From Aldeguer Sisters to Sex Bomb Dancers


The WEA Twins made a few forgettable movies as the token brats; they were so wholesome, they couldn’t figure in any major scandals to sustain their careers.

When Lillian Laing dispatched her daughter Zeny Zabala and their bevy of beauteous boarders to the Dance-o-Rama dance contest finals with the immortal words, “Tayo na mga ghels, late na tayo sa ating shindig,” I had my epiphany. It was my destiny to become Adoracion Luna, the provincial lass who makes terpsichorean history by doing the watusi, pachangga and the baby elephant walk. (Susan Roces was delightful as Adoracion Luna, but it was Zeny Zabala who left a lasting imprint on my personality by showing me the proper way to raise my left eyebrow.) The Sampaguita Films classic Dance-O-Rama summed up how Pinoys regard dance: as a weapon with which to trample your enemies and reign supreme over the hordes of nobodies with two left feet.

When television replaced cinema as the prime instrument of mass hypnosis aldeguersistersin the 70s, the Aldeguer Sisters—Lally and Terry—came into the light. They graced all the top TV shows: Nite Owl, Dance Time with Chito, Seeing Stars with Joe Quirino, Ariel con Tina, Tony Santos Presents and Darigold Jamboree (list not chronological). With their signature steps—Toss head back! Pas de bourreé ! Cartwheeeel. . .and split! —they brought a new vocabulary of dance to Pinoy pop culture. They also popularized Tahitian, Hawaiian and Maori dances through their famous dance school. I remember watching their much-anticipated annual recital at the Meralco Theater, and being entranced by the Maori dance Hoki Mai. So fascinated was I that I urged my mother to enroll me at our local dance school in Cavite City, but she didn’t approve. I secretly signed on when I was eight years old, and I have my recital photo to prove it.

Fast forward to 2002: If you’re wondering where the Aldeguer Sisters are, they are alive and kicking! They have just inaugurated The Aldeguer Sisters Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles, California. The school offers classes in jazz, ballet, Hawaiian, Tahitian and folk dance, plus voice lessons handled by Dianne Serrano-Pons, formerly of D’Nailclippers. They also dabble in “event planning and management,” which is absolutely essential for visits by Philippine dignitaries and fund-raising extravaganzas. Quote from a recent interview with Ricky Lo: “For as long as we can,” smiled Lally and Terry, “we’ll keep on dancing. It’s our life.”

By the way, I just remembered Lito Calzado the resident choreographer of TSP or Tony Santos presents. The last time I saw Lito was on a TV show on Channel 11 hosted by Ricky Reyes. He was given some sort of a tribute. I didn’t realized that he spawned a beautiful daughter in the person of Iza Calzado, a beauteous TV actress, in which the father claimed that she was named after the dance diva Isadora Duncan, the grand dame of modern dance. She died tragically when her 20 foot scarf got caught in the rear wheel of her top-down Maseratti while driving in the South of France.

Back to the 80’s, when the Aldeguer Sisters left for the States. A slew of dance duos, groups and whatnot emerged, literally crawling out from under the rock of obscurity. Allow me to enumerate the various dance groups that have graced TV town in the last 20 years. Let’s welcome our guests.

The Vicor Dancers. As may be gleaned from their name, they were employed to promote the products of the record company. The original members of this group were former models, boys and girls of the mestiza and jake variety: Milky Evangelista, Sonny Tanchangco, and a former Jazzie model whose name I can’t remember appeared in the step-by-step dance instruction manual which came with the El Bimbo-La Balanga long-playing album. That manual was my prized possession, framed on my bedroom wall. Other record company-spawned dance groups appeared: Blackgold Dancers, WEA Dancers, Dyna Dancers and WEA Twins. The latter shimmied to the theme from Voltes V in knee-high boots and polyester baby doll dresses, sporting anime hairdos held together by atomic-strength hair spray. They made a few forgettable movies as the token brats; they were so wholesome, they couldn’t figure in any major scandals to sustain their careers. Daily dance contests were beamed to our TV sets, from the Spanish Hustle, Salsa (The El Bimbo variety), LA Walk, Swing, the Bop Bop Girl and Cycling Punk.

Another dance phenomenon emerged when stars like Alma Loveli-Ness Moreno, Vilma Santos (Ate Vi), and later Carmi Martin and Dawn Zulueta needed to display their gymnastic skills. The choreographers to the stars, Geleen Eugenio and Miles Obra, became the brains behind the legs of the stars. They created the “helicopter” effect, wherein the star is lifted from the waist and twirled overhead like a baton by an agile male dancer. They also created the buhat-tapon (lift and throw) step, where the star dancer is lifted by three men, hurled through space, and caught by six men across the room. This has since mutated into the management workshop trust exercise where you fall backwards into space and expect your colleagues to catch you (My nails!).

Kuya Germs had his own contribution. He gave us Bella and the Bellestars, a pseudo-Follies Bergere complete with feathers, sequins and dental floss festooning their rears. They were the progenitors of the Japayuki, and most certainly will star in their own future Ukay-ukay tribute.

After the Bagets movies, the Boy Band explosion and Gary V’s insulin-driven dance routines, came the rise of the all-boy dance groups. There were Gary V’s Maneuvers, the Streetboys and the Universal Motion Dancers (UMD). UMD represented a new breed of dancers—the local version of the inner-city hip hop groups, the progenitors of jologs. UMD became so popular that they branched out into movies. Their shelf life was cut short because some of members thought that solo careers would bring them greater success. It is interesting to note that one of the members of the UMD, Miguel Tanchangco, is the son of choreographer Geleen Eugenio. Which brings us full circle. Some of the UMD went on to audition for Miss Saigon and made it to the touring company. I saw some of them in the Dublin production of Miss Saigon last September, and they demonstrated what Pinoys can contribute to a foreign production: pure talent.

sexbombdancersThe Sex Bomb Dancers started out as, and are essentially still back-up dancers for the Laban o Bawi gameshow segment of Eat Bulaga. Their generic presence in various stages of undress drew the interest not only of the television audience, but of
advertising executives expressing outrage over the fact that these girls are treated as commodities. I happen to think The Sex Bomb Dancers are the best thing that ever happened to Philippine entertainment in recent memory. They may be common, but they have raw talent. They can contort their bodies like invertebrates. They rehearse 8 to 10 hours daily to bring undiluted entertainment to anyone who wants it.

Aside from the regular television appearances, the Sex Bomb Dancers now have an album and a hit movie, Bakit Papa? a 72-hour comedy (no the film is not 72 hours long, but the story happens in 72 hours). Directed by Uro de la Cruz and produced by Regal Films, this movie is destined to be the Dance-O-Rama of this century. Young badings in 2052 will utter unforgettable lines from the film verbatim, and copy their style of dressing and rancid acting, mark my words.

guillermo ramos

Tungkol sa mga ad na ito


Claudia Zobel bursts into the movie world in 1983 as Regal Films’ answer to Seiko Films’ Stella Strada who’s been making a big splash in the movie scene with several blockbuster movies. Claudia’s first movie, Shame, was initially banned by the Board of Censors but was later permitted to be exhibited with cuts. She made a total of four movies— Shame, Magdalena Buong Magdamag, Uhaw sa Pag-ibig and Sinner or Saint (formerly titled Forbidden). Claudia signed up with Regal for five pictures. The contract, Claudia says in one of her last interviews, is non-exclusive. She made three for Regal and one with Baby Pascual Films, Magdalena sa Magdamag. “Alam naman ni Mother Lily na kailangan ko ang pera, so pinayagan niya ako to work with Baby Pascual,” she explains. “Okay naman ang role ko sa pelikula at okay din ang bayad. Ang talent fee ko rito ang ginasta ko noong nakaraang Pasko.”

Claudia was an underrated actress since she was built up as a bold star. Her drama coach, Frank Rivera says: “Except for her diction, she had the makings of a good actress. She had depth and a wide range of emotion. She was okay as a beginner in Shame…” No less than (the late) Lino Brocka found her quite perceptive as an actress. Brocka took her for a plum guest role in the movie Brocka was making that time for Cannes,

Kapit sa Patalim. Claudia was quite enthusiastic about her Brocka assignment, “Nagka-vibes kami ni Lino sa unang araw pa lamang…Panay take one ako. Pinapalakpakan pa nga ako ni Lino pagkatapos ng eksena. Alam ko marami pang kanin ang kakainin ko to be good pero I’m trying.”

Claudia was doing great in her movie career when fate suddenly intervened in the early morning of February 10, 1984. She died in a tragic car accident. From the front page of Times Journal, here’s that detailed account of that fateful day—


Bold star Claudia Zobel was killed yesterday when the car she was driving jumped the island on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue and Pasong Tamo, and ran smack into an oncoming Brasilia car.

The 19-year old actress, whose real name was Thelma Maloloy-on, died on the operating table of the Makati Medical Center three hours after the accident occurred at 4:30 a.m. Pfc. Loreto Santos of the Southern Police District’s traffic division said Claudia was with three relatives. They had come from a nightspot on Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City when they met the accident. The three, who also landed in the hospital, were identified as Marlon Antiquera, 26; Alli Tiquero, 28; and Raffy Jaudian, 25. The passengers of the Brasilia, bound for Pasay City from Cubao were identified as Abdhulla-Lawansa, a 19-year old boy from Lanao del Sur; Marcos Junes, 39; Bonny Panatulan, 36; and his wife, Julia, 33; who was reported to be pregnant. Lawansa was driving. They were treated for body injuries in the same hospital.

Movie sources said Claudia was just learning how to drive. Police said she lost control of the Mitsubishi Colt (plate No. PDS 119) when its left front wheel hit the island gutter. The car flipped on the other side and straight into the path of the oncoming Brasilia. The car, owned by couturier Goulee Gorospe, was a total wreck. Claudia, whose first picture, Shame, was initially banned by the censors board but later allowed to be shown with cuts, was pinned between the driver’s seat and the steering wheel.

News of her death was relayed yesterday morning to her relatives in Mandaue City, where she grew up, by Lily Monteverde, producer of Regal Films with which she had an exclusive contract. In an interview with the Times Journal yesterday, Monteverde said she will release Claudia’s just completed film, Forbidden (retitled as Sinner or Saint), immediately. The actual playdate had been set for late this year. The proceeds will go to Claudia’s family, Monteverde added.
The actress would have celebrated her 19th birthday on Febraury 27. Her mother, who has a heart condition had just been hospitalized for two weeks. Claudia even sent her off at the domestic airport last Tuesday, sources said.
Friends and acquaintances of the actress said she had been depressed the past few days over her breakup with her boyfriend, a certain “Jeffrey.”

Shame (1983)- Stars Robert Arevalo, Patrick dela Rosa and Claudia Zobel/ Directed by Elwood Perez

Magdalena…Buong Magdamag! (1983)- Stars Claudia Zobel and introducing Karla Kalu/ Directed by Mercy Lejarde

Uhaw sa Pag-ibig (1983)- Stars Edgar Mande, Patrick dela Rosa, Lito Pimentel and Claudia Zobel/ Directed by Mario O’Hara

Sinner or Saint (1984)- Stars Charito Solis, Gloria Romero, Patrick dela Rosa and Claudia Zobel/ Directed by Mel Chionglo


hanggang sa kalawakan ng A L A P A A P

Sa dekada ’80 natunghayan ang panggugulantang ni Tata Esteban sa marami niyang pelikulang puros nagsasaad ng malakabaliwang bumabalot sa hiwaga ng buhay. Hindi na kailangang pagtakahan kung bakit sa bawa’t sitwasyon sa mga pelikula ni Esteban, kadalasa’y kahalo ang anumang mga elementong grotesque na kapwa nakakabahala at may hatid na kababalaghan. Matingkad at pasukdol ang pagsasalarawan ng Alapaap (Aces Film International/Oro Vista Motion Pictures at Rare Breed Ltd., 1984) sa karahasang dinanas ni Baeg (Tanya Gomez). Inilarawan dito ang malupit na karanasan ng isang babaeng Kiangan na ginahasa at pinatay ng di kilalang mga lalaki habang ito’y nangangahoy sa kagubatan. Dito uminog ang kasaysayang isinusulat ni Jake (William Martinez). Kasama ang mga kaibigang filmmakers, ang magkapatid na sina Dave (Mark Gil) at Donald (Michael de Mesa), nagtungo ang grupo sa lalawigan ng Baguio upang maghanap ng posibleng lokasyon para sa gagawing pelikula hanggang sa mapadpad ang mga ito sa tahanan ni Mr. Longed (Ed Villapol), ang ama ni Baeg. Nais ng anak na pagbayaran ang karahasang dinanas sa pamamagitan ng paggamit kay Jake bilang instrumento upang maisakatuparan ang napipintong paghihiganti . Nagpapasalin-salin ang espiritu ni Baeg sa katawang lupa nina Betchie (Isadora) at Christine (Eva Rose Palma), maging kay Jabbar, ang kanilang alagang aso. Ginalugad ng pelikula ang mga hangganang maaring tahakin ng isang mapaghiganting multo. Sa bandang huli’y di matanto kung nagtagumpay si Baeg dahilan sa ang lahat ng pangyayari ay tila nagaganap lamang sa loob ng isipan ni Jake na sumasailalim sa impluwensiya ng droga.

Patunay sa manipestasyon ng estilo sa pagbuo ng sine ang estetikong prinsipyong pinanghahawakan ni Tata Esteban. Kaakibat nito ang nahahating pananaw sa uri ng representasyon sa pagsasaayos ng iba’t-ibang elementong kaagapay sa pagbuo ng isang pelikula. Sa Alapaap, madarama ang pirming nagbabadyang malagim na pangyayari sa tulong ng angkop na paglapat ng musika at tunog. Nailahad din ang makulay at makatotohanang daigdig sa mga samu’t-saring detalyeng nakakapaghatid ng gitla at gimbal. Ilan lamang ito sa mga patunay sa pananaw na nais iparating ni Esteban sa kanyang pelikulang nagbigay-bunga sa sarili niyang estilo. Sayang na sayang at hindi napangatawanan ng Alapaap ang mayabong na tema at diskurso ng naratibo. Mapapansing matapos na maipundar ang milyu, hindi na alam ng direktor kung paano paandarin ang istorya. Sapat nang ipasubo ang mga bida sa kung anu-anong sitwasyong nangangailangan ng paghuhubad. Maliban sa pagtukoy ng kahinaang ito na siyang bumalda sa pelikula, napag-iisip ng Alapaap ang manonood nito na kung estilo lamang ang pag-uusapan, walang sinabi ang ang ibang magagaling na direktor ngunit may ibang pang dapat pag-abalahan maliban sa teknik at teknolohiya at pagpapakitang gilas sa larangan ng disenyong biswal.

Direksiyon: Tata Esteban
Dulang Pampelikula: Rei Nicandro
Sinematograpiya: Joe Tutanes
Musika: Rey Ramos
Editing: Abelardo Hulleza
Disenyong Pamproduksiyon: Steve Paolo
Prodyuser: Aces Film International/Oro Vista Motion Pictures At Rare Breed Ltd.

jojo de vera/sari-saringsinengpinoy

bidang bida si max alvarado

Alias Chain Gang (1967)-Stars Max Alvarado in his first starring role, Lourdes Medel, Lucita Soriano and Jing Abalos/ Directed by Ben Feleo

Durango (1967)- Stars Max Alvarado, Anna Gonzales, Miriam Jurado, Marissa Delgado and Stella Suarez/ with Victor Bravo, Joe Sison, Vic Andaya/ Directed by Leody Diaz

Max Alvarado
(February 19, 1929- April 6, 1997) was a FAMAS award-winning Filipino film actor known mainly by his portrayals of villains in a career that spanned 6 decades.

Alvarado was born Gavino Maximo Teodosio in Manila. In his youth, he was a member of street gangs, as well as an itinerant manual laborer..

Alvarado broke into films in 1948 as a bit player in Halik sa Bandila. Soon after, he was frequently cast as a villain in films produced by Premiere Production and its sister company, the Larry Santiago Productions, as well as People’s Pictures. He first gained critical notice in the 1953 film Ang Sawa Sa Lumang Simboryo directed by Gerry De Leon. For that role, he garnered a FAMAS Best Supporting Actor nomination. Ultimately, Alvarado was nominated for 5 FAMAS Best Supporting Actor nominations, winning the trophy in 1971 for Ang Kampana ng Sta. Quiteria.

Alvarado was also nominated for a FAMAS Best Actor award in 1968 for Tatak Sakramentos. Beginning in 1967 with Alyas Chain Gang, Alvarado was cast in leading roles even as a romantic lead, despite his swarthy and somewhat villainous appearance. Alvarado also showcased his versatility by sometimes playing gay roles, such as in the 1978 film Gorgonia.

As a villain, Alvarado was frequently cast opposite the heroic roles of Fernando Poe, Jr. Among his best remembered parts in that vein was as Lizardo, the arch-enemy of the Panday character portrayed by Poe.

Towards the end of his life, Alvarado became a commercial endorser for Maxx candy. He died from heart failure in 1997.


from waikiki with love : remember tom babauta?

The star of Strangers in Paradise remained a stranger in paradise.

Tom Babauta. A name immortalized in swardspeak. “Tom Babauta na ako” means “I’m hungry.” “Tom” is short for gutom, get it?

For decades the Philippine movie industry has been graced by foreign “actors” who want to try their luck in local showbiz. In the 60’s you had John Saxon, who appeared as the token Caucasian in movies like El Pinoy Matador, a Dolphy movie shot entirely in Spain; and the Pinoy spaghetti western Sergio Leone take-offs starring Chiquito. In the 70’s you had Sajid Khan, an Indian looker who appeared in mindless romantic comedies with Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos. His career in the Philippines didn’t last long because Filipinos are inherently racist and not very keen on actors who have dark skin. He was displaced in the public’s affections by Junior the American singer.

tom_babautaIn the 80’s you had Tom Babauta, whose talent hung delicately on his cheekbones, triceps and his “big kahuna.” We don’t exactly know his progeny but legend has it that he was model for the original “Malakas” cracking out of a bamboo pole as depicted in the mural by Botong Francisco at the Manila Film Center. “Maganda,” on the other hand was supposedly modeled after the body of Coca Nicolas and
the face of Imelda Marcos. I don’t know if this mural still exists; maybe it’s hanging in the dining room of some fallen PCGG commissioner.

This ball-scratching monosyllabic dude was a dreamboat for casting couch directors. Rumor had it that he would do anything for a sandwich. His notable talents included: hula war dancing, baton twirling with fire on both ends, greased tightrope walking, lying on nails and broken glass, and last but not the least, fire-eating. Tom was so sought-after that Mother Lily made a series of Hawaiian-themed movies with social commentaries on Fil-American cross-cultural issues. At least there was a sense of authenticity when he was cast in these films. Another rumor was that his family was not
from Hawaii, but the Northern Marianas (The elected Governor of
Northern Marianas bears the name of Juan Babauta.). What the heck, no one will know the difference.

Tom Babauta had so much promise, and his career remained a promise. He appeared with Snooky in Strangers in Paradise. Then he starred with Rio Locsin in Waikiki , which propelled him to oblivion. From time to time he appeared in dramas and variety shows, notably in Lovingly Yours, Helen, where he played a balikbayan GI baby searching for his mother in Angeles. And yes, of our country’s 80 million population, I’m the only one who remembers this useless piece of information. If no one remembers what Tom looked like, think of David Kawena of Lilo and Stich, with curly hair.

In one of his final interviews in Manila, Tom Babauta graced the immortal Sunday variety show, Germspesyal. Here is the transcript of that conversation, plumbed from the depths of my memory.

Kuya Germs: Do you love Philippines?
Tom: Yes Kuya Germs.
Kuya Germs: Have you, ah, made love to a Filipina?
Tom: Duh?

And thus Kuya Germs brought Tom Babauta’s career to its final, inexorable doom.

guillermo ramos

Lilet’s Little Secret (Or How Celia Rodriguez made my life worth living.)

celiarodriguezfamasWhen I was 10 years old, I was keeping a great secret from my family. It is such a great secret that I know it will be the end of the world for me and I will be killed by both of my parents if they find out that I was playing with a doll. I really felt that it was a criminal thing to do, hiding a doll in a shoebox in a storeroom on the second floor of our house and only me, but me who will know where it is hidden.

The doll is nothing special. In fact, it was from some cheap souvenir shop bought by my cousin in Saigon, when his tour of duty was over, mind you not as a soldier, but as a combo player. My aunt who owned a sari-sari store was a practical and tidy woman. She likes to throw away things that are no longer useful to her. One of the things she threw away was this eight-inch Vietnamese doll complete with a hat and white tunic (Imagine Lea Salonga in Miss Saigon). When she was about to douse a can of kerosene to the dump, the doll sort of talked to me and screamed silently to ask me to save her from my aunt’s wrath. When she lit up the dump and as soon as the fire was stable, she left and I ran towards the burning flame and looked for the doll, and there she was, her beautiful black raven hair protected by the straw hat she was wearing was already ablaze. Her left foot was a convoluted fusion of plastic and charcoal. With a long stick I braved the conflagration and tried to save what is left of the doll. What I saw was a sad and sorry state, a gruesome cocktail of charred plastic, burnt cloth, soil and organic substance clinging to it. Smoke coming out of its missing limb, like the photograph of the little girl in the infamous Tet offensive came to my mind. The doll was sending cryptic messages to me as I took it and hid it from every one else. The horror reminded me so much of Celia Rodriguez when she played Valentina in “Lipad, Darna, Lipad” when Darna shielded herself with a mirror when the lethal laser beam emanated from Valentina’s eyes backfire on her and causing her destruction. I named my burnt little doll “Lilet” in honor of my muse Celia Rodriguez.

Years later, I had the chance to meet Celia Rodriguez in a highly pretentious Japanese restaurant in Greenbelt 3 for a chat. I shared with her oysters and sea urchin in a bed of crushed ice and rock salt for starters. I couldn’t believe my self being seated next to the muse of my childhood. As I place the slimy sea urchin in my mouth, the film projector in my mind suddenly ran a clip from “Lipad, Darna, Lipad”. Celia played Valentina, the Queen of the Reptiles and moonlights as a ramp Model. She was seen walking on the lobby of the Manila Hotel in a turban covered Medusa wig, bare midriff Indian Sari, and on her belly button, a giant Ruby known as the “Star of Bombay” that can blow away suspecting Bollywood wannabees. At the Ilang Ilang Coffee shop, she saw Darna flying across Rizal park and she said, “Sino ba yang Babaing Mababa ang Lipad?”

I was brought back to my senses, when she asked me if I was recording our conversation. I was quite taken aback and got embarrassed, although, I have no intention to use the recorded conversation to blackmail her, it doesn’t really amount to anything. I told her that I’m using the material for a magazine article. Suddenly, there was a glint of excitement from her eyes. “So what do you write about?” She inquired. “Well, I write about dead, has-beens and forgotten people that created a dent in my life.” I said wryly. She then broke to a half non-committal smile.

Of the three antagonists of Darna, Celia Rodriguez has the class and camp celiarodriguezrecentfactor that’s missing from the other two: Gloria Romero played the smarmy provincial public school teacher Miss Luna / Impakta / Bampira and Liza Lorena as Babaing Lawin that she looks more like a “basang sisiw” than a malevolent she-hawk. At least Celia Rodriguez had provenance and name to match her existence. In the film she was known as Dr. Valentina Vrandakapoor, Ph. D. in Reptilian Zoology from the University of New Delhi. She had to battle the waist-less Darna “mano-mano” in mid-air. Ate Vi had no match with Valentina, especially when Celia donned the Darna costume. She was flat chested, and she also had no waist. Her back is as flat as her front. She could pass for a transvestite, if you don’t look further down. But I think she is well preserved for her age. She may have minute crows feet on the corner her eyes caused by years of constantly smiling for no reason. There was no traces of botox, collagen implant or stitches behind her ears. She has tiny ears like a rat’s. It is so tiny and pointed and cute like a baby Klingon, only to be offset by a stunning sapphire earring that goes bling bling every time she turns her head. Her dyed black hair was a give away. It was so black and sticky as if she used Coke to shampoo it. Or is it the atomic strength hair spray she used that no amount of tsunami would destroy it. In spite of the artifice, she was still beautiful. The red Mac lipstick becomes her. She is obviously prettier than Angelica Houston when she played Morticia in Adams Family Values. I just wish, producers and directors offered her offbeat and challenging roles. She could have played Markova better than Dolphy, I think. She has more depth and the portrayal would be less caricature-ish.

Before Celia Rodriguez’s career catapulted into great heights via Darna, I remember seeing her in two films that defined her career: Celso Ad Castillo’s “Kung Bakit Dugo ang Kulay ng Gabi” where she played a supporting role to Rita Gomez and Alona Alegre as a fashion model (ala “Blow-up”) wearing nothing but original Emilio Pucci and the ground breaking “Lilet” where she collected the FAMAS best actress trophy in 1971. It was a tight race between Celia Rodriguez and Rita Gomez. When Celia’s name was called as the best actress winner, Rita Gomez appeared from the back stage and grabbed the trophy from Celia. A struggle ensued between the two women. Coiffure bashing and make-up scraping were the order of the day. “I am the real best actress!” Says Rita. “No! I am! Give that to me!” Replied Celia. Few days later, the photo of the hair pulling incident was splashed all over the major newspapers and no one bloody cared.

“Lilet,” was a psycho-thriller-film noir directed by Gerry de Leon. De Leon too has won the FAMAS as best director that year. The film was rated for Adults only. Somehow, I managed to sneak to the fleapit, sawali-covered wall of our local cinema in Cavite; it was called GAY THEATER. The film was so frightening that the only thing I can remember is the presence of at least 10,000 black tailor’s scissors in every frame. That led me in embarking on an early career in Haute Couture where I dress up my burnt, limbless doll Lilet in secret, which gave me so much pleasure. To this day, I can’t remember where I hid Lilet for fear that I will be found out. I’m sure my late father buried it somewhere in our garden, which for him was a great effort literally “nipping the bud” before it starts.

guillermo ramos

paano ba maging bagets?

bagetsHindi maikakailang naging bahagi ng kulturang Pinoy ang pelikulang Bagets, handog ng Viva Films at pinangungunahan nina William Martinez (Tonton), J.C. Bonnin (Toffee), Herbert Bautista (Gilbert), Raymond Lauchengco(Arnel) at Aga Muhlach (Addie).

Kuwento ng limang kabataang sabay-sabay sinuong ang lahat ng problemang pang kabataan. Nariyan ang makatapos ng high school ang pag-usbong ng unang pag-ibig, ang pagmulat sa karanasang seksuwal at kung anu-ano pa. Masarap ang magkaroon ng barkada… magkakasama sa pag-gimik, sa panliligaw sa mga nakukursunadahang babae, sama-samang nagbabakasyon, nagsasayang sa wari ba’y wala nang katapusan.

Napakasarap sariwain… sinasalamin ng Bagets ang lahat ng ating pinagdaanan, bago namulat ang ating murang kaisipan sa mga nangyayari sa kapaligiran. Taong 1983 nang itanghal ang pelikulang Bagets sa mga sinehan sa buong Metro Manila. Nagsimula ito ng bagong uring kabataan. Kakaiba ang kasuotan… iba’t-ibang kulay ang mga damit pati sapatos. Bagong sayaw na kinagiliwan hindi lamang ng mga kabataan kundi pati na rin ng nakakatanda. Mga tugtugin at awiting nagbigay ng aliw at inspirasyon sa lahat ng sumakay sa along dala ng pelikulang Bagets.

Walang patid na kasiyahan ang idinulot sa atin ng pelikula. Kung tutusin, sa loob ng nakaraang dalawampu’t tatlong taon mula nang una nating napanood ang Bagets, naroon pa rin ang kakaibang ligayang ibinigay nito.

Bakit kaya sa tuwing babalikan natin ang nakaraan hindi maiiwasang banggitin ang Bagets? Dahil kaya sa nasaksihan nating lahat ang malakas na bulusok nito sa industriya ng Pelikulang Pilipino? O di kaya’y ang biglaang pag-akyat sa rurok ng kasikatan ng limang kabataang aktor na bida sa pelikulang ito?

Utang natin ang lahat kina direktor Maryo J. de los Reyes at sa manunulat na si Jake Tordesillas. Sa kanilang isipan unang nabuo ang konsepto ng Bagets. Minsang nakausap ko si Direk Maryo ay tinanong ko siya kung paano niya gustong maalala ng mga tagasubaybay ng Pelikulang Pilipino isa lang ang kanyang isinagot sa akin… na siya ang nagdirek ng pelikulang Bagets.

Direksiyon: Maryo J. de los Reyes

Dulang Pampelikula: Jake Tordesillas

Sinematograpiya: Jose Batac, Jr.

Musika: Ricky del Rosario

Editing: Edgardo Vinarao

Disenyong Pamproduksiyon: Butch Garcia

Prodyuser: Viva Films

jojo de vera/sari-saring sineng pinoy

prewar actresses

FAP Website trivia master Tante de Ramos writes about the actresses who glittered during the pre-war years of the 1930 and 1940s. Herein are 29 actresses listed alphabetically:

Alma Bella – She starred in Punyal na Ginto, one of the earliest talkie in the then fledgling Philippine cinema.

Norma Blancaflor – The country’s best actress awardee in 1940 for the film Dalaga, Isang Ngiti Mo Lamang with co-starred her with Ely Ramos.She also appeared in Binibini ng Palengke, Hatinggabi, Sa Dating Pugad and Bawal na Pag-ibig. In Binibiro Lamang Kita produced by Philippine Films and directed by Carlos Vander Tolosa, she again co-starred with Ely Ramos with a supporting cast othat included Narding Anzures, Lilian Velez, Nati Rubi, Florentino Ballacer, Pugo and Togo. In 1948, she appeared in Huling Dalangin for LVN Pictures Inc. She was one of the veteran actresses who were conferred the Walas Kupas award in 1982.

Elizabeth ‘Dimples’ Cooper – Famous for appearing in one of the first kissing scenes in Philippine cinema (with partner Luis Tuason in the film Ang Tatlong Hambog, produced by Jose Nepomuceno), Ms. Cooper starred in the silent movie Miracles of Love which was produced and directed by Vicente Salumbides, also her co-star in the film.

Naty Fernandez – She made Lilies of Benguet with co-stars Carlos Padilla Sr., Gregorio Fernandez, Salvador Tinsay, Nora Linda and Salud del Valle. The movie, produced by Malayan Pictures, was entirely shot in Baguio, the country’s summer capital. She also starred In The Miracle of the Virgin of Antipolo with Hector Nieto and Nena Warsan for Jose Nepomuceno.

Lina Flor – A radio-talent-turned-movie-actress, she starred in Kundiman ng Puso with Rudy Concepcion and Francisco Monroy, under the direction of Eduardo de Castro. The film was produced by Philippine Films.

Adela Flumkers – She starred in Diwata ng Karagatan, starring opposite Mari Velezano and the legendary Rogelio dela Rosa. The film was directed by Carlos Vander Tolosa for Parlatone Hispano-Filipino.

Arsenia Francisco – Known as the better half of Jose Padilla Jr., Ms. Francisco starred the the following films–Azucena, Ave Maria, Sa Oras ng Kasal, Pangako na Puso and Sa Hirap at Ginhawa. Her loveteam partner was no other than her real life partner Jose Padilla Jr. Her other films included the swashbuckling movie Guerrero (directed by Teodorico C. santos for Premiere Productions) with Johnny Montelro in the title role. The cast also included Eddie del Mar (who will portray the role of Jose Rizal later on) , Edna Luna, Ramon D’Salva, Ruben Rustia, Nello Nayo, Purita Alma and Vicente Liwanag.

Rebecca Gonzales- Another Walang Kupas awardee in 1983, Ms. Gonzales appeared in such films as Pista ng Nayon (with Jose Padilla Jr, Tessie Quintana and Victor Sevilla under the direction of Manuel Silos); Mutya ng Pasig; Waling Waling (with Jaime dela Rosa as her leading man); and Gitano (with Jaime dela Rosa again and Delia Razon under the direction of Manuel Silos again). All these films were produced by LVN Pictures,Inc.

Lucita Goyena –Her first film in 1937, Teniente Rosario, starred her with Rogelio dela Rosario. She also appeared in Leron-Leron Sinta and Dalagang Pilipina. In the film Punit na Bandila (1940), she co-starred with Fernando Poe Sr. Because of the film, she was Movie Queen while FPS was proclaimed Movie King. She also appeared in Pugad ng Agila, Palaboy ng Diyos, Duyan ng Magma-mahal, Alaalang Banal, Tinik ng Isang Bulalak, Alipin ng Alila, Vida Alegre and Biyak na Bato. She was also a Walang Kupas awardee in 1982.

Hanasan –This one-name actress was in real life Aurelia Hallado, a vodabil and stage actress who performed at the Savoy and the Manila Grand Opera House with Atang dela Rama. She appeared in the comedy movie Ang Landas ng Kayamanan with Enrique Davila, Atang dela Rama and Vicente Ocampo.

Amparo Karagdag – She debuted in Angel ng Tukso opposite Carlos Padilla Sr. and Nemesio Caravana, a poet-novelist-journalist-actor who appeared in a lot of swashbuckling films which mostly starred by Efren Reyes Sr. and Johnny Monteiro. Angel ng Tukso was produced and directed by Vicente Salumbides who took specialization courses in acting and directing in the United States.

Mona Liza – Originally known as Flor de Lis, Mona Liza appeared in the 1938 film Bahay Kubo with Fely Vallejo, Rogelio dela Rosa and Ernesto Vallejo. She also made Giliw Ko (1939) with Mila del Sol, Fernando Poe Sr., and Ely Ramos.

Luningning – She appeared in the films Ang Hinapon (produced by Parlatone Hispano-Filipino). Bayan at Pag-ibig (produced by Excelsior Productions) and Punit na Bandila (produced by Exotic Films where she co-starred with Fernando Poe, Sr..and Lucita Goyena). Her other films included Ang Lilim ng Lumang Simbahan, Siyudad sa Ilalim ng Lupa, Prinsipe Paris and Ang Kaban ng Tipan.

Ester Magalona – She first appeared in the film Ibong Adarna (1941) with co-stars Fred Cortes Sr., Mila del Sol, Vicente Oliver, Deanna Prieto and Ben Rubio. This was directed by Vicente Salumides for LVN PIctures. She also made Doon Po sa Amin(1946)—the initial presentation of Mabuhay Pictures under the direction of Manuel Conde—wiyh Carlos Padilla, Sr., Elvira Reyes and Leopoldo Salcedo She also appeared in Kayumanggi with Leopoldo Salcedo and Nora Madrid as produced by Premiere Productions,Inc, and directed by Pol Salcedo.

Rosario Moreno – She first appeared Diwata ng Karagatan which was produced by Parlatone Hispano-Filipino. This was followed by Luha ng Ina with Carlos Padilla. Other Parlatone Hispano-Filipino films starring her included Paanan ng Krus and Pusong Dakila. At Sampaquita Pictures, she made Inang Mahal, Alipin ng Palad and Mapait na Lihim (with Rudy Concepcion). She also starred in Dating Sumpaan and Mahal Pa Rin Kita for Excelsior Pictures. She married actor Fernando Royo.

Corazon Noble – Known as the mother of Jay Ilagan, Ms. Noble appeared in Kahapon Lamang, Mariposa and Estrelita with leading man Angee Emeralda, her reel and real life partner. She was the elder sister of another movie star at LVN Pictures, Carmencita Abad.

Elsa Oria – An actress-singer of the pre-war years, Ms. Oria starred in Madaling Araw and Bituing Marikit. Both films were later remade. Her perennial leading man was Ely Ramos.

Rosario Panganiban – A beauty queen, she appeared in The Soul Saver with Vicente Salumbides who later became her husband. The Soul saver was directed by her leading man for his own Salumbides films.

Paraluman – Active until the late 1950s, Paraluman appeared in such movie as Flores de Mayo in a supporting role opposite Fernando Poe, Sr. She also appeared in Huling Dalangin for Sampaguita Pictures. Her other films included Veronica, Baby Face and Lydia. Tweo generations of actresses followed her footsteps—her daughter Baby O’Brien and grand daughter Rina Reyes.

Deanna Prieto – She starred in Ibong Adarna (1941) with Mila del Sol, Fred Cortez Sr., Ester Magalona, Vicente Oliver and Ben Rubio. It was directed by Vicente Salumbides for LVN Pictures, Inc.

Atang Dela Rama – The original Queen of Kundiman, she appeared in Dalagang Bukid, a silent movie which was produced by Jose Nepomuceno who is acknowledged as the Father of Filipino Movies. She was also a stage performer in zarzuelas because of her good singing voice. After a long respite, she starred in Ang Landas ng Kayamanan with Vicente Ocampo and Hanasan. She also starred also in Mahiwagang Binibini where Carmen Rosales was introduced by Diwata Films. She also appeared in Mga Batong Buhay (with Leopoldo Salcedo and Paraluman), Siga-siga (in a mother role) and Ang Buhay at Pag-ibig ni Dr. Jose Rizal where she played the role of the mother of the national hero. She was made a National Artist for her cultural achievements and a Walang Kupas awardee in 1982.

Rita Rica – She appeared in the film Himala ni Bathala with Mary Walter, Gregorio Ticman and Pedro Faustino under the direction of Eduardo de Castro.
Her other film was Hagase Tu Voluntad with Norma del Rosario, Juanita Angeles and Domingo Prinsipe which was directed by Agapito Conchu for Philippine Films.

Rosita Rivera – Shortly before the War broke out, Ms. Rivera starred in several films that included Makiling, Namumukod na Bituin, Kalbaryo ng Isang Ina, Monghita, Ikaw ang Dahilan, Ang Magmamani and Bago Lumubog ang Araw. In the film Ilaw ng Langit, she co-starred with Jose Padilla Jr. She even made a comeback in the 1950s in Sapagka’t Mahal Kita where she again teamed up with Jose Padilla Jr. and a supporting cast that included Tessie Santos, Manuel Barbeyto, Consuelo P. Osorio, Metring David, Antonia Santos, Lirio Yabut and Ed Regal. It was directed by Consuelo P. Osorio for Fremol Pictures and was released through Deegar Cinema, Inc. Dina Bonnevie is her granddaughter.

Carmen Rosales – One of the greatest superstars of Philippine cinema, she was the other half of the greatest loveteams that ever graced Philippine screens. Her equally great loveteam partner was Rogelio dela Rosa. They co-starred in such films as Colegiala, Lambingan, Senorita, Tampuhan, Panambitan, Ang Tangi kong Pag-ibig, Lydia, Takipsilim and Diwa ng Awit. Her other films included inspirasyon (with Norma Vales, Van de Leon, Katy dela Cruz and Ric Rodrigo who was introduced), Si Si Senorito (with Oscar Moreno and Fred Montilla) and MN (with Cesar Ramirez, Alicia Vergel and Oscar Moreno). All three films were produced by Sampaguita Pictures, Inc. She was proclaimed Miss Radio of 1938. In 1939, she made films for Excelsior Productions like Arimunding-Munding She also made Gerilyera (with Celso Baltazar). During the war, she even shot a movie for the Japanese, Tatlong Maria. National Artist for Film Eddie Romero directed her in Hindi Kita Malimot and Kaaway ng Bayan with Leopoldo Salcedo as her co-star. She also made such outstanding films like Maalala Mo Kaya?, Kampanang Ginto, Camella and Batalyon Trece (with Jaime Dela Rosa). She teamed up with Ely Ramos in Palikero in 1941 and Selosa in 1948. She also co-starred with Jose Padilla Jr. in Sipag at Yaman and Probinsiyana for Premiere Productions, Inc. She was a Walang Kupas awardee in 1982.

Rosa Del Rosario – She first appeared in the silent movie Ligaw na Bulaklak. She formed a loveteam with Leopoldo Salcedo and they made such films as Biyaya ni Bathala, Kalapating Puti, Ligaw na Bituin, Ang Kumpisalan at Ang Batas, Dalagang Silangan, Neneng Ko, Walang Sugat, Magpakailanman, Tandang Sora, Kundiman ng Luha and Panata ng Puso. She co-starrewd with Regelio dela Rosa in Bulaklak at Paruparo for Premiere Productions, Inc. She also starred in Ilang-Ilang for LVN Pictures, Inc. in 1941. She was the first actress to portray the role of Darna with Cristina Arayon as Valentina, (the snake woman) under the direction of Fernando Poe Sr.. Her second Darna film was Darna At ang Babaing Lawin with Elvira Reyes (as the hawk woman) uinder the direction of Carlos Vander Tolosa. The films were both produced by Royal Productions of Fernando Poe Sr.. She also appeared in foreign films like An American Guerilla in the Philippines, Anna and the King of Siam and Border Bandit. She was also acknowledged as the Queen of the Philippine Movies.. In 1980, she was conferred the Walang Kupas award. Her other films included Lantang Bulaklak (with Rogelio dela Rosa), Zamboanga (with Fernando Poe Sr.),Ang Birheng Walang Dambana, Dr. Kuba and Walang Sugat.

Consuelo Salazar – A natural soprano, she made Ang Maya, the initial presentation of Excelsior Film.

Mila del Sol – In 1939, she appeared in Ang Giliw Ko opposite Fernando Poe Sr., Ely Ramos and Fleur de Lis (Mona Liza). She also appeared in the 1941 version of Ibong Adarna with Fred Cortez Sr., Ester Magalona, Vicente Oliver, Deanna Prieto and Ben Rubio under the direction of Vicente Salumbides. She also made Sawing Gantimpala (1940). All these films were produced by LVN Pictures, Inc. She was a Walang Kupas awardee in 1982.

Fely Vallejo – Another actress who could sing, she appeared in Bahay Kubo with Rogelio dela Rosa, Fleur de Lis (Mona Lisa) and Ernesto Vallejo (her real-life brother) under the direction of National Artist for Film Gerardo de Leon for Parlatone Hispano-Filipino. She also appeared in Ay,Ay Kalisud where she also sang.

Mary Walter – She was busiest as a lead actress of silent pictures which included Don Juan Tinoso, Ang Lumang Simbahan, Dimasalang and Ang Gayuma with Gregorio Fernandez as her loveteam partner. Gregorio Fernandez (father of Merle fertnandez and Rudy Fernandez) later became a prolific director for LVN PIctures. Up to the 1960s, she was still appearing in grandmother or mother roles or family matriarch. She was a 1982 Walang Kupas awardee.