Thursday, 16 March 2017

Rewriting Family History

This short article is dedicated to Tito Mirlo Pansacola, who during our first meeting in Cubao probably 20 years ago already intrigued me about the colorful history of our family, Rest in Peace Tito.. Tita Eden Almirez, whose scholarly work amazes me as she pointed out the small bits and pieces I was able to use as a jump-off point for my research.. Brother Guiseppe Magliozzi, OH who was kind enough to share his life's work to us.. "Nanay" (Lola Milagros), whose keeping of family documents and engaging me in stories as a young boy led me to become more inquisitive.. Mama Lynn, who also fueled the fire for me to ask questions and learn.. and my family who listens to my stories and breakthroughs no matter how boring it might have been for them. hehe. :)

Re-writing Family History :

View of the Mauban Poblacion in 1920. Photo from the Collection of Tita Eden C. Almirez

As a child, I was told of the same story that all of us in the Pansacola family would have heard as well. The History of our family is well-documented because of the purchase of Cagbalete Island that has now become one of the top destinations in the province. Our History begins with the 4 Pansacola brothers Benedicto, Eustaquio, Jose and 
Fr Manuel who was a priest. The family was originally from San Rafael Bulacan. Father Manuel was appointed to Mauban and he saw how beautiful the place was and invited his brothers to live with him there. The 3 other brothers eventually married into the locals and in 1859 sought to purchase the island of Cagbalete from Spain.

This same information with varying inconsistencies can be found in a series of short histories per barangay of Mauban that were compiled by the Department of Education in 1954.

The Cagbalete Primero history by Vicenta F. Pansacola mentions that it was Benedicto and Jose who drew  the plans of buying the island and later divulged their plans to the 2 younger brothers Eustaquio and Rev. Manuel Pansacola Peña.

The Cagbalete Segundo history by Ernesto D. Garcia offers a different story that in 1879 the parochial priest Manuel Panzacola, who was a spanish priest that came to love Mauban as his residential home, bought the island from the province of Tayabas. He was benevolent to his 3 brothers and had the property split into 4 so they could all have a share of the island.

Two conflicting histories.. written around the same time.. published in the same compilation. Even then, with some of the original heirs still living, they were already confused.

I was also able to read one of Tito Mirlo's last research papers that was circulated during the 150th year celebration of the island's purchase last year. It details how the Pansacola brothers left Avila, Spain and followed their brother Father Manuel (Pansacola) Peña (who was designated as the Parish Priest of Baliuag, Bulacan) to the Philippines. It also talks about how the Pansacolas were invited to live in Mauban by another Spanish family, the Santayanas.

Seeing another story unfold, reminded me of that little tidbit that I took a mental note of while studying the original deed of sale of the Island..

It begins :
The "First" Document executed by the Pansacola Brothers

"We, Don Benedicto Panzacola and brothers, natives of Mauban province of Tayabas, spontaneously and of our own free will...."

I remember making a mental note of this line and how the brothers referred to themselves as "Natives of Mauban". The exact words used in the document was "naturales de Mauban, Provincia de Tayabas" and in the Spanish context means "naturally from Mauban" or "native of Mauban" (as the translator preferred). I asked myself if they were indeed directly from Spain, they would have described themselves differently. This became the jump-off point of my research.

Researching about the 3 other brothers hit walls for me. I hope my meeting Ino Manalo of the National Archives in Villa Escudero would bring my research more success, but as of the moment, I have not yet exhausted a trip there yet. That will probably help me in the development of this story.

Fra Manuel Peña, from the Iral family of San Rafael Bulacan
I decided to focus on Fr. Manuel Peña who because of his position promised more hits. Late last year I was able to confirm a family myth and met a branch of the family that was largely unknown to us. Father Manuel, fathered children both in Mauban and in San Rafael, Bulacan. I was privileged to have met Tita Josefina Iral who is a 3rd generation descendant of Fr. Manuel's only daughter in San Rafael, Cosma Irasusta Pansacola who married an Iral. Details on that though would be good for another entry. So driven with the fuel of finding the Irals, I asked more questions and sought more answers.

Photo from the History of the Brothers of San Juan de Dios as shown to me by Tita Eden

Also worth noting is that Tita Eden showed me a pamphlet detailing the history of the order of San Juan de Dios in the Philippines that mentioned Manuel Pena as the "Superior" in Cavite by the 1860's, he was recorded to have exchanged correspondence with Saint Benedicto Menni.

San Benedeto Menni
Father Manuel who carried the last name Peña was a priest of the Order of San Juan de Dios as mentioned in the 2nd deed of sale of the island executed in 1868. I realized that if he was indeed from Spain, as the latest finding of Tito Mirlo proposed, the archives of San Juan de Dios should have details of embarkation from point of origin to destination. I sent emails to the different offices of the Hospitalier brothers of St John of God located in Italy, Avila, Barcelona and all other European chapters asking for details about Fr Manuel who was the Philippine Superior at one time.

2 weeks later, I received a reply from Bro Guiseppe Magliozzi, OH who was a historian of the San Juan de Dios brothers and was stationed here in Manila. My email was forwarded to him by the Office from Aragon, Spain.

Bro Giuseppe's Reply to my email

I was ecstatic after receiving his reply. It was another breakthrough for our history as a family. So it proves that Fra Manuel was indeed a native of Mauban! I will quote from the article he sent which is in Italian. (Thank God for last year's trip to Rome. See how God works in mysterious ways? But thank you to Google Translate too.)

" l’Infermiere Maggiore del Reparto Prigionieri, fra Manuel Peña, filippino di 44 anni, nativo di Mauban (Tayabas)"
  - From the Archives of Granada. A list of all San Juan de Dios Personnel in 
Intramuros by June 14, 1864 

translation :
The Chief Nurse, Department of Prisoners, Manuel Peña, Filipino, 44-years-old native of Mauban (Tayabas)

The article also talks about the massacre of Hermano Pule in November 4, 1841 and how it must have been brave for Manuel to journey to Intramuros to join the Orden knowing that ever since Hermano Pule, the Spaniards did not think too well of people from Tayabas. It also notes that Manuel traveled to Manila with 8 other Maubanins including the oblate Francisco Victorino.

Hermano Pule outside the Hospital of San Juan de Dios in Intramuros, painted by Eladio Santos, file from Bro Giuseppe Magliozzi, OH
Other questions I sought answers for :

1.) Was Manuel a priest?
The signatures of the Pansacola Brothers on the "2nd" Document
- Based on the 2nd document where we see his signature as Fr. Manuel Pena, he means Fra which translates to "Brother". The reply I got from the Order of St John of God was that he is registered as Brother Manuel Peña and as a Brother, he uses his talents to build up the Church of God, not necessarily by administering the sacraments but in this case, by being a hospitaller.

"as a Solemn Professed – in Spanish “Fray” – with a permanent engagement through a public Solemn Profession of the Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience (and some other additional Vow, according to the specific charism of the Order. For example, the Hospitaller Brothers have an additional Vow of Hospitality, obliging them to the care of the sick and the poor), bounding the person to observe those Vows until death."
-quoted from the article of Bro Giuseppe Magliozzi, OH
2.) Why did he use Peña as his last name and not Pansacola?
-At first I thought he might have been illegitimate but then a friend mentioned that there is such a thing as an RO name, or a name given to you while you're part of the Religious Order. This might be the reason why Manuel used Peña while some of his children still retained the surname "Pansacola". Andang Cosma from San Rafael Bulacan carried the last name Pansacola. Having the last name Peña, which translates to "Pain" can be an adjective of what Fra Manuel emulates, the suffering of Christ.

Tita Josefina Iral of San Rafael Bulacan holding a photo of Fra Manuel and Andang Cosma

3.) When was Fra Manuel Born?
- From the data gathered from the Orden, if by 1864 Fra Manuel was already 44 years old, that would mean he was born sometime around 1820 in Mauban and joined the order after Hermano Pule was killed in 1841. He died sometime after his last letter to Saint Menni which was sent on December 23, 1887.

Fra Manuel plays an important role in the History of the brothers of San Juan de Dios here in the Philippines as he is the last Superior of that era and was recorded to have pushed for reinforcements from Spain so that the Orden would be better established. He sent his requests and was in correspondence with a Saint no less. Imagine that. With his death, came the death of the Philippine Chapter.

Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos as photographed by Jose Benigno Salvador of Bulacan
 From this development, we can then move on to find out more about our family. Who were the parents of the 4 enterprising brothers? From the looks of it, the family was also affected by the Claveria decree of standardizing the Filipino family names from a Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos, and that's probably the main reason why our family history begins from the 4 Pansacola brothers. Why? Their parents carried a different last name and thats why we're having a hard time locating them. We have to dig further and turn more rocks to find out. :)

So it's final. Fra Manuel Peña, born around 1820 at the town of Mauban in the Province of Tayabas was a Filipino who championed the order of the Brothers of San Juan de Dios until his death in 1888. From this we can infer that, Don Benedicto, Jose and Eustaquio were also Filipinos, natives of Mauban, Tayabas.

More Discoveries! :)

Tuesday, 21 April 2015


Cagbalete Island has currently been featured amongst the Best Unspoiled Beaches in the Philippines and here are 5 Reasons why you should consider Cagbalete Island as your next Beach Destination.


Arriving in Nilandingan Cove via the Chillest Boat Ride Ever!
Getting to Cagbalete Island is by Boat. Yep, the boat with Bamboo Floaters on the side and not Ferries or those fancy speedboats you find in other more well-known islands. So much luxury and ease but where's the fun in that right? The Boatride to Cagbalete is more primitive yet safe as well. I have been traveling to and from the Island ever since the 1980's and I have yet to experience a totally unsafe boatride. Riding with the waves is so much fun! A little saltwater sprinkle that will make you and your friends shout for joy is part of the fun. We are after all off to a Beach right? It's nature Cagbalete Island-goers want and its Nature they get. :)


Visit pools that vary in size during lowtide and float around or observe the sealife
What really sets Cagbalete Island apart from other Island beaches in the country is the evident play of tides. When you say low tide, the water recedes to as far as 1km on some points and leaves the exposed seabed. How low the tide can get is dependent on the type of moon we have. There are times called "tag-gilaw" when the water does not completely empty but it becomes very peaceful and still. When the moon is full, the water is at its lowest. I enjoy my time in this 4-6 hours everyday by going around and turning some rocks over revealing the different types of marine life left by the sea. Sea cucumbers (ti** ng Kabayo in the local dialect), small fishes, starfishes, brittlestars, small crabs, sea urchins and the occasional baby octopuses and  small sting rays can be seen.


Freshly caught Sunno Lapu-Lapu and Squid. Perfect for that Beach Lunch.
With the rich Lamon Bay as its home, Cagbalete Island is your seafood lover's paradise. Different types of squid and cuttlefish abound as well as fishes and crustaceans. Buy direct from the fishermen with their catch from early morning fishing. Crabs as big as 2 kilos each are caught in the rocky mangrove areas.


With no electricity and not much connection to the mainland, Cagbalete's places to see and visit are all gifts from nature. Here are some of the natural attractions you must visit.

a.) Yang-In
The vast expanse of exposed white sand during lowtide called Yang-In, courtesy of Villa Pilarosa's facebook page
A large expanse of pure creamy white seabed that becomes a sandbar during lowtide. Easily accessible by Villa Pilarosa in Cagbalete Dos.

b.) Rio de San Jose
Entering the Rio de San Jose which is a river bounded by Mangrove Forests on both sides.
The closest thing the island has to a real river. With Mangrove trees to the left and right, this used to be the habitat of the saltwater crocodile that inhabited the island before. Sadly (or happily) the crocodiles were poached to extinction for their leather in the latter part of the century. Some areas in the river form part of the Nilandingan Cove property.

c.) Dasi or "Bonsai Island"
The Bonsais of Bonsai Island. Photo courtesy of Discover Villa Cleofas facebook page

Three Bonsai'd Mangrove Trees in the middle of the ocean. During lowtide though, a mini island emerges with nooks and crannies worth exploring. Villa Cleofas is the best jump-off point to this area and is credited to have christened it as the now more well-known name of "Bonsai Island".

d.) Natural lowtide Jacuzzis
Fancy a dip during lowtide and just basking under the sun? Photo courtesy of Pareissa Moini
For those who would find it too tiring to walk far out to the sea during lowtide. These natural pools left as the water receded, are cooling and fun. Lounge around with some small fishes trapped inside and watch them swim around you. A unique feature of Nilandingan Cove.

e.) Paet
Paet. Imagine crossing this during high tide for an adventure. Be careful of the current though. Photo courtesy of Deo Vito uploaded at the MVT Sto Nino facebook page.

A saltwater mini-river that's one of the island's best swimming spots especially during lowtide. Best accessed through MVT Sto Nino.

f.)  The "Magic" Tree
Nilandingan Cove's "Magic Tree". Make a wish?
One of the most pictured spots in the island, It's a lone tree that stands apart from the rest of the Mangrove Forest that separates Nilandingan Cove from the rest of the Eastern long beach. The emptied out center of the tree was said to be an entry point to another dimension. The Tree is one of Nilandingan Cove's main destinations.

g.) Nakahigang Balete 
Nakahigang Balete Beauty. Photo by Jan Degollado.
Imagine Pocahontas' Grandmother Willow in the flesh. A leaning Balete Tree in the middle of a forest complete with large roots that makes it look like a mini-cathedral. During rainy season, the area around the tree is submerged in knee-high water. Also part of Nilandingan Cove.

h.) Bulas
Bulas emptying out into the sea. Nice place for that cold dip or just floating around.
One of my secret spots to swim in when its lowtide. The place is so quiet, with the cold rushing stream that you feel like a fairy will come out anytime. This is the area where another mini saltwater river empties out into the ocean. This is also one of the areas you can visit while in Nilandingan Cove. Lord of the Rings much?

i.) "Buntis" or Gabriel's Point

The Ridge called "Buntis" on the Northernmost part of the Island. Photo courtesy of Kuya Gusting Cuanan
Cagbalete Island's main picnic spot before. Buntis is a large rock in the northern part of the island with a ridge-type area that looks like tectonic plates. When the waves hit the rocks, the water sprays tree-high. I haven't really swam here, but locals say that its a deep drop and they also tell of an underwater cave in this area.


Beautiful Sunrise captured at Nilandingan Cove. Photo by Jan Degollado

Nuff said. Not much words. Just the beauty of the rising sun. :)

Make sure to cover these 5 Reasons to make the most out of your Cagbalete Adventure!

Because Life is DEFINITELY Better at the Beach! See you in Cagbalete!

Photo Credits mentioned to Jan Degollado, Deo Vito and the MVT Sto Nino fanpage, Tita Cynthia Almirez and the Villa Pilarosa fanpage, Tito Tonet Reyeg and the Discover Villa Cleofas fanpage, Kuya Gusting Cuanan and Pareissa Moini. Thank you!

Thursday, 26 March 2015


Aerial View of Cagbalete Island from Nilandingan Cove by JJ Maghirang


 Cagbalete island is a 1,640 hectare property inside the vicinity of Lamon Bay. 

....And I'm sure you've already read about this and other facts about the island from various blog posts and Wikipedia. You've also probably heard about Cagbalete Island one way or another. May it be a blog post, an ad you saw on facebook, casual mentions or a friend who has actually been to the island and back. I have been going to the island as a kid and have called it Home for about 3 years straight. Living on the island like a local and exploring what it has to offer made me forget the comforts of urban living. With the influx of tourists to Cagbalete, I've been thinking of making the ultimate guide, the road less traveled, the off-beaten path so to speak. I'll take you on a journey so that you would get to appreciate the Real Cagbalete. It's not just the shift of tides that make it special. The History of the island, the Flora, the Fauna and the People all contribute to the distinct charm that sets Cagbalete apart from the other island destinations in the country.

Cagbalete Island from a Distance (shot from Cagsiay I)

And so we begin..

The 1868 document that shows the signatures of Don Benedicto, Don Jose and Father Manuel

History :

In 1859, 3 enterprising brothers, Don Benedicto, Don Jose and Fray Manuel Pena (a priest of San Juan de Dios Hospital, mentioned in the 1868 document) decided to purchase Cagbalete Island from the Spanish Government. Through research by the family Historian, Tito Mirlo Pansacola, it was found out that the Pansacolas were actually descended from the Native American Indians that populated the Northwest Coast of Florida (Ever heard of Pensacola Bay?) and that they found themselves in the Philippines through the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade route. They were of direct Spanish descent and this was where the special privilege accorded them to be able to purchase land from the "la Reyna de Espana" came from. 

A Supreme Court document in the 1950's stated that the contract to purchase the island was signed in San Rafael, Bulacan leading some to surmise that the family was indeed from there and settled in Mauban after. But I was able to browse through the documents mentioned and saw that the English Translation of the 1859 document began with the Brothers stating that they were in fact Natives of Mauban in the Province of Tayabas (the old name of Quezon Province) and that the document was signed before a certain "Don Rafael". This might be where the confusion came from, whether the 3 letters before Rafael were actually Don or San.

In 1868, the 3 brothers decided to include as heirs the children of their deceased brother Don Eustaquio who lived in the posh districts of Manila (Ermita/Malate). The island of Cagbalete was divided into 4 equal shares. 1/4 of each share to each brother. For those wondering what happened to the 1/4 share of Fr. Manuel, who inherited it? Interesting to mention that he actually had heirs (6 in fact with 5 different surnames) and it was discovered that he was their Father. He even had a child that, like Jose Rizal, was exiled by the Spanish to Cagayan de Oro for being an "ereje". Fr. Manuel was actually a good provider and ensured that his children had a living. Talk about a very colorful family history diba? For the Ateneans, did you know that the great historian Fr. Horacio dela Costa (Yes, the building that houses the Dept. of Social Sciences and the road in Makati) also came from the Pansacola line? He even left a property in Cagbalete Dos to the Jesuit Congregation.

The 1868 document mentioned that the brothers had already paid the price decided upon by the high tribunal in the amount of 125 Pesos. Yes you read that right, P125, which was quite a sum of money at that time. Talk of inflation, what could buy us a Big Mac meal nowadays was enough to purchase an entire island in the 1850's. This also put in the sharing of work by the brothers. Don Benedicto will be in charge of bringing in animals and clearing/cultivating the island, Don Jose will be filing the application of purchasing the island while the nieces and nephews will share in the cost of purchase.

Though the intent to buy the island was first expressed in a document executed in 1859, the 1868 document provided a date as to when the Brothers first exercised their possession of the island. The date mentioned was August 11, 1866 which makes next year special being the 150th year that the island has been under the Pansacola family. Yeay, looks like a special celebration or a mass must be at least held to honor this special day. Imagine how hard it was for the Pansacolas to journey to Cagbalete without the luxury of motorized boats. Tito Mirlo said that they used large sailboats to go to the island. The trip would normally take weeks as from Mauban, the boat would then be blown towards the town of Perez in the island of Alabat (main reason why the Pansacolas also own tracts of land in Perez), and then the winds would blow again and bring the boat to the area occupied now by the Quezon Power Plant (Barangay Cagsiay I) and lastly the winds would bring them to the area near present day Sabang and/or Daungan (inside the San Jose river) which at that time was teeming with saltwater crocodiles. Now that's the REAL Adventure.
My Great Grandmother Milagros and her husband, Leonila Villabona's heir, Dr. Bautista del Banco
My great grandmother, Milagros and my Lola, Lynnette during her debut at the Wack Wack Country Club
On our side of the family, Don Benedicto Pansacola had only 1 daughter named Atanacia who married a Villabona. Atanacia had 2 daughters, Leonila and Maria. Leonila married Don Remigio del Banco who became one of the first Mayors of Mauban at the turn of the century. (His portrait still hangs in the Mauban Municipal Hall) Leonila is the great great grandmother of my Lola, Lynnette del Banco who owns one of the newest resorts in the island, Nilandingan Cove. Maria Villabona married Don Silverio Taino (of Pagsanjan, Laguna descent and later also became Mayor of Mauban) and they had 7 children, some whose names are now immortalized in the names of Resorts, Choleng (Dona Choleng Camping Resort), Noe (Villa Noe), Joven (Joven's Blue Sea) and Cleofas (Villa Cleofas).

Now, the island has been easily divided into 2 Barangays, Cagbalete Uno and Dos. Cagbalete Uno has the properties of Don Benedicto and Don Eustaquio while Cagbalete Dos has the properties of Don Jose and Fr. Manuel. Most of the resorts are found in Cagbalete Uno though there are also Interesting areas in Cagbalete Dos which I hope to also include in this Guide.

A local, "Jerrick", playing his makeshift toy boat during lowtide in Nilandingan Cove

(Part 2 : be continued)

Sunday, 16 September 2012


The Battalia Royale Survival Kit (Sold at the Venue for only P100)


Okay, I'm having trouble trying to write this entry because I don't know where to start. There are so many things to say and the hoopla has not yet subsided. I'm on an Artistic High, A Creative Orgasm so to speak. All this because of 2 words, Battalia Royale.

All of us have watched plays i presume. In a regular play, we (the audience) sit down and wait for the curtains to come up. We clap at every dimming of the lights and watch as the actors move around their own world apart from us, and see scenes happening at the play's own time. Some scenes might be happening at the same time but for the sake of presenting a chronological timetable based on importance, we figure that they must be happening right after the other. Imagine all of this go to nill, nada, wala. Imagine yourself thrust inside a movie, as if you're not just watching but a part of the story. You're a Ghost, a floating persona inside their world but in another dimension. You can see them but they can't see you. Run.

The Lobby. Get your tickets validated here. Walk-ins also bought here
The story is about a class of 4th year High School students from a fictional school (Our Lady of Guadalupe High School, Manila) who thought they were going on a field trip, but was sedated on the way and was diverted to an arena where they will be forced to kill or be killed in 8 hours. A plot we are all familiar with because of Suzanne Collins' (Hunger Games) toned down version of Koushun Takami's Battle Royale. In these 8 hours, you have the people who decide to take the game seriously and play it, and those who decide to just wait it out. I will not talk much about the plot because I want my readers to go experience it themselves.

Earlier this year they staged it at the abandoned Victoria School in Cubao and the CCP. This week's production was held at the Museo Pambata and your stage is the whole area. A lot of things are happening at the same time and there are times that you get to choose which story you would like to follow. It's like a choose your own adventure book but it all leads to one ending. Brilliant!

In marketing, we have something which we call IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications) wherein all marketing communication tools you have are married to speak a single thought. From tv to posters to new media (website/facebook). I especially liked that the people behind it thought about doing an IMC by bringing these characters to life via facebook. You have to check out the Battalia Royale facebook page, and the School page so you can check out all the characters' individual pages. This will prepare you and give you a backgrounder on the different personalities involved before you even meet them. Genius, just plain Genius.

As an actor myself, I know the process that goes through these productions and I am amazed at the talent we have in this particular one. The scenes were all so seamless. Everything was so natural, you see it in how they speak, you see it in their movement, you see it in their eyes. Their soul radiates the character and you can see that at that particular point in time, they aren't actors but the characters themselves. Sometimes the acting space is so limited that you will be forced to have a fight scene inches away from the people sitting down or standing up watching. You have the random jaunts here and there but the actors just keep on going. They are in their zone, their own dimension that you can't take that moment away from them. WOW. I saw noone drop his or her character and that was just amazing. Even if the spotlight wasn't on them, even if there was a particular bigger scene happening somewhere else, when you glance by their direction they are still playing out their role. This just shows how strong their train of thought is, the thread that connects their whole character throughout the entire play is that solid and well-constructed. The show is unbelievable that it's as if there was no script at all, the feeling and the illusion of REALITY was great. The lines were well delivered and were said from the heart. Okay I'm rambling now.

One other aspect that I was utterly happy and proud of was that these guys really lived by the #1 rule in Theater. "THE SHOW MUST GO ON!". The rain was pouring and these guys were all drenched and really wet but that did not change how they played their roles. The dead people were bathing in puddles of water (some for 10 minutes) and the live ones just pulled out some rain coats that blended with the scene. The marshalls were all doing their jobs well, add to that the magnificent scoring by The Radioactive Sago Project. How could anything appear to be going wrong? Even though the weather was obviously not cooperating, the audience didn't feel that. The rain even contributed in the total atmosphere and ambiance of the scenes. It gave Battalia a different feel that night.

I just deleted the part where I try to commend the actors playing their parts cause I realized that I couldn't single out just a few. Everyone was Excellent in their portrayal to say the least. From the guys trying to short-circuit their collars, to Jessica and the Band of Girls (and some guys) who grouped together in a shelter, to Basti and his group of bad girls, Rhae and crazy Calibugan guy, The poor girls murdered because of Justin Bieber, The guy the audience killed, Ina and Cai, Cai and Victor. Victor and Kalil. Wow. The list just goes on and on and on. All scenes were great. I seriously enjoyed watching and was really surprised at everything.

BRAVO! BRAVA! From the Writers to the Directors, to the Production team, Cast and Crew, This whole production was revolutionary, innovative and refreshing. With this group of people, I can safely say that the Arts (Even if it lacks Governmental support) is going strong. We have to support these productions and individuals because they are the future of Theater in our country. And it looks like we have a BRIGHT FUTURE ahead of us.

Congratulations Sipat Lawin Ensemble! Maraming Salamat at muli niyo na namang binuhay ang hilig at dugo ko sa Teatro. In my own humble opinion, your group deserves the ticket prices offered by "The Phantom of the Opera" because as their production has more machineries into it, yours has more Heart. And every theater play/production always has just one goal.. and that is to tell a story. Whether by musical form or a straight play, a performance is judged by how well you sent the message across. And your play, your script, your acting did the job Extremely Well.

To all the people, friends or random blog-hoppers who come across this page, I ask you, No. I implore you to spend time in watching this production of Battalia Royale. This will be the best P350/P450
you will ever spend. It is a quorum of the country's youngest and freshest thespians who will give you a show that you will remember. Because this isn't just a show, this is an Experience. I'll see you in the next production because seriously.. I'm now a FAN. Bite me.

Please visit these pages to learn more and to get tickets for Battalia Royale :

Battalia Royale Fanpage
Our Lady of Guadalupe High School Fanpage 
Sipat Lawin Ensemble Fanpage 

Tangkilikin natin ang mga Produksyong Filipino. Wag Maging Dayuhan sa Sariling Bayan! (Don't be a stranger in your own Country!)

Getting Ready for the Experience. Picture-taking during the play isn't allowed. The production is Underground and they plan to stay there. Post and be Hunted down.

Francis Ong is a Search for a Star in a Million II Grand-finalist as well as a Pinoy Pop Superstar contender. He owes his love for theater to his High School drama club director Ms Ginny Natividad of La Salle Green Hills' Cue drama club. He has trained under the tutelage of Ms Ginny Natividad, Lionel Guico, Freddie Santos, Soxie Topacio, Tony Espejo and Vince Tanada. He has been nominated twice in the Aliw Awards for Best Stage Actor in a Musical Category for his role as Matsing in "Ang Pagong at Ang Matsing" (2008) and for his role as "Prince Frederick" in "Cinderella-The Musical" (2009). He is now taking a sabbatical from the stage as he pursues a career in Marketing. Francis Ong is currently a Sabungero and a proud member of the audience.