FILM REVIEW: MANO PO 3 MY LOVE

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The Plot: Anti-crime crusader Lilia Chiong Yang (Vilma Santos) seems to have everything a woman could want and need: a husband (Jay Manalo) who pampers her; children (Patrick Garcia, Karylle, Angel Locsin) whom any parent would be proud of; and the respect & admiration of the most powerful people in the land. But just as Lilia prepares for her 25th wedding anniversary celebration, a chance encounter in Thailand with her first love Michael (Christopher De Leon) throws Lilia’s life into chaos. So begins the resumption of a relationship that threatens to unravel the delicate threads connecting Lilia to the other people in her life. “Mano Po 3” is a heartfelt tearjerker which was declared Best Picture at the 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Philippines. Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon also won well-deserved awards for Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively, in this moving film about the choices we must make for the sake of those we love. – Regal Films (READ MORE)

The Reviews: They say if you strike the third time, you’re out. Thank goodness, it’s not a strike the third time, instead, it’s a homerun hit for the third sequel of this franchise. “Mano Po 3: My Love” was as grand as the first two but with simple well-written story line. The film managed to iron out the past and present events through flashbacks and thanks to the editor (Tara Heinberger), the continuity of each scene were smooth. Mano Po 3: My Love is a life story of Chinese-Filipino anti-crime crusade, Lilia Chiong Yang. A Chinese couple who left Fujian, China in 1959, brought her here. Her mother beg this couple to bring her with them because she’s going to be put into the orphanage just because she is a girl and having so many baby girl, the Chinese government will not support them financially. Living now in the Philippines and now a young adult (Angelica Panganiban), Lilia met and fell in love with Michael (Cogie Domingo), her classmate and fellow activist. Together with Paul (Patrick Garcia), their classmate, they engaged into activism during the martial law. One night, during the curfew hours, they got into trouble and were hunted down by the military. Michael sacrificed himself and was caught. Lilia was pregnant with Michael’s child but he already left the country and so, Lilia fell to the hands of Paul.

Now, a mature Lilia (Vilma Santos), her quiet life was rattled when Michael (Christopher DeLeon) came back. They accidentally met in Thailand; Michael decided to win her back. Both were surprised to learn that Paul (Jay Manalo) deceived them by not giving all of Michael’s letters to Lilia when he left the country. With Lilia being a popular media personality, people have started talking, gossiping about Lilia’s secret affair with another man particularly in the Chinese community. It also added stress to her family and eventually they turned their back to their own mother. Finally, it all comes down to Lilia making decision on which man to choose. She finally decided to stay with her husband despite her undying love for Michael. Then the tragic end. Lilia’s anti-crime activism created her enemies. One of them tragically killed Paul. Again, her family blamed her. The end part of the film was a typical Regal tradition – that of reconciliations. Lilia’s family accepted her again and all wounds got heal. And what happened to Lilia and Michael? They remained friends as Lilia realized they are not really meant for each other.

People are saying that her scene in the car where Paul (Jay Manalo) was shot was reminiscent of her death scene in “Relasyon.” Yes, there was a touch of it but the scene in MP3 was more intense because it’s shorter and the pacing was faster. Christopher as Michael deserves his best actor award during the film festival. Finally, Lamangan managed to control Christopher’s dialogue mannerism. Christopher has the tendency to starts his line with “well….” Probably because the MP3′s script was tighter and requires him to follow strictly each lines because each lines most of the time have other meanings. For example, when the three of them finally met, Christopher said: “Isa sa mga natutunan ko nuon sa kilusan is Honesty.” Which he is actually saying to Paul that he is dishonest and deceitful; particularly for not giving to Lilia, all of his letters when he left the country during the martial law years. As Paul, Jay Manalo, despite his young look managed to convinced us with his restraint performance. I wonder if Philip Salvador would give as strong performance as Jay Manalo in this role. Jay showed us that he’s indeed one of our great actors today. Sheryl Cruz didn’t do much as Bernadette. Her performance was one dimensional, a trap for villain roles. And all can be blamed to the three writers – Roy Iglesias, Lily Monteverde and Joel Lamangan. Maybe because they concentrated their efforts to established the three main characters and so they neglected the others. Eddie Garcia and Boots Anson Roa played the usual supporting roles but Boots gave us the most memorable lines in all of the movies showed in 2004: “hindi ka puedeng magmahal sa dalawa lalake…” of course, with her Chinese accent.

Vilma also will not be far behind with her lines: “hindi ka ba sasama sa kanila Judith? Alam mo ba kung para saan ang kanilang ginawa?… sanay na akong tinatalikuran at iniiwanan yang ang storya ng buhay ko…” Vilma’s performance here was an example of how she matured and became an A1 actress. From the start to the end, she transformed herself to be the character. She became Lilia Chiong Yang. Here are the highlights: Her scene in Tagaytay Highland: Her breakfast scene with her family, where all except for one, left her; The scene where she and Paul finally met Michael in a restaurant was full of irony and sarcasm; The scene where Bernadette and three other relatives one of them was Boots Anson Roa confronted Lilia. Like a true fighter and speaking in Mandarin, she told them, she’ll be back in five minutes and if they’re all still in her office they will see the worst of her; The scene where Lilia and Paul were in a middle of an argument and suddenly they calmed themselves down because their dressmakers arrived (to measure their sizes for the clothes their going to wear on their wedding anniversary) was poignant and funny at the same time; Then Paul’s death scene that followed the hospital scene. All in all, a controlled, restraint, riveting performance. How can someone not noticed? If I will evaluate “Mano Po 3: My Love”, I will give the film an A for its excellent production and magnificent performances…” – RV (READ MORE)

“The performances of Christopher De Leon and Vilma Santos are great. It’s a great movie, the director made a good job. The flow of events and the pace of the story are nicely plotted. You won’t feel unease when Michael Lim (Christopher) come back to Lilia Chiong (Vilma) and interfered with her “happy” married life. Compare to the passed 2 Mano Po movies, Mano Po 3 doesn’t have enough Chinese tales, it can stand alone as a pure love story movie without involvement of Chinese culture. In my personal opinion, if Christopher De Leon character was a pure Filipino, and if the reason why he was separated from Vilma was due to rejection from Vilma’s Chinese parents, and Vilma was arranged-marriage “kai-siaw” to Paul (Jay Manalo), then this would be a better Chinese foundation as the background for Christopher and Vilma to met after 25 years. It might not be a happy ending, but it was a rational ending given the circumstances of the events. This movie will definitely make you cry in the end.” – IMDB (READ MORE)

“…Vilma Santos did a great job and really deserved her best actress honour at the MMFF. Certainly her efforts overshadowed those of here co-stars, Christopher De Leon and Jay Manalo. It’s a shame really that her duties in Lipa are keeping her from other movies. Eddie Garcia, I thought could have done a better job in delivering his lines. I realize that he is playing a character that was not that fluent in Filipino but some of his words were just garbled and found it hard to understand. My only gripe maybe in the casting of Jay Manalo as the husband of Lilia. In the story Manalo is portrayed as the same age as De Leon and Santos which frankly I find hard to believe since Manalo looks many years younger. In terms of production, I thought Regal Films did a good job in setting an overall atmosphere by bringing in good costumes and props. It was also nice to see them speaking in Chinese so as to make the situations more authentic and believable.” – IMDB (READ MORE)

“…actors Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon portray roles that they have exceptionally portrayed before in their lustrous 40 years in Philippine show business. To even think of casting these superb actors in roles that are at least 15 years their junior, that defies their age, is indeed insulting to the intelligence of the Filipino viewers. But hey! Nobody’s complaining! Right? In fact, they both won the Best Actors awards in the said film fest! Sad, sad, sad…” – IMDB (READ MORE)

“…This is about Lilia Chiong-Yang (Vilma Santos) a Chinese-Filipino woman. She was torn from her first and only love, and ended up marrying the person she didn’t want (Jay Manalo). One faithful day, she met up with her old love Michael (Christopher De Leon) and things began to get rocky then. He wanted her to choose between her family and the only man she truly loved. The good thing about this movie is she made a decision in the end. For me, this third and last installment was the best among the rest. The movie made me laugh, cry, angry, sad and everything else. That’s really rare the Philippines’ movie industry now. Vilma Santos did a wondrous job in portraying her role. After her 2-year absence in the movie industry, she still had the touch. The only thing i didn’t like about the movie was Jay Manalo. He really was too young to be Vilma’s husband in the movie. They were supposed to be the same age though, but remarkably he did a very good job playing his role as well. How can we not forget Boyet? He was marvelous! Without him, this movie wouldn’t be the best one yet. People say this is such an ordinary love story, but in my eyes, this is the best Filipino movie ever made in my time…” – IMDB (READ MORE)

“…Mano Po III is definitely a showcase for Philippine cinema. It is basically a love story, but without any melodrama. Kudos for Joel Lamangan who brings out much emotion without ranting and violent tears that other filmmakers find so necessary to tell a story. Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos are both subdued but effective in their portrayal of restrained lovers. One particular scene with Christopher, Vilma and Jay is a highlight of the film. It is a scene where the three are having a seemingly innocent conversation about business but with underlying dialogues about love and betrayal. The screenplay written by Roy Iglesias is exceptional, witty and effective. The credible acting would not be possible without such a script. In all, Mano Po is a must-see this filmfest. It was sold out the first time I tried to see it, but it was worth the wait.” – ABS-CBN (READ MORE)

“For the purported final entry in an envisioned trilogy. Regal matriarch Lily Monteverde has pulled out all the stops. The story is centered squarely on Mayor Vi and Boyet, whose cozy chemistry still crackles with a romantic thrill even after 24 movies together.” – Andrew Paredes, Manila Standard (READ MORE)

““As a love story, it is romantic as romantic can be – passionate even. And you really have to give it to the durable love team of Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon to be able to pull off a material like Mano Po 3 and give the kilig effect of expected by most viewers and fans of love stories. It is handsomely-mounted, glossy and very entertaining. Its production values are far more superior compared to other local movies.” – Butch Francisco, Philippine Star (READ MORE)

“Kahanga-hanga ang ipankitang pagpapahalaga ng pelikula sa pamilya at pagaasawa.” – CINEMA (Catholic Initiative For Enlightened Movie Appreciation) (READ MORE)

A week before Christmas, the Star for All Seasons, Vilma Santos, shared with us her thoughts on son Luis and her first film in three years, “Mano Po 3.” She is thankful for the support of her family. When “Mano Po 3” was offered to her, Vilma sought the advice of husband Ralph and son Luis. They need the script, and exchanged views on scenes that they found objectionable. In everything she does, communication lines with son are open.

Fullfiling task: For, Vilma, raising her sons Luis and Ryan is a most fulfilling tasks. “My parents taught me to be God-fearing, respectful, responsible and law-abiding. Luis has never given me headaches. I am very liberal, but once you betray my trust, mag-ingat ka! Scorpio trait ito. Luis knows that, at binusog ko siya sa pangaral. I always tell him that he is old enough to differentiate right from wrong, so he should never do something that he’d regret later on,” she says.

No secrets: Although Luis has his own condo, he stays with Vi most of the time. There are no secrets between mother and son – – according to Vi, Luis tells her everything! On a few occassions, he’d introduce a girl to Vilma, and she’d know instantly if she was special to him or not. Vilma observes that Luis is more focused now. He dreams of owning his own restaurant-bar. And she’s surprised at how thrifty Luis has become – a trait that the actress also possesses. The Lipa City Mayor ends the year with her filmfest entry, “Mano Po 3.” In this last compilation of Tsinoy tales, Vilma is cast as a crusader, a mother of three children and supportive wife to Paul Yang, her devoted husband of 23 years. Then, her first love, Michael Lim (now a widower) resurfaces, and she finds herself in love again.

Three reasons Vilma cited three reasons why she accepted “Mano Po 3:” It gave her the opportunity to work with Christopher de Leon again; she couldn’t say no to Mother Lily, who has produced some of Vilma’s unforgettable movies (“Sister Stella L.,” “Broken Marriage,” and “Relasyon”), and the film’s interesting story centers on a fmily collapses due to infidelity. – Remy Umerez, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Dec 25 2004 (READ MORE)

Short and sweet. – Make that short and sedate. The awards ceremony for the 30th Metro Manila film Festival, now called MMFF Philippines, on Wednesday night was over in three hours, where it used to take twice as long. It was also less colorful than last year’s edition and the one before that, which more spontaneous action – a flea market and an auction of movie memorabilia – happening right outside the venue, the Aliw Theatre at the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex. Even the “Stars of teh Night,” Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon, wore back and grey. A series of technical problems early on in the show was the closest that the evening got to be “eventful.” There were no walkouts, no brickbats, no exposed breasts. In short, the proceedings were orderly and the sexy starlets behaved. Juliana Palermo – she who flaunted her assets without breast-beating at a previous showbiz events – was in a cover all debutante-pink gown that was almost puritan acceptance speech – for her MAQ Films’ “Mano Po 3” as Best Picture – was met with no more than polite applause. “I’ve not been making money from producing,” Monteverde said, “but I continue to make movies because I love the industry.” Four of the eight festival entries were reportedly made by her companies.

FPJ in the house Perhaps the fact that the program had been dedicated to the memory of Fernando Poe Jr. contributed to the somber atmosphere. Elizabeth Poe received the posthumous “Idolo ng Masa” award for “Da King” of Philippine Movies, who died earlier this month. “I call on the people to not abadon his dream,” Elizabeth said, “to continue to fight.” Apparently touched, the audience took a few seconds before applauding. Director Joel Lamangan’s fiery acceptance of the Best Picture award alongside Monteverde – in which he ranted against taxes and government’s “neglect” of the industry – failed to rouse as much enthusiasm in his listeners. Producer and festival committee member Espiridion Laxa received a lifetime achievement award. He dedicated it to Vilma Santos and FPJ…”and to Erap (former President Joseph Estrada).” “Da King” starred in the first seven films that Laxa made under Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions. Santos, who was also named Best Actress for “Mano Po 3,” led the standing ovation for Laxa. The Vilmanians in the hall must have thought their idol was getting another award, as they led the screaming in return.

No teleprompter Cesar Montano, winner of the Best Director trophy for his CM Films’ “Panaghoy sa Suba,” won the women’s hearts, too. He was the perfect gentleman and escort to his wife Sunshine Cruz, who needed help with her petticoat as they went up and down the stage to receive awards for absent cast and crew members. The banter among the three emcees – Judy Ann Santos, Jomari Yllana and Marvin Agustin – was light and breezy, although they had to do without teleprompers. This means they read from cue cards, which kept them from maintaining precious eye contact with the audience. Young screen love teams Angel Locsin and Richard Guttierez, stars fo the TV hit series “Mulawin,” and Mark Bautista and Sarah Geronimo, stars of “Lastikman,” turned heads, as did reel-and real-life partners Mark Herras and Jennylyn Mercado, who were inseparable.

7 awards each “Mano Po 3” and “Panaghoy sa Suba” each won seven awards. Veteran stage and movie actor Cris Vertido bagged the Best Screenplay trophy for “Panaghoy.” He was happy, and it showed. “I’ve been acting for 40 years and never won anything,” he said. “I write my first screenplay and I get this.” Santos and de Leon won acting awards for their roles in “Mano Po 3.” MAQ Films got the Best Float trophy. De Leon would admit later that he considered Montano, as his stiffest rival for the award. “I thought it would be him (the winner),” De Leon said.

“A” rating Rebecca Lusterio, also of “Panaghoy,” was cited as Best Supporting Actress. The Cinema Evaluation Board, in giving the movie an “A” rating, earlier singled out the teenage performer as “silent and powerful, full of conviction and charm.” Other winners were Dennis Trillo, Best Supporting Actor for “Aishite Imasu 1941”; Ella Guevarra, Best Child Performer for “Sigaw”; Manny Dayrit, Best Editing, “Sigaw,” Best Sound Recording, “Sigaw”; Best Musical Score, “Panaghoy”; and Best Visual; Effects, Roadrunner Network Inc., for “Lastikman.” – Marinel R. Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer, Dec 31, 2004 (READ MORE)

Joel Lamangan’s Mano Po, My Love dominated the Metro Manila Film Festival awards Wedenesday evening when it won all the top awards – Best Picture, Best Actor (Christopher de Leon), Best Actress (Vilma Santos) and Best Director (Lamangan). In the Philippine movie industry, the term Best Picture actually means the least bad movie of the crop. By that measure, Mano Po 3 perhaps does deserve the award. At least Mano Po 3 is slickly and tastefully produced. It boasts of a prestigious cast and tries to address a few pressing issues that affect the Chinese community in the Philippines. All the looks good on paper and the movie does look good most of the time but the resulting movie, like its two predecessors, falls short on expectations. The Mano Po series was designed to present the travails of today’s Chinese. Most of the problems they face today are rooted from old traditions that originate from the great land they had come from. In the third movie, Vilma Santos plays Lilia Chiong Yang, a successful real-estate developer who does some important civic work on her free time. She helps the police capture kidnap gangs although it’s never explained how she assists them. She’s only shown accepting awards of grattitude for her courageous fight against crime.

Lilia’s perfect life is shattered when she bumps into the real love of her life, Michael Lim (Christopher de Leon). They went to school together but being an activist, he was compelled to flee the country to avoid being persecuted by the Marcos regime. Not long after Lilia marries Michael’s best friend, Paul yang (Jay Manalo). Of course, a flame is reignited when they meet again and plans for the 25th wedding anniversary of Lilia and Paul are shattered. Such soapy contretemps are old hat and it has nothing relevant to say about the Chinese. Consequently, the Chinese connection feels tacked on – the audience is sporadically reminded of Lilia’s heritage through elaborate scenes (the birth of Lilia in a small village in China) and some colorful costumes and Chinese dragon parades. Frankly, you’ll learn more about Chinese tradition from Mark Meily’s classic film Crying Ladies (2003). Likewise, the film’s social commentary is contrived and rings false, what with the stilted, elementary dialogue the actors have to deliver. Without the Chinese trappings, Mano Po 3: My Love is a typical Vilma Santos movie designed to highlight all the wonderful elements that make her a star for all seasons.

Again, she sobs, laughs and acts pensive in that distinctive fashion Santos is famous for in one sudsy scene after another. Yet even as an emblematic Vilma Santos movie, Mano Po 3 is below par. The Star was better in other films that had better material. In this movie, screenwriter Roy Iglesias and director Joel Lamangan shamelessly force the star to imitate Meryl Streep in a scene stolen from Clint Eastwood’s Bridges of Madison County (1995). And like the two first installments, Mano Po 3 features some strange casting. Jay Manalo is supposed to be a contemporary of de Leon and Santos but when you see them together, Manalo looks more like their son than a classmate. Lamangan’s storytelling is fluid and deliberate but being deliberate can be deadly when almost every scene is all talk. Talk is fine if the words are inspiring but when the lines are pallid and of the telenovela variety, we’s just rather stick to the Korean soap they show on TV. While actors deliver modulated performances, this writer feels that Christopher de Leon’s role is too small to warrant a best actor nomination and award. I think he should have listed in the supporting category but I’m opening a can of worms here. Let’s just be thankful that this is the last Mano Po movie to be ever made. (Star rating: one star 1/2 out of four) – Dennis Ladaw, The Manila Times, Feb 28, 2005 (READ MORE)

FILM REVIEW: PAANO BA ANG MANGARAP

The Plot: “Despite their different social backgrounds, Lisa (Vilma Santos) and Benny (Jay Ilagan) have found their match in each other. Unfortunately, Benny dies before they could marry, and Lisa is left with no choice but to seek the help of Benny’s parents. But their arrogance is as lofty as their fortune, and to them, Lisa is nothing but an opportunist. Their only concern is their late son’s unborn child that Lisa is carrying in her womb. The only person who treats Liza with kindness is Eric (Christopher de Leon), Benny’s brother, who has secretly fallen in love with her…” – Kabayan (READ MORE)

“Despite their different social backgrounds, Lissa and Benny have found their match in each other. Unfortunately, Benny dies before they could marry, and Lissa is left with no choice but to seek the help of Benny’s parents. But their arrogance is as lofty as their fortune, and to them, Lissa is nothing but an opportunist. Their only concern is their late son’s unborn child that Lissa is carrying in her womb. The only person who treats Lissa with kindness is Eric, Benny’s brother, who has secretly fallen in love with her, Eric even made a promise to Benny that he would find Lissa & take good care of her, a promise that Eric vowed he will never break.” – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

The Reviews: “Paano ba ang mangarap?” rates high for its slickness and production gloss, something that its producers, Viva Films, shouldn’t hope would last them more than two seasons.

Eddie Garcia is a good director. He stages his scenes well, with a minimum of fuss and a modicum of winning faith in narrative primacy. Viva’s movies are well-structured, well-paced, and at their best show how the cosmopolitan Filipino behaves under romantic stress. But if you get past that level and dig into substance, you encounter that self-same compost pit wherein all the biodegradable scraps of melodrama you can find southeast of your favorite mother’s kitchen have been thrown.

Such is the case, to a most lamentable extreme, with Paano Ba ang Mangarap? It’s well-acted, well-done, tastefully correct in elementary mode. But it is strictly local comics fare, this well-wrought turn of circumstantial twist and escalating conflicts which all spell high drama. Viva makes films that are at best our answer to Hollywoodian slick, the stuff of which The Other Side of Midnight and Imitation of Life are prime generational examples. The Barbra Cartlands and Harold Robbinses turned celluloid; Mills and Boon on the big screen.

Here you have two fine actors, Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos, waxing once again with their special chemistry. Boyet is so good he can, by merely varying his inflection, go through a simple line like “Tama na..” three times and prove positively sensitive and believable each time. Subtlety of feeling is shared equally well by Vilma Santos. They are both aware of the value of underplaying their emotional scenes, so much so that in any confrontation with other thespians who play their role to the hilt, these two, Boyet and Vilma, come out on top through the simple process of undercutting.

Vic Silayan and Perla Bautista are equally good in Paano Ba ang Mangarap?, but it is Moody Diaz who wins us over by applying a different tack in her “mayordoma” role, something that is usually played for laughs and other such effects by less gifted, or less imaginative, performers. Armida Siguion-Reyna is hampered by her termagant mother-in-law role, the catch-all character of cruelty spawned by all the soap opera dramas of Philippine comics and radio serials. And she plays this thoroughly unbelievable character, typecast as she already is, much to the hilt. That fantasy scene where she makes out like a satanic figure, though well-shot by Romy Vitug, is quite embarrassing for a picture like this, except of course we know that it is based on a comics serial where such fictive excesses may appear.

Here is where this otherwise finely-crafted film suffers. Viva knew it had to be faithful to the comics serial, so in effect opted for the surefire commercial draw at the expense of a truly artistic, credible film. I’m not saying that a character like Mrs. Monteverde does not, or cannot, exist. Perhaps one in a million. Filipino mothers can be as overbearing, prejudiced, unfeeling, and downright cruel. But to have a situation where an improbable character like her meets up with other improbable characters like the one Vilma and Christopher play, is stacking up the cards too much on the side of atrocious melodrama.

Vilma is the martyr type who would subject herself to indignities just so her coming child can have a name and possibly better upbringing. Boyet is the unloved son who would ditch his sophisticated girlfriend (Amy Austria, who is still uncomfortable in such role, so she doesn’t fare too well here) for this martyr-type who’s been impregnated by his brother. Now, any of these characters may exist, if by a long chance. But to have them all together living under the same roof is stretching the bounds of possibility much too much.

Furthermore, it could have been a better ending had the Viva bosses decided to stop at that scene where Vilma finds herself left alone on Christmas in the rich surroundings she has always dreamt of. Now only the household help can give her token solace by way of a collective gift. It is a poignant scene, stylistically done to proper effect with the usual Viva-film theme wafting through in support of silent montage. It could have been a good open ending, with overtones of irony laying themselves squarely on Vilma’s character. But no, of course one can’t disappoint the followers of the original comics serial. So the story goes on through further typical maneuverings until we’re given at least a semblance of a happy ending. A missed chance, I say. – Alfred A. Yuson, Philippines Daily Inquirer July 17 1983 (READ MORE)

“A true blooded Vilmanian will not forget the time when a teaser (a very brief trailer) was shown to the theatres in the summer of 1991. It was Viva films’ “Paano Ba Ang Mangarap?” Another box office hit from Vilma Santos and Christopher DeLeon. The teaser (almost worth the whole movie ticket) was the scene where Lisa, played by Vilma discovered that her son (to Eric’s brother , Jay Ilagan) was gone courtesy of her evil rich mother-in-law (Armida Sigueon Reyna). Here’s the lines and the explosive acting of the Queen. The scene: After running around looking for the baby in all the rooms in second floor of of this huge mansion, Lisa confronted Eric who were stunned to find Lisa’s hysterics. Lisa: “Dinaya n’yo ako! Saan n’yo dinala ang anak ko?!!!” Eric: “Hindi ko alam!” Lisa: “Hindi mo alam…Sinungaling!” Eric: “Lisa, makinig ka muna” Lisa: “Kasabwat ka ng ina mo! Alam ko matagal n’yo nang plano ito!” Eric: “Ano bang pinagsasabi mo?” Lisa: “Dinaya n’yo ako! Mga Traydor Kayo! Traydor kayong lahat!” Eric: “Lisa, huminahon ka baka mapaano ang bata!” Lisa: “Wala akong pakialam! Ibalik mo sa akin si Jun Jun! Ibalik mo sa akin ang anak ko! Ibalik mo sa akin si Jun Jun! Ibalik mo sa akin! AHHHH! (mahuhulog sa hagdanan)” Just this scene alone, Vilma should be rewarded that year’s best actress award! Bravo!” – RV (READ MORE)

Christopher de Leon

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Drama King – “…Ang sarap, I like working with people like them…iyong passion nila, yung enthusiasm nila in acting in what they’re acting is very contagious especially sa katulad ko I’d been in the business for so long and I needed to be rejuvenated,” de Leon added. De Leon added that it’s unfair to all the good young actors to be tagged as “the next Christopher de Leon”. “That’s not fair for them. I mean they have their own talent, magic, identity. Their careers will not be like mine but one thing I’m proud of is I’ve worked with the best directors in Philippine Cinema – Eddie Romero, Jerry de Leon the master, Ishmael Bernal, Lino Brocka, Mike de Leon…I don’t know about them,” he explains…” – Reyna Buan-Deveza, ABS-CBN News, 09/05/2008 (READ MORE)

Politics – “…The actors are very ano, e, very…well, one is we are influential, yes. We are all known. But not all actors can be that, but it’s… we also deal with more people often, with the fans. So, we just extend that a little. And then you reach out to the people, ask people what they need, and [eventually] help in your own small way…You learn more, you learn a lot. Aside from the people, aside from the needs of the people, you learn more about the law. You study about the law, you learn about the process, how to preside over meetings, learn how to make a resolution, ordinance. And that’s fun, that’s fun…it’s really fun! I mean, it’s a different horizon. At the same time, you deal with people – magaling kami diyan!” natatawang sabi ni Boyet…It [just] rubbed in when they offered me. And then there’s what you call a… political bug that rubs on you. You look for it. I don’t know what it is. It’s more of ‘Will I win?’ It’s more of a challenge.” Handa raw ang loob ng aktor sa mga posibleng mangyari sa muli niyang pagtakbo. “Hopefully, if God willing…If this doesn’t push through, it’s okay. But since they’re ready, I might as well grab it… take the opportunity.” Ang kasalukuyang kongresista ng second district ng Batangas ay si Hermilando “Dodo” Mandanas, na tumalo kay Boyet noong 2007 elections….” – Abby Mendoza, PEP (READ MORE)

Spirituality – “…Then came the “bump on the head,” as he put it, and appropriately enough, it was reinforced by an invitation to take a three-day spiritual retreat in Baguio. It was May 1988, and it was the best thing that had ever happened to him. Suddenly he was a happy person, reported the organizers of the retreat. Suddenly he liked the feeling of being an altar boy all over again. Without going to a hospital, without having to be rehabilitated in a drug center, Christopher de Leon withdrew from drugs. “I got the strength from Him. If you have been on drugs, you would know you can’t fight drugs without God…Somebody’s touching me to tell our people we should go back to spirituality,” Boyet said, and when he beamed, he could have passed for a fallen but lovable angel who’s trying to fit on a new pair of wings…” – Julie Y. Daza, Manila Standard, Feb 12, 1989 (READ MORE)

Sandy Andolong – “…What is striking about Sandy is that she took me for what I am, for who I am. She took everything. When I was doing drugs, she understood. When I was recovering, she was there. Before, she caught me with somebody else. There was a breakup but she took me back. She accepted me as I am, and that is important…” – Stef Juan, People Asia Magazine, MAY 11, 2006 (READ MORE)

Nora Aunor – “…“At first it was awkward,” said Boyet, who is teamed up with the Superstar on TV5’s “Sa Ngalan ng Ina.” “But we warmed up to each other right away. It’s a plus factor that our son Ian is with us in the series, which is more like a movie because of the grandiose production.” What makes it different from all the teleseryes he has done? “I portray a crippled man. So the whole time I’m in a wheelchair. It’s not easy to act when you’re confined to sitting down. It limits the way you can express yourself. So since it’s a first for me, it’s something worth watching, aside from my long overdue onscreen reunion with Guy.” Didn’t his wife, Sandy Andolong, have apprehensions about his team-up with Ate Guy? “I have her all-out support. She knows it’s a once-in-a-lifetime project that I should not pass up.” But there are some movies of his which he would rather forget. “When I chance upon some of my old films on TV, gusto ko sunugin lahat ng kopya ng pelikula na ’yon,” he said, laughing. “But that’s part of the process. All actors have good and bad projects.” Boyet’s eyes lit up when he talked about his grandson. “I am a doting grandpa. Since my son and his wife are in the United States, kami ni Sandy ang nag-aalaga ng apo namin. It seems like he will follow in my footsteps because even at a young age marunong na umarte na a la action star.” The award-winning actor is playing his lolo role to a hilt…” – Dolly Anne Carvajal, Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 27, 2011 (READ MORE)

Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos

  • Mano po III: My love (2004) – Christopher de Leon played Michael, the ex-lover of Lilia, Vilma Santos. – read more
  • Dekada ’70 (2002) – Christopher de Leon played Julian, the chauvinistic head of the Bartolome family while Vilma Santos played his wife, Amanda. – read more
  • Bugso (2002) TV Movie – Christopher de Leon directed this film for television, while Vilma Santos lead the cast. – read more
  • Hanggang ngayon ika’y minamahal (1997) – Christopher de Leon played the irresponsible and disorganized Leo, while Vilma Santos played his wife, Margot. – read more
  • Nag-iisang bituin (1994) – Christopher de Leon played the bother of learning-disabled person Miggy (Aga Muhlach), while Vilma Santos played his wife. – read more
  • The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993) – Christopher de Leon played the ex-lover of Dolzura, while Vilma Santos played the title role. – read more
  • Ipagpatawad mo (1991) – Christopher de Leon played an unaccepting father of an autistic child, Atty Mike Esquivel, while Vilma Santos played the caring mother, Celina. – read more
  • Imortal (1989) – Christopher de Leon played several reincanations as the lover of Vilma Santos. – read more
  • Minsan pa nating hagkan ang nakaraan (1983) – Christopher de Leon played the architect Rod, the lover of married woman, Helen, played by Vilma Santos. – read more
  • Broken Marriage (1983) – Christopher de Leon played Rene, the newpaper reporter while Vilma Santos played his career minded wife, Ellen. – read more
  • Paano ba ang mangarap? (1983) – Christopher de Leon played dutiful son Eric, while Vilma Santos played his naive wife, Lisa. – read more
  • Haplos (1982) – Christopher de Leon played Al, the engineer who falls in love with two woman, one is a social worker, the other is a ghost. Vilma Santos played Cristy, the family planning social worker. – read more
  • Sinasamba kita (1982) – Christopher de Leon played rich executive Jerry, while Vilma Santos played Divina, his powerful business rival. – read more
  • Relasyon (1982) – Christopher de Leon played the chauvinistic Emil, while Vilma Santos played Marilou, his mistress. – read more
  • Pakawalan mo ako (1981) – Christopher de Leon played the public defender Freddie Villasenor, while Vilma Santos played the accussed murderer, Ana. – read more
  • Karma (1981) – Cameo Role – Christopher de Leon played the newly reincarnated lover of Vilma Santos in the end part of the movie. – read more
  • Magkaribal (1979) – Christopher de Leon played Eric Guerrero, the man behind the rivalry childhood friends, Vilma Santos and Alma Moreno. – read more
  • Pinay, American Style (1979) – Christopher de Leon played workoholic Fil-Am, Chris, while Vilma Santos played the Filipino illegal alien, Paula Xavier, PX. – read more
  • Gusto kita mahal ko siya (1979) – Christopher de Leon played the other lover of Vilma Santos, the other was Romeo Vasquez. – read more
  • Ikaw ay akin (1978) – Christopher de Leon played the conflicting and comfused Rex Aguilar, while Vilma Santos played Sandra, the rival of Tere played by Nora Aunor. – read more
  • Disco Fever (1976) – Christopher de Leon played the other lover of Vilma Santos, the other one was Victor Cocoy Laurel. – read more
  • Mga mata ni Angelita (1978) Cameo Role – Christopher de Leon played the “lover” rod, while Vilma Santos played the “worried wife” in this multi-casted film. – read more
  • Nakawin natin ang bawat sandali (1978) – Christopher de Leon played married man Bejamin, while Vilma Santos played Angela, his mistress. – read more
  • Masarap, masakit ang umibig (1977) – Christopher de Leon played the adopted and responsible son, Alonzo and Mat Ranillo III, played the carefree son, Alvaro, both falls to the ambitious Estella, Vilma Santos. – read more
  • Tag-ulan sa tag-araw (1975) – Christopher de Leon played Rod, unwed father of the unborn child of Nanette (Vilma Santos). – read more

Christopher de Leon (born October 31, 1956 in Manila) is a Filipino film actor and politician. De Leon appeared on the gag show Going Bananas and has appeared in over 120 films since the early 1970s. On July 1, 2010, he was sworn into office as the board member of the 2nd district of Batangas. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

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FILM REVIEW: IKAW AY AKIN

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The Plot: “Botanist, Tere’s (Nora Aunor) long stable relationship with business executive Rex (Christopher Deleon) was shaken when Sandra (Vilma Santos) came into their lives. A pill popping liberal career minded, Sandra made Rex’s monotonous life colourful and exciting. He later realized that both women complete his existence.” – RV (READ MORE)

“An unusual story of three people caught in the unexplainable intricacies of love and need. The five year old relationship of Rex and Tere is put to a test as Sandra, the kooky, talented and aggressive designer rocks the picture perfect and peaceful relationship. The solid and unruffled engagement cracks as Rex is immediately smitten by Sandra’s dynamic persona. The film features the superstar team-up of award winning artists Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos and the drama king, Christopher de Leon.” – Database of Philippine Movies (READ MORE)

“Ang ‘Ikaw ang Akin’ ay tungkol sa isang paboritong paKsa sa ating puting-tabing: ang trianggulo ng pag-ibig. Si Rex (Christopher de Leon) ay batambatang tagapamahala ng isang pagawaan ng dyipni. Limang taon na silang magkatipan ni Tere (Nora Aunor), isang dalubhasa sa paghahalaman. Mapayapa at maayos ang kanilang pagsasama hanggang makilala ni Rex si Sandra (Vilma Santos), isang designer. Nagsimulang magkaroon ng sigalot ang pagsasama nina Rex at Tere. Hindi makapagpasiya si Rex kung sino ang pipilijn sa dalawa na kapwa naging matimbang sa kanya. Sa huli, nataios ni Rex na ang pag-ibig at pag-aangkin sa isang nilalang ay isang masalimuot na damdaming hindi nararapat sarilinin ng isang tao lamang.” – Manunuri (READ MORE)

The Reviews: “…After 37 years, Ikaw Ay Akin becomes a materialist indictment of the patriarchal deceit cisgender passion must contend with, opening up the queerness that emerges from feminine confidence as zone of alternative feelings. And, of course, Nora still punctures the assault with an imperturbable will to punctuate the sentence, despite the adages of her time failing to utter competitive affection, convincing Vilma that the encounter isn’t just about female rivalry, but also masculine decadence…” – J. Pilapil Jacobo, Young Critics Circle Film Desk, 21 November 2015 (READ MORE)

“…Bernal, testing the tensions of triangular love (for geometry books, one of his characters wittily says) for some time now, plunges deeper into character analysis and metaphorizing. In Lumayo, Lumapit ang Umaga, the triangle was unevenly explored: the first love was sketchily drawn. Dalawang Pugad, Isang become a choice for a more stable relationship. Walang Katapusang Tag-araw was a strange reverse of characters for two women and an unusual development of love into hatred and hatred into love, where therefore the triangle was essentially illusions. Ikaw ay Akin finally sets an interlocked triangle on its bases and looks at it (from all 3 angles) squarely in the face. Except for some scenes with overdrawn energy, the viewing is intelligent entertainment. However, after an interesting beginning and development one feels the resolution is too simplified…and too calculated. Charing (Nora) is the confident, authoritative, ultra-responsible mother-figure who fits very nicely with Rex’s (Boyet) tentative character: orphan-psyched, retreating… an incomplete figure. Sandra (Vilma) outs a very colorful character: agressive, creative, lively – but underneath it all, essentially a clinging vine. They are such convincing characters, and all their needing and suffering come accross very easily from the celluloids. With just a few scenes they are rounded out. Charing and her orchids – a reflection of her care for Rex and her discerment between experiment and commitment; Rex and his parachute – a give-away of his secret longing to get away from all the givens of his life (the inherited business, cons of orphan’s loneliness even his 5-year relationship with Charing!) Sandra and her designs – creating is at once product of her character and a need (initiating a realtionship with Rex is expression of need more than any romantic feeling). When Rex, balancing the triangle, verbalizes all these into a very basic “She needs me; I need her needing me plus your caring for me,” clearly sided heavily on Sandra’s side, it is unbelievable that it should all boil down to plain need, that decisions on love could be made this easily. Questions: While one is at verbalizations, why not mention the giving side of love, appraise or even applaud it a little instead of leaving it implicit in Charing’s character – which could be, come to think of it, the key out of tanglejails of possession? Ofcourse Bernal might have been considering less subtlety in a bid for a more popular style. Granting that, one may still appreciate the five selections of environmental details that areally delineate characters and character development – a fine effort to bring setting characters and action into a unified direction – but are triangles the curret favorite in the moviemarket? If this means it is a main concern in many lives today, then…what a hell!…” – Petronila Cleto, Pelikula, Atbp (READ MORE)

“…Unlike other superstar team-ups that fail to exploit the golden opportunity of pulling in sure audiences to watch a serious work, Bernal’s greatest achievement lies not so much in putting his three big stars together but in making use of them to lure their fans and followers intos eeing a mature, sensible film. And his cast serves Bernal very well. In the hands of a capable director, Christopher de Leon proves that his forgettable appearance in such odious films as “Topo-Topo Barega” and “Disco Fever” are mere lapses in judgment that do not entirely discredit his craft. He also shows enough gallantry by not getting into the way of his leading ladies, whose roles are undoubtedly more demanding than his. As the uptight Sandra, Vilma Santos has the script’s choicest, wittiest lines. She makes the most of them and succeeds in giving a fairly accurate portrait of an emotionally insecure young woman. And when she tells Rex: “sabi nila liberated ako, front lang. Kalog daw, front din. Alam mo namang kulang-kulang ako. Pag wala ka, magkakalat ako. Para akong manok, takbo ng takbo wala namang ulo.” She likewise handles her final breakdown exceedingly well. Nora has less lines but she nevertheless manages to conveys her emotions very effectively. In that family reunion-party which is so engrossed in gossip and banter, she remains so detached, speaking nary a word — a triumph for both Bernal and her. The hurt in her eyes continues to build up until that disrupted dinner scene where she rushes to her room and, unable to contain herself, finally cries. The most stable of the three, you could really believe her when she tells Rex: “Galit ako sa ‘king sarili, dahil sinasaktan mo na ako nang todo-todo pero lalo ka namang napapamahal sa akin.” The film is greatly enhanced by Jose Carreon’s vibrant script, Mel Chionglo’s superb production design, the Vanishing Tribe’s fine musical score, and Augusto Salvador’s brisk editing (few scenes last longer than a couple of minutes). But the lion’s share of credit goes to Bernal. I particularly like his splendid use of meaningful pauses and oppressive silences, as in Sandra and Tere’s accidental first meeting at Rex’s house, Sandra’s soundless dinner with her father that leads to her breakdown, and the long, quiet ending scene where Sandra and Tere never say a word and yet succeed in finally communicating with each other. Our viewers are discomfited by this exhausting process, what with the underdeveloped tastes of our mass audience perpetuated by irresponsible irectors. But one fervently hopes for Bernal, who apparently believes he owes the audience his best even if they are more likely to love his third best more, that they would get the film’s message and, perhaps, even accept and like it.” – Mario E. Bautista, Philippine Daily Express, 1978 (READ MORE)

“…Mas challenging ang role ni Ate Vi rito kumpara kay nora…mas magaganda ang mga dialogues ni Ate Vi na nakakatuwa at magaling ang pagkakadeliver niya ng mga linya. Sexy siya ha at magaganda ang mga damit na ginamit niya rito. Maigsi ang buhok na medyo curly. Bagay na bagay sa kanya. Komento ko lang ay medyo matinis pa ang boses ni Ate Vi rito…Vilma-Nora Scenes: a) sa sine parang sa tingin ko ay di sabay ito kinunan sa tingin ko lang ay di sila magkaeksena rito bagamat pareho silang nasa sinehan. b) bahay scene – ang ikli ng pagsasama nilang dalawa rito na parang pinasabik ang mga manonood kung may iringan ba or acting sa acting ang magaganap, pero walang naganap na ganun! c) No Dialogue Scene – Grabe!! Ang galing ng eksenang ito. First time kong makanood ng ganitong ending…walang salitaan, sagutan, walang murahan, walang away, wala as in wala except labanan ng facial expression, eye acting ika nga. Kainis lang ang director na ito kasi pinaglaruan lamang ang imahinasyon ng mga manonood at ng mga Vilmanians-Noranians!…” – Dream Forest, V Magazine Issue No. 7 Literary Issue 2006 (READ MORE)

“…Makikita sa Ikaw Ay Akin ang dalawang magkaibang estilo ng pagganap na ipinamalas nina Nora at Vilma at kapwa akmang-akma ito sa buong katauhan ng mga karakter na kanilang ginampanan. Sino ang mas mahusay sa kanilang dalawa? Kani-kaniyang opinyon, depende sa mga nakapanood ng pelikula. Maraming nagsabing mas pinaboran daw ni Bernal si Vilma sa dahilang mas maramin itong mabibigat na eksena kaysa kay Nora, ngunit paano makakalimutan ang huling tagpo sa Ikaw Ay Akin kung saan mahabang katahimikan ang naging daan upang higit na magkaintindihan sina Tere at Sandra tungkol sa kanilang pag-ibig kay Rex. Kung totoong mas pinaboran ng direktor si Vilma ay nakabawi naman ito ng husto kay Nora pagdating sa nabanggit na eksena. Kakaiba din ang husay na ipinamalas ni Christopher de Leon, maaring alam niyang ang Ikaw Ay Akin ay pelikula ng dalawang malalaking aktres kung kaya tama lamang ang bigat ng pagganap na ipinamalas ng aktor sa papel ni Rex. Napagwagihan ni Christopher ang Pinakamahusay Na Pangunahing aktor mula sa Manunuri Ng Pelikulang Pilipino nang sumunod na taon samantalang kapwa nakatanggap ng nominasyon bilang Pinakamahusay Na Pangunahing Aktres sina Nora at Vilma sa Ikaw Ay Akin ngunit kapawa sila natalo ni Beth Bautista para sa kanyang mahusay na pagganap sa Hindi Sa Iyo Ang Mundo, Baby Porcuna. Hindi matatawaran ang tagumpay ng mga manlilikhang bumuo sa Ikaw Ay Akin na nagtaas ng kalidad ng dramatikong pelikulang Pilipino, nagturong umintindi ng husto sa damadamin ng mga taong tunay na nagmamahalan.” – Jojo Devera, Sari-saring Sineng Pinoy (READ MORE)

“…While the previous year was less productive in terms of quantity, Vilma Santos came back with a big bang the following year with twelve films. Most of these films were adult dramas. Three notable films were the critically acclaimed “Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak” directed by Celso Ad Castillo and produced by Vilma herself. The local film festival entry, “Rubia Servios” directed by the late Lino Brocka. And lastly, “Ikaw ay Akin” directed by Bernal. “Ikaw ay Akin” reunited Vilma with rival, Nora Aunor. The film also featured Christopher De Leon, who won the local critics’ best actor and best actress nominations for Aunor and Santos as well as best director nomination for Bernal. Aside from Ikaw, Bernal also did two other films, both starring Alma Moreno, “Lagi na lamang ba akong babae?” and “Isang gabi sa iyo Isang gabi sa akin” with Elizabeth Oropeza…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…“Ikaw Ay Akin,” 1978, Ishmael Bernal. A refreshing change of role for the superstar, cast here as a smart and sophisticated horticulturist at odds with best friend and real-life rival Vilma Santos. Notable for its experimental and long closing shot of the two friends’ reunion, with only their eyes talking…” – Mario A. Hernando, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 01 October 2011 (READ MORE)

FILM REVIEW: PINAY AMERICAN STYLE


The Plot: PX, short for Paula Xavier (Vilma Santos) was an illegal alien in New York City. She’s broke and waiting for fiancé, Cocoy laurel to fulfill his promise of marriage despite the fact that Cocoy has already married an American to secure a green card. Hiding from the authorities, PX met two men who are willing to take care of her but conflicts arise as the two wanted to maintain a serious relationship with her. Played wonderfully by Christopher Deleon and Bembol Roco, the film resolved the love quadrangle between ex-fiancé, Cocoy Laurel and the two brothers when the jealous Cocoy reported Vilma to the immigration authorities. PX was deported back to the Philippines. But the films didn’t end in a sour note, PX found herself reunited with Christopher Deleon when the later followed her in the Philippines. – RV (READ MORE)

The Reviews: Shot in New York City and directed by Elwood Perez, this film seems to be a precursor to Miss X (1980) ’Merika (1984) starring Nora Aunor and Milan (2004), even Anak (2000) and Dubai (2005). Talaga bang masarap ang buhay sa ibang bansa? Bakit nagpapakamatay sa green card ang mga Pinoy? PX, mahal na mahal kita, PX, I love you walang iba. Paula Xavier or PX (Vilma Santos) is a TNT like boyfriend Victor Laurel (what an effective undersated performance) who leaves her as his live-in to be engaged to an American to get a green card who promises Vilma to divorce the White girl and to marry PX so they could live happily forever after. Not. Vilma is pissed that Laurel dropped her for good and he left her with unpaid rent and a broken heart. Enter Boyet De Leon, as Vilma’s next boyfriend who has two jobs who has been around long enough to know what he wants in life – women and the American Dream. Enter Bembol Roco, in a great performance as Boyet’s Kuya who is a bagito green card holder in America. He was in the opening scene of the movie where he owns his business and lives comfortably even have someone to make him coffee. Rosa Mia are Roco and De Leon’s battered mother who suffers from the physically abusive second husband (a geriatric Irishman), and verbalized regrets for leaving the Philippines. She has the best lines in the movie and summarized the movie’s theme: “Kung uuwi ako sa Pilipinas ay kung patay na ako. Ayokong umuwi ng buhay at malaman nila na ang hirap ng buhay dito – kayod ka talaga to survive, at di pinupulot ang dolyar, ubas at mansanas sa daan. Ang dami kong dinaanang hirap para lang magka green card.” Vilma Santos as PX is most effective in her scenes as a dumped/bitter girlfriend of Laurel, as a conflicted girlfriend of De Leon, and as a grateful soul who thank Roco for saving her from paying her overdue rent to her white landlord. Her PX is a toned down Sandra of Ikaw Ay Akin. She says to Roco: “Dati, sa konting pagkain, I offer myself to be laid. Napakabait mo.” Roco answers back: “Hindi ganoon kababa ang tingin ko sa sarili ko.” You see, Roco falls for the beautiful PX too and was upset to learn that PX is already making it with his brother, which drove him to drink and was depressed for a while. Panoorin na lang ninyo ang movie. The movie’s hopeful view of America begins with Perry Como singing White Christmas as Roco, in a dream scene, cavorts in the snow in slow motion. In his dying scene in the arms of his brother De Leon, Roco whispers “ni hindi ko man lang nakita ang snow and the above Winter Wonderland scene was replayed, while Boyet’s cry for help fell on deaf American ears. Vilma was deported after Laurel clandestinely reported her to the INS which arrested her at her birthday party. Her farewell scene with De Leon, handcuffed and all in a train station was one of the best scenes in the movie. The movie has a happy ending, with De Leon finding Santos, a flower picker amidst a field of white daisies with Benguet/Baguio as a backdrop. In a typical Elwood Perez slow mo fashion, amidst the daisy flower plantation, the box office love team of all time hugged and lived happily ever after. As credits rolled, Florante’s song Pinay played on. Pinay, American Style. Ang ganda! Vilma Santos yata iyan! – Mario O. GArces, V Magazine Issue No. 6 2006 (READ MORE)

Vilma was obviously under utilized as PX in these Elwood Perez experiment. Despite this predicament, Vilma was able to give us a splash of her abilities. While Nora was in full bloom as Mila in these quiet Portes film. She gave us a convincing portrayal of lonely woman who realized that she was being used by a man she truly loves. The contrast of style was the main point why I matched these two roles. As PX, Vilma was talkative, hiding her insecurity and vulnerability with her fragile disguise pretending to be a rich New Yorker with almost caricature gestures.

Regal films’ Pinay American Style was as commercial as one can imagine. Regal films producer, Lily Monteverde hired three leading men to support the most bankable actress of 1979, Christopher DeLeon, Bembol Rocco and Victor Cocoy Laurel. It was a period in Vilma’s career where she is doing one commercial films after the other. Two dance/musical hits Swing it Baby and Rock Baby Rock and a string of sexy films like Rubia Servious the previous year, Coed and Magkaribal mostly targeting the mature adult audience established her status as the number one box office superstar of 1978-79. Vilma in 1979 was a picture of self-assured bankable star. She did two movies with Elwood Perez, Magkaribal and Pinay American Style both were box office hits. She also produced an Eddie Rodrigues starrer Halik sa Paa Halik sa Kamay, and teamed-up with comedy king, Dolphy in Buhay Artista. As the year 1979 ends, she battled the drama queen Charito Solis in the local festival entry, Modelong Tanso. The end of the decade marked her stronghold as the box office queen. Clearly, Vilma Santos’ versatility as an actress was the secret weapon of her box office success. And this weapon was in full display in Pinay American Style.

Pinay American Style was the story of PX, an illegal alien or TNT – “tago ng tago.” Her boyfriend played by Victor Laurel abandoned her for a rich American girl mainly to secure a green card. PX met an Americanized Filipino, Christopher DeLeon but found him not serious of having her as a steady girlfriend. It just so happened that PX also met Christopher’s brother, Bembol Rocco, a new immigrant. PX and Bembol fell for each other. And a love triangle surfaced the screen. Adding to the drama was Victor Laurel’s enraged, jealous appearances. Laurel eventually tipped the police ending PX stays in New York. As Bembol Rocco realized that America doesn’t fit his lifestyle, he reconciled with his brother and advised him to follow PX in the Philippines. Christopher and Vilma reconciled in a farm field in the Philippines. The end.

The film was so forgettable that the critics didn’t even bother to write any reviews. The lack of enthusiasm on the part of the critics was compensated with the box office success of the film. Vilma fits the role as the illegal alien, PX. Her attempt to speak fluent English and pretend that she’s rich when she met the boyish looking Christopher was funny and poignant. She was given enough scenes to shine. One was when she was harassed by her landlady, she promised her the rent money the next day and when she’s gone, she opened her refrigerator and found a staled piece of bread. She took bottled water and ate the staled bread, went to the bedroom and found her mom’s letter. Lying down in bed, she started to break down. A quiet scene without dialogue. A contrast from the earlier scenes where she was talkative as she tried to impress Christopher and telling him she’s rich and from a well-known family. It was obvious in 1979, Elwood Perez wasn’t the kind of director you will expect to produce a serious output. He wasn’t a Bernal or Brocka. He’s a commercial director. It was a better effort though, compared to a much more convoluted Magkaribal or their past successful projects like Nakawin natin ang bawat sandali and masakit masarap ang umibig. In Pinay, Toto Belano’s script wasn’t efficient in ironing out the “love quadrangle” plot twists and establishing the characters of four actors. So the blame can’t be put to solely to Perez’ shoulder. There was a scene were Vilma Santos and Christopher were watching a concert which was obviously not part of the script. – RV (READ MORE)

“…Elwood Perez and Vilma Santos colloborated in seven films (Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos 1988, Lipad Darna Lipad 1973, Magkaribal 1979, Masarap Masakit ang Umibig 1977, Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali 1978, Pakawalan Mo Ako 1981, Pinay American Style 1979). The first one was the trilogy that he co-directed with two other director, Borlaza and Gosiengfiao (these three are the most underrated and under appreciated directors in the Philippines), the remake of Mars Ravelo comic super hero, Darna in Lipad Darna Lipad. The film was a record-breaking hit Box-office Film. They follow this up with a more mature projects as Vilma started to switched her image from sweet to a mature versatile actress, pairing her with Christopher DeLeon in five films starting with Masarap Masakit Ang Umibig in 1977. The Perez-Santos-DeLeon team produced seven blockbuster hits that gave Vilma two FAMAS best actress awards that secured her elevation to FAMAS highest honour, the FAMAS Hall of Fame award. She won in 1979 for Pakawalan Mo Ako and 1988 for Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos…” – RV (READ MORE)

FILM REVIEW: DAHIL MAHAL KITA THE DOLZURA CORTEZ STORY

ARTICLES - Vi in Dolzura Cortez

The Plot: “Dahil Mahal Kita (Because I Love You): The Dolzura Cortez Story 1994, This Philippine drama chronicles the colorful life of Dolzura Cortez, the first publicly recognized AIDS patient in the Philippines. The film begins with a brief examination of Cortez’s pre-AIDS life. Initially she lived in a small village with her cruel husband and three kids. The spunky woman leaves them and moves to the big city where she engages in several affairs. Her second marriage to a rich foreigner does not last long. To support her children, Dolly begins an all woman “contract worker” agency. This also serves to facilitate her love of night-life. Tragedy comes to Dolzura after she collapses on a dance floor one night and learns that she has full-blown AIDS. At a Manila hospital she meets ex-lover Paulo, an AIDS researcher who encourages to tell her story publicly. The courageous woman does and she becomes instrumental in spreading AIDS awareness to the islands.” – Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide, The New York Times (READ MORE)

The Reviews: This Philippine drama chronicles the colorful life of Dolzura Cortez, the first publicly recognized AIDS patient in the Philippines. The film begins with a brief examination of Cortez’s pre-AIDS life. Initially she lived in a small village with her cruel husband and three kids. The spunky woman leaves them and moves to the big city where she engages in several affairs. Her second marriage to a rich foreigner does not last long. To support her children, Dolly begins an all woman “contract worker” agency. This also serves to facilitate her love of night-life. Tragedy comes to Dolzura after she collapses on a dance floor one night and learns that she has full-blown AIDS. At a Manila hospital she meets ex-lover Paulo, an AIDS researcher who encourages to tell her story publicly. The courageous woman does and she becomes instrumental in spreading AIDS awareness to the islands. It was the first movie on AIDS in the Philippines that provided ‘a name and a face’ among the 50 recorded lives that were lost to AIDS in 1992. This movie was utilized as a focus of discussion by some health care personnel to express their thoughts, opinions and recommendations regarding the use of cinema as a powerful tool for AIDS information dissemination. – You and Aids web-site

The “Dolzura Cortez Story” was the Philippines’ first movie on AIDS that provided ‘a name and a face’ among the 50 recorded lives that were lost to AIDS in 1992. This movie was utilized as a focus of discussion by some health care personnel to express their thoughts, opinions and recommendations regarding the use of cinema as a powerful tool for AIDS information dissemination.

Responding to a newspaper advertisement looking for a person with AIDS, Ms. Dolzura Cortez agreed to have her life story serialized in print and later developed into a movie. The “Dolzura Cortez Story” was subsequently produced as the Philippines’ first movie on AIDS which documented the real experiences of a person living with AIDS in the country. The author reports findings from a study conducted to determine the social impact of the movie as perceived by some health care personnel. Specifically, it aimed to identify the messages that health care providers derived from watching the movie and to make recommendations on how this and subsequent films could serve as an effective tool for AIDS education. 134 health care personnel representing 13 regional hospitals from all over the country watched the film, then answered a questionnaire. The sample was of mean age 35.6 years, 84.3% female, and with mean experience of 10.1 years. 20.1% were doctors, 21.6% nurses, 32.4% social workers, and 25.4% other health personnel. 22.9% had direct experience caring for persons with AIDS and 32.8% knew someone with AIDS. Although these participants perceived some simple and subtle messages from the movie, they also noted its shortcomings. The movie lacked realism; overemphasized the dangers of having multiple sex partners at the expense of warning about other risk factors for HIV transmission; the counsellor pressured the patient and failed to provide enough information on infection control; the psychosocial, economic, and spiritual concerns of people with AIDS were not addressed; and there were some misinterpretations and twisted truths about AIDS facts and the story itself. The respondents suggested that health care providers and people directly involved in AIDS education and counseling be involved in the production of such movies. Moreover, documentary pictures and testimonial footage of the woman would have added realism, while additional basic information about AIDS could have been mentioned in either the movie or a trailer. – NCBI

‘Dolzura Cortez Story’ is an artistic and brilliant film from Manila’s finest director. The movie’s leading actress, Ms. Santos, played her part so powerfully, and is very convincing as Dolzura, the first Filipino HIV/AIDS patient to come- out to the public. The movie is a thought- provoking film, ready to challenge the Filipino idea of what is right and what is wrong. – Jonard, “A thought- provoking, honest film from Philippine’s finest director,” IBDB, March 11, 2000

“…In 1992, wala ni isang pelikulang tinampukan si Nora, samantalang si Vilma starred in only one: Maryo J. delos Reyes’ Sinungaling Mong Puso, na hindi niya pinagtamuhan ng anumang major Best Actress award. In 1993, gumawa si Vilma ng pelikula na ang kuwento’y base sa unang Pilipinang nag-reveal ng pagkakaroon niya ng AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), si Dolzura Cortez. Directed by Laurice Guillen for Octoarts Films, Dahil Mahal Kita (The Dolzura Cortez Story) won Vilma the Best Actress honors at the 1993 Manila Film Festival, Star, Gawad Urian and FAP…” – William Reyes (READ MORE)

“Still bearing activist weight is Vilma’s effort in Laurice Guillen’s Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story in which she fleshes out a body and a mind for a person with AIDS. This initiative constitutes an advocacy not only for people afflicted with the dreaded pandemic, but also for women who have to overcome strata of ostracism in the process of survival and resist their being reduced to an aberration, in this case, a pathology.” – Patrick Flores, Manila Standard Today Jan 11, 2003 (READ MORE)

“…Previously, HIV/AIDS “victims” were seen either as homosexual men, or women who worked in the sex industry. The former stereotype was even turned into a mainstream 1993 Hollywood movie Philadelphia that won a best actor Academy Award for Tom Hanks. The latter, on the other hand, was the subject of a 1993 Filipino film The Dolzura Cortez Story starring Vilma Santos. As a disease, AIDS was highly misunderstood two decades ago. Religious fanatics considered it “a punishment from God” for the sexual excesses of its victims. While a complete falsehood, there was some truth to the other mistaken belief about AIDS—that it would lead to certain death for whoever had the disease, which had no known cure. Fast forward to 2013 and Filipinos still generally remain in the dark about HIV/AIDS…” – Beting Laygo Dolor, Manila Times, 14 August 2013 (READ MORE)

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FILM REVIEW: IPAGPATAWAD MO


The Plot: A married couple who try to make their marriage work despite the fact that both of them are career-oriented and that there are tensions created by the prescence of their first-born child, Mike Jr., who turns out to be autistic. – RV (READ MORE)

The Reviews: “…At first, their marriage is close to being one made in heaven. Mike Esquivel (Christopher) is a successful lawyer, while Celina (Vilma) is a popular talkshow hostess. Celina gives up her career to devote fall time as mother to Junjun, the autistic child, played well by both Bennett Ignacio (when Junjun is three years old) and Terence Baylon (when the boy is seven years old). The husband, however, is totally unsympathetic and even considers the child a disgrace. With the wife spending practically all her waking hours to attend to her “special” child, the marriage expectedly begins to crumble. They only give themselves a second chance when Celina finds out that she is again pregnant. The second child – to father Mike’s relief – turns out to be a normal, healthy boy. But with Mike still unable to accept the first child, the marriage is on the rocks once more. The situation worsens when Mike -driven by the abnormal conditions at home and his own self-centeredness – starts an extramarital affair with a balikbayan named Monique (Bing Loyzaga). Finally, a near tragic incident gives Mike another chance to prove himself a worthy husband to Celina and even worthier father to his kids, especially the autistic one. The movie is poignant, nevermushy. It isnotthe run-of-the-mill tearjerker that relies on maudlin theatrics and melodramatic devices to touch the hearts of moviegoers. Surprisingly, despite the frustrating problem facing the movie couple, moviegoers did not seem to be depressed by the movie…” – Butch Francisco (READ MORE)

“What?s the critics said: Payak, makabuluhan ngunit kakaibang pelikula ang ?Ipagpatawad Mo? ng Viva Films. Sapat ngang ipakipaglaban ng Vilma Santos at Christopher de Leon tandem ang paghahanap ng ibang klaseng script na lalo pang mapatingkad sa status nila bilang mga aktor sa makatuturang kahulugan nito. Mapalad sila sa panulat ni Olivia lamasan ng isang story na tumatalakay sa reaksiyon ng isang pamilya sa pagkakaroon ng abnormal na anak. Hinugot ni Ms. Lamasan ang autism syndrome na first time na inilantad sa Pilipino screen, bagamat tinangka na rin itong ipaliwanag sa ?Rain Man? ni Dustin Hoffman sa Hollywood. Sa story, sina Vilma at Christopher ay intelihente (TV broadcaster at lawyer respectively) at matagumpay na indibidwal. Maykaya sila sa buhay ngunit nagkaanak ng autistic. (Ang autism, ayon sa mga modren psychologists na sina Bernard Rimiand at lauretta bender, ay isang uri ng infantile psychosis na kung saan ang sinasapian ay nagwi-withdraw sa reyalidad ng buhay. Nananatili sila sa sariling daigdig na nilikha ng isip at pantasya.) dahil sa autistic child (Edward Carlos Garcia) unti-unting nawasak ang pamilya nina Vilma. Vilma vowed to protect and care for the child because she felt this is the only way a mother can assure herself that everything can be given to the son. (Pinatunayan nga ng pelikula na mas apt ang title na Paano Ba Ang Maging Ina rito kaysa roon sa ginawa ni Nora Aunor). On the other hand, nire-reject ni Chris at ng kanyang family (Delia Razon, et al) ang bata dahil nakababawas ito sa dignidad ng family stature nila. The conflict progresses to give us the different views on how to accept the frailties of people within our family. Para bang kung paano tatanggapin ng magulang na may anak siyang may butas sa puso or worst bakla. The father and mother image were deliberately explored at sa tuwing mag-aaaway sina Vi at Boyet, parang nakikita natin ang ating mga magulang na nagtatalo. the scenes were too real for comfort.

Nadale ng Viva ang kiliti ng masa. Hindi mo nga kailangang bigyan ng heavy stuff ang tao para masabing matino ang pelikula. Tama na nga sa mga politicized films or pa-social relevance. Bugbog na bugbog na ang ganitong tema sa mga diyaryo at sensayunalismo ng TV Patrol ng Channe 2. Mas kinagugusto ng balana ang mga pelikulang nakasentro sa mga karaniwang problema ng tao, lalo na?t may kinalalaman sa ordinaryong relasyong pantao. Napapanahon ang story ng ?Ipagpatawad?. Simple. Natural na pinakilos ng mga tauhan ng dula na halos parang hindi mo namamalayang pelikula lang pala ito. Aakalain mo ngang nakikinood ka lang sa isang scenario sa buhay ng kapitbahay mo. Ganito katindi ang tama ng pelikula sa manonood. This is indeed a very special movie for Boyet and Vi. Santos is again in the running for Best Actress. She was able to sink her teeth to the role of a disturbed mother torn in the love and responsibilities for her husband and the abnormal child. Except for some restless gesticulation of the hands, damang-dama mong buong katawan niya ay nilukuban ng kaakuhan ng role. All her scenes can be considered highlights, because she was consistently good in them. Her duro scene with Boyet was satisfactorily blocked and orchestrated. So far here, Vilma has an edge over Ruffa Gutierrez, Mona Liza, Janice de Belen and Lorna Tolentino in the acting derby next year. De leon was able to regain his acting brilliance in this movie. hindi puwersado. Cool, less facial contortion which became evident in some recent films he made. I like him better here than in ?Salingin? and ?Makiusap sa Diyos?. Nakababagbag-damdamin ?yung paghingi niya ng tawad sa anak. The monologue, which started sa pasakalye to reconcile ended in pained catharsis, that even a man with a heart of stone whould melt in depression. As a team, gamay na gamay na nina Vi at Boyet ang isa?t isa. Actually. sa tender moments nila, you don?t see them as the stars. You are made to believe they were really husbadn and wife.They were too relaxed. Their movements were free and natural. This is really what we call team acting. Walang sapawan.

The movie added more luster with the convincing portrayal of the kids. (Edward Garcia, Bennet Ignacio at Terence Baylon) who played Vi?s children. Special mention dito si Garcia na gumanap na 3-year old Junjun. Ang nuances niya ng ritualistic hand movements and echolalic sppech (symptom ng autism) ay talagang believable. He is not even conscious of the camera. Not to be outdone ay ang great support nina Charito Solis, as the choleric mother of Vi: Joonee gamboa, as the phlegmatic father; Ruby Rodriguez, as the yaya na talagang agaw-eksena, lalo na sa carnival scene; Bing Loyzaga, na mas improved and better version ni Gretchen Barretto sa movie; at Vivian Foz, as the wronged confused sister of Vi. Exceptional din ang cinematography and lighting works ng movie. As usual, expected sa Viva melodrama ang glossy, fabulous setting na nag-capitalized sa affluent house interior. kaya lang, parang di tugma ang theme song ni Janno Gibbs sa story. But more than this, laudable ang script ni Ms. Lamasan. Veritable na may research work ang writer. Dahil na-inform niya nag madla tungkol sa autism na dominant sa mga batang lalaki ngayon. Naipabatid niya na autism is detectable at the first two years, when the child is suffering from hearing and speech impairment In-insinuate din niya na the birth delivery (as specified in the opening scene) can cause oxygen deprivation that may affect the brain development of the child, thus creating immaturity in vasomotor coordination such as hearing, speech and hand movement. nilinaw rin niya na ang emotional refrigeration (yaong rejection nina Chris, Delia at Vivian) can cause the intensification of the disease. However, na-establish din niya ang love and care ng parents (ni Vilma) at sibling (ng kapatid na normal) will be more than enough to push the child to develop little by little. This time Laurice Guillen has hit the pot. The movie turned out to be artistically made and yet the commercial value of it did not suffer. Bumalik na ang aesthetic eye ni Direktora Guillen. Thank God, a film like this comes once in a while to give us enter-educational (learning with pleasure) millieu.” – Ces Ysobel Orsal (READ MORE)

“…The 1990s saw Charito Solis graduate to mother and grandmother roles, which she had done with frequency in the 1980s. In another nod to her age, she finally allowed herself to be billed above Vilma Santos, then acknowledged as the Longest-Reigning Box Office Queen of Philippine Movies, albeit above-the-title in films such as Ipagpatawad Mo (1992) and Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993)…” – Gypsy Baldovino and Yolly Tiangco (READ MORE)

“So much has been said and written about Enter-Educate (Entertainment for Education) but does anyone really know what it all means? As their ad says people in the entertainment industry who ascribe to Enter Education use their appeal to inculcate positive values. Quickly applying this in the movies, It’s the difference between Ipagpatawad MO (Viva Films) and Disgrasyada (Regal Films) both showing at your favorite theaters. Ipagpatawad Mo is a movie about how a family copes with autisitc children. Value: The Family. I haven’t seen Disgrasyada, but given Regal’s track record for gadawful movies, this movie will probably have Ruffa Gutierrez rompling around (wet, most likely) in Mother Lily’s famous kamison. Value: Magic Kamison. I am not saying that Viva makes better movies than Regal. Viva is the same company which brought you Humanap ka ng Panget and Andrew Ford Medina. But it is making an effort to entertain and educate. Which is more than I could say for other movie companies. Ipagpatawad Mo (Direction: Laurice Guillen) is like a training film for parents of autistic children, with lots of drama and fine acting from two name stars. Before anything else, this is the first time I’ve seen a cellular phone (not cordless) in a Filipino movie. (Puh-leeze, I can’t stand people who use cellular phones in their cars, in restaurants, in movie houses, even in church. I hereby propose cellular phone-free zones). This is observation has nothing to do with the rest of this review. In the movie, Vilma Santos plays a successful TV journalist (Must everyone play Loren Legarda in the movies?) while Christopher is a successful lawyer. Everything is perfect until their son Junjun turns three (Are the two children who played Junjun, age 3 and age 8, autistic in real life, or are they actors?) They find out from Lorli Villanueva, who plays a psychiatrist, not a laudrywoman that their son is autistic. Christopher wants to put Junjun in an institution (ala-Rainman).

Instead Vilma takes Junjun to her parent’s house. She gives up her job, stops playing attentive wife to Christopher, and dutifully takes Junjun to a special school. Christopher complaints that Vilma doesn’t pay enough attention to him anymore. Vilma complains that Christopher has forsaken his duties as a father. They breakup, almost. But they reconcile because Vilma is pregnant. She has given birth to Paolo, a normal child. Understandably, Christopher is proud of Paolo and ashamed of Junjun. He doesn’t want his friends to know he has a “defective” son. One day, Junjun humiliates his father in a party. Christopher scolds him, but Junjun doesn’t understand. Instead, he starts to draw his father with a tail and horns. Christopher has an affair with Bing Loyzaga, who tries very hard to do a Nanette Medved, but ends up looking like Gloria Estefan in that Pepsi commercial. Vilma discovers the affair and moves out of the house. Christopher doesn’t want to lose his family so he breaks up with Bing. He begs Vilma to come back and promises to make an effort to accept Junjun. They take a vacation and finally Christopher comes to terms with his feeling for his autistic son. In a touching scene, Christopher and Junjun sit together, but apart in the living room. He tells his son how excited he was when he was born. How he had such great hopes for him. How dissapointed he was when he found out he was autistic. And that he really doesn’t know what to do with him. But he loves him very much. Christopher cries, Vilma, who has eavesdropped, cries too. Junjun who has been toying with a ball, stands up and leaves the room. I guess this sums up the whole situation of what it’s like to be a parent of an autistic child.

Christopher redeems himself from his bad performance in the movie Huwag Mong Salingin ang Sugat ko, shown last week. He is in top form here, and portrays a gamut of emotions, as a father who could not accept that his son is autistic; as comfused husband who turns to another woman for comfort; as a desperate man who implores his wife to give him another chance; and as a transformed father who finally accepts his son is autistic. Vilma is exceptional, as usual. The two stars look good together. (I cannot imagine Christopher and Nora Aunor together). Although, they looke visibly – dare I say it? – old. Not even the soft-focus lens could disguise the bags under their eyes and the lines on their cheeks. Good thing Ipagpatawad Mo is a movie which deals with a more sophisticated subject, other than a man who meets a woman and they fall in love, or a married man falls-in-love with another woman and vice versa. In the future, I would like to see less cellular phones and more mature movies like this, please.” – Elvira Mata, Manila Standard, Oct 23 1991 (READ MORE)

“Countless subjects have been written about this star for all seasons – a fascinating character to her fans. Her calm composure even in the midst of brickbats thrown her way by some members of the press, her acting talents attested by the 16 best actress trophies and her screen image are reasons enough why she has gained a strong foothold in the hearts of the moviegoers. “Being popular in one’s profession or let’s say being successful, is not a shield against the wounds of life. On the contrary, principles come more often and go deeper if one is successful and popular,” she told us when we chanced to talk toher on the set of her latest movie, Ipagpatawad Mo with Christopher de Leon. Moviegoers have always accepted the team-up of Vi and Boyet, acting and box office wise. This is their 16th partnership. Their first was in Tagulan sa Tagaraw.

So what else is new? “There was a time na parang sawa na kami sa subject ng movie namin. Relasyon, Pakawalan Mo Ako, Imortal, Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali, Masarap Masakit ang Umibig, etc. are just some of them. So when we read the script, we said na sana bago naman ang story, not just a love triangle, or legal separation and such subjects. This is the first time in out picture togethertaht involved our child who is autistic. Not many people or only a few of our parents know what an autistic child is. Akala nila mentally retarded na ang mga yon. Which is definitely not true. Autistic children can be taught, can be improved but it takes a lot of patience and determination to make them so. In this movie, Boyet could not believe that he has such a child and he rejects him. But I could not, and that is the bane of our everyday quarrel. I fiercely defend out son here saying to all and sundry that he is not mentally retarded. How did you tackle the subject of autism? “Boyet and I read books about it, saw a movie with its theme, visited a special school for such children in Forbes Park, and spoke to parents of these children.

Ninety percent of these autistic children are very good-looking and are good in numbers but they have a world of their own. If you teach them something, yon kung ang alam nila, no other world exists. Autism is like virus and it is not hereditary. Hindi malalaman na autistic ang isang bata until they are about three or four years old. But doctors know, when a baby is born that he or she is autistic, only they don’t dare tell the parents about it. This movie should be an eye opener for such doctors and parents.” How is it that you and Boyet are so compatible with each other as a love team? To our knowledge, no other team-up has endured such long partnership. “Maybe it’s because we’re comfortable with each other. And one thing more, the moviegoers accepted our team because there’s no personal involvement between us. It’s not necessary that there’s love angle between us. Ang sa amin platonic lang. Not only that, we’re the best of friends. Do you know that Boyet was the first leading man to whom I confided that I’m going to marry Edu? He was also the first to whom I broke the news that I’m pregnant with Lucky. That’s how firm our friendship is.”

In all the years that you’ve been together in the movies, did Boyet ever court you? I heard before that wen you we’re filming a movie with Eddie Rodriguez, he sent you three red roses. “Naku ha! That’s just his way of affirming our friendship. Walang malisya youn.” If in real life, you’re really husband and wife, do you think your marriage will also endure up to the present? ” I just can’t tell, ha. But Boyet and I are both Scorpions. We have the same strong personalities. Siguro magka-clash kami. But in our scenes in the movies, It’s wonderful if Boyet is my partner, because kung intense at high ang feelings ko, kaya ni Boyet na saugtin kung ano ang sinasabi ko with the same intense feeling.” And with the others? “No comment.” In Ipagpatawad Mo, Vi portrays a mother’s love for her child. “I know the feeling because I am a mother. I’ll fight tooth and nail for the care and well-fare of my son, Lucky.” Vi is going full ahead of her movie schedules next year. After this movie, she’ll be shooting Sinungaling na Puso (temporary title), for Regal’s tehn one with Armida’s Reyna Films (The Heiress), and another one schedule for Vision Films.” – Nena Z. Villanueva, Manila Standard, Oct 28 1991 (READ MORE)