Manila goes nuts with theatrical rendition of Peanut’s ‘You’re a good man, Charlie Brown’

You probably grew up knowing Snoopy and the rest of the gang, which Charles Schulz had immortalized in his internationally known comic strip Peanuts. For more than five decades, people had been reading quick-witted dialogues and satirical exchanges between Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Shroeder, and Sally that it feels like you’re part of the group at one point or another. But this time, avid reader or not, Charlie Brown finally let the world know about how depressing it can be on his shoes amid being in the colorful world that he’s in. The popular, Tony Award-winning, comedy musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is finally staged in Manila through the efforts of 9 Works Theatrical that opened on Saturday February 11 at Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC Plaza, along Ayala Avenue in Makati City.

Peanut GangCarla Guevara-Laforteza plays the crabby Lucy in ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’.

Get to sympathize with dear ol’ Charlie played by Robbie Guevara as he recounts everyday occurrences in his life that depresses him like not being able to play a kite, being the only person who doesn’t receive a Valentine card, or even the fact that Snoopy only likes him because he feeds the well-loved white and black dog. Listen and be entertained as the Charlie’s list of woes goes on and on and get inspired on how he gets to cope with it the best he can. Together with commendable actors in the local theatre scene Carla Guevara-Laforteza as the vain and crabby Lucy, Franco Laurel as the blanket loving studious Linus, Tonipet Gaba as the musically-talented Schroeder, Sweet Plantado-Tiongson as funny and quirky Sally, and Lorenz Martinez as the forever loved pet Snoopy, You’re a Good Manwas able to bring to life the humor that reminds everyone of mundane things that can make a person happy or sad.

Just like in the comic strip each character was able to tackle mature themes in a much simpler tone making the audience laugh in the everyday comical life occurrence that they just overlook.

Peanut GangThe brother and sister Robbie Guevara and Carla Guevarra-Laforteza play Charlie and Lucy, respectively.

Directed by Michael Williams along with assistant director Toff de Venecia, musical director for instrumentation Joseph Tolentino, musical director for vocals Sweet Plantado-Tiongson, choreographer Deana Aquino, scenographer Mio Infante, lighting designer Martin Esteva, sound designer Chuck Ledesma, costume designers Mio Infante and Twinkle Zamora, photographer Richard Lazaro, and graphic designer Larry Palma delivers a performance you’ve always dreamed that a local artistic team will come up with. The whole musical has showcased each actor’s talent while staying true to their characters.

Peanut GangThe entire Peanuts Gang are seen in this photograph.

“I know that I don’t only speak for myself — in fact most, if not all, who are involved in this production will agree with me — but doing a local version of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown has always been one of my dreams,” executive producer Santi Sta. Maria expressed in one interview. “It’s just one of those things that I’ve always wanted to do, my little contribution to the local theater scene.”

Each of the cast finds his own reason to play their character and similarities to making it more enjoyable for them to portray their roles. “The material is very witty and requires a lot of comic timing from the actor,” Franco said regarding his characterization of Linus.

“The challenge for me is to find the balance between caricature and reality so that I can bring out the truth in what I’m doing even if from the perspective of a child.”

Overall, the audience enjoyed the performance as everyone made sure there was never a dull moment. The backdrop depicts the colorful cartoonish world that the Peanuts casts are in and they definitely woke up the ‘child’ in everyone with their stellar singing and dancing performances.

Friday shows are at 8 p.m,, Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3:30 p.m.

A limited number of performances are now available for fundraising and block-buying. For tickets and other inquiries, call (632) 557-5860, 586-7105 or +639175545560 or email for inquiries.


On the wings of the fallen

Vampires and the wolves are passé.
But guess what? Angels have all fallen and crashed into the young adult fiction section of our bookstores. Killing the monotonous vampire-mortal scenario, a good fallen angel and a mortal falling in love seems to be the latest reading fad for teens.
First, there’s Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, it’s the usual there’s a new boy at school and the straight-laced studious girl’s interest was piqued by his bad boy manners. There are some similarities with Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight series, that you can almost ask if Fitzpatrick just replaced vampires with her fallen angel character.
Giving that bad boy vibe is a fallen angel named Patch. He is sure to keep the female readers hooked. There are enough twists that will keep you reading, especially since the protagonist Nora can be a little too immature with her decisions, making you want to read what’s the outcome of her love struck choices. It has a good cover, judge if it’s a good read.
Falling with a big thud
Landing on the fifth spot of the New York Times best seller list last December, Fallen by Lauren Kate promises a new take on this relatively new fantasy genre where wings and not fangs are in. Certain elements make this one a rather compelling read. Kate introduced an agnostic protagonist that later on worked for her advantage, who was admitted to a reform school for being accused of certain occurrences in her life.
It was a vividly dark story, rich with mystery that even in the middle of the book, you’ll still doubt if your guesses are right or not. The setting is really original which was good to veer away with the usual high school drama present in teen fictions. Kate was able to weave romance into a gothic take on religion, which is a breath, if not of fresh air then definitely, of something new. But in the end of course, the sinisterly handsome fallen angel gets the girl.
Both of these fallen angel-themed books are cliffhangers as sequels are to be released later this year. Teen fiction has gone to a new dimension or better yet to a new time and space.

All you need is love


By Angelique Manalad

(Fudge Magazine Feb-March 2009 issue, p.61)

“Madaming issues.” Guitarist Ean Aguila declares with a telling laugh that only someone who survived all the bull*ts can. Drummer Zig Zabara and keyboardist Heidi confirms how pathetic the whole situation became. The two were referring to guitarist Joe Fontanilla’s schedule at the callcenter he worked at. Priorities came into question. Someone left the group, the band says without pointing out who. It got so bad they say that at one point vocalist Owel Alvero and Zig had to play a gig by themselves. That was in 2003, the band has since gotten over their “issues,” and now fully commit to making it work.

This meant getting a few more like-minded souls to the gold. Fortuitous circumstances led to vocalist Selena Salang singing tracks that required a female voice, and Jing Gaddi doing bass for the now fully armed Ang Bandang Shirley, whose name is taken from the an Eraserhead song called “Shirley.”

The making of their debut album, Themesongs, is of course not without its stories. Created in the appropriately named Love One Another studio owned by Joey Santos, (appropriate because the 11-track album is all about love), the recording process was fun and easy. Band manager Kathy Gener shares, “Sobrang masaya kasi don. Ang ganda nung atmosphere, parang ‘di professional studio pero professional sya. Pero yung vibe na parang laid back tapos they’d let you do kung ano man gusto mo. Saka malapit sya sa masasarap na kainan, mga food establishments. Sobrang malaking part yun. Kaya nag-enjoy kami.”

“Food! Importante yun.” Zig and the rest of the band said in unison. They bond over food and they take things lightly, which is a good way to handle the not so positive reaction from their work. While getting exposure with their song “Sa madaling salita” being included in the soundtrack of the indie movie Endo, the band also opened themselves up for harsh criticism. Selena explains, “May nababaduyan sa video pero okay lang naman…kasi ganon naman, you can’t please everybody. Ang pinakaimportante naman dyan yung sarili namin, sobrang saya namin. We’ll just keep on doing what we want to do.”

But along with the disapproval comes the adoration. From the appreciation they get at their live performances to album sales. Ang Bandang Shirley is being rewarded with oodles of love. Zig opens up “Sobrang nakakataba ng puso, saka yung fact na may naka-relate sa music namin e nakaka-flatter. Tapos mabenta daw yung album sa mga stores sabi ng mga tindera chinichika namen sila e. Nakakatawa rin yun kasi may sumusuporta.”

Selena adds, “We generally like each other as people. Pero feeling ko swak kasi kami like intellectually, (we have a similar) sense of humor wise. We all get along.” Though still busy with different day jobs, the band promotes their album in the market and tours all over the country in different malls and venues. Material-wise they feel that a second album is just around the corner, as they have numerous songs that are ready to be recorded. So all you Shirley fans, get ready for some loving from the band. You know you want it.

My Myx, Your Myx, Everybody Myx!


By Angelique Manalad

(Fudge Magazine Feb-March 2009 issue p.66)

The annual event presented by Myx dubbed as Myx Mo, was a night of good music, sweat, shouts, possible brawl and everything you could ask for in a rockin’ big concert. But it’s a different world backstage. A night of bonding, catching up and that nerve-wracking feeling of performing in front of that crowd who will either love you or hate you.

More than 50 artists and bands performed for the night in SM Mall of Asia’s concert grounds, newbies and legends sharing the same stage—strictly, OPM at its best. Mr. Pure Energy Gary Valenciano, celebrating his 25th year in the business, wowed the crowd with his singing prowess and dance moves that proves that with age comes greatness.

Yeng Constantino was excited as she is invited for the first time to perform with other artists she looks up to and really live that dream. “This year natuwa ako kasi nakasama ko, kasi nagkaroon ako ng chance makasama yung mga paborito ko ring mga artists like Sandwich, si Kuya Raimund Marasigan, specifically sya sobrang idol ko kasi yun. Ang saya kasi parte ako nito. Isang gabing puno ng musika.”

As the event’s title suggested it’s everyone’s mix of music. Opening the night’s grand show is our pride Charice Pempengco who sang our national anthem with her diva voice praised by Celine Dion herself. Smiling at everyone, Cherisse finishes her song and as she made her exit in the side, triumphantly saying “Tapos na!” Then off to cater to the rest of media eager to ask her questions and take her picture. For some, it’s their first night out in such a big crowd once again, “It’s a nice feeling. I’ve been away for some time; it’s great to see the fans again and the music bands.” Rico Blanco shares. While, Ely Buendia with his band Pupil, performed in tiptop shape.

The backstage is full of buzz among artists, press people, die-hard fans who scored the SVIP passes, sponsors and of course Myx staffers. While the crowd outside is busy waiting for the next performer, the musicians are busy waiting for their turn in the constraints of their own conversations with other artists. “It’s always nice to be a part ng Myx Mo kasi para syang family reunion ng lahat ng artists. Napaka-rare, siguro mga twice or thrice a year lang magkaroon ng event na ganito na lahat ng artist sama-sama; hanging out backstage, trying to find a quiet spot kung saan pwede mag-bond, tumahimik at mag-enjoy lang.” Parokya ni Edgar’s Chito Miranda shares.

Presenting their new song, Kjwan was excited and happy to perform and be a part of the line-up for the night. “Myx Mo is different. The crowd that this thing draws is different. It’s good to play with these musicians. I mean there’s not just one kind of music, it’s all kind of music. It’s OPM at its prime. It’s always an honor to perform here.” Vocalist Marc Abaya imparts.

Wendell Ramos of Pupil and Archipelago, who also lend his skill to Spongecola for the event, is in awe with the young bands he witnessed amid the physical exhaustion of playing the drums for three bands during the occasion. “Sobrang proud ako. Ang daming magaling na musikero sa’tin talaga. Yung mga batang banda kanina, sobrang todo at ang gagaling. Hopefully, sana walang masaktan ngayon. Wala pa kong tulog, pero for the love of music kahit may sakit ako, tutugtog ako.”

With such high energy and the spirit of brotherhood among fellow musicians and music lovers, the event was declared a success. No mixed feelings about that.

Gram rock


By Angelique Manalad

(Fudge Magazine Feb-March Issue, p.3)

Diamonds are purely made of carbon and the hardest mineral in earth. But that’s not enough for man. We simply must determine its worth by means of a price tag, and thus, the 4Cs: carat, clarity, color and cut. “Finding the best diamond for your money is a delicate balancing act among the 4Cs. For example, you may have to choose a lower Carat weight in order to find a diamond with better Clarity for the budget you’ve set. Or you may decide to trade a slightly lower Color grade in order to get a stone with a better Cut and so on,” says Tricie Mojica, general manager of Just Jewels.

Well, they would know, right? So for Valentine’s Day or any other special occasion that calls for that added sparkle, one would do well to splurge on jewelry—a sound investment in this day and age. But oh the burden of buying is one that we can never take lightly. Thankfully, Just Jewels offers the hardworking man a solution.

Pioneering the “by the gram” concept of selling jewelry here in the country. In this kind of trade, the jewelry is weighted in order to determine its price. Adapted from the famous jewelry stores in New York’s 47th Street, this customer-friendly set-up makes fine jewels practically more accessible , and giving these high-value items as a gift or token of your intention becomes a little less trauma indeed. Now the hard part begins—setting the stage to pop the question. That’s up to you, boy.

Just Jewels has branches at SM Megamall, Glorietta 4, Festival Supermall, SM Mall of Asia, SM City Manila. SM Southmall, SM City Cebu, and Ayala Cebu. Visit their website at

bloomfields (christmas album review)


There’s something blooming this Christmas

‘Pasko Natin ‘To’ by the Bloomfields

By Angelique P. Manalad, Contributor

Wanting to deliver a more Filipino-flavored Christmas album, The Bloomfields offers their second album “Pasko Natin ‘To” as their gift for everyone this Yuletide season. With 10 tracks to ensure everyone a warm feeling to share the band gives it with their signature happy melodies.

Composed of Jay Jay Lozano, Louie Poco, Pepe Lozano, Lakan Hila and Rocky Collado; Bloomfields released a self-titled album in 2007. They were encouraged to do a Christmas compilation as they all love the season and really aim to continue making merry tunes for everyone.

Their album title and carrier song as well Pasko Natin ‘To is an original composition of Jay Jay Lozano which he wrote for an ex-girlfriend. Nonetheless it’s guaranteed that everyone can relate to it. Talk about spreading the cheers to everybody and longing for togetherness.

The band starts and ends the album with an a cappella of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas with remakes from The Beach Boys’ Santa’s Beard, Someday at Christmas by Stevie Wonder and Perry Como’s It’s beginning to look like Christmas. They also included their own versions of local Christmas classics like Tuloy na Tuloy ang Pasko and Apo Hiking Society’s Himig Pasko.

Although two songs which are Ikaw ang Musika and Put a Smile on your Face were not Christmas themed, they’ve added it all the same as it is still gives that fluttery happy feeling that you wouldn’t even notice it.

The band is proud to say how they’ve accomplished the album in a short period of time. They’ve enjoyed doing it and hope that everyone will enjoy it as well. Bloomfields hopes that you’d accept their treat this season for you and for your family for all those gatherings that we Filipinos surely love during Christmas.

Checkin’ out Check


By Angelique Manalad

(unedited copy of the article from FUDGE Magazines Dec-Jan ’09 issue)

Four childhood friends, Jim Pangan (vocals), Cheiy Alanes (guitars), Roy Ordonio (guitars) and Ode Tolato (bass) decided to experiment on music on 2003, as one member left, they found their buddy Jarwin Javier (drums) to complete the missing piece and finally, they are ready, all set and ready to conquer the music scene.

They first decided to call themselves as Check Experiment as the name itself describes what the five friends were doing, mainly checking and experimenting their musical prowess. But they settled to drop the experiment and went for the more catchy and easy to remember Check.

Admittedly the band was used to playing pure funk music, but as they wanted to expand their musical horizon and cater to a larger audience, they decided to infuse alternative pop rock to their music. Like most of the bands today, they are heavily influenced by Eraserheads, Rivermaya, Incubus, The Script, Dashboard Confessional and other artists both local and foreign who sing right from their heart.

In a country where talented bands are born almost everyday, Check struggled like the rest who started in the underground arena, where unsigned bands are huddled together in their quest to be heard. They’ve experienced those grueling hours of waiting to perform but it will be just them and the other last bands as the crowd themselves, the unpaid gigs that they attend to just because they love doing it and those hours of contemplating if they will ever be able to make it big.

Lucky for Check, they scored Angee Rozul to produce their album, have Joel Ellorin as manager; same guy behind Kjwan, and have a record deal with Sony BMG. What more can a band ask for right? But it’s not all pure luck, the band worked hard to showcase and prove their worth to get all these big names and people to listen and give them a chance.

This year, Check came out with their debut and self-titled album containing 10 tracks mostly penned by Jim who said, “Gusto naming iparating sa kanila (listeners) na yung music namin hindi rin kaiba dun sa mga mahal nilang banda ngayon sa industriya. Gusto lang naming sabihin sa kanila na marami pang bagong bandang sisikat na magugustuhan nyo din tulad namin. Yun yung message nung album namin.”

As their manager puts it, a band should possess three qualities for them to survive in the industry: discipline, compromise and hard work. And so far, the group didn’t fail to check each of these traits. They see their ability to adapt to their listeners’ wants is an asset for the band, as music is a communication other than expression. Their strong friendship also makes them unbreakable when problems arise for the band and facing it like a normal barkada will do, laugh at it and then think of a way to solve it.

Right now, Check is busy with pushing their album through radio tours and performing in events like the 2008 MTV Music Summit but never fails to still have a good time and even squeeze in between that DOTA addiction and basketball games. As children they dreamed, and now they’ve made it real.