Sunday, April 14, 2024



How do you feel about this story?


Philippines – Lessons on love, forgiveness, and the triumph of good over evil again took center stage as Ginoong Gerardo Francisco Jr. recently restaged his award-winning Ibong Adarna at the Aliw Theater to conclude Ballet Manila’s 25th performance season.

“Today’s generation is exposed to so many different cultures and there may be tendencies for lines to blur and forget one’s core identity,” he said. Ballet Manila’s Ibong Adarna is a reminder to the younger generation about who they are as Filipinos and the values that our culture considers most important.


This Filipino literary classic centers around a mythical bird whose magical voice can heal illnesses. In the story, an ailing King prompted his three sons to set out on a dangerous quest to find the elusive magical bird that can cure their beloved father. As the story unfolds, the two elder princes with evil intentions against their youngest brother turned into stone, while their pure-hearted brother brings home the Adarna bird. In the end, the victorious prince wholeheartedly forgave his erring siblings.


For Francisco Jr., the story of Ibong Adarna can help today’s younger generation rediscover Filipino values of kindness and love of family. “It is important that we tell this story to preserve our culture. If we don’t share this, this story will just die,” he emphasized.  “I am grateful that this story is still a reading requirement for first-year high school students because if no one will tell the story, then who will? It will just be forgotten and buried in the past.”


Ballet Manila’s restaging of Ibong Adarna has received numerous citations since it premiered in 2017. Thus, every time the performance is restaged, Francisco said he is challenged to make it even more magnificent than the last one. To the dancers, he reminded them to give their 100% by dancing from the heart. “Don’t practice just because you want to get it right,” he told them, “but instead, you practice until you can’t get it wrong. Just think that we only have one show, once you fail onstage, you can never go back – you can’t correct it anymore.


“But deep inside, the veteran danseur and choreographer felt as much pressure, or even more, than the ballet dancers. “I needed to stand by my standards most especially to those who were not able to watch it during our world premiere. I hope I was able to exceed their expectations for this show.”


The dancing, as audiences know of Ballet Manila’s standards, was undoubtedly outstanding and became the centerpiece of the whole production. This 2023 staging was the touring version that was performed at the Karmiel Festival in Israel in 2018 and planned for a national tour in the country in 2020. Because of the adjustments brought about by the pandemic – Ballet Manila had less dancers now  some were tasked to play double or triple roles. The set also transitioned to digital to maximize the state-of-the-art LED screen in Aliw Theater. “But the story remained the same. The story itself is beautiful it’s timeless where everyone can relate, young or old,” Francisco Jr. said.


By the end of the show, both Francisco and Lisa Macuja Elizalde, Ballet Manila’s founder, artistic director, and chief executive officer, hoped the audience enjoyed the story: “I hope the audience came out of the theater having learned new lessons and excited enough to share about the beautiful story of Ibong Adarna to their peers,” added Macuja-Elizalde.


Ballet Manila’s re-telling of this Filipino classic, as choreographed by Francisco was awarded Best Outstanding Production at the 2017 30th Aliw Awards; and at the Philstage Gawad Buhay Awards which honored it with multiple recognitions, including Outstanding Modern Dance Production, Outstanding Choreography for Modern Dance, Outstanding Ensemble for Modern Dance, Outstanding Music Composition, Outstanding Male Lead and Outstanding Female Lead.


To learn more about Ballet Manila and its upcoming shows, visit




It was a pleasure to see the Ballet Manila performance as they adopted the Ibong Adarna story in their ballet dance. This traditional Filipino epic story ay totally na in-love ako way back before, and seeing this on stage in the form of ballet dancing, all I can ang astig and must watch ito talaga ng today’s generation.

It was a spectacular performance that mesmerized me with its vibrant costume and beautiful clothes, elegant dancing, and beautiful music and stage designs. The ballet’s rendition of the story stayed true to the original while also including some humorous modern additions. The scene where the bird Adarna dances with the youngest prince is one of my favorite scenes. I heartily suggest the performance to everyone who likes to see ballet and folklore because it was a celebration of Filipino ancestry and culture and very worth it to watch. The Ibong Adarna Show is currently over, but stay tuned for Ballet Manila’s upcoming performances/shows and Ibong Adarna’s upcoming show again.

To all the cast of this wonderful show, congrats, and more more shows to come to all.