When Cirque du Soleil comes to town: Varekai in Manila

I can still remember the first time I went to watch a circus act, I was very young then ... too young that I remembered buying a coloring book as a souvenir. Together with my parents and my little sister Pan, we trooped all the way to Araneta Coliseum excited to watch our first local circus show. The place was packed and I remember that we were lucky to get good seats. Good enough for us to see the performers up close. I was enthralled by the flexibility of those doing the trapeze and I held my breath and squeezed my Papa's hand as we watch from one heart-stopping act to the other. It had been more than a decade since but that amazing experience stayed with me forever.

varekai manila

Fast forward to the present and I found myself on the way to Quirino Grandstand with Paul last Saturday night as we were both excited to watch Cirque du Soleil's Varekai. It has been a long time since we've watched a circus act and we honestly had no idea what to expect. The only thing we both know is that Cirque du Soleil is a very popular entertainment group that originated in Canada and has been touring the world entertaining millions of fans worldwide. In Asia, they have resident shows in Macau and Tokyo. I actually missed the one in Los Angeles where they also have a regular run at the Kodak Theatre.

varekai manila

I've been wanting to watch Varekai and have been contemplating on what type of ticket to get. It was until I got a call from my mom last week telling me that she got tickets for me and it's no ordinary tickets at that... she got me two Tapis Rouge VIP tickets to enjoy! I love my Mom! Isn't she simply the best?

varekai manila

Thanks also to her company, Sun Life Financial for sponsoring the show and for awarding my mom with those two priceless tickets. We made sure to get there an hour in advance as we had Tapis Rouge access. Before that though, we made sure to take photos of the famous Grand Chapiteau a.k.a. The Big Top.

varekai manila

Aside from getting the best seats in the house, Tapis Rouge ticket holders also get to have the following privileges:
- VIP parking
- Access to the Tapis Rouge suite via an exclusive entrance one hour before the show and during intermission
- An array of hors d'oeuvres, fine wines and refreshments followed by desserts during intermission catered by The Manila Hotel
- Unique multimedia entertainment and original music in a stunning décor with a relaxed atmosphere
- A Tapis Rouge souvenir photo
- A souvenir program
- Priority purchasing of Cirque du Soleil merchandise in the Tapis Rouge boutique
- Private restrooms and terrace (which honestly I find toooo cramped and tiny, I really had a hard time maneuvering my way around the cubicle)
The food was pretty ordinary, a bit too much on the oily side that I personally enjoyed the bowls of potato chips and nuts together with my glass of orange juice. There's really a need also for them to improve on the system as there was no clear direction on where the buffet line starts and ends. In effect, people were just sneaking their way in making the waiting time longer than expected.

Paul and I enjoyed the free souvenir photo though and the fact that we were given complimentary souvenir programs too.

Well, the Tapis Rouge is just at the tip of the iceberg as the real Varekai experience lies on the outcome of the show.

The show ran for approximately 2 hours and it was a mix of enchanting stunts, comedy acts and beautiful musical accompaniment. Everything was so beautiful that even Paul enjoyed every bit of it that he was complaining that his hands hurt the next day from too much clapping.

Not much words were exchanged but through the actions and music you'll eventually understand the story and appreciate it to its fullest. Let me share with you some photos that I borrowed from the Official Site of Varekai to give you a glimpse of what to expect during the show:

varekai manila

varekai manila

varekai manila

After the show, Paul and I also didn't have a hard time driving out of the venue as the parking space was quite big so it's easy for cars to move around quickly. No traffic jam here. Quirino Grandstand was indeed a good choice for this show.

We enjoyed our first Cirque Du Soleil experience that we made a promise to work extra hard, save more and to watch more shows in the future. Wish us luck!

Varekai in Manila will run from June 22 to July 17, 2011. There are two ticket rates depending on your preferred date. Weekday rates are cheaper than weekend rates. However, there's only one run per day during weekdays while weekends has a matinee show at 330PM. The tent is quite small that even those who will purchase the cheapest ticket will get a pretty good view of the show.

Click here to purchase your tickets online.

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