“BONIFACIO IN MY MIND” (my review notes on “bonifacio: isang sarsuwela” by philippine stagers foundation)


(photo gallery pictures taken by: Mr. Bourne Legacy)


“It’s not the loosing that mattered, but it’s how they fought back”.
by an anonymous old teacher in Philippine History.


Yes, Andres Bonifacio didn’t win in any battle he fought.
Yes, Andres Bonifacio died in a very shameful and bloody way.
And yes, Andres Bonifacio was never credited for all the sacrifices he did to FREE a nation.


But in the hearts of every Filipino man, Bonifacio was LOVED.


Because Bonifacio is the SYMBOL of every humble Filipino man. Who valued the lowly, the peasants, the poor, and the unprivileged.


Philippines, my country- ‘our’ country will always be the home of a gentle and poor family, no matter what.


Its people never valued the riches of material wealth, but it valued the beauty of a land and the love with their fellowmen. That is, the “essence” of the play Bonifacio: Isang Sarsuwela.


Another magnificent play from Philippine Stagers Foundation. This time, they presented a dark play, filled-in with a beautiful and lingering music, directed in a very careful manner and undaunted angst, and, greatly acted-out by an ensemble cast of the most precious and powerful set of young performers ever to grace the stage of the theater scene.


We predict, Atty. Vince Tanada would again be nominated, if not win, in the coming Aliw Awards for Theater for his very “ethereal-like” performance as Andres Bonifacio. In every scene, he encountered great acting challenges and demands, wowed the audience and offered a new dimension in seeing a hero more deeper and more “brain-shattering” this time around.

Did Bonifacio really choose to die to save a NATION?

He knew that he was not really safe there in Naic, Cavite when Aguinaldo invited him there. And he even convinced his most-trusted man and best friend Emilio Jacinto to leave him and go back to Manila. He knew something’s going to happen… For this blogger’s conclusion, he really chose to offer himself just to give his beloved country a CHANCE to live. And he chose to die.

That’s how great ‘one’  Bonifacio man could be.

One of the most powerful scenes in the play was when Emilio Jacinto (amazingly characterized and portrayed by no less than Mr. Patrick Libao) was crying upon learning of Bonifacio’s death. Together with Macario Sakay (acted-out with great “bloody passion” by Mr.  Chin Ortega), they both shouted, did hysterics,  knelt onstage and showed to the audience the greatest sad feeling of loosing a HERO. It was so heartfelt, so penetrating- it made us cry.

That was the July 13 performance of the play at SM North. A blogger watched it on its 5 P.M. show.
The audience was indeed full. Mostly students, teachers, fans and theater-lovers.

The costume design of Emy Tanada could bring you to the past. It’s very realistic, very ‘Filipino’-looking. It could really bring you back to this page in a history of the beloved Philippines back in your mind again. Just like Bonifacio in my mind.

Another great aspect of the play was the lighting of Art Gabrentina. It was experimented and blended in a very beautiful manner. Just the right tone and texture of light in every scene. It went bright only at the end of the play, ‘coz it’s where the triumph of Bonifacio was totally felt.

Jeff Ambrosio’s stage design was simple but perfect. This Bonifacio version of PSF’s play didn’t need fabulous stage props or sceneries at the back. It only needed one vision: the unison of the Katipuneros in every scene. And Mr. Ambrosio captured that feeling with his ‘minimalism’ touch.

Jordan Ladra as Emilio Aguinaldo took his role so calmly and efficiently. He was consistent in every scene, standing brave, confident and proud. A tantalizing vision onstage.

The choral ensemble cast of the Katipuneros stood-out. You couldn’t take your eyes-off on them. You’d keep on looking at them on every scene, almost empowering the male lead- Vince. They were all so GREAT. No one failed.

But Vince had its way of capturing your heart right there onstage. He could look at you straight in your eyes and would deliver a feeling. He could CONNECT. That’s why the supporting cast could never, and would never be AT PAR with his acting style.

A supporting player of PSF caught this blogger’s attention. His name was Rotsen D’Etolle. He’s among the loyal troopers of Aguinaldo who killed Bonifacio right there onstage. His emotions of acting-out his “killer-character” was so vivid, so haunting.

It’s the bloodiest and most violent play that this blogger had watched. Especially the death scene of Bonifacio. You could feel a ‘stabbing sensation’  when Vince Tanada (as Bonifacio) was being hacked and stabbed by knives by the evil men. He was in very great pain. And again, how could he so effectively portray it? Whew.

Among the women performers, it’s Ms. Jerie Sanchez’ performance as Melchora Aquino that ‘allured’ this blogger. The way she spoke her trembling lines, the way she moved in an elderly fashion, and the way she conveyed the sad emotions of an old ‘woman-hero’- was truly FELT.

As the blogger was walking away from the venue, he could still hear in his mind the beautiful music created by Pipo Cifra in this memorable play. It haunted him for nights, like an orchestra and a music created by angels that woke him up every morning. With that, we salute Mr. Cifra.



No other Philippine hero could have done a greater task. And every living Filipino man must remember the name Andres Bonifacio.



(written and words by robert manuguid silverio)



7 thoughts on ““BONIFACIO IN MY MIND” (my review notes on “bonifacio: isang sarsuwela” by philippine stagers foundation)

  1. Thanks a lot Robert for this beautiful review. You made us all proud of the project we worked hard for.

  2. Thumbs-up for this Blog and its contain. Your so intelligent, Sir. 🙂
    Bonifacio : Isang Sarsuela is one of my favorites play of my Idolized Theater Group, PSF 🙂 Im proud that im the one of the fans that watched it last July 13 =))) Hope to see you AGAIN, sir Robert! Godbless. ü

  3. I love this play…We, Adamsonians love it when the Philippine Stagers Foundation performed Bonifacio: Isang Sarswela in Adamson University. 🙂 This was “trending” for us for weeks. :)) Kudos to the Philippine Stagers Foundation and to sir Vince Tanada! Really did a great job. 🙂 Hope to see more. Thumbs up for this blog and its contents as well! I’ve been browsing lately. Loved it.

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