January 14, 2017

Fashion Arts Autism Benefit (FAAB) Launched in New York


Anthony Legarda, Designer; Atty. Carol Tanjutco; Julien Borromeo; Executive Director Thomas Natale; Volunteers: Sonia, Liza, Julie and Cultural Officer Olive Magpile. (seated) Autism Hearts Foundation President/ Founder Erlinda Borromeo and Consul General Tess de Vega. (Photo:Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media)

New York – The Autism Hearts Foundation, Inc. with the support of the Philippine Consulate General in New York, recently launched the 2017 Fashion Arts Autism Benefit (FAAB) which will take place at the Philippine Center in New York on 07 April 2017 with Philippine Department of Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial as Guest of Honor.

Autism Hearts Foundation President and Founder Erlinda Borromeo, Foundation Executive Director Thomas Natale, and California-based Fashion Designer Anthony Legarda attended the launch with Consul General Theresa Dizon-de Vega and representatives of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations.

The Fashion Arts Autism Benefit will feature art works by autistic children done on piña fabric which will be used for fashion pieces designed by Patis Tesoro and Anthony Legarda. Sample piña wraps and shawls were presented during the event launch.

The Fashion Benefit is part of Autism Hearts Foundation’s advocacy in raising awareness of autism, greater integration of those with the condition in mainstream society, and providing opportunities for persons with autism to maximize their full potential.

The Fashion Benefit will be preceded by an exhibit of the works of the autistic children at the United Nations Headquarters and a special art workshop where the children will be mentored by Filipino and Filipino-American artists based in New York.

In her Welcome Remarks, Consul General Dizon-de Vega stated that support for the project is part of the Philippine Government’s efforts to raise awareness on advocacy programs initiated by members of the Filipino-American Community and also as part of the Consulate General’s contributions to the Philippine Government’s National Strategy on Managing Autism.

Also in attendance at the event launch were members of the Filipino-American media, volunteers from the Filipino Community in the US Northeast and California, Ms. Carol Tanjutco, a New York Financial Advisor and Journalist as well as a volunteer for the event and the 18-year old Julien Borromeo who is one of the featured artists in the exhibit and benefit
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Autism Hearts Foundation is a 501c (3) registered organization and is a partner of Autism Speaks. The Foundation continues to collaborate with the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Health (DOH) on various autism advocacy programs in the Philippines. 

January 9, 2017

60th Anniversary Production of 'Noli Me Tangere, The Opera' Premieres Jan. 28 at The Cultural Center of The Philippines


Manila, Philippines--The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and J&S Productions Inc. will co-present the Philippines' first full-length opera, Noli Me Tangere, The Opera. The opera, which premiered at the Far Eastern University in 1957 and made its CCP debut in 1987, will mark its 60th anniversary with a limited six-performance run at the CCP's Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo from January 28 (gala premiere) to February 3, 2017.

Based on Dr. Jose Rizal's classic novel of the same name, Noli Me Tangere, The Opera was written by National Artist for Music Felipe de Leon (“Payapang Daigdig,” “Sarong Banggi”) and was set to a libretto by National Artist for Sculpture Guillermo Tolentino.

This production, which earlier had critically-acclaimed engagements in New York, Washington D.C., and at the Resorts World Manila, will feature a brand-new staging under the directorial reins of debuting stage director Jerry Sibal, a sought-after event designer in New York City, who is also designing new sets and costumes.  

Sibal, who was born and raised in Binondo, Manila, revisits his hometown, albeit centuries earlier, as his inspiration for the show's overall production design.

“Imagine people from all walks of life: Spanish government officials, Chinese merchants, scholars, and the locals converging together at the Old Binondo canal, which is rather filthy, chaotic as precisely depicted in the first chapter of the novel by Rizal (written from 1884-1887).

“The show's sets, which, according to the CCP, are the largest it has ever had for an opera, and my overall directorial concept are very faithful to Rizal's book. Nature-inspired and rustic textures envelop the floor-to-ceiling, multifunctional set pieces on stage. It's like you've found yourself wandering inside the Metropolitan Opera House or a century-old Broadway Theatre in the middle of a busy day in Old Manila. I will also stress more on the violent class struggles of the society at that time,” said Sibal.

The show's score and orchestrations, arranged in the Western operatic tradition with overflow passages reminiscent of Mozart, Puccini, and Wagner, and sung in Tagalog, will be played by the newly formed 52-piece Noli Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Herminigildo Ranera.

At a recent pocket press conference in Quezon City, lead cast members Bianca Camille Lopez (Maria Clara) and Mari Yapjoco (Basilio) performed songs from the opera, “Kay Tamis ng Buhay” and “Gising Na, O Inang Ko,” respectively. Accompanied by pianist Marvin Dizon, Nerissa de Juan (Maria Clara understudy) and Renz Nataniel Cruz (male ensemble member) also performed classic kundiman songs. (The complete cast will be presented to the Philippine media in early January 2017.)

An opera in three acts, Noli Me Tangere, The Opera follows the story of Juan Crisostomo Ibarra, who returns to the Philippines after pursuing scholarly studies in Europe. He plans to open up a school and marry Maria Clara, his betrothed. However, parish priest Padre Damaso, the archenemy of the Ibarras, is out to hinder Crisostomo’s plans, which creates a dramatic storyline of forbidden love, betrayal, and revenge.

Both the novel and the opera depict the abuses suffered by the native Indios at the hands of Spanish tyrants. Both forms also paint a clear picture of the so-called “social cancer” such as the rotten system of governance, the illicit ways of the church, and the unfavorable trade of the privileged class. 

For tickets to the 60th-anniversary production of Noli Me Tangere, The Opera, contact J&S Productions Inc. (63926) 038 0548, (63921) 890 3816, (632) 998 2356, or the CCP Box Office (632) 832 3704/06 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph.