Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver


Photo Credit: Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas (DUP) Official Facebook Page

The UP Playwrights’ Theatre is staging “Nana Rosa,” a play based on the life of Maria Rosa Luna Henson, the “first Filipino to publicly come out as a comfort woman.”

The production will run from 20 February 2019 – 10 March 2019 at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, Palma Hall, UP Diliman. Showtime is 7:00 PM every Wednesday to Friday; and 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM every Saturday and Sunday.

Regular ticket price is P500. Discounts are available for bulk purchases and senior citizens.



Rosa Henson (1927-1997) was 16-years-old when she was taken by Japanese soldiers from a checkpoint in Angeles, Pampanga in April 1943. For nine months, she was detained at a garrison and was forced to be a comfort woman. In January 1944, she was freed by the anti-Japanese guerilla forces of HUKBALAHAP (Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon).1  

In 1992, Henson broke her silence on her experience as a comfort woman, making her the first Filipina to do so. She made the decision to come out after hearing from the radio a call for testimonies “on the alleged sexual enslavement of Filipino women by Japanese soldiers” during the World War II. She was 65-years-old then.2


Highlighting the human spirit’s struggle and survival, the play “explores the theme of displacement—both physical and psychological—” from Henson’s experience as a youth in Pampanga to her “capture” by the Japanese forces during World War II. The play then recounts her coming out publicly as a comfort woman, and her experiences after her revelation.

“Nana Rosa” is written by award-winning playwright and Rody Vera and directed by José Estrella. It is also a part of the UP Diliman Arts Month 2019. View more information.


For queries and purchase of tickets, contact 926-13-49 / 981-8500 local 2449 / 09175198879 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 The Asian Center offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. The Center offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. The Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website.