Thursday, June 11, 2015

Going Musicale Theatre: JOSEPH

I know, i know! It has been ages since i last opened this blog. Don't worry i will never abandon this beloved online space. :">

And as our hectic year is getting more hectic, God has been expanding opportunities for us, exposing us to new things that we haven't done before. In July, we will be part of the Australian Conservatoire of Ballet's Nutcracker at the CCP Main Theatre. We were given the dance "Waltz of the Flowers", the classic of the waltz classics! Talk about intense trainings and rehearsals, and Nutcracker over the summer!

But before that comes alive on stage, we will be doing something different (as Acts Manila) this June 27. Kairos Productions' JOSEPH musicale will be going live at the SM Southmall Cinema 3. The play stars Tirso Cruz III as Jacob and Bodie Cruz as Joseph, with Miriam Quiambao as Potiphar's Wife / Zuleika and Ryan Eigenmann as Pharaoh. We will be joining a group of actors and singers, such a wonderful company to be around haha!

#JOSEPHMusicalPH: Get your tickets now! Contact 0917-8920219.

Tickets are available at P1000 (orchestra center), P700 (orchestra side), P500 (premiere balcony), P300 (balcony). Shows at 3pm & 7pm. Bring your friends, family, work-mates, buddies, and the whole wide world to see this exciting and fun-filled musicale!

PS. we won't just be dancing, there may be some acting involved hehe.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

the NEWs of 2014

When this year started, i held on to the promise of the NEW - to experience God move in new ways and to receive the new things He has in store. I was very expectant; it gave me a different perspective in accepting things that come. It has been a journey of faith all over again, but it was all worth holding on to God's faithfulness to see them unfold in my life this year.

This year opened by letting us try a new kind of dance: Flamenco! We had a master class with Ms. Maradee de Guzman where we learned the basic style and movements of flamenco.

Another highlight of this year was the Thou Art in Heaven Creative Prophetic Workshop. It allowed me to experience God speak in new ways - through art, music, and dance. What amazed me that night was how God moves in the prophetic. It opened my heart in seeing God's creative ways so that His people gets encouragements and assurances of His word and promises. That experience moved me personally, and i guess it kept me on track for the rest of the year.

God also opened a door for us to visit a new country this year - Laos! Acts Manila received an invitation to perform for the Philippine Embassy in Lao PDR's Independence Day Celebration. We also performed for the students of Laos School of Music and Dance. It was a whole new experience of exploring a new country and learning of a new culture. That trip allowed me to appreciate the things that we tend to take for granted - Laos being a communist country and a more "third world" than ours.

One of the 2014's surprises was receiving new floors + added mirrors for the JRSS ballet! I did not expect the school to grant this request and on the first day back in July - viola we have new floors! Honestly, i was losing hope in seeing progress, but God had better plans. And aside from new floors, we had 7 new additional students for the ballet too. God is faithful!

This year brought old friends back to dancing with us (me), and it brought new memories with them as well. With Lauren finally graduating and staying in Manila (for now), she was able to start taking classes with Acts Manila again. Our twice a year meetings are now done - and she can be with us as often as she could! Also, Sarah went to visit the Philippines after 6 or 7 years of stay in New York. She joined our company show - Move! - as guest artist. I felt so proud seeing her perform live once again, and it made me feel honored to share the stage with her. We had a mini reunion while she was back in Manila, and it was a great time to catch up with friends! Time and distance really didn't matter, as long as we're all bonded by heart.

Philippine Dance Cup also happened this year, and it was my first time to join in the Solo category of the competition. It gave me much nerves to be part of this haha. Even though I'm not the competition type, i took on the challenge of going through this experience for my students. Having experienced it myself in 2013 (Asian Grand Prix in Hong Kong), i know what this could bring to them. As a surprise, my solo entry, Mharjorie Palmeda of Acts Manila@JRSS, placed 10th for the Junior Solo category! I was too overwhelmed and in shock when it was announced. Praise God! I am thankful that God has brought in dedicated students in my fold to develop and bring out the best God has in store for them.

Another one that I am most thankful for this year is finally getting in to a VGroup! I've been asking God for this for a while now, and i finally took on the courage to meet new people and share lives with them. September this year when i finally started meeting up with my VGroup leader - Ate Cring and the rest. Bonus part: Lauren and i are under the same VGroup! Grateful that God has opened new ways of learning for me. I've got instant friends and accountability partners too! Also, I've started doing One2One with our latest VGroup addition - Aices, who got back to dancing with us at Acts Manila just recently.

This year, i also got my first directing "job" that is not ballet related haha. I was given the opportunity to direct CCF Alabang's Everlasting Light Christmas Cantata last December 21. I was too hesitant to take on the job at first, but remembering the "new" experiences God has in store for me, by faith i took part. Even though the preparations and rehearsals were tedious, the actual performance was more than what we expected. Indeed God has orchestrated it to be the best performance we can ever have. I am very thankful to be part of this experience and get to know more talented people - from the choir members to the tech prod crew.

Visiting the beautiful province of Ilocos wasn't new to me, but traveling with my family made it a whole new experience. 12 hours road trip going there and back home was very much worth it (and even though i got sick right when we arrived home!). From the northern part of Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte to Vigan in Ilocos Sur, all of the places we went to were a reflection of God's awesome creation. It was a trip of reflecting in the beauty of His craft. It was a great time spent with family as well, and i am always grateful for those times that i am with them.

And here are some others in bullets:

New dance experiences
~ International Dance Day Celebration at the Bonifacio High Street where we performed at the open space. Ms. Myra Beltran restaged the famous Rosas danst Rosas.
~ performing for the Independence Day Celebration hosted by the Philippine Embassy at the Lao PDR
~ dancing in sync with LED projection, oh the power of new technology! Performed for the DOT's MICE Conference in Clark, Pampanga. (out of town dance trip, oh yeah!)
~ Miss World Tourism pageant performance at THE SM Mall of Asia Arena
~ Christmas Eve performance at the CCP Main Theatre for the Misa de Aguinaldo with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and Philippine Madrigal Singers

As i published the great photo dump of 2014, i realized that we have tried much new food places this year! And most of them became my favorites. Looking forward to more "good eats" with family and friends. (yes, i enjoy food - VERY MUCH)
~ Sensei Sushi
~ Milky Moustache
~ Ramen Yushoken
~ Yabu
~ Sambokojin
~ Bag of Beans
~ Magnum Manila
~ Family Mart's green tea ice cream (i cannot forget about this haha)
~ Mang Raul's (yay for isaw and all other ihaws!)

Looking back at the moments of 2014, indeed it has brought me to new and greater heights. It has been another year of God's faithfulness. It was full of His goodness and grace that i don't deserve yet He gave it all for it was the best for me. I am thankful that most of my faith goals were achieved this year, praise God. I am also thankful that God has sustained me through this year's ups and downs, and pulled me through to stay on track. I could not have achieved any of these Lord, without You. Soli deo Gloria!

More breakthroughs in 2015! I am ready for you!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Midnight Miracle

I was ready to cry. I was already preparing myself to mourn and express my heartbreak.

It was already past midnight when i decided to bring out my laptop from my bag. I wanted to ignore it. But, there was this nudge i felt that i had to open it.

I never thought i would be sharing this story this way. I was not ready for the surprise.

It all started Sunday last week when i woke up. I immediately checked on my computer because i left it open during the night to finish downloading. I clicked on the trackpad, and nothing showed up on the screen. I thought maybe the battery got drained, so i plugged it in. The charger indicated an orange light, so i assumed it was just low batt. A few more minutes, i tried turning it back on again - there was still nothing. No sound, no light indicator, no white screen. I panicked. Just a month ago, i had another laptop trouble with my hard drive failing. I can't afford (financially and emotionally haha) to go through it again, and there were still some things i needed to finish. I waited again. After some time, the charger indicated green, so i assumed it was fully charged. I pressed the power button again. Still, no sign of life. I prayed. Cried. And eventually gave up for the day.

I brought it to the service repair center the next day. There was still no sign of life even though they tried to do some troubleshooting. I left it with them for diagnosis, and anxiously waited for their email regarding the matter.

Thursday arrived and the email came in. I was in shock with the ridiculous amount i had to spend for the repair and replacement. Because there was still no power and anything that appeared on the computer as the engineer checked, they diagnosed my laptop for MLB (macbook logic board - the main thing that keeps the laptop working. it's a major MAJOR part, so if it fails, that's the end of it. and it's very very expensive!) and battery replacement. The cost reached about 36 thousand pesos. Of course i totally freaked out because there's no way i can avail of that repair. I also called in the supplier where i bought my laptop to ask for their opinion. And when i told them about the diagnosis, the reaction i got was - "Oh my gosh, dear! Wala na yan!"

And that was it. They said it would be wiser to buy a new one, since the repair costs like having a new one too. That day was too depressing for me. There was nothing i can do to save it and just accept the reality of it being "dead" and useless. My prayer that day was seeking God for His plan about this. I cannot afford to buy yet a new one. I told myself - "If God let this happen, I'm sure there will be a way out." Even though it was really heartbreaking, i decided to trust God for His plan. "There's no need to rush" was something that i kept on hearing during the anxiety of the moment. And so i just waited.

With the news, i wasn't even looking forward to even claiming back my laptop from the service center. I was thinking that there will be no more use for it since it has no working part anymore. But anyway, i still decided to get it since i wanted to have a "proper closure" (yes, i am too attached like that haha) with it. While at the service center, i was told that even they - being the LEGIT Apple center - do not recommend MLB replacement. There was no assurance that the replaced part would function well and it was really costly to have it done. I asked about what else i can do with the laptop, and they said nothing else but it was already for disposal. Lost hope there again. So i claimed my "dead" laptop, with the hard drive removed because they found out it was still working.

I kept myself busy when i got home, trying to ignore the fact that i have to face my laptop again. It was already past twelve midnight when i decided to take it out from my bag. I brought it out from the bubble wrap pack and just had a sense to open it for the last time. To my greatest surprise, i heard the start-up sound and the white screen appeared. After a while, it went black again. A sign of hope! I turned it on again and again, but during the first few times the screen was just turning to white and then off. Until there was this time that a folder with a question mark appeared blinking on the screen where the Apple logo should be. I immediately thought about the removed hard drive, so i decided to unscrew the back of the laptop and place it back in.

I opened the laptop again and stared at the screen of what seemed like the longest seconds of my life waiting for something to appear. And there it was - the Apple logo and the loading circle. I whispered my first "oh my gosh". It took another while and the log-in screen appeared. I typed in my password and voila - the desktop appeared. Another "OH MY GOSH" moment. I was in total shock of what had just happened. I cannot believe that it FINALLY opened, and when i was going through it, it seemed to work just as fine and normally.

I know there was no other explanation on how it worked aside from the hand of God. There was nothing else that it can be called but a miracle. When there was no other way and means in this world, God has His own. When everything around was hopeless, God renewed my hope in Him.

With what happened, i think God wanted me to believe in miracles again. God wanted to remind me of His presence alive and working in my life. It may be a painful way to experience His reminder, but it was such an amazing revelation to me. I always try to fix things on my own that i depend too much on my abilities and resources. But God suddenly meddles in, taking the lead out of my hand, teaching me to depend solely on Him, and humbling me to rely only in His sovereignty. It gave me a new confidence in putting my trust in Him.

I was too happy last night that i could not even sleep, haha. Indeed all glory goes back to God, and only Him deserves all the praise. Typing this entry and sharing it to the world is an effect of this miracle. I thought i would never be able to see life in this unit again - but PRAISE GOD, His works are beyond our understanding.

And thank you also for this encouraging word, that i felt it being so much alive in my life right now. Your TRUTH always prevails.

"For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs." - Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

Sunday, August 10, 2014

MOVE - 14 days to go!

ACTS MANILA goes on stage once again this August 24!

Featuring new choreographies, including a world-premier choreography by Belgian choreographer - Marc Bogaerts. Special performance by Acts Manila alumna and now Pennsylvania company member - Sarah Grace Lee. An exciting night is up ahead, so save the date and book your tickets now!

We are all excited to perform for all of you. Check out our video teaser that can also be viewed in HD over HERE!

See you at the theatre! ;)
For tickets, call: 0922-890-5255. (P800: orchestra center & P600: orchestra side)

This production is in partnership with:
BusinessWorld, HerWord, and HighLife Magazine
Azumi Boutique Hotel
MAC Cosmetics
The Dance Store Philippines
Casa Belrina Travel Consultants
Precepts Electro-Tech Construction Corporation

Sunday, July 13, 2014

#ActsManila on the MOVE!

It has been an eventful first half of the year!

God has been really faithful in answering all of our "Christmas wishes" last year that He really fully-loaded our schedules for this year. Since this year opened, Acts Manila's performances have been one after the other, and we couldn't just be more grateful. Keeping up with what God has in store for us maybe shaking off our schedules, but definitely enjoying every single moment onstage.

Here's a bit of a round-up for what has been happening with Acts Manila (and my life, of course):

Acts Manila in our annual CCP Main Theatre Recital ~ "Once Upon An Ever After", April 24.

"Let it Go" by Chelo Gemina • photo by Tes Tirol
"Ian's Walk" by Jan Manlapig • photo by Tes Tirol
"Esmeralda" by Jun Saagundo • photo by Tes Tirol

..and of course my beloved kiddos who performed so well on that night!

Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter, Dormouse, March Hare
The Happy Prince Jewels • The Velveteen Rabbit Children

We were also privileged to be chosen by Ms. Myra Beltran to be part of RE: Rosas ng Maynila at the Bonifacio High Street for the International Dance Day celebration, April 27. It was an amazing experience to perform the iconic "Rosas danst Rosas" choreography by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker.

photo from Jem Rodriguez
photo from Jem Rodriguez

Check out the video here, uploaded by Ms. Myra Beltran:

Acts Manila's out of town assignment last June 4-6: MICE Conference at Fontana in Clark, Pampanga. It was a new kind of experience - from the preparations, rehearsals, to the actual performance itself! We got to dance in sync with video effects through the hologram screen and LED projection, something I thought only exists in YouTube, hehe. Watch our "Brand New Day" performance video with the Ryan Cayabyab Singers here and the closing ceremony performance with the LED projection effects here!

late night rehearsals.. early morning call time! (as in 6am early!!)
all dressed up in line with the theme!

Another main highlight was out trip to Laos ~ June 11-16! We performed for the Philippine Embassy's 116th Independence Day Celebration. Thank you to Her Excellency Ambassador Lumen Isleta for giving us the privilege to represent our country there.

Acts Manila's "Madamira & Sarumbanggi" as part of the Filipino repertoire • photo by Gerry Gemina
Acts Manila with Ambassador Lumen Isleta
being presented to the VIP guests • photo by Tes Tirol
conducted a workshop for the kids from the Filipino community in Laos
also performed for the students of the Laos School of Music and Dance (they really have big stages, i tell you)

And of course, we did not miss out on experiencing the wonders of the city!

Acts Manila at the Patuxai Victory Monument • photo by Gerry Gemina
on tourist mode

no regrets for all these ice cream goodness (whooops!)

of course, shopping! even if they don't have malls, we had great deals on the night market ;)

We also had performances for churches and SM Malls. (and there will be another on July 26 at SM Southmall for their Jeans Month celebration)

for CCF Alabang's Easter service • photo from Jem Rodriguez
here's one from SM Sta. Rosa performance, June 28 • photo from Julia Morados

And finally for our next BIG THING!
Acts Manila's 3rd company show happening this August 24 ~ "MOVE!" at the CCP Little Theatre, 6pm. We will be featuring new choreographies, with special guest performance by Acts Manila alumna (now with the Pennsylvania Ballet), Sarah Grace Lee. Save the date!

See you in our next performances! We are definitely on the MOVE! ;)
For updates, you may visit our website at or through our Acts Manila Facebook page.