Tribute to Atty. Espiridion D. Laxa

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Revenue and Prestige “…Former movie producer, lawyer Espiridion Laxa explains that, during the festival, since no foreign movies are shown, Philippine movies invariably rake it in. Laxa is the MMFF executive committee’s chair on legal affairs and rules and regulations. Production costs are huge, especially for ambitious films shot on locations abroad, or those employing expensive digital effects. “For example,” Laxa recounts, “for the air raid scene in Regal Films’ ‘Yama$hita,’ they had to digitally create the airplanes. The scene lasted six minutes on screen, but the effect alone cost P14 million.” But the investment paid off, he said, since “Yama$hita” was named Best Picture of the 2001 MMFF. The trophy came with a hefty cash prize. Besides, just being included in the festival lineup already earns much-needed subsidy for the producer. “The festival committee gives the subsidy so that better-quality films will be made,” said Laxa. “President Gloria Arroyo gave P50 million in 2002. Out of that, P4 million went to the producers of each of the film entries. Last year, the film producers received P1 million each from what was left of the 2002 subsidy.” This year, producers received a subsidy, too, but Laxa did not disclose the amount. Finally, producers are after the prestige. Being included in the MMFF’s lineup puts the movies, and the producers, way ahead of the pack. In short, Laxa says, “It’s image-building. Producers want the honor of being included in the filmfest. The perception is that (if your movie is in the MMFF) you’re good…” – Philippine Daily Inquirer, Dec 15, 2004 (READ MORE)

Laxa on FPJ’s death on films: “…When an owner of several theaters in Mindanao learned that Fernando Poe Jr. was making a movie for Atty. Espiridion Laxa, the owner immediately called the respected producer to ask what will happen to FPJ at the end of the movie, will he live or die? When Atty. Laxa answered that FPJ will live when the movie ends, the theater owner heaved a big sigh of relief. He was doubly glad to learn that the King of local movies is playing a Muslim cop in said movie, “Muslim Magnum 357.” Why is it important for the theater owner to know if FPJ is going to live or die in his latest movie? Well, you see, several years back when an FPJ film in which he died at the end was shown in one of the theaters of the said owner, the patrons, which were mostly Muslims, almost created a riot, threw things at the moviehouses’ screen, destroyed the seats and stopped other moviegoers from entering the theater…In fact, it’s not only his Muslim fans who don’t want to see FPJ dead in his movies, but almost all his followers all over the country. But why? Here’s how Atty. Laxa explained this sort of FPJ cult: “In real and reel life, FPJ epitomizes the champion of the small people, the common tao, especially the underdog, who are victims of injustice and abuses. It is as if they see in him, on-and-off screen, their own dreams and aspirations. To the youth, he is a living idol. For almost three decades, FPJ has become a folk hero and heroes don’t die.” – Tony S. Mortel (READ MORE)

Pillar of Local Movies – “…If Jose Nepomuceno was acknowledged the Father of Philippine Movies, Atty. Espiridion Laxa became the Pillar of Local Movies since the mid-50s. At the time LVN Pictures, Sampaguita Pictures and Premiere Productions were about to cease from producing films, Atty. Laxa founded Tagalog Ilang Ilang outfit. He re-established Fernando Poe Jr., Joseph Estrada, Jun Aristorenas, Jess Lapid Sr., Tony Ferrer in starrers Mga Tigreng Tagabukid, Suicide Commandos, Kardong Kidlat, Dugong Tigre and Leon at Tigre. Atty. Laxa launched his brother Tony Ferrer as the local James Bond via the blockbusters Sabotage and Crisis which were critically acclaimed also. The reteaming of top love team then Amalia Fuentes and Romeo Vasquez came to the fore through Atty. Laxa’s project Ako’y Iyung-Iyo which was the top moneymaker then. His firm launched sexy stars to stardom, the foremost were Divina Valencia and Stella Suarez, highlighted by their team up in Labanang Babae, a box office hit. That ushered in the popular song about the duo. In the tune of Hard Day’s Night, with the lyrics Divina Valencia, Stella Suarez nagbu-burlesk. That even kids loved to belt that time, much to the chagrin of elders. However, Atty. Laxa became more respected as adviser, legal counsel . trouble shooter of problems existing within showbiz people. It ignited when Amalia was sued by Sampaguita Pictures’ Jose Perez for breach of contract. With his therapeutic words Atty. Laxa was able to iron the kinks between them out of court. From then on, practically everyone would love to seek his assistance and advice whether personal or about local movies. Not surprisingly, he was chosen the president of the Philippine Motion Pictures Association for decades. Later, then president of the country Joseph Estrada appointed Atty. Laxa the chairman of the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (Mowelfund), showbiz’s counterpart for SSS. The more he turned out to be a pillar of the movie industry. One of those who had categorically benefited from Atty. Laxa’s fold was Vilma Santos. She rose from a sweetie type of star into a highly respected and controversial figure off-screen. Her private life had been guided with care by no less than Atty. Laxa. The reason why Vilma considered him a second father to her. Exactly the same treatment showered to him by most of the stars and movie people, led by FPJ, Erap, Amalia and others. When given a chance to work as his firm’s publicist starting with the FPJ starrer Mabuting Kaibigan, Masamang Kaaway in the ‘90s, this writer was boggled with his big-heartedness and extreme compassion for his workers. Sadly, I was already in Canada during his demise and in his wake some years back. Nonetheless, the legacy Atty. Laxa left behind in showbiz will be instilled not only in my mind but to everyone connected in showbiz or those who had capacious time spent with him…” – Paul F. dela Cruz (READ MORE).

Produced atleast 100 films – “…Laxa’s Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions Inc. and EDL Productions produced some 100 films that were headlined by the action stars of Philippine cinema like Fernando Poe Jr., ex-President Joseph Estrada. Jess Lapid Sr. and Jun Aristorenas. He encouraged his lead stars to put up their own film companies. His films also included drama films that starred Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos. He was responsible for casting together the superstars of Philippine cinema during the 60s to the 90s. Some of the TIIP films included FPJ starrers like Hari sa Barilan and Fandong Asintado, Sabotage with Tony Ferrer as Agent X-44, Markang Rehas with Joseph Estrada, the Nora Aunor-Vilma Santos film Ikaw ay Akin and several Darna films with Vilma Santos. At the time of his death, he was also the chairman of the Movie Workers’ Welfare Foundation (MOWELFUND) and the Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council, Inc. He was also a director of the board of the Film Development Council of the Philippines. Atty. Laxa hailed from Macabebe, Pampanga and took his law studies at the Far Eastern University and Philippine Law School. He passed the bar examinations in 1955. He was co-founder with the late Mayor Antonio Villegas of the Manila Film Festival in 1966 where he served as co-chairman for the periods 1966-69, 1972-74 and 1992-99. He was the chairman of the Rules and Regulations of Legal Affairs Committee of the Metro Manila Film Festival since 1998. Laxa was given the Lifetime Achievement Award of the FAP in 1993, the same year he was awarded the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan for Film by the City of Manila. In 2004, he was given a special recognition award by the Metro Manila Film Festival. For the years 1987 to 1990, Atty. Laxa was the president of the ASEAN Movie Producers’ Association…” (Film Academy of the Philippines, Sep 16, 2009)

Si Falcon at si Darna “…First to speak was Tony Ferrer, the younger brother of Atty. Laxa who used to play the role of Agent X-44 Tony Falcon, our local James Bond. He thanked the people who supported them in their time of bereavement. Tony reminisced the days when his elder brother reprimanded him. “Pumuti ang buhok ko hindi dahil sa trabaho. Ikaw ang nagpaputi ng buhok ko, Tony, kaya itigil mo na ang mga kalokohan mo.” Tony couldn’t control his tears when he said, “Hindi lang ako nawalan ng kapatid. Nawalan din ako ng ama.” Atty. Laxa had taken care of his siblings in the absence of their parents…Marichu Maceda talked at length on the accomplishments of Atty. Laxa in the movie industry. “Pag may taong kakausapin, hinahatak ko siya (Atty. Laxa). Siya kasi ang pambato ko sa casting.” Manay Ichu and Atty. Laxa were the prime movers in the establishment of the Film Academy of the Philippines. Manay Ichu also mentioned the time when Vilma Santos was having a problem with the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue). “Inabot ng one and a half years ang pag-audit kay Vilma. Si Attorney ang taga-busisi, taga-double check ng mga figures.” MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando also took the podium. Before handing an envelope as his donation of sympathy to the family of the late FAP chairman, BF took a one last look at the coffin. Atty. Laxa was a member of the Metro Manila Film Festival’s executive committee of which BF heads. BF made a reference to the issue of the MMFF execom giving him a birthday gift (monetary) every year. And since the funds came from the MMFF coffers, it is now the subject of a senate committee inquiry chaired by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada. The corruption issue is being aimed at Atty. Laxa because, it seemed that, he instigated the gift-giving.  Ric Camaligan, the SVP of SM Entertainment, rectified that notion. “Hindi po si Atty. Laxa ang pasimuno ng regalo. Kami po ang talagang may idea noon,” Camaligan stressed in taking the blame away from Atty. Laxa…First to be seen that night was Vilma Santos who went straight to the coffin. She had many films with TIIP (Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions), the production outfit of Atty. Laxa. Incidentally Vilma’s latest movie, In My Life, was said to have earned 20 million on the first day of showing…” – Alex J. Socorro, FAP, Sep 23, 2009 (READ MORE)

Espiridion Laxa (December 18, 1929 – September 15, 2009) was a Filipino lawyer, film producer, Metro Manila Film Festival executive committee member. He was also Chairman of the Film Academy of the Philippines. He also founded the now defunct Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions,[1] which produced Ibigay mo sa akin ang bukas (1986) Boy Tornado (1987) Alyas Pogi (Birador ng Nueva Ecija) (1990) and Mabuting Kaibigan, Masamang Kaaway (1991). A lawyer by profession, Laxa served as senior partner at Laxa, Mapile & Associates. He was best known as a film producer and official of various movie organizations, such as the Film Academy of the Philippines, Philippine Motion Picture Producer Association and the Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council Inc (Wikepedia).

Accomplishments

  • Member (Integrated Bar of the Philippines)
  • Senior Partner (Laxa, Mapile & Associates Law Office)
  • President (Soliman Lawyers)
  • Legal Adviser (Kapisanan ng mga Sinehan sa Pilipinas)
  • Legal Cousel (Several Corporations)
  • President (Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Production Inc. / EDL Prod)
  • Chairman (Film Academy of the Philippines)
  • Chairman (Philippine Motion Picture Producer Association)
  • Chairman (Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council Inc)
  • Director (Premiere Entertainment Productions Inc)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award (Film Academy of the Philippines)
  • Dr. Ciriaco Santiago Memorial Award (FAMAS)
  • Manila’s 1993 Awardee (Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan)
  • Awardee for Flavio Macaso Memorial Award (FAMAS)
  • Outstanding Manilan
  • Manila’s Diwa ng Lahi Awardee
  • FAMAS President’s Awardee

Source: FAP

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FILM REVIEW: Kampanerang Kuba’s religious rituals and miracles

Kampanerang Kuba started with Andang (Vilma Santos), a hunch back bell-ringer running away from the people in the market. She was accuse of stealing. When she got back from the church (where she lives and work), she was confronted and physically assaulted by Tateng (Celia Rodriguez) for no justifiable reason. Thankfully, Father Damian, the old sick priest intervened. He has long been her protector. Andang felt sad when she found out that Father Damian is leaving. On his absence, a young priest, Father Agaton (Edgar Mortiz) will take over. Aside from ringing the bell, Andang clean and feed the piglets (owned by Ellen and Tateng, they are the church’s caretakers). She normally eats with her bare hands while talking to her patron saint, Saint Martin. She talks and treats the idol along side the church’s bell towers like they are humans. Meanwhile, Tateng, the daughter of the head caretaker, Ellen (Patria Plata), is a sex maniac who loves to abuse Andang. She also seduce men in exchange of material things like jewelry.

One time Andang caught Tateng having sex with Crispin (Dindo Fernando) inside the church, when Tateng found out that she was around, she physically abuse her. Then the following day, while feeding the piglets, Tateng verbally abuse her. Andang retaliate and the two had mud-wrestling inside pig pen. Tateng’s mother Ellen was about to join the fight when Father Agaton arrived and intervened. The next day, a group of women arrived and accused Tateng of accepting gifts from their husband that they own. When Tateng overheard the loud complaints, she quickly went to Andang and pretended she wanted to make amends and gave her a necklace. When the group of women finally faced Tateng, she lied and told them to look for the jewelry at Andang.

The women then went to Andang and accused her of stealing. Afraid of her safety, Andang went to the church’s roof telling them that if they will not stop, she will jump. Tateng convinced Andang not to jump and that she is her friend. The trusting Andang came back and was welcome by the women with physical assaults. They tied her down with a long rope and dragged her on the ground until Crispin, who riding the horse (where Andang was tied down) reached the town’s mountain hill where he threw Andang’s lifeless body. When Andang miraculously regained consciousness, she was seen talking to her patron saint, Saint Martin. He blessed her and was able to bring her back to the church. There, she was blessed by the Virgin Mary. A holy miracle happened, flower petals falls down from the sky and holy lights beams Andang. She slowly changed from the ugly hunch back girl into a beautiful woman. As turned out she became Sandra Belmonte. A woman long gone and who were once the topic of town gossips. Sandra’s two sister found her into the church the next day. Surprised and very thankful, they brought her back to their big home. Andang now assumed the identity of Sandra. Sandra as it turned out has suitor, Roel (Ernie Garcia) who she didn’t like. She also discovered that she missed her life as Andang and now sure that she is in love with Father Agaton.

Can’t control her feelings anymore, she went to the church for the Catholic ritual of confession. And with Father Agaton, she confess her love for him. Tateng overheard this, and coerced the priest to have sex with her in exchange for her silence but failed. In retaliation, she spread this information to the town’s people. Headed by Tateng’s admirer, Max Alvarado, the priest was confronted by the angry people. The priest denied the affair. The town’s people decided to tied the priest into a post and burn him. This is because the priest doesn’t want leave the church. When Sandra who was with Roel, discovered what was happening, she luckily escape madness and went inside the church to pray to Saint Martin. Her pray were answered by the sudden ringing of the church’s bells followed by a loud thunder. It started to rain killing the fire and saving the poor priest. It was a miracle. Tateng’s sinful mind cleared and she ask Father Agaton’s forgiveness, who gladly obliged. Father Agaton then search for Sandra when her suitor Roel appeared. They both went to the church tower and saw Andang instead. The end.

Kampanerang Kuba’s convoluted long story maybe attributed to the original comics material written by Pablo Gomez. A good director should iron out all the unbelievable plots specially all the one-dimensional characters. For example, Celia Rodriguez character, Tateng. She is so masochistic that viewer might wonder why she is so mean. Also, with her tower-nesque beauty, why she decided to remained in a town where everything seems to be so trivial and everyone seems loves to gossip, even the men. Nilo Saez (with Jose Flores Sibal wrote the script) failed miserably in this regard. Shot in Nagcarlan Laguna, Kampanerang Kuba showcased the old Filipino beliefs in patron saints, religious rituals and miracles. It also demonstrates that people can be so cruel, can passed judgement, and can asked for forgiveness that quick when confronted with truth. All will be forgiving without taking into account all the harm that they have done. In the real world, these people will be punished. Celia Rodriguez seems to be wooden in so many scenes but equally infuriating when she started to do her verbal and physical abuse of Andang. With limited dialogue, a young Dindo Fernando portrayed Tateng’s lover convincingly. All the other supporting roles including Perla Bautista, Ernie Garcia and others gave forgettable performances. About the two main lead, Edgar Mortiz and Vilma Santos, both did what they can to portrayed their respective roles. Edgar Mortiz seems to be trying very hard to be effective as the priest but acting is clearly not his forte. Would this be different if Jay Ilagan did this role? Vilma Santos succeed more with her solo scenes, talking to the patron saints and the bell tower, eating with her bare hands and trying to beautify her ugly face. She appeared to be gearing up for more versatile roles that requires her not to sing but to act. – RV

RELATED READING:
Kampanerang Kuba (1974)
Pinoy Classics Review: Kampanerang Kuba (1973)

Filmography: Biktima (1974)

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Basic Information: Directed: Nilo Saez; Story: Laura Santos; Screenplay: Jose F Sabal; Cast: Helen Gamboa, Celia Rodriguez, Perla Bautista, Cristina Reyes, Divina Valencia, Leopoldo Salcedo, Bert Leroy Jr., Joe Sison, Tony Santos Jr., Yoyoy Villame, Tommy Abuel, Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Ike Lozada, German Moreno, Max Alvarado, Renato Robles, Patria Plata, Elizabeth vaughn, Maribel, Danny Rojo, Joaquin Fajardo, Steve Alcarado, Lope Policarpio, Romy Luartes, Lex Amores, Boy Clinton; Executive producer: Espiridion Laxa; Cinematography: Ricardo Dano

Plot Description: In a strange turn of events, Dolores (Vilma Santos) moves in to live with her grandfather, who has sole custody of her ever since her mother was imprisoned for the m rder of Dolores’ father. Mystery unfolds as Dolores stays with her grandfather when members of the household are murdered one by one. Will Dolores escape the chaos unraveling around her or will she be the next victim? – Kabayan Central (READ MORE)

A gripping whodunit with young superstar Vilma Santos at the center of a terrifying murder whirlpool! In the style of Agatha Christie, the story is about Dolores (Vilma Santos), a poor girl who has suddenly found herself a member of a strange but wealthy household, thanks to her newly-discovered sick and aging grandfather. The family members, however, get murdered one by one, making every surviving member a suspect. An all-star cast supports Vilma in this murder mystery, including Helen Gamboa, Celia Rodriguez, Perla Bautista, Edgar Mortiz, Leopoldo Salcedo, Max Alvarado, and Bert Leroy Jr. A Tagalog Ilang-Ilagn Productions presentation. – Trigon Video

Film Achievement: Entry to 1974 Manila Film Festival

Film Review: This was the ending scene (see video below) in the movie “Biktima”, Ate Vi’s entry in the 1974 Manila Film Festival. In the movie, she killed Cristina Reyes, Helen Gamboa, Divina Valencia, Celia Rodriguez, Yoyoy Villame to avenge her mother’s imprisonment who was wrongfully accused of murder. Perla Bautista played Ate Vi’s mother. I think Bobot played as a reporter. Ate Vi was caught and was sentenced to die in the electric chair. That’s why she was bald in the last scene. – moviefan808 (You Tuber)

Filmography: Kampanerang Kuba (1974)

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Basic Information: Directed: Nilo Saez; Story: Pablo S. Gomez; Screenplay: Nilo Saez, Jose Flores Sibal; Cast: Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Celia Rodriguez, Dindo Fernando, Rosanna Marquez, Perla Bautista, Max Alvarado, Ernie Garcia, Tony Santos, Jr., Patria Plata, Metring David, Greg Lozano, Joaquin Fajardo, Steve Alcarado, Romy Luartes, Francisco Cruz, Carmen Romasanta, Danny Rojo, Edwin Cruz, SOS Daredevils, P I Boys; Executive producer: Espiridion Laxa; Original Music: Tito Arevalo; Cinematography: Benjamin L. Lobo

Plot Description: Kampanerang Kuba (lit. Hunchbacked Lady Bellringer) was a fantasy soap opera television series broadcast by ABS-CBN in the Philippines. It was inspired by 1973 film with same title, which was starred by Vilma Santos and Bobot Mortiz. It was tagged as Pinoy Disney. It was originally based from a comic book series written by Pablo Gomez. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Film Achievement: Film adapted from comics written Pablo S. Gomez; Illustrated by Alex Nino for Planet Komiks, 1971; Remade into TV series in 2005 by ABS-CBN and starring Anne Curtis, Luis Manzano, Jomari Yllana with Edgar Mortiz and directed by Wenn Deramas, Andoy Ranay.

Film Review: Kampanerang Kuba’s convulated, long story maybe attributed to the original comics material of Pablo Gomez. A good director should ironed out all the twists and turns and all its one-dimenssional characters. For example, Celia Rodriguez character, Tateng. She is so masochistic that it is just right to know why she is so mean and that with her towernesque beauty, she decided to remained in the town where everything seems to be so tribial. Nilo Saez (with Jose Flores Sibal adapted the script) failed miserably in this regard. Shot in Nagcarlan Laguna, Kampanerang Kuba showcased the old Filipino beliefs in patron saints, religious rituals and miracles. It also demonstrates that people can be so cruel, can passed judgement, and can asked for forgiveness that quick when confronted with truth. All will be forgiving without taking into account all the harm that they have done. In the real world, these people will be punished. Celia Rodriguez seems to be wooden in so many scenes but equally infuririating when she started to do her verbal and physical abuse of Anda. With limited dialouge, a young Dindo Fernando portrayed Tateng’s lover convincingly. All the other supporting roles including Perla Bautista, Ernie Garcia and others gave a forgettable performances. About the two main lead, Edgar Mortiz and Vilma Santos did what they can to portrayed their roles. Edgar Mortiz seems to be trying very hard to be effective as the priest but acting is clearly not his forte. Would this be different if Jay Ilagan did this role? Vilma Santos succeed more with her solo scenes, talking to the patron saints and the bell tower, eating with her bare hands and trying to beautify her ugly face. – RV, (READ MORE)

“Despite of (or perhaps because of) her hideous appearance, she is held dear by the parish priest Padre Damaso but abhorred by the church caretaker, Edeng who maltreats her at every opportunity. Andang is ugly, ugly, ugly and deserves all the pain she can get…don’t think Mang Martin will give the miracle for free. Vilma emerges as the ugly hunchback Andeng! Sandra is gone! Death to fantasy!…” – Silver Screen Surfer, (READ MORE)

Feast for Eyes, Soul – “With only a little over an hour spent on the road, Lenten pilgrims can explore the heritage churches of Laguna province for the traditional “visita iglesia” (church visit) today. Laguna has 86 Catholic churches, 26 of these built between the 16th and 19th centuries. The churches give pilgrims glimpses of the Catholic faith’s beginnings and its role in the spiritual and cultural development of Laguna. Jerry Gaela, 51, a parish priest administering St. Paul the First Hermit Cathedral in San Pablo City, said that while visita iglesia was not a required practice among Catholics, it was “additional devotion for personal and spiritual growth.” Visita iglesia is traditionally done on the night of Maundy Thursday when the Blessed Sacrament is displayed in the churches. People used to visit seven churches, but now, they would go to as many as 14 churches and pray at the Stations of the Cross. The spirit is “to accompany the Lord in his Passion,” Gaela said. These are seven of Laguna’s heritage churches worth a visit today…San Bartolome Apostol Church, Nagcarlan town, The baroque church, 15 km from San Pablo, was first built in 1583 using light materials. It was in 1752 when the second church was built from stone and brick. However, the structure was damaged by a fire in 1781. A choir loft was added when the church was rebuilt in 1845 by Rev. Vicente Velloc, who also built the nearby Nagcarlan underground cemetery. The church was featured in the 1974 film, “Kampanerang Kuba,” starring now Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, and the film’s 2005 television remake of the same title, starring Anne Curtis…” – Kimmy Baraoidan, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 13 April 2017 (READ MORE)

Filmography: King Khayam and I (1974)

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Basic Information: Directed: Cesar Gallardo; Story, screenplay: Nestor U. Torre Jr.; Cast: Joseph Estrada, Vilma Santos, Rod Navarro, Marissa Delgado, Lucita Soriano, Rossana Marquez, Lorli Villanueva, Ike Lozada, Anita Linda, Ruben Rustia, Greg Lozano, Jose Villafranca, Rudy Manlapaz, Avel Morado, Romy Nario, Robert Talby, Arturo Moran, Robert Miller, Delia Victorino, Carmen Romasanta, Elizabeth Vaughn, SOS Daredevils, Dondon Nakar, Winnie Santos, Princess, Big 3 Sullivans, Metring David, Bayani Casimiro, Mary Walter, Ronald Rei, Boy Marco; Executive producer: Espiridion Laxa; Original Music: Restie Umali, Levi Celerio

Plot Description: King Kayam’s search for another wife brought him the escapee, Princess Gracia. She doesn’t want to be wed to a man, she doesn’t love so she left her kingdom and ended up in King Kayam’s kingdom. They met and fell in love.

Film Achievement: Vilma and Joseph’s first film together as an adult actors and third overall. Their first film was “Batang Iwahig,” where Vilma was just a child star. The other film was “Dugo at Pag-ibig sa Kapirasong Lupa” where they did not share any screeen time.

Film Review: The film started promising with funny scenes of Joseph Estrada facing his people seeking his advice or help. One was when a man presented his new product, a flying magic carpet but when the carpet didnt fly, Estrada suggested a lighter weight rider. Then veteran actress and much younger, Mary Walter in a cameo role, brought her just bought magic lamp. She complained to the king that the seller fooled her to buy the lamp and wanted a refund. She then caress the lamp and the gennie came out but instead of the expected giant gennie, a midget dwarf came out. Then from this moment the film went downhill. A singing bird, a transexual Ike Lozada being auctioned, Rod Navarro’s over the top villain antics, all failed to sustained our attention. The weak storyline did not help. Patterned with the Hollywood film, King Kayam & I’s only saving grace was the acting of its lead stars. Joseph Estrada’s precense was commanding and convincing as the playboy king and Vilma’s charming innocense despite the sexy dance number at the end complimented Joseph’s macho image. The two did three films, although they didn’t shared a single scene in Dugo at Pagibig sa Kapirasong Lupa, King Kayam was their only film together as mature actors. Their first outing was Batang Iwahig, when Vi was just a childstar and Joseph was in his early years as a bankable action star. Produced by Experidion Laxa of Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Production, the film was just a mild hit, probably the main reason why there was no follow-up project for the two. Two reasons why the film failed was probably the cheap set decorations and the weak story/screenplay of Nestor U Torre, Jr. The song lyrics of Levi Celerio can’t salvaged the mostly canned music of Resti Umali either. This was despite the splendid musical number in the kitchen (when Vilma protested to the cooks that she was a princess and should be treated like one). Die-hard Vilmanians would probably considered Vilma’s dance number at the very end as the hightlight of the film. – RV, (READ MORE)

“…Naging very successful ang unang pagtatambal nina Vilma Santos at Joseph Estrada sa pelikulang King Khayam And I ng TIIP. Kahit bumabagyo ay hugos pa rin ang tao upang mapanood lang ang napabalitang pelikulang ito. Subalit nitong mga huling araw ng pagtatanghal ng nasabing pelikula, medyo naging mahina ang pasok ng tao. may nagsasabing talagang ganito lang ang panahon kapag magpapasko, sa halip na manood ýung iba, ipinamimili muna ng kanilang pamasko ang mga mahal nila sa buhay. At least, ang kaunting salaping gugugulin nila sa entertainment ay ipinagdaragdag nila sa kanilang Christmas savings…” – Levi, Modern Romances and True Confessions Magazine, 16 December 1974

Filmography: Tsismosang Tindera (1973)

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Basic Information: Directed: Emmanuel H. Borlaza; Cast: Vilma Santos, Jay Ilagan, Ike Lozada, German Moreno, Chanda Romero, Beth Manlongat, Romeo Miranda, Baby Alcaraz, Boyet Cruz, Angelito; Executive Producer: Espiridion Laxa; Original Music: Danny Subido; Cinematography: Benjamin Lobo

Plot Description: Gossipy street vendor Vilma found love (trouble!) Jay in this comedy directed by Borlaza!

Film Achievement: “…Borlaza gave Vilma Santos her very first best actress, winning the 1972 FAMAS for via Dama De Noche. He is also credited in narrowing the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor. Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 4 (#10 Lipad Darna Lipad 1973, #32 Dyesebel at ang Mahiwagang Kabibe 1973, #48 Darna and the Giants 1973, #49 Dama De Noche 1972)…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Jay Ilagan and Vilma Santos did twelve films with commercial success except for one, their most critically acclaimed film, Sister Stella L. Total Number of films: 12 (Inspiration, Ang Konduktora, Tsismosang Tindera, Ang Hiwaga ni Mariang Cinderella, Paano Ba Ang Mangarap, Sister Stella L, Coed, Leron Leron Sinta, Ito Ang Pilipino, Remembrance, Karugtong Ng Kahapon)…” – RV (READ MORE)

Film Review: “…Besides teaming up with Edgar Mortiz during her teen years, Vilma Santos also starred and appeared in many movies opposite other leading men…Jay Ilagan — Inspiration (1972), Ang Konduktora (1972), Tatlong Mukha ni Rosa Vilma (1972), Tsismosang Tindera (1973), Ang Hiwaga ni Maria Cinderella (1973)…” – Simon Santos (READ MORE)

“…His films lack the arthouse style and social relevance that critics loves most in a Brocka or Bernal films but who cares about the critics when the paying public loves them. And the producers demand his service, from Doc Perez of Sampaguita Pictures, Atty. Esperidion Laxa of Tagalog Ilang Ilang Productions and later on, Vic Del Rosario of Viva Films and Lily Monteverde of Regal Films. Clearly, his films exists with one purpose, to entertain the masses not to depress or remind them with the country’s sad fate of economy or the below poverty line lives of many. The success of the Vilma-Borlaza films gave Vilma Santos versatility and preparation to a more serious acting career. It also narrowed the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor. These are perhaps, the most significant contributions of Emmanuel Borlaza to Vilma’s career. Vilma who was considered only second to Nora couldn’t matched her singing talent and so, Borlaza countered this lack of singing with films that showcased Vilma’s acting versatility…” – RV (READ MORE)

Filmography: Now And Forever (1973)

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Basic Information: Directed: Ishmael Bernal; Cast: Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Tommy Abuel, Mercy Pantamaria, Lorli Villanueva, Ernie Zarate, Buth Josue, Jaime Asensio, Ed Villapol, Tony Carrion, Carmen Jiongco, Chito Guerero, Chanda Romero, Elizabeth Vaughn, Randy Robledo; Executive producer: Espiridion Laxa; Cinematography: Benjamin Lobo

Plot Description: No Available Data

Film Achievement: Total Number of Bernal directed films = 8 (Broken Marriage, Dalawang Pugad Isang Ibon, Good Morning Sunshine, Ikaw ay Akin, Inspiration, Now and Forever, Pahiram ng Isang Umaga, Relasyon)

Film Review: “…By late 1969, movie producers had been tapping a Vilma Santos-Edgar Mortiz love team. Edgar was a Tawag ng Tanghalan winner. They started to be together in the movies, My Darling Eddie (1969) and The Jukebox King (1969)…In 1970, the love team of Vilma Santos and Edgar “Bobot” Mortiz was officially launched in the movie Young Love, together with the another popular love team during that time, Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III. The Vi and Bot love team went on to do 14 more movies in 1970—The Young Idols, Songs and Lovers, Sweethearts, Sixteen, Love Letters, Love is for the Two of Us, Mga Batang Bangketa, My Pledge of Love, Renee Rose, Baby Vi, Because You Are Mine, Edgar Loves Vilma, From the Bottom of My Heart, and I Love You Honey. All did well at the box-office…” – Rommel R. Llanes (READ MORE)

“…Noong Dekada ’70, ang mga young stars ay kailangang marunong kumanta dahil yun ang uso kaya naman nagtayo ng sariling recording company ang nasirang manager ni Vi na si William Leary dahil ayaw niyang pahuhuli sa uso ang kanyang alaga. Ilan sa mga naging recording artists ng WILEARS RECORDS bukod kay Vi ay sina Edgar Mortiz, Ed Finlan, Sahlee Quizon, Hilda Koronel at Esperanza Fabon. According to Vi, kapag nagrerecord siya ng kanta ay nakatalikod siya sa dingding ng recording company at si Bobot ang umaalalay sa kanya. Ang SIXTEEN, na sinulat ni Danny Subido ang unang recording na ginawa ni Vi at ito ay flipsided by It’s So Wonderful To Be In Love. Ang SIXTEEN ay agad naging gold record at dahil dito ay gumawa ng pelikula ang Tagalog Ilang Ilang Productions, ang home studio ni Vi at ito ay ginawa nilang pamagat katambal si Edgar Mortiz. Hindi nyo naitatanong, muntik nang manalo si Vi bilang most promising singer sa AWIT AWARDS noong early ’70s…” – Alfons. Valencia (READ MORE)

“…The loveteam of Edgar Mortiz and Vilma Santos endured a stiff competition from teeny bopper love team of Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III and came up with equal success with string of hit films during the musical era of the 70s. Together they did forgettable but commercial hits and also some hints of the years to come to Vilma Santos’ long career. The most notable one: Dama De Noche. Total Number of films with Vilma Santos – 25 (Young Love, Teenage Jamboree, Songs and Lovers, Renee Rose, My Pledge of Love, Mga Batang Bangketa, Love Is for the Two of Us, I Love You Honey, From the Bottom of My Heart, Baby Vi, Love Letters, The Wonderful World of Music, The Sensations, The Young Idols, Sweethearts, Sixteen, Leron-Leron Sinta, Edgar Love Vilma, Don’t Ever Say Goodbye, Dama de Noche, Anak ng Aswang, Because You Are Mine, Kampanerang Kuba, Kasalanan Kaya, Karugtong ang Kahapon…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…The following year, Santos made fourteen films, mostly forgettable musicals. It was also a year where her benefactor started to positioned her as more of a film actress than a singing film star. The results was successful experiments that showcased her comedic ability (Ang Kundoktora), screaming action stunts (Takbo Vilma Dali) and dramatic capability (Dama De Noche). Her followers was delighted when she earned her first acting recognition the next year receiving the FAMAS best actress via Dama De Noche. Most of her films in 1972 were directed by Emmanuel Borlaza however, she was able to do one film with Ishmael Bernal, “Inspiration” with the late Jay Ilagan, one of her regular film partner. According to Bernal, the film wasn’t as successful as what he expected, as the film flopped. Aside from Inspiration, Bernal did two other films, El Vibora (starring Vic Vargas and Boots Anson Roa) and Till Death Do Us Part (starring the young Hilda Koronel and Victor Laurel). 1973 turned out to be a banner year for Vilma Santos as she emerged on top with box office hits one film after another. Nine films altogether that featured her in different genres (comedy – “Tsismosang Tindera;” fantasy – “Maria Cinderella,” “Dyesebel at ang Mahiwagang Kabibe” and ”Ophelia at Paris;” action/fantasy – “Wonder Vi,” “Lipad, Darna, Lipad,” and “Darna and the Giants;” horror – “Anak ng Aswang” and teenybopper – “Carinosa” and “Now and Forever”). While Vilma was productive Bernal, like the past two years did only two films, one was the comedy fantasy starring television host and comedian Ariel Ureta in a spin off of Superman, “Zoom, Zoom, Superman!” and “Now and Forever” the film that reunited him with Jay Ilagan and Vilma…” – RV (READ MORE)

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