The sarswela is inspired by the story of the 20 women led by Basilia Tantoco of Malolos, Bulacan who, on Dec. 12, 1888, presented Governor-General Valeriano Weyler with a letter asking permission to open a night school where women could learn Spanish under Teodoro Sandiko. Upon Spanish priest Fr. Felipe Garcia’s strong objections, however, the governor-general turned down the petition. But, the defiant women fought on and soon won their cause. The incident inspired Dr. Jose Rizal to write his famous letter “To the Women of Malolos” who, he wrote, “have set an example to those who long to have their eyes opened and be delivered from servitude... No longer does the Filipina stand with her head bowed, nor does she spend her time on her knees, because she is quickened by hope in the future...”
Jenny Jamora, who trained in London’s prestigious RADA, plays Basilia Tantoco. She is joined by Neil Ryan Sese, Rito Asilo, Nikki Ventosa, Dr. Belen Calingacion (UP Dean), Felix Rivera, Lex Marcos, Diana Alferez, Beaver Flores, Natasia Garrucha, Judith Javier, Chinchin Fernando and Adel de Monteverde.
“Basilia ng Malolos” runs at the Guerrero Theater in UP Diliman Feb. 14-March 4, Wednesdays to Sundays at 7 p.m., with 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees. Call Joanne Quiros at 9261349 or 0927-8274610 for tickets.