For veteran stage managers Renz Sevilla, Ching Danseco, Roldan Espino, and Richard Eusebio, working on the stage management of Pasinaya: The CCP Open House Festival does not only bring joy to their lives, but it satisfies their soul and sustains it as well.
“Through time, magiging panata ‘yan. You have to be here because you have to pay back for all the good things na binigay [sa amin] ng Sentro,” said seasoned stage manager and designer Sevilla, who works as a carpenter and farmer when he’s not doing production work.
Eusebio, who was also a former folk dancer, currently works in a cruise ship but always makes sure to volunteer in Pasinaya every time he comes home.
Espino, meanwhile, finds joy in working in Pasinaya. A full-time fireman, he started his Pasinaya journey in 2017 and never stopped since then. He also does stage work in various CCP events through the years. “Basta bukal sa puso mo at masaya ka sa ginagawa mo, ipagpatuloy mo lang.”
Danseco reminisced of how they volunteered to do Pasinaya, with just shirts as payment. “Walang bayad noon – t-shirt lang. Ngayon, kahit kaunti meron na kaming natatanggap. Pero hindi pera ‘yung naging driving force para sumali kami sa Pasinaya. Kasi it’s food for the soul of the stage manager,” enthused Danseco who is a former folk dancer.
As Sevilla and his fellow veteran stage managers saw this as a stepping stone for their credentials to flourish, they did not mind the lack of monetary compensation.
“Sa simula, pumasok kami ng Pasinaya for the experience, for the feel kung ano bang nangyayari sa Pasinaya. As years go by, gaya ng pag dumating ka na sa ganitong edad, having served years working in Pasinaya, magkakaroon ka na ng sense of devotion,” said Sevilla.
As stage managers, they handle more or less everything. May it be in the creative or technical department, they oversee sets, props, lights, and sound; while calling all technical cues during performances. With the many hats they wear, the challenges they face as stage managers only serve to keep their passion for their work burning.
“Hindi mo mararamdaman ‘yung pagod, talagang mag-eenjoy ka kahit na kulang ka sa tulog at pagod,” said Espino.
Danseco sees this as an eye-opener for the young volunteers. “It’s an experience, yes, but it is also a huge challenge and a huge responsibility, lalo na dahil marami kang hawak na performing groups,” he said.
In 2023, there was a grand total of 150 shows which featured more than 3,000 artists from different art fields. As an open house festival, Pasinaya welcomes people from all walks of life to foster art appreciation not only through countless performances, screenings, and other art activities, but also through 30-minute workshops in various art disciplines conducted by leading artists, resource persons, and teachers.
“Para ka na ring nag-aral in two days,” said Sevilla, who encourages future Pasinaya attendees to watch all the shows and join all the workshops they can. “Ang dami mong matututunan, ang dami mong mae-experience, ang dami mong inspiration na makukuha out of the things you see in Pasinaya.”
Since 2005, the Pasinaya has become a safe space for artists and cultural groups to showcase their talents while being a nurturing platform for art education and appreciation for the audiences through interactions and performances.
Pasinaya boasts of over a hundred free shows, workshops, and other activities in music, theater, dance, visual arts, film, and literature to choose from. It is also widely known to pool hundreds of volunteer artists, stagehands, technical crew, and other cultural workers to make the entire festival possible.
This year, for the first time ever, the country’s biggest multi-arts festival will go beyond the capital city and spread its wings to Visayas and Mindanao on February 3 and 4, 2024.
“It’s a great opportunity for a family to gather together kasi hindi lang siya nagka-cater sa bata, sa matanda, o sa magulang – lahat kina-cater niya,” said Danseco.
Eusebio hopes for more young volunteers to try stage management since the vocation also champions the Philippines and its cultures. “Kailangang marami pa tayong maproduce na stage managers – hindi para mag-abroad, kundi para mabigyan natin ng daan ang local artists natin para umunlad.”
Following the theme “Sulong,” the country’s largest multi-arts festival returns on a grander scale with more artistic and cultural offerings in its 20th year. Pasinaya will simultaneously happen at the CCP Complex and its partner museums, the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Arts in Iloilo City, and Tagum City, Davao del Norte on February 3 and 4, 2024, moving forward to promote art as food for everyone’s soul.