Reliving Manila’s splendor through song & dance
Leah C. Salterio (The Philippine Star) - March 27, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Top local artists headlined a two-hour musical-comedy revue, To Manila With Love, last March 22 which highlighted a grand summer bazaar at the Metrotent at Metrowalk in Ortigas.

The show attempted to relive and rediscover Manila’s grand splendor and glory by way of songs, dances, laughter and a montage of historic and nostalgic visuals that complimented the concept.

Important elements of Manila’s pop culture were the focus of the show, like fashion, architecture, cinema, sports, food, transportation, politics and, of course, music through the repertoire rendered by the featured artists.

The show came at the perfect time to sustain interest in Manila and heighten awareness in the top-drawing attractions of the country. The unique and noted pageantry of various locales like Quiapo, Malate and Binondo, was highlighted through skits and video presentation.

Bo Cerrudo, Richard Merck

Using the slogan as the thematic backbone, the musical extravaganza featured some of the country’s top artists like Jon Santos, classical balladeer Bo Cerrudo, jazz prince Richard Merk and The CompanY.

In May, To Manila With Love will be taken to Los Angeles and San Francisco and will be re-titled From Manila With Love.

The show was not restricted to any particular era and traveled back in time to depict Manila’s history — from the Spanish period all the way to the futuristic, space-age fantasy sequence.

Speaking of the artists, Jon started in theater and trained with director Behn Cervantes in such UP Repertory Company productions as Pagsambang Bayan, Sigaw ng Bayan, Kaaway and Pagbibinyag ng Apoy at Dugo.

He was later launched as a stand-up comedian performing with Tessie Tomas, before he did his one-man comedy acts doing myriad reincarnations of memorable characters. To date, Jon has performed with such artists as Mitch Valdes, Leo Martinez, John Lapus and Fil-Am stand-up comedian Rex Navarette.

Bo has reinvented himself by going back to his musical roots. Today, he is a more matured and seasoned artist as he brings the passion and gift of his classical voice training to the interpretation of romantic pop songs and standards.

In theater, Bo snagged plum roles in musicals like West Side Story, Rama Hari, Flower Drum Song and Miss Saigon. He also earned raves even from foreign audiences in concerts in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the US.

Richard Merk is the country’s undisputed Prince of Jazz. A singing champion at Tita Betty’s Children’s Show at the age of nine, his passion for performing has not waned, only increased through the years.

He continues to sing regularly at Merk’s Place, the restaurant and music bar he put up with his wife, Roni Tapia-Merk. He also hosts a radio magazine show, Words & Music, every Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. on Energy-FM 106.7.

The CompanY is a versatile quintet that renders all forms of music genres involving vocal harmony. The group is composed of Sweet Plantado (soprano), Annie Quintos (soprano), Cecile Bautista (alto), Jay Marquez (tenor) and Moy Ortiz (tenor 2/bass).

Meanwhile, the Big Splash summer bazaar, held last March 22 and 23 at the Metrotent, was organized by Laurel Media Entertainment. It was participated by around 100 concessionaires.

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