Latest Stories

Granddaddy of Bonifacio plays to be restaged this September


Scene from the play, where neophytes pledge their loyalty to the secret society. PHOTO BY AMADÍS MA. GUERRERO

The granddaddy of all plays on Andres Bonifacio, whether musical or straight, is composer Jerry A. Dadap’s “Andres Bonifacio: Ang Dakilang Anak-Pawis,” with Dionisio R. Salazar, a Palanca Award-winning playwright, and leading poet Rogelio G. Mangahas, as librettists.

Bankrolled by the Puyats, the musical play was first presented at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in 1979, and the critics immediately acclaimed it as a major work. The late, great baritone Elmo Makil played Bonifacio, with mezzo Jay Valencia-Glorioso as his wife Gregoria de Jesus.

Bettina Dadap and Melody Babula as Katipunan muses. PHOTO BY AMADÍS MA. GUERRERO

Actor Tommy Abuel was the Narrator, with Tony Espejo directing a cast of 200.

Since then, through the years, “Andres Bonifacio: Ang Dakilang Anak-Pawis” has been staged from time to time, but never with the grand treatment it deserves. This year is Bonifacio’s 150th birth anniversary and the musical play will be restaged—but due to budget constraints, only the first part, corresponding to the first three acts of the five-act play.

Thus, Dadap’s Andres Bonifacio Concert Choir (ABCC) will present this part again (it did so earlier this year at the Philamlife Theater) on Sept. 28 at St. Cecilia’s Hall, St. Scholastica’s College-Manila, to be assisted by the Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) under the baton of Arturo Molina. (Tel. 0922-8114475)

Festive, patriotic

The play opens with a festive, patriotic folk song, with the women dancing and waving garlands and the men marching smartly: “Sa dalampasigan na dagat Maynila/ Luneta ang tawag ng mga Kastila/ Ay doon binaril ang mga martir…”

Rizal did not appear in the original production, but in this slightly revised version, the composer has him (played by bass Erick Borlaza) singing “La Deportacion,” a lovely and melancholy aria Rizal himself penned. Even Josephine Bracken has a walk-on-role, with Rizal during his exile in Dapitan introducing her (“mi esposa, Josefina”) to the visiting Pio Valenzuela (tenor William Serrano).

Soprano Melody Babula plays Josephine.


The first act shows Bonifacio (tenor Jeffrey Perida) with his siblings, going about preparing walking canes and fans which they sell for a living, singing and dancing. Then comes the news Rizal has been arrested, and every one becomes apprehensive. Bonifacio forms the KKK at the Tondo residence of Deodato Arellano (tenor A. Ma. Guerrero).

Beautiful duet

Act II focuses on the love life of the Supremo as he courts Oryang (soprano Bettina Dadap) to the disapproval of her father, Nicolas de Jesus (tenor Joey Tuzon). But he is eventually won over, and the couple are married, first in Binondo church and then according to KKK rites.

The love duet here, “Ikaw Lang,” is achingly beautiful, and one wonders why it is not a concert staple.

The secret society is discovered. Patiño (tenor Romy Saba) divulges the information to Padre Gil (played by the versatile Perida), who emerges as a comic villain, sings his aria mocking “ang mga stupidong indio.”

Bonifacio and his followers flee to Pugadlawin, tear their cedulas and amid cries of “Mabuhay!” prepare for battle against the Spaniards.

It is August, the fatal month.

The poet speaks

In 1979, political detainee Mangahas had just been released. He couldn’t find work at first, so being chosen co-librettist was a kind of Godsend. And the musical play “expressed my sentiments for freedom and democracy that our society badly needed during the dictatorship.”

He found Dadap “a highly gifted artist and a staunch nationalist,” while Espejo was “soft-spoken, progressive and talented.”

About the ensemble, Mangahas raved: “Members of the whole cast were gifted and also exuded extraordinary enthusiasm and love of country during the entire rehearsals and actual performance. What a rare opportunity to be working with them!”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Andres Bonifacio , Jerry A. Dadap , Musical Play , stage play , Theater , Tommy Abuel , Tony Espejo , “Andres Bonifacio: Ang Dakilang Anak-Pawis , ” Rogelio G. Mangahas

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  2. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  3. This is not just a farm
  4. She has become the sex slave of her best friend
  5. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  6. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  7. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  8. Most criticized books list includes Hunger Games, Perks
  9. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  1. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  4. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  7. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  8. Prince William fuels speculation of second royal baby
  9. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  10. This is not just a farm
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken ferry in Korea
  • Aquino: ‘Doubting Thomases’ now contributing to PH recovery
  • Fire engulfs apartments in Sampaloc
  • Messy warehouse belongs to Unicef, WFP, says Soliman
  • Suspected Abu Sayyaf rebels release hostage
  • Sports

  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot
  • Ateneo eyes quarterfinal spot vs Benilde
  • Style contrast marks OneFC ‘Rise of Heroes’
  • Lifestyle

  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  • Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus