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.


the power of words


By Angelique Manalad
(unedited version of articles in Fudge magazine Feb-March 2009 issue p.71)

It was in late 2004 that Carren Cecilia “Kooky” Tuason started putting into motion her vision of instilling confidence to everybody by means of creative self-expression, specifically through spoken words. A shy child herself, she wanted to be able to encourage people to come out of their safety zones and embrace the glory and satisfaction that artistic talents can give.
Spoken word, as defined by Kooky, is basically performance poetry. It doesn’t essentially pertain to poetry that is written or taught in school. It’s like storytelling and doesn’t stick to the certain parameters set in poetry. Spoken word aims to be able to get the message across and touch hearts of people. “It’s about being real, it’s about being you. It’s about exposing yourself.”
Early 2005, Kooky’s first album “Romancing Venus” came out. It became a good instrument of introducing spoken poetry to Pinoys especially the Filipinas. The album features Kooky’s poems of love spoken by her friends who gladly gave their support and lend their voices. Some of the women in the first album were TV personalities Angel Aquino, Iza Calzado, Cindy Kurleto; musicians Barbie Almalbis, Wawi Navarroza; journalist Kara David; and designer Kate Torralba.
Although Kooky never took formal education when it comes to poetry, she always had a passion for writing and a poet by heart. “Yung pagsusulat ko kasi, it’s my way of healing myself. Kasi madami akong dinaan na things in my past…ang tingin ko kasi kakampi ko yung pen and paper…Nakikita ko kasi yung poetry is healing e, so, I know that it can also heal others.”

Receiving positive feedbacks, Romancing Venus gave birth to a new movement adopting the name with an advocacy of healing through art, music and literature. They set themselves to empower those who were victims of abuse, give workshops and seminars and perform. “It feels great because in expressing ourselves, the Venuses would also like to encourage other people–young women especially to speak their truths and say what is on their mind. There is so much power in that.” columnist Karen Kunawicz, who is a part of the movement, said This also paved way to a second volume of the album the following year, which evolves to a wider range of life-themed poems and the background music also differs from the first one.
Since everyone in the movement are females, hence the name Venus, some people saw them as a sisterhood of some sort.

But as Buchi Emecheta, a Nigerian novelist, said that a writer is a writer and writing is sexless. Kooky soon called up some of her guy friends who also have the same beliefs and aspirations. She crossed paths with Juddha Paolo, who is not known to many writes poems himself but a little hesitant to call himself as a poet.

Juddha had been to spoken word for quite awhile even before he met Kooky, “I did my first poem in States, back in 1997. When I first got into ABS, I was doing spoken word in 2003, it’s something I’ve been doing even in the States. In 1998 the movie, Slum, came out with Saul Williams. I was able to meet Saul William in Los Angeles that was like the baptizing of me into the spoken poetry movement that was 1998, that was 10 years ago… I actually been into spoken word for quite awhile, it’s more of rap. I’m a hip hopper so it’s like rapping; I’ve always been doing that.” Along with Juddha, some guys also involved in Romancing Venus are writer Moki Villegas, photographer Erving Go and many others.

Kooky is brewing up a new group that will finally make both male and female feel equally welcomed which would be called “word weavers”. Another evidence of the success of spoken word penetrating the main stream was the radio show which was offered to Kooky as the station manager was really a supporter of the two albums released. “Nung una sobrang daming ano kasi nga mahiyain ako diba? I can perform on stage but mag-tuloy-tuloy ka na magdaldal e hindi nga ako nagdadaldal. Mas nagsusulat ako e, it’s a big challenge for me. Pero dahil naniwala sila sa akin tapos dahil maraming taong nagtiwala sa ginagawa ko tuloy-tuloy na sya.”

The third album was entitled “Bigkas Pilipinas” taken from her radio show’s title. The show features spoken poetry from other countries, guests who are closet poets who finally get to be heard and celebrities who read their favorite poems. As of today, Bigkas Pilipinas is the only spoken word show in the country airing for more than a year.

The impact of the show and spoken word still amazes Kooky even today, she had this listener who was a detainee in a jail and now releases his own album. Even though it was a struggle at first, Kooky and the rest of the movement is reaping the reward of finally being able to erase the boring connotation of poetry and awaking the minds and creativity of a lot of people.

Spoken poetry is receiving popularity in many parts of the world and it’s light is shining bright in our country as well. “I think, by and by, people would start understanding the power of the word. They would understand that they do have capability to control their environment. It’s growing, slowly but surely. And the more people would understand it, the more people see the magic of it, the more beautiful this world would be. Everything begins with the word.” Juddha stated.
Some of the other Venuses are musicians Anabel Bosch, Charms Tianzon, Aimee Marcos, Maegan Aguilar, Nityalila; writer Ginny Mata; and photographers Honey Cruz and Romina Diaz.
The movement has regular gigs which can be checked out at Kooky’s site 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.

Talkin’ to the new girl of 90210

key-art-90210-cast1(unedited copy of article taken from Fudge Magazine’s Dec-Jan ’09 issue)

By Angelique Manalad

Tagged as Hollywood’s Next Big Thing after landing the lead role in 90210, the spin-off of the hit teen drama of the 90s, Shenae Grimes found herself in the middle of pressure, hype and the ever conspicuous eye of the US media.

Although not new to acting, as she already achieved minor-league fame with her starring role as Darcy on the Toronto-based teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation, there was something about playing in 90210 that makes her feel that everything is still too far-fetched to be happening to her.

As the Executive producer Gace Sachs said, “It’s going to be a contemporary version of the original, there were so many kids who were addicted to the original and are now adults. We are going to make this about the kids today. It’s going to be sexier, a bit controversial and it has a harder edge this time.

90210 also give way to the much-awaited reunion of former Beverly Hills, 90210 stars Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty. Many devotees of the show will definitely enjoy watching them reunite as they resume their roles as Kelly Taylor and Brenda Walsh.

The story focuses on the life of the Wilson family with Shenae playing the part of Annie Wilson. The family moved to Beverly Hills in order to look after Annie’s grandmother played by Jessica Walters, forcing her to abandon her life back in Kansas and face a new school where her dad was accepted as the principal. Problems arose as they entered West Beverly High, Annie and her adopted brother Dixon meets their new classmates.

In an exclusive interview with Shenae we were able to ask her the feeling of a 19-year-old girl living in the spotlight under the sought after zipcode.

What do you enjoy most about playing Annie Wilson?

Shenae Grimes: I think my favorite part is Annie’s relationship with her family. The Wilson clan is a very tight and that’s so refreshing to see on TV. They are a family who really gets along, really leans on each other and tell each other their secrets. And that is so rare these days. I feel like teenagers get so disconnected from their mums and dads because they are too concerned with their high school lives. But the Wilson kids always retreat back to their parents at the end of the day, which is so nice to see. I love Rob Estes (Melrose Place) and Lori Loughlin (Full House), who play my parents. And Jessica Walter (Arrested Development), who plays my grandmother, is the most hilarious woman on the planet! Any scene with her is a good time.

How much is Shenae Grimes like Annie Wilson? What do you two have in common?

Annie and I are different in terms of our interests and style. But at the root of it, we are very similar. We both come from a grounded point of view so we’re not easily swayed by the materialistic world. As for high school, I did that a while ago and Annie is currently dealing with the things I overcame during that time.

You had your first taste of fame playing Darcy Edwards on Degrassi: The Next Generation. Which character do you prefer – Darcy or Annie?

I think they have a lot of similarities. The character that I played on Degrassi was also a sweet, wholesome girl who struggled with the peer pressure of high school. But the storylines in Degrassi were much more extreme. In a way, it was more challenging for an actor because the issues were so outlandish. But I think Annie is much more fun because she’s more real. She doesn’t waiver as easily to peer pressure.

What can you tell us about your other co-stars?

Lori and Rob have become quasi parents to me. They are always there whenever I need to talk about something. They are always helping me out and getting advice. They have made it a priority to watch out for me because I don’t have my family out here. I’m a young girl away from home for the first time. I lucked out so much with my cast. They are unbelievable. Dustin [Milligan] is such a comedian; I’m always admiring his wit and charm. Tristan [Wilds] is a phenomenal musician, which is something not a lot of people know. I am constantly in awe of his writing, poetry, lyrics and voice. Ryan [Matthews] is a brilliant actor and Jess [Stroup] is just so cool! She knows a million things about fashion and music and is just so in-tune with everything that’s going on in pop culture. I am constantly trying to soak up tips from her on music and bands. It was so awesome working with original cast members Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty! I’ve worked with them for months now so they are just Jennie and Shannen to me, but it’s still weird. I have these moments when I look over and say, ‘Wow, she’s the original Brenda, and that’s Kelly Taylor!’ I was a fan of the original so it’s a big deal. They went through all of this 15 years ago, so they can tell us how to deal with it. We really all look to them for advice on how to handle everything that is coming our way. We are definitely handling it better with their help.

Did you know any of them before you met on set?

We first met each other at a Malibu mansion after we had been cast. Actually Tristan had just got the part that day, so it was crazy! You really only have each other to lean on so we bonded really quickly. Obviously we turn to our family and friends, but no one else is going through the mayhem that we are right now. There’s no time for cattiness or anything like that because we are so dependent on each other.

Who are you closest to in the cast?

Jessica Stroup is my girl. We met at the screen test before either one of us were cast and exchanged numbers. We were actually testing for the same part. I was trying for Silver and Annie so we were competing against each other, but we totally hit if off from day one! We just celebrated our birthdays together. We are new to this Hollywood thing so we spend days together on the couch just chatting about how crazy everything is. And Tristan is my on-screen brother. A hug from him calms me down. He’s the one person who can tell when I’m stressed and can take me out of whatever I’m feeling and just calm me down.

What have been the best parts about the shoot so far?

The most memorable moments are the birthday celebrations. We always do fun things. For Tristan’s birthday, Dustin decorated [Tristan’s] trailer with girly My Little Pony decorations. It was hilarious and Tristan kept them up for way too long! For AnnaLynne’s birthday, we made her a pyramid of these chicken burgers that she’s obsessed with, stuck candles in them and presented them to her like a birthday cake. Then there have been times when we’ve had to pull all-nighters and [by the end of it] we’re delusional and don’t remember our names anymore. But that’s when we just start joking around to try to keep each other awake.

Catch 90201 every Tuesday at 9pm on STAR WORLD & 10pm on CHANNEL [V].

rockin’ with the academe


By Angelique Manalad

(Unedited copy of article from FUDGE magazine November 2008 issue)

Some started young; some begun in just simply hanging out and some are really serious in pursuing their dreams as musicians. But then only few bands born in college survive and only a handful was able to make it big in the music scene. The guys from RJUR 105.9FM Underground Radio thought of a way to give the aspiring bands a taste of what lies ahead of them by bringing Rockademics Bar tour.

Marketing Associate of RJUR Niki Flojo also known as deejay Mick Zinger tells that they came up with the idea of Rockademics after the success of their previous bar tour R u listening which was done to launch their countdown. Conceptualizing a new tour involving schools was a great challenge as there are a lot of restrictions that were presented. “UR is into connecting classics to modern Pinoy bands; bridging the gaps so what we thought why not try and mix the school bands; young bands with the professional bands that they look up to?” And thus, Rockademics was born and bred into full force.

They started to contact schools, basically from the music organizations of different universities all-around the metro, and as expected they were eager and excited to participate and coordinate. They were all flattered and thankful for the exposure and the break that UR offered them as each society can gather together up to5 bands that’ll represent them to the gig with the pros that were invited by UR.

Another goal of this event is to help the amateur college bands align their mindsets on the important reason why they want to be in the music industry. Rockademics having the tagline “Rocking the right way,” Christine Isaac aka deejay Memphis, the events coordinator simply puts it that, “This is an opportunity for them to learn how it is really done, for them to have a goal to reach. [So they’ll realize that] they have to take their crafts seriously, coz if not…wag na lang sila mag-banda diba?”

The well-seasoned bands The Wuds—who was discovered by RJ’s very own Howlin’ Dave back in the days—Phil Vio, Gayuma, Markus Highway, Urbandub, Faspitch, DRT and Paramita all signed up for this event. “This is a great venue for each band to learn from each other. Not just for the amateur ones but also for us. We all have to share our talents it’s all about giving love…We’re all here for the love of music.” Derik Ileto, bassist of DRT intones. Each band is asked to say something about their experiences or anything that they can impart to the young aspirants who shares the same stage as them for the night.

San Sebastian’s Sebastinian Arts Society with their bands Knock for six, quern, naydstar, CBE, K.I.D. and Alagad ni Lumad was scheduled for the first leg of the tour on Sept. 13 at Freedom Bar. Mapua Music Society’s Soil & Green, Mahiwaga, Skypeia, Talata and Project Aina takes center stage on Oct.4 at Ten02, College of St. Benilde’s Music Network with their selection Salamin, Kastigo, Glorious Masai Mara Skypeia and Joniver Trio scheduled to perform at Chakik’s in Pasig on Oct. 10 and the final leg to be held in the same venue as the third features Kalayaan College’s Kalayaan Music Association (KAMA)’s bands Maya’s Anklet, Quadro, VHE, Misyonaryo and Favored Enemy on Oct. 17.

The event is sponsored by Red Horse Beer with Digiprint, RJ Guitar Center, JackTV,, and Fudge Magazine.

DOJ chair

After almost two decades of service and loyalty to the university as faculty member in the Department of Journalism, Prof. Felix V. Cabahug was chosen as its chairperson.

The newly appointed department chair is a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism graduate from the University of Santo Tomas, and has a Master’s Degree in Development Communication from UP Los Baños under his belt. He is currently taking his Doctorate Degree in Educational Management in our university.

Prof. Cabahug could still recall how his career started in PUP.

It all began when he stumbled upon an ad in the Manila Bulletin saying that PUP was looking for a Journalism instructor and the rest was history.

When asked how he managed to have survived the university for over 18 years, the chairperson smiled and replied, “Natuto akong magpasensya. As a teacher, I learned to understand the whims and caprices of every student and faculty member alike.”

After a thorough selection of possible candidates for the DOJ’s seat, Prof. Cabahug was chosen as the fourth chairperson of the department, replacing Prof. Angelina Borican, who is now a director of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Development.

On his appointment last October 23, 2007, Prof. Cabahug vowed to serve and help the department achieve academic excellence.

First in the to-do list of the new chair is to acquire more computers for the Newsroom to dust off its cobwebs and make it more useful to the students.

“Ask not what the department can do for you, but what you can do for your department,” is the advice of the very reticent chair to all his students and faculty to make the department reach its peak.