Arts & Culture

8 Must-See Arts and Culture Events in October 2019

Rage, regret, vengeance, joy, mourning, and nostalgia mark the many events in this month’s calendar, ensuring that the last quarter of 2019 starts with a bang.

October brings with it a storm of emotions in Philippine arts and culture. Rage, regret, vengeance, joy, mourning, and nostalgia mark the many events in this month’s calendar, ensuring that the last quarter of 2019 starts with a bang.

Here are eight events you simply have to catch:

October 4-27: Katsuri

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Husband-and-wife duo Carlos Siguion-Reyna and Bibieth Orteza reimagine John Steinbeck’s classic Of Mice and Men in the Hiligaynon context. Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company will be tackling how, in many ways, Steinbeck’s tale of a friendship tested by circumstance stays relevant in the Philippines’ still-feudal agriculture estates.

The script was written by Orteza, with Siguion-Reyna directing. Katsuri is currently running until October 27, at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute in the CCP.

Tickets are available via Ticketworld.

October 11-27: Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

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Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group caps off its 20th anniversary celebrations with Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning opus, Sweeney Todd—The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. For this production, the company has assembled some of the most formidable Filipino talents, both on and off the stage.


Jett Pangan and Lea Salonga headline as the titular character and his partner-in-crime, Mrs. Lovett. Ima Castro, Andrew Fernando, Gerald Santos, Nyoy Volante, Mikkie Bradshaw-Volante, Luigi Quesada, Arman Ferrer, and Dean Rosen join them as the supporting cast, with Steven Conde, Sarah Facuri, Christine Flores, Jep Go, Kevin Guiman, and Emeline Celis Guinid as the ensemble.

Bobby Garcia directs the musical tale of a murderous barber, with Tony Award winner David Gallo on set design. The play also features the work of Rajo Laurel on costume design, Cecile Martinez on choreography, and Manman Angsico on vocal direction. Gerard Salonga works as the production’s musical director.

Sweeney Todd runs from October 11 to 27 at the Theater at Solaire. Tickets are available via Ticketworld. Given the show’s themes, it is not recommend for children below 12 years of age.  

October 13-22: QCinema International Film Festival

The festival’s 2019 edition looks to be one of its most eventful years yet, with 60 films from across the world making their way to cinemas in Quezon City. Alongside 20 original movies, short films, and documentaries produced for the festival’s competitions, there will be a showcase of award-winning Filipino and foreign film screening throughout the ten days of its run.


QCinema will also be celebrating 100 years of Filipino cinema by screening digitally restored versions six iconic films: Biyaya ng Lupa (1959), Malvarosa (1958), Insiang (1976), Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag (1975), Noli Me Tangere (1961), and Tisoy (1977).

You can catch the films at the following participating cinemas: Gateway Mall, Robinsons Galleria, UPFI Cine Adarna, Cinema Centenario, Trinoma, and Cinema 76 Anonas.

October 13-March 15: Inscapes

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Sculptor Agnes Arellano’s surreal body of work will discover new meaning as the artist groups various pieces together at Inscapes, a retrospective of her 36 years of practice. Arellano will be tracing her life’s path as mirrored in works that evoke the Sacred Feminine, mythology, psychology, and philosophy.

Made possible with through the Ateneo Art Gallery, Inscapes will be on display from October 13 to March 15, 2020 at the Ateneo Arete Ampihtheater.

October 17: Giselle

Originally scheduled for two nights at the Aliw Theater before it burned down, Ballet Manila’s performance of Giselle has found a new home at the CCP Main Theater. The classic tale of love and vengeance from beyond the grave is widely recognized as one of the world’s most popular ballets, and Ballet Manila’s production promises to do it justice.


Giselle will now run for one night only, on October 17. Tickets are available via Ticketworld.

October 19: He Walked This Way: A Tribute to Carlos Celdran

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Carlos Celdran—performance artist, activist, and a creative force behind Manila’s revivification as a center of arts and culture—has sadly passed away. In his memory, Gabe Mercado will be hosting Celdran’s famous “If These Walls Could Talk” tour of Intramuros for the very last time on October 19. The tour will be followed by a free concert featuring some of Celdran’s dearest friends, as well as his admirers.

While registration slots for the tour almost immediately ran out, the tribute concert will be open to the public. The event will be as much a celebration of his life as it is his love for Manila.

For more information, visit this link.

October 26-December 8: Van Gogh Alive

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When it debuted in 2017, Van Gogh Alive was an instant sensation. Combining music, digital screens, and the stunning paintings of Vincent Van Gogh, the exhibit was a deeply immersive, multisensory experience that put you in the center of the master’s works.


The attraction has finally found its way to Manila, at One Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City.

Van Gogh alive runs from October 26 to December 8, 2019, with multiple tour schedules throughout the day. Tickets are available at

October 28: Backstreet Boys DNA World Tour

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Few music acts have enjoyed the career longevity that the Backstreet Boys have had, and it’s a testament to their talents that they’re still going strong after more than two decades. Like it or not, the boyband has become a cultural touchstone, and has served to inspire countless other pop music acts.

The Backstreet Boys will be returning to Manila for a one-night show on October 28, at the Mall of Asia Arena. Expect to see some surprisingly good new songs, along with all your favorites from yesteryear.

Tickets are available at this link.

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