Miong: A Timely Tale of National Unity
by Erika Lagunzad, March 04, 2019 3:05pm
Art by Allen Mirambel
Repertory Philippines is bringing back one of its most acclaimed original plays, Miong, to the stage. Opening Rep’s 2019 season on February 15 at the Onstage Theater in Greenbelt 1, the production follows Emilio “Miong” Aguinaldo, our country’s first president, as he embarks on a mission to unite his people during the Philippine Spanish Regime. The play spans his life from his birth to the Declaration of Independence on June 12, 1898.
Born into a middle-class provincial family and confronted by several problems, Miong must learn how to make the most out of what life has given him. The play focuses on Miong’s personal life— painting a picture of the leader that is seldom shown in history books.
We will see scenes depicting his father's death when Miong was still eight years old, his father’s dying wish was for Miong to be like the educated gentlemen (the ilustrados)—to which Miong tried hard to fulfill. He convinces his mother to allow him to drop out of school and embark on a trading venture on a boat.
He was then thrust into public service as Cabeza de Barangay. He struggles but he always rises up in becoming the person his people need him to be. We will also witness his marriage up to the declaration of independence, and becoming the first president of the republic at age 29.
When Spanish colonizers assert their power over Filipinos by turning them against each other, a young Miong understands that the key to freedom lies unity. He wants his countrymen to be liberated from oppression and at the same time adding to it trying to unite the rift between the Magdalo (pro-Aguinaldo) and Magdiwang (pro-Bonifacio) during his time as Cavite’s Municipal Governor-Captain. He is a conflicted leader unsure of what course of action to take.
Miong digs into this controversial figure’s motivations, giving audiences a fuller idea of his origins, traits, and psyche. It portrays each milestone and chapter of Miong’s life through song and dance, beautifully closing with “How Beautiful is Our Flag” as Miong declares to the world that the Philippines is an independent nation.
Written and directed by REP Artistic Director and theater legend Joy Virata, Miong is a compelling drama that brings Philippine History on stage. Featuring songs by Ian Monsod and additional lyrics by Freddie Santos, this musical is an ideal choice for anyone who seeks a world-class live entertainment and looking to spark their nationalism.
The play may not likely change your mind about Aguinaldo as presented on our history books and mainstream media, but it is sure to spark discussions left and right. Miong promises to deliver a stellar production and powerhouse performances. Rising actor-musician Tim Pavion makes his debut in the role of Miong.