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Sarswela is a play with songs and dances usually written in prose, containing from one to five acts, depicting the vagaries of romantic love among idealized Filipino characters, and often incorporating contemporary social, political, economic or cultural issues for relevance and interest.

a traditional Spanish musical drama adapted in the Philippines

Its origin is in the Spanish zarzuela, which was a musical dramatic form with spoken dialogue.

The word zarzuela comes from the name of a hunting lodge in Spain that was used by royalty. El Palacio de la Zarzuela  had a theater in which was performed a play that was called ‘fiesta de la Zarzuela’ — although the title was a reference to the location, the word ‘zarzuela’  is adopted by the filipino.