AN EXTENDED CONVERSATION WITH THE AUTHORS OF PHILIPPINE CINEMA, 1897–2020
Vibal Marketing Manager Rio Brigino Lim (RBL) interviews authors Dennis Villegas (DV) and Gaspar Vibal (GV) on the occasion of the book launch of Vibal Foundation’s latest work under the Arte Filipino imprint: Philippine Cinema, 1897–2020.
RBL: Thanks, guys, for giving me a chance to probe your minds on the making of the book. I hope you don’t mind if we play a little instant recall game.
DV & GV: Sure, we’re up for it!
RBL: It’s called “Fast Talk.” Just blurt an answer at the sound of my question. Rapid-fire answers, please!
RBL: Ready? Orchestra, lodge, or balcony?
DV: Orchestra! The closer up front, the better.
GV: Lodge, because I can catch all the action from afar (giggling).
RBL: Popcorn or hotdog?
DV: Hotdog, duh!
GV: Too messy, popcorn’s the way to go!
RBL: Horror or comedy?
DV: I love macabre, horror, of course.
GV: Not for me, in a time of pandemic, comedy!
RBL: Lights on or lights off?
DV: A film’s dark moments are ruined by bright ambient light.
GV: Same with me, dimmer even in the TV room, is better
RBL: Nora or Vilma?
DV: Noranian forever!
GV: It’s a tossup!
RBL: Bernal or Brocka?
DV: Brocka’s dreary slum movies…
GV: Bernal has poetic, bakya, and comedic touches!
RBL: Single feature or double feature?
GV: Double isn’t too bad, more out of nostalgia for my Dad’s days when run-down cinemas featured old Hollywood features as a two-fer.
RBL: Cubao or Avenida Rizal?
DV: Avenida for the lights and the action!
GV: Cubao was my territory during my young days as a Kyusi boy. Araneta Center was and still is a pulsating hub.
RBL: FPJ or Dolphy?
DV: Isang Bala Ka Lang!
GV: Facifica Falayfay!
MEMORIES OF CINEMA
RBL: What are your Top 10 favorite Pinoy films? Your favorite movie of all time—yung kumurot sa inyong puso o hindi malilimutan—and why?
DV: Top 10 (in any order): Insiang (Brocka’s finest, combining fierce characterization with an ever-tightening plot), Tatlo Dalawa Isa (initiated the trilogy trend), Batch ’81 (a strong critique of para-fascist leanings of Marcosian society), Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag (a fine bildungsroman movie), Lovingly Yours, Helen (deft interleaving of stories), Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (my idol Lolita Rodriguez at her finest), Stardoom (among Brocka’s best and Walter Navarro was my neighbor), Ganito Kami Noon (a time-traveling coming-of-age story), Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos (the surprising humanization of an enemy), Kisapmata (the filmic adaptation of my revered idol Quijano de Manila’s true-life story). These movies bring back a lot of memories as a film buff and eventually developed my taste for the movies.
GV: Can’t go wrong with those classics. I tend to more wacky choices: Ramona Diaz’s A Thousand Cuts (a documentary on Maria Ressa that’s almost structured like a thriller); Aliwan Paradise (a witty metafilm on exploitation of poverty porn); Balangiga: Howling Wilderness (Khavn de la Cruz pulls off a powerful coherent war film); Ebolusyon ng Pamilyang Pilipino (Lav Diaz’s epic cinema that challenges both physically and emotionally); Burlesk Queen Ngayon (Ina Raymundo is spectacular in this update on Vilma Santos’ classic Burlesk Queen); Serafin Geronimo: Kriminal ng Baryo Concepcion (Raymond Bagatsing is mesmerizing as a criminal with a troubled conscience); Bomba Queen (a harrowing tale of women’s exploitation); and Bakit Lahat ng Gwapo May Boyfriend? (an ostensibly queer film but deep at heart a straightforward hetero rom-com).
RBL: Who is your movie idol growing up?
DV: Ramon Zamora and Weng Weng. They were both good in their roles in karate films, which were a fad in the 1970s when I was growing up
GV: Tony Ferrer, I thought he was the coolest guy with all those chicks and slick outfits, lol.
RBL: For you, what is the most overrated Philippine movie?
DV: The most overhyped movie for me was Ang Larawan, the movie based on the play by the great Nick Joaquin, almost all the scenes were shot inside the ancestral house and I wanted to break out of it to glimpse the true Manila back then. The acting just went over and the singing was at times screechy.
GV: I tend not to get overexcited about any film, so I haven’t been disappointed. In fact I’ve been surprised time and again.
RBL: Who do you think is the most overrated Philippine actor?
DV: I haven’t thought of any actor being overrated. They can only be as good as their directors and scriptwriters.
GV: Agree, agree. I tend to let the story and actors take over my critical mind.
RBL: What movie do you think would have made an impact if it have been given a nod as a Best Foreign Film at the Oscars?
DV: Insiang. The movie’s masterful confluence of mise-en-scène, characterizations, and taut storyline make the movie utterly memorable, compelling me to watch this movie over and over again. The drama is intense, the acting powerful. And Hilda Koronel and Mona Lisa are riveting.
GV: Himala is I think a very powerful film. Perhaps it may be too insular for American tastes. But then, the Oscars have not been known for very good taste, except for its latest nod to the Korean film Parasite.
RBL: Which rivalry do you think was the biggest in the Philippine movie history?
DV: Nora vs. Vilma. There was a time that all the magazine covers featured their faces and their love teams. There was no Dilawan or DDS back then, hahaha. It’s either you were a Noranian or Vilmanian. My own aunt was a Noranian and my lola was a Vilmanian. There was always tense moments whenever a Nora or Vilma movie was being shown on the television.
GV: Definitely, the masses were fighting over them like their lives depended on it. The rivalry was so intense, engendering this unstoppable mania. I don’t’ think millennials or Gen-Z’ers would understand that mano-a-mano fighting between Vilmanians and Noranians.
RBL: What do you think is the greatest Philippine film scene ever shot?
DV: The ending of the movie Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag when Julio Madiaga (Bembol Roco) was cornered like a wild animal, his face contorted with the realization that the world had collapsed on him.
GV: The terribly haunting ending of Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos when in anguish Crispin (Bembol Roco) asks a priest if there is still a God, then the camera, seeming to provide a clue, cuts to a candle-lit procession of hundreds of devotees as a blind man walks out of the church with a boy with palsy. The scene leaves you breathless with its wordless and pure cinematic magic.
RBL: For you, which Pinoy film has the best opening scene?
DV: Eddie Romero’s introduction of the main character Kulas Ocampo (Christopher de Leon) in Ganito Kami Noon.
GV: The chance airport encounter of Mace (Angelica Panganiban) and Anthony (JM de Guzman) that leads to a tearjerker scene inside an air cabin that is a literally a film quote from another kilig (emotional thrill) film moment. It demonstrates the pure intertextuality of Pinoy movies. If a movie fan could instantly “read” this quote of another film quote, then it would serve as litmus test to prove that he or she was a true Pinoy movie fan.
RBL: What for you is the most violent scene filmed in a Philippine movie? Most titillating?
DV: For me the most violent scene was the torture scene in the movie The Moises Padilla Story, the remake with the actor Anthony Alonzo. Alonzo’s acting was so believable that you viscerally felt his pain upon watching the scene. The most titillating would be the voyeuristic scene in Scorpio Nights.
GV: The most excruciating was the torture scene of Madonna (Maria Isabel Lopez) in Brillante Mendoza’s Kinatay. I think an American critic walked out on that and called it the most horrible thing to show up at Cannes Film Festival. And I agree with Dennis on Scorpio Nights, the moment when the voyeur-protagonist sneaks into the bed of his neighbor’s wife and pretends to be her love-making husband. Simply hair-raising!
What scene in a Philippine movie always makes you tear up?
DV: The death of Ruben (Nestor De Villa) in the movie Saan Darating ang Umaga. Actors Nida Blanca, Maricel Soriano, and Jaypee De Guzman delivered hallmark performances in this movie.
GV: A most memorable lachrymose melodrama is the final confrontation scene of Magnolia (Nora Aunor) and Anselmo (Tirso Cruz III) in Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit when they have to confront the sins of their past and prevent their respective children Maggie and Jun (also essayed by themselves) from consuming an incestuous relationship. I think in terms of the movie’s conceit and the creation of an iconic scene that has the power to move an entire Pinoy audience to tears—this is possibly the most tragically scripted and heartrending moment.
RBL: Best coming-of-age Pinoy film?
DV: Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros. The film explores the psyche of being a teenage gay in the slums.
GV: I think of Eddie Romero’s development of the simple country bumpkin Kulas in Ganito Kami Noon, which starts off as a picaresque tale in the mode of a Spanish seriocomic narrative but turns into a haunting portrayal of a nation’s coming into being. The conflation of two coming-of-ages is simply audacious.
RBL: As a young person, which movie made you fall in love with cinema?
DV: It was ironically a foreign film, Gold Rush by Charles Chaplin, which I watched on Channel 13 sometime in the mid-1970s.
GV: A classic Hollywood film called Sunset Boulevard. Its memory is so vivid (a corpse floating in a swimming pool, the grand staircase, the dark lighting) I can still remember its characters so well: Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) and Joe Gillis (William Holden). I vividly recall its opening and closing sequences, how its aging protagonist was simply the real-life version of herself—a Hollywood glamour queen way past her prime—all of these struck me as forcefully as when I saw it again two decades later. What astounded me was that film still exercised power, even after all the passing of all those years.
ON CINEMA, ITS CULTURE AND ITS FUTURE
RBL: What Pinoy movies did you watch during the pandemic?
GV: To deal with my pandemic anxiety, a lot: Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story (amazing animation, but its deeply flawed script goes nowhere); The Gifted (watch it for the twinned but contrasting portrayals and prosthetics of Anne Curtis and Christine Reyes); That Thing Called Tadhana (the surprise twist is an outrage or a winner, depending on your gender); Bakit Lahat ng Gwapo May Boyfriend? (it’s amazing how its initial promise as a gay rom-com ended up as a classic hetero love story); BuyBust (a nonstop thriller with Anne Curits, who is a revelation as an action star); the Korean remake Miss Granny (draggy, but Nova Villa, Sarah Geronimo, and Boboy Garrovillo turn this Korean remake into a winner); D’Ninang (Ai-ai de las Alas pulls off a sympathetic portrayal as a secret underworld financier); Die Beautiful (a beauty to behold but ruined by a lachrymose plot); and Kita Kita (so charming, yet creepy with a stalker as a protagonist)
DV: I only watched the film Metro Manila (dir. Sean Ellis) about a poor guy who went to Manila to seek a better future for his family. It is being streamed in Netflix and I find it a beautifully crafted film.
GV: How did streaming services change Philippine cinema? How do you think it changed viewership habits?
DV: Streaming services like Netflix and Iflix reach a wider spectrum of audiences who love the comfort of watching movies at home with the cinema feel.
GV: Agree, the difference between the big and small screen has been indelibly changed by the pandemic. Now, it’s not only safer, but preferable to watch in the privacy and safety of your own home. I don’t miss the big screen that much, which means that the small screen is the de facto intermediator of film culture. Most Gen-Z audiences can’t even differentiate the praxis of film and television anymore. When you ask them to name their favorite movie stars, they invariably end up giving names of television performers. The younger generation has no clue as to what were the traditional differences between the two media.
RBL: What is the future of Philippine cinema when the boundaries between countries are increasingly blurred amidst the global rise of extremist politics exacerbated by social media algorithms?
DV: Philippine cinema still has a lot to explore in terms of genre and subject matter. However, Filipino audiences have matured enough and are able to discern the quality of local or international film. So the future of Philippine cinema depends on the film creators. I still believe that our local cinema has a lot to offer for the audiences. I think in literary terms when I relate to movies as being more like novels. They not only entertain but also educate.
GV: Erik Matti got it right when he spoke out right after the Parasite sweep of the Oscars this year. K-Drama and pop culture have truly become global. This is a challenge for the Philippine creative industry. We need to speak to more audiences, not just local ones, especially now that Philippine films are being distributed on digital platforms. There is no reason why our stories, some of which are better written and conceived, cannot transcend our insular culture.
RBL: What do you foresee for the local film industry in the age of Netflix and IWantTFC amidst the pandemic?
GV: Well, Netflix is a worldwide platform, so anytime a Pinoy movie is accepted by that video-on-demand giant is a signal achievement. Netflix represents such a diverse audience, and for those with Internet bandwidth and disposable income, it doesn’t require too much reasoning to buy into it. It is interesting to me that Netflix doesn’t like classic Pinoy films, which end up in some art-house VOD platform, and from what I’ve seen, the Pinoy films that Netflix offers seem to fit a quite homogeneous mix. It remains to be seen whether other local streaming services of ABS-CBN and Viva can fill out their own niche. Certainly for me, more choices in streaming is a win-win for audiences.
DV: Yes, streaming services like Netflix and Iflix can exercise a sizable impact on the cinema-going public. Also big TV screens and a good sound system are becoming much more affordable so one can comfortably watch movies at home and replicate the cinema feel. I believe that more Pinoy independent film creators would be incentivized to produce for streaming platforms since more and more Pinoys have demonstrated that they are not averse to such viewing. In the final analysis, Netflix is way, way cheaper than going to the movies.
ON SEX IN THE CINEMA
DV: Today there is actually very little sex in Philippine cinema and I regret that (lol).
GV: (cracking up) It’s hard to imagine anyone of the Gen-Z matinee stars shedding skin for the camera. These young stars exercise too much control over their career development, scripts, and have the social media following to stand up to any producer or director. That is why on-screen exploitation of female and male bodies has vanished unlike that sorry period from the 1970s till the dawn of the twenty-first century. I think the trend has now definitely changed from the spectacularization toward the privatization of sex. Lots of extra-diegetic sex was practiced in dark areas of twentieth-century movie houses. Now that kind of cinematic representation is hardly thinkable because of the availability of Internet porn and sex hookup apps.
RBL: Let’s talk about gender roles in Philippine movies. Do you think there is progress in ways filmmakers approach gender roles in the twenty-first century?
DV: As I’ve said, Filipino audiences have matured, and experimental or alternative gender portrayals in cinema are becoming more accepted. As such, filmmakers are becoming more open to this subject than ever before. I’m always for more diversity and inclusivity.
GV: Yes, it’s been encouraging that more and more bold filmmakers are exploring non-heteronormative stories. I think the twenty-first century is all about being authentic and true to oneself. And you can literally see the explosion of movie narratives that explore what not being normative is all about. That’s a beautiful message for the upcoming generation, which promises a future of true liberation.
ON POLITICS, MEANING MAKING, AND MESSAGING IN MOVIES
RBL: People have been expecting the great Dolphy to be elected to the Order of National Artists since 2009 and still to this day Dolphy has yet to be acclaimed. What are your thoughts on this?
DV: National Artist Awards are a very politicized matter. It really depends on who or what group is lobbying for this or that artist. Whatever, Dolphy deserves being named a National Artist because of his immense contribution to the development of Philippine cinema.
GV: There is not only ugly politicking involved in these choices but a lot of identity politics as well. There is a deeply moralistic streak that colors these awards. For example, some critics have used the personal failures of certain movie stars like Nora Aunor to withhold her undeniably deserved recognition. Such denialism overlooks her long record of artistic contributions, not only as an actress but also as a director and producer. Anyone with a deep appreciation of Philippine cinema and that artist’s particular oeuvre knows what kind of acclamation she deserves, whether or not she was a saint or a sinner.
RBL: Should movies always have a message? What is your take on the “responsibility of the artist”? Do filmmakers always have to use their craft “to make the world a better place”? Are the movies for entertainment or for social change?
DV: Every movie has a message, intentional or not. Having said that, a movie should be allowed to be nothing more but a plain movie. They can be for entertainment, or they can convey a deeper message. But filmmakers need not have a social obligation to make the world a better place. Artistic freedom is still a key value in movie production. There are a lot of movie producers with different aims. It would be a very noble—and highly unrealistic— task if all the movies they produce aimed to make the world a better place.
GV: I tend not to assign too much import to any supposed movie message. Like Dennis, I “read” them as one would read books. For example, if I want a serious book, I choose a reference book. If I want to relax, I certainly would not pick up an encyclopedia but most likely a comic book. So to assign them too much significance would be simply an exercise in futility. It’s best to let them be movies and not see too much importance in them. Nevertheless, I do admit that some movies do rise about the fluff and carry social significance. When that special film does that, then you know it has transcendence.
RBL: What role does cinema play in the capability of meaning making among Filipino people?
DV: Some pivotal films play a vital role in the capability of Filipino people to make meaning of their history and culture, but that again is a very general assessment. Most movies are just for entertainment. We watch movies because we just want to enjoy and have a relaxing respite from the everyday grind of work.
GV: Again, as Dennis has emphasized, Pinoy movies don’t need to mean anything in particular. However when viewed retrospectively, there are certain significations that can be teased out very clearly. For example, the obsession with the public display of sex from the 1980s to the 2000 is certainly revelatory of Pinoy culture’s thorough repression. Similarly, the non-stop plethora of rom-coms and kilig movies is very indicative of where Pinoy culture is at.
RBL: Now that you mention the latter, rom-coms and slapstick flicks are always the surefire commercial successes, especially during the Christmas season. Are Filipinos ready/not ready for “intelligent” movies?
DV: Since rom-coms and slapstick are thought to represent the pang-masa genre, they are thought of guaranteeing commercial successes, especially when shown every Christmas season. Besides, there isn’t anything to watch during the Metro Film fest except for general patronage movies that strive to please everyone.
GV: Can we escape the inexorable drift into the plenitude of kilig and rom-coms? Yes, of course we can, but only if producers, filmmakers, story writers, and distributors decide to stray from their reliance on what they conceive as sure-fire success of these so-called “popular” movies. If you read our cinema book carefully, both of us as authors carefully trace how these kilig moments are manipulatively spliced into movies by a limited few. This oligopoly of “taste” is actually foisted on the masses. Therefore, mass or bakya taste is a definite oxymoron because it is “tailor-made” by the filmmakers and most clearly by distributors and certainly not by the public
RBL: Can you see a relationship between a person’s economic standing and type of movies that are patronized commercially? Bakit "hindi ganoon kataas ang tingin o respeto" ng iba sa pelikulang Pilipino na para bang baduy, bakya, cheap, korni, ang datíng sa kanila? Some even say “trash.” Ano kaya ang dahilan?
DV: I do think that a determined person could deduce some tenuous correlation between economic standing and the type of movies that a particular viewer patronizes, but not much. The pang-masa movies like slapstick comedy, rom-coms, or domestic drama are always successful because they are deliberately scripted for the masa, the biggest slice of the movie-going public. Some of our best historical biopics and documentary dramas are still considered not pang-masa and suffer commercially. I also think there exists among the intelligentsia a certain type of misconception, a type of colonial mentality that still affects many Filipinos, which greatly influences their marked predisposition toward Hollywood flicks. I’ve watched some very intelligent Filipino films and some very bad Hollywood films. If one thinks that Filipino films are bad or baduy, then one is completely missing the boat.
GV: Going back to the formation of mass taste, it is definitely NOT formed by the masa. Thus, I find it somewhat funny when certain filmmakers deride the use of “kilig dialogue” in educational activities, especially in the communication arts subject. How can this practice be derided when these kilig moments were deliberately inserted by the very filmmakers who had wanted to derive commercial success from such manipulative insertions? All this talk of baduy, bakya, or masscult taste reminds me of our not-so-distant past. In the 1960s, to be seen in certain cinemas such as the Dalisay (which screened only LVN Pictures) could subject a spectator to certain ridicule. When I was a young boy, my father had to explain to me that certain movie houses were only pang-Hollywood, while others were definitely for the bakya crowd. All this made for very classist, elitist, and very ugly talk, which thankfully the millennial and Gen-Z generation are completely clueless about.
RBL: What is your take on the poverty of the Filipinos as a commodity used by filmmakers to gain attention at international festivals? Is “poverty porn” still an ongoing trend?
DV: The representation of poverty is a recurring theme in Philippine cinema that had its roots in the Brocka movies of the 1970s. Being a third world country, the Philippines still has a lot of people needing food and shelter and proper jobs. Movies about the plight of poor people make us aware that these conditions still exist. Such films somehow make well-to-do people feel relieved that they are not experiencing these hardships, while the poor who see these movies see themselves being portrayed as either hapless or helpless. Poverty is a subject that people find heartbreaking and fascinating, hence it is a subject that will always be featured in third world countries and appreciated by first world countries which derive pleasure from viewing poverty porn.
RBL: Paano mo ipakikilala ang indie films sa mga manonood dahil marami ang ignorante tungkol dito at tila kaunti lang ang interes manood?
DV: Limited-audience film festivals are the best way to feature indie films. There are a good number of film fests that feature indie films. NGO’s and the local governments can do much to help these indie-spirited features at festivals.
GV: Indie films serve as “calling cards” to be shown around the industry. An audacious movie is made by an independent filmmaker who hopes to get noticed. The larger number of spectators who patronize mainstream cinema has put a humorous spin to that English word indie in the native patois: “hindi naiintindihan, hindi nakikita, at hindi kumikita.” Notwithstanding this common misperception, I believe that Filipino indie filmmakers should be encouraged. With digital technologies, the cost of innovation and production is not very high. The more indies we have, the better and the richer our culture because they provide new and alternative ways of seeing.
ON THE MAKING OF THE BOOK
RBL: So, upon reviewing the final printed and bound form of the book, what were your immediate reactions? Was this the book that both of you wanted to write?
DV and GV (in unison): Definitely not! The original scope of the book was to cover BOTH world and Philippine cinema. Philippine cinema was never a purely national cinema. It dialogued, talked to and at other world cinemas. You can still see this ongoing dialogue with Korean culture and cinema. 1960s and 1970s karate and spaghetti western spoofs and parodies were actually witty conversations that Filipino filmmakers were engaged in as either as acts of appropriation or subversion of other cinemas. Hopefully, our next book will tackle the call-and-response of our cinematic culture to transnational currents.
RBL: In the voluminous appendices I notice that you outlined a shortlist of movies, notable actors, and filmmakers. In my mind you left out some of the more important film personages. Isn’t this section of the book asking for controversy? Why Ben David? Why Weng-Weng? Why Palito? Why were most of Gerardo de Leon’s other more important films left out?
DV: We had to engage in many debates, and Gus and I deliberately took a long time of over two months, fighting over which films and personalities to include or exclude. It was very hard as there are literally 8,000 titles in the Philippine filmography, of which only 2,024 were finally included. And of course, there is a constellation of film people. Obviously, an encyclopedic title like ours cannot include everything because of the targeted number of pages at hand. We are sorry for this. Using our own judgment, we decided to include films that represent the best of every era, region, or genre. And obviously some of the obscure actors were purely personal choices.
GV: (laughing) How dead-on accurate your comments, Rio! Touché. Our editor Teddy Co got very excited about these appendices. He questioned, for example, why there was very limited representation of regional films or those indie films that were honored in festivals. Obviously, we listened to him, and in fairness after reviewing those films, Dennis and I decided to include them to balance the representation. Both of us authors do not want this book to be about Tagalog cinema. The title is Philippine Cinema, meaning those films that are about the Philippine experience, whether they were authored from within or without the country, so even colonial American newsreels about the Philippines were included, as well as a Japanese WWII propaganda film. With regard to the inclusion of non-matinee stars, Dennis and I both feel that kontrabidas (villains), supporting actors, and character actors should be represented. So there, in the end the choices are highly personal, and we invite others to make their own lists to express more diverse viewpoints.
RBL: So in re-reading your final book are you both satisfied with it!
DV: I cringe when I read certain portions, there are parts that need to be improved.
GV: I hope the market will allow us the liberty of doing a second edition. In hindsight, both of us can improve the pictorial and textual presentations. If only we had more pages, then I think both of us would have been able to truly marshal our strengths, me on indie, festival, and non-normative films and Dennis on popular, trash, and low-brow fare.
RBL: Your final thoughts on the book?
DV: It is such a precious honor for me to share the many memorable moments of my long years of being a movie buff. I am very thankful and honored that Gus Vibal asked me to be his teammate in this project. We have certain twinned passions: old movie magazines, ephemera, posters, and lobby cards. If you read chapter 1 (which is the longest), you will see how these interests all meshed together in reconstructing prewar cinema from simply using meta- or paratext. Of the recorded 357 pre-independence films, only six are extant. Therefore, as writers we had no access to the actual films. All we had of the cinematic archive was simply the textual memory of what they were.
GV: I can’t thank our editor Teddy Co enough. If this book is validated, it is because of his patience, wisdom, and deep sympathy for this most compelling Philippine art. As both a critic, aficionado, archivist, and practicing art filmmaker, Teddy was heaven sent for this job. Do you know that he even patronized Chinese-language films in Binondo? He is truly a film omnivore, and with his passion for regional and classic films, he is truly an expert. Lastly, the editor and authors hope that this book responds to Marti Magsanoc’s deep passion and love for film. He was the one who originally inspired us to carry out this project as a fitting close for the Philippine centennial. This book is not only dedicated to his aunt Tita Inday Badiday but to her progeny who carries on her torch—a deep, abiding, and respectful love for our cinematic art and culture.