‘Senior Prom’ at the CCP

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - August 4, 2015 - 10:00am

I knocked my head thrice for failing to bring along my 80-something aunt to Danny Dolor’s Harana Sa Dapit Hapon (Ikaapat na Yugto) Wednesday (July 29) last week, held like the first three haranas at the lobby of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

She would have waxed nostalgic on the way home while humming the enduring kundiman, harana, balitaw and danza rendered by that afternoon’s special performers Pilita Corrales and tenor Miguel Castro.

It was virtually a “Senior Prom,” with the audience made up of senior-citizen-card-bearing music-lovers, among them: Dr. Pepe Oreta and his wheel-chair-bound 102-year-old mom Nena, 1973 Miss World first runner-up Vangie Pascual, Mila Magsaysay-Valenzuela, Ditas Rodrigo, Jullie Yap-Daza, one-time Miss Caltex finalist Tessie Lizaso, Criselda Lontok and Inquirer columnist George Sison (who has written an album-ful of songs for Pilita, one of them What Name Shall I Give You, My Love?). 

Danny, author of this paper’s widely-followed Remember When? Sunday column, has been producing the series through his Tribung Pilipino Foundation in cooperation with the CCP (whose directors, Nick Lizaso and Tina Torralba, were also among those in the audience).

Opening the show with a Kundiman Medley, Miguel easily won the hearts of the audience with his voice that had a caress factor to it, likewise with his charming smile and soulful eyes that surely brought the ladies way back when love was young and the world was laid out for them to explore. How could they have resisted the invitation to Dungawin Mo, Hirang, and not have opened their windows to somebody like Miguel serenading them on an imaginary starless night with Buhat (also popularized by Rico J. Puno), Pakiusap (made into a movie by Sampaguita Pictures starring Amalia Fuentes and Juancho Gutierrez), Dama de Noche, Maging Akin Lamang, Minamahal Kita and Minamahal Sinasamba, and not teared up to Bakit Mo Ako Pinaluluha Medley (Miguel’s finale number)?

Pilita ruled the second set not just with her singing highlighted by her classic bending-backward position (which, she revealed in an interview, she had to do to hit the high notes) but also, more so, with her sense of humor, proving herself Eternally Walang Kupas.

After two medleys (Magtitiis Ako/Nicanor Abelardo compositions and Constancio de Guzman compositions), Pilita sang the walang-kamatayang George Canseco composition Kapantay Ay Langit which Pilita never forgets to include in her repertoire for her concerts both here and abroad, otherwise the audience would rise in protest.

Her inimitable rendition of the sad songs Saan Ka Man Naroroon and Kahit Isang Saglit left a lump in the throat especially of those in the audience who have lost loved ones (who hasn’t, anyway?), followed by Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga and Dahil Sa’yo, the signature song of former First Lady Imelda Marcos immortalized on disc by The Lettermen (in mixed Tagalog and English lyrics), thought to be the Philippines’ national anthem by foreigners, according to Pilita who has to correct it again and again.

Whether singing in Filipino, English, Spanish or her native Cebuano, Pilita is at her incomparable best. As a nod to her Visayan fans, Pilita sang Usahay, bending over backward as if burdened by the memory of a love that never was, that never could be.

Then, she threatened to do a Lady Gaga with Waray-Waray but thank heavens she did not. Eartha Kitt, who sang that song (from the LVN movie, popularized by Kundiman Queen Sylvia La Torre), would have given Pilita the thumbs-up approval.

Okay, let’s dance! Pilita went down the foot-high stage and invited couples to rise and swing this way and that, to the lilting beat of Pipit. Ever the unchallenged Asia’s Queen of Song, Pilita that afternoon magically defined the essence of Filipino music at its finest. Bravo!!!

Next time Danny stages his fifth Harana, I will make sure to bring not just my aunt but also her barkada for a “senior prom” they probably never had in high school.

Alab at Boston Gallery Aug. 8-26

A flame. A blaze. An intensity of passion.

That’s how the participating artists describe Alab, the show at Boston Gallery that features the works of Jim Orencio, Ninel Constantino, Candice Arellano, Erwin Leano, Reymar Gacutan and Philipp Ines.

The exhibit opens on Saturday, Aug. 8, and will run until Aug. 26.

Boston Gallery is at #72 Boston St., corner Lantana St., Cubao, Quezon City. (For information, call 722-9205.)

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. You may also send your questions to askrickylo@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare. or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

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