Review: Sa Wakas, A Pinoy Rock Musical


Dale’s Review:

Manila, Philippines, April 22, 2013 — Sa Wakas has been subject of mostly rave reviews since it opened last April 13th at the PETA Theater. After catching the show yesterday, we were glad to see that it wasn’t just hype.

Sa Wakas is the type of show that you tell your friends about just because you want to share something special with them. It is the type of show that you would want people to see because you know that at one point in their lives, they may have walked the path of at least one of the characters and seeing it onstage calls to mind gut-wrenching conversations you may have had over several bottles of beer.

And that really is how the show felt like. It is as if you or your closest friend had just had his heart torn into pieces and he shares with you, over a couple of six-packs, the nitty-gritty details that led him to where he is now. Told backward, it is a painful journey of recollection and as an audience, you feel every bit of the pain because you know how this story will end.

Bringing to the surface the subtle nuances of a relationship that is about to end, Sa Wakas forces the audience to re-examine their own relationships and their own lives. From the heartbreaking opening act to its perfectly executed conclusion, Sa Wakas can be characterized as a show that truly understands, not only this generation but the way that people are when confronted by love, life, and that search for identity that sometimes comes at the cost of the people that you care about the most.

Up to the task of delivering this story are Fred Lo who plays Topper, a struggling photographer whose indecisions in life become the central foci of the story, Caisa Borromeo plays Lexi, Topper’s long time and career-oriented partner whose frustrations come from worrying about the kind of future that she and Topper are headed to, finally Kyla Rivera plays Gabbie – Topper’s kindred spirit that shares his passion for art and life, and eventually his bed.

While struggling at parts where Topper’s inconsolable sadness needs to be conveyed, Fred Lo ably embodied the defiance and charm of the indecisive artist. Caisa Borromeo and Kyla Rivera, on the other hand, strip away the artificial representation often seen in stage characters and deliver very real and effective performances.

Above everything else, there is the music of Sugarfree that effectively tells the story of these lovers and magnifies every unexpected feeling that creeps up on the audience. Even when the music is played overly loud by the live band on stage, drowning some of the essential lines of the leads, the music transcends and forces us to look at the one thing that we least examine – ourselves.

Read the complete review at

Jae’s Review:

Warning – I couldn’t write a spoiler free review so stop reading now if you don’t want to know details of the story.

I used to wish that movies and stories (romantic/love stories in particular) should strive to be more realistic and in tune with how the world we live in works. Now I realize that doing this comes at a price.

I finally got to watch Sa Wakas and I should’ve been careful with what I wished for. I got what I wanted – no larger than life characters, no grandiose gestures of love and no contrived plot and unnecessary complications. And the icing on my cake was it carrying the piece that usually happens in real life – no happy ending. Now I understand why the majority of love stories have a happy ending. We all love it and yearn for it even if we deny it out loud. Good stories make us care for the characters and we root and cheer for them to be together in the end, even in the face of insurmountable odds because we have to believe that love is the strongest force there is and when you’re in love, you are unstoppable.

I think that the writer/director intended to tear everyone’s hearts out and rip them to shreds and to remove the veil of illusion we have of every love story getting a happy ending. I love them for granting my wish and hate them for being so good with their craft that I felt so dispirited and crestfallen after watching it. I was actually speechless and depressed for a good couple of hours after watching the play as I was still processing what happened.

We all love our happy endings. But not all of us will get it.

I just have one gripe – the background music tends to drown out the characters’ songs and render them unintelligible. Hope they soften the band’s music when they get a re-run.


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