Gantimpala Theater Foundation’s 38th Season opener: “FLORANTE AT LAURA”



Gantimpala Theater Foundation’s 38th Season opener
directed by Roeder Camañag
at the AFP Theater, Camp Aguinaldo, QC.

“A classic Pinoy novel by Francisco Balagtas, this version written by Bonifacio Ilagan shall use the theater form of the ‘komedya’ to make it more suitable to the H.S. students”

(press release below on “Florante at Laura”, written by mr. joselito ‘toots’ tolentino).*

Gantimpala Theater Foundation Inc. proudly presents its 38th season opening production Francisco Balagtas’ “FLORANTE AT LAURA” — one of the most enduring Filipino literary masterpieces described by many as a poetic art that examines the nature of justice, truth and commitment to fairness, written into a play by award-winning and respected playwright Boni Ilagan, with multi-awarded actor, Roeder Camañag as its director.The famous Filipino love story uses the theater form of the ‘komedya’ complete with its majestic marches and grand batalia. See how the love of florante, laura, Aladin and Flerida conqyered the warring Moors and Christians.“Boni Ilagan wrote such a superb script!” exclaims director Camañag. “His interpretation of the classic focuses on the many facets of love — from its purest form to its most corrupted version. His understanding of Balagtas’ words allows audiences the opportunities to witness Florante’s encounters with love — his love for knowledge, his love for his parents, his brotherly love for his best friend Minandro, his romantic love for Laura, his love for his enemies, and ultimately, the love for his country and the Higher Cause.”

“We are highlighting the beauty of the language and the elements of komedya,” he continues. “What we give the public now is a tribute to Florante and Laura, as literary characters, a tribute to Francisco Balagtas and his mastery of the Tagalog language, and a tribute to the komedya, which is a true Filipino theater form.

Portraying the lead roles of FLORANTE AT LAURA 2015 are Paul Jake Paule (Florante), Ellrica Laguardia (Laura), Ace Urieta (Adolfo), Jefrey Carpio (Aladin), and Sharlene Rivera and Ira Ruzz (Flerida).

Majority of my cast are members of Gantimpala’s Actor’s Company. I think I have chosen a formidable group. All of them are doing very well. We are pushing them, bringing out their best.” Playing the Albanian prince Florante is Paul Jake Paule. Ellrica Laguardia portrays Laura, princess and Florante’s sweetheart. “If I were to describe my leads, they are the perfect personification of the values, virtues and symbols of Balagtas’ written texts, Paul Jake exudes regal air, bravery and sincerity while Ellrica is passionate, fiery and strikingly beautiful.”

The supporting cast include Ku Aquino (Haring Linceo/Sultan Ali-Adab), Billy Parjan (Duke Briseo), Julena Dondon (Reyna Floresca), Morris Sevilla (Menandro), Basty Batistis (Antenor), and King Urieta (Makata).

The ensemble is composed of Julius Empredo, Aaron Dioquino (Batang Florante, Kych Minemoto (Batang Adolfo), Masanori Mentuda, Ian De Leon, Sem Pabion, Bong Moreno, Jernice Maturan, Sheila Reyes, Jeanneth Cruz, Rein Ramos, Ronnel Allanigue.

The artistic team of FLORANTE AT LAURA 2015 are Bonifacio Ilagan (Playwright/Librettist), Roeder Camañag (Director), Toni Muñoz (Composer/Musical Director), Ian De Leon (Choreographer), Andy Villareal (Lighting Director), Vangie Inocencio (Costume Head), Joey De Guzman (Set Designer).

The Production team is composed of Pauwie Garcia (Production Manager), Rojean Regoso (Asst. Production Manager), Mary Joyce Tejero (Stage Manager), John Sanchez, Cecilia Buban, and Marsheen Arcilla (Assistant Stage Managers), Toots Tolentino (Publicist).

The venue and performance schedules of FLORANTE AT LAURA 2015 are as follows:

August 1 (Sat.) — 9 am, 12 pm and 3 pm ;

STAR THEATER, STAR CITY: August 7 (Fri.) – 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm;

August 14 (Fri.), August 15 (Sat.) – 11 am, 2 pm

For more information, booking reservations, and show buys, call GANTIMPALA Marketing Office at tel. numbers: 998-5622 and 872-0261 or text at mobile number 0921-251 3733 or send email to

Connect to FLORANTE AT LAURA online through the following social media networks:
Twitter: @gantimpalatf
Instagram: @gantimpalatf

See you at the theater!



virgin lab

cast of a previous virgin labfest play in a theatrical pose.
cast of a previous virgin lab fest play in a theatrical pose.
theater actor paul jake paule in a previous virgin labfest play with veteran actor bembol rocco and a female character.
theater actor paul jake paule in a previous virgin labfest play with veteran actor bembol rocco and a female character.




The Virgin Labfest YEAR 10 is now open for script submissions. The Virgin Labfest is an annual festival of unpublished, unstaged, untried and untested works for the theater held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. This festival is a partnership project of the Writer’s Bloc, Inc., Tanghalang Pilipino, Inc. and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

This year, the Virgin Labfest will choose twelve (12) “virgin” one-act plays.

The Virgin Labfest is open to submissions of the following written works: One-act plays, (maximum running time: 40 minutes), All submitted works must NOT have previously been published in book form; staged commercially for more than two performances (staged readings, one-time workshop productions are allowed); awarded any literary or drama recognition in competitions and the like.  Works may be in Filipino or English.

The festival is open to various themes and genres. It is open to works in the regional languages, provided translations in Filipino are given.

Interested parties can submit their works in .doc or .pdf formats via email (, or deliver at least two hard copies of the manuscript to:


Performing Arts Division

Upper Basement

Cultural Center of the Philippines

Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City

Submissions should indicate name and contact address of the playwright. Deadline is on February 28, 2014.

For inquiries, contact the CCP Performing Arts Division at 832-1125 loc. 1606-1607.



            Gantimpala Theater opens its thirty-sixth (36) season with Francisco Balagtas’ “Florante at Laura”, the Filipino literary masterpiece considered by many as poetic art that examines the nature of justice, truth and commitment to fairness, made into a theater production  by award-winning and respected playwrightBonifacio Ilagan, with director Roeder Camañag presenting it as a komedya,
            Director Camañag says, “Boni Ilagan\s script highlights on the many facets of love – from the purest to the most damaged. He understood the words of Balagtas so well thus we see on stage Florante’s encounters with love – love for knowledge, parental love, brotherly love he shares with best friend Menandro. Laura, his beloved , and love for Albania.”
            “We are presenting it as a komedya as well,” the director quips. “We are continuing to honor the artistic legacy of our late artistic director Tony Espejo who believed that the komedya was the theater form during the time of Balagtas and it was not only fitting, but best to present the play making use of this endemic Filipino theater form.”
            Alternately acting as Florante are Rafa Esplana and Paul Jake Paula with Ellrica Laguardia as Laura, Florante’s sweetheart.
            Actors’ Company members portray major roles – Alfred Urieta as the antagonist and Daffodil Abear is the Moor princess Flerida.
            Giving life to the other major characters are Ku Aquino (Haring Linceo), Billy Parjan (Duke Briseo), Lodie Atis (Reyna Floresca), Mark Cayabyab (Menandro), Jan Gomez (Antenor),
Kych Cyl Minemoto ( Batang Florante), Masanori Mentuda (Batang Adolfo), Macson Anthony Macaraig (Makata/Tagapagsalaysay), Andro Morgan (Sultan Ali- Adab/Osmalik), Julius Empredo (Miramolin) and Leo Ponseca as Aladin, the Moor Prince.
Artistically assisting Camañag to realize the warring world of Moors and Christians are Andy Villareal            (Lights Designer), Joey de Guzman ( Set Designer), Jose Jeffrey Camañag (Costumes Designer), Tony Munoz (Music), Ian De Leon (Choreographer), Meyo de Jesus (Video Designer), Pauwie Garcia (Production Manager), and Roan Cornejo (Stage Manager).
            Performances are on August 2, (9am.12nn/3pm), SM Southmall Cinema 3, Las Piñas City, August 9 and 10 (10am/2pm), Star Theater, Star City, Pasay City and August 16 and 17 (10am/2pm), AFP Theater, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
            The National Parks Development Committee, Ever Bilena, Skin Sanctuary and Aces and Pros fully support Gantimpala Theater\s Ang Prinsepe at ang Pulubi.
mr. paul jake paule as "florante"
mr. paul jake paule as “florante”

paul jake paule: isang aktor ng teatro na iibigin mo…

Imagepaul jake paule: tila isang panaginip…



Ang galing ng dating niya. Parang isang malaking alon sa dagat na humampas sa mga diwa’t damdamin ng isang nilalang na ‘nakakita’ sa kanya. Sumalpak sa kanyang mga guni-guni’t kakaibang mga imahinasyon.

Siguro, mas lalo pa siyang naging ‘kapuna-puna’ sa mga sensitibong mata ng isang nilalang dahil naka-brown na polo sleeves siya. Ang mga kilos niya’y lalaking-lalaki. Machong-macho. Rugged na rugged.

Hayun siya at biglang pumasok sa loob ng Cafe Ysabel restaurant, humahangos, lumilikha ng atensyon.

Kilala namin siya… noon pa. Siya si Paul Jake Paule, isang aktor ng teatro na iibigin mo…


Bagong-bago pa lamang ang Facebook nu’n. Pero naging kapuna-puna na sa mga mata ng mga Facebook ‘users’ ang Facebook account ng isang lalaking nagngangalang Paul Jake Paule. Lalo na sa isang blogger na isa sa mga naging una at orihinal niyang kaibigan nuong mga panahon na bago-bago pa lamang ang Facebook.

Nagsisimula pa lamang siya nuon sa propesyonal niyang karera bilang isang aktor sa teatro. Makikita mo ang ilang mga larawan sa kanyang FB na kung saan ay umaarte siya sa entablado. Iba-iba ang karakter at hitsura niya sa mga larawan. Pero poging-pogi.

Hanggang sa kalaunan, lumitaw na ang mga larawan niya na kuha sa unang Virgin Labfest ng Cultural Center of the Philippines. Dalawang dula kaagad ang nilabasan niya doon at bida kaagad. Kasama pa niya ang magaling na aktor na si Bembol Rocco. May mga larawan pa sila habang umaarte sa entablado, sa nasabing Virgin Labfest.

At nagsunod-sunod na ang mga dulang nilabasan ni Paul Jake. Kalimitan, sa mga prestihiyosong unibersidad at mga eskuwelahan. Hindi na nakatiis ang isang blogger na magprisintang manood sa kanyang mga plays noon. Pero….

Hindi sila nagkita ni Paul Jake. Hindi ito nakapanood ng mga dula niya noon. Hanggang sa nagulat na lamang siya na kasali pala si Paul Jake sa dulang “Sayaw Ng Mga Seniorita” ng Gantimpala Theater. Pero hindi pa rin niya nainterbyu at nakausap si Paul Jake nung pagkakataon na ‘yun…

Ilang buwan din ang lumipas… Finally, sa ginanap na presscon ng Gantimpala Theater, nagkita na sila…


“Finally!”, isang punong-puno ng mga ngiti na nasambit ni Paul Jake sa isang blogger. “After a few years, nagkaharap na rin tayo!”

At napunta na sa isang mala-pantasyang mundo ang isang nilalang. Hindi na lamang niya ipinahalata ang kanyang pagka-‘kilig’.

Anyway, tanungin nga natin si Paul Jake, paano ba siya napunta sa mundo ng teatro?

“Second year highschool ako noon”, pagbabalik-tanaw ni Paul Jake. “Duon talaga nag-umpisa ang lahat. May proyekto kami sa paaralan, isang dula. Ako ang napiling gumanap bilang Florante. Nu’ng marinig ng mga guro ang monologue ko bilang Florante, napahanga ko sila. Kaya magmula noon, taon-taon ay ako na ang pinagde-deliver nu’ng monologue ni Florante sa anumang aktibidades sa school namin. Hanggang sa magtapos ako ng highschool doon, laging ako na si Florante. At doon ko naramdaman ng husto ang pagka-hilig ko sa mundo ng teatro.”

Pagkatapos nu’n ay naging miyembro na ng P.U.P. (Polytechnic Univ. of the Phils.) Theater Group si Paul Jake. Iilan lang silang mga lalaking miyembro nu’ng theater group na ‘yun kaya kadalasan ay nabu-bully si Paul Jake sa ekskuwelahan nila dahil ang macho-macho niya, pero isang theater group ang sinalihan niya. Malaki ang naitulong ng mga naging karanasan niya doon para maging isang ganap siyang “theater artist”. It taught him UTMOST HUMILITY.

“Kami ang nagbubuhat ng mga props, kami ang laging nauutusan”, kuwentong pagpapatuloy ni Paul Jake sa isang blogger. “Yung teatro namin ay nasa ika-anim na palapag pa, at kadalasan, akyat baba ako na nagbubuhat ng mga props. Ganu’n talaga sa teatro, eh. Multi-tasking. Pero malaki talaga ang mga naituro nu’n sa akin bilang isang anak ng sining.”

Taong 2009 hanggang 2010 nang mapasali siya sa Virgin Labfest na pinamumunuan noon ng isang distinguished theater person na si Rody Vera. Dalawang dula agad ang nakuha ni Paul Jake sa pestibal na ‘yun ng mga dula. Pareho pang lead roles- ang “Alyas Carmi Martin” at “Balun-Balunan”- na kung saan ay pawang mga “rugged” na karakter ang mga ginampanan ni Paul Jake.

At, doon na nag-umpisa ang lahat.

Ngayon, isa na si Paul Jake sa mga “most-sought-after” theater actors in the land. Kali-kaliwa sa dami ang mga dulang ginagawa niya sa mga nagdaang buwan at taon. May mga indie films pa na nakakasingit kung minsan. Pero bago natin pag-usapan ang mga latest plays ni Paul Jake, tanungin muna natin siya kung ano ang partisipasyon niya ngayon sa prestihiyosong theater group- ang Gantimpala Theater Foundation.

“Gaganap ako bilang si Florante sa dula nilang Florante At Laura”, sagot ni Paul Jake. “Two years ago, napasama din ako sa dula nilang ‘yan, at ang ginampanan kong papel doon ay si Menandro. Last year, medyo nagpahinga muna ako sa Gantimpala, pero this year, bumalik na ulit ako sa kanila at isinama nila ako sa dulang Sayaw Ng Mga Seniorita. Dito sa gagawin naming Florante At Laura ngayon, may ka-alternate naman ako sa papel na Florante.”

Masaya si Paul Jake sa pagkakapili kay direk Joel Lamangan bilang bagong Artistic Director ng Gantimpala Theater Foundation. 

“He truly deserved po to be our new artistic head”, sabi ni Paul Jake. “Nagpapasalamat kami sa kanya at bibigyan niya kami ng panahon ngayon. Alam naming mahal talaga niya ang mundo ng teatro.”

Paano ba nagagampanan ni Paul Jake na makapag-perform sa kabi-kabilang mga dulang ginagawa niya?

“Time management lang”, muling sagot ni Paul Jake. “Bago ako pumirma ng kontrata sa bawat dulang gagawin ko sa isang theater group, ilalatag muna namin ang mga schedules ko. Para hindi nagkakaroon ng problema. Then, we meet halfway na. Sa mga dulang ginagawa ko naman, kalimitan naman ay may ka-alternate ako, eh. kaya kakayanin naman. Basta mahal mo ang ginagawa mo, hindi ka mahihirapan.”

Magiging guest artist si Paul Jake sa isang theater group sa Bataan province very soon. Gagawin nila doon ang isang dark version ng play based on Noli Me Tangere novel ni Dr. Jose Rizal. May natitira pa siyang dalawang stage presentations sa dulang “Oresteyas” sa Hulyo 24 (Miyerkules) sa ganap na 7pm and Hulyo 26 (Biyernes) sa ganap na 7pm din. Ito ay itatanghal sa Tanghalang Ateneo. Meron din siyang isang dula para sa NCCA (National Comission for Culture & Arts),  co-produced by Tanghalang Batingaw, ang forthcoming play na “Kiriring Aida’t Macaraeg”. medyo maselan ang tema ng dulang ito pero hindi naman magbe-“bare” ng husto si Paul Jake dito. Maghuhubad lang siya pang-itaas at naka-shorts siya.

Sa dulang “Who’s Afraid of Anabelle Chjiong?” nag-totally-bare si Paul Jake. At ipapalabas muli ang dulang ito sa darating na Virgin Labfest: Revisited.


Dating pa lang niya, hihimatayin ka na. Titig pa lang niya, mawawala ka na. Iibigin mo siya- bilang isang magaling na aktor ng teatro. Pero bawal ang magbigay ng puso mo sa kanya…

Dahil maaaring may nagma-may-ari na.




(mga salitang nilikha ni robert manuguid silverio)

Imagepaul in character.

Imagepaul as a katipunero.


Imagepaul: looks like matinee idol, too.

Imagepaul’s “oresteyas” play for tanghalang ateneo.

Imagepaul’s new play.

Imagepaul as “florante “for Gantimpala Theater.

Imagea blogger looks at paul in the recently-concluded presscon of Gantimpala Theater