To the Moon and Back (A review and reaction of “Mula sa Buwan”)

“Ang tanghalang ito’y atin ngayong gabi.
Walang makakapigil. Hindi tayo titigil.
Hanggang puno na ang gabi ng ating galak.
Limutin ang problema, ang tadhana’y pag-asa…”

Cue, the start of a magical journey into the lives of Cyrano, Roxanne, Christian…

.. their friends and families,
dreams and aspirations,
of singing and dancing

… and of love and heartbreak intertwining

At the onset, Mula sa Buwan takes you through a wild ride. At times, you wouldn’t even know what to feel. Do you feel like laughing? Crying? Do you feel pain? Chagrin? But one thing I know for sure you’ll feel at the end of it all — heartbreak.

Photo by Cristine Faye Denna

If only I realized early that this sign was for my heart..

“Ang sakit sakit, bes.”

… my friend told me, after watching it for the very first time. I can’t help but laugh. She was still processing it. I laughed, not because I though she was overreacting, but because I watched it the second time around and that’s exactly how I felt.

“Feeling ko hindi naman ako iiyak.”

… told another friend of mine before the whole thing started. Until I saw her beautiful crying face towards the end of the play. And then out of the theatre, she continued exuding heartbreak. “I didn’t want to say this but. ‘I told you so.'” I said in jest. Haha.

She said, “Ang sakit sa puso. Physically.” And I told her that I don’t blame her. It’s exactly how I felt the first time around… Oh, who am I kidding? That’s exactly how I felt the second time I watched it.

It’s only the beginning, yet the entirety of Irwin Theatre was treated to an amazing opening number. For those who watched it several times now, it will have a different meaning. It’s a masterful mixture of two things: The foreshadowing of a very heartbreaking moment towards the end, and a jaw-dropping opening number to start it all off.

Photo from Mula sa Buwan’s Facebook Page

We are now introduced to an ensemble of lovable characters like Tato and Maestro and a whole bunch of other characters who — (I’m sorry to say that) I forgot their names — but equally lovable and funny.

Eventually, we have our first encounter with Roxanne and Christian and the gang. Oh and a humorous entrance to introduce our main character — Cyrano. Later on, you will only get to understand how powerful his character is. Primarily because, he represents a phase in the lives of us all — an almost endless cycle of love and pursuit only to be taken for granted by the person we love most.

“Tinig sa Dilim” (Photo by Cristine Faye Denna)

Chos. Haha.

“Patas nga ang Panginoon..”

Everyone who watched Mula sa Buwan, I believe, would never forget this line after everything is said and done. And for a good reason. Our main character, Cyrano is ugly. He had the longest nose than anybody in the entire world. However, one thing’s for sure. He’s no Pinocchio. He’s the bravest of them all, strong, principled, poetic and doesn’t lie — except perhaps — only to himself.

Photo by Cristine Faye Denna

As people listened to songs such as “Ikaw,” “Awit ni Roxanne,” “Manifesto,” “Tinig sa Dilim,” “Mula sa Buwan,” etc. (all of which of course are available when you buy their album sold at the entrance) they can’t help but get their feelings swayed by them. The songs empowered the entirety of the masterpiece’s message. What I love the most about the actors and actresses is how they truly captured the heart of it all. You can say that they were all pulling from their own experiences — their own #Hugot.

Cyrano singing “Tinig sa Dilim.” (Photo by Cristine Faye Denna)


“Walang ibang mai-alay sa iyo
Kundi bulaklak at ang awit na ito.

Nawa’y pakatandaan mong:
‘Hindi magmamaliw ang aking pag-ibig.’ “

‘Tinig sa Dilim’

This is indeed one of my most favorite songs in the play. It is one of unconditional love by Cyrano and the love that Roxanne had for her suitor, whose face is so hidden by the night, she can’t even recognize him. The only thing she held on to were the words uttered that magical night. The words of someone who loved her very much, hidden in the physical facade that was Christian.

“At kahit anong yaman pa ang itapat.
Walang kasing halaga ang pusong hinahangad.”

Cyrano sang.

“Ikaw ngayon ang tinig sa dilim.
Dinggin ko ang iyong dalangin.
‘Di man alintana ang ‘yong mukha.
Ngunit damang salita.”

Roxanne replied.

“Sa’yo ay inaalay. Hinding-hindi wawalay.
Mananatili sa dilim. At sa’yo lamang iibig.”

Cyrano finally concluded, as he bid farewell to the love of her life.
And unselfishly (or perhaps selfishly) let Christian be
the acceptable face for his truest feelings.

And as a last (not really) act of martyrdom — he proceeded to make sure that Christian and Roxanne are married without hindrance. And perhaps to give voice to the frustrations of his hurting, broken heart — he, together with his platoon masterfully sang and danced to their song, “Mula sa Buwan.”

Roxanne and Christian’s wedding (Photo by Cristine Faye Denna)

“Kami’y naglayag kung saan walang sakit o hapdi.
Lahat ng tao ay nakangiti sa buwan, sa buwan.
Ako’y mula sa buwan.”

“Kami’y naglayag kung saan walang pusong nabibiyak.
Kailan man ay ‘di ka iiyak sa buwan.”

Mula sa Buwan

This all eventually leads to the arrival of the Japanese forces and the biggest slap-in-the-face that life can throw at them — WAR. We now depart from the chummy, just kilig and ‘awwwwww’ moments and gravitate towards the heavy second act — where your reaction can almost only ever be these two: heavy silence and tears.

Cyrano, Maximo and the cadets march onto war (Photo by Cristine Faye Denna)

The cadets, who in the beginning only ever thought that the war would never reach them, only focused on one thing — their craft, their songs, their art. They were never really ready to face the harsh reality which is war and death itself.

Another heartbreaking song that is now very close to my heart was sung. As the cadets are faced with frustrations, discouragements, hunger and the imminence of death, they almost forgot one thing — that is — to love.

“Matatapos din at mauunawaan.
Kung ano ang saysay nitong labanan.
Ang mahalaga’y hindi natin malimot.
Na marunong pa rin tayong magmahal.”

“Di man alam ang awit, pati mga salita.
Kunin man sa akin, maging mga tula.
Hindi ko lilimuting magmahal.”

sang Christian.

And oh boy, was that song powerful.

Christian singing “Matatapos Din” (Photo from Mula sa Buwan’s Facebook Page)

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I tried, as much as possible to stray away from writing about entire plot points. But before I end this particular blog post, I wanted to share about the final song that struck me as I left the theatre.

The song that would make the most sense if you will be watching “Mula sa Buwan.” The song that would undoubtedly break your heart — “Ang Sabi Nila.”

Photo from Mula sa Buwan’s Facebook page

“Ang sabi nila, walang ibang magagawa.
Kung ang puso’y lubhang nasaktan.

Ang sabi nila, nanatiling paraan
Ang matutong muling magsimula.

Hindi pa rin nakikinig, nakailang ulit nang pinayuhan.
Hindi man lang sinusubukang umibig nang muli.
Ang pagmamadali ay simulan.
Ngunit ang sandali’y ayaw pa ring iwan.”

… sang a heartbroken Roxanne

The song to conclude this masterpiece.

I will not be divulging more of Mula sa Buwan’s plot line. All I can say is that it’s something to actually see to better understand. If you want to get that feeling that you felt (or lost) when your heart was broken, this is definitely a must-watch for you. If you’re reading this, you still have 2 nights left to grab yourself a ticket and get what all the people are clamoring about.

by Pat Valera & William Elvin Manzano                                                 
…is a new Filipino musical about love, ideals, and the heartbreaks in between.

Based on Cyrano de Bergerac, the play is now set in 1940s Manila, among young ROTC cadets and blushing colegialas. The play shows the innocence and beauty of our nation where music, harana, kundiman, wit, passion, and hope abound! However, when World War II strikes, virtue, honor, and love are all tested – the young now forced to suddenly…grow up.

The story moves to a time after the war, to a field of ruble, of forgotten memories, of heroes lost in a country struggling to survive. At the center of it all, the tragic love story between Cyrano, Roxane and Christian.

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