Incel­e­bra­tion of its golden year, the Philip­pine Ed­u­ca­tional The­ater Association (PETA) staged a two-night show ti­tled Singkuwenta: The PETA 50th An­niver­sary Con­cert at the PETA The­ater Cen­ter in New Manila, Que­zon City, on April 7 and 8.

PETA veter­ans Soxie Topa­cio, Mae Paner (aka Juana Change), Dessa Que­sada-Palm, Cris Gon­za­les, and Joel La­man­gan, along with newer mem­ber Meann Espinosa, acted as the show’s nar­ra­tors.

“Sa ni­lak­bay ng PETA, ano nga ba ang kuwenta ng singkuwenta?” Mae asked, and Joel has­tened to add: “Ano nga ba ang kuwento ng singkuwen­tang taon?”

The kuwenta and kuwento, the sig­nif­i­cance and the story, behind the the­ater com­pany’s jour­ney to where it is now—a rec­og­nized leader in pro­duc­ing and pro­mot­ing Filipino plays, dis­cov­er­ing and nur­tur­ing tal­ents, and ed­u­cat­ing and de­vel­op­ing au­di­ences— were told on­stage through songs, dances, and spiels that lasted more than two hours.

Singkuwenta also served as a re­union for those who have been part of PETA and as a thank-you gift for those who have sup­ported the group, whether as viewer, spon­sor, or show buyer.

Con­grat­u­la­tions! And here’s to the next 50 years of orig­i­nal productions that en­ter­tain and ed­u­cate!•

PETA founder Ce­cile Guidote-Al­varez (third from right) joined up with in this photo with cur­rent PETA of­fi­cers—pres­i­dent Ce­cilia B. Gar­ru­cho, pop­u­larly known as CB Gar­ru­cho (sixth from left), and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Beng San­tos-Ca­ban­gon (fourth from left)—and with sup­port­ers from the sec­tors of public ser­vice, busi­ness, and the arts: (L-R) Se­na­tor Risa Hon­tiveros, Ella Kin­ta­nar, Vicki Ald­aba, Joy Vi­rata, Marivic del Rosario, and Ra­mon del Rosario Jr.

Ce­cile Guidote-Al­varez was hon­ored with a song num­ber by guest artist Michael Odoemene. The song, “Ta­punan ng Lin­gap,” is from the play Pilip­inas Circa 1907, with lyrics by Ni­canor Tiong­son and mu­sic by Lut­gardo Labad.

Ce­cile did not give a speech, but she had writ­ten a Founder’s Mes­sage that came with the press kit.

Her brain­child, she said in her mes­sage, was born 50 years ago “out of a vi­sion of dy­nam­i­cally ap­ply­ing the­ater, the meet­ing ground of all the dis­ci­pline of the arts, as a force for ed­u­ca­tion and so­cial trans­for­ma­tion to­wards peace and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.”

She added: “It was a dream to build a Na­tional The­ater Move­ment truth­fully ar­tic­u­lat­ing our peo­ple’s thoughts, feeling, val­ues and as­pi­ra­tions by draw­ing meaning and power from the lives, lan­guage, her­itage and habi­tat of our peo­ple.”

Ar­chi­tect Le­an­dro “Andy” Loc­sin Jr. is the ad­min­is­tra­tor of the Le­an­dro V. Loc­sin Part­ners (LVLP), the firm re­spon­si­ble for the achi­tec­tural de­sign of the PETA The­ater Cen­ter. He is named af­ter his fa­ther, the late Na­tional Artist Le­an­dro Loc­sin.

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