SHS-Ateneo de Cebu presents ‘Kilat: Dulang Musikal’
Photo by Jay Adobo, BiPSU intern

SHS-Ateneo de Cebu presents ‘Kilat: Dulang Musikal’

SACRED Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, in collaboration with various local government units (LGU) and private institutions, unveiled details of its highly anticipated original musical production, Kilat: Dulang Musikal, in a press conference held Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at the Rizal Memorial Library and Museum on Osmeña Blvd, Cebu City.

The musical, which dives into the untold story of Leon Kilat, a Visayan Katipunero who played a crucial role in leading the Cebuano group of katipuneros during the Spanish colonization period, promises to be a touching depiction of heroism and identity.

Mark Arnold Langahid, playwright and director, shared insights into the inspiration and significance of the production.

“My fascination with Leon Kilat began in 2019 during a historical tour in Cebu. His biography, though lesser known, left a profound impact on me. I pledged to share his story to the world though a musical play,” he said.

His six years of conception to realization underscores the meticulous effort poured into crafting the production, which aims to celebrate local narratives often covered by Manila-centric and mainstream heroes.

Kilat: Dulang Musikal is not just a theatrical performance; it’s a testament to the school’s commitment to promoting cultural heritage and fostering a sense of pride among its students and the wider community, as highlighted by the producer, Anthony Hejie Suralta.

Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, who also attended the press conference as one of the speakers, echoed Suralta’s sentiment, as he lauded the production’s homage to local history and its role in promoting cultural heritage through the arts.

The timing of the event, coinciding with the conclusion of the 125th anniversary of the Battle of Tres de Abril, is particularly noteworthy.

“Staging this production ignites public interest in exploring our local history more deeply,” said Orland James Romarate, of the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission Office, emphasizing the importance of awareness about significant historical events often overlooked in mainstream narratives.

While the exact budget remains undisclosed by the director, Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu has partnered with agencies such as Cebu City Government, Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (CHAC), Carcar City Government, Mandaue City Government, FADI, Xhimera, and Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. for the successful production of the musical play.

Kilat: Dulang Musikal will grace the stage of the Virginia Chiongbian Theater from April 4 to 6, 2024.

Tickets are priced at P500 for regular admission.

For reservations, contact Jacqueline D. Espaltero, the finance committee chair for Kilat, at 0918 361 9663 or 345-4378 local 1304.

Raphael Zandro Garay, who portrayed the lead role of Leon Kilat, expressed his deep connection to the character and the journey he went through to fully commit and feel the main character.

Zandro had to undergo physical training and building up muscles to obtain the physique required for the role of Leon Kilat.

He said the timeframe for practicing the script felt like it was not enough, also admitting that he had a hard time memorizing his lines. But as he kept practicing, he got the hang of it, and was confident that he would be able to portray the character with all his best.

Alexa Andrea Yap, the musical director of Kilat, also shared the challenges she had to go through while working on the production and the emotional connection she developed with the story.

According to her, balancing between academics and production was really hard, and it demanded so much of her time due to the fact that most of her teammates were also busy, so she had to do a lot of things by herself. She, however, remained positive and reminded herself that she loves what she is doing, and once it is done, she will be fine.

She added that Kilat used to be just another heroic story, but having to study in Cebu from Leyte for the past six years, surrounded by Cebuano culture, meant more to her as time went by.

When she learned about the story of Leon Kilat, she felt sad, saying that to her, it is a story of dilemma, because originally Pantaleon Villegas came from Negros, but when he came to Cebu to pursue his dreams, he saw the injustice happening in the region, and he contemplated whether to chase his dream or be a hero. He then chose the latter and fought for the freedom of Cebu.

Yap said that Kilat is a beautiful story, not only because of its heroic tale but because of how it is about making big choices. (Jay Adobo and Jhanneca Mondelo, BiPSU interns)

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