WATCH: 50 years of creative evolution and struggle at PETA

MANILA, Philippines – It was a bittersweet moment when Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) president Cecille "CB" Garrucho gave flowers to the grand old lady of PETA, founder Cecille Guidote-Alvarez, as singers serenaded her with Kundiman songs onstage. The two Cecilles together epitomized what the event wanted to capture – a PETA that cherishes its past and is excited for the future.

PETA’s anniversary concert "Singkwenta" last Friday, April 7, was a delightful walkthrough in Philippine history: from the days of heavy colonial influence in theater, through the struggles of the Martial Law years up to the post-People Power explosion of styles and themes.

PETA’s tanglaw (torch) shone bright through all those years, staying true to its tall mission of being a "people’s theater." It poked fun at, ridiculed, lambasted and reviled the worst in the Filipino and encouraged, burnished, extolled and showcased our best traits as a people. 

The two-and-a-half hour concert delivered 17 head-spinning, heart-swelling musical numbers from 540 plays that featured not only the talent, dedication and ingenuity of Filipino artists, but the heart, passion and zeal of true nationalists. -