Why you should (DEFINITELY) watch Gugmang Giatay!

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!

Zubuchon Makati

This episode of No Reservations put Zubuchon on the map not just in Cebu, but in the entire Philippines as Anthony Bourdain dubbed it “The Best Pig Ever”. Cebu is home to the best lechon (roasted pig) in the Philippines. And competition is tough. I’m just happy that Zubuchon finally put up a branch in my second home, right in Makati. That meant a couple of things:

  1. Cebu lechon is just around the corner – I don’t need to fly to Cebu to eat it!
  2. My friends and office mates can no longer pressure me into buying lechon for them, since they can now get it themselves!
  3. This could be the start of more Cebu food coming into Manila

I paid Zubuchon Makati a visit one rainy Sunday evening and it was exactly how I expected it to be. Perfect! Skin is salty and crispy, the meat – juicy and seasoned beautifully.

Look at this piece of heaven

There are some Cebuano goodies for sale too!

There are a lot of other choices on the menu, and these are all the same as the ones they offer in Cebu. I’m so happy I finally have a place to go to when I get homesick. I heard there’s a branch of Tatang’s Lechon also somewhere in Makati – I have yet to try that one out.

So happy this pig flew all the way!

For those of you who want to give one of Cebu’s best lechon a try – head on to Zubuchon Makati at 135 Talisay Street (in between Yakal and Malugay) in Makati. They’re open from 11AM to 10PM – there’s a lot of space but they do get full on peak hours. You may call them at 0956-477-1999 for reservations. There is parking so don’t worry about bringing a car!