From the first time that they presented their unique and incredible shadow play act on the stage of Pilipinas Got Talent in 2011 for its debut season, El Gamma Penumbra has indeed never failed to enthrall and move the audiences with their every performance, locally and abroad.
However, little did we know that behind the screen, to which the images and figures they create are shown, are people who have gone to a lot of challenges in life and were hopeful that through their talent, hardwork, and dedication, they would be able to achieve their once far-flung ambitions not just for themselves, but for their country as well.
Formed in 2008, this 27-piece all-male group from Tanauan, Batangas was revealed to be a hip-hop crew in the onset. But when they decided to join the said competition, they agreed to shift to theater production thinking that their chances of winning would be greater since they believed it to be new and extraordinary and considered the huge number of hip-hop dance troops that would presumably join. This was when their dreams of making Philippines well-known around the world for shadow playing and the yearning to make their fellowmen proud of them were born.
Although nobody initially noticed them, they just kept on practicing to improve their talents and pursue their ultimate passion. They used to only utilize flashlights during rehearsals and even rented a small apartment that served as their studio. Everytime they had auditions in faraway venues, they would rent a jeepney in which they would squeeze themselves along with their props.
Through the years, they joined various contests to which they failed to snag the grand winner victory, including their stint in PGT Season 1 where they got slated in the 4th place. But instead of getting disheartened, their losses only made them realize that their journey wasn’t over yet and fueled them to keep on reaching for their ambitions.
In their journey, El Gamma Penumbra has never been alone because ABS-CBN has remained faithful and supportive to them from the very beginning and has always reminded them to never give up. In fact, it bestowed to them the wonderful opportunity of becoming a part of its famous Philippine tourism campaign tagged “Choose Philippines”. This paved their way to be invited to perform here and abroad and be recognized by various prestigious award-giving bodies. Three years after they catapulted to fame, the shadow play group’s biggest break came when they participated and later on won the grand prize in the inaugural season of Asia’s Got Talent in 2014.
Despite the glory and popularity they are savoring at the present, the group keeps their feet on the ground and even supports the youth dancers in their hometown who look up to them and who are inspired of how they pour out their hearts in every performances that they do. As mentors, they instill to their protégés that nothing is impossible when aim at their goals and reminds them to use darkness as their armor to see the beauty and vibrance of life.
El Gamma Penumbra is a living proof that there’s indeed no overnight success. If we want something grand, we should work hard for it, make humungous sacrifices, hurdle every obstacle that might come, and keep on believing because it will be given if it’s really for us. May we have the same unwavering optimism and fighting spirit like what our proudly Pinoy world-class act has!