All-Original Filipino Christmas Ballet ‘Puso ng Pasko’ Premieres This Christmas Season

'Puso ng Pasko' captures the true spirit of the Pinoy Pasko as Lolo Val recalls to his young granddaughter the magical Christmases of his youth.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines celebrates Filipino Christmas traditions with PUSO NG PASKO as it lights up the CCP Main Theater on December 2 (8:00 pm), Dec. 3 (3:00 pm & 8:00 pm), and Dec. 4, 2022 (3:00 pm & 8:00 pm).

The first all-Filipino Christmas ballet, PUSO NG PASKO captures the true spirit of the Pinoy Pasko as Lolo Val, now living abroad in California, recalls to his young granddaughter Angelita, the magical Christmases of his youth in Tres Reyes with his barkada.

This production, conceptualized by Ronelson Yadao, and musical arrangements by National Artist for Music, Ryan Cayabyab, features beloved scenes of the Simbang Gabi, eating bibingka and puto bumbong, plazas decorated with big parols, and beautiful Christmas decorations.  It also features different fiestas across the Philippine islands in celebration of regional festivities.

Puso ng Pasko 2

Alice Reyes Dance Philippines’ Artistic Director, Ronelson Yadao, works with an amazingly talented array of collaborators to bring this Flipino Christmas story to life.  Joining him with the feat of choreographing this full-length Christmas dance celebration are Erl Sorilla, John Ababon, AL Abraham, Dan Dayo, Bonnie Guerrero, and Lester Reguindin.  These creative staples in the company’s roster of young and acclaimed choreographers each have a beautifully distinct style of movement that somehow wonderfully compliments each moment in the story.

Erl Sorilla is an accomplished dancer with the CCP’s resident dance company and has choreographed notable pieces including Langit Lupa and The Weight on Our Toes.  His works have received recognition including the Trudl Dubsky Award in the first CCP Ballet Competition in 2014.  In 2020, he danced and choreographed with the faculty of the CCP Dance Workshop, creating two pieces in the Christmas offering Tuloy Ang Pasko! He became a grantee of the CCP’s 2021 Professional Dance Support Program where he choreographed Musa for its Culminating Program. Erl currently dances, teaches, and choreographs with Alice Reyes Dance Philippines.

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John Ababon has been dancing with CCP companies since 2012 and has ventured into choreography.  Among his works are Happy Thoughts, which won the Trudl Dubsky Zipper Award for outstanding choreography in the 2018 CCP Ballet Competition Junior Category. In 2020, John was part of the faculty of the CCP Dance Workshop and in 2021, he became a grantee of the CCP Professional Dance Support Program. He performed in several pieces of its culminating showcase, the Dance On! Online dance series, and choreographed a solo, Inlababo, and a pas de deux, In the Midst of Overcoming. Today, John focuses on choreographing.  

AL Abraham pursued his professional dance career at the CCP.  AL has created many pieces like Kada Paningkamot, a solo choreographed for the Young Choreographer Showcase. In 2020, he was one of the dancers and choreographers for the CCP Christmas offering Tuloy Ang Pasko! which was featured in the 2021 live Christmas show, A Christmas Celebration.  With Alice Reyes Dance Philippines, AL continues to dance and choreograph.  His Kada Paningkamot was restaged and included in the Visayan Suite of Dances.

Danilo Dayo holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts Degree with a major in Dance from the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde.  As a company member of CCP’s Resident Dance Company, he has been featured in many of its productions.  A budding choreographer, he has created pieces for the junior company among his works are TorpeBelle Donne and Malamanyika, and Danse Macabre.  A member of the faculty of CCP Dance Workshop, he performed and created the dance piece Kumukutikutitap in CCP’s 2020 Christmas offering Tuloy ang Pasko.  He is currently a grantee in the 2022 Professional Artist Support Program.

Bonnie Guerrero is a professional dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, and Pilates instructor.  A former company member of CCP’s Resident Dance Company, Bonnie has choreographed many pieces.  His choreographies have been featured in the CCP Resident Dance Company shows such as Hugot sa Rosas and Bagong Sayaw.  With Alice Reyes, National Artist for Dance, as his mentor for choreography, he created works such as his Magdalena presented in the 2018 Young Choreographers Showcase. His latest choreographic work was to the music arranged by Ryan Cayabyab, Anong Gagawin Mo Ngayon Pasko, for Tuloy Ang Pasko!, a 2020 Christmas dance film production of the Artists of the CCP Dance Workshop.

Lester Reguindin participated in the CCP Resident Dance Company’s Young Choreographer’s Showcase in 2019 where he choreographed We Men, which was later performed in the production of Alice & Friends and more recently in the CCP Dance Series’ Pulso Pilipinas I.  In 2020, Lester choreographed and danced for CCP’s online Christmas Offering, The Nutcracker and Tuloy Ang Pasko.  As a creative grantee of the CCP’s 2021 Professional Artist Support Program, his piece NOW was featured in the CCP’s online dance series, Dance On! With Alice Reyes Dance Philippines, Lester continues to choreograph, one of his recent works, GomBurZa, was a culminating choreographic study for the PASP in 2022.  It was later commissioned by UP Arts and Culture Festival under the direction of Josefina Estrella.

Ronelson is a dance artist with 16 years of professional experience in dance theaters in Asia, the US, Canada, and Europe.  Among his works as a choreographer are Sama-Sama, with the music of National Artist Ryan Cayabyab, as well as Ang Kabaligtaran ng Gunaw, a dance film produced by the CCP with music and film direction by Jerold Tarrog.  In 2020, he became a grantee, choreographer, and Modern Dance ballet master of the CCP Professional Dance Support Program.  Ronelson is currently the artistic director of the Alice Reyes Dance Philippines.  His 2019 piece, Maupay is the latest addition to the collection of dances in Visayan Suite of Dances.

Behind this talented array of choreographers are collaborators whose significant contributions give life to the story and choreography. These include National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes, as Mentor and Artistic Consultant and National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab, for his musical arrangements of timeless Filipino Christmas Songs performed and recorded by the San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra and the San Miguel Master Chorale.

Alice Reyes was declared a National Artist for Dance by President Benigno S. Aquino III through Proclamation No. 807 and was conferred at the Malacañang Palace on April 14, 2016.  Her extensive body of choreographic works is a powerful expression of the Philippines’ unique history, art, and heritage, including AmadaItim AsuTales of the ManuvuRama, Hari, and Bungkos Suite, among many others.  She is currently the artistic consultant for the Professional Artist Support Program and the chairman emeritus of Alice Reyes Dance Philippines.  She has collaborated with the CCP and its Arts Education Department in its educational thrusts, audience development, and regional outreach, as part of their Professional Artist Support Program.   

National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab, a.k.a, Mr. C is the most accomplished composer, arranger, and musical director in the Philippine music industry since the early 1970s.  His learned, skillful, and versatile musical style spans a wide range of genres: from conservatory or art compositions such as concert religious music, symphonic work, art song, opera, and concerto to mainstream popular idioms in the music industry and in live contemporary multimedia shows (musical theater, dance, and film).  Being very visible in the national media (once a TV host of a long-running arts and culture series and recently a judge in reality TV singing competitions), Cayabyab is a household name.  His compositions reflect a perspective of music that extols the exuberance of life and human happiness, thus capturing the very essence of our Filipino soul.

Included on the list of brilliant collaborators are Eric Cruz (production design), Barbara Tan-Tiongco (lighting design), Dennis Maristany (Costume Consultant), and Eljay Castro Deldoc, who worked with Yadao on the script and story as co-librettist with inputs from Film Director Carlos Siguion-Reyna for the filmed scenes.

Joining the cast is acclaimed theater actor Audie Gemora, who will be taking on the role of “Lolo Val.”  A terpsichore who has played a variety of roles both in English and Filipino musicals, Audie has been dubbed “King of Philippine Musical Theater.”  He has co-founded one of the leading theater companies in the country, TRUMPETS which has produced musical hits including the long-running JOSEPH THE DREAMER.  He won an award for “Best Performance as Male Lead in a Musical” at the 2010 Gawad Philstage for his performance in SWEENEY TODD, and in 2014 as “Best Performance as featured male in a Musical” for his performance as the flamboyant director Roger De Bris in “THE PRODUCERS.”  His portrayal of Albin/Zaza in 9 Works 2015 production of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES garnered rave reviews and won him the “Outstanding Performance in Musical by a Male Lead” trophy in the 2016 Philstage Gawad Buhay. His latest acting recognition was for Best Actor in a Play as Norman in Repertory Philippines’ production of THE DRESSER at the 2019 Aliw Awards.

As the Cultural Center of the Philippines prepares to shut its doors for renovation, these performances will be one of the last to be staged in the CCP Main Theater.  

Tickets are available through the following contacts: CCP Box Office (tel. no. 8832-3704), Bonnie Guerrero (Viber: 09154122152), and TicketWorld (+63.917.550.6997, +63.999.954.5922)

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