I have grown to love this particular Ipaglaban Mo episode to the point that it has become my another favorite episode even though I am not a parent. It is interesting knowing that it entails the importance of responsible parenthood and reminds the audience that every decision made involves consequences. This segment is about a young woman who fights for her rights to retrieve her child, realizing her regret that she could have let her family in-law look after him. The case has been dismissed and the rights to keep the child are given to the adoptive parents.
I feel that it is more about making crucial and wise decisions even though the story centers more on parenthood and adoption. Making good decisions will lead us to better roads and one is less likely to look back with regret when facing good consequences in life. It is indeed important to make wise decisions especially when it involves a legal case such as the right to keep a child as one’s own. If Rona had thought of entrusting her child to her in-laws instead of sending him into adoption, she would not have regretted giving her child away (yet she cannot be blamed for what she did since she is young, does not know much about the real world cases including adoption rights and cannot afford to be educated on them due to financial problems). However, I am glad as an audience that she has learned her lesson and ends up being in good terms with the child’s adoptive parents.
N.B. Originally aired between 1988 and 1999, Ipaglaban Mo! is a Filipino series that features stories based on real world cases. The airing of the show takes place at 3 pm every Saturday, after its revival in 2014.
Its simple yet captivating story line has drawn me to watch the movie. It spreads special needs awareness as much as it encourages support and acceptance towards these exceptionally-abled individuals, and it is about a young adult with Down syndrome aspiring to be an action star and doing his best to attain his dream with the help of his family. I end up appreciating the film and am inspired that it is possible for individuals with special needs to reach their own dreams, as long as they feel encouragement and support from their loved ones, and they have the guts to grasp their pot of gold with their own means. Star na si Van Damme Stallone also presents the family’s challenges in accepting VanVan, which fortunately enough, his family ends up doing.
The film tries to convey acceptance through the scenes where Vanvan ends up being accepted by each of his family members. His mother accepts him the most by encouraging him to pursue his dreams in becoming an action star, and also by taking care of him and teaching him survival life skills at adult age, despite having the initial difficulty in accepting him, as she tried to drown Vanvan as a baby while giving him a bath after she learned about his condition. This provide a glimpse of hope that despite struggles, there is still room for acceptance towards exceptionally-abled individuals. With Vanvan’s family as role models to families, friends, loved ones and other people in the world of a special needs individual, the film encourages and inspires them to do the same.
There is hope for special needs individuals to pursue their goals, to function and contribute in society. This is made possible when their loved ones believe in them, just as how Vanvan’s family believes in Vanvan and helps him in making it through the film industry by being part of the shoot. Although Vanvan does not end up being an action star as the audience predicts and instead becomes one of the extras or part of the special participating casts, he can still be considered to reach his dream, for he gains the opportunity to work with the stars. It must be a blessing for him to play alongside Jasmine Curtis, his idolized celebrity, which is considered a rare occasion for a regular person.
The title of the film provides the idea that VanVan will end up being an action star as he has always dreamed of, making the audience predict that it will happen. It also implies that he is already a star in his own despite his condition, and therefore highlights that a person with special conditions has abilities, talents and skills that can help him or her build himself or herself. Likewise, the exposure of Paolo Pingol and Jadford Dilanco, both portraying Vanvan respectively as adult and child, highlights the potential that a similar individual can have, proving that he or she can shine despite the different learning needs. The talents of these two actors have also been brought to a different level, from being picked as a supporting role (Paolo) and a new actor in the making (Jadford) to landing main roles.
Last but not the least, the following are the aspects that makes this masterpiece worth tuning to besides being a beacon of acceptance and support. The film is heartwarming as much as it is entertaining, providing several emotional feels that involves laughter and tears. The acting is overall natural and Candy Pangilinan’s has been brought into a different level, being a comedy actress portraying a dramatic role. The areas of improvement lie in too much focused scenes, leading the entire movie to be dragging.
I would recommend this movie as an educative tool to increase special needs awareness and encouragement, support and acceptance towards differently-abled individuals. Individuals with special needs, their families, friends, teachers and therapists, as well as schools and therapy centers, are the first target audience, for they know more about special needs and the awareness starts from them.
Title (translated) Van Damme Stallone is already a star
Release Date March 16, 2016 (initial release); August 16, 2017 (for Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino)
Directed By Randolph Longjas
Starring Candy Pangilinan, Acey Aguilar, Mara Marasigan, Isaac Aguirre, Paolo Pingol, Jadford Dilanco
Genre Drama, Dramatic Comedy
Length 97 min
A young man diagnosed with Down syndrome aspires to be an action star and with the help of his family, is able to pursue his dream.
*Title Translation: 100 Poems for Stella: A way to gain your crush’s attention
ATTENTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED
Writing poems for Stella is Fidel’s way to express his feelings for her. Fidel is drawn to the aspiring rock star from the moment he meets her at the acquaintance party and thinks of writing poems about her, which he would initially like to have published in the college editorial. Finding out that his poems are not featured, he follows his professor’s suggestion to give his poems. He decides that he would do so when the right time comes, but as he takes every chance to show his writings, there does not seem to have one. This makes Fidel promise to himself to write a 100 poems in a booklet, which he will give to Stella once he asks her to be his girlfriend. Unfortunately, tables have turned when Fidel finally has his chance, for Stella is already married to another man and about to have a child.
Pinagtagpo pero hindi tinadhana. Literally translated as “crossed each other’s paths but never destined.” I appreciate how the film plays around the theme similar to KitaKita‘s (c.f. Kita Kita: a social media buzz turned to romcom phenomenon) and mirrors the harsh reality that one cannot always end with whom he or she wants to end with and the person one loves is not always the one destined for him or her. It also tells us audiences that there is no perfect time for everything and one has to seize the opportunity while it is still there. It equally shows us the realistic side of relationships in contrast with typical school, teen and coming-of-age romance films with happy endings providing a feeling of hope that one can always end with the person he or she fancies, which indeed makes 100 Tula Para Kay Stella a stand out growing up flick.
I appreciate the unpredictability in this movie and the fact that it is relatable to teens and young adults. It is said to be relatable to high school and college students between 2004 and 2008 (they must be in between mid-20’s and early 30’s in 2017), bringing back those good old memories when Friendster and Yahoo Groups were the most famous social media platforms, when floppy disks, CDs, tapes, walkmans and Nokia 3310 old version were used frequently, and when bands are still on the mainstream (e.g. Sugarfree, Rivermaya, Hale..). It also brings back to college days with the glories of passing the subjects, sharing joys and tears with block mates, study group systems, putting sweat, blood and effort into reviewing for exams, house partying, acquaintance party with live band and dance, joining clubs of interest, meeting new friends, being in a band, preparing for the future and graduation. While nowaday’s teens can relate less to the old trends memorabilia, they can relate more to college life that they are either currently experiencing or will experience in the future.
“Hindi naman pwede laging living in the moment” – Fidel Lansangan
Translation: You can’t always live in the moment.
The movie never fails to highlight central themes typical in a life of a teenager such as self-discovery, following one’s dreams, school pressure and dealing with authority, family relationships, friendships, romantic relationships and heartaches. These even make it more relatable to teens and even to adults who have been teenagers once, for they are realistically portrayed as seen through the stories that each character has been going through. Stella’s angst and struggles feel so real to the point that she can be considered a victim in society despite her rebellious nature. The natural, spontaneous and outstanding acting (facial expressions, body movements and script lines) bring the characters into life and I salute Bela Padilla, J.C Santos and even Prince Stefan for putting themselves into their own.
Last but not the least, the movie is entertaining for it has brought lots of laughter and tears. Kudos to Chuck (my favorite character) for bringing hilarious moments in the midst of dramatic scenes.
I would definitely recommend this movie to love stories aficionados, indie film lovers, teen and young adult oriented movie fans and to those who do not mind tragedies as long as they are considered a masterpiece. My personal identification with the characters drew me to watch 100 Tula Para Kay Stella, being a Stella on the outside (sporting a usual rockstar look) and a Fidel on the inside (being introspective and an introvert) and having similar talents as these two (writing, singing and playing guitar).
AND A FEW MORE PERSONALLY DISCOVERED TRIVIA (THOUGH UNINTENDED)..
1/ Stella and Fidel’s goal is to see the other side of Mount Arayat, which they managed to do at the end of the film. While it is known as the major attraction in Pampanga, the word “aray” (meaning “ouch” in tagalog) in the name implies that Stella and Fidel are not meant to be (which indeed is painful), as well as those chances Fidel never received to prove his love for Stella.
2/ The names given to main characters describe their portrayal. Stella means “star”, which entirely describes Bela Padilla’s character being a band vocalist, while the name Fidel sounds like the pronounciation of “fidele”, the French word for faithful, which the character turns out to be.
Title (translated) 100 Poems for Stella
Release Date August 16, 2017
Directed By Jason Paul Laxamana
Starring Bela Padilla, JC Santos, Prince Stefan, Mayton Eugenio, Ana Abad Santos, Rose Van Ginkel
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Length 120 min
Fidel, a young man with speech impairment, falls for Stella, a popular and aspiring rockstar. He then writes a series of poems to express his feelings.
I am glad that this nationwide film festival was organized to bring the best of the avant-garde films produced by the local film makers. The purpose of this festival was to feature Filipino films based on esthetics, artistry, originally-crafted plot, character development and underlying deep messages that provided life lessons to audience, and I honestly admit that it deserved an extension, for the Filipino audience is new to indie films and therefore needs to be given a chance to watch and appreciate them all. There was too little time to watch all these 12 films in a week. If the film festival was extended up to two to three weeks, one would be able to devor them all just as how he or she would be able to catch up with all featured indie movies last MMFF 2016. Likewise, it would have been better if the films were widely advertised, for the trailers were not shown enough on television, radio and even online back in the period. The audience would have known more of the films and would come up with a list of the PPP movies to watch if the movies were frequently promoted.
On the other side of the coin, I am further looking forward to the same kind of festival in the upcoming years. Mabuhay ang Pelikulang Pilipino (Long live Filipino Films!)!
N.B Literally translated as Filipino Film Festival (for non Filipinos), Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino is a week-long celebration of exclusive screening of Filipino films nationwide. Organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines in partnership with local theaters, the festival ran from August 16-22, 2017.
It is my favorite among all Ipaglaban Mo episodes that I have watched. The story caught my eye, for films, books and TV series with animal-based plot lines and/or using animals as main characters are my cup of tea, and it was indeed a pleasure to watch an episode of a named series that involved an animal-related legal case for the first time. It tackled the death of a young girl named Happy after being bitten and infected by a rabies inflicted German shepherd named Rocky. The dog turned out to have contracted virus after being left on the streets, and the question lies whether Hilda, the dog owner, would be held liable for the incident.
A dog owner is held liable when his or her pet bites another person and transfers rabies virus leading to the death of the victim. This was indeed the case of Hilda, who did not take good care of her dog and ensure well enough that it was not harmful. This made Bong and Marie (Happy’s parents) won the case in seeking justice for their deceased little angel, and can therefore serve as a lesson to us, audiences, to love our pets, to take good care of them and most especially, to keep them away from harm and to avoid them from harming other people. It is equally the responsibility of every parent to keep an eye on their children and to ensure that they are not in danger. If Bong and Marie watched over Happy well enough (they did their best to forbid her from going near Rocky, but it was not enough as she managed to sneaked in their absence and played at her neighbor’s house where Rocky was located), she would not have suffered a tragic fate.
#IMRabies manages to provide lots of mixed emotions aside from being an entertaining animal-based plot that emphasizes the importance on responsible parenthood and pet ownership. It is heartwarming as much as it is tear-jerking, knowing that Happy and Rocky are both victims. Hilda is indeed the real culprit of the story and I would personally love to despise her for not being a caring owner to Rocky. If she does not want it to cause any harm to her student boarders, she could have put him in the cage as her maid Alice suggested. My sympathies goes to Happy’s parents for doing their best to protect their child at all costs (although it was not all that perfect) and to Alice for being nurturing to Rocky as though she is the real owner (I honestly would have preferred her as the dog owner of the dog).
Last but not the least, I appreciate the finale wherein Bong, Marie and Alice found a puppy on the street. The presence of the puppy compensated them for their respective losses (as much as Bong and Marie lost their child, Alice, too, lost Rocky, a dog close to her heart, after it has been brought for rabies inspection that required slicing its head) as much as they could be the puppy’s compensation for being separated from its family or losing its owner (the most probable reason the puppy ended up stray).
N.B. First aired in 1988, Ipaglaban Mo! is a Filipino series that features stories based on real world cases. The show was revived in 2014, fifteen years after it was replaced by then teen oriented drama Tabing Ilog, and now airs every Saturday at 3 pm.
I equally appreciated the episode Ampon (aired on August 26, 2017), which is about the legal rights of adopting, sending one’s child to adoption and returning the adopted child to the original parent.
Title (translated) Fight for It!
Original Run June 7, 2014 – present
Genre Legal Drama, Crime Drama, Anthology
Length (per episode) 60 min
Episode title Rabies
Episode release date August 5, 2017
Directed By Ato Bautista
Starring Jason Abalos, Empress Schuck, Katya Santos, Myel de Leon, John Lapus
A young girl dies after being bitten by a neighbor’s dog and infected with rabies. Parents then seek justice for their deceased child, suing their neighbor.
I first heard about Kita Kita among my social media friends. I had no clue what the movie was about while seeing the title multiple times on my timeline, and I was brought to curiosity to watch it after seeing a couple of good reviews on the film. It turns out that my friends are right about the movie. I absolutely love it to the point that it has become one of my favorite all-time films and I can see myself watching it multiple times once it is aired in cable movie channels.
I honestly admit that it is rare for me to appreciate a movie (especially a Filipino one) that everyone adores or talks about. Movies that are widely advertised, mass-budgeted or simply known by many do not usually impress me due to cliches, but there are lots of aspects in Kita Kita that turns it into an exception. Its lightheartedness (although the end is rather tragic), unexpected twists, comedy vibes, romantic chills, Japanese serene and picturesque landscapes and emotional mixture of tears and frustration are the obvious signs that make Kita Kita worth being appreciated by the masses. However, there is more to this masterpiece that makes it more than appreciable.
Kita Kita is about two individuals destined to cross their paths. One of them is a woman who becomes temporarily blind due to stress and heartbreaks, and another is a hilarious man who, after having been suffered by heartbreak, moves to Sapporo to start his life anew. However, they did not have a slight chance to know each other well given the fact that Lea (played by Alessandra de Rossi) was blind when she knew Tonyo (played by Empoy Marquez), who died at the same moment Lea regained her eyesight. It is interesting to see how their lives intertwine with their same sets of experiences and their multiple path-crossings. The film maker has done an excellent job in drawing parallels of these characters’ similarities in experiences and coincidental encounters, thus the definition of soulmate. However, the tragic ending implies that soul mates do not usually end together for some reason, no matter how many times their paths have crossed.
Another plus-point about Kita Kita is its acting. Empoy Marquez carried the entire ambiance of the film due to his hilarious nature and pick-up lines, and he portrays his character excellently to the point that the masses now consider “funny” as the new “handsome.” Similarly, Alessandra de Rossi managed to bring her acting to a higher level even though I am not a big fan of her. The AlEmpoy pairing have a good chemistry and it is nothing similar to cliched love teams of two good-looking people. Instead, a not-so-physically-appealing man is paired with a gorgeous woman who is inches taller than he is.
Thirdly, the movie title itself is eye-catching in a way it can be seen as a pun or a play on words depending on how the entire expression is pronounced (you will understand if you are a Filipino and speak Tagalog). “Kita Kita” can either mean “I see you” (which is the literal translation of the title) or “I saw you” implying Tonyo’s pursuit to Lea, or how Lea, blind, sees the world using Tonyo as her own eyes (here, “you” refers to the world Lea sees through Tonyo, including the latter mentioned person). Or it can also mean “see you again” or “see you some other time”, which implies a glimpse of hope that Lea will meet Tonyo in a different time and place in a different person or eventually when she goes to heaven. Another interesting aspect in this movie is the fact that it gives a literal picture of the famous quote “love is blind”, wherein the blind Lea falls for Tonyo without knowing what he looks like.
“Eh, ano kung bulag ka, ako naman ang magsisilbing mata mo eh.”
Translation: “So what if you’re blind? I will serve as your eyes.”
Last but not the least, Kita Kita never fails to teach us life lessons although it may be done implicitly. It shows that it is possible for two people to fall in love without involving physical attraction and that personality conquers all when it comes to looking for a relationship. Yet the most important lesson in this film (in my opinion) is to make the most of our time with our loved ones before they are taken away. We never know when this will happen, which is why it is highly important to show them kindness and compassion and to find time for them as long as we have the option to. Lea and Tonyo never had a chance to know each other deeply, yet Lea wished that she could have known Tonyo well enough. But then, Lea had no choice because she was blind when she knew him. Given that we are not in her situation (well if you are then you will not be able to read this entry), we need to make the most of our chance to be available to our loved ones as much as we can.
It is overall an entertaining romantic comedy movie that keeps the audience tuned from beginning to end. An enormous thumbs up for this timeless and unforgettable masterpiece.
“Noong nakakakita ka, ‘di mo ako nakita.
Nang mabulag ka, doon mo lang ako nakita.”
Translation: “When you could still see, you didn’t see me. When you became blind,
that was when you saw me.” Totally describes what the movie is all about.
Title (translated) I See You
Release Date July 19, 2017
Directed By Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
Starring Alessandra de Rossi, Empoy Marquez
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Length 84 min
A temporarily blind woman gradually falls in love with her hilarious fellow Filipino neighbor in Sapporo as she finds comfort in him while he in turn, serves as her eyes to see the world.
I am glad to have finally seen this movie after it has been watched by many. It is indeed worth the popular hype for several reasons, one of which is the fact that it is entertaining and not dragging. It equally provides emotional feels that add more to the entertainment and the catchy songs that encourage the audience to sing along. Additionally, the film never fails to disappoint the audience and is therefore loyal to the 1991 animated version. The actors and actresses chosen for their respective roles fit their own characters and the story still remains similar to the older film despite the differences. Although Emma Watson was not personally my initial actress for Belle, I ended up learning that she can fit her character well.
“La Belle et la Bete nous apprend qu’il ne faut pas juger sur les apparences des personnes car on ne connait pas l’histoire de chacun.” – me.
In other words, Beauty and the Beast instructs us, as audience, not to judge people based on appearances as we do not know the story of each of them. I appreciate how the film emphasizes the importance of seeing through a person before coming up with judgments and that personal judgments can hurt or kill a judged person’s dignity similar to how Gaston plotted to kill Beast thinking that he is cruel. I equally admire how the film underlines that love, understanding and a simple random act of kindness can change a person’s life for the better similar to how Belle’s compassion for Beast changed him into a gentle creature. Other values shown in the movie are family love and the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions. If Beast was not a cruel prince, he would never have turned into a Beast. Gladly enough, Belle’s love changed it.
Last but not the least, I personally find the prince attractive. One last reason for loving this musical flick!
Release Date March 17, 2017 (USA)
Based On Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont (original revised story) and Gabrielle Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s (original tale) Beauty and the Beast. Also Disney’s 1991 animated film of the same title.
Directed By Bill Condon
Starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson
Genre Family, Fantasy, Musical, Romance
Length 129 min long
A young woman takes her father’s place as Beast’s captive after her father steals a rose from the castle. She then experiences the luxurious way of living in the enchanted castle and eventually falls for the Beast as she gets to know him further.
One can never tired of watching this timeless drama a countless times. There is a lot of greatness in this film more than the audience can enumerate and this firstly includes its simple yet fully developed story line. With Jenny and Lino’s grown romance as its main plot, the film maker equally manages to establish a meaningful side plot where the harsh realities faced by each overseas Filipino worker (OFW) are emphasized (e.g. being away from their hometown and their families, working hard to earn for the future, false expectations on working abroad, unexpected love affairs, ending in jobs considered as low-class despite being a college graduate and being culture-shocked) through experiences of Jenny’s housemates and real-life OFWs’ interview footages. The latter also indicates foreshadowing, wherein Jenny and Lino ends sharing their lives both as OFWs and as a couple in the form of an interview.
The emotional and teary eyed scenes brings the movie into life. The film is touching thanks to the natural and outstanding acting, and it is neither dry nor dragging, which makes the audience tuned from beginning to end. The audience can relate to the known drama especially when he or she is working overseas and lives far away from his or her hometown. Moreover, seeing the escapades of Milan and other cities of Italy creates a dreamy ambiance that urges the audience, most particularly a traveler, to tour around the mentioned places.
The life lessons equally make the movie nourishing in a way that the audience learns about the value of hard work, patience, determination, perseverance, sacrifice, sense of belonging, family relationships and dealing with cultural differences. The love story between Lino and Jenny, which is the main focus of the plot, is developed realistically compared to typical love stories and does not involve any cliches as it takes a while for the two lovers to fall for one another. Not forgetting to mention that Jenny’s remarkable line (see photo) can be referred as one of the hugot lines known by the new generation. It can therefore be appreciated by the younger viewers as much as it will remain in the heart of the older audience.
Release Date February 11, 2004
Directed By Olivia Lamasan
Starring Claudine Barretto, Piolo Pascual, Iza Calzado, Ryan Eigenmann, Lotlot de Leon
Genre Drama, Romance
Length 135 min long
Lino moves to Italy in search of his wife Mary Grace, whom he has not been in contact with for years. He then encounters Jenny who eventually becomes his housemate and the latter agrees to help Lino find his long lost love.
The Metro Manila Film Festival is an annual event held in Metro Manila from Christmas Day (December 25) to the first weekend of January. Filipino films are the main focus of the festival and the event would mostly feature blockbuster hits. However, tables have turned for the festival in 2016, wherein the featured movies are mostly indie. I am completely glad that these small budget works of art are given a chance to be seen and talked about by the masses, and I believe that these masterpieces deserve being known nationwide for their incredible cinematic technique, artistic quality, outstanding and natural acting, and most especially (what I personally most care about) their “out-of-this-world” (well, in a good way), and uniquely designed and developed story line with unexpected twists and thrills and unintentional given lessons to the audience.
As much as I would like to devor the movies in the MMFF 2016, I only managed to watch the three of them. I appreciated them all and I’m hoping that avant-garde films will be given another chance to be shown in the same festival in the years to come. If they can make it internationally, they deserve the same recognition nationwide.