Wednesday, July 07, 2010


AKDA , the acronym for this article’s title, came out with a blast on August 27 of 1985 by winning the best song and composition awards of what was then CLSU’s annual song festival. They were a motley group of starry eyed student activists: diva and keyboard-toting Boots Viray, the prolific Nine Alcanzare, guitar maestro Prime Abiado, and 3 others. From there, Mon Sarmiento directed them in the theater play “Dula, Awit at Kasaysayan” and became their patron. They became regulars in the Nueva Ecija and Central Luzon protest movement circuit, got a break to play at the Concert at the Park series in 1994, and went their own ways. New members like Dojoe Flores and Tita Martin came and went too. One song bested other entries from Ghana and Peru to become the official theme of a multi-country project.

Twenty-five years after its inception, some of the original AKDA members came together to reminisce those days, sing the old songs, and welcome vacationing Prime and family who are now based in the US. Boots, who now works with a national research agency, seems out of sync in the keyboard but can still belt that voice. Tita who's now a school teacher claims she can no longer do a dance interpretation of “Walang Hanggang Paalam”. Dojoe who is now project manager of a big time company is still gung ho. And Nine is still Nine.

Mon Sarmiento bused in later all the way from Catanduanes and although he is not telling it, everybody knows him to be the screenplay writer of the Robin Padilla-Regine Velasquez film “Videoke King” and the owner of several Palancas.

I was there through Dojoe’s invitation and perhaps with Odang San Andres represent one of those AKDA spin-offs which resulted in a couple of musicales: the turbulent “Sa Bawat Gubat” and the watershed “LAHAR”. And so is George who plays the guitar for AKDA’s latest reincarnation, and some figures of years gone by like the man called Hunger. I reminisce of Sir Santi de Asis who gave me my first break in serious theater. Nine sang a folk song we composed together. It was a night of nostalgia.

UP had Patatag. Ours in CLSU is AKDA.

PHOTOS EXPLAINED: (Clockwise from lower left corner) Nine Alcanzare, Geroge, Dojoe Flores, Boots Viray, and Prime Abiado jams up the old days in the top photo. Mon Sarmiento (second from left in the bottom photo) was AKDA’s longtime patron and mentor and before winning several Palanca’s and writing the screenplay for the Robin Padilla-Regine Velasquez movie “Videoke King”.

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