from the
award winning team of Luis Pedron and Mark Levitt, features three comedic
vignettes of events that often occur during New York City parties. The first
scene features annoying pseudo~intellectual talk, the second scene is the
quirky lover's quarrel, and the third is a mind-boggling visit from God.
"Party Games" was shot in the new Panasonic DY format at 24 frames per second,
which emulates film and is color-corrected with Sony Magic Bullet software
to imitate the cool look of the film "Minority Report."
Luis Pedron is busy preparing for his next
films collaborating with Mark Levitt and other writer/producers. But for
the meantime during the Holidays he will be launching together with his friend
and editor in chief, Fil-Am, Jonathan Chan their entertainment site
"This is our own way of giving back to the
artistic community. We will be featuring numerous up and coming talents,
especially Filipino and Minority artists, in both the mainstream and the
independent world," Pedron explains.
Freestyle NYC concert
by Edmund Silvestre
After over a year of absence in the New York
concert scene, Manila-based Freestyle returned with a solid and rocking show
that had the packed Webster Hall jumping and grooving for more than two hours
Freestyle, as in its previous gigs, displayed
a lot of class and energy. But this time, the lead singers' (Jinky Vidal
and Top Suzara) vocal prowess got more impressive as they took the crowd
on a wide ranging musical journey of hip-hop, R&B, soul, jazz, and pop.
Jinky, svelte and stunning, has morphed into
a superb lead vocalist, able to sing powerfully, while feeding off the crowd's
emotional energy. It didn't hurt that she decided to display some skin in
a tight mini-skirt that elicited wild cheers as she emerged on stage.
Top, who possesses a distinct voice all his
own, could hold a candle to artists like Jay-Z, Usher and R. Kelly. He left
the dancing and gyrating to Jinky, but his beautiful and hypnotic voice was
more than enough to light up the stage.
Top and Jinky's duet of "Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang"
was a crowd pleaser and the band has more than proven it knows what its audience
Guest artists Basil Valdez and Jaya also delivered
Although many in the audience were born just
when Basil was lording the Manila airwaves in the 70s and 80s, the legendary
crooner got a very warm reception.
His first number, "You," was nearly drowned
by screaming fans who also sang with him. Basil still got rhythm. His pop
duet with Top proved that the legendary singer is here to stay.
The fun was momentarily disrupted when Basil
announced that the great composer George Cansecowho named Basil as
his most favorite artistpassed away in Manila. The crowd reacted with
sadness, but Basil immediately segued into singing a medley of hits composed
for him by George, including the immortal "Ngayon at Kailanman" and "Kastilyong
Buhangin," and dedicated it to the man who will soon be added to the roster
of Philippine national artists.
Jaya, our all-time favorite soul diva, is
better than ever. More vocally refined, the voluptuous diva sang in a
convincingly warm and sincere pop-soul style.
Her version of "Through the Fire," as well
as her medley of her hit songs, was breathtaking that it was so hard to take
away your eyes from the gifted performer.
In a memorable number, the soul diva turned
rock diva as she belted with great passion Aegis's slow rock hit "Halik,"
in a duet with equally remarkable Jinky.
Parokya ni Edgar storms into New York
By Tony Arcega
Manhattan, New York City
With the line twisting around the corner from
the Avenue of the Americas (6th Av.) to 20th street in the Chelsea district
of Manhattan, the crowd of mostly 20- and 30-something ready to groove
Fil-Americans impatiently waited for the doors of the Avalon club to open.
They had come to party recently with the hip novelty pop rock group Parokya
ni Edgar that had flown in to New York City straight from Chicago for this
evenings jam session.
PNE is known for its pakwela lyrics and antics,
and it seemed oddly fitting that their irreverent style would blend in with
the storied history of Avalon that was previously a neogothic church from
the 1880s-1980s but then converted to Limelight, a wildly popular club that
was closed down in the 2002 after highly publicized reports of drug dealing.
An NYU reviewer now calls the new Avalon as an in place for
Fashion Week models, corporate parties usually good for ogling celebrities
as they make their way to the VIP areas. Ironic indeed that this $7
million renovated nightspot would be PNEs home tonight.
But home Parokya ni Edgar made it for their
energetic fans. But more on that later.
The evening had started out with Jason, the
promoter, running around, perhaps a bit ragged, by everyone wanting to talk
to him, ask him what to do with this or that, and seemingly never-ending
let me introduce yous
. At long last, and with the
crowd still lazily shuffling in, Maui, a folk/rock singer new to the New
York scene and who sings at The Bitter End in Greenwich Village and at Perlas
ng Silangan restaurant in Queens, got peoples attention with her plaintive
songs and confident folk voice, like Sampaguitas Nosi Ba Lasi
(Sino Ba Sila)? And Pagsubok (Wang Kang Sumuko). With her
simple, straightforward manner and style, she made the most of what may be
her biggest break to date and was loudly cheered by the crowd. We expect
her to grace other shows in the future.
More were to follow. Swift, a Filipino-American
rapper from Lipa and New York City, got the crowd moving with his set, warming
them up for the headliner. (Chants of Chito! Chito! Chito! were
already heard at this point, referring to the vocalist Chito Miranda of PNE.)
Two rock bands, including Jasons Grim Bottle, followed right after,
pumping up the volume continuously with metal and grunge rock songs. Jason
was transformed from the quiet promoter behind the scenes to the frontman
rocker of the band on stage.
Then came THE BAND. You knew it as soon as
they came on stage. In a funny scene suggestive of the lighters and candles
people would wave at rock concerts in past years, as soon as PNE filled the
stage, the fans brought out their camera phones (21st century nga, no?)
and started popping pictures of the band
. as if to prove to others,
I was there!
Unfortunately Vinci Montaner was not with
the group on this tour, but the rest of PNE gamely gave the crowd what they
came for. After taking over the Philippine pop rock scene post-Eraserhead
disbanding, the band that started out as a hobby and interest while they
were still at Ateneo high is still going strong after 10 some years of playing
together, with MTV awards to boot.
With songs like This Guys in Love
with You, Pare, Trip -- that summed up the crowds
'cause I do belong here
Silvertoes and Please Dont Touch My Birdie,
and Chikinini, clearly they felt in their element with pakwela,
novelty, spoofing and even self-admitted bastos songs, as in wala
A welcome change of pace really got the crowd
into it with the mellow Your Song, sung by Gabe (I take
one step away, and I find myself coming back to you, my one and
only...you). Think Aerosmith with their hit song I Dont
Wanna Miss a Thing from the Armageddon soundtrack.
The highlight of the night for most of the
fans (maybe not for the band anymore, hehe) was the monster hit
you folks one guess
gorilla of a surprise hit has put them over the top, crossing over into concerts
of every Filipino and Fil-Am performer Ive seen in the last few months,
just like Otso-otso. It never gets tired, though, whether I see
it performed (by nearly everyone) on cable TV or in New Jersey arenas or
a Queens restaurant.
Prior to this years tour, Parokya ni
Edgar last visited the US in 2002. With songs and shows like this, Im
sure their fans cant wait for their next tour.
for some pics from the NYC show and from PNE's Inuman Session in
© 2004 All rights reserved RP.
The Greatest Hitmakers
in NJ: a great reminiscence
by Herbert Y. Magtoto
The sudden cold weather in the South Coast
of New Jersey was never a reason to postpone the Summer concert of Filipino
Greatest Hitmakers (Rico Puno, Hajji Alejandro, Marco Sison, Nonoy Zuñiga
and Rey Valera) last 25 July 2004. Although possible rain was expected that
Sunday afternoon, people from the East Coast did not have second thoughts
of watching the much awaited concert of the popular crooners and performers
of the 80's and 90's. The rain went somewhere else, thanks to Mother nature.
An aspiring 16 year-old Jersey City Talent,
Jamie Ciello opened the concert with her R&B music and did a couple of
contemporary hits. She knows how to pick songs for her age and sing them
deliciously, yet hauntingly.
Hits of the yesteryears
were more sentimental, especially those that were popularized by the Greatest
Hitmakers. Who could ever forget the trademarks of these great Filipino Artists
who touched everyone's heart and soul with their music? From Marco Sison's
undying song "MY LOVE WILL SEE YOU THROUGH," Rey Valera's phenomenal "NAAALALA
KA," Hajji Alejandro's eternal "KAY GANDA NG ATING MUSIKA." Rico Puno's perpetual
"MACHO GUWAPITO," Nonoy Zuniga's timeless "DOON LANG." These were just a
few of the many songs they rendered that made everyone in the audience reminisce.
Every one of them can still perform with so much energy and passion.
Rico Puno's jokes were tireless and so too
the antics of everyone. The original Kilabot ng mga Kolehiyala Hajji performed
a number of Motown Hits and a special duet with Alani Velasquez. Rico Puno
did his share of duet (I'll Be There) with Ms. Krystine Valdez. The special
guests made the audience even more impressed with the Filipino Talents. Not
to forget mentioning the fun and enjoyment of seeing the well respected
performers doing the Spaghetti Dance. It was a night filled with joy and
laughter, and memories and reminiscences. The finale songs "Kay Ganda ng
Ating Musika" and "I'll Never Say Goodbye" called it a night and made every
The Greatest Hitmakers was a production of
Odina8888, Inc., in cooperation with Five Star RP Sea Cargo, Inc. and the
Law Offices of Michael Gurfinkel. Sponsored by Perlas ng Silangan, Diamond
Hut Jewelry Exchange, Hudson Buffet, Southern Star, Eyellusion Vision Center,
Filipino Times, and in association with Group Ole (Mon and Ching Legarda).
Been There Done That But
Give Us Some More! The APO Strikes Again Spring Concert Tour!
By Jim Paredes
(This article also appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer July 11, 2004.)
It may seem like were bragging but
were not. After 35 years, recordings, concerts, music festivals, TV
work, movies (the little weve done), etc. can become been-there-done-that
affairs! You can even throw in two revolutions! Sometimes, it seems that
the nature of showbiz is repetition. While that may be so, one thing thats
still a turn-on is touring abroad! We may have done quite a bit of it but
going on a concert tour is almost always a high. Our very first one was in
the US and Canada in 75. In the 80s and 90s, Asia, the
Middle East, Europe and Australia were destinations visited again and again.
When the APO STRIKES AGAIN Spring2004 Concert
Tour was first broached to us, we knew
it would be different. For one thing, it was not the
usual three-weekend, 3 to 4 gig thing but a whopping 13 city tour spanned
out to almost three months! It meant crisscrossing the US and Canada a few
times to perform on weekends for our kababayans. That would surely be physically
challenging! And looking at the itinerary, it also meant that we would be
hitting places like Cincinnati, MacAllen, and a lot of cities in
Floridaplaces that Pinoy performers rarely, if at all visit! And lastly,
we knew it would be quite hectic.
The APO, being the group that it is, threw
all caution to the winds and jumped at the chance to travel (as we almost
always do!). And knowing we would be singing before Pinoys who yearned for
true OPM entertainment plus the prospect of meeting new people and discovering
new places, how could we say no? But little did we suspect that describing
the tour as being quite hectic would be a gross understatement.
In planning the repertoire, we took into
consideration that we would be hitting places we havent been to or
at least had not visited in years. Then there were the other cities that
weve just performed for during the past year or so. We therefore had
a SET A rep for the apo virgins who were going to see us
live for the first time, and SET B for the regular fans that
had followed our careers. Put together, the two sets consisted of some 35
songs, medleys and production numbers that we should be able to pick out
of a hat and execute well. Before leaving Manila, we studiously rehearsed
with our musicians to make sure we were tight and in the best fighting form!
The core entourage consisted of 11
membersthe 3 APOs, the 5 musicians ( Boyet Pigao, Ernie Baladjay, Noel
Santiago, JD Villanueva and Colby Dela Calzada), and 3 from our management
(Butch and Betta Dans and Sammy Samaniego). On top of that, Boboys
wife Bong, Dannys two kids Jobim and Jama, and our managers two
teens Monica and Kiko would be tagging along part of the trip. It didnt
take long to sink in that due to the nature of the long tour, we would have
to behave like a team, a band of brothers not only because we would be sharing
rooms, vehicles, meals and breathing spaces but also because we had to take
care of our collective luggage, watch out for each others health and
well-being, and do our work as artists of good reputation, competence and
The APO STRIKES AGAIN 2004 Spring Tour of
North America kicked off in high gear in Toronto. Last April 17, we worked
up a sold-out crowd at the 2,900 seater International Center at Misassauga,
an outskirt of Toronto. To set the tone, Danny, Boboy and I at the onset
promised "to bring the audience home without having to pack a Balikbayan
box, buy a plane ticket and go through immigration and customs". And this
we did by delivering lots of our OPM hits culled from 26 albums which we
interspersed with spiels, jokes and gimmicks spiked with heavy doses of Pinoy
flavor. As expected, it was a winning formula that elicited a standing ovation,
much to our delight! We were off not only to a good start, but a great strategy
for the rest of our tour! And it proved to be quite a successful one since
we elicited multiple standing ovations in each of the 13 cities we performed
Since shows are always on weekends, weekdays
are spent visiting Filipino stores, mini marts, restaurants, dental offices,
partiesanywhere Filipinos congregate to drum up interest in the shows.
Take note that in each place we visit, as a rule hosts offer food for us
to eat. Sometimes we visit 5 to 7 places! You can imagine how many kababayans
we meet (and how much we eat!). Sometimes, we pose for 150 pictures (easily)
and sign about the same number of autographs each in a day! The number can
double on the day of the concert since we always allot time for signing after
the gig. I personally enjoy listening to stories people share with us. It
is as if we are their link back home. Our being so-called celebrities imbues
in us the power to touch people that sometimes, even the little gesture of
sitting with them leaves an indelible mark. It can get very exhilarating,
but it can leave you bone-tired by the end of the day!
Traveling to each city now requires that we
be at the airport two hours before flights. And I suspect that owing to the
fact that we carried Philippine passports, we were almost always subjected
to complete body searches. Blame the Abu Sayyaf for that! Of the twenty times
that we went through security, we were randomly chosen 16 times
for a complete look-over. The tragedy of 9-11, to my mind has changed America
forever. No longer are people as friendly or even as welcoming to visitors.
Warnings at airports about making jokes on terrorism, or even actions that
can be construed as airport rage, as posters warn, are now serious
In the 74 days of the tour, we took a total
of 26 plane rides and stayed in 22 different hotels. We went from east to
west and back 2 and ½ times. We even did two consecutive shows in two
different cities twice. We accumulated at least 22 pieces of luggage, not
counting our hand carries and boxes sent home. One good lesson we learned
was to delay shopping as much as possible so that we would not drag stuff
all along the trip.
Even if after the routine of travel had set
in, there were always surprises in every concert. Cincinnati was special
because in the audience was our grade school teacher Ms. Carmen Mesina. Orlando
was our first time ever in Florida and so it got our juices going. Chicago
saw us do a great concert despite Boboy hardly having a voice due to a bad
cold. LA was a blast since the audience was wild and so wanting to enjoy
itself! San Diego had a large chunk of old-timers in the audience who had
never heard of the APO and so they were fun to wow!
But Reno was a major high! We had the good
fortune of being promoted by three casinos and so our pictures were plastered
everywhere --- the airport, casino video kiosks, giant streamers, local papers,
etc.. We were promoted almost as heavily as Jewel and Sinbad who were to
perform two weeks later. It was therefore not surprising to hear from the
ushers that we outsold Julio Iglesias and the Chicago Transit Authority who
visited there before us!
Miami was truly memorable. Noontime of June
7, I received the heartwarming news I had been waiting for. My daughter Erica
had given birth to my first grandchild!! Our rendition of the song Batang-bata
Ka Pa that evening took on a somewhat deeper dimension. I had written the
song for Erica 25 years ago, and now I was singing it for her daughter, my
apo! I was singing it for the 1st time as a lolo!
Tampa was a red-letter show for our band because
they had to play for our guest Joey Albert sans her musical charts! But being
the pros that they are, Joey and band passed with flying colors!
New York was, as usual, wonderful. Aside from
being received ecstatically, we met a fan who showed us pictures of APO in
the 70s she had kept and treasured! It may seem like a little gesture but
to us, it is testimony that what we do has some meaning to the lives of people
who follow us. Jacksonville was hectic since we had just done NYC the night
before. With very little sleep, we pulled through quite well!
The last show in MacAllen, Texas was something
we would not forget. We expected a little barrio bordering Mexico with a
smattering of Filipinos. Instead, we saw a small but vibrant city with the
friendliest, most sabik kababayans raring to have a good time! We did a rousing
concert that elicited our last two standing ovations before we headed for
Every APO show is preceded by a prayer of
gratitude. In the prayer, we thank God for giving us the chance to do what
we do best, and that is to perform. We also ask God for everything we need
to make the coming concert the BEST the audience has ever seen only to be
topped by our return in the future! All throughout the tour, we felt that
God was watching us and giving us the goods to deliver our promise to our
audience. Perhaps He granted all we asked for because God, I suspect always
delights seeing the gifts He has given come to life.
And throughout the 13 shows, we delighted
in embodying on stage the joy, originality and creativity in our being Filipinos!
And together with our audience, we were screaming for more!
rock San Francisco
by Jacqueline Conclara, Balita.com
resounding applause and constant sounds of laughter with shouts of appreciation
encouragements throughout the show by the audience during Saturdays
[6/26/04] Greatest Hitmakers concert of five Filipino Balladeers at San Francisco
Nob Hill Auditorium marked the show a big success!
In fact, they went home with aching guts from
laughing heartily at the signature green jokes of top biller Rico J. Puno,
who has been dubbed as the Philippines "Total Entertainer."
The shows success can be attributed
to not only their individual singing prowess but to the exchange of hilarious
banter during their spiels on stage.
The five Filipino singers Rico J. Puno,
Hajji Alejandro, Rey Valera, Marco Sison, and Nonoy Zuñiga, each have
a huge following in the Philippines. They all gave performances that sated
the audiences longing for sounds of the old country.
The concert took the largely Filipino audience
down memory lane when the five singers OPMs (original Pilipino Music)
ruled the Philippine airwaves.
The show started with a medley of OPMs, who
wore different colored jackets over their white long-sleeved shirts, and
the inevitable exchange of wordplay, each at the expense of the other
a foreboding of more gut-wrenching laughter throughout the show.
Sison, who has his own share of chart topping
romantic songs like "My Love Will See You Through" during the 1980s, was
then left alone on stage for his share of three solos. For his own three-song
portion, Zuñiga, whose famous song "Never Ever Say Goodbye" is a very
popular during weddings, gave a more subdued yet equally impressive performance.
Valera, more popularly known as a very gifted
composer of popular movie theme songs like "Pangako sa Iyo" and "Maging Sino
Ka Man," gave the most heart-warming (or rather heart-rending) performance
when he sang his original (yet unrecorded) "Sa Aking Panahon."
He explained that the song is his way of
explaining to his children and todays generation why the Philippine
nation is in such a disarray. "When my children asked me why many Filipinos
are leaving our country, I was at a loss for words especially when they said,
Dad, why did your generation allowed all these to happen to the
Phililppines? It got to me thinking and it eventually led me to compose
this song," Valera said in the vernacular during the concert.
On the other hand, Valeras performance
also elicited much laughter from the audience when he signed up the help
of the band to illustrate how film music scorers, like himself, give an
additional character to movies with their music and sound effects.
Meanwhile, Alejandro changed the mood of the
night during his solo portion when he gyrated and stomped all over the stage
while singing popular 60s dance music. The audience hooted with laughter
when he bent over clutching at his hip and asked for water after the three-song
The last to perform, Punos solo routine
(a mix of his popular OPMs, contemporary US hits, and famous Tagalog soap
opera theme songs, and his signature slew of green jokes) was worth the wait
for the audience. Many can be seen doubled over while more than a few are
stomping their feet and howling with laughter during Punos funny antics
on stage (hes the only one I have seen who has the nerve to simulate
humping on stage).
As a group, the Rico, Hajji, Rey, Marco and
Nonoy were the perfect treat for Filipino-Americans who long for the sounds
of Manila. Individually, the performances left no doubt in the audiences
minds that these five deserved the accolades they get.