March 06, 2019

March 6, 2019

City of Pasay -- The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) through the Office of the President restaged a modern sarswela based on the life and works of Jose Corazon de Jesus or Huseng Batute on February 28, 2019 to close the National Arts Month. The two (2) shows of the “Ang Pagbabalik-Tanaw sa Unang Hari ng Balagtasan” scheduled at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. were held at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute (THB) or the studio theater of the Center. 

The Makati Local Government and the Department of Education (DepEd) Makati Division Office sponsored the 10:00 a.m. show. The 2:00 p.m. show, on the other hand, was made possible through the support of the Taguig Local Government. 

“Our partnerships with these two local government units and the DepEd for the promotion of arts and culture bode well for the Center’s programs to reach the high school students and the grassroots community. Hopefully, the show inspires the young to create their own art either through writing poetry or engaging in performing arts,” Arsenio J. Lizaso, CCP president, said.   

THB was named after the more famous nom de guerre of De Jesus, Huseng Batute. The maiden offering of the “Ang Pagbabalik-Tanaw sa Unang Hari ng Balagtasan” was held on May 26, 2018, the actual 86th death anniversary day of De Jesus. This was followed by the second offering on September 21, 22 and 23, 2018.      

For its third run this February, the production featured established theater actors, members of the Philippine Opera Company (POC), ventriloquist Ony Carcamo, and hosts Vim Nadera and Elle Velasco. Ian Lomongo directed the modern sarswela. 

The thespians in the show, namely, Gino Ramirez, Rico del Rosario, Kath Castillo, Micah Musa, Claudia Enriquez, Liway Gabo, Marcus Belisario, and AZ Ramos performed the popular poems of De Jesus. The actors also performed the paper presented by Dr. Benilda Santos on the May 26 presentation titled “Kung Saan Ipupugal, at Pagkaraan, Palalayain ang Diwa at Kultura ng Bayan: Isang Pagbabalik-Tanaw kay Jose Corazon de Jesus”.

POC members Karla Gutierrez, Nazer Salcedo, Ivan Bacud, Neomi Giron, and Obel Alalong (pianist) rendered the kundiman classics that De Jesus provided lyrics to such as “Pakiusap”, “Arimunding-Munding”, “Dalagang Pilipina”, “Anak ng Dalita”, “Madaling Araw” and “Bayan Ko”.      

One of the highlights of the show, the Balagtasan was re-enacted by the participating artists. They performed excerpts from the Balagtasan piece called “Bulaklak ng Lahing Kalinis-linisan” originally staged on April 6, 1924 with De Jesus as the Paruparo and Florentino Collantes as the Bubuyog. 

The February 28 production was likewise supported by the direct descendant of Jose Corazon de Jesus Jaime Aguila, and Waffles and Soda Corporation. 

Due to the audience’s reception and demand, the show “Ang Pagbabalik-Tanaw sa Unang Hari ng Balagtasan” will be toured in different parts of Metropolitan Manila and around the country.


(From left) On stage hosts Elle Velasco and Vim Nadera interview Rita Riddle, the Schools Division Superintendent of the Department of Education (DepEd) Makati, in the 10:00 a.m. show of the “Ang Pagbabalik-Tanaw sa Unang Hari ng Balagtasan” with 208 audience members.


The cast of the show “Ang Pagbabalik-Tanaw sa Unang Hari ng Balagtasan” singing the finale song “Bayan Ko”. The song was translated by Huseng Batute to Filipino from “Nuestra Patria” penned by the revolutionary general Jose Alejandrino.