Hermogenes Ilagan: Father of Tagalog Zarzuela

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Hermogenes Ilagan: Father of Tagalog Zarzuela (book cover)

Hermogenes Ilagan: Father of Tagalog Zarzuela by Rustica C. Carpio which she based on her doctoral disseration entitled "Hermogenes Ilagan: Father of Tagalog Zarzuela". Ilagan wrote some of the best-loved Tagalog zarzuelas of all time. It was published by University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in 2000.


About the book

Hermogenes Ilagan wrote some of the best-loved Tagalog zarzuelas of all time. His most popular zarzuela. Dalagang Bukid, has been mounted for an unprecedented number of times, perhaps the most-performed Tagalog play of all time. Made into a movie starring Atang de la Rama, the superstar of her era, it ushered in the sound era and became the first real blockbuster hit of Philippine cinema.

Ilagan wrote about a hundred zarzuelas, many of whose scripts were destroyed during the Second World War. But his more notable works have survived and they display Ilagan's grasp of the social milieu. some of the issues that he tackled during his time remain burning concerns up to this day, like divorce (Bill de Divorcio), homosexuality (Dalawang Hangal), gambling and superstition (Bahay ng Himala't Kababalaghan), and patronage politics (Panarak ni Rosa).

Ilagan was adept by stagecraft. Even Severino Reyes would ask Ilagan to mount and direct his plays. Unique among the zarzuela writers, Ilagan was a one-man production; he wrote, directed, and acted in his plays. Although gifted with good looks and a masculine built, he did not shirk from portraying more controversial roles, like the homosexual in Dalawang Hangal.

After his plays, perhaps Ilagan's most enduring legacy is his family, one of the most talented and abiding families in Philippine entertainment. It includes his son, actor and music scorer Tito Arevalo; his grandson, actor and director Robert Arevalo; and niece-in-law, actress Barbara Perez. The late National Artist for film, Gerardo de Leon, the undisputed master of cinema in the Philippines, was also Ilagan's son. The late Angel Esmeralda of Philippine cinema was another Ilagan son. Ilagan's grand-daughter, Liberty Ilagan was a movie actress turned businesswoman

External link


  • Carpio, Rustica C. Hermogenes Ilagan: Father of Tagalog Zarzuela. Manila: University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2000.



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