PETA’s Golden Years and Golden Thespians

PETA members and guest artists from different generations gather onstage towards the end of the program to sing together

PETA's Golden Years and Golden Thespians

Officially christened on the 7th of April 1967 at a national conference organized at Pope Pius Center, the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) founded by Cecil Guidote-Alvarez had its first production at the Rajah Sulayman Theater titled Bayaning Huwad. From then on, they were relentless in pursuing their vision which centers on social transformation and a theater for the masses.

Last weekend, PETA celebrated its golden anniversary by holding a ritual concert in its old home as well as its new one, the PHINMA Theater. Theater veterans such as Joel  Lamangan, Mae Paner and Soxie Topacio were among the hosts who delivered spiels which summarized PETA’s history in between performances.

For those who knew Rody Vera more as an award-winning writer than as a performer, it would’ve been a surprise that he delivered one of the most powerful performances of the night as he sung a solo from Ang Buhay ni Galileo Galilei. The song is about freedom from oppression, with some of the most memorable lines being, “Walang patutunguhan ang sunud-sunuran. Hindi bababa ang hari sa luklukan.”

So, aside from Marlon Rivera who became PETA’s Board Chair recently, here are 8 thespians you would be able to recognize from film and TV, who did plays with PETA:

Tommy Abuel

A 1975 FAMAS Best Supporting Actor winner for Maynila, Sa Kuko ng Liwanag and was seen recently as a lead actor in the Cinemalaya 2016 film Dagsin by Atom Magadia, this 75-year old actor appeared in Ang Tao (1970 translation of Everyman) and The Chinese Wall (1971).

Isay Alvarez

Recently seen in Someone to Watch Over Me (2016 TV series), she played the role of a troubled wife who considers sex change in Skin Deep (2008). She was also part of the original Miss Saigon cast as Gigi, the same production where she met her husband Robert Seña.

Bernardo Bernardo

Iconic for his portrayal of the antagonist Steve Carpio in Home Along Da Riles (1992 to 2003 TV series), he made his theater comeback after years of teaching in the United States via PETA’s Haring Lear (2012) directed no less by Nonon Padilla, who was one of PETA’s icons.

Shamaine Centera Buencamino

A homegrown artist of Dulaang UP, her most iconic role to date was the title role of Lorna (2014 film) where she had love scenes with Lav Diaz. She also appears in the controversial film Bliss (2017) as Mommy Jillia. For PETA, she did  D’Wonder Twins of Boac (2013 adaptation of The Twelfth Night).


Angie Ferro

Hilway from Amaya has been an actress for almost 40 years and she appeared in the following: 1969 PETA adaptation of The Visit; Ang Butihing Babae ng Setzuan (1971); Halimaw (1971); and The Chinese Wall (1971).

Joonee Gamboa

This veteran actor who appeared in more than 145 movies and TV shows  appeared in the theatrical productions Ang Piging (The Feast), 1973, and Canuplin (1980). His last regular TV role was Master Javier in the The Baker King.

Audie Gemora

Another veteran actor who appeared in Bliss, he usually essays meaty roles in English=speaking stage productions. However, one of his earliest lead roles was in a Filipino play of PETA, Ang Paglalakbay ni Radiya Mangandiri, Isang Pilipinong Ramayana (1993).

Robert Seña

Noli at Fili Dekada 2000 (2007); Skin deep (2008); Si Juan Tamad, ang Diyablo, at ang Limang Milyong Boto (2009); and Rak of Aegis (2014)

PETA President CB Garrucho also offers “Singkuwenta” to the public whom its vision is dedicated to. “We dedicate Singkuwenta to the Filipino people: whose history and culture are far too rich and meaningful to forget; whose stories of bravery, resilience, strength, compassion and capacity for sacrifice are far too inspiring to be left untold. These are the people who we tell these stories for and who are all part of the stories we tell. Then, now, and until the next fifty years.”

For more information regarding PETA’s 50th Theater Season, contact (02) 725-6244, 0917-5765400, [email protected] or visit their website or official Facebook page:

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