"Pagpasensiyahan niyo na, di po ako sanay mag-Ingles, PETA kasi ako," a smiling Soxie Topacio told the crowd of dignitaries and guests during the concert of the most unforgettable plays of the Philippine Educational Theater Association. A majority of the audience wildly applauded the director's candor that encapsulates the PETA experience. No other organization has produced more plays and productions based on Filipino.
Apart from the concert, PETA recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with the unveiling of the mural titled Ang Baraha ng Buhay 1967-2007. A book chronicling the history of the theater company was also launched, A Continuing Narrative on Philippine Theater: The Story of PETA. Brenda Fajardo led fellow artists Noel Cuizon, Iggy Rodriguez, Karen Flores and Max Santiago in the concept and design celebrating the continuing journey of PETA since 1967. The mural was made possible through the generous support of the Mayor Sonny Belmonte.
"This book has finally come to life thanks to the Toyota Foundation. They showed boundless patience, which took ten years. Our story is entwined with the artistic community, grass roots organizations, many corporations like PLDT and SMART. Even students and leaders both local and from different countries have been part of our history. We thank you," said PETA president Cecilia B. Garrucho.
In the May 30 event, she gave the first editions to the significant personalities that help shaped the organization: Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, the founder of PETA; Ramon Del Rosario Jr., chairman of the Board of Trustees; Dr. Alejandro Roces, representative of the late Teodoro "Doroy" Valencia who helped fund the many projects of PETA during its early years; and Anj Heruela of the Metropolitan Teen Theater League.
PETA started the practice of creating and performing plays in Filipino. A solid record of some 400 plays written, translated, adapted, published, and performed shaped the company's and the country's theater history.
This 40-year-old theater group is now based at the PETA Theater Center at 5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, Quezon City. For inquiries, please call Tel. Nos. 725-6244 or 722-6911.