Filmography: Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa? (1998)

“Namputang Itlog yan, gawing mong manok!” – Leah

“Sister nain-love ka na ba? Hindi yong Love kay Kristo ha, yong love na may sex!” – Leah

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Basic Information: Directed: Chito S. Roño; Story: Lualhati Bautista; Screenplay: Lualhati Bautista, Chito S. Roño; Cast: Vilma Santos, Albert Martinez, Carlo Aquino, Serena Dalrymple, Angel Aquino, Cherry Pie Picache, Raymond Bagatsing, Ariel Rivera, Rosemarie Gil, Andrea Del Rosario, Dexter Doria, Cita Astals, Ronalissa Cheng, Carmen Serafin; Executive producer: Charo Santos-Concio, Malou N. Santos; Original Music: Jessie Lasaten; Cinematography: Charlie Peralta; Film Editing: Jaime Davila; Production Design: Manny Morfe; Sound: Albert Michael Idioma; Theme Songs: “Kumusta Ka” performed by Nonoy Zuniga

Plot Description: Lualhati Bautista’s award-winning novel was adapted to the big-screen with brilliant results: the casting (specially Mayor Vilma Santos as the strong-willed Leah Bustamante) is perfect; Bautista’s script is filled with comic and dramatic undertones. 8 year-old Serena Dalrymple provided most of the laughs as the innocent child who serves as Leah’s mirror of her personality. Everything in the film is a labor of love and art, and it deserves to be a classic. – IMDB

A fiercely independent and unflinchingly candid woman connected with a women’s crisis and survival center has to raise her two kids with different fathers. Her first husband has left her when their career options failed to converge. She is now stuck in an extramarital arrangement with another man who cannot bring himself to respect and commit to their quite unorthodox relationship. – Database of Philippine Movies

The movie is about Lea, a mother of two kids with different fathers. Lea, works in an NGO (non-government organization), which deals with human rights violation committed against women. Ogie and Maya are Lea’s children. Ogie’s father, Raffy, leaves them when he had to work in the province of Surigao. Lea together with his son Ogie, did not join Raffy for Lea has a job in Manila which she did not want to leave. Maya, whose father is Ding lives with them, together with Ogie. Things start to get worse when Raffy arrives in Manila. Raffy, meets with Lea for him to see his son, Ogie. As days went on, Ogie regularly sees his father and sometimes spends some time in his house together with his new wife who is pregnant with there first child. Raffy, realizes that he has a lot of shortcomings as a father to Ogie. Raffy tells Lea that he will take Ogie with him to the United States after his wife gives birth. Lea doesn’t know what to do. – Skynet

Film Achievement: 1999 Brussels International Festival of Independent Films Best Actress – Vilma Santos; 1999 International Festival of Independent Films Best Director – Chito S. Roño; 1999 Asia-Pacific Film Festival Special Jury Award – Chito S. Roño; 1998 FAMAS Best Child Actor – Carlo Aquino; 1998 FAMAS Best Child Actress – Serena Dalrymple; 1998 FAMAS Best Story – Lualhati Bautista; 1998 FAP Best Actress – Vilma Santos; 1998 FAP Best Picture – Star Cinema; 1998 FAP Best Supporting Actor – Carlo Aquino; 1998 FAP Best Supporting Actress – Serena Dalrymple; 1998 Urian Best Actress – Vilma Santos; 1998 Urian Best Picture – Star Cinema; 1998 Urian Best Best Screenplay – Lualhati Bautista; 1998 Urian Best Supporting Actress – Serena Dalrymple; 1998 Star Awards Actress of the Year – Vilma Santos; 1998 Star Awards Child Performer of the Year – Carlo Aquino; 1998 Star Awards New Movie Actress of the Year – Serena Dalrymple; 1998 Young Critics Circle Best Film – Star Cinema; 1998 Young Critics Circle Best Performer – Vilma Santos; 1998 Young Critics Circle Best Screenplay – Lualhati Bautista; 1998 PASADO Best Picture – Star Cinema; 1998 PASADO Best Screenplay – Lualhati Bautista; 1998 PASADO Best Actress – Vilma Santos

Other Film Achievements 1998 FAP Best Cinematography nomination – Charlie Peralta; 1998 FAP Best Director nomination – Chito S. Roño; 1998 FAP Best Editing nomination – Jaime Davila; 1998 FAP Best Production Design nomination – Manny Morfe; 1998 FAP Best Screenplay nomination – Lualhati Bautista; 1998 FAP Best Supporting Actor nomination – Albert Martinez; 1998 Urian Best Best Director nomination – Chito S. Roño; 1998 Urian Best Best Editing nomination – Jaime Davila; 1998 Urian Best Music nomination – Jessie Lasaten; 1998 Urian Best Sound nomination – Albert Michael Idioma; 1998 Urian Best Supporting Actor nomination – Carlo Aquino; 1998 Urian Best Supporting Actor nomination – Raymond Bagatsing; Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa? Became a stage play in 1999

Film Reviews: Motherhood. Womanhood. It has long been believed that the former is the be-all and end-all of the latter. Our culture dictates this. Our society has its own standard boxes of what constitutes a good woman and of what necessitates a good mother. If you don’t fit this box, then you suffer the consequences. Lea Bustamante (Vilma Santos), a mother of two and a woman who chooses to live differently, is learning how to deal with these consequences. Her eldest is OJIE (Carlo Aquino), an outspoken boy on his peak of puberty. Her youngest is Maya (Serena Dalrymple), a precocious and equally outspoken six-year old. Both have different fathers. Neither is married to Lea. Lea was once married to Ojie’s father, Raffy (Ariel Rivera). But he had to leave for his job and she had to stay for hers. Hence, they separated. Now, Lea lives with Maya’s father, Ding (Albert Martinez), a mama’s boy who is constantly at the beck and call of his mother. This infuriates Lea because it reminds her that Ding is not married to her and they are not his priority. Nevertheless, Lea is sure she can handle herself and her children without anyone’s help.

Her world gets shaken however when Raffy goes back to the Philippines. She knows she still loves him but that there is no chance for a reconciliation. Raffy came back with a new wife on the family way. Ojie begins to see his father during weekends. Lea sees how father and son thirst for the bond they should have started forming a long time ago. She also sees how much Maya misses her brother so much whenever he spends his time with his father. Matters get worse when Raffy voices his desire to take Ojie with him and his new wife to America. With a fearful heart and a great respect for her son, Lea leaves the decision to Ojie. Before he even makes a decision, he and Maya suffer an accident. The mother gets blamed. Her job gets blamed. Lea works in a survival center for women in crisis and is continually exposed to the adverse effects of how society can become a victim of its own ideology. Lea considers herself emancipated from these labels. She has her own sense of motherhood, of womanhood, of what is true and good and beautiful. But now, she is being accused by both fathers of not being a good mother, and of being a woman of twisted priorities. In this susceptible state, Lea finds solace in the company of Johnny (Raymond Bagatsing), a colleague and a friend from the center. As if her life wasn’t complicated enough, she receives yet another bomb. Ding breaks up with her after a long absence, apparently after getting married to a girl he got pregnant. Ding wants to take Maya too. With a broken spirit, a confused heart and great reverence for Maya as with Ojie, Lea lets her children decide about their life. In these moments of vulnerability, Lea confronts her worth and the needs of her soul which the men in her life never really fulfilled – her being a woman and a mother. Is living the life she wants worth losing the children she loves? With a broken spirit, a confused heart and great reverence for Maya as with Ojie, Lea lets her children decide about their life. In these moments of vulnerability, Lea confronts her worth and the needs of her soul which the men in her life never really fulfilled – her being a woman and a mother. Is living the life she wants worth losing the children she loves? – Star Cinema

“A women’s rights activist and mother of two, Lea has been abandoned by the fathers of her children. Her daughter and son are at crucial transitional ages and she struggles to provide for them while maintaining her hectic job at a woman’s crisis center. Soon though, the job and her budding romance with co-worker Johnny threaten Lea’s role as mother when her children’s fathers return to accuse her of neglect.” – Baseline Studio Systems (READ MORE)

“In one of the most remarkable performances in Filipino film history, Vilma Santos plays Lea, a woman who defiantly rejects social convention to experience life on her own terms. A woman’s rights activist and mother of two, Lea has been abandoned by the fathers of her children. Her daughter and son are at crucial, transitional ages and she struggles to provide for them while maintaining her hectic job at a women’s crisis center. Soon, however, the job and her budding romance with co-worker Johnny threaten Lea’s role as mother. When the children’s fathers turn up to accuse her of neglect, she must ask herself whether her independence is worth the possibility of losing her children? What role–motherhood or lover–will best satisfy the deepest needs of her soul?” – The 35th Chicago International Film Festival (READ MORE)

“…Lea’s Story, based on Lualhati Bautista’s award-winning novel “Bata, bata paano ka ginawa,” tells the story of Lea, a strong and independent woman who defiantly rejects social conventions to live life on her own terms. Lea, a woman’s rights activist and single mother of two, struggles desperately to provide for her children by working at a woman’s crisis center. Soon her job and romance with a co-worker are threatened when her estranged husband comes back into Lea’s life, accusing her of neglect and abuse. Last year, Lea’s Story swept the Filipino Academy Awards by winning Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Screenplay and Best Director. It stars the Philippines’ top actress and actor, Vilma Santos and Raymond Bagatsing respectively…” – Asian American Film News (READ MORE)

“Sa tingin ko, sa Bata, Bata… pinakamagaling si Vilma Santos. Sa dami ng kanyang award, may ibubuga pa pala siya. Iba ang akting niya rito…Halatang feel na feel ni Vilma Santos ang kanyang papel dahil, gaya ng karakter ni Lea Bustamante, dalawa ang anak ni Vilma sa magkaibang lalake.” – Marra Pl. Lanot, Diario Uno, Sept. 1998 (READ MORE)

“…Ang international fame, bilang Best Actress, ay nakamit ni Vilma in 1999, when her Star Cinema headliner Bata … Bata … Paano Ka Ginawa? – directed by Chito Rono – was entered as competition entry sa Brussels Film Festival. Released in 1998, Bata won for Vilma the Best Actress honors at the Star Awards, FAP and Gawad Urian, as well as the Best Performance award from the YCC-Film Desk. Dahil nahalal na alkalde ng Lipa City sa Batangas si Vilma Santos-Recto (she married then Batangas Congressman, now Senator Rafael ‘Ralph” Recto in December 1992), naging mas madalang ang paggawa niya ng pelikula. Pero hindi pa rin magmimintis si Vilma na manalo ng acting trophy, kapag din lang may panlabang pelikula, as in 2000 when she did Star Cineman’s Anak by Rory Quintos. Nanalo siyang Best Actress sa Star Awards…” – William Reyes (READ MORE)

“…And Vilma Santosis more than up to the challenge. Gone are the hysterically flapping hands, the melodramatic emoting, all the trademark acting tics. In their place is a heartfelt performance that distills Lea’s essence to an exquisite point-no movements are wasted, no gestures are overwrought. …Vilma rolls them on her tongue like the finest wine; when Lea is on the verge of breaking down, Vilma remains true to the spirit of her character… If the Lipa City mayor decides never to do another movie again, she can retire assured that her last performance-in a career already studded with formidable portrayals-may conceivably have been her best…” – Andrew E. Pardes, Manila Times, Sept 1998 (READ MORE)

“…To best understand how Filipino women have changed in the course of time, let us quote Lea’s final words: “OO, natuklasan ko ang mga bagay na hindi ko siguro natuklasan kung pinahawakan ko lang sa iba ang pagkatao ko. Hindi ako nagpakulong, sinikap kong lumaya. At mula sa paglaya ko sa makitid na papel ng isang babae, natiyak ko na ang kalayaan nga pala, sa higit na pangmalawakang kahulugan nito, ay hindi nahihingi kundi ipinakikipaglaban. Hindi lahat ng hinuhuli’y kriminal, at hindi lahat ng diyos ay may dangal! Hindi ako natatako. Babae ako at malakas ako. Ako ang tagapagsilang ng tao, pambuhay ng sanggol ang dibdib ko. Hindi porke ina na ‘ko’y tumigil na ‘ko sa paglaki. Hindi porke babae ako’y maiiwan ako sa labanan. Para sa kaligtasan ng lipunan at kinabukasan ng mga anak ko sa digmaan ng mga uri’t prinsipyo, sa mapayapa man o madugong pagbabago, magtiwala kayo…sasama ako!” We need more Josies adn Leas in our society tody, The time is ripe for Filipino women to rise above the society’s traditional views and coventions. Although ultimate freedom and due recognition of gender equlity remain a struggle and a serious concern, Filipino women are slowly gaining a strong foothold. In a book dedication written by Bautista to this writer, she wroteL “Ang mga kamay na nag-uugoy ng duyan ay kaya ring magtumba ng alon sa dagat.” And we belive that a freer woman is better mother. And every Filipino family needs her. Every family must have her. We remember what Vilma said in our interview with her during the last shooting day of her film “Bata, Bata…” “I would like to be remembered as a mother who would give her life to her children anytime…” She’s an accomplished actress, and many will remember her for that. But Vilma would rather be a mother in her films, in her life…” – Veron Dionisio, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jul 29, 2000 (READ MORE)

“…Nora’s performance in ‘Sidhi” is touted to be the answer to Vilma Santos’ hysterical outing in “Bata, Bata, Pa’no Ka Ginawa?’ If only ‘Sidhi’ came out during last year’s cut-off period, then Nora would definitely give Vilma another tough fight in the awards derby this year. “Let’s stop it,” Ate Guy shakes her head as she shows her lack of interest in the rivalry. “As far as we’re concerned, things like that, you know, that phase is over. Let’s not talk about those things anymore.” Nora knows her rivalry with Vilma would linger for a long time. But personally, she thinks they have developed a different level of friendship through the years. “Movie projects offered to Vilma are different from those I accept. So you really can’t accept films just to compete with her. If I don’t want something, I won’t do it,” Nora further explains…” – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

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