Wednesday, September 13, 2006


It was after seeing the Lincoln Center in New York City that Imelda Marcos had the vision for a similar cultural and arts center to be built in Manila, which was soon erected on reclaimed land in Manila Bay and designed by famed Filipino architect, Leandro Locsin.

The Tanghalang Pambansa, more commonly known as the CCP Main Building, houses four theaters — a museum of ethnographic exhibits and a changing exhibit of Philippine art or ethnography, galleries, and a library on Philippine art and culture. It also houses the administrative offices and facilities of the CCP. Security personnel at the main building strictly enforce a no picture taking rule; therefore, I’m unable to provide a photo exhibit of the incredible interior of this venue.

There are so many performances going on here, but the one which attracts me the most is by The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra; formally inaugurated on May 15, 1973 as the CCP Philharmonic Orchestra, initially intended to assist artists performing at the CCP Theater. In 1979, Imelda Marcos commissioned Prof. Oscar C. Yatco to reorganize it.

Three years later, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra was reborn as a world-class orchestra ranked among the best in the world. Under Music Director Eugene Castillo and Resident Conductor Cecinio Ronquillo, the PPO has consistently kept a busy concert schedule each year.

Its next performance at CCP will be “Noble Visions,” on October 13th, Friday at 8:00 pm. It features Najib Ismail on piano; Eugene Castillo will be conducting. However, the music they intend to perform has not been announced, yet. Tickets are from P350 to P900, which are incredibly cheap for a world class philharmonic orchestra performance.

Now, I am not nor have ever been an aficionado of classical music in a strict sense, but have always enjoyed listening to it whenever possible. What my friends and I often did in New York when young was buy the cheapest tickets at Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall just to enjoy an afternoon or evening of orchestral music, which is, unarguably, great for the soul. Going to these classical concerts were in conjunction with the almost weekly rock concerts we used to attend at Howard Stern's Palladium in downtown Manhattan. I should also mention that my appreciation for orchestral music began when I watched those Warner Bros. cartoons on TV every afternoon when I was a kid.

Incidentally, there are about six art galleries within the main CCP building. One may go there early and view the current exhibits and installations, and then later on enjoy the philharmonic performance. For inquiries call the Museum and Visual Arts Division at 832-1125 local 1504/1505.

The telephone number for the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra is 832-1125 local 1608-1610.

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posted by Señor Enrique at 6:39 AM


Anonymous jhay said...

I've only seen the PPO perform once live when I was part of a summer theater workshop in the CCP. They were breathtaking!

I'd surely love to see and hear them perform again.

September 13, 2006 7:49 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Now, I'm even more excited to see their next concert, Jhay!

September 13, 2006 8:57 AM  

Anonymous bugsybee said...

Last summer, I had the chance to catch their fantastic performance! It was their PPO-in-jeans series and they played in malls. I think they'll be in Dumaguete City sometime this month and I am sorely tempted to travel all the way just to watch them.

September 13, 2006 9:03 AM  

Anonymous kyels said...

It reminds me of our Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra centre. Well, I've never seen them perform before because some of the performances are rather pricey, but I guess one day I'll have the opportunity to do so.

The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra sounds really interesting and the ticket pricing is way reasonable too. That is what I think.


September 13, 2006 9:04 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

That is so wonderful, Bugsybee! The New York Philharmonic also performs every summer at various NYC parks and they'd often turn into festive events -- people having picnics and fireworks!

I really like this idea of PPO-in-jeans series. If ever you attend the Dumaguete performance, please snap some pics and share with us. Awesome!

September 13, 2006 9:32 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

The whole idea, Kyels, is to make art and culture fully accessible to the masses; this explains the cheap tickets :)

Ok, here's another addition to your to-do list while in Manila -- to check out a show at the Cultural Center of the Philippines :)

September 13, 2006 9:35 AM  

Anonymous niceheart said...

I'd probably enjoy listening to their music, too.

September 13, 2006 11:27 AM  

Blogger ipanema said...

I had the chance of watching them perform when I was still there. My sister has friends from that group before. I enjoyed it.

September 13, 2006 11:58 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I think we would all enjoy listening to some msic performed by a symphony, Niceheart :)

September 13, 2006 12:37 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Oh, that's wonderful Ipanema. I guess, many more than realized have been enjoying these performanes by our local orchestra. Now, I have got to see them :)

September 13, 2006 12:39 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Eric, you really enjoy life, isn't it. After so many years in NYC it seems you want to experience everything you missed for so long in the Philippines.

September 13, 2006 12:46 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

True, Sidney. I kept telling myself, "There has got to be other happenings of great interest in and around Manila besides going to the malls." ... hehehe. The irony is, I never enjoyed going to the malls even in NY and NJ.

But yes, I'm playing catch-up :)

September 13, 2006 1:30 PM  

Anonymous Ferdz said...

I've always wanted to watch an orchestra... too bad I missed the one where they collaborate with the rockers called "Rockestra".

September 13, 2006 2:10 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Their next concert is on the 13th of October, Fedz. You must go and experience it :)

I'm sure they'll have a repeat of the "Rockestra" one of these days!

September 13, 2006 3:31 PM  

Anonymous myepinoy said...

Since my first child follow his heart to take up music instead of being like me, i let my ears accept the classical pieces. Without me knowing it, i now love them. On my vacations, I could not let my day pass by without my son playing me a classical piece in piano. It marveled me how those fingers can do those calisthenics in the piano bars.

I have one suggestion to complete your journey. I think you need to check out the plays by the Tanghalang Ateneo. You will love them too.

September 13, 2006 6:46 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And I applaud you, Myepinoy, for having the kindness in your heart to allow your first born to "follow his bliss."

I've always wanted to be a pianist myself, but my parents taught I was kidding ... but that's another blog entry :)

I shall definitely include Tanghalang Ateneo on my itenerary ... and post an entry about it once visited.


September 13, 2006 6:57 PM  

Anonymous aurea said...

I remember field trips to CCP when I was very young, and hanging out at Lincoln Center in college.

I used to play violin, and sometimes I do miss playing in an orchestra. One reason I don't listen to classical music much these days is that I'll miss playing violin too much!

September 15, 2006 1:08 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Oh no, Aurea? Why give up on playing your violin? Knowing how to play it is too wonderful a gift to be taken for granted :(

Please get back to it :)

With the demanding school projects you're involved it, an hour or two with the violin can surely assuage the stress; that is, together with your boxing.

September 15, 2006 1:17 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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