Maestro Herminigildo Ranera directs the performance of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) of the Eraserheads Suite during its outreach concert in Puerto Princesa City on August 22-23, 2019 at the City Coliseum. (Photo courtesy of Palawan PIO)

Puerto Princesa was treated to two nights of beautiful music on August 22 and 23 by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO), some of the most talented musicians in the country and the world.

At the City Coliseum, the PPO outreach concert allowed Palaweños to appreciate world-class artists who represent the Filipino people for free.

The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra is the country’s leading musical ensemble and is regarded as one of the best in the Asia Pacific region.

Maestra Herminigildo Ranera and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. (Photo courtesy of Palawan PIO)

As the resident orchestra of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), it has traveled all over the world and performed in prestigious events and exhibitions and was the first Filipino orchestra to perform in the renowned Carnegie Hall in New York.

They did not only represent the Philippines abroad, they also promoted music appreciation in their own country through outreach programs and concerts in different provinces.

CCP president Arsenio J. Lizaso said it is their goal to bring the arts to the people.

“Our most popular na dinadala namin sa mga lugar is the PPO; it’s the most admired. Since our people can’t always come to the CCP [in Manila], we go to them,” he said.

They have previously performed in Antique, Davao, Bacolod, Baguio, and Laguna to name a few, he said.

Ceasar Sammy Magbanua, chief of staff of the Office of the Governor and head of the provincial government’s Culture and Arts Department, said it was the first time that the PPO performed in Palawan.

“We are very fortunate to join that exclusive group of cities and provinces that have hosted the PPO. What a treat it was for us Palaweños to be able to witness two world class performances by a world-renowned orchestra,” Magbanua said.

The PPO artists are government employees who wish to serve the Filipino taxpayers by bringing their arts and expertise to the farthest of those who are responsible for funding their passions.

“The real honor is performing for the people. Because without the taxes of the people, the PPO wouldn’t exist. And I mean people of all works of life, not just the elite, but drivers, vendors, students, teachers. There’s a unifying element to music,” he added.

In partnership with both the city and provincial governments and the Malampaya Joint Venture Partners, the PPO and the CCP were able to give 6,000 Palaweños who attended a unique and inspiring musical experience.

The show started with the introduction of the musical instruments that compose the orchestra by maestro Herminigildo Ranera.

He opened the concert with Franz von Suppe’s Light Cavalry Overture to prepare the audience for what is to come.

They brought traditional compositions, classical arrangements of Original Pilipino Music (OPM) and show tunes to life. The pieces performed were varied, some by historical composers such as Johann Strauss Jr., while a medley of Mundo by IV of Spades and Buwan by Juan Carlos was featured in an arrangement by composer Pipo Cifra entitled Terra e Luna (Earth and Moon).

Audiences were pleasantly surprised to hear familiar and well-loved OPM melodies by the Eraserheads in the Eraserheads Suite, arranged by National Artist Ryan Cayabyab, as well as classic movie soundtracks in the My Fair Lady Selection and A Salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein.

The PPO also held masterclasses at Palawan State University (PSU) and the Palawan Heritage Center (PHC) for young Palaweño musicians who aspire to improve their musical capabilities and learn from some of the Philippines’ best.