For lack of local talents, “sarsuelistas,” or actresses, for live show programs were imported from Ilocos Sur or other more advanced provinces, like La Union or Ilocos Norte.
The show consisted of native love-making expressed by music, songs, and dances by actors and actresses dressed very colorfully.
Unlike Moro-Moro which was done at night with the aid of gas lamps and carbide lamps, the sarsuela was done during daytime in the plaza.
Many people attended the show bringing their own chairs to sit on in the beginning and later on to stand on as the crowd gets excited, clapping and jumping and cheering the dancers or singers or love-makers.
The love-making went only as far as a man kissing the back of the hand of a coy, shy, blushing maiden. Lip-kissing was not done, neither embracing or hugging.
There were greater parts of the show left to imagination than reality in love-making.
The prominent persons who provided entertainment were Procafino Boromeo, the famous No. 1 Philippino guitarist, relative of Pat, from Bangued. He became a professor of music in the University of the Philippines.
Another one, from Vigan, is Leon C. Pichay, who was an orator, a singer, and a humorist.
Manang Susing used to be a sarsuelista. I was her chaperon whenever she went for rehearsal in Vigan from Boitomang, where the P.C. barracks and officers’ quarters were located ‘way back in the early ‘30’s. She sang in Veradiston.
Sometimes they invited participants from the crowd to participate in a game of “musical chairs.”
I was so excited when Mg. Trining was among ten contestants. As the contestants got eliminated one after the other, the excitement grew stronger, and the crowd cheered the remaining participants. Mg. Trining won the prize! I was very proud of her!