Gantimpala's "Ibong Adarna" opens on September 16 at Rizal Park

by Alwyn Ignacio
Sep 14, 2007
The one bird that lures them all, Ibong Adarna (Mathew Manalaysay, leftmost) with the princes of Berbanya (L-R) Don Juan (Noel Escondo), Don Diego (Arkin Da Silva) and Don Pedro (Roeder Camañag).

A nightmare that causes a monarch's slow death, royal brothers scheming the demise of their youngest kin, a mystical princess from a faraway land made of crystals, and a mythical bird whose singing lures its captors to sleep—all these elements and more are in Ibong Adarna, the third major production offering of Gantimpala Theater as the celebration of its much heralded pearl anniversary continues.

Under the direction of Roobak Valle (who also serves as its production designer), this Filipino corrido made into a play appropriates the rich, colorful pageantry of the Maranao culture along with an enchanting setting complete with glittering costumes, fabulous scenery, spirited performers, and fantastic choreography.

The original tale of Ibong Adarna is a popular folk tale all over the Philippines and told vocally probably centuries before it was anonymously printed in Tagalog in the 1860s. This story of three brothers, Prince Pedro, Diego and Juan, have been tasked to capture the supernatural bird to cure their king father's illness. The one who brings home the bird becomes the heir to the throne

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The Gantimpala Actors Company performs with Noel Escondo (Don Juan); Arkin Da Silva (Don Diego); Roeder Camañag (Don Pedro); Kimberly Diaz (Maraya/Maria Blanca); Joey de Guzman (Ermitanyo); James Eustaquio (Haring Fernando); Pamela Hundana (Reyna Valeriana); Billy Parjan (Manggagamot); and Mathew Manalaysay (Ibong Adarna).

This pearl offering also serves as a tribute to the late National Artist for Dance Ramon Obusan as the dances of the cultural communities of Mindanao that the late master of the dance arts researched and propagated are incorporated as play highlights.

The amazing adventures of Don Juan and the legendary Ibong Adarna lives anew with Rene Villanueva (playwright); Andy Villareal (lighting designer); Raul Nepomuceno Jr., (choreographer); Charyl Chan-de Guzman (production manager); Joey David (stage manager) and Tony S. Espejo (artistic director).

The National Parks Development Committee and Gantimpala Theater are partners in promoting Philippine arts and culture. As Luneta Park's resident theater-company, Gantimpala plays and other special cultural events are shown free during Concert at the Park, a weekly arts and culture show produced by NPDC, which aims to propagate and bring arts to the masses.

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Performances are on September 16 (7 p.m., Concert at the Park Open-Air Auditorium, Luneta, Manila); September 21-23, 28-30, (10 am/2 pm, AFP Theater, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City).

For bookings and ticket reservations, please call the Gantimpala Theater at 899-5745 and 896-3503 or write to

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The one bird that lures them all, Ibong Adarna (Mathew Manalaysay, leftmost) with the princes of Berbanya (L-R) Don Juan (Noel Escondo), Don Diego (Arkin Da Silva) and Don Pedro (Roeder Camañag).
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