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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Zarzuela Gives Life to Baler History

Baler, a quaint little town in the heart of Aurora, will open its doors to the nation for the celebration of its town fiesta, culminated by the grand zarzuela “Baler ng Puso Ko” on August 12-15 at the Baler Sports Complex, with the gala performance to be staged on the last day.

The zarzuela, featuring the libretto of Isagani Cruz and the original music composition of Lutgardo Labad, creatively joins together pieces of historical fact and mythological creatures in Philippine culture to present Baler in the midst of the ongoing Revolution.
“Baler ng Puso Ko” will reflect the wealth of heritage of the historic town since its founding 400 years ago. It will also show a united town regardless of race, ethnicity and status but driven apart by the news of an approaching Filipino army tasked to drive the Spanish soldiers away from the Philippine soil.

The story of the Baler zarzuela provides a panorama of the indigenous communities, the tsunami survivors and the battle for Independence. It is told from the point of view Maria Amatoria, a beautiful Filipina teacher, who is torn between her father’s point of view on the country and her own desire to live in Spain.

Directed by Frank Rivera, libretto of Isagani Cruz, music by Lutgardo Labad and production management by Mars Cavestany, “Baler ng Puso Ko” stars Leisl Batucan, Lara Maigue and Diana de Mesa, a scholar student from Baler, alternating in the lead roles of Maria Amatorio and Diwata. Also in the cast are Al Gatmaitan, Montet Acoymo, and Eugene delos Santos together with select members of the UST Liturgikon, as back-up chorus playing various character roles. Joining the cast are the new youth Baler chorus trained by Ed Manguiat with the choreography by Rene Jaguio and Wally Tuyan. The assisting choral masters of the zarzuela are Raphael Balagot, Paulo Rodriguez, Peter McCrohon and the Technical Director is Joey Nombres.

“Baler ng Puso Ko” also demonstrates the concept of the Kalahi-Cultural Caregiving program of NCCA with the artistic supervision of Executive Director Cecile Guidote-Avarez. The participants are conducted by a team of ITI Earthsavers Dreams Faculty of artist-teachers from various disciplines.

The staging of the zarzuela was organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts through its Kalahi-Cultural Care-giving Services and the Philippine Center of the ITI Earthsavers Dreams Academy with the cooperation of Baler 400 Steering Committee, the Office of Senator Edgardo J. Angara, and the provincial and local governments of Aurora led by Gov. Bellaflor-Angara.

“Baler ng Puso Ko” is part of the year-long celebration for the quadricentennial celebration of Baler, pursuant to the Presidential Proclamation 1696, declaring 2009 as the “Year of Baler” tied up with other cultural events during Baler Week and the Buwan ng Wika.

For details, please contact RENE NAPEÑAS, Head of the NCCA-Public Affairs and Information Office (PAIO) at cellphone number 0928-5081057), or call (02) 527-5529 / 527-2192 loc. 508, 612 to 615, email at or or log on

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