2006 Diwata Awards

The Diwata Awards – “…The Diwata Award recognizes and honors women and bestows this award to women who have successfully contributed original text to the growing materials and narratives on women sensibilities that aim to empower women who have been marginalized in the traditional film text. It also pays tribute to their outstanding contributions to their field of cinema. The Diwata in Philippine folklore is likened to the muse that inspires artists in crystallizing ideas, concepts, and conversations as they interact with their materials…”

March 8, 2006 – “…Vilma Santos had a meeting with her Vilmanians the other Friday at Max’s Libis. She reported that she had finally finished shooting her Maalaala Mo Kaya episode with Ricky Davao and Maja Salvador, directed by Olive Lamasan. “One year in the making ito, bale two episodes, but it’s really worth it and I’m impressed with the work of Direk Olive,” she says. “It’s based on the true story of a woman from Lipa.” She said she got an offer to do a stage play at the CCP. She’s willing to try the theatre but when she was told she has to rehearse for two months, she had to turn it down as she still has her duties as Lipa City mayor to attend to. She revealed she has new movie offers, but most of them are heavy drama. She wants to do something lighter that will be more appealing to the masa. Last March 8, Vilma was given the First Diwata Award in celebration of International Women’s Day. That coincided with the 16th International Women’s Film Festival by the UP Film Institute, the longest-running women’s filmfest in the country. She was cited for her roles in films like Sister Stella L, Relasyon, The Dolzura Cortez Story, Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? and Dekada ’70, which are about women empowerment. She was honored with Lily Monteverde, Charo Santos-Concio and writer Lualhati Bautista. Vilma was warmly applauded by an adulating crowd and she delivered a very inspirational message, saying: “I strongly believe in these films with strong messages. It’s about time men believe in women empowerment. Don’t underestimate us, women and artists!” Ate Vi left Thursday with husband Sen. Ralph Recto to attend the investiture rites of our new cardinal in Rome (she was personally invited). After that, she will take a cruise with Ralph and meet with her family in Los Angeles…” – Mario Bautista, People’s Journal March 26 2006 (READ MORE)

University of the Philippines – “…In 2005, the University of the Philippines conferred to her the Gawad Plaridel Award for her achievements and contributions both as an actress and a public servant. In the same year, she was conferred an honorary doctorate degree (honoris causa) in humanities by the Lipa City College. She was again honored in 2006 by the University of the Philippines as one of the four awardees in UP’s First Diwata Awards. “Ako’y napakarelihiyosong tao sa maniwala ka o hindi. Sa aking kalooban, inaalay ko sa Diyos ang aking mga tagumpay at mga suliranin. Nagpapasalamat ako sa Kanya sa mga magaganda’t mabubuting nangyari sa akin. Kung hindi naman, iniaalay ko pa rin sa Kanya kung iyon ang kalooban Niya. Ang hinihiling ko lamang sa Kanya’y tamang patnubay (“I’m a very religious person, whether you believe it or not. Deep inside, I offer all my success and problems to God. If they’re beautiful and good, I thank Him. If they aren’t, I still offer them to Him if that is what He wants to happen. What I only ask from Him is proper guidance),” she said…” – Rogelio Constantino Medina (READ MORE)

The Awardees – “…The following are the distinguished women who were awarded the Diwata Award…Ms. Charo Santos-Concio, Ms. Vilma Santos, Ms. Lily Monteverde, Ms. Lualhati Bautista, Ms. Laurice Guillen, Ms. Marilou Diaz-Abaya, Ms. Bella Flores…”

Vilma Santos, is the Philippines’ most awarded and critically acclaimed actress and longest reigning box office queen. One of the original Philippine movie queens, she rose up to become the versatile actress that has been given the fitting title of “Star for All Seasons” and more recently “Woman for all Seasons” because of her capacity to adapt to the changing mores and values of the Filipino woman, giving a face to their plight and struggles. She is currently in politics as the Governor of Batangas province, Philippines. She was also formerly Mayor of Lipa City, Batangas. – Agimat (READ MORE)

Maria Rosario Santos known as Charo Santos-Concio or Charo Santos (born October 27, 1953) is a Filipina television executive, host, actress, and film producer who hosts the network’s longest-running drama anthology Maalaala Mo Kaya. She is the President of ABS-CBN Corporation, and plays a powerful role in TV and film production in the Philippines. On March 3, 2008, Ms. Charo Santos-Concio was promoted as 5th president of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation and in charge of the company’s total business portfolio, taking over from interim president Eugenio Lopez III. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Lily Monteverde – Lily Yu Monteverde (nickname Mother Lily) is a prominent Filipino film producer and businesswoman. Lily Monteverde has produced nearly 300 films in the Philippines since the early 1960s. She operated Regal Films, in the Philippines for many years. In August 1996 she invested much of her substantial wealth into hotels in Quezon City. She opened the Imperial Palace Suites on the site of an old gasoline station at the corner of Tomas Morato and Timog avenues in Quezon. In 2000, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Cinemanila International Film Festival. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Lualhati Torres Bautista (born Manila, Philippines December 2, 1945) is one of the foremost Filipino female novelists in the history of contemporary Philippine Literature. Her novels include Dekada ’70, Bata, Bata, Pa’no Ka Ginawa?, and ‘GAPÔ. Bautista was born in Tondo, Manila, Philippines on December 2, 1945 to Esteban Bautista and Gloria Torres. She graduated from Emilio Jacinto Elementary School in 1958, and from Torres High School in 1962. She was a journalism student at the Lyceum of the Philippines, but dropped out even before she finished her freshman year. Despite a lack of formal training, Bautista as the writer became known for her honest realism, courageous exploration of Philippine women’s issues, and her compelling female protagonists, who confront difficult situations at home and in the workplace with uncommon grit and strength. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Laurice Guillen is a Filipino actress and director. Guillen studied at St. Theresa’s College, Cebu City, before working on a Masters in Mass Communication at Ateneo de Manila University, followed by a television production course under Nestor Torre, in 1967. She then began work as an actress, starring in productions of Mrs. Warren’s Profession, before crossing over to film and television work, playing a seductress in Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang, and Corazon Aquino in the drama A Dangerous Life. In 2009 she accepted a role in the indie film Karera, her first role in an independent production. Other credits include in the film Sister Stella L and Moral. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Marilou Diaz-Abaya (March 7, 1955 – October 8, 2012) was a multi-awarded film director in the Philippines. She was the founder and president of the Marilou Diaz-Abaya Film Institute and Arts Center, a film school based in Antipolo City, Philippines. She was the director of the 1998 film José Rizal, a biopicture on the Philippines’ national hero. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Bella Flores – “…She is Bella Flores and proud that she has played the wicked tormentor of children from Tessie Agana in 1951 in Roberta, to Vilma Santos in Trudis Liit in 1963, to Maricel Soriano in Inday Bote in 1970. “I walk alone. I pray alone. I talk to God na huwag ako pababayaan. There are times I feel lonely, natural lang yun. I know God is always with me.” While she relates her story, of how she distrusts everyone which is why she opts to live alone and refuses to hire a live-in driver, there is something in her demeanor that tells you it is possibly just another role she is playing. “I don’t have close friends. We meet on the set, then go home. But there are people like Susan Roces, Gloria Romero, Pablo Gomez whom I like. Friends are the ballroom dancing friends, although I stopped dancing in 2002 when I became very busy,” she continues sounding much like the sure-fire recipe on how to be hated by an audience…” – Bibsy M. Carballo, The Star, 14 March 2008 (READ MORE)

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Regalo (TV 2006)

“Kung ang tawag sa mga namamatayan ng asawa ay byudo o biyuda at ang mga anak na nawawalan ng mga magulang ay ulila, ano ang tawag sa mga magulang na namamatayan ng anak?” – Daisy Hernandez

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Basic Info: Directed: Olivia M. Lamasan; Writing credit: Dado C. Lumibao; Cast: Vilma Santos, Maja Salvador, Ricky Davao, Erich Gonzales, Charo Santos-Concio; Producer: Ginny Monteagudo, Malou N. Santos; Cinematography: Neil Daza, Charlie Peralta; Editing: Aries Pascual; Production Design: Nancy Arcega, Malou Dugtong IMDB

Plot Summary: Daisy Hernandez (Vilma Santos), a mother must divide her time between work and taking care of her daughter April (Maja Salvador) who has cerebral palsy. Daisy’s heart is wrenched every time she sees her eldest child suffer because of her illness. But Daisy never loses hope, and April manages to live a normal life until she is 18. Just when Daisy thought things are doing fine with her daughter’s disability, a tragedy will further test her faith (Wikepedia).

Achievement: 20th Star Awards Best Actress by a Single Performance – Vilma Santos Wikepedia

Review: “…It’s a vintage Vilma Santos performance, packed full with so much emotion that perhaps only the stone-hearted won’t be moved, especially in the succeeding scene where, hesitantly resigning to her daughter’s final farewell, Vilma delivers the clinching dialogue: Bakit kapag ang asawa ay namatayan ng asawa, ang tawag sa kanila balo o kaya ay biyudo o biyuda? Kapag naman namatayan ng ama o ina ang isang anak, ang tawag sa kanya ay ulila. Ano naman ang tawag nila sa inang namatayan ng anak?  That scene is absolutely heart-tugging and there’s more of similar scenes in the two-part special for which, according to direk Olive, Daisy Hernandez herself (a native of Lipa City where Vilma is the mayor on her third and last term) wrote some of the dialogues in the story that Vilma herself chose as possible movie material (but, said Vilma, “no regrets that it ended up a Maalaala special”).  Regalo (with Ricky Davao as Vilma’s husband) is the 777th episode of Maalaala which has lasted longer than the ABS-CBN executive (now retired) who, 15 years ago when Charo broached the idea of hosting the drama series, told her, “Wala kang alam sa telebisyon; ang alam mo lang ay pelikula…” – Ricky Lo (READ MORE)

“…Vi’s mighty proud of “Regalo,” saying the long wait was worth it. She herself presented the story to Charo and her sister Malou Santos, Daisy being one of her constituents in Lipa City. The mayor describes Daisy as a strong woman, not easily given to tears, despite the plight of her daughter April who had passed away. In memory of her daughter, Daisy works with an NGO which helps sick and needy children in Lipa…Olive requested that Daisy be on the set so that direk could relate the story as accurately as possible. Olive noted that a most moving line said by Vilma, came from Daisy herself. Something like, “Ang babaeng namatayan ng asawa, ang tawag biyuda. Ang anak na namatayan ng magulang, ulila. Subalit ano’ng tawag sa magulang, sa inang nawalan ng anak? Wala…” Vilma said words are not enough to describe the grief of a mother who lost a child. How true. Ask Manay Gina de Venecia, and Ali Sotto. “Regalo” was written by Dado Lumibao with Mel Mendoza-del Rosario as script supervisor. Charlie Peralta is the cameraman…” – Ronald Constantino (READ MORE)

“IT’S obvious that ABS-CBN values Vilma Santos so much. After making a movie that is an unabashed tribute to her from start to finish, “D Lucky Ones,” they now feature her in the 15th anniversary presentation of “Maalaala Mo Kaya.” “We love Vi as she’s not only a nice person but also a true professional, a committed artist who loves her craft,” says Charo Santos, top ABSCBN executive and host of “Maalaala Mo Kaya.” “Fan na niya ako since her Vi and Bobot days and Iove seen her evolution as a person and as an actress. Kahanga-hanga talaga siya at ang kanyang magandang kalooban, it just radiates. You cannot fake that dahil galing talaga ‘yun sa loob. We’ve long been inviting her to guest in “Maalaala” and she was the one who gave us this story of Mrs. Daisy Hernandez, a mother so devoted to her eldest daughter who had cerebral palsy.” “I met Daisy at the SPED, special education school for special children, in Lipa,” says Ate Vi. “I met her daughter, April. Then I didn’t see her for sometime and I found April has died na pala. I told her to write down her story then I gave it to Malou Santos who thought of doing it for “Maalaala.” We started taping this last year, pero magka-conflict ang skeds namin ni Direk Olive Lamasan, so it took 6 and a half days to tape it over a period of one year at natiyempo sa anniversary ng “Maalaala” at pang-Mother’s Day presentation pa.” “This is the show’s 777th episode,” adds Charo. “Maalaala has been made into a film in 1994 that gave awards to its stars, Aiko Melendez and Chin Chin Gutierrez. It has given the break to many directors like Wenn Deramas, Jerry Sineneng, Rory Quintos, Gilbert Perez, Mac Alejandre, Lauren Dyogi, Ricky Davao and Michael de Mesa. We’re proud to have Vi for our anniversary show that will be shown on May 4 and 11.” We’ve seen the preview of the episode, entitled “Regalo,” and it’s really a tearjerker that aims to wring your tearducts dry. Her fans will surely be proud of their idol anew as she shines in several scenes where she gets to deliver kilometric lines.

It’s a great acting vehicle for any actress worth her salt and Ate Vi truly does justice to the role of a mother who does everything to support her disabled child only to lose her later to a viral infection. All throughout the death and wake of April” (convincingly played by Maja Salvador), Vilma is not shown crying at all. She finally breaks down after the funeral while talking to her husband (Ricky Davao, who’s equally great) and delivers some lines that will surely be added to the list of classic dialogues she has uttered in her past films and that were all used in “D Lucky Ones.” If you’re a parent with a special child, you’d be able to identify with her role. But even if you’re not, you’d still be affected by this true story of unconditional love and sacrifice. Incidentally, we finally got to see “D Lucky Ones” and we’d like to congratulate Director Wenn Deramas for succeeding to make us laugh. There are many hilarious scenes in the movie that even non-Vilmanians will appreciate, thanks to the fine performances of Eugene Domingo, Sandara Park and Pokwang. Eugene is the best among them as she doesn’t exert too much effort in tickling us. Sandy is also a natural comedienne, but Pokwang can go over the top at the times she should have been restrained a bit. The film has two highlights. First is the dance showdown between Eugene and Pokwang at the Phi Bar where they get to re-create the intricate production numbers Ate Vi used to do in her TV show. The second one is the film’s climax where Ate Vi makes a special guest appearance to reconcile the warring Eugene and Pokwang and then does a dance number with the entire cast. Most local comedies fail to make us laugh, but this one really works. – Charlie Gomez (READ MORE)

“VILMA Santos had a meeting with her Vilmanians the other Friday at Max’s Libis. She reported that she had finally finished shooting her Maalaala Mo Kaya episode with Ricky Davao and Maja Salvador, directed by Olive Lamasan. “One year in the making ito, bale two episodes, but it’s really worth it and I’m impressed with the work of Direk Olive,” she says. “It’s based on the true story of a woman from Lipa.” She said she got an offer to do a stage play at the CCP. She’s willing to try the theatre but when she was told she has to rehearse for two months, she had to turn it down as she still has her duties as Lipa City mayor to attend to. She revealed she has new movie offers, but most of them are heavy drama. She wants to do something lighter that will be more appealing to the masa. Last March 8, Vilma was given the First Diwata Award in celebration of International Women’s Day. That coincided with the 16th International Women’s Film Festival by the UP Film Institute, the longest-running women’s filmfest in the country. She was cited for her roles in films like Sister Stella L, Relasyon, The Dolzura Cortez Story, Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? and Dekada ’70, which are about women empowerment. She was honored with Lily Monteverde, Charo Santos-Concio and writer Lualhati Bautista. Vilma was warmly applauded by an adulating crowd and she delivered a very inspirational message, saying: “I strongly believe in these films with strong messages. It’s about time men believe in women empowerment. Don’t underestimate us, women and artists!” Ate Vi left Thursday with husband Sen. Ralph Recto to attend the investiture rites of our new cardinal in Rome (she was personally invited). After that, she will take a cruise with Ralph and meet with her family in Los Angeles.” – Mario Bautista, People’s Journal March 26 2006 (READ MORE)

“Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos, a multi-awarded dramatic actress, an exemplary wife and mother and a model public official, is so work-oriented that she can only make a few television appearances every year…Mayor Vi gives a bravura performance, which has become her trademark. She gives up her acting mannerisms for a fresh attack of a mother’s role that makes it an outstanding interpretation. Regalo relives the tale of Daisy Hernandez, a devoted wife and dedicated mother whose child suffers from cerebral palsy…Although screened in black and white, Regalo’s exceptional quality was immediately evident during the media preview. Everything about this episode is non-artsy as director Olive opted for a straightforward presentation to bring out the drama without seeming contrived. Acting is likewise direct to the point, clearly the episode’s main strength. Although Mayor Vi is notches higher in delivering her role, Maja showed that she has the makings of another Vilma Santos. Pitting them together was a casting triumph. Although Regalo is a small story, cast and crew imparted it with enough realism to turn it into a domestic epic of sorts. Regalo, written by Dado Lumibao, is a clear proof of MMK’s superiority as a drama anthology, making it the longest running ABS-CBN show right now. It is not afraid to defy convention, tell real-life stories with themes of rape, homosexuality, or physical disability, just as it delivers contemporary stories of love and sacrifice, family dramas and teen stories. And it does this with critically acclaimed actors and directors, award-winning stories, and visual treats that have semblances of films rarely seen on television (read: high production values unconstrained by small-screen budgetary pegs). This makes Maaalaala Mo Kaya a world-class drama anthology. Regalo is MMK’s Mother’s Day presentation with excellent actors Ricky Davao and Erich Gonzales in supporting roles.” – Edgar Cruz (READ MORE)

“…A special 15th Anniversary prsentation of Maalaala Mo Kaya. “Regalo” is an inspiring story of a woman who goes through a painful journey of finding her fulfillment as a wife, a mother and as a person. Balancing her time between her career and family is rather difficult for Daisy Hernandez. Her eldest daughter April is afflicted with Cerebral Palsy and needs all the love, care and attention only a mother can give. What can a mother sacrifice to raise a daughter like April? How far can she go to fight for her daughter’s battles in life?…” – Kabayan Central (READ MORE)

“…As for Vilma’s “MMK” replay, she and Ricky turned in emotionally charged and committed performances in it as the parents of a girl (Maja) with cerebral palsy. Vilma’s character, in particular, refused to capitulate to the dreaded illness’ terrible demands and tragic consequence, and the portrayal she turned in was one of her career bests. It’s good that our TV channels are replaying iconic shows and performances, because new generations of viewers are made more aware of and grateful for past thespic achievements, which make them more enlightened and demanding viewers today—to keep our TV-film people on their toes!…” – Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 25 April 2015 (READ MORE)

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FILM REVIEW: D’LUCKY ONES


The Plot: Tina (Eugene Domingo) and Lea (Pokwang) are best friends who are also avid fans of Vilma Santos. They were inseparable until Lea decides to leave the country and go to Korea. They promise that someday they will really become one big happy family when their children get married. Years after, by virtue of an old vow, Lucky Girl (Sandara Park) and Lucky Boy (Joseph Bitangcol) are forced to be together by their mothers. Problem is, they hate each other’s guts. But, just when they’re falling for each other, love plays a trick on the meddling moms which threatens to bring the young lovers apart – IMDB (READ MORE)

The Reviews: D’Lucky Ones is one of those oddball, low budget comedies that still fill movie theaters in The Philippines. Hollywood would never make this movie, not because Americans have so much better tastes in films, but because it now costs too much to make B films (as they used to churn out in droves). That’s television’s job. Two best friends are both avid fans of actress Vilma Santos. They know her movies by heart. When one takes a job in South Korea, they promise that her daughter will marry the other one’s son when they both are old enough. They name the girl Lucky Girl and the boy Lucky Boy after one of Vilma’s children, Luis “Lucky” Manzano. Of course they don’t consult the children, who hate each other because of an incident they both remember differently, at a party when they were both young. When the one friend returns to The Philippines with her daughter, the girl is determined to get her revenge on Lucky Boy. What follows is a typical screwball sequence of events and misunderstandings. Lucky Girl winds up staying in the same apartment with Lucky Boy, to hide out from her mother and her plans to marry the girl to Lucky Boy, and doesn’t understand who Lucky Boy is, and gradually starts to fall in love with him. Lucky Boy, however, is working hard to get his revenge on Lucky Girl. He even gets her arrested for picking flowers at the entrance to Lunetta (Rizal Park). Considering the things that go on in the park, you’d think the police would have other things to worry about besides picking flowers, but it’s funny just for that.

Then there’s the silly subplot where the two friends, while trying to search for Lucky Girl, somehow fall in with a handsome young man, and both of them are fighting each other for his attention. It’s clear that he has no romantic interest in either one, who are both old enough to be his mother, but he’s hanging around as a friend. The two mothers go to a bar and join in a dance contest to impress the young man. They make their two children look incredibly mature by comparison. There’s one intense scene between Lucky Girl and her mother where Lucky Girl learns that her South Korean father abused her mother, and all the inlaws hated her because she was Filipino rather than Korean. Many times they would not allow her stay in the house with her daughter, but she begged for food on the streets. Watching Vilma Santos movies was her escape from this reality. This may also make Lucky Girl rethink her preference for living in South Korea over The Philippines (she’d been planning to return to the only country she knew as home. Heck, she only knew how to speak Tagalog from her mother forcing her to watch Vilma Santos movies.) The ending is obvious. Send the Vilma Santos fans to a Vilma Santos reunion party and get Ate Vi (Older Sister Vi) to patch up the two friends. And then everybody gets to dance. Hey, it’s The Philippines. Make sure you are better able to survive catastrophes than the crew and passengers of The Titanic. Get emergency preparedness kits now. Disabled and senior citizens need to check out an emergency medical alert system. – That Awesome TV (READ MORE)

“It’s obvious that ABS-CBN values Vilma Santos so much. After making a movie that is an unabashed tribute to her from start to finish, “D Lucky Ones,” they now feature her in the 15th anniversary presentation of “Maalaala Mo Kaya.” “We love Vi as she’s not only a nice person but also a true professional, a committed artist who loves her craft,” says Charo Santos, top ABSCBN executive and host of “Maalaala Mo Kaya.” “Fan na niya ako since her Vi and Bobot days and Iove seen her evolution as a person and as an actress. Kahanga-hanga talaga siya at ang kanyang magandang kalooban, it just radiates. You cannot fake that dahil galing talaga ‘yun sa loob. We’ve long been inviting her to guest in “Maalaala” and she was the one who gave us this story of Mrs. Daisy Hernandez, a mother so devoted to her eldest daughter who had cerebral palsy.” “I met Daisy at the SPED, special education school for special children, in Lipa,” says Ate Vi. “I met her daughter, April. Then I didn’t see her for sometime and I found April has died na pala. I told her to write down her story then I gave it to Malou Santos who thought of doing it for “Maalaala.” We started taping this last year, pero magka-conflict ang skeds namin ni Direk Olive Lamasan, so it took 6 and a half days to tape it over a period of one year at natiyempo sa anniversary ng ‘Maalaala’ at pang-Mother’s Day presentation pa.” “This is the show’s 777th episode,” adds Charo. “Maalaala has been made into a film in 1994 that gave awards to its stars, Aiko Melendez and Chin Chin Gutierrez. It has given the break to many directors like Wenn Deramas, Jerry Sineneng, Rory Quintos, Gilbert Perez, Mac Alejandre, Lauren Dyogi, Ricky Davao and Michael de Mesa. We’re proud to have Vi for our anniversary show that will be shown on May 4 and 11.” We’ve seen the preview of the episode, entitled “Regalo,” and it’s really a tearjerker that aims to wring your tearducts dry. Her fans will surely be proud of their idol anew as she shines in several scenes where she gets to deliver kilometric lines. It’s a great acting vehicle for any actress worth her salt and Ate Vi truly does justice to the role of a mother who does everything to support her disabled child only to lose her later to a viral infection. All throughout the death and wake of April” (convincingly played by Maja Salvador), Vilma is not shown crying at all. She finally breaks down after the funeral while talking to her husband (Ricky Davao, who’s equally great) and delivers some lines that will surely be added to the list of classic dialogues she has uttered in her past films and that were all used in “D Lucky Ones.” If you’re a parent with a special child, you’d be able to identify with her role. But even if you’re not, you’d still be affected by this true story of unconditional love and sacrifice. Incidentally, we finally got to see “D Lucky Ones” and we’d like to congratulate Director Wenn Deramas for succeeding to make us laugh. There are many hilarious scenes in the movie that even non-Vilmanians will appreciate, thanks to the fine performances of Eugene Domingo, Sandara Park and Pokwang. Eugene is the best among them as she doesn’t exert too much effort in tickling us. Sandy is also a natural comedienne, but Pokwang can go over the top at the times she should have been restrained a bit. The film has two highlights. First is the dance showdown between Eugene and Pokwang at the Phi Bar where they get to re-create the intricate production numbers Ate Vi used to do in her TV show. The second one is the film’s climax where Ate Vi makes a special guest appearance to reconcile the warring Eugene and Pokwang and then does a dance number with the entire cast. Most local comedies fail to make us laugh, but this one really works. – Charlie Gomez (READ MORE)

“Stand out sina Pokwang at Eugene Domingo sa D’ Lucky Ones, kung tutuusin supporting roles lamang sila dito. Nag-mukhang sina Sandara Park at Joseph Bitangcol ang supporting, dahil nadala nila ang tunay na ibig sabihin ng pagiging isang tagahanga. Litaw na litaw ang paghango ng mga linya mula sa mga pelikulang Sister Stella L., Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa at iba pang pelikulang pinagbibidahan ni Ate Vi. Oo, sila nga ay die hard fans ni Vilma Santos, at dahil dito, ang pelikula ay isang Success. Well, it’s a crime to say that Pokwang and Domingo are supporting roles, in the first place, they are the ones who named their kids “Lucky”. Lucky girl and Lucky boy. How sweet ain’t it? Every single bit revolves around the two mothers, they practically OWN the movie, everytime they are on screen they demand presence. Especially, on the Vilma quote bits, they deliver each line right to the pulp. It was so hilarious because i’ve seen those films, and they’ve captured Vilma’s nuances and mannerisms.There was one part in the film when Eugene Domingo started quoting Vilma Santos in the film, Pahiram ng Isang Umaga, complete with the white free flowing dress, they even shot it on the beach, it’s oozing with cheese, it good, if you get my drift. If that wasn’t enough, they even had a dance showdown at a comedy bar, according to Pokwang, they’re just dancing just like Vilma did in the movie Burlesk Queen. Forget about Park and Bitangcol, the film belong to the two stars of all season. Majority of the jokes in the film will be lost in translation to those not familiar with Vilma’s films, and to this note, it is a film not for everyone.” – Eboy Donato (READ MORE)

“It’s been called the ?happiest movie? of this summer season, and indeed laughter rings out often and loudly in the movie house while “D’ Lucky Ones” is being shown. Much of the credit for the laughter and guffaws, as well as the charm and overall lighthearted feeling of the movie, goes to the tandem of Pokwang and Eugene Domingo. Playing a pair of die-hard Vilmanians (fans of Vilma Santos, for those out of the show-biz loop) who end up lifelong best friends who “pledge” their children to each other, the comediennes ham it up shamelessly and set the film’s blistering pace of razor-sharp dialog and comic antics. The two had previously made a name for themselves as “supporting” characters, comic foil to romantic leads or as “best friends” to beleaguered heroines. Most TV viewers, though, will remember them as “housemaids” in one telenovela and sitcom or another, a role that every aspirant in these parts needs to nail, it seems, before she can join the comic sorority. They might have been stuck indefinitely in this purgatory of second leads had it not been for “D’ Lucky Ones,” a movie that puts them front and center, gives them plenty of room and screen time to show off their chops, and allows them to mouth lines that parody the most memorable scenes from Ate Vi’s body of work-at once familiar and risible.

While the “lucky ones” in the movie are actually Sandara Park and Joseph Bitangcol, who play Pokwang’s and Eugene’s “Lucky Girl” and “Lucky Boy” respectively, the movie really centers around the mothers, who so dominate and beguile that I found myself distressed and bothered each time the movie left them and devoted time to the “love story” angle. I’M sorry to say that Park and Bitangcol, notwithstanding their “real-life” romantic relationship, hardly register any chemistry between them. Park is difficult to understand, since she has a tendency to let her Filipino lines run together. Bitangcol has yet to feel at ease before the camera, since his acting seems to consist mainly of poses and facial mannerisms. At times, one can even catch him sneaking a furtive look at the camera when he shouldn’t. So it’s safe to say that the movie succeeds despite them, which is why I hope producers don’t attribute any magical box-office prowess to the youngsters. Instead, they should pay attention to the newly gained clout of Pokwang and Domingo who, like Ai-Ai de las Alas, labored in obscurity before proving that screen charisma has little to do with an actor’s looks or figure, and everything to do with the ability to connect with the audience. Perhaps it also helps that “D’ Lucky Ones” takes a fond look at fandom, an occupational hazard for any consumer of entertainment fare, and the lengths fans go just to pay homage to their object of affection, adoration and adulation. The “Nora” and “Vilma” fans are particularly fascinating, since the two women commanded extraordinary levels of loyalty in their heyday and even today, no matter the intriguing twists and turns of their life stories.

MY friend Peachy and I-whom I roped into watching “D’Lucky Ones” after all family members refused my importuning-had an interesting discussion about the nature of Vilmanians and Noranians. We both agreed that the overall tone of the movie, which is “happy” and “sunny” and pastel-toned, wouldn’t have been possible if it had been about Nora’s fans. And this is because Nora’s oeuvre is dominated by darker and grimmer movies that don’t lend themselves easily to comic parody or satire. I consider myself a Noranian, but the film turned me into a Vilmanian, and when Ate Vi no less turned up at the movie’s finale, I felt a thrill, vicariously diving into Pokwang’s and Eugene’s obsession. I also felt a surge of appreciation and gratitude for the work of Vilma and Nora, who have dominated show business in the last decades, coming up with a truly admirable line-up of movies, showing courage in their choice of new challenges and off-beat characters, and maintaining a hold on their fans’ affections. Fans can be pests, that’s true. They tend to take their “ownership” over their idols much too seriously, to the extent of stalking them, dictating their love lives and setting up outsize expectations. But over the years, they can provide a source of affirmation and validation, especially when the bloom of one’s stardom has started to fade. Neither is this a one-way street. As Pokwang’s character reveals, watching Vilma’s movies and tracking her career provided her the only source of solace in the years she spent as a contract wife in Korea, looked down upon by her in-laws and reduced to a superfluity. Indeed, amid the vexations of daily life, being a fan provides escape and entertainment, another level of reality and a pleasant diversion. Not a bad bargain, that.” – Rina Jimenez, April 30, 2006 (READ MORE)

“…I have no question about the talents of Eugene Domingo and Pokwang when it comes to making people laugh. They know how to deliver. They give good punchlines. They can make both a simple dialogue or an already very funny line to come to terms with their humor altogether. Their characters as big Vilma Santos fans who have vowed to marry their children when the right time comes work for the comedy. But the thing is, removing all the other characters in the movie, the comedy can stand alone with Eugene and Pokwang only. Candy contributes to the humor but her character is not a vital thing in the story. Sandara doesn’t give the right timing to deliver a dramatic line or transcend the needed emotion for a scene. Nevertheless, her ‘krung-krung’ aura adds up to the comedy. Joseph has a very superficial acting. He has no depth for his character and he seems to just read and deliver his lines coming from the script. JR Valentin’s role is obviously made for the fun and for that added spice to the story’s conflict. He seems like the usual sex object exploited in the big screen (this time the sex object is a guy!) and he seems to work after all. He knows how to carry himself for the scenes without upstaging or downstaging Eugene and Pokwang. He blends with them for his sex object role. The dance numbers remind me of the 80′s flicks where such production numbers are always present in a number of flicks of the era. It’s like the 80′s dance numbers meet present day novelty songs. They are fun and the masses seem too enjoy it well. The production design and lighting department are not so impressing for this movie. Eugene’s face has not changed a bit during the flashback scenes. Additional effort for the make-up could have saved it. The room of Joseph looks newly-arranged by the art department. The set and props all look brand new when in reality, some things should have looked a bit crumpled or fading. But the funny wardrobe of Pokwang and Eugene looks effective for the genre. The editing is not seemless. Though for just a few seconds, I have noticed an overexposed shot after the bus scene. The closeup shot of Sandara during a dramatic scene with Pokwang is out of focus…” – Rianne Hill Soriano (READ MORE)

FILM REVIEW: DEKADA ’70 1/2

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“Buong buhay ko yan na lang lagi ang sinasabi nila sa akin…wala kang magagawa eto ang gusto ng asawa mo…wala kang magagawa eto ang kapalaran mo…wala kang magagaw dahil dapat…putris naman, dapat hindi ganuo…tapos sasabihin ng daddy n’yo hindi lang ang anak ko ang pinatay hindi lang ang anak ko ang dinukot…lalo akong nanggigigil, lalo akong nagagalit dahil kung nanay ka talaga, hindi ka lang dapat nanganganak kundi naiapaglaban mo rin ang anak mo dapat kaya mong pumatay para sa anak mo…gusto ko lang malaman bakit nila pinatay ang anak ko…hindi masamang tao ang anak ko, kahit sa oras na ito humarap ako sa diyos kahit sa dimonyo hindi masamang tao ang anak ko…hindi masamang tao ang anak ko!” – Amanda Bartolome

“You could stop being proud of me! Nagsawa na ako sa ganuon, gusto ko naman ngayon ako mismo just for a change, maging proud sa sarili ko!” – Amanda Bartolome

The Plot: Dekada 70 is a story of a family caught in the midst of a tumultuous time in Philippine history – the martial law years. Amanda (Vilma Santos) and Julian (Christopher Deleon) is a picture of a middle class couple with conservative ideologies, who must deal with raising their children, five boys – Jules (Piolo Pascual), Isagani (Carlos Agassi), Emmanuel (Marvin Agustin), Jason (Danilo Barrios) and Bingo (John Sace) in an era marked by passion, fear, unrest and social chaos. As siblings struggle to accept the differences of their ideologies, as a father faces the painful dissent of his children, a mother’s love will prove to be the most resonant in the unfolding of this family’s tale, will awaken to the needs of her own self, as she embarks on a journey of discovery to realize who she is as a wife, amother, a woman and a Filipino. – Star Cinema

Dekada ’70 (English: 70s Decade) is a 2002 Filipino drama film released based on a book called Dekada ’70 written by Filipino author, Lualhati Bautista. The film tells the story of the life of a middle-class Filipino family who, over the space of a decade, become aware of the political policies that have ultimately led to repression and a state of Martial law in the Philippines. Filipina actress Vilma Santos stars as Amanda, who realizes the implications of living within a dictatorship after sorting out the contradictory reactions of her husband and five sons. Her husband (Julian), played by Filipino actor, Christopher de Leon, supports his eldest son’s (Jules), played by Filipino actor, Piolo Pascual; efforts to rail against the government while refusing to follow Amanda’s wish to find a job. Her second son (Gani), played by Filipino actor, Carlos Agassi, is in the United States Navy. Her third son (Eman), played by Filipino actor, Marvin Augustin, writes illegal political exposes. The fourth son (Jason), played by Filipino actor, Danilo Barrios fell victim to a corrupt police department, and her youngest son named (Bingo), played by Filipino actor, John W. Sace, is still a boy. – Wikepedia (READ MORE).

The Reviews: “…At the center of the film and the family is Amanda (Filipino cinematic diva Vilma Santos) who vicariously experiences living under a dictatorship through her husband and five sons’ different reactions before coming into her own as a person. Her husband, Julian (Christopher De Leon), seems a walking contradiction: He offers rationalizations for the government while supporting his eldest son’s revolutionary activities, but has a fit when his wife wants to get a job. As for the sons, firstborn son (Piolo Pascual) joins the guerillas in the mountains. The second son (Carlos Agassi), forced into a shotgun wedding, defiantly works for the American Navy. The third son (Marvin Augustin) writes journalistic exposes he can’t publish, while the fourth son (Danilo Barrios) is a mystery to his family until his brutal, motiveless murder (probably by police) reveals a lost girlfriend. The fifth son (John W. Sace) is still a boy. Santos’ Amanda effortlessly and movingly chronicles the changed consciousness of the family and the country, with understatement her most reliable tool. Pic begins and ends with images of Santos at the forefront of a political demonstration, and nothing, from first image to last, for 128 minutes, is allowed to spontaneously or slyly deviate from the logic of her consciousness-raising.” – Ronnie Scheib, Variety Magazine (READ MORE)

“Last seen in ANAK (SFIAAFF ‘01), Vilma Santos delivers an understated, profoundly moving performance as the matriarch whose awakening redefines the traditional mother and wife role she donned for years. This is the story of an incredible character that survived an unforgettable decade.” – Michael Magnaye, The 22nd San Fransisco Asian-American Film Festival, 2004 (READ MORE)

“…Rono and Bautista, who writes her own adaptation, have obviously worked very closely in fleshing out the novel on screen. The result is an effective and even subtle tableau of scenes to present the Bartolome family’s struggles from the late ‘60s to ‘70s that not only set the domestic drama, but also prefigure the wider social and historical saga unfolding before the nation. No scene is wasted, no useless pandering to the viewer’s sense of spectacle or penchant for soap opera is even attempted. The competent production design, the agile editing, the stark photography (which impresses even the Paris-based Filipino-Spanish painter Sanso who calls it comparative to the best in Europe) ensures a panoply of images that is immediate, recognizable, and keen. Like Regal Films, Star Cinema has been compelled to throw in its stable of stars so that the Bartolome siblings look distractingly too much like a boy band. But because they play well-thought-out characters, their damage is put to a minimum. In some cases, like Piolo Pascual as Jules, the young communist rebel, the effect is heart-wrenching. Pascual plays, along with Vilma Santos as Amanda, one of the centers of gravity of the movie; the other center consists of Santos and Christopher de Leon. As arguably the first unabashedly feminist Filipino novel, “Dekada” shows a woman’s awakening to her nature and gender through the men of her life-her husband and her first born. Their age, generation and preoccupation divide both men, and Amanda serves as their bridge and transition. In the process, Amanda herself is transformed. She becomes herself. The most moving scenes of the movie are of Jules and Amanda meeting on the sly and forced to carry on mother-and-son endearments hurriedly because of the threat of arrest. But the most poignant scene is Julian and Amanda confronted with the terrible loneliness of their advanced years, left by their children, he turning away from her to hide his tears, and she asking him to face her and not to be ashamed. It helps that the scene is played by Santos and De Leon, truly one of Filipino cinema’s most effective screen couples. As Amanda, Vilma Santos shows again why Brocka, before he died, had likened her to water. “She can register anything,” he said. In “Dekada”, its the same Santos of vigor and transparency. The only difference is the depth, the resonance, and the greater confidence. Can she ever go wrong?” – Lito B. Zulueta, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 30 December 2002 (READ MORE)

“…Ang Dekada ’70 ay isang mahusay na adaptasyon sa pelikula ng nobela nitong may parehong titulo. Napanatili ang kaluluwa ng nobela sa pelikula sa kabila ng limitasyon ng pelikula bilang isang audio-visual na medium. Marahil, nakatulong ng malaki ang pagkakaroon ng iisang manunulat lamang. Naging maayos ang takbo ng pelikula na tulad sa nobela nitong nahati sa mga taon ng dekada ’70. Mahusay ang pagkakaganap ng mga pangunahing tauhan (maliban kay Carlos Agassi) na nakapagbigay hininga sa mga tauhang noo’y nababasa lamang. Naibalik ng pelikula ang larawan ng dekada ’70 sa mga eksena nitong nagpapakita ng mga demonstrasyon, protesta at rallies na tunay na nangyari noong panahon na iyon. Ang musika at tunog ay madalas na akma at nagpapaigting sa emosyong nais ipahatid ng pelikula. Naging mahina lamang ang disenyong pamproduksiyon ng pelikula na hindi naging masusi sa make-up, at kasuotan ng mga tauhan sa pawang hindi parating umaangkop sa panahon…” – Catholic Initiative for Enlightened Movie Association (READ MORE)

“…Dekada 70 journeys with the central character Amanda Bartolome (Vilma Santos), the reticent wife of an alpha-male husband, and the worrying mother of a boisterous all-male brood. Thoroughly relegated to domesticity in a world slathered in testosterone, Amanda begins to undergo a transformation when her family becomes imbricated in the sociopolitical realities brought about by the Marcos dictatorship. The declaration of Martial Law, the lifting of the writ of habeas corpus, the curfews and police searches, all these could have easily floated past Amanda’s head had her sons not found themselves caught in the crossfire between the government and the pro-democracy movements. As one son after another faces the oppressive forces of the dictatorship, Amanda gradually realizes that the personal is political. While chanting slogans for sociopolitical change, she finds her own voice and comes to terms with the fullness of her own person…There are touches of seventies style Filipino humor that foreign audiences might miss; they effectively establish that this is a real, average Filipino family trying to navigate through the eye of the political storm. The acting is generally impressive, most especially that of lead actress Santos, who gives a luminous, sensitive performance. Santos essays the transformation of Amanda so effectively that we do see clearly at the end of the film that there has been a fundamental change in her character. If there is something to be faulted about the film, it is Roňo’s failure to keep melodramatic moments in check. The funeral sequence of one of Amanda’s sons, for instance, becomes an over-extended session of copious tears. The rich story material of Dekada 70 could do away with such “in your face” paroxysms, which only work to dull the film’s cutting edge political trajectory. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that Roňo had created a noteworthy, epic-scale Filipino film, and on a Third World budget at that. It also cannot be denied that Roňo had not forgotten the sentence of history on his home country…” – Antonio D. Sison, Insititute for Pastoral Initiatives University of Dayton (READ MORE)

“…about Vilma’s performance in “Dekada ‘70”: Some jurors, viewers and reviewers have expressed dissappointment over it because they regard it as too passive, low-key, unemotional, too much taken up with observation, and reflection instead of action. Thus, it doesn’t deserve the best actress award. We disagree. We think that, precisely because Vilma’s portrayal was so restrained for the most part, it was more difficult to achieve. It’s far easier to rant and rave, to “feel” bigtime, to run the gamut of emotions from A to Z- but, if Vilma did that, she would have gone against her character’s nature, as written…during the first half of the film, Vilma’s character occasionally felt unhappy, taken for granted or unappreciated as a person, but she held her emotions in check to keep the peace in the family. It was only later, when the national trauma of martial law rule affected her sons in various tragic ways, that she found the voice and rediscovered the heart to assert herself as a person and to give her emotions full play. We submit that Vilma’s portrayal is excellent precisely because she vivified he character as the wife and mother was in the ‘70s. Her thematic and emotional high points towards the end of the film rivetting, but it was her quieter, more controlled moments that showcased Vilma’s true gift as an actress. During those moments, Vilma didn’t just observe what was going on, she was constantly conflicted only, she had been programmed not to speak out because it wasn’t her “place”. Thus, when she finally changes and expresses herself in the end, the contrast makes her transformation all the more stunning. In the movie’s first half, Vilma is such a good actress that, although she may not be the active element in her family (her husband is), she is quietly involved in each and every scene, and every new development is seen from her point of view. Even better, despite her relative lack of dialogue at this point, we can “read” her thoughts on her face as clearly as though she were speaking. And we see her slowly changing before our very eyes, gradually overcoming her reticence, discovering her true worth, and finally finding and expressing her true self. This is very difficult to do, as any true thespian will affirm. Which is why, unlike some people who dismiss Vilma’s portrayal as passive and weak, we think it ranks among her best, right up there with her performances in and fully deserving of the filmfest’s coveted best actress trophy.” – Nestor Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer (READ MORE)

“…The reason “Sister Stella L” will probably end up better appreciated is that the movie was shown during the martial law era. The movie was relevant to the times and Vilma was portraying an activist nun, a role not usually associated with the Star for all Seasons… As the mother, Vilma does justice to her character, holding back her strong emotions until the end, when she finally confronts Christopher de Leon and wants to break up with him. Despite the many tragic events that befall her character, Vilma chooses to underplay her role except at key points towards the end of the movie. Boyet is his usual competent self as the chauvinistic husband of Vilma who is forced to change when his wife breaks out of her shell. Piolo Pascual also deserves mention for his realistic portrayal of the activist turned NPA rebel…” – Edmund L. Sicam, Philippine Daily Inquirer (READ MORE)

“…Unlike Vilma Santos’ Sister Stella L. character, who becomes politicized practically overnight, her Amanda role in “Dekada ‘70” takes longer to mature politically (almost the whole decade). And she goes through a very painful process because she experiences the abuses of the marcos regime by seeing her own children suffer. With Vilma hurting inside and suffering almost in silence, we have here in “Dekada ‘70” some very moving dramatic scenes that are mostly devoid of hysterics but are still very effective nonetheless. Actually, we see yet another facet of Vilma Santos’ acting talent in this film. In the story, she goes through guilt (with the fate of one of her sons), pain, anguish and anxiety (particularly with the eldest, Piolo)-plus discontent as a plain housewife who wants to do something more with her life other than to keep house for her husband and kids. The great actress that she is, Vilma is able to manifest clearly the different layers of her character in a very quiet manner, which-you have to admit-is quite difficult to achieve. But Vilma-after all these decades -can do no wrong anymore in the field of acting. Although it’s not the greatest performance of her career (it’s still Sister Stella L), her portrayal of Amanda in “Dekada ‘70” is no doubt one of her finest. More importantly, her role (and her approach to it) is different from the hundreds of other roles she has done in the past…” – Butch Francisco, The Philippine Star (READ MORE)

“…Santos’ performance is so vivid and insightful that we can see her changing in front of our very eyes… We were enthralled…we were moved. And we valued the film’s important contribution to the very urgent task of reminding everyone of the trauma in our collective lives that was the martial law period of the ’70s,” noted Nestor Torre of Inquirer News Service. Chito Rono’s Dekada ‘70 made its world premier at the Asian American International Film Festival in June of 2003. The film has also won numerous domestic awards. The Young Critics Circle voted Dekada ‘70 Best Film of the Year (2002), Best Screenplay, Best Sound and Best Performance in a tie between actress Vilma Santos (Amanda) and Piolo Pascual (Amanda’s eldest son). The Best Film of the Year award is reserved for the director, such that no separate prize for direction is needed. The Best Performance award is the most coveted as it is conferred on the performer whether male or female, adult or child, individual or ensemble in leading or supporting role. Vilma Santos also received an award for Best Actress from Star Awards for Movies, Film Academy of The Philippines, and Gawad Urian Awards. Piolo Pascual also received an award for Best Supporting Actor from the Young Critics Film Circle, Metro Manila Film Festival, Star Awards for Movies, Film Academy of the Philippines, FAMAS Awards, and Gawad Urian Awards. The Gawad Urian Awards also presented Dekada ’70 with the award for Best Screenplay…” – Sara Stokoe, Asia Pacific Arts (READ MORE)

“…In Chito S. Roño’s superb “Dekada ’70,” a family in the Marcos-era Philippines has a domineering father and five sons, but it is the mother (Vilma Santos) who provides the mental stamina. She fights for her family in ways the father can’t even dream of. “To give birth to these children isn’t enough,” she says. “You have to defend them, protect them.” That’s the ’70s. In 30 years, that kind of woman will deal with difficult questions of divorce and motherhood, one in which women want freedom, yet must be willing to share blame when something goes wrong. The young woman who leaves her husband and thinks about aborting her pregnancy in South Korean filmmaker Gina Kim’s “Invisible Light” is an experimental example. Moon’s great performance in “A Good Lawyer’s Wife” almost makes you believe wrong is right, and, taken with her much-lauded portrayal of a girl with cerebral palsy in “Oasis,” reveals her as one of the world’s best actresses. Hollywood, take note. – No stereotypes of Asians here…” – G. Allen Johnson, Festival Celebrates Real Women, San Francisco Chronicle March 4, 2004 (READ MORE)

“…The young actors that were cast in Dekada ’70 were all guilty of doing too much “acting”. I don’t think actors should be acting-out, or (in this case) over-acting, unless they were filming a farce, or a comedic parody. Inexcusable mediocre performances plagued every scene. Instead of ensuring the characters were having a real conversation (real interaction), it seemed as though they were merely spitting out lines which they had memorized word-for-word, the delivery, inflections, and pauses unnatural. People don’t talk to each other like this in real life now, do they? Of course not. It is sometimes possible for a younger actor to deliver a satisfactory performance though the guiding hand of an experienced veteran. This of course is quite rare, as it calls for a unique, uncalculated, natural chemistry that can never be faked. Award winning greats like Vilma Santos and Christopher De Leon should never be subjected to work with a group of inexperienced pretty faces who are incapable of displaying a sense of depth and sophistication. Proof that casting makes for a vital element that determines the success of a film…” – Edwin Manalo (READ MORE)

“…The characters of brothers Jules (Piolo Pascual) and Eman (Marvin Augustin) share similar anti-Marcos perspectives in the movie. A movie that attempts to add a more familiar and human touch to a real event isn’t without its melodrama. The overt use of music to drive emotion home and unnecessarily lengthy shots distract a bit from what otherwise could have been short and sweet takes of awesome performances. The pace of the film seems to slow down mid-way through the film. Yet these faults are minute enough that they probably didn’t even deserve a mention…This movie makes for a satisfying introduction to this decade in Philippine history. I shouldn’t forget to mention how faithful the movie remains to the styles of dress, the models of cars, and the music of the time to strongly present the age and era the movie takes place. Most importantly Dekada ’70 presents to us the emotional aspect, an aspect you cannot obtain through school textbooks, snapshots, and soundbites of Martial Law under Marcos. This is communicated successfully through its collection of talents seen through the eye of a veteran director…” – Pinoy Movie Reviews (READ MORE)

“…Dekada ’70 tells of how under hate, greed and corruption, one normal person transcends beyond right and wrong: instead learns that it is freedom that entails survival. Set in the 70′s, urban Metro Manila, Amanda Bartolome is a middle-class mother of five young men. Amanda acts as a supposed symbolism of detachment. First of all, she was a mother, a housewife; such were not considered integral parts of society during those times. She was not the breadwinner; she did not experience the foremost effects of the decline of the Philippines economy back then. She was a member of the middle class; her family did not take money, like the rich, nor did her family suffer the worst of the financial crises, like the poor. The lives of Amanda’s children each went in different directions in the story, and each varied. Her eldest son was Jules. Jules grew up normally, similar to every other ideal family. His upbringing was that of what ideally conformed to normal standards and circumstances. Being the eldest, however, Jules lived, and more importantly, matured through the shock caused by the declaration of President Marcos’ martial law. Thus, Jules lived his adolescence exposed to rebellious reading material, and inevitably molded his mind into that of guerilla. Jules grew up to become a member of the communist New People’s Army, and his evolution came full circle…” – Dekada 70, A Book Review (READ MORE)

“…For ten consecutive years from 1995 to 2004, the Philippines submitted films for consideration for the Best Foreign Language Film category of the Oscar Awards. But up to this point of film history, we remain in the list of countries who has never won nor nominated for this award…The next year 2003, the country’s entry was Dekada ’70, directed by Chito S. Rono based on the novel Dekada ’70 of Lualhati Bautista. It tells the story of a middle-class Filipino couple (Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos) and their five sons during a tumultuous decade of the martial law regime. The sons were played by Piolo Pascual, Carlos Agassi, Marvin Agustin, Daniel Barrios and John Wayne Sace…” – FAP (READ MORE)

Fernando Poe Jr.’s “Lawin” (hawk) failed to soar high at the box office after Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s “Agimat” (amulet) proved to be more powerful. Working wonders at the tills, “Agimat ni lolo,” Revilla’s action-fantasy-adventure movie was the top grossing film on the first day of the festival last Wednesday, edging out Poe’s “Alamat ng Lawin,” from top slot. Caloocan Mayor Rey Malonzo, chair of the MMFF executive committee, refused to divulge the box-office figures because “that was the request of the other producers.” An MMFF insider, however, disclosed that “Agimat” earned P14 million gross on the day it opened. Imus Productions bankrolled “Agimat.” As early as yesterday noon, Revilla said he was told that “Agimat” was already leading in the box office race. A number of theaters opened as early as 9 a.m.yesterday, making it easy to determine the results after only the first screening. Revilla outshone even comedy king Dolphy’s “Home Along da Riles,” which ranked only third. Regal Entertainment’s “Mano Po,” which boasts a powerhouse cast and Joel Lamangan at the helm, came in fourth. Star Cinema’s period opus, “Dekada ’70,” directed by Chito Rono and top billed by drama royalty Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon, was fifth. The epic tale of Filipino hero “Lapu-Lapu,” with Pampanga Governor Lito Lapid in the lead, took the sixth place, and Reflection Films’ “Hula Mo, Huli Ko,” starring Rudy Fernandez and Rufa Mae Quinto, came in seventh in the box-office race. But the box-office tallies might still change after tonight’s “Gabi ng Parangal,” when the MMFF hands out the awards to this festival’s best films. Two more entries – OctoArts Films’ “Lastikman” starring Vic Sotto and Regal Film”s “Spirit Warriors 2: Short-cut” -will be shown starting Jan 1. The filmfest will run until Jan 10. – Leah Salterio Philippine Daily Inquirer, Dec 27 2002 (READ MORE)

This year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) sports a new name, but its trademark controversial image and reputation remain the same. The 28th MMFF has included a “P” in its official name. The “P” which stands for Philippines, means the entries in the festival can now be seen nationwide. The cast of “Dekada ’70” staged a walkout. A special effects awardee returned his trophy. A film that failed to make it to the filmfest’s top seven won thrid best picture. These and other inconsistencies were the “highlights” of this year’s “Gabi ng Parangal” awards ceremony last Friday. Piolo was “Dekada ’70’s” biggest winner as best supporting actor for his compelling portrayal of a tortured rebel leader in Chito Rono’s period drama. John Wayne Sace, who plays Pascual’s brother Bingo, bagged the best supporting child actor award. “Dekada ’70” also bagged the second best child actor award. “Dekada ’70” also bagged the second best picture award. Regal Films’ “Mano Po” romped off with the most number of awards, including the best actress plum that went to Ara Mina, who best-ed the veteran “Dekada ’70” star Vilma Santos. Eddie Garcia was adjudged best festival actor, while Joel Lamangan was named this year’s best director. Kris Aquino won best supporting actress also for “Mano Po.” Regal Films matriarch Lily Monteverde thanked the filmfest committee in Aquino’s behalf. Mother Lily has two more reasons to say “Chi chien” after “Mano Po” won best picture and best original story for writer Roy Iglesias. Iglesias also won the best screenplay citations for “Mano Po.” Resty Garchitorena and Tara Limberger took home the best cinematography and best film editor awards, again for “Mano Po.” The cross-cultural drama, which even partly filmed in Beijing, China, bagged a toral of 12 awards that night. Bong de Guzman snatched the best musical score trophy from such veteran composers as Louie Ocampo, Nonong Buencamino, Jimmy Fabregas and Elmer Sayson.

Best festival production design trophy was awarded to Tatus Aldana for his spectacular work on “Mano Po.” The biggest surprise came when Chito Rono’s “Spirit Warriors 2: Shortcut.” won third best picture. The award came as a surprise even to its director Chito Rono, who upon hearing the news, commented that “the award only proved how good the movie is.” “Spirit Warrior 2” snatched the festival’s two most important technical awards – best make-up for Warren Munar and best visual effects for Dodge Ledesma and Road Runner Productions. Unlike “Alamat” and “Lastikman” which didn’t get any award, Reflectin Films’ “Hula Mo, Huli Ko” and RVQ Productions’ “Home Alone da Riles” each won an award. RVQ Productions’ “Nasaan Ka” was heralded as this year’s best theme song, while Caloy de Leon won the best sound recording plum for his work on “Hula Mo.” De Leon, however, returned the award later that night. “I want the jurors to explain to me how can a film dubbed in mono like “Hula Mo” win over other films dubbed in Dolby digital,” he said. Imus Productions’ spectacular “Agimat” float took home P75,000 after bagging the best festival float award. Noticeably absent during the awards night were “Alamat ng Lawin” lead star Fernando Poe Jr., his leading lady Ina Raymundo, and the entire cast of “Lastikman,” led by comedian-producer Vic Sotto. Poe’s long-time aide, Amay Bisaya, said the action king chose not to attend the ceremony to “avoid intrigues and politicking.” – Marinel R. Cruz Philippine Daily Ingquirer, Dec 29 2002 (READ MORE)

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Filmography: Kapag Langit Ang Humatol (1990)

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Basic Information: Directed: Laurice Guillen; Story: Salvador Royales; Screenplay: Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Salvador Royales; Cast: Vilma Santos, Richard Gomez, Gloria Romero, Charo Santos-Concio, Kristine Garcia, Carmina Villaroel, Jeffrey Santos, Eula Valdez, William Lorenzo, Tony Carreon, Metring David, Lillian Laing, Vangie Labalan, Terence Baylon; Executive producer: Charo Santos-Concio; Original Music: Nonong Buencamino; Cinematography: Romeo Vitug; Film Editing: Efren Jarlego; Production Design: Edgar Martin Littaua; Art Direction: Bert Habal; Sound: Vic Macamay; Theme song performed by Dulce; Released: August 15 1999

Plot Description: An oppressed housemaid has transformed herself into a wealthy and powerful business mogul through sheer dint of talent, ambition and driving need to avenge herself on her tormentors. She comes back to the scene of her most abject debasement with the sole intent of humiliating the family who once made her life such a living hell. Unknowingly, she gets to exact revenge on the very person who turns out to be her own daughter by the son of her former mistress. – Database of Philippine Movies (READ MORE)

Film Achievement: 1990 Gawad Urian: Best Direction – Laurice Guillen; Best Editing – Efren Jarlego; Best Cinematography – Romeo Vitug; 1990 FAP: Best Cinematography – Romeo Vitug; Best Story Adaptation – Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Salvador Royales; 1990 FAMAS: Best Child Actor Nomination – Terence Baylon; Best Supporting Actor Nomination – Jeffrey Santos; 1990 Gawad Urian: Best Actress Nomination – Vilma Santos; Best Picture1990 Gawad Urian Nomination; Best Production Design 1990 Gawad Urian Nomination – Edgar Martin Littaua; Best Screenplay 1990 Gawad Urian Nomination – Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Salvador Royales; Best Supporting Actress 1990 Gawad Urian Nomination – Kristine Garcia; Best Supporting Actress 1990 Gawad Urian Nomination – Carmina Villaroel; The 2014 Cinema One Originals Film Festival – Digitally Restored Selection

Film Reviews: At first glance, the story may look inane and stale. No question about women moviegoers and fans who eagerly lap up most soap operas indiscriminately. But the movie hasn’t been very popular with a lot of film buffs, intellectuals and the movie press. The most criticized part of the movie is when the oppressed heroine, a housemaid (Vilma Santos), is locked up and chained in a barn when the mean, witch-like mistress of the hacienda (Gloria Romero at her wicked best) hears about her pregnancy, with no other than the dona’s son (Richard Gomez) as the father-to-be. Absurd! Incredible! Too lowbrow! These were the common complaints hurled against the movie, as though recent real-life incidents reported in the front pages about supposedly civilized masters in southern Philippines torturing their servants never happened. That the script is filled with knots and tangles, compounded by intense, passionate and exag¬gerated situations, would seem to lend credence to the criticisms.

Fortunately, director Laurice Guillen has more faith in her material, more respect. For she has not only come up with a beautifully-photographed, well-edited and generally superbly-acted melodrama. She has also held up to us a mirror of the dreams and aspirations, the frustrations, suffer¬ing and uncomplicated lifestyle of the so-called masa. Moments of the heroine’s unmitigated oppres¬sion in the hands of her evil mistress is age-old reality in Philippine life and, quite logically, litera¬ture. Her soul nearly scarred by her excruciating, degrading experience, she somehow manages not only to survive but also to rise from her humble, bleak origins, when she leaves the hellhole and finds hope and rewards in the city. In true melodramatic fashion, she plots out her revenge, but alas, even in carrying it out, she must pay dearly, nearly tragically. Feminist observers may easily notice that in this picture – as in, they would say, Philippine society -it is the women who run things. They domineer and dominate, manipulating the men, even the men they love. True enough, from the very beginning, it is the mistress and her poor servant who move things, decide, and tell men what to do. It is they who plot out schemes and plan their destiny.

The same is true even with the minor characters, those played by Kristine Garcia (who virtually drags the farm stud into a stormy affair and pushes him to run away with her), Eula Valdez (who pulls the trigger that ends a chapter in the drama), Charo Santos (the single mother and self-made tycoon) and Carmina Villarroel (the young woman who tries to extricate herself from the mess which her quarreling mother and grandmother have created). For their part, the men are pushed around, fooled and overtaken by events: the weakling lover (Gomez), the perpetually horny stablehand (Wil¬liam Lorenzo) and the young and rich heir (Jeffrey Santos). All in all, it is a glossy and well-crafted movie, with marvelous performances by Ms. Santos and Ms. Romero. – Mario A. Hernando, MPP (READ MORE)

The power of the script to carry weight to a movie works here, which shows that no matter how famous your actors are, it doesn’t guarantee critics’ approval. After being glued for depression and revenge for two and a half hours (even if you’ll know what will happen next), viewers will be put into sleep. There are many scenes that should’ve been erased and combined. Performances-wise, thumbs-up is given to Eula Valdez as the maid who falls in love with William Lorenzo, the gardener who uses Vilma Santos in the first half of the movie. Even the dialogue is weak. Barely watchable. 3.5/10 – OSCAR99, IMDB – (READ MORE)

“…The scene where the avenging Floreida (Vilma) to Gloria’s Octavia- wine-in-your face thing, followed by Vilma’s hysterical laughter is, to my mind the best scene in the movie. Catharsis at its best. Two great actresses. Bow!…” – Mario O. Garces (READ MORE)

“…Sino ba si Mr. Romantiko? Siya po si Mr. Salvador Royales…na siyang may concepto rin ng nasabing programa. Isa siyang magaling na writer sa radio at pelikula. Ayon sa kaniyang kuwento sa akin…siya ang kauna-unahang sumulat ng Maalala Mo Kaya sa ABS-CBN…na may pamagat na “Sapatos”. Marami siyang isinulat na pelikula sa Seiko Films…at may mga Radio Drama rin siya na ginawang pelikula….isa sa natatandaan ko ang “Kailan Mahuhugasan ang Kasalanan” at “Kapag Langit Ang Humatol” na pinagbidahan ni Vilma Santos, na pawang naging block buster. Kaya hindi matatawaran ang angking talino ni Mr. Romantiko sa pagsusulat. Mula sa kaniya marami rin akong natutunan na ini-aapply ko ngayon sa aking pagsusulat sa radio drama. Kaya masasabi ko na mapalad ako na nakilala ko ang isang taong tulad niya…” – Komixrama (READ MORE)

“…The whole-afternoon affair gave Ate Vi time to bond with Manay Ichu, the “second mother“ she hasn’t seen lately. Ate Vi recalled for the nth time how Manay Ichu and the late Atty. Espiridion Laxa saved her from the poor house, helping her with BIR (tax), financial, and career woes. The actress made memorable films for Manay Ichu, including “Rubia Servios,“ directed by Lino Brocka. Brocka triggered memories about a film she made for Vision, produced by Charo Santos and Simon Ongpin (Where is he?), in which this columnist had a “role.“ Vision offered Ate Vi two project. The true story of a crusading lady doctor to be directed by Brocka. A radio serial by Salvador Royales, “Kapag Langit ang Humatol.“ She wanted to do a Brocka film, but this columnist objected, telling Ate Vi, “You don’t need another award, you need a blockbuster.“ Ate Vi listened and “obeyed.“ The radio serial was a huge, huge hit. And even critically acclaimed, giving Laurice Guillen the best director award from the Manunuri (Urian)…” – Ronald Constantino, Feb 15 2012, Tempo (READ MORE)

“…Also in the Cinema One Originals Festival restored classics lineup are: Kapag Langit ang Humatol, a drama directed by Laurice Guillen starring Vilma Santos as an oppressed housemaid who transforms herself into a successful businesswoman. Richard Gomez plays the leading man of the Star for All Seasons…Completing the list is Anak, the heartwarming OFW story directed by Rory Quintos starring Vilma Santos and Claudine Barretto. Released in 2000, it was the highest-grossing movie of that year and one of the biggest blockbusters in Star Cinema’s history. The unveiling at 2014 C1 Originals marks the first time the restored version of Anak will be seen on the big screen…” – Isah V. Red, Manila Standard Today, 08 Nov 2014 (READ MORE)

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