Singer-thespian Tim Pavino breathes life into the Philippine hero Emilio Aguinaldo in “Miong.”
In an exclusive interview with Bulletin Entertainment, he gave his two cents on the project written in 1998 to celebrate the centennial of the Declaration of Independence.
“‘Miong’ is about an extraordinary who did all he can to bring unity and, most importantly, independence to the country,” he explained. “It was written in English by our director Ms. Joy Virata. She was able to depict the first 27 years of life of ‘Miong’ in two hours. So you’ll learn the beginnings of his childhood to him becoming Cabeza de Barangay, to later on becoming our first president and declaring independence.”
Miong is Emilio Aguinaldo, a hero who would have been 150-years-old today. He was born into a middle-class provincial family and despite external and internal conflicts, declared independence for his country and gave it its national flag and national anthem. Repertory Philippines’ “Miong” will cover only Emilio’s youth.
Asked how it feels playing the lead role, Tim finds it “a great honor” but “not only because he was our president, but because his life was filled with intricacies.”
Tim added: “To live out Emilio Aguinaldo’s life and to find how he brought the people together for a common cause is so empowering as a human being.”
In terms of being handpicked for the role by Joy, herself, Tim couldn’t be more thankful.
“I was shocked when Ms. Joy chose me for the role as there were many other candidates who’ve already played leading roles who auditioned same time as me. This is my first lead role in a professional musical. It was really a God-given opportunity.”
Does he think being born in Seattle, Washington is a disadvantage because, presumably, he’s not that familiar with Philippine history, we asked.
“Being Filipino-American and growing up in Seattle, my mother and family always made sure that I was close to my Filipino heritage. For me, not learning Philippine history directly in schools like the rest of the cast, the advantage is that the information is so new and fresh to me,” he said.
In preparing for his role, Tim read about Emilio extensively, and even went to his home in Cavite.
“I learned he was an indecisive leader. He wasn’t always sure of his decisions, but his heart was always for his people and family. I learned about his younger years and how he wasn’t much into school. I could totally relate to that,” he said.
Could he point out more similarities and differences between Miong and himself?
“Our birthdays and height are almost the same. His falls on March 22 while mine is on March 24. He’s around 5’3” and I’m 5’5”.
“But more than that, as I mentioned, he was indecisive. I, too, growing up, questioned the path my parents wanted for me and what I wanted for myself.
“I also learned his heart for his loved ones, especially family, and I too feel I am always responsible to bring everyone together.”
Tim is grateful that in the process of creating the show, he realized how much stronger he is than he had ever thought.
“I also learned new techniques I didn’t think I was capable of, both vocally and mentally. This show really brings out the best and worst in me as a person. Every emotion of my personal life and Emilio’s life is depicted in this show.”
Also joining Tim in the musical are Noel Rayos as Berong, Cara Barredo as Yayang, Meynard Peñalosa as Father Blas, and Elver Esquivel.
“Miong” runs on Feb. 16, 17, 23, 24, March 2, 3, 9, and 10 at 3:30 p.m. while 8 p.m. on Feb 15, 16, 22, 23, March 1, 2, 8, and 9 at Onstage Theatre, Greenbelt Mall 1.