This Yuletide season, the Cultural Center of the Philippines offers a wide variety of engaging performances and programs – from classical concert to contemporary dance production, and other traditional Paskong Pinoy activities – for just about every artistic preference, with festivities taking place throughout December.
The holiday cheers at the CCP kicked off with Puso ng Pasko, an all-Filipino Christmas ballet, on December 2 to 4, 8pm, with matinee shows at 3pm, at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater). The dance production is an expansion of the dance film production Tuloy Ang Pasko, which premiered in 2020.
This year, Lolo Val, the main protagonist who now lives in California, reminisced about how he and his barkada would celebrate Christmas in the most Filipino way in the 1970s. Puso ng Pasko puts the spotlight on the Yuletide festivities and traditions from the different regions of the Philippines.
A ground-breaking work, Ronelson Yadao, artistic director of Alice Reyes Dance Philippines (ARDP) choreographs the Filipino version of Nutcracker, with musical arrangements by National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab.
Live opera returns at the CCP Main Theater after more than two years with Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot on December 9 at 8pm and December 11, at 3pm.
Directed by Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini (who also directed Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in 2020), Turandot is a timeless tale about the daughter of an emperor who decrees that she will marry if a noble suitor can answer three riddles. Her most recent suitor, the Prince of Persia, is to be executed at the moon’s rising. Set in ancient China, the opera is known for Nessun Dorma, arguably the world’s most famous tenor aria.
The opera stars Korean singers soprano Lilla Lee and bass Jinsu Lee as Princess Turandot and exiled Tartar king Timur, respectively. Completing the cast are Filipino soprano Rachelle Gerodias as Liu, Byeong In Park as Ping the Grand Chancellor, tenor Ivan Nery as Pong the Grand Intendant; tenor Nomher Nival as Emperor Altoum, and baritone Greg de Leon as Mandarino. Maestro Valentino Favoino conducts the PPO, along with distinguished choral ensembles of the Viva Voce Voice Lab.
Watch selected films that feature family-oriented stories that inspire and give hope in Cinema Under the Stars (CUTS) on December 14 to 16, at the CCP Front Lawn. CUTS is an open-air, hybrid outdoor cinema to encourage moviegoers to walk-in, bike-in or drive-in. This is free to the public.
The annual CCP Light and Sound show returns on a grander scale, featuring the Christmas façade décor dubbed Binurda, to be launched on December 15, 7pm, at the CCP Façade and Front Lawn. The CCP holiday decorations are inspired by the Callado embroidery on piña jusi textile with Sampaguita design. A light and sound show compliments the façade décor.
During the launch, the Bayanihan National Dance Company, The Nightingales, Male Ensemble of the Philippines (MEP), and surprise performers bring the magic of the season and instill the warmth spirit that Paskong Pinoy is known for.
On December 16, 8pm, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra presents Handel’s Messiah, the greatest classical musical treat. Under the baton of conductor Mark Anthony Carpio, the PPO will perform alongside a 200-member grand chorus, composed of current members and alumni of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Sing Philippines Youth Choir, Male Ensemble Philippines, and Musika Filipina. Completing the grand chorus are Coro Cantabile, DLSU Chorale, Lighter Side Movement, Novo Concertante Manila, Pansol Choir, Philippine Vocal Ensemble, and Song Weavers Philippines. Featured soloists are soprano Stefanie Quintin, tenor Ervin Lumauag, bass-baritone Enrico Lagasca, and mezzo-soprano Michelle Mariel Mariposa.
Ballet Philippines brings back the well-loved Christmas classic ballet, The Nutcracker, on December 17, 8pm, and December 18, 2pm and 6pm, at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. The ballet production follows the adventures and misadventures of a young girl on Christmas Eve, in a magical land where every child’s dream comes true.
The CCP Arts Education Department will launch Vamos A Belen: Sama Samang Paggunita and Pagdiriwang, a Pastores dance competition, on December 21. This event is a platform for dancers and dance groups to showcase their skills in interpreting dance literature focusing on Pastores piece. This is in preparation for the 50th anniversary production of the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group in September 2023.
CCP continues its long-established tradition of Simbang Gabi, in partnership with Our Lady of Sorrows Parish and other hermanas, with on-site celebrations on December 16 to 24, 5am, at the CCP Main Ramp. The Misa de Aguinaldo will be held on December 24, 8pm, at the CCP Main Theater, with a pre-mass program featuring the Panunuluyan.
For the third year, the CCP will also have a virtual Simbang Gabi, in partnership with various parishes from the different regions of the country to celebrate anticipated masses. The Anticipated Mass from the Regions runs from December 15 to 23, 9pm, and will be streamed simultaneously on the CCP Facebook Page.
Celebrate the happiest season at the CCP with these heartwarming and amazing activities.
Follow the official CCP social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok for the latest happenings this December.