Film Review: Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw


The Plot:
 “Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw” directed by Celso Ad Castillo started with Nanette (Vilma Santos) meeting Rod (Christopher Deleon) while vacationing in their rest house along the beach. It was clear to both that it was love at first sight but this instant chemistry ended when they discovered they are first cousins. Faith continued to play an important role to their initial attraction as Rod joined Nanette along with her parent to Manila where Rod was permitted by his parent to continue his study. Rod and Nanette at first decided to resist their feeling for each other by dating other people but their love for each other are more intense than what their mind dictates. The two started to have a secret affair culminating to a hot sex when they came back to the rest house when another summer arrives. As expected Nanette gets pregnant and the problem to expose, their taboo affair is ticking. Worst, Nanette’s morning sickness was noticeable to her suspicious mother played wonderfully by Lorli Villanueva. When finally Nanette’s family found out her condition, she was beaten by her angry father but she remained tight lipped to tell who impregnated her. As Rod tried to remained his calm, Nanette’s family locked her to her room until she’s ready to talk. Rod climbed to the balcony to speak to her and that’s when Nanette’s family discovered who is the father. As Rod came down to the balcony, he was cursed by both parents and was beaten by them as Nanette beg for mercy. Rod was hospitalized as his parent came from the province and beg for forgiveness to the angry Julio (Eddie Garcia), Nanette’s father. Julio was fuming and throws the couple out the house. He also mentioned that they are planning to abort Nanette’s baby. When Rod found out from his parents the planned abortion, he left the hospital and went back to his uncle’s house. Very timely, Rod arrives as Nanette together with her family was headed to the abortion clinic. With the help of two security guards, Rod was controlled as his uncle’s car passed him and Nanette cried for intervention. Rod followed the car and was almost successful as the car stopped for the traffic lights. But his attempt failed as the car continued its destination. The end.

The Review: The Catholic Church prohibits marriage between first cousins and it is considered a sin. Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw successfully tackles this topic with convincing scenarios and believable characters. Celso Ad Castillo’s style remained true to many films in the 60s with canned music and repetitive voice over by its two main characters. One scene you will hear Christopher narrates his feelings and the next scene it was Vilma’s turn to speak. Most of this narration or voice over while they are playing in the rain on the streets or on beach. This is the first film by Vilma Santos and Christopher Deleon and it was clear that the two have that chemistry on screen. The film ensemble was quite impressive starting with Eddie Garcia and Lorli Villanueva as Nanette’s parents. As Julio, Eddie Garcia was animated at times but his character balances out the mother role of Lorli Villanueva. Joseph Sytanco’s role as Nanette brother was minimal and he doesn’t have enough lines but his quiet scenes were effective. Johnee Gamboa and Odette Khan’s performance as Rod’s parents were excellent. The agony on Odette’s voice as Johnee, her husband begs for forgiveness on behalf of their son was very believable. The two main characters, Christopher Deleon and Vilma Santos obviously carried the film with surprising maturity. Considering this was their first team-up and both were very young. In 1975, both were still in transitions, from teenybopper stars of the musical era to serious actors. Christopher Deleon’s performance was quite impressive as the apologetic Rod, except for some scenes where you can see his nostril moves, he gave a very affecting performance. Vilma Santos equally balance the equation with a touching show of emotions that we seldom see in her early films that are mostly musicals, fantasy or comedies. Three scenes stand out. First was in the bus where she confronted her “Kuya Rod” to not to give-up on their relationship. Second when her parents caught them in the balcony. She begs them to stop beating up her “Kuya Rod.” And then finally, the driving to the abortion clinic scene, she cried her heart out begging them to stop and cried for help to her “Kuya Rod,” who was running behind and trying very hard to stop the car. Celso Ad Castillo successfully gave us a very moving film.

Even with the very annoying number of voice-over scenes, scenes that you will hear the two main characters talks but you will see them not opening their mouth, the film has so many good qualities that you will forgive these flaws. We probably attributed these flaws to the style of many films in the 60s and 70s. Ricardo David’s cinematography was excellent particularly the many scenes on the streets. You can see many spontaneous shots of people that were gawking at Christopher Deleon running like a maniac. David’s very intricate camera work inside the car, dinner table and at the living room while Nanette’s mother was playing piano adds to the intense mood of the film, this is despite some shot where you can see the shadow of the camera particularly when Christopher left the house because he can’t stand to see Nanette being slap repeatedly by her angry father. The film was fast paced, thanks to Augusto Salvador’s editing. There are many scenes where the background music matches the mood like the choir/choral-like music at the very end of the film but Ernani Cuenco used so many canned music that sometimes it was very distracting. Like the voice over style used by Castillo, the musical score used in this film was typical of the 60s and 70s. Even the excellent Lino Brocka film, “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang” used this kind of style. Overall, Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw was a superb film that highlighted the potential on screen chemistry and talents of the screen team of Christopher Deleon and Vilma Santos. For their fans, I would recommend to have a copy of this classic film. – RV (READ MORE).

“…Celso Ad Castillo: I see the movie in my mind even before I start shooting. I’m meticulous. I control everything on the set, even during post-production — from editing and music to sound. My audience knows my style. It’s like painting: You discover your style, then you do it. I caught “Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw” with Vilma Santos and Boyet de Leon on Cinema One the other day, and I clearly saw my own style, in terms of sensitivity, shots and drama. – Ronald Mangubat, Inquirer, 06/09/2007

“…The problem of love in Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw stems not from the lovers per se but from their ill fate as cousins. The factors are both socially dictated and morally stringent, situations that they cannot change no matter what they do. Even if they go on living together, they will still be hounded by the truth. Wherever they go, that truth cannot be proven false. Fate did two unpardonable things to them: bring them together and break them up. It is inevitable to question if it was their fault—or if their love was a fault at all, or if it was the society’s fault, for imposing the way things should be. The film makes a point of raising doubts on our moral attitudes and obligations, without telling us what is right or wrong but simply showing what happens when the doors of people’s minds are closed forever—when refusal to understand ruins happy couples’s lives. All desperation peaks in the end. The heartbreaking ten-minute chase stands as a powerful statement on what love can do in the harshest of circumstances. It is a perfectly executed sequence, that aside from showing the extent of possibilities that they are willing to get themselves into just to be together, it also delivers the horror of the couple’s misery, of the inability of their love to win –of losing each other forever.

First we see Nanette being dragged down the stairs by her father and brother as she begs for her child not be aborted. Rod, coming from the hospital, arrives and screams for mercy. Not to be moved by their plea, the father drives the car out of the house. Rod runs after it, limping, and chases the car in the middle of the road until he catches up. He hits the car, kicks it, and breaks the window. A lot of bystanders look after them. When he is able to jump into the rear of the car, he struggles to hold onto it, as the father willfully swerves the car to drop him behind. He kisses the window. Nanette struggles against her mother and brother holding her. She tries to touch his face in the window. And he falls—he falls hard on the ground. Getting up, he runs again. Levi Celerio’s “‘Yan Ba’y Kasalanan” plays in the background. Everything feels so real and timeless, it can only be real and timeless….” – Richard Bolisay, Lilok Pelikula (READ MORE)

“…Ad Castillo’s Tag-Ulan sa Tag-Araw (Monsoon Rain in Summer, 1975) is about a young man (Christopher de Leon) who dorms with his uncle and aunt and falls in love with his cousin (played by a waiflike Vilma Santos). Ad Castillo tackles the sensational subject of incest by framing the two lovers’ relationship as a kind of innocent affair, taking place in a countryside Eden. It’s the kind of hackneyed concept that really shouldn’t work; the result ought to be less like D.H. Lawrence and more like Emmanuelle. But Ad Castillo happens to have one of the most prodigiously talented eye in all of Philippine cinema, and the heedlessly lyrical manner in which he shot Tag-Ulan transforms softcore porn into something like art. Every rainfall, every shaft of light, every leafy shadow caught by his largely handheld camera makes you catch your breath; there is lovemaking without nudity, yet Ad Castillo shoots with such throbbing intensity you are nevertheless aroused…” – Noel Vera, Critique After Dark, 06 December 2012 (READ MORE)

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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: Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw (1975)

“Kuya Rod…ayokong magsisi ka…nasasaktan ako…basta’t mahal kita, mahal na mahal kita, basta’t mahal mo ako, hindi tayo dapat magsisi, hindi tayo dapat mahiya!” – Nanette

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Basic Information: Directed, story: Celso Ad. Castillo; Screenplay: Mauro Gia Samonte; Cast: Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon, Eddie Garcia, Lorli Villanueva, Joseph Sytangco, Joonee Gamboa, Odette Khan, Pedro Faustino, Alma Moreno, Rez Cortez, Soxy Topacio, Eva Darren, Edna Diaz, Nympha Bonifacio; Executive producer: Lourdes S. Sevilla; Original Music: Ernani Cuenco; Cinematography: Ricardo M. David; Film Editing: Augusto Salvador; Production Design: Baby Alvarez; Sound: Manuel Daves; Released date: 24 October 1975

Plot Description: First cousins, Rod (Christopher Deleon) and Nanette (Vilma Santos) fell in love. The result was an unwanted pregnancy and a scandal that their family have to endured and ended into a trip to the abortion clinic. RV

A young co-ed (Vilma Santos) falls in love with her first-degree cousin (Christopher De Leon), who stays with her family while studying in Manila. Their forbidden affair, which they keep secret from their family, is revealed when she becomes pregnant. For the scandalized family, abortion is the only solution left, which the two lovers resist. – ABS-CBN (READ MORE)

Film Achievement: The very first film of Christopher Deleon and Vilma Santos, considered as one of the most successful love team Philippine cinema ever produced. As of 2008, Deleon and Santos has twenty-three films under their belt.

Film Review: The film “Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw” directed by Celso Ad Castillo started with Nanette (Vilma Santos) meeting Rod (Christopher Deleon) while vacationing in their rest house along the beach. It was clear to both that it was love at first sight but this instant chemistry ended when they discovered they are first cousins. Faith continued to play an important role to their initial attraction as Rod joined Nanette along with her parent to Manila where Rod was permitted by his parent to continue his study. Rod and Nanette at first decided to resist their feeling for each other by dating other people but their love for each other are more intense than what their mind dictates. The two started to have a secret affair culminating to a hot sex when they came back to the rest house when another summer arrives.

As expected Nanette gets pregnant and the problem to expose, their taboo affair is ticking. Worst, Nanette’s morning sickness was noticeable to her suspicious mother played wonderfully by Lorli Villanueva. When finally Nanette’s family found out her condition, she was beaten by her angry father but she remained tight lipped to tell who impregnated her. As Rod tried to remained his calm, Nanette’s family locked her to her room until she’s ready to talk. Rod climbed to the balcony to speak to her and that’s when Nanette’s family discovered who is the father. As Rod came down to the balcony, he was cursed by both parents and was beaten by them as Nanette beg for mercy. Rod was hospitalized as his parent came from the province and beg for forgiveness to the angry Julio (Eddie Garcia), Nanette’s father. Julio was fuming and throws the couple out the house. He also mentioned that they are planning to abort Nanette’s baby.

When Rod found out from his parents the planned abortion, he left the hospital and went back to his uncle’s house. Very timely, Rod arrives as Nanette together with her family was headed to the abortion clinic. With the help of two security guards, Rod was controlled as his uncle’s car passed him and Nanette cried for intervention. Rod followed the car and was almost successful as the car stopped for the traffic lights. But his attempt failed as the car continued its destination. The end.

The Catholic Church prohibits marriage between first cousins and it is considered a sin. Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw successfully tackles this topic with convincing scenarios and believable characters. Celso Ad Castillo’s style remained true to many films in the 60s with canned music and repetitive voice over by its two main characters. One scene you will hear Christopher narrates his feelings and the next scene it was Vilma’s turn to speak. Most of this narration or voice over while they are playing in the rain on the streets or on beach.

This is the first film by Vilma Santos and Christopher Deleon and it was clear that the two have that chemistry on screen. The film ensemble was quite impressive starting with Eddie Garcia and Lorli Villanueva as Nanette’s parents. As Julio, Eddie Garcia was animated at times but his character balances out the mother role of Lorli Villanueva. Joseph Sytanco’s role as Nanette brother was minimal and he doesn’t have enough lines but his quiet scenes were effective. Johnee Gamboa and Odette Khan’s performance as Rod’s parents were excellent. The agony on Odette’s voice as Johnee, her husband begs for forgiveness on behalf of their son was very believable.

The two main characters, Christopher Deleon and Vilma Santos obviously carried the film with surprising maturity. Considering this was their first team-up and both were very young. In 1975, both were still in transitions, from teenybopper stars of the musical era to serious actors. Christopher Deleon’s performance was quite impressive as the apologetic Rod, except for some scenes where you can see his nostril moves, he gave a very affecting performance. Vilma Santos equally balance the equation with a touching show of emotions that we seldom see in her early films that are mostly musicals, fantasy or comedies.

Three scenes stand out. First was in the bus where she confronted her “Kuya Rod” to not to give-up on their relationship. Second when her parents caught them in the balcony. She begs them to stop beating up her “Kuya Rod.” And then finally, the driving to the abortion clinic scene, she cried her heart out begging them to stop and cried for help to her “Kuya Rod,” who was running behind and trying very hard to stop the car. Celso Ad Castillo successfully gave us a very moving film. Even with the very annoying number of voice-over scenes, scenes that you will hear the two main characters talks but you will see them not opening their mouth, the film has so many good qualities that you will forgive these flaws. We probably attributed these flaws to the style of many films in the 60s and 70s.

Ricardo David’s cinematography was excellent particularly the many scenes on the streets. You can see many spontaneous shots of people that were gawking at Christopher Deleon running like a maniac. David’s very intricate camera work inside the car, dinner table and at the living room while Nanette’s mother was playing piano adds to the intense mood of the film, this is despite some shot where you can see the shadow of the camera particularly when Christopher left the house because he can’t stand to see Nanette being slap repeatedly by her angry father.

The film was fast paced, thanks to Augusto Salvador’s editing. There are many scenes where the background music matches the mood like the choir/choral-like music at the very end of the film but Ernani Cuenco used so many canned music that sometimes it was very distracting. Like the voice over style used by Castillo, the musical score used in this film was typical of the 60s and 70s. Even the excellent Lino Brocka film, “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang” used this kind of style. Overall, Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw was a superb film that highlighted the potential on screen chemistry and talents of the screen team of Christopher Deleon and Vilma Santos. For their fans, I would recommend to have a copy of this classic film. Special thanks to Liam Tayag for downloading this film via Youtube. RV

Celso Ad Castillo: I see the movie in my mind even before I start shooting. I’m meticulous. I control everything on the set, even during post-production — from editing and music to sound. My audience knows my style. It’s like painting: You discover your style, then you do it. I caught “Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw” with Vilma Santos and Boyet de Leon on Cinema One the other day, and I clearly saw my own style, in terms of sensitivity, shots and drama. – Ronald Mangubat, Inquirer, 06/09/2007

Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw is the first screen team-up of Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon. That fact alone gives the film a unique importance. This partnership paved the way for a string of memorable films together. They played notable roles, shared celebrated scenes, delivered unforgettable dialogues, and reaped acclaim for their performances. Theirs is the ripest love team in Philippine cinema, transcending cheap romance in exchange of maturity, often appearing as a couple in the hardest of circumstances. In Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw, they play cousins who fall in love with each other, and knowing it is socially unacceptable, they try to fall out of it. It seems awkward for a first team-up, considering its taboo subject, but seeing young Vilma and Boyet weep as they fight for their impossible love story, it only shows that they only get better the harder their roles are.

It is already clear in the beginning that their romance is doomed. Rod and Nanette meet in a beach house owned by her parents, who bring Rod along to stay in their place in Manila to study. It is love at first sight—Rod sees her playing along with her friends in the beach and as she runs to get her dog, they exchange names, glances, and affection. Right that very moment, they are in love. They walk around the place, holding hands, sharing their surprise on how comfortable they already are with each other. There is nothing really malicious about it. We all know that their affection is sincere. They have longed for it—and it came. – Richard Bolisay, Lilok Pelikula (Read More)

Noel insisted that I watch Tag-Ulan Sa Tag-Araw, a Vilma Santos-Christopher de Leon movie from the 70s. Hadn’t realized it was written and directed by Celso Ad. Castillo, the demented genius of Philippine cinema. I used to see the movie on TV ages ago, and I’ve never forgotten the final scene in which Vilma’s parents are taking her away, Christopher is chasing the car on foot, and at every stoplight he hurls himself at the car, smashing the windows and bouncing off the hood. It was intense and oddly, not laughable. Nenet (Santos) and Rod (De Leon) are cousins who fall in love at first sight before they learn that they are first cousins. Rod has come to Manila to attend university; he lives in the house of Nenet’s parents. The parents are played by Eddie Garcia and Lorli Villanueva, and their hamminess fits the movie perfectly. They’re not the villains: there is no villain, the culprit is passion. Rod does the decent thing: he avoids Nenet and tries to move out of the house. But this is first love of the hysterical kind, the passion that drives the young insane, and the actors are so committed to their roles that you believe every cheesy line they utter. Their love overrides all rational thought. In one scene Nenet confronts Rod on the bus—she always calls him “Kuya Rod”, reminding everyone of the incest—and in front of all the passengers, declares that she doesn’t care if they’re cousins, she loves him. Instead of eliciting giggles, the scene is genuinely disturbing. These young lovers are beyond silliness: they are in a delirium. Celso Ad. Castillo is a master at creating and drawing out emotional tension—as Noel pointed out, it’s almost like watching a horror movie. The lovers can’t abide parental counsel; what they need is an exorcist because they are possessed. There’s even a balcony scene, a demented reference to Romeo and Juliet. The copy is gray and brown with age, unrestored, lacks opening and closing credits, and don’t even mention subtitles or special features. We’re just glad it still exists. Tag-Ulan Sa Tag-Araw is available at video stores; Raymond found his copy on sale for 100 pesos. – Jessica Zafra (READ MORE)

“…Ad Castillo’s Tag-Ulan sa Tag-Araw (Monsoon Rain in Summer, 1975) is about a young man (Christopher de Leon) who dorms with his uncle and aunt and falls in love with his cousin (played by a waiflike Vilma Santos). Ad Castillo tackles the sensational subject of incest by framing the two lovers’ relationship as a kind of innocent affair, taking place in a countryside Eden. It’s the kind of hackneyed concept that really shouldn’t work; the result ought to be less like D.H. Lawrence and more like Emmanuelle. But Ad Castillo happens to have one of the most prodigiously talented eye in all of Philippine cinema, and the heedlessly lyrical manner in which he shot Tag-Ulan transforms softcore porn into something like art. Every rainfall, every shaft of light, every leafy shadow caught by his largely handheld camera makes you catch your breath; there is lovemaking without nudity, yet Ad Castillo shoots with such throbbing intensity you are nevertheless aroused…” – – Noel Vera, Critique After Dark, 06 December 2012 (READ MORE)

Forest of the Heart – “…The best way to learn how to write is to keep on reading and writing. That was the advice I got from the late Vicente Rivera Jr., Literary Editor of the Weekly Graphic Magazine in 1965. Evidently concerned that I might be getting discouraged by the avalanche of rejections of my contributions to his section, Vic would write me such notes and attach them to the manuscripts that he sent back. Finally out of school, having permanently aborted my engineering studies, I was then working as a stay-in janitor-messenger in a travel agency in Binondo. That stay-in status gave me whole nights of pounding the typewriter for churning out short story manuscripts so endlessly it must seem that a friend of the agency owner who was doing PR for a brewery company would taunt me with ridicule: “The only good thing you are doing is you are helping the paper industry.” I would gape at the remark, quite baffled. And he would blurt out in harsh laughter, saying, “Imagine the tons of bond paper that you consume with what you are doing.” “Just you wait, Jimmy Boy. Just you wait.” At this point, I am constrained to flash forward. The time was 1970. That guy Jimmy had been waiting at the editorial offices of the Makabayan Publishing Corporation, publisher of the Weekly Nation, one of three leading magazines during the period. He did take time to wait, three, four hours maybe, so as to get an appointment for Luis Nepomuceno, producer of the Nepomuceno Productions of which he was the PRO, with the entertainment editor of the Weekly Nation — named Mauro Gia Samonte. Vic Rivera’s advice had borne fruit. I had kept reading and writing until, at long last, in 1965 I had my first-ever short story published in the Weekly Graphic, “Forest of the Heart.” That story would, a decade later, form the core of the screenplay of “Tag-Ulan Sa Tag-Araw,” the Vilma Santos-Christopher de Leon blockbuster film that I would write for direction by Celso Ad. Castillo. And the performance of the movie would tee me off in a career, both in screenwriting and in film direction, successful enough for Tatay to say he had not waited in vain. He got the pleasure of being included together with Nanay in one of the movies I directed. But didn’t I say, “If I were a fish”? I did, indeed. And as a fish, I was gasping for breath when Henry Sy suddenly dealt the Philippine film industry a death blow by banning adult movies in SM theaters, which comprise 80 percent of movie exhibition outlets; and adult movies were what the Philippine cinema was mainly about…” – Mauro Gia Samonte, Manila Times, 11 October 2016 (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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Filmography: Let’s Do the Salsa (1976)

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Basic Information: Direction: Luciano B. Carlos; Cast: Vilma Santos, Walter Navarro and Rolly Quizon/ with Ronnie Henares, Chichay, Caridad Sanchez, Roderick Paulate, Arnold Gamboa, Winnier Santos, Maribel Aunor and Ike Lozada/ Also Starring Joe Garcia, J. Antonio Carrion, Estrella Kuenzler/ Featuring Trixia Gomez, Fanny & Mari Boquer (courtesy of Cabaret Royale), Raul Aragon, Lorli Villanueva, Eddie Mercado, German Moreno; Story and Screenplay: Bert R. Mendoza; Cinematography: Arnold Alvaro; Music: Doming valdez; Production Company: Lea Productions; Release Date: March 5, 1976 – Video48

Plot Description: No Available Data

Film Achievement: Ranked 64th on Top-US-Grossing Tagalog-Language Feature Films Released In 1976

Film Review: “…Ate Vi thus became the chief opponent of Nora Aunor as the movie queen of the 1970s. Her edge is that she also became the queen of hit disco movies filled with singing and dancing, like “Swing It, Baby,” “Disco Fever,” “Rock Baby Rock,” “Let’s Do the Salsa,” and the movie she did with Latin idol Junior, “Good Morning Sunshine…” – Mario Bautista (READ MORE)

“…I credit Ronnie Henares for discovering me,” said Geleen. “He saw me in a fashion show in Hyatt in 1978. John Gaddi, my first dancing partner, and I were modeling na pa-sayaw-sayaw. I guess natuwa sa akin si Ronnie so he got me into Penthouse 7 hosted by Archie Lacson…I was Vilma’s choreographer for her movies (Disco Fever, Good Morning Sunshine, etc.) and at the same time I was also choreographing for Nora on her show Superstar. When Vilma had her own TV show, she got me as choreographer but I stayed with her for only one month. The network bosses told me that I shouldn’t be handling two superstars at the same time. Nora was on Channel 9 and Vilma was on Channel 13. Because of loyalty, I chose to stay with Nora kasi mas nauna naman ako sa kanya. I was with her for four years na at that time. But first, I talked to Vilma who is a ninang of my son Miggy. I left Vilma with a heavy heart…” – Ricardo F. Lo (READ MORE)

“…Very few probably are aware that Ronnie was once a matinee idol in the music profession. He was the other half of the famous singing duo called The Two of Us. His partner was Jojit Paredes, the cousin of Jim Paredes, who was also a kilabot ng mga colegiala as part of the Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society, now better known as the APO. Ronnie and Jojit were schoolmates in La Salle grade school, while Jim and his then large group were from rival Ateneo…After The Two of Us, Jojit eventually disappeared from the scene (he is now in L.A. married to an American and works as an assistant administrator in a hospital), while Ronnie’s popularity lingered, especially when he and Vilma Santos began dating. Ronnie also joined Penthouse 7 as executive producer/dancer and also part of the group was Ida Ramos, who many years later would become his wife. (Ida Henares now heads GMA Artist Center.) In between, he also hosted his own variety shows on TV, primarily in the Broadcast City stations…” – Butch Francisco (READ MORE)

“…This being Vilma Santos’ 50th year in show business (she started as a child star in 1963 with the dramatic tearjerker, “Trudis Liit”), her loyal fans are perfervidly recalling the highlights of her “golden” acting career…By 1976, Vilma was “going musical” again with “Let’s Do the Salsa,” unveiling the dancing ability that the would land her a long-running hit show on television years later. But, she also made sure to come up with dramas like “Makahiya at Talahib,” and romances like ‘Bato sa Buhangin’…What’s up next for everybody’s Ate Vi? Higher political office, quite logically and obviously. But, we hope against hope that, every couple of years or so, she will continue to gift us with another memorable screen portrayal, to further enhance her already exceptional filmography. She’s simply too good a thespian to surrender completely to politics…” – Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 03 August 2012 (READ MORE)

Filmography: Kampus (1978)

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Basic Information: Directed: Emmanuel H. Borlaza; Story, screenplay: Tom Adrales, Allan Jayme Rabaya; Cast: Vilma Santos, Bembol Roco, Mat Ranillo III, Allan Valenzuela, Freddie Yance, Liza Lorena, Anita Linda, Lorli Villanueva, Ann Villegas, Angie magbanua, Rosemarie De Vera, Lito Lapid, Leo Pilapil; Original Music: Tito Sotto; Cinematography: Totoy Jacinto; Production Design: George Vail Kabristante

Plot Description: In the film “Kampus?” (1978), Suzette (Vilma Santos) thinks she’s liberated woman who doesn’t believe in marriage matrimony while his boyfriend, Norman keeps on proposing the sacredness of marriage vow. These are two conflicting beliefs of two students undoubtedly in love with each other. Their relationship was put to a test when Suzette met Manny (Matt) who happens to be in accordance with what she thinks she believes in. A campus experiment for Suzette and she was the first to be affected by it. Will she swallow that so called principle and be merry with the one she truly loves? – Kabayan Central (READ MORE)

A cinematic view of campus life dealing with sexual permissiveness among teeners, dormitory life, fraternity affiliations and initiations, teenage crushes, among others. Vilma Santos is a coed torn between the man she really loves (Bemvol Roco) and the man she surrenders her virginity to (Mat Ranillo III), Liza Lorena is the teacher tormented by a student who has a terrible crush on her (Allan Valenzuela). An Emmanuel Borlaza film. – Century Video Inc.

Film Achievement: No Available Data

Film Review: “…But the biggest fear of Borlaza was when Agrix Films’ Kampus? was booked one week after the opening of VS Films’ Pagputi ng Uwak, Pagitim ng Tagak. The Celso Ad. Castillo film was an artistic triumph, and Borlza felt following it up with another Vilma-Bembol starrer would put them at a great disadvantage. The Vilma-Bembol fans might still be raving over Pagputi… instead of discussing Kamput? As it turned out, people let Pagputi…pass and waited for Kampus? judging from the comparative gate receiots of the two movies…Sabi ni Mama Santos, ako daw ang “pumatay” sa kanilang Pagputi…eto ang parusa ko, bigyan ko daw sila ng isang Kampus? so I’m making for them Coed. You see, when I was working on Kampus? at UP Los Banos, I realized their problems and lifestyle can be a source of even 10 movie materials. At kapag ang student force pala ang nag-patronize sa Tagalog movie, ang laki ng audience!” Borlaza revealed…I’m very meticulous about is: the audience were to identify itself with my main character, will it be happy with the poetic justice I execute? Will they find it correct and realistic? In Kampus? for instance, students who were pleased with the movie told me they liked the ending very much. They agreed with it. Vilma was bedded first by Mat Ranillo III, but ended up with Bembol who was the right choice after all. They say in real life, the man you walk down the aisle with is not necessarily the first man you had sex with. Also they say the dialouges were very in – like the way actual students would speak them. Siguro, once they sit in the theater, they are not bothered by such questions as ‘Why” or “how come?” Is the star value the main thing in selling movies? “In the case of Kampus?, yes, because Vilma Santos was my main star and she’s the current box office queen …” – Manny B. Fernandez, Expressweek, November 9, 1978 (READ MORE)

“…Fate would have it that in the space of three days I watched Vilma Santos as June (in Kampus, 1978), the firm believer of ‘free love’ caught between the attentions of two men, and Angel Locsin as the fierce Ces, setting the terms of an affair with a man she decidedly resists. Four decades apart, these representations of strong, independent women caught within obstacles premised on love remain appealing to viewers. The conflicts faced by June and Ces are hinged on unconventional ideas about the conduct of heterosexual relationships. These women characters unequivocally distance themselves from the bind of traditional relationships and the expectations that burden it; June with sophisticated musing and Ces with stoic distance…While Vilma Santos’s June ponders her preference for ‘free love’ intelligently, weighs her dilemmas with pensive introspection, faces her hurdles with sarcasm and humour; Angel Locsin’s Ces is denied this chance, wallows instead in denial which became infuriatingly tiresome. This is not to blame Locsin’s abilities as an actor (adept at she is in portraying conflicted characters, torn in situations not of their making) but on the film’s failure to fully flesh out its characters. The film failed to grasp a deeper vein of feeling…” – Tessa Maria Guazon (READ MORE)

Free Love – “…Fate would have it that in the space of three days I watched Vilma Santos as June (in Kampus, 1978), the firm believer of ‘free love’ caught between the attentions of two men, and Angel Locsin as the fierce Ces, setting the terms of an affair with a man she decidedly resists. Four decades apart, these representations of strong, independent women caught within obstacles premised on love remain appealing to viewers. The conflicts faced by June and Ces are hinged on unconventional ideas about the conduct of heterosexual relationships. These women characters unequivocally distance themselves from the bind of traditional relationships and the expectations that burden it; June with sophisticated musing and Ces with stoic distance…While Vilma Santos’s June ponders her preference for ‘free love’ intelligently, weighs her dilemmas with pensive introspection, faces her hurdles with sarcasm and humour; Angel Locsin’s Ces is denied this chance, wallows instead in denial which became infuriatingly tiresome. This is not to blame Locsin’s abilities as an actor (adept at she is in portraying conflicted characters, torn in situations not of their making) but on the film’s failure to fully flesh out its characters. The film failed to grasp a deeper vein of feeling. Thus, when we find Ces and Macky in strained conversations grappling with their predicaments as individuals and lovers, why do they seem unconvincing, their loneliness and dilemmas so affected?” – Deborah Jermyn, 2011, posted by YCC (READ MORE)

Filmography: Rock, Baby, Rock (1979)

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Basic Information: Directed, story, screenplay: Oscar Miranda; Cast: Vilma Santos, Junior, Rolly Quizon, Leah Navarro, Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, Joey de Leon, Lorli Villanueva, Geleen Eugenio, Val Sotto, V.S.T. & Company; Executive producer: Joe Batac; Choreographer: Geleen Eugenio

Plot Description: No Available Data

Film Achievement: “According to reliable reports from varios sources – the public relation men, the bookers, and the producers themselves – the top box office hits of the year are, so far, the first five: 1. RVQ’s “Dancing Master” directed by Jett Espiritu statting Dolphy and Nida Blance; 2. D’Wonder Films’ “Kuwatog” directed by Baby Navoa, starring Nino Muhlach; FPJ’s “Mahal, Saan Ka Nanggaling Kagabi?” directed Pablo Vergara, starring Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces; Lea’s “Rock, Baby Rock!” directed by Oscar Miranda, starring Vilma Santos and Junior; 5. Regal’s “Disgrasyada” directed by Elwood Perez, starring Rio Locsin and Rolly Quizon….” – TV Times Magazine, December 30 – Jan 5 1980

Film Review:  Roger Rigor of VST and Co, when asked who is your friends from the entertainment industry: “Marami kaming barkada sa showbiz…and with respect to the recording industry, kakaunti lang noon ang mga personalities on a contract. So, we practically knew everyone, as the industry was still at its early stages. The guys would be the “studio rats”, having sessions in stretches that would start in the morning and end in the wee hours of the next morning……For us Little Baguio boys, I could only refer to Vilma Santos then as our first legit “barkada” in the film industry, dahil nga sa una naming sine was with her. She was “kalog” and really very smart. I am not surprised that as a mayor, she is able to pull it together. Of course, si Pip was already a friend of the guys kasi nga ka-basketbol na namin siya even before the VST days. And there were many others who were mga batikan sa larangan ng pelikula that we met along the course of time.” – Nostalgia Manila (READ MORE)

RELATED READING:
IMDB: Rock Baby, Rock (1979)
IMDB: Oscar Miranda
IMDB: Junior
IMDB: Rolly Quizon
IMDB: Lea Navarro
Rock, Baby! Rock! (1979)
VST & Co. From Wikipedia
Nostalgia Manila Exclusive Interview with Roger Rigor
Tito, Vic & Joey (Movie Ads Circa 1979-85)
“Step No, Step Yes” “Tayo’y Magsayawan” Film Footage