These Spectacular Movies and Musicals Were Inspired by Celebrated Filipino Artists

Ang Huling El Bimbo the musical follows a handful of stage productions.


( With the Philippines' award-winning repertoire of songs and countless talented musicians, it doesn't come as a surprise that theater and film have turned to Original Pilipino Music as inspiration. Take for example the upcoming Ang Huling El Bimbo, a musical based on the songs of one of the country's most influential rock bands—the Eraserheads. Since we're still three months away from opening day, we look back at the movies and shows that have stood out on both stage and screen.



Sa Wakas

This Pinoy rock musical written by Ina Abuan and Andrei Pamintuan first made fans cry in April 2013 with its heartbreaking story featuring the tear-jerking songs of Sugarfree. It follows the love story of Topper and Lexi whose long-term relationship takes a different turn when a third party comes into the picture. Your favorite Ebe Dancel songs like "Bawat Daan," "Ikaw Pala," and "Prom" are all given a "Broadway-fied" arrangement by Gawad Buhay awardee Ejay Yatco. It was again staged in January 2017 and April 2018.



Tulad ng Dati

This 2006 Cinemalaya entry written and directed by Michael Sandejas is part-documentary and part-fiction about '80s rock band The Dawn. Its plot starts with the group's gradual decline when founding member and guitarist Teddy Diaz was murdered. Things take a (weird and fictional) turn when vocalist Jett Pangan is knocked unconscious and gets stuck in the memory of The Dawn's heyday. It’s hard not to sing along to "Iisang Bangka Tayo" and "Salamat" while watching this film.




Rak of Aegis

So successful was Rak of Aegis in Philippine theater that it racked up a total of five runs between 2014 to 2016. It uses songs from '90s band Aegis such as "Luha" and "Basang-Basa sa Ulan" to tell the story of Aileen, who dreams of escaping her perpetually flooded town with her family. How playwright Liza Magtoto and Philippine Educational Theater Association artistic director Maribel Legarda put together such a compelling play inspired by the events of Tropical Storm Ondoy still astounds us.



Ako Si Josephine

Director Maribel Legarda, playwright Liza Magtoto, and musical director Myke Salomon joined forces in this 2016 musical featuring the songs of Yeng Constantino to celebrate the artist's 10 years in the business. Ako Si Josephine is set in a fictional music empire called Allegra where only "Happy, Youthful, and Purposeful" songs are allowed. To shake up this system, Josephine (played alternately by Via Antonio and Maronne Cruz) writes music that gives people all the #feels.




Katy is a masterpiece that was first staged in November 1988, and then again at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2013. The biographical musical is based on the life of Katy de La Cruz, hailed as the "Queen of Filipino Jazz" and a bodabil star in the 1920s. The 2013 production was headlined by Isay Alvarez.



3 Stars and a Sun

Another creation by the Philippine Educational Theater Association, 3 Stars and a Sun (2016) is a dystopian science-fiction production told through the songs by Francis Magalona. And yes, it's a rap musical that includes the Master Rapper's greatest hits like "Mga Kababayan" and "Kabataan para sa Kinabukasan." Set in the 2080s in the futuristic Pinasland, its conflict arises from two rival gangs—one from the affluent neighborhood called Lumino City and the other from the slums of Diliman City.

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I Do Bidoo Bidoo: Heto nAPO Sila!

This 2012 romantic-comedy directed by Chris Martinez pays tribute to one of the most important bands in Philippine music history, APO Hiking Society. It follows the love story of teenage sweethearts Rock Polotan (Sam Concepcion) and Tracy Fuentebella (Tippy Dos Santos) and their respective families that are poles apart. It won the Best Motion Picture for Musical or Comedy during the 10th Golden Screen Awards for Movies.


Videos from Sa Wakas (Sa Wakas), Mike Sandejas (Tulad ng Dati), Theater Fans Manila (Rak of Aegis and 3 Stars and a Sun), Cornerstone Entertainment (Ako Si Josephine)Vincent Evangelista (Katy), and IDOBIDOOBIDOO (I Do Bidoo Bidoo: Heto nAPO Sila!).


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