Rizalina Ilagan, young activist, writer and stage performer, was a member of the Kabataang Makabayan and Panday Sining. She missed her final semester of UP to become a regional coordinator for the cultural sector of the Kabataang Makabayan in Southern Tagalog. She also joined the editorial staff of Kalatas, an underground newsletter.
Rizalina, including six students from various parts of Metro Manila, went missing on July 30, 1977.
Forty years since her disappearance, Ilagan and all the other activists who went missing are remembered as Cultural Center of the Philippines stages “Pista Rizalina: A Festival of Arts and Ideas.”
A new festival engaging the arts with current social, political, cultural issues, Pista Rizalina is on going until September 24 at the CCP Tanghalang Huseng Batute (Studio Theater), Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Little Theater), Bulwagang Manuel Conde (Dream Theater) and the Manila Film Center.
The event selects a particular artistic expression as the main platform and engages it with a topic of urgency, relevance or potentially high engagement with the public. Possible intersections are explored such as theater and empathy, contemporary music and gender equality, dance and social media, digital arts and truth telling, among other aspects.
Pista Rizalina brings together artists and thought leaders in conversation with the public to map out the terrain of issues and stimulate a public discourse in the most participative, accessible and creative way.
In effect, the festival aims to call attention to the universal, collective trauma brought about by arbitrary arrest, disappearance and the negation of rights.
Likewise, Pista Rizalina is a platform to highlight the current administration’s national policy of developing the cultural value of “pagmamalasakit” (Ambisyon 2020, Philippine Development Plan).
The festival hopes to break the silence and fear surrounding enforced disappearances and the violation of rights. Pista Rizalina attempts to rekindle the stories of those traumatized by political repression and engage these issues with next generation audiences to recuperate what has been lost/disappeared and develop a sense of “pagmamalasakit” or empathy.
Pista Rizalina also features a Festival of art works, public conversation, interactive exhibit and flash performances. Other events include a guest kulintangan ensemble and the Aga Mayo Butocan, master kulintang player, to name some.
Nine plays will be presented at Pista Rizalina:
F. Sionil Jose’s “Pragres.” Directed by JK Anicoche and featuring the PHSA Student Ensemble. The story follows Mrs. Marina Salcedo, a government employee from the province, who goes to her ministry’s head office in Manila to follow up on her promotion that is already 5 years overdue. Set in 1974, she tries to brave through the red tape and corruption that we all still sadly experience to this day. Pragres is a Dulaang Sipat Lawin original piece based on National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose’s short story entitled Progress.
Ruel Aguila’s “Maliw.” Directed by Chris Millado with Bembol Roco, Sheryl Lara, and Lhorvie Nuevo. In this gripping production, five years after the forced-disappearance of her eldest daughter, a mother confronts the question: how does one close a chapter still to be written? The play is set after her family celebrates her eldest daughter’s 30th birthday.
Nicolas Pichay’s “Isang Araw sa Karnabal.” Directed by Chris Millado, starring Paolo O’Hara, Skyzx Labastilla and Lhorvie Nuevo. Funny but poignant play, Isang Araw sa Karnabal is about two former activists, both with missing loved ones, meeting again after a long time and attempting to mend broken ties.
Juana Change’s “Tao Po.” Directed by Ed Lacson, Jr. featuring Mae Paner. From several days of immersion trips and interviews of families and people involved, four monologues that address the issue of EJK (extrajudicial killings) are given life by Juana Change: The zumba instructor haunted by her husband and son, both victims of summary killings; a photographer whose sanity is questioned by the newspaper that employs him; the apparent double life of a policeman, sworn to uphold the law, and a hitman, paid to violate it; and a young girl paying tribute to EJK victims haphazardly buried in the notorious Tokhang Wall.
Rody Vera’s “Indigo Child.” Directed by Jose Estrella featuring Skyzx Labastilla and Rafael Tibayan. Indigo Child follows Felisa, a rebel caught, tortured and raped, who is committed to a halfway house as the new millennium breaks. Her son, Jerome, now 20, has been taking care of her since his teens, after she is diagnosed as bipolar due to multiple traumas. In one confrontation, Felisa reveals many secrets that Jerome finds hard to believe. Jerome wants to know the truth. But where does he start?
Chris Millado’s “Buwan at Baril in EÞ Major.” Directed by Andoy Ranay featuring Crispin Pineda, Mano Domingo, Danny Mandia, Jojit Lorenzo, JC Santos, Angeli Bayani, Jackie-Lou Blanco, Mayen Estanero, Cherry Pie Picache, Paolo O’Hara, Josel Saracho and Ross Pesigan. The presentation collects the stories of various characters—a worker, a priest, a socialite, a wife, and a police officer—whose lives, seemingly separate, intersect at a crucial juncture in Philippine contemporary history —the height of the anti-dictatorship struggle.
Bonifacio Ilagan’s “Pagsambang Bayan The Musical.” Directed by Joel Lamangan, the play is a remake of the landmark anti-martial law play “Pagsambang Bayan.” Not only does it take the audience back to the days of martial rule, Pagsambang Bayan The Musical also enjoins Filipinos, 45 years after, to reflect on the present times as it dramatizes the burning issues of the day, including the series of deaths widely described as “extrajudicial killings.”
Nicanor Tiongson’s “Aurelio Sedisyoso.” A season production of Tanghalang Pilipino, Aurelio Sedisyoso is an original rock sarswela based on the life of Aurelio Tolentino, a Filipino playwright and dramatist, who, together with Bonifacio and Sakay, founded Teatro Porvenir. He was arrested with charges of sedition for tearing the American flag. CCP’s Little Theater is named in his honor.
“Bata, Banta, Bantay, Tayo, Tayog, Bantayog” by the PHSA Student Ensemble are devised works based on research and data on human rights violations during Martial Law, personal experiences of political detainees and families of the disappeared, and the Tasaday Hoax.
Other activities expected are a live streaming of the community reenactment of the Escalante Massacre to be mounted by the Escalante community and the Negros Theater League, film screenings of Aureaus Solito’s “Pisay,” Joel Lamangan’s “Sigwa,” Chito Roño’s “Dekada ‘70,” Mike de Leon’s “Sister Stella L.,” Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil’s “Indigo Child,” the GMA documentaries entitled “Busal,” “Alaala” and “Ilaw ng Marawi;” livestream talkbacks with the playwrights, directors, cast of the plays, thought leaders and audiences as well as with directors, writers and cast of the ﬁlms.
Tickets for the festival are available at all TicketWorld outlets.