Monday, January 16, 2017

CARE DIVAS Makes a Comeback: A Fundraising Show for LoveYourself


By Carlos Diego A. Rozul and Christian Watson Vergara



LoveYourself Inc., in partnership with the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), will host the 3:00 p.m. show of the 2011 hit comedy musical Care Divas on February 5, 2017, Sunday, at the PETA Theater Center in New Manila, Quezon City to raise funds for LoveYourself’s continued services and projects.

The multi-awarded musical tells the tale of five transgender Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Israel who work as caregivers by day and fierce drag performers by night. The story goes beyond the struggles of our fellow Filipinos abroad as it tackles the search for acceptance in a faraway country.

Care Divas bagged seven trophies from the 2011 Gawad Buhay! Awards, including Outstanding Musical Production, Outstanding Ensemble Performance, Outstanding Male Lead in a Musical, Outstanding Musical Direction, Outstanding Original Libretto, Outstanding Stage Direction, and Outstanding Choreography for a Play or Musical.

This comeback retains all the elements that made Care Divas great, like the candid and witty lines written by the award-winning playwright Liza Magtoto, and the catchy musical scores of Vincent de Jesus. However, this is not the same show from six years ago. For PETA’s 50th anniversary, Care Divas is now brought to you by an all-new cast, which includes PETA’s tenacious theater artists: Melvin Lee, Vince De Jesus, Ron Alfonso, Dudz TeraƱa, Eko Baquial, Jason Barcial, Buddy Caramat, Gio Gahol, Joan Bugcat, Eric Dela Cruz, Joseph Madriaga, and Gold Villar, and guest artists Ophir Burton, Ricci Chan, Red Concepcion, Jef Flores, Paul Holme, Sherry Lara, Thou Reyes, Leo Rialp, and Myke Salomon.

“This partnership with PETA is also a great way of tapping the arts as a means to educate the public not just with the plight of OFWs but with the struggles of the LGBT community including the stigma on HIV and social limitations,” LoveYourself Executive Director Ronivinn G. Pagtakhan said.

Latest statistics from the Department of Health revealed that from January 1984 to November 2016, a total of 4,586 OFWs were reported to have contracted HIV, with a high incidence rate reported in males. “It’s very crucial that regular timely testing and treatment should be part of the wellness routine of every person despite of gender not just in the Philippines, but also those working abroad,” Pagtakhan emphasized.

While the hit-musical will run from February 3 to  March 19, only the 3:00 p.m. show on February 5 is dedicated to LoveYourself, a community of volunteers that aims to spread awareness and education with regards to HIV, self-worth, volunteerism, and everything in between. Initially a testing facility for HIV geared toward the young MSM community, LoveYourself has expanded its reach to all sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions.

Pagtakhan relayed that “all proceeds of the show will support the organization’s clinic operations and activities as it pushes for HIV awareness and caters to the needs of people living with HIV.”

Recently, LoveYourself Inc. launched the Victoria Health and Wellness Center (VHWC) at Taft Avenue, the first transgender health clinic and testing center in the country, which will also benefit from the fundraising show.

If the compelling narrative, actors, production, and cause aren’t enough to convince you to watch the Care Divas February 5, 3:00 pm show, then maybe it being part of PETA’s 50th anniversary will. A brilliant MA thesis by Cecile Guidote-Alvarez in 1967 envisioned a National Theater Movement in the Philippines. Now, 50 years later, PETA is celebrating its golden anniversary. PETA offers everyone a chance to be part of this huge milestone by kicking off their golden year with one of their most highly acclaimed musicals. This is an invitation to witness an amazing and meaningful show for a cause.

For the February 5, 3:00 p.m. show ticket reservations, you may contact the show coordinators through this email address: caredivas@loveyourself.ph or these mobile numbers: 0917-840-0943, 0917-795-3398, 0915-127-5931 and 0977-386-178.  Tickets are at P1,800 (VIP), P1,500 (Orchestra Center), P1,200 (Orchestra Sides), P1,500 (Balcony Center), and P800 (Balcony Sides).