AMPALAYA, aka Bitter Melon or Balsam Apple.  What is with this fruit that continues to inspire a lot of children stories and fables, and now even a full-length stage musical? Manila residents will finally have a chance to find out at CCP this coming July 15.

Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental has long been known as the Cultural Center of Southern Philippines, and for the first time ever, the Silliman University Cultural Affairs Committee, the city’s unofficial cultural arm, brings to Manila audiences AMPALAYA THE MUSICAL – an original new musical that will delight and educate, with a performance on 15 July 2015 at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, which is part of Silliman University’s commitment as the official regional cultural hub of the CCP.


AMPALAYA THE MUSICAL celebrates Philippine culture through music, dances, games and values. The musical play is based on the award winning children’s story Alamat ng Ampalaya (The Legend of Ampalaya) written by Augie Rivera, Jr. Another highlight of this production is the original music by renowned New York-based guitar virtuoso Maestro Michael Dadap who has set the play’s music using a live 22 piece Orchestra Sin Arco (Orchestra of Plucked Instruments).

Michael Dadap
Michael Dadap

The play is directed by Dessa Quesada Palm, of the Philippine Educational Theater Association, with musical direction by Dr. Elizabeth Susan Vista-Suarez and choreography by Angelo Sayson.

AMPALAYA THE MUSICAL has just finished its run from July 3-6, 2015 and its first full length run last September 2014 which were both held at the Luce Auditorium. The musical began as a short play, which debuted in 2000 in Boston.

Here’s the Synopsis:

posterLong time ago in the town of Sariwa, there flourished a beautiful garden filled with the most colorful, fragrant, and nutritious vegetables. Everyday as the sun comes up, they laugh and play together in the garden.

One faithful day, a hairy, bland, and colorless Ampalaya wandered in Sariwa and found the gleeful veggies going about their usual games. Envy starts to creep into Ampalaya’s core when she noticed the positively striking individual characteristics of the other veggies – everything she was not. She knew she had to possess all these characteristics to be part of the family, so she devised a plan for her to get those special stuff. She waited until all the veggies were asleep and stole a little bit of everything from everyone.

When the veggies awoke from their slumber, they were in shock when they saw that all their best had gone missing. During their panic, a beautiful new vegetable arrived to see what the fuss was about but because of their distraught disposition, they could not entertain her as they sought to find out who the culprit was . The veggies decided to seek help from a wise old Nuno sa Punso who told them what they needed to do in order to get back what was stolen from them. They followed and investigated the new vegetable only to find out it was indeed Ampalaya donning their best individual qualities. They call the Ubod man sa Saging and her jury to plead their case against Ampalaya.

Ampalaya was unfazed with all the questions and ill feelings that were being thrown at her. She firmly believed that she did nothing wrong – the jury thought otherwise. After deliberation, a sentence and punishment was given, and everybody learned a bitter lesson that day.

AMPALAYA THE MUSICAL is presented by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Dumaguete City Tourism Office, CocoGrande Hotel, Philippine Airlines, Lorenzo Shipping Corporation, Bayview Park Hotel Manila, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Tickets now available at TicketWorld. FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact (035) 422-4365 or 0917 323 5953. Or email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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Writer, Wanderer, Child of God


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