February came and went, and along with that was Cebu’s annual celebration of women empowerment and victory over violence. 2TinCans Philippines, Cebu’s premiere theater communications company, presented V-Day Cebu’s production of Eve Ensler’s award-winning play, The Vagina Monologues, at the Arctic Room of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino on Sunday, February 25, 2018.
The event, for the benefit of longtime partner organization Bidlisiw Foundation, is part of 20th anniversary celebrations of global activist movement V-Day. The organization was established in 1998 following the massive success of The Vagina Monologues, a play based off on Ensler’s interviews with over 300 women from around the world. While the Monologues remains V-Day’s flagship production, the organization has become a catalyst for artistic uprising, with other productions such as Emotional Creature and A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and a Prayer being performed by V-Day activists working to end harassment, rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and sex slavery.
In Cebu, V-Day began in 2002 and celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2017. This year’s production gathered over 30 performers, mostly comprised of women of various professions, from lawyers and doctors, to businesswomen and other corporate professionals. “It has not been easy gathering women who would be willing to lend their time and effort,” says producing artistic director Sarah Mae Enclona-Henderson. “But each year, I am surprised by the beautiful creatures who are always willing to jump in!”
From women who have been with V-Day Cebu since day one such as Laurie Boquiren and Jean Altavas, to newcomers Korina Estrada, Joer Ivan Gallur, Alem Garcia, Lord Latonio, and Rain Villagonzalo, Cebu’s Vagina Warriors have become a diverse, multi-talented group of women who extend their influence for an always-relevant cause.
The show kicked off on a high note with the Introduction performed by Estrada, along with longtime performers Gembelyne Icamen and Aleah Lim. Chiqui Cañete, Candice Hintz, Shiella Pestaño-Gemperoa, Stephanie Sitoy, Bea Evardone, Lourdes May Maglinte, and Enclona-Henderson brought out laughs from the audience through their respective pieces, while things took a serious turn as Gallur, Garcia, Latonio, and Villagonzalo, along with Ehds Javier, performed a monologue dedicated to the LGBTQ community.
Equally thought-provoking was a piece highlighting the plight of the comfort women during the Japanese occupation, brought to life by Icamen, Patty Taboada, Brazzy Valdez, and Charlene Virlouvet; as well as Boquiren’s monologue based off Bosnian women refugees. Altavas, Maki Gingoyon and Jessica Ouano roused the crowd and made every street a vagina country, complemented by hopeful pieces by Shifrah Enclona, Jet Cantal-Bacaltos, and Cherryl Pelayo-Dacua. Easily one of the night’s highlights was The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy, performed by Regal Oliva, Elaine Bathan, and Michelle Mendez-Palmares to much fanfare.
The show also featured performances from the 2TinCans Theater Company. Dan Michael Sinadjan, Vincent Paul Gaton, and Austin Conlu led the Man Prayer, while Davelyn Cuenco joined fellow thespians Cañete, Gallur, Garcia, Maglinte, Hintz, Taboada, and Virlouvet in two song numbers: a soulful rendition of This Is Me from Greatest Showman, and the One Billion Rising anthem, the latter of which served as a prelude to the curtain call.
Following the successful staging of The Vagina Monologues, 2TinCans Philippines and V-Day Cebu look forward to more activities this year, including the launch of Fight Like a Girl, a self-defense workshop for girls, and a fitting tribute to the late Vagina Warrior, Maxi Bolongaita.
To learn more about V-Day and the global fight to end violence against women and girls, visit their website. For updates on upcoming productions and events, like 2TinCans Philippines on Facebook, and follow them on Instagram.
The Vagina Monologues was presented by V-Day, V-Day Cebu, One Billion Rising, 2TinCans Philippines, and Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino, co-presented by Alcordo Advertising, Casino Filipino, and Your House Doctors, for the benefit of Bidlisiw Foundation.
Sponsors include 22 Tango Records, AMANO by Dexter Alazas, ATE by Tatah, ANTHILL Fabric Gallery, Basadours, Cafe Uno, Cammy Confectionery, Candice Hintz Photography, Castilex Industrial Corporation, Circa 1900, Centurion Security Agency, Eunice Enrera Makeup Artistry, Isidra Comfort Cantina, Jamaica Markets Corporation, Jul Oliva, Limestone Photos by Oliver Echevarria, Makeup by Scarlet Tumalon, Makeup by Romero Vergara, Madworld Studios Photography, MOMpreneur, MyTranssexualDate, Platform Social Media & Public Relations, Room Eleven, Saraban, Shots by Zeke Sullano, UVNS, and Zee Lifestyle.
Special thanks go out to Vince Prescillas Alvaro, Elbien Audenca, Andrea Manalo, Ednar Sala Daño, and Pamela Lou Muñez.