Last Sunday, I watched the Cebuano/Bisaya musical play Gugmang Giatay as they performed their first stage in Manila. I first saw this play a year ago in Cebu, and I loved it then. After seeing it for the second time, I loved it more.
Here’s why you should catch Gugmang Giatay at the BGC Arts Center this week (Nov. 28-30, 8PM):
- Because LOVE. Gugma is the Bisaya word for Love. And Giatay, a curse to express an emotion that just cannot be translated right in either English or Tagalog. The play uses Damned Love as a translation, but it’s not half as strong, or as funny. Gugmang giatay, is f*cking love, one that leaves you wondering why you started it in the first place (nganong ni-enter?). True to it’s title, the play is about love, different kinds of love. A love you thought would last forever; a love that could destroy friendship; a love that doesn’t know how to convey itself; a love that’s ready to go against the world; a love that was betrayed; a love that found a fresh start; there’s bound to be a kind of love or a character that anyone in the audience can relate to.
- Because BISAYA. In my 10 years of living in Manila, this is the first 100% Bisaya musical play staged here. The capital city is home to people from different regions – and it’s just right that there should be venues for these different cultures to present themselves in the capital. We’ve started seeing 100% Bisaya movies in the cinemas in the past few years, and although progress is slow, there is progress! As a Bisaya, I feel obligated to support any Bisaya endeavor on a national scale. Also, nothing really captures and expresses emotions and feelings best like your native tongue.
- Because BISROCK/VISPOP/Cebuano Music. The play has songs written specially for it (by none other than master Jude Gitamondoc and Rowell Ucat of Medyo Maldito fame), majority of the songs are well known pop/rock songs in Cebu – from classics such as Matud Nila and Usahay, Bisrock such as Palagot sa Contra and Solid ug Lawas, to VisPop banner hits like Hahahasula and Dili Tanan. If you are already a fan of Bisaya music, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t watch the play. If you aren’t a fan, or have no clue how Bisaya songs sound like, then it’s worth giving it a try – you might even get hooked!
- Because SUBTITLES. Staging a Bisaya play in a Tagalog metropolis is a risk. But it’s not a play exclusively for Bisaya people. We joked about and we’re suprised to find that there are English Subtitles flashed on the screen behind the stage! So yes, you will not be lost in translation!
- Because BISAYA is still FILIPINO. It’s a call for a more inclusive nation. Gone are the days of Manila being the only “happening” place in the country. Things are brewing in the regions! The other cities and provinces in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao also have a lot of talent just needing a nationwide stage. If anything, this should pave the way for other regional artists to pursue coming to Manila for exposure, without having to compromise their identity. It’s OK to sing songs, stage plays, create movies in their local language! It doesn’t always have to be in Tagalog. It shouldn’t always be in Tagalog!
So there, the play is a gem from my home, Cebu. To be honest, there were a lot of technical issues during the first stage last Sunday, but I’m sure they’ll sort it out when they stage this week. I really, really, ask that you give it a chance, and catch it while it’s here. More than just self enjoyment, it’s really showing support to the artists, the people behind the play to keep creating and continue pushing overall Filipino culture forward!
You can get tickets at Ticketworld. Prices are from P200 to P1000 only! Once you see it, let me know your thoughts by the comments section below!
P.S. If you are Bisaya, you have no excuse to not see this play! And if I personally know you, I will be disappointed if you’ll miss out!