Earlier this year, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) revealed photos of the restored Manila Metropolitan Theatre (MET), confirming that its doors will finally reopen this year. Now, their first theatrical production for the venue is ready for public viewing, and it will revisit the story of one of the country’s earliest heroes.
Lapulapu, Ang Datu ng Mactan will be the first play to be performed at the MET after 25 years, since it closed its doors in 1996. The musical will cover the many events commemorated this year, including the Victory at Mactan in 1521 as told from Lapulapu’s point of view; the circumnavigation of the world from the point of view of the chronicler Juan Sebastian Elcano; and the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines, as seen from the eyes of Reyna Juana.
The NCCA’s description of the show states that “this meta tale explores how history—and what people choose to be the lessons from it—contribute to the cultural identity and to the strength of any nation.”
The Cast & Creators
The theater play will feature the performances of popular tenor and theater actor Arman Ferrer as Lapulapu, Andre Tiangco as Ferdinand Magellan, Red Nuestro as Rajah Humabon, Cara Barredo as Reyna Juana, Natasha Cabrera as Babaylan, Paw Castillo as Enrique de Malacca, Robert Barbers as Juan Sebastian de Elcano, Al Gatmaitan as Antonio Pigafetta, and Ivan Niccolo Nery as Papa Alexander XI and Padre Pedro de Valderrama.
Lapulapu, Ang Datu ng Mactan is directed by UP Professor Dexter M. Santos (Ang Huling El Bimbo) with a libretto from award-winning poet and lawyer Nicolas B. Pichay and set to music by Krina Cayabyab. NCCA Chairperson and Cultural Center of the Philippines president Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso spearheads the project as Artistic Director.
This public presentation will also be part of the Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines, the Year of Filipino Pre-Colonial Ancestors, and the National Indigenous Peoples’ Month.
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How to Watch ‘Lapulapu, Ang Datu ng Mactan’
Since we still cannot visit the MET with this ongoing pandemic, Lapulapu will be brought from the theater to our homes via online streaming. This October 24, 6PM, Lapulapu, And Datu ng Mactan will stream on The Metropolitan Theater’s Facebook page, and it will be cross-posted on the pages of NCCA, Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM), Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the National Quincentennial Committee, and other partner institutions’ official Facebook pages.