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Rama Hari: Ballet Philippines’ Grandest Production This Year!


OJ Mariano and Kalila Aguilos did a great job portraying Rama and Sita in Ballet Philippines' 'Rama Hari'. Photograph by Jory Rivera.

OJ Mariano and Kalila Aguilos did a great job portraying Rama and Sita in Ballet Philippines’ ‘Rama Hari’. Photograph by Jory Rivera.

Watching ‘Rama Hari’ in the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo on a Thursday evening filled me with too many expectations since I had the chance to witness the technical dress rehearsal a week ago with Christian Bautista and Karylle playing Rama at Sita with Robert Seña as Ravana. Though it was just a technical dress rehearsal, still I find myself a bit unsatisfied with the three featured well-known names at the time.

After a few days’ run, I have heard good reviews, but was keen on watching the alternates of the featured artists and these were OJ Mariano as Rama, Kalila Aguilos as Sita, and Christian Rey Marbella as Ravana.

‘Rama Hari’ boasts of its strong world-class dance ensemble of Ballet Philippines. None of which you would throw away. Every dancer moved with ease and grace as well as with great confidence; taking hold of the huge stage that once taken by the foreign act of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ for three months. This is one musical that Filipinos could very well say—we can truly come up with an international show, but still reflects the Filipino ‘tone’ and ‘texture’.

What makes this another great and perhaps the grandest Ballet Philippines production—it’s for the fact that this hit pop ballet musical as envisioned and created by the dance company founder Alice Reyes, who also directed and choreographed the show; has gathered three luminaries of Philippine culture and the arts. Two of which have left this world with their great works imprinted in this masterpiece—the late Salvador Bernal (National Artist for Theater Design) as the costume and set designer and the late Rolando Tinio, (National Artist for Literature and Theater) as the translator of Bienvenido Lumbera’s libretto (another National Artist for Literature), who is still very much alive and kicking.

The man behind the superb music is the prolific composer Ryan Cayabyab, a legend in Original Pilipino Music (OPM) and the Manila Symphony Orchestra played for the night—made the theater viewing experience breathtaking.

But for the night, Mariano delivered a moving portrayal of the singing Rama. His rendition evoked the audience’s emotions. He didn’t shortchange his audience and gave a sterling performance as a man who in pain for losing his wife. Aguilos on the other hand, as the singing Sita was successful in transforming herself and projecting the traits of the goddess, who is the epitome of dedication, self-sacrifice, courage and purity. Both delivered the goods.

Even their supports were truly awesome. Marbella as Ravana for me equaled if not surpassed Seña’s version.

The two principal dancers—Jean Marc Cordero and Carissa Adea as the dancing Rama and Sita were such a delight to watch. Their moves were impeccably world-class.

Jean Marc Cordero and Carissa Adea as the dancing Rama and Sita. Photograph by Jory Rivera.

Jean Marc Cordero and Carissa Adea as the dancing Rama and Sita. Photograph by Jory Rivera.


‘Rama Hari’ may have singers and dancers in one stage, but what makes this memorable is no one was upstage anybody. Each of the performers had their shining moments. And kudos to Ballet Philippines’ artistic director, Paul Morales for mounting this show again.

The show will run until Sunday, December 9. The Manila Symphony Orchestra performs live. For inquiries, call Ballet Philippines at 551-1003 and 551-0221 or Ticketworld at 891-9999. Visit its website: http://www.ballet.ph or the Ballet Philippines facebook page.

Janine Tugonon shines anew in Miss Universe 2012 National Costume show


Tugonon in her Muslim-inspired national costume. Photograph courtesy of Jory Rivera of OPMB.

Tugonon in her Muslim-inspired national costume. Photograph courtesy of Jory Rivera of OPMB.



LAS VEGAS, USA – The Filipina beauty once again stood out and appeared in a queenly gait in her Muslim-inspired ensemble at the Miss Universe 2012 National Costume show held at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on December 14, Friday night (morning of December 16, Manila time).

After the previous evening’s preliminaries–the evening gown and swimsuit competitions, respectively, Janine managed to show what a real Filipina beauty queen is made of as she sashayed the rumored-to-be national costume inspired from the Philippines’ last Miss Philippines, Margie Moran, who was crowned in Athens, Greece in 1973.

Despite its simplicity, Tugonon exuded with confidence; highlighting the traditional tiara of a tribal Muslim queen matched with a silk white veil and maroon sash with an intricate embroidered design, reflecting a royal Muslim characteristic.


Dindi Gallardo in Miss Universe 1993.

Dindi Gallardo in Miss Universe 1993.


A screen shot of Gallardo during the live telecast of Miss Universe 1993.

A screen shot of Gallardo during the live telecast of Miss Universe 1993.




The costume is nothing new anymore as the Philippines’ representative Melinda ‘Dindi’ Gallardo also wore almost the same theme during her reign in 1993. The only difference, Tugonon owned the stage during her moment and showed how regal she is in that glittery silver Muslim dress, which is enough to match Moran’s presence in the 1973 beauty pageant, 39 years ago.

The coronation night will be on December 19th, Wednesday, 8pm live from its unique and versatile 7,000-seat, state-of-the-art venue, the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. It will be telecast via NBC.

The show will be hosted by Andy Cohen and Giuliana Rancic with telecast judges: Brad Goreski, Cee Lo Green, Diego Boneta, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Masaharu Morimoto, Nigel Barker, Pablo Sandoval, Scott Disick, and Ximena Navarrete.

To secure a spot for the Philippines, an online voting has been up since November 15 and and will end on Tuesday, December 18 at 6pm ET. One can vote up to 10 times per day per account/valid email address. Keep voting!

To vote, CLICK HERE!.

Janine Tugonon in action today!


Janine Tugonon showed-off her beautiful figure in the Miss Universe preliminary swimsuit competition. Photograph courtesy of Jory Rivera of OPMB.

Janine Tugonon showed-off her beautiful figure in the Miss Universe preliminary swimsuit competition. Photograph courtesy of Jory Rivera of OPMB.

LAS VEGAS, USA — The Philippines’ bet and the country’s hope to win the third Miss Universe title, Janine Tugonon was seen in action today during the preliminaries, December 14 as she strutted and sashayed herself on the beauty pageant stage competing with 89 lovely candidates from across the globe.

According to Jory Rivera, a photographer of OPMB, the Filipina representative was in high spirits as she heard and felt the warm support of the Filipino community in Las Vegas, who cheered for her every time she is seen onstage. Though in an article written in another site, Tugonon expressed her thoughts on her strongest competition for the crown is the candidate from Venezuela.

Tugonon’s cobra walk had an impressive response particularly in the swimsuit category. In her two-piece blue swimwear, she exhibited how she had transformed from the time she was crowned Bb. Pilipinas-Universe in summer this year.

Her predecessor Shamcey Supsup, who placed third runner-up in last year’s pageant is confident that her successor will do well in the pageant. Apart from that, Supsup was invited by the Miss Universe organization to join Tugonon to be in the Web coverage for the said prestigious beauty tilt.

The preliminary competition was hosted by Las Vegas’s local TV and radio personality Chet Buchanan and Miss Universe 2012 Leila Lopes. The members of the panel of judges for the preliminary competition are: Duane Gazi, Amy Sadowsky, Crystle Stewart, Jimmy Nguyen, Beverly Frank, Carlos Abaya, Corinne Nicolas, and Michael Greenwald.

To secure a spot for the Philippines, an online voting has been up since November 15 and and will end on Tuesday, December 18 at 6pm ET. One can vote up to 10 times per day per account/valid email address. Keep voting!

To vote, CLICK HERE!.