Many Filipino children who are born and raised here in Qatar have no direct exposure to the traditional Filipino lifestyle anymore. They remain classic images in the textbooks or contemporary literary pieces that they will encounter, most likely, online. Good thing, there are still school activities where Barong and Baro’t Saya are being introduced and used (mostly for cultural presentations and performances). But more than that, they may not be able to enjoy and capture a vivid experience of what the golden era of our ancestors really looks like.
AND THIS IS IT! In a rare opportunity for many of us here in Qatar, a home-grown group of theater actors and singers are set to stage an original Filipino musical play by National Artist Ryan Cayabyab. It is entitled ALIKABOK and was first performed by Rachel Alejandro in 1995 who took the lead role as Bising Vallejo.
Can you imagine watching Noli Me Tangere and El Filbusterismo live on stage? As the story happened in almost the same period, ALIKABOK The Musical will transform the audience some 100 years ago, in a small town of San Rafael, Bulacan during the Feast day of their patron saint. It revolves around the story of Bising Vallejo, whose memories were later discovered by her great-grandson upon his return to their ancestral house few years later, thus the title ALIKABOK.
Juan Luna’s classic painting entitled “La Bulaqueña,” hanging in Malacañang, was the inspiration for Alikabok. It is said that the young girl in baro’t saya so delicately depicted by Luna was in truth a Katipunera who lived in Bulacan. Alikabok relives her story, that of Bising Vallejo who lived with her widowed father in their ancestral home in San Rafael, Bulacan in 1895. She moved amid the splendor, gentility and political drama of the Philippines in the 1890s. Her story tells of her evolution into a brave and valiant revolutionary fighting for the country’s independence against her father’s wishes; of her love for Ignacio and their love child. All this is discovered by Greg, her great grandson, and his wife Anna who find her diary in the now rundown and dilapidated Vallejo house. Alikabok is an experience to enjoy with Bising throughout this one-and-half-hour love story.
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WHAT A JOURNEY IT HAS BEEN…
The Doha-based Filipino theatre group – Tanghalang Overseas Pinoy, popularly known as TOPi can always be seen performing in many cultural events around Qatar. Since its inception 14 years ago (with reference from old news articles), “TOPi has been presenting shows comprising mostly Filipino musicals to bring Filipinos in Qatar closer to their country”, and at the same time, presenting our culture and talents to both the locals and expats here.
It was a challenge for the group to produce this dream project, which took a lot of detours, but never an inch of surrender. Over the years, they managed to capitalize on their creativity and ingenuity to sustain their vision to create a group of passionate people who love to entertain via musical performances.
AFTER FOUR YEARS!
And on November 29 and December 6, 2019, the curtain will finally open for TOPi’s masterpiece project. ALIKABOK will be performed live on November 29 (Friday) and December 6 (Friday) at Qatar Academy Auditorium in Qatar Foundation after a long wait and preparation. Each play date will have a matinee and gala performances at 3pm and 7pm respectively.
With what they have been through… and the bright future that lies ahead, TOPi hopes to get the support of the entire Filipino community for this amazing show. Let’s dust it off (ALIKABOK) and let the whole world see our colorful history thru this beautiful musical play.
For ticket inquiries, contact TOPi on Facebook or any of their members.
Location link: https://goo.gl/maps/pGu3ppwUia9qQz3m6
I'm a Christian, a husband and a father, a Filipino expat in Qatar, entrepreneur, aspiring blogger, freelance real estate consultant, lover of anything KOREAN, an adventurer.