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How ‘Binondo’ came to be

By Nestor Cuartero

JUST A THOUGHT: “Love isn’t something you find. Love is something that finds you.” – Loretta Young

CHINESE IN A NEW LIGHT: An unfortunate incident that placed a couple of Chinese citizens in a negative light in a 2017 musical inspired a woman producer to embark on an ambitious project on her own.

Joel and Rebecca

Such was how “Binondo: A Tsinoy Musical” was born.

Rebecca Chuaunsu, producer-writer, recalled that she became restless after having watched “Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag” last year. She vowed to mount a new musical that would project the Chinese among us in a more positive light.

She recalled that for the longest time, she had kept the notes for a love story that would make a good musical project. For the longest time also, no one seemed to pick it up.

A chance meeting with director Joel Lamangan helped realize Rebecca’s dream.

LOVE TRIANGLE: “Binondo,” which unveils a love triangle involving a nightclub singer and her two suitors, both Chinese, goes onstage at The Theater at Solaire starting on June 29.

More than being a love story, the play traces the history of Chinese settlement in the Philippines and how the Chinese have impacted on local culture.

WHO IS LILY: “Binondo” is about Lily, a Filipina night club singer in pre-Martial Law Manila, and Ah Tiong, a mainland Chinese scholar returning to Cultural Revolution-era Beijing. Their love begins one night during the Mid-Autumn Festival of 1971 in Chinatown.

Vying for Lily’s heart as well is Carlos, a childhood friend of hers.

HUGE CAST: “Binondo’s” cast is led by Sheila Valderrama and Carla Guevarra-Laforteza as Lily, Arman Ferrer and David Ezra as Ah Tiong, Floyd Tena and Noel Rayos as Carlos.

Co-starring are Mariella Laurel, Ima Castro, Ana Feleo, Russel Magno, Elizabeth Chua, Jim Pebanco, Lorenz Martinez, Khalil Kaimo, Tuesday Vargas.

Performances are on June 30, July 1, 6 and 7.