I have a lot of favorite Filipino dishes but I'd say there are several that top my list. I was glad to find out that Berting's Grill serves a few of them and that this restaurant's versions are really, really delicious!

The first time I went there with a few girl friends, Berting's Adobong Kangkong became a fast favorite. I liked it so much that I brought home an extra order to share with my hubby. 

Last Monday, I went back to Tomas Morato in Quezon City with hubby and some friends to try out more of the dishes in Berting's menu line up. Since I'm not fond of spicy foods and my tongue got burned the last time I took a bite of the Lumpia (or what we called "mini dynamites"), I opted not to try it again. The guys liked it though. 

Lumpia ni Berting - P195

What I attacked with gusto were the crispy pieces of sinful Chicken Skin dipped in vinegar. Yum! (Yes, I threw the thought of cholesterol out the door that night).

Crispy Chicken Skin - P195

I declined the Bicol Express with Lechon Kawali on the side because my tongue might go numb and I won't be able to enjoy the other dishes. I like this dish's presentation though. I bet those who love spicy food would enjoy savoring the layers of taste that the Bicol Express offers.

Crispy Bicol Express - P225

We next tried Berting's bestseller, the Lechon Manok, which has been marinated for 72 hours in special, secret ingredients before it is cooked fresh upon order for around 45 minutes. Chef Andrew Wijangco, the establishment's owner, shared that the true measure of a good lechon manok is one that needs no sauce or dip because it is flavorful in itself. I agree! I prefer eating nicely-cooked grilled chicken as is without the liver sauce that many Pinoys are used to.

Lechong Manok ni Berting
P360 (whole), P180 (half)

When the Crispy Kare-Kareng Pata was served, I readily transferred pieces of meat and veggies to my plate and ladled them with the peanut sauce and fish paste. Golly, that was the best Crispy Pata I've tasted in a long time! 

Crispy Kare-Kareng Pata
P485 (regular), P535 (large)

And then there's the crispy and flaky Cream Dory with its special dip made with capers and butter. For me, the slightly sour sauce perfectly complemented the taste of the fish. 

Crispy Dory - P225

Of course, we ordered my favorite Adobong Kangkong topped with lots of toasted garlic and I was glad to know that some of my friends found it uniquely different and delicious too.

Adobong Kangkong - P60

To cap off our totally satisfying dinner, we divided an order of Leche Flan among ourselves. It is very creamy and not too sweet. Just the way I like leche flans to be.

Leche Flan - P60 (single), P195 (whole)

Before we left, we checked out the second floor where they hold Acoustic Nights every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Too bad we went there on a Monday! The place is very spacious and would be ideal for big meetings or press cons. They have free Wifi so we were able to check emails and post Facebook statuses using our individual gadgets.

Aside from the Scout Rallos cor. Tomas Morato branch (open Mon to Sun), you can find the other Berting's Grill at Ortigas Home Depot along Meralco Ave. in Pasig (open Mon to Sat). Both branches operate from 11am to 2am. To place advanced orders (for the Lechon Manok) and for more info, call 441.2757 (QC) or 706.7800 (Pasig).

Oh, and if you're wondering who Berting is, it's anybody's guess. Chef Andrew revealed that it is just a Filipino name he thought of when they were conceptualizing the restaurant :)

It is ironic that an article degrading the Filipino language came out this month because August, after all, is when we celebrate Buwan ng Wika (Language Month) in the Philippines.

I will no longer post the link of the said writeup here because the writer already earned the thousands of hits he was probably aiming for after coming up with such controversial statements. I just want to say my piece because I am a parent who simply wants her children to grow up  proud of being Filipino. We speak Tagalog at home; we watch good quality Filipino movies, concerts, and plays; and I am glad that my boys like listening to OPM (Original Pilipino Music) such that they have their own favorite Filipino bands and singers.

Photo borrowed from www.globalfirepower.com

I understand that there are parents who prefer to have their kids speak in English all the time because they believe that, by doing so, their offspring will have more chances of a better future. Still, I do hope that practice doesn't result to more children losing their love for our motherland and totally turning their backs on the Filipino language.

Here's sharing something I wrote for the Smart Super Women blog. Language of the Heart is about promoting Filipino language literacy to one's children. I hope many who will read it would find the tips useful. May we not let our children forget where they came from else they completely lose their identity. 

On another note, do read this very eloquent piece by a fellow writer and good friend of mine, Inez Ponce de Leon, who wrote a letter to the now infamous James Soriano, the person I was talking about at the beginning of this post. I hope he gets to read that one!

It is very common to hear from moms how hard it is to feed healthy foods to their children. I have my share of “food conflicts” with my boys even up to now. My firstborn, who’s already 17, still tends to be picky with what he eats every now and then. I also remember my youngest son refusing to eat any dish I cook (like kare-kare and calderetta) if he so much as smell the peanut butter in it. 

Photo borrowed from http://topnews.ae/ 

Thankfully, my children do eat chopsuey without any protest. They also love it whenever I cook beef with broccoli and sinigang with lots of kangkong

Unfortunately, not all kids are fond of the good stuff. Some even have food fetishes like the son of a mom I interviewed before. The kid only eats anything that’s white! So his bread only had to have mayonnaise on it and when they cook spaghetti, it should only have white sauce. 

There are also children who totally prefer junk foods rather than eat fruits and veggies. So it’s a given that many families go through regular mealtime battles.

me, toasting the crushed whole wheat crackers
for the chicken breading

At an AQIVA event I attended recently, I got to try my hand at preparing a couple of easy-to-cook dishes that hide the healthy ingredients. Chef Carina Guevarra shared with us her recipes for “Super Healthy Kiddie Spaghetti” that has blended spinach in the sauce, and crispy “Baked Chicken Fingers” where we used crushed whole wheat crackers for the breading. (Click on the dishes’ names for the recipes)

Chef Carina explained that the treats are enticing to the eyes and have the inviting smell that will attract children. “Meals prepared like these will definitely draw and encourage young ones to take a variety of healthy, yet tasty, foods.”

Above is the photo of what our group prepared and the dishes are really yummy. Kids won’t even suspect that there are green leafy veggies in the spaghetti sauce!

When parents introduce picky-eaters to a wider variety of foods, we were reminded that it is important to consider that the kids have to get their daily dose of much-needed nutrition. And one way to do this is to add milk to the menu. 

AQIVA addresses that need. It is a nutrient-enriched milk supplement from Wyeth that is formulated to fill in the nutritional gaps of children age 4 and older. Ingredients include Adequate, Quality, and Important (A.Q.I.) nutrients to help ensure balanced nutrition. AQIVA contains more than 40 ingredients including 25 essential nutrients to help provide growing children with the proper nutrition they need when there is nutrition gap brought about by unhealthy eating habits.

My youngest son loves the great-tasting vanilla flavor which, I found out, was a hit with one of my good friend’s son as well.

If you need more information and tips on healthy eating for children, log on to www.facebook.com/AqivaPH or contact the Wyeth Careline at 81-WYETH (81-99384) for Metro Manila and 1-800-10-884-2222 (toll-free) for provinces.

It’s often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because we need enough energy to jump start all the activities we’ll be doing later. Have a fresh start to your day by having a DOLE® Banana early in the morning. This fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals and serves as a healthy breakfast! 

Eat the banana as is or add sliced pieces on your cereal. You can also enjoy it with some peanut butter, jelly, and raisins like I sometimes do.

Early this month, Dole Philippines launched an interesting contest dubbed the Banana Morning Motto which runs from Aug. 5 to Sept. 4, 2011. Dole Philippines’ aim is to empower consumers and fans to own their respective mornings by simply writing down their daily morning mottos on a banana so they can motivate others to likewise embrace positive mornings. 

Weekly winning entries get awarded with prizes such as an Executive Massage gift certificate from The Spa, as well as free ten (10) sessions of Zumba Classes. Get inspired and check out all the creative entries in Dole Philippine’s Banana Morning Gallery on Facebook.

Wanna join too? Here’s what you need to do:

2) Click on the Banana Morning Motto Application on the left tab of the page
3) Simply upload a photo of your morning motto written on a DOLE® Cavendish Banana (make sure you’ve got the Dole sticker in place). Share it with your friends to get votes and increase your chances of

Here's sharing my entry ... with a glass of peanut butter on the side :D

You can vote for this entry by clicking here
Once on the page, click "Back to Album" then Like my photo. Thanks! :)

What's your Banana Morning Motto? Do share it with me and other readers of this blog by commenting on this post.

If you have other questions, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page for clarification.

DOLE® Cavendish Bananas are now available not only in supermarkets but also in convenient stores near you. Grab a bunch now and share it with the whole family. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to upload your own Banana Morning Motto photo and vote for the best motto that you like. 

Let's go bananas and have a great day! :)

Per DTI-NCR Permit #5769. Series of 2011.

Despite Filipinos' penchant for expecting pasalubong from relatives abroad, there's this one homecoming gift that many don't enthusiastically receive. Tell me if I'm wrong, but I'd bet many would agree to not liking imported corned beef even if they come in fancy-shaped cans. I don't. I prefer corned beef with visible strands of meat instead of the mushy concoctions that corned beef from abroad looks like.

The other day, I discovered a new brand of corned beef that raised the level in canned meaty goodness. Highlands Corned Beef will definitely capture the discriminating taste of Filipinos. It tastes really good and looks great as well. What sets Highlands apart from other local corned beef brands is that Highlands is made from Angus beef!

In case you're not familiar with it, Angus beef is the popular choice of steak aficionados in fine dine restaurants and steakhouses because of its tender meat and rich beef taste. Angus cattle, also known as Aberdeen Angus in some parts of the world, is a premium breed of cattle that came from the native counties of Aberdeenshire and Angus in Scotland.

Angus meat is superior to regular beef because of its fine texture and a higher degree of marbling which make the beef tender and tastier. If you are an Angus steak lover, you'll be glad to know that your favorite high-quality beef can now be found in a can of Highlands Corned Beef!

Highlands Corned Beef is the very first corned beef in the Philippine market that’s made with Angus Beef. Why this particular beef? You see, good beef starts with good breed and Angus is a premium breed of cattle that produces high-quality meat. Highlands Corned Beef is filled with the rich beef taste of Angus and has long and juicy beef strands. I was glad  to find out that it has no artificial flavors, and when I did get to taste it, every strand is indeed bursting with the goodness of premium beef.

And what better way to introduce this premium breed of corned beef to the public than to choose some of today's premium breed of exceptional talents to represent Highlands Corned Beef? Find out who they are here where you can also read a brief bio of each.

True, Angus beef may be a bit expensive compared to other beef, but its rich taste and fine texture will surely be a unique dining experience that’s worth every peso.

*Highlands Corned Beef is available in 100g, 150g, 180g, and 260g cans. Like them on Facebook and visit their website for more details.

I've just discovered a very nice restaurant on top of a small hill in Quezon City. Being in Greenstreet, a commercial establishment in Capitol Golf City, made us feel like we were in Tagaytay because it overlooks part of Metro Manila!

Located right after climbing up the wide stairs is Stacy's, a lovely restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. It has an ambiance that feels very light and airy. The interior is predominantly white with splashes of pastel colors that made everything very pleasing to the eyes. Among the many subtly-colored decorations, my favorites are the pink refrigerator and the pink, flowered chair near the entrance.

Parents who will eat there with their kids would be glad to know that there's a white picket-fenced "garden" where children can read comic books or take care of the "plants". Aside from the adult-sized tables and chairs in the main dining area, there are also a couple of tables to seat little guests comfortably.

Stacy's offer a lot of tasty offerings, it would be hard to choose which is the most delicious of them all. I've tried several dishes and enjoyed eating them all. Here are some samples. Look at the shape of the rice! :) 

Herbed Cream Dory Fillet
with Aioli Dip - P175 

Homebaked Chicken Parmesan - P190

While you are waiting to be served, your table will also get to have a complementary mug of treats  containg popcorn, marshmallows, and pretzels (with the purchase of a meal).

After filling ourselves up with the rice and pasta meals, my friends and I also got to taste three of Stacy's lip-smacking desserts. One of the slices is pretty special because the staff thoughtfully decorated it for Juan Manila who was celebrating his birthday that day!

 Bailey's Choco Cake, Devil's Food Cake 
and Sansrival 

The next time I visit Stacy's I'll make sure to also try the other mouthwatering-looking cakes there.

My friends and I also got to meet two of the owners who chatted with us about the place. "Who's Stacy?" I wanted to know. It turned out that the name was derived from Anastacia. "She was my grandmother. I call her Stacy when I make lambing," relates Angelique Castro with a smile. What a very nice tribute to someone you love!

I recommend Stacy's for families who are looking for kid-friendly restaurants because this is definitely one. You can hold various parties here and be guaranteed that everyone will have a good time.

Check out Stacy's at Capitol Greenstreet Commercial Center, 1 Capitol Hills Drive, 1101 Quezon City. For a complete list of food offerings, check out their Facebook page and look for the photo album that contains their menu. You can also reach them at 02.9526843 /0927.3262244 / 0933.4427661 / 09178472229 and at abynachura@gmail.com

Two months ago, I blogged about Freeway's National Artist Collectors Series featuring F. Sionil Jose. I liked ALL the clothes in the collection but could only afford three pieces. Nevertheless, I was very happy with my purchases because the shirt and the dresses are printed with meaningful passages from the works of the famous Filipino author.

This September, SOLO is coming up with a new collectors series of its own. Called Pinoy Cartoonist Memorabilia, the 2011 offering will be featuring the greatest work of the Father of Philippine Cartoons, Tony Velasquez’s KENKOY

Please visit my other blog to read the complete press release of the Kenkoy series and for the links to the complete lineup of His and Hers merchandise.

And to celebrate the new collection, Solo opens its doors once more for aspiring models via the bigger and much anticipated Online Model Search 2011 that is now on its third year and which will run from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. To read the press release about the contest, please click here.

I find it great that classic Filipino comic strips (Larry Alcala's Slice of Life was featured last year) are being revived and re-introduced to the young generations as part of today's pop culture. Do watch out for the Kenkoy line this September!

For many of us, needs have to come before wants. In my household, buying an iPad, whether it's the first or second edition, is out of the question. As I always tell my kids, we have more things to prioritize budgeting for. I'm sure a lot of this blog's readers could relate.

So, here's sharing with you a Facebook contest being run by Trend Micro Pilipinas. Just like, register, then share their Facebook page and get a chance to win a coveted iPad 2 or one of several consolation prizes.

See the complete mechanics here. Contest runs from August 19 to September 16, 2011

Who knows? One of us could bring home the iPad 2! Like the Trend Micro Pilipinas page now! :)

I don’t need to go out of the house to see young people wearing black and growing their hair long (I’m talking about guys) because one of my teenage sons dresses that way. He says he’s comfortable looking like that so who am I to argue? As long as his looks wouldn’t scare his grandmothers and little cousins and that he doesn’t go beyond dressing in black clothes most of the time, we’re good. Thankfully, my son is a good kid and I trust him enough to know what's right and wrong.

Like my 17-year-old (who has artistic leanings, by the way, to explain the goth fascination), more and more young people are now wearing their true colors on their sleeves for self-expression. In fact, the youth are even taking fashion trends out of magazine pages / comic books and into the streets.

Cosplayers during BUM's press con
Photo borrowed from OrangeMagazineTV

One the growing style trends that is gaining popularity in recent years is Costume Play or more popularly known as Cosplay. If you’re out of the loop and can’t imagine what that looks like, think of Japanese or Manga comic book characters and transfer their clothes on Pinoy young people.

According to aficionados, at the center of it all is individuality. This same level of passion is evident in BUM Equipment’s style philosophy. As a brand that understands the youth's conceptions and misconceptions, Bum is gradually incorporating the Cosplay trend into the Filipino fashion psyche by translating it into a more prominent trend. After all, both somehow have the same principles.

To celebrate this fashion assimilation, Bum is holding a contest for young Filipinos wherein young stylephiles can show off their individual interpretations of the Cosplay trend by wearing Bum products while giving their take on their favorite anime characters. The total ensemble should have shades of Emo Rock and Goth — Bum's signature look, ensync with “MY STORY” Bum’s culminating chapter.

The core component of the costume design, based on the character of choice, must be BUM products (apparel). Contestants can enhance their getups with accessories like wigs, make-up, contact lenses, and other props. Computer graphics are also allowed to be used in the photo layout to enhance the costume/character although the BUM logo must still be prominently seen in the photo.

If you plan to join, submit your photo to Bum as early as possible so that you’ll have enough time to get "Likes" on Bum's Website. The 10 entries that get the most "Likes" will get a chance to take home big prizes, including a Nikon D3000 DSLR Camera, Blackberry 3G phones, Samsung ES80 cameras, and tokens from Bum.

The promo period runs from August 8 to October 30, 2011. Winners will be announced by October 31, 2011. To know more about the contest rules and mechanics, just visit www.bumequipment.com.ph.

*Bum products are available at Bum Boutiques and leading Department Stores nationwide.

Last August 17, Pharma-Rex, Inc., the official marketer of the new Cortal SQR, once more pledged its support for Philippine Football though its sponsorship for the Philippine team competing in the upcoming Homeless World Cup in Paris, France happening this August 21- 28, 2011. 

Cortal SQR likewise officially turned-over a check to the Philippine Azkals as additional support for their upcoming matches in the Long Teng Cup in Taiwan and the Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia.

Unknown to many of us, the Homeless World Cup, as I’ve found out, is an international football match that aims to address and alleviate homelessness through football. The yearly event started in 2003 in Austria and has been running for the past nine years while being held at various countries that span four continents.

This year will be the Philippines’ fourth appearance in the said competition. The street soccer team called Jeepney, which is competing there, is being currently managed by Urban Opportunities for Change Foundation. They rely on sponsorships and donations in order to finance their operations. Thanks to the support of Cortal SQR, the Philippine contingent to the Homeless World Cup would be able to continue representing the country in this annual worldwide event.

Just last month, Cortal SQR, with its formulation of Ibuprofen and Paracetamol, was launched as the official pain reliever of the Philippine Azkals. (Please read my blog post about the event here.) Since then, the brand has been providing full support to the Philippine National Football Team. After their participation in the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers, where the Philippine team reached the second round of the qualifiers for the first time, the Azkals are now gearing up for new matches this coming November.

According to Lito Tadena, President of Pharma-Rex Inc., they saw the potential of football in the country thus their hope that “our support for the sport will help sustain and develop more football talents and establish the Philippines as a premiere team in Asia thereby instilling national pride.”

Here’s cheering on both Azkals and Jeepney teams in their respective fights for glory. I believe they will continue to bring pride to the country whatever the competition results may be.

I support OPM (Original Pilipino Music) and admire a lot of Filipino music artists especially those who not only can sing but also those who compose songs as well as play various instruments. 

Last April, I was invited by a friend to join them at the music video launching of a new artist. I had no idea what to expect but, music lover that I am, gamely went with them. I was glad I did because I found Somedaydream’s music really good. Here’s the link to that blog post here and another post here about the acoustic version of the song, Hey Daydreamer, and Somedaydream's t-shirt launching event at Astroplus.

The next time I saw Somedaydream perform again was during the Yahoo! OMG Awards press con last June. A few days after that, I was assigned by my editor to find a young celebrity to feature in CodeRED magazine (article to come out in September). So I arranged an interview with Rez Toledo and his manager Champ Lui Pio (former vocalist of Hale). Our chat turned out so well, I was also able to write two articles about Champ; one for CodeRED and another for MoneySense magazine (Champ’s feature can be found in the July-Aug 2011 issue with Christian Bautista on the cover).

Last month, Somedaydream’s second single entitled Delivery Boys started playing in various radio stations. I caught it once and loved the sound. It has a mix of English and Tagalog words and has an inspiring message that talks about happiness, joy, and love.

To set the record straight (since this blog has been getting hits for search keywords like “who is the vocalist of Somedaydream” and “who are the members of the band Somedaydream”) and help make it easier for some readers to understand, Somedaydream is a one-man electronic pop act a.k.a. Rez Toledo, a very talented 20-year-old Ateneo student. 

Rez released his 1st single "Hey Daydreamer" a few months ago which sky rocketed to number 1 on music channels and different radio stations. He is set to release the music video of his 2nd single "Delivery Boys" next week, Aug 28 (Sunday). I’m looking forward to watching the new MV especially after seeing the behind-the-scenes photos Champ sent me the other day. I've posted a few here but you can check out the rest of all those nice pics at this blog’s Facebook page.

*Somedaydream is managed by Mecca Music, an Indie Record Label which aims to uplift the local music industry by introducing new artists with a different sound.

After listening to mp3s and watching YouTube videos of Rex Navarrete for years, I finally got to hear the Fil-Am standup comedian deliver some hilarious lines live. The afternoon turned out to be such a fun one because Mike Unson was also there to make us laugh.

During the Q and A portion, press con attendees got to ask the two funny men a variety of questions. Here are some of their candid replies:

Rex on the most difficult audiences: “I’d like to always assume that every Filipino is gonna love every joke that I do and that’s not true. And I found that out the hard way, many times, over and over again. [But] I have non-Filipino [audiences] enjoying the entire routine and they’ll come up to me after the show and say ‘I love everything, I understood everything’. [However,] this is not the business to be in if you want everybody to be happy.”

Rex on pleasing other people: “I try to stick to what I like writing. It’s nice to say I’ve gone this far without having to compromise my material and my approach in the voices. I’ll only disappoint myself as well as my fans if I had to write according to someone else’s taste.”

Mike on making Korean jokes: “I taught in a Korean school so I make sure to mention that when there are Koreans around so they’ll realize I’m not just making fun of them but that I’m talking out of experience. If it’s funny, they don’t mind. If they don’t react, and if they’re Korean ladies, I just ask for their phone numbers.”

Rex on making time for his wife and kids: “When I’m not on the road, I’m home with my family. I’m just a full-time dad. I’m the yaya. We have an active household, just trying to raise kids, honestly.”

Mike on finding material: “I enjoy meeting people. Some of them end up being my friends. Some of them end up being [in my routines].”

Rex on conceptualizing acts: “I’ve always tried to keep it within boundaries and never cross the edge where I might offend a person personally. When I do the Manny routine, I’m only bringing up stuff that everyone already knows but I am making it my own and hopefully, maybe try different angles that no one else has thought of.”

Rex on getting feedback from Manny Pacquaio: “I’d like to, now that [the act] is 25 minutes long, sure! Verbal feedback would be better than physical feedback though. I’d like for him to sit in the audience. We’ve got 2 tickets waiting for Manny.”


1. Like the Write, Breathe, Live and Trails Unlimited pages on Facebook.

2. Attach the link of this blog post (http://mommywrites.blogspot.com/2011/08/one-night-only-rexresorts-world-manila.html) on your status message then write, “I’d like to win two tickets to Rex@ResortsWorld Manila via Write, Breathe, Live (tagged) and Trails Unlimited (tagged)!” [To tag the pages, just type "@" before each page name].

3. Make sure that your status message is set to be viewed by “Everyone” and not just “Friends Only” or “Friends of Friends”. Your post must appear in WBL’s and TU’s walls to qualify.

4. Deadline for posting of status messages will be at 12nn on Tuesday (Aug. 23). Two winners of two tickets each will be announced that night. Winners will be chosen via digital drawing using Random.org. I will PM you my mobile number so we can meet at Resorts World on Aug. 24 at least an hour before the show starts.

For more details about the show and to watch a clip of Rex’s hilariously famous Maritess vs. the Superfriends, please click here.

Edit: Aug. 23 -- Here are the names of winners for the tickets giveaway.  I have already PM'd you Ryan Vargas and Milcah Baluyot. Please confirm if you can make it tomorrow. See you at the show!

Thank you very much to the others who also joined! Please stay tuned for other contests coming up soon :)

Edit - June 7, 2012 -- Catch this year's rerun with these last remaining shows June 7 and 8 at 8pm, June 9 at 3:30pm and 8pm and June 10 at 3:30pm. Tickets at P1500, P1200, P1000 and P500. You won't regret seeing it!

Edit - Sept. 30: I watched Harana last night and was blown away by the wonderful production. Please read my review at HerWord.com and see why you HAVE to see it! Last three shows starting tonight.

I grew up in Laguna and learned to sing a lot of folk songs from my grandmother as well as from my elementary music teachers. Up to now, I still know the melodies and lyrics to many of those old tunes. 

I find it sad that majority of young people today seem only interested in listening to songs with English words and are sung by foreign artists. I am thankful that my kids at least appreciate modern OPM songs despite their lack of exposure to the Filipino music of my youth.

The reality is, young ones nowadays are no longer familiar with Harana, the traditional form of courtship where a man woos a woman’s affection through love songs. This practice was how a man would court a woman he fancies by tagging along other male friends and singing songs about love (Kundiman) while accompanied by his barkada’s back-up vocals and a guitar. Imagine the balcony scene between Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to get the picture then add some music.

Kundiman became a mainstream musical style until the late 60’s thanks to veteran performers Diomedes Maturan and Ruben Tagalog. However, when the newer music genres entered the scene, harana seemed to have become easily forgotten. 

Today, the young generation may no longer know the real essence of harana as far as Filipino folk traditions go. According to Karla Gutierrez, artistic director of the Philippine Opera Company, it is the reason why the POC is reviving this beautiful Filipino heritage.

Thus, for its 2011-2012 season, the POC will be presenting a newer and fresher version of harana through newer and fresher versions of immortal and classic Filipino songs that can be considered as one-of-a-kind and never seen performances by the Philippines’ foremost artists from the field of music.

The show, dubbed Ang Bagong Harana will integrate past, present, north, south, colonial, post-colonial experiences and put them into a revue where our whole souls will be the source of inspiration. The different suites (please click here for the lineup) shall mix old and new songs re-mixed, re-arranged and re-edited while talking about “who we are as a Filipino” and “where we have all come from”.

The creation of each Harana ‘suite’ is a product of thorough research with the commitment to preserve indigenous Philippine music and its appropriate dance and folklore.

Ang Bagong Harana will showcase the best of Filipino composers (Nicanor Abelardo, Ryan Cayabyab, Willy Cruz, Francisco Santiago, Antonio Molina, Resti Umali, George Canseco, Ernani Cuenco, Levi Celerio, Jose Estrella, Constancio De Guzman, Felipe de Leon, and more) from different music genres.

The show will also feature some of Philippine theater’s celebrated singers: Karla Gutierrez, Aizel Prietos, Charley Magalit, Janine Santos, Marian Santiago, Lawrence Jatayna, Jack Salud, Nazer Salcedo, Marvin Gayramon, Al Gatmaitan, Jurgen Unterberg and Floyd Tena. Visit my other blog to read the profile of each artist.

Ang Bagong Harana is a musical journey every Filipino must take and which all of us should be proud of. It’s a must-see production where old and young alike can rediscover our very own kundiman music. This will also serve as a musical treat for foreigners as an initial step to immerse themselves in a truly authentic Filipino music environment with the hope of making them understand our country’s cultural and musical heritage.

This production is moreover a tribute to the Filipino youth of today who have been drawn to Western influences. Perhaps, they can learn from the show the need to assert their own Filipino identity through the rich music heritage we have.

Ang Bagong Harana will have a limited run from September 29-October 1 at 8pm with matinee at 3:30 pm on October 1 at the Carlos P. Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati.

For tickets please call Philippine Opera Company at 881-7168 or 0917-5272880 or TicketWorld at 891-9999. You can also log on to www.philippineoperacompany.com and "Like" Harana on Facebook.

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