Children of Rizal

March 19th, 2012 · No Comments



Photos by Bob Reyes.

Photos by Bob Reyes.


 In Dr. Jose Rizal’s own words, “The youth is the hope of our future.”    If he had been present at the Rizal Park’s Movement’s re-staging of  Leonor Orosa Goquingco’s “Her Son, Jose Rizal”, he would have indeed been proud of the young thespians that stood on the stage of the Campbelltown Arts Centre.

Likewise, author and Philippine National artist, Leonor Orosa Goquingco would have been just as thrilled to know that the lines she penned decades ago were being recited by heart by another generation long after the lights had been turned off.  

For the younger generation, who came to Australia as a result of their parents’ migration or who were born here, Rizal was totally alien to them.  And yet, the younger cast members embraced the play, feeling as close to their new found hero or for some it was a time to get re-acquainted with their almost  forgotten culture.  The play also gave them a sense of connection to their roots and a feeling of belonging. 

For three consecutive days, 9, 10 and 11 March 2012, the Campbelltown Arts Centre showed off the talents of the young, tomorrow’s star potentials.  

From the young  Jose (Pepe) as played by Gerard Jalando-on Louis and alternate, Elijah Merjudio; stepping into the role of Soledad were Isa Noble and Marianne Cuasay; the young Soledads (Choleng) played by Isabelle Montillano and Rochelle Mantua, the youngest in the cast.  Then as Paciano, Rizal’s brother, Tom Merjudio,  Rie Manaloto whose voice was so powerful and NIDA veteran, Patrick Patacsil.  The charming playmates, Elijah Abella, Jake Lapuz and Milan Velasco.  And in the lead role as Rizal was Angelo Refuerzo, who was brilliant in all four shows. 

These were the children of Rizal, bursting with passion at every scene, emoting at their every move,  which garnered no less than a standing ovation from the audience on the Saturday night.  And when the parting scene between Doña Teodora and her children was acted out, young Choleng and Pepe on cue, throwed off their bellowing cries that filled the auditorium and left not a dry eye in sight.

Having patiently waited through the many nights of rehearsals, the kids not only knew their lines by heart but those of the other cast members.  Young Milan could have played Soledad and young Gerard knew Doña Teodora’s lines by heart, right to the end.  Equally touching were the friendships that grew among the youngsters.

The Rizal Park Movement of Campbelltown (RPMC) was responsible for the third re-staging of “Her Son, Jose Rizal” with Rev. Larry Tolentino directing the play.  Elsa Collado stepped into the Production Manager’s role, taking on the daunting if not grueling task of managing the six weeks of rehearsals and ensuring that all production details were met.  “But it was most satisfying,” said Ms. Collado who was sleep deprived for a few weeks.  “There’s so much talent in the cast.  They were great and most cooperative at all times. The parents deserve our heartfelt gratitude for having shared the talent of their children with us.” she added. 

 In the advent of the arrival of Rizal’s statue sometime in June, it was a fitting tribute to the Philippine hero, Dr. Rizal.


Tags: Features