May 22, 2024

Rainbow Stage Artistic Director, MA-BUHAY! Creator, and members of the MA-BUHAY! Phase 2 Development Team: Back Row (L to R): Carson Nattrass (Artistic Director), Joseph Sevillo (Creator), Justin Bulaong, Victoria Exconde, Robin Jordan Quintana, Jerilyn Bulaong, Stef De Leon, Joy Lazo, Dutchess Cayetano Front Row (L to R): Rochelle Kives, Brady Barrientos. Photo by Rey-Ar Reyes [Credit: Photo by Rey-Ar Reyes as published in Pilipino Express: Nov. 16, 2023]

December 16, 2023 — Elsewhere in this issue of CanadianFilipinoNet is the feature story by our Editor about the all-Filipino musical Ma-Buhay. Earlier last month in its November 16th issue, the Winnipeg-based Pilipino Express newsmagazine headlined this all-Filipino musical as its cover story.One subject, two highlights.One complements the other. 

The Pilipino Express coverage1) amplifies “the talent from the Filipinx community in Winnipeg, the all-Filipino production, and the original pop music and hip‐hop dance;” 2) projects the hopes that the production would “lead to more development opportunities for young Filipino artists” (and)representation of Filipino artists in the professional theatre; and 3) notes the historic significance of this all-Filipino musical initiative to the Rainbow Stage – Manitoba’s outdoor musical theatre company in Winnipeg – as it celebrates its 70th anniversary. 

The CFNet coverage probes more deeply about the musical and its creator Joseph Sevillo. In the process, CFNet unearthed that Ma-Buhay is more than a musical – promisingly beautiful as it is. It is also a true story of a son’s tribute and gratitude to his parents for their love and nurture; hence, in the creator’s own words, “a love letter to my parents who always believed and supported my love for the arts.”

Thus, Ma-Buhayan all-Filipino musical production - at once reflects who Filipinos are as a people: musical and artistic, creative and talented, daring and persevering, family-oriented and devoted, thoughtful and grateful, probing and resourceful. These are some of the attributes one can discern from Ma-Buhay; they help define who we are as a community.

Writes Joy Lazo, a Member of the Board of Directors of Rainbow Stage and herself an accomplished teacher in the arts of music in the Pilipino Express coverage:

“I am very elated to see the big dream of Joseph (Sevillo) come to fruition. He has worked tirelessly over the past five years to come up with this wonderful creation…May this musical serve as an inspiration to more Filipino artists/talents and those from other ethnicities.”

An amalgam of the best in Filipinos, Ma-Buhay! Filipinos Singing for Their Lives is indeed worthy of our Canadian Filipino community’s support. A happy coincidence it is that it would premiere in Winnipeg starting June 27 – within the 2024 Canadian Filipino Heritage Month.


Editor's note: Dr. Rey D. Pagtakhan, P.C., O.M., LL.D., Sc.D., M.D. M.Sc. is a retired lung specialist, professor of child health, author of articles and chapters in medical journals and textbooks, and a former health critic, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, and cabinet minister, including Secretary of State for Science, Research and Development. He graduated from the University of the Philippines, did postgraduate training and studies at the Children’s Hospitals of Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and spent a sabbatical year as Visiting Professor at the University of Arizona Medical Center. In June 2003, he spoke on “The Global Threat of Infectious Diseases” at the G-8 Science Ministers/Advisors Carnegie Group Meeting in Berlin.

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