Noong kinasal si Bebang Siy at Ronald Verso, dalawa ang handaan. Isa sa loob ng reception hall ng Magsaysay Center, at isa sa labas. Sa loob, pagkain para sa bakanteng tiyan. Kare-kare, lechon, menudo, ganyan. May sorbetes pa. Busog! Nakakaantok. Sa labas, pagkain para sa isip. Yes. May booksale noong kasal ni Bebang. Kaya naman matapos naming kumain sa loob, lumabas kami para maki-usyoso.

KPNALLDahil tamad ako sa ukay at booksales, si Peter (KyusiReader) na masipag maghalungkat ang unang nakakita ng KUNG PAANO AKO NAGING LEADING LADY ni Carlo Vergara at Elmer Cantanda. Na-excite siya. Humanap pa siya ng isa para sa akin. Sabay daw naming basahin. The first time I encountered a Vergara work was many years back. Zsazsa Zaturnnah. Bentang benta sa akin ang graphic novel na yan. Sa MRT ko pa binabasa yun, at bigla akong napapahagalpak ng tawa kapag inookray ni Didi si Ada. It was contemporary camp for a slightly serious gay superhero novel. Yes, serious, pero slightly lang naman. I saw some level of thoughtfulness in Vergara’s stance on gender and ultra feminism, and that’s what I love about him. Because that’s the thing with camp: it has to be revolutionary, too.

So when Peter found another copy, he immediately gave it to me. Mamayang gabi, sisimulan na raw niya. Sabi ko, ako rin.

That evening, as I was about to sleep, I got a text from Peter. Tapos na raw niyang basahin. Tuwang tuwa siya. Ang galing daw ng pagkakasulat. Simple, payak, sandali, pero bulaga. Natapos ko na daw ba? Sabi ko hindi pa. Sabi ko, nagtatanggal pa ako ng make-up. Magtanggal na rin siya ng kanya.

And so I read Kung Paano a couple of days after I bought it. It was December 31, 2013. Huling araw ng taon. Bisperas. Gabi na at nakahiga ako sa kwarto habang unti-unting dumadalas ang mga putukan sa labas.

_DSC0001-26Kung Paano tells the story of two sisters, Mely and Viva. Mely, a housemaid for a family of superheroes gets a visit from the younger Viva. Mely is fat, unattractive, a typical spinster whose only goal is to serve her employers and support her mother. Viva, on the other hand, is sexy, attractive, however, unemployed. She just got fired from a housekeeping job in another subdivision, being the irresponsible house help that she is. Viva reaches out to Mely for help in finding a job, probably in the same superhero family where she works. Mely is adamant. She has been working for this family for years and have gone through so much to earn their trust. She wouldn’t want someone else, much more her sister, to ruin that trust.

Enter Leading Man, a dashing stud of a superhero. Viva, in need of pity and attention, flirted with Leading Man.  But Leading Man has other things in mind, and also in his heart.

Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady, the graphic novel, touches on the soft side of feminism, and plays comically with the themes of sibling rivalries. Though absurdly written, its mindlessness keeps its readers rooted in its pages. And did I mention that it’s also detailedly drawn? Another thing that makes this graphic novel ultimately compelling is how Vergara puts the ménage à trois’ story to a close. In its final pages, Mely, in a shattering climax, transforms beautifully, however….basta. I don’t want to give away too much.

What particularly hit me the most was that Kung Paano‘s creators managed to come up with such an affecting story with just three characters in a single milieu. Despite its simplicity, I got to see its underlying themes beyond the black & white pages. Solid!

Nang matapos kong basahin ang libro, bumangon ako sa pagkakahiga at pumalakpak ng mabagal. Yung slow clap, ba? Tapos nakabuka ng slight ang bibig. Yan, ganyan.

In my FB review, which I wrote immediately after I closed the book, I said something about the beauty in new beginnings and the price we have to pay for transformations.

Such a lovely treat for a New Year’s Eve read, di ba?


kpanllThis May, Manila’s newest theater group, DALANGHITA PRODUCTIONS, in cooperation with the PHILIPPINE EDUCATIONAL THEATER ASSOCIATION (PETA), brings back Vergara and Cantada’s graphic novel to the stage, though this time in a different and more exciting form. KUNG PAANO AKO NAGING LEADING LADY The Musical will set the PETA stage on fire with the story of two siblings as they fight for honor, attention, identity and Leading Man’s heart.

Its story still revolves around the same plot as the graphic novel, (which was originally written as a  one-act play for Virgin Labfest), though this time, with a new take on the book. Vergara, together with musical theater composer Vince de Jesus (Zsazsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal, Himala the Musical, Caredivas), teams up with Director Chris Martinez (Zsazsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal, Temptation Island’s stage adaptation, Status It’s Complicated) to stretch the original plot to musicale proportions. This time, Mely, Viva and Leading Man will share the platform with the best and highly-respected actors that the industry can offer. Party, party!

Kung Papano Ako Naging Leading Lady (The Musical)Topbilled to play the various roles are Menchu Lauchengco Yulo (Madre De Dios – leader of Puwersa Pilipinas), Bituin Escalante and Frenchie Dy (Mely – maid of Puwersa Pilipinas), Kim Molina and Natasha Cabrera (Viva – Mely’s younger sister), Markki Stroem and Hans Eckstein (Leading Man – newest member of Puwersa Pilipinas).

Lending support are the multi-faceted actors from Manila’s different theater companies namely include Mae Bayot (Nanay – Mely and Viva’s mother), Astarte Abraham (Madre De Dios – alternate), Giannina Ocampo (Nena Babushka), Caisa Borromeo (Windang Woman), Chesko Rodriguez (Popoy Pusakal), Jeff Flores (Bazooka Man), Nar Cabico and Domi Espejo (Senyor Blangko – leader of Kayumanggilas), Red Nuestro (Marakas Marko), Red Concepcion (Itak-Atak), Elliot Eustacio (Jeryc Sans Rival), Vince Lim (Henyotik), and Mikoy Morales (Henyotik).

_DSC0240_This new musical will come with a set of 24 songs in its repertoire. Being familiar with some of de Jesus’ previous works, I’m pretty sure that this new form will also take the local theater by storm in May.

KUNG PAANO AKO NAGING LEADING LADY The Musical is set to open on May 7 and will run for four weekends until June 7, 2014. The show starts promptly at 8 p.m. (Thursday- Sunday). Matinee shows (Saturday-Sunday) start at 3 p.m. All performances are at the PETA Theater Center located at No. 5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, Q.C.

Promptly, sabi, ah? Ibig sabihin, on time sila. Wag ma-late! Ang ma-late, hindi makakahalik kay Leading Man. Ang ma-late, hindi magiging Leading Lady, dahil walang Leading Lady na late!

Si Snooky lang.

For bulk reservations, show buys, and inquiries, call or text at mobile number 0998-5311389 or send email to

For tickets, please call Ticketworld at 891-9999 or via

Ano? Game? Transform!

Let’s be the Leading Ladies that we are!

Kung Papano Ako Naging Leading Lady (The Musical)

See you at the theater!

Source: Dalanghita Productions
Photos by: Mr. Erickson dela Cruz

Tags : carlo vergaradalanghita productionskung papano ako naging leading ladykung papano ako naging leading lady the musicalPETAvince de jesus
Orly S. Agawin

The author Orly S. Agawin

Orly has been writing for The Jellicle Blog since 2008. He is a training and development consultant by day and an art enthusiast by night. He lives in Parañaque with his mom.


    1. You’re welcome, Carlo. Thank you too for dropping by. I’ll definitely see KPNALL-The Musical. Break a leg to you and to the entire company! Cheers!

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