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Saturday, February 28, 2009


Track star Lydia de Vega-Mercado, was considered Asia's fastest woman in the 80s. As Asia's sprint queen, she ran away with the gold medal in the 100-meter dash in the 1982 New Delhi Asiad and duplicated the feat in the 1986 Seoul Asiad where she clocked 11.53 seconds. She also brought home a silver medal in the 200-meter race from the 1986 Seoul Asiad. Diay, as she is fondly called by her countrymen was a two-time Olympian, having carried the country's colors in the 1984 (Los Angeles) and 1988 (Seoul) Olympics.

De Vega now serves as a councilor of her native Meycauayan town in Bulacan province. Currently, she is the coach of the Singapore track and field team. (wikipedia)

De Vega early triumphs were her record-shattering gold medal victories in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash in the 1981 11th Southeast Asian Games.

Times Journal/ December 1981
(click images to enlarge)

Medalyang Ginto (1982)- Stars Lydia de Vega, Tony Santos, Sr., Perla Bautista, Joseph Sytangco, Dave Brodett/ Directed by Romy Suzara

Friday, February 27, 2009


In the early 70s, arch rival Vilma Santos did several movies where she appeared in sci-fi, fantasy movies. She donned the Darna costume for the first time in Mars Ravelo’s Lipad Darna Lipad. She also did other equally hit movies, Phantom Lady, Vivian Volta and Wonder Vi. Not to be outdone, Nora Aunor looking for a material to suit her image, bought the film right of Zoila’s Super Gee, which was serialized in Darna Komiks in 1972. The movie was released in 1973 under her own NV Productions. Nora was awesome in an almost all-black outfit and was even great doing those spectacular stunts.

Movie ad and photo, courtesy of James dela Rosa of Pelikulaatbp

Thanks to Steve Santos of
Unang Labas for the komiks materials

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Filipino boxer Anthony Villanueva competed in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in the Featherweight (57 kg) division. He won the silver medal, bowing to eventual Gold Medal winner Soviet Union's Stanislav Stepashkin in a controversial decision.

The Manila Times/ October 24, 1964

Tokyo, Japan/ October 23, 1964/ Anthony Villaneuva lost his bid for an Olympic gold medal--- the ultimate in athletic greatness--- but 7,000 boxing fans who saw it all thought he was robbed. Boos and catcalls greeted the 3-2 decision for Russian Stanislav Stepashkin at the end of the bloody, fiercely fought featherweight final which the 19-year old Filipino gamecock carried in the last two rounds. There were no knockdowns, but Villaneuva staggered the veteran Russian fighter several times and was often blasting away at will in his grim all-out effort to improve on the silver medal--- the Philippines’ first--- he already clinched.
For more, click image above to enlarge

Left- Pamatay: Kaliwa at Kanan...! (1964)- Stars Nida Blanca, Willie Sotelo, Vilma Valera and Anthony Vilaneuva/ with Jose Padila, Jr./ Directed by Larry Santiago

Right- Salonga Brothers (1965)- Stars Joseph Estrada, Joe De Castro and Anthony Villaneuva/ with Annabelle Huggins, Olive Dela Pena and Paquito Diaz/ Directed by Pablo Santiago

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The year: 1982

Three action films starring local midget black-belter Weng Weng were sold to a German producer-distributor based in
Frankfurt, Germany, Kurt Palm. The films--- Agent 00, For Your Height Only and Wild Wild Weng--- were sold at $20,000, $30,000 and $40,000 respectively, according to Peter Caballes, executive producer of Liliw Productions, owner-producer of the films. The third movie is still to be filmed.

The sale, one of the first, if not the very first, successful deals closed by a Filipino producer at the MIFF (Manila International Film Festival) film market, was confirmed by PMPPA officials.
(More on the article, click below)

see: Weng Weng: The Pinoy Midget James Bond

Return of the Dragon, a Ramon Zamora starrer produed in 1974 by FGO Productions, was among the hottest selling kungfu flicks at the MIFF film market. Four deals were closed with foreign buyers, while several more are still under negotiation, according to Felipe G. Ortega, FGO executive producer.
(More on the article, click below)

See Ramon Zamora: The Original Pinoy Bruce Lee

Starwatch/ January 25, 1982
(Click image to enlarge)

Monday, February 23, 2009


Rules Oscars with 8 prizes including Best Picture
by Associated Press/ February 22, 2009
Los Angeles - "Slumdog Millionaire" took the best picture Academy Award and seven other Oscars on Sunday, including director for Danny Boyle, whose ghetto-to-glory story paralleled the film's unlikely rise to Hollywood's summit.
The other top winners: Kate Winslet, best actress for the Holocaust-themed drama "The Reader"; Sean Penn, best actor for the title role of "Milk"; Heath Ledger, supporting actor for "The Dark Knight"; and Penelope Cruz, supporting actress for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."
A story of hope amid squalor in Mumbai, India, "Slumdog Millionaire" came in with 10 nominations, its eight wins including adapted screenplay, cinematography, editing and both music Oscars (score and song).
"Just to say to Mumbai, all of you who helped us make the film and all of those of you who didn't, thank you very much. You dwarf even this guy," Boyle said, holding up his directing Oscar.
The filmmakers accepted the best-picture trophy surrounded by both the adult professional actors who appeared among the cast of relative unknowns and some of the children Boyle cast from the slums of Mumbai.
The film follows the travails and triumphs of Jamal, an orphan who artfully dodges a criminal gang that mutilates children to make them more pitiable beggars. Jamal witnesses his mother's violent death, endures police torture and struggles with betrayal by his brother, while single-mindedly hoping to reunite with the lost love of his childhood.Fate rewards Jamal, whose story unfolds through flashbacks as he recalls how he came to know the answers that made him a champion on India's version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

Complete list of winners at the 81st annual Academy Awards, presented Sunday night at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles:

• Motion Picture: "Slumdog Millionaire."
• Actor: Sean Penn, "Milk."
• Actress: Kate Winslet, "The Reader."
• Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight."
• Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."
• Director: Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire."
• Foreign Film: "Departures," Japan.
• Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, "Slumdog Millionaire."
• Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, "Milk."
• Animated Feature Film: "WALL-E."
• Art Direction: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."
• Cinematography: "Slumdog Millionaire."
• Sound Mixing: "Slumdog Millionaire."
• Sound Editing: "The Dark Knight."
• Original Score: "Slumdog Millionaire," A.R. Rahman.
• Original Song: "Jai Ho" from "Slumdog Millionaire," A.R. Rahman and Gulzar.
• Costume: "The Duchess."
• Documentary Feature: "Man on Wire."
• Documentary (short subject): "Smile Pinki."
• Film Editing: "Slumdog Millionaire."
• Makeup: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."
• Animated Short Film: "La Maison en Petits Cubes."
• Live Action Short Film: "Spielzeugland (Toyland)."
• Visual Effects: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

Academy Award winners previously announced this season:

• Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award (Oscar statuette): Jerry Lewis
• Gordon E. Sawyer Award (Oscar statuette): Pixar Animation co-founder Ed Catmull

Saturday, February 21, 2009


“…the movie is connecting with audiences not because it’s foreign, but because it strikes universal chords about personal fulfillment, romantic obsession and the chance to rise from the bottom of the slag heap to the top of the Taj Mahal--- and because it whirls its rags-to-riches tale with speed and energy that would put a Hollywood action film to shame.”
Time Magazine
For more, read the article below

Slumdog Millionaire
, an Anglo-Indian film, produced at the cost of $13 million, has so far earned more $60 million (and still counting) in
North America. After winning the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards, it’s the front-runner choice to take the Oscar’s Best Picture scheduled on February 23 (Manila time). Hope it wins!

click images to enlarge

Time/ February 9, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009


Left- The Singing Filipina-
(1973)- Stars Nora Aunor and Sajid Khan/ with an all-star cast/ Directed by Artemio Marquez

Right- Impossible Dream-
(1973)- Stars Nora Aunor and Victor Laurel/ with Zenaida Amador, Toto, Balut, Tange, Nick Lizaso, Leo Martinez/ Directed by Cirio Santiago

Nora Aunor's team-up with singer-actor Tirso Cruz III in the 70s is undoubtedly one of the most popular love team in Philippine cinema. She was also paired with another teenage idol, Manny de Leon and starred in numerous movies together.But it’s not always been a Nora-Tirso or Nora-Manny love teams during the Superstar’s early years in showbiz. Nora also appeared in movies with other popular leading men--- Edgar Mortiz, Jay Ilagan, Victor Laurel, Walter Navarro, Sajid Khan, Paolo Romero and of course, Joseph Estrada and unknown Rolly Villa. The other most popular tandems were the Nora-Cocoy and Nora-Sajid love teams, which also created quite a stir among fans during those times. Nora did three movies with Cocoy (Victor Laurel),
Lollipops and Roses (1971), Impossible Dreams (1973) and Lollipops and Roses at Burong Talangka (1975) Likewise, she made another movie hit, The Singing Filipina, with Indian star, Sajid Khan.

see: Nora-Tirso Love Team
see: Nora-Manny Love Team

Tomboy Nora (1970)- Stars Nora Aunor/ Introducing Rolly Villa/with Bayani Casimiro, Boy Alano, Venchito Galvez and Menggay/ Directed by Artemio Marquez

My Beloved- (1970)- Stars Nora Aunor, Edgar Mortiz, Luis Gonzales and Miss Rita Gomez/ with Renato Del Prado/ Directed by Artemio Marquez

Left- Anna Victoria (1970)- Stars Nora Aunor, Leila Morena, Lauro Delgado and Maria Victoria/ with Rolly Villa, Tinna Lapuz/ Directed by Consuelo Osorio

Right- Si Waray at ang Talyada (1971)- Stars Nora Aunor, Ed Finlan, Bayani Casimiro, Lilian Laing, Angge/ Directed by Felicing Constantino

My Prayer (1971)- Stars Nora Aunor, Ricky Belmonte, Amalia Braza, Joseph Sytangco/ with Tita Aunor, Maribel Aunor/ Directed byArtemio Marquez

Lollipops and Roses (1971)- Stars Nora Aunor, Victor Laurel, Rebecca Del Rio, Oscar Moreno, Don Johnson and Davey Jones/ Directed by Artemio Marquez

Carmela (1973)- Stars Nora Aunor, Jay Ilagan and Rico Lopez/ with Norma Blancaflor, Lolita Lopez and Matimtiman Cruz/ Directed by Danny Holmsen

Erap Is My Guy (1973)- Stars Joseph Estrada and Nora Aunor/
with Cachupoy, Vic Silayan, Ruben Rustia, Romeo Rivera/
Directed byAugusto Buenaventura

Kondesang Basahan (1973)- Stars Nora Aunor, Jay Ilagan , Zandro Zamora, German Moreno, Rosa Mia, Matimtiman Cruz, Racquel Monteza/ Directed by Danny Holmsen

Somewhere Over The Rainbow (1974)- Stars Nora Aunor, Walter Navarro, Caridad Sanchez, Lorli Villanueva and German Moreno/and All-Star Cast/ Directed by Orlando Nadres

Dito Sa Aking Puso (1974)- Stars Nora Aunor and Walter Navarro/ Perla Bautista, Caridad Sanchez, Rodolfo 'Boy' Garcia, Angie Ferro, Eddie Mercado, Adul de Leon and Pinky de Leon/ Directed by Orlando Nadres

Aking Maria Clara (1974)- Stars Nora Aunor and Paolo Romero/with Alicia Alonzo, Robert Talabis, Ruben Rustia, Dencio Padilla, Jose Garcia, Patria Plata Directed by Fely Crisostomo

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Did you know that two of our basketball superstars of the 70s appeared together in the big screen? Hardcourt greats Robert 'The Big J' Jaworski of Meralco and Freddie 'Fastbreak Freddie' Webb of YCO (MICAA days) starred in the movie titled Fastbreak (1971). Fernando Poe, Jr. was instrumental in bringing the two together which Da King himself produced and directed under the pen name of D'lanor. Prior to this movie, both also starred in another movie, Dimasupil Brothers, but together with another basketball star, Alberto 'Big Boy' Reynoso. Webb was introduced in this picture.

Fastbreak (1971)- Stars Robert Jaworski, Freddie Webb, Chichay, Kristina Reyes, Elvie Escaro, Lito Anzures, Victor Bravo, Nello Nayo/ Featuring Zernan Manahan/ Directed by D'lanor

Dimasupil Brothers (1971)- Stars Andy Poe, Paquito Diaz, Robert Jaworski, Romy Diaz, Jumbo Salvador/ Introducing Alberto 'Big Boy' Reynoso and Freddie Webb/ with Lou Salvador, Sr./ Directed by Manuel Cinco

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I’m a great fan and admirer of Clint Eastwood from the time he starred in Sergio Leone’s ‘Spaghetti’ trilogy western movies (A Fistful of Dollars, A Few Dollars More and The Good The Bad and The Ugly), as the rugged and mean cop in Dirty Harry and as a disc jockey in Play Misty For Me, also his directorial debut. This guy has tremendous talent and at 78, he still comes up with magnificent and outstanding works. Two of his recent film projects are simply incredible. I just watched these two movies and both are great and highly recommended!

Clint Eastwood directs Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich in a provocative drama based on actual events: Changeling. In the film, Christine Collins’ (Jolie) prayers are met when her kidnapped son is returned. But amidst the frenzy of the photo-op reunion, she realizes this child is not hers. Facing corrupt police and a skeptical public, she desperately hunts for answers, only to be confronted by a truth that will change her forever.

Los Angeles
, 1928: On a Saturday morning in a working-class suburb, Christine said goodbye to her son, Walter, and left for work. When she came home, she discovered he had vanished. A fruitless search ensues, and months later, a boy claiming to be the nine-year-old is returned. Dazed by the swirl of cops, reporters and her conflicted emotions, Christine allows him to stay overnight. But in her heart, she knows he is not Walter. As she pushes authorities to keep looking, she learns that in Prohibition-era L.A., women don’t challenge the system and live to tell their story. Slandered as delusional and unfit, Christine finds an ally in activist Reverend Briegleb (Malkovich), who helps her fight the city to look for her missing boy. Based on the actual incident that rocked California’s legal system, Changeling tells the shocking tale of a mother’s quest to find her son, and those who won’t stop until they silence her.

(CNN) -- You may have noticed: Clint Eastwood has become respectable in his old age.

To judge by the release pattern and some of the more reverent reviews, you would think the 78-year-old director's second movie of the season (after "Changeling") was another prestige picture with Oscar firmly in its sights, along the lines of "Million Dollar Baby" or "Letters from
Iwo Jima."

Nominations may be forthcoming, or they may not (we'll find out January 22), but trust me, "Gran Torino" is not that kind of animal. It's a crude but pungent stab at popular filmmaking, blue-collar and bare-knuckle.

Which is not to say it's disappointing. On the contrary, it's an entertaining star vehicle that does its job well. Other films around right now tackle "important" themes -- the Holocaust, justice, alienation -- but "Gran Torino" is all about Clint:: the suspicious squint, granite composure and bad-ass attitude. Is Eastwood important? If you have grown up with this enduring American icon, there's no question about it. Apparently Nick Schenk's screenplay wasn't written specifically for him, but after seeing the film it's impossible to imagine it with anyone else.

Eastwood's Walt Kowalski is a Korean War veteran and retired auto worker, a grumpy old man and the last white guy holding on to his property in an inner-city neighborhood that's been taken over by Asian-Americans.

The movie opens at his wife's funeral. (How many times have we seen Eastwood with a wife on screen? Not too often.) Walt's not happy, of course, but more than anything, he seems pissed off. His kids are a sore disappointment. The grandkids merit nothing more than a growl. At the wake, even the priest, Father Janovich (freckle-faced Christopher Carley), is quickly shown the door.

Walt is alone now, and he means to keep it that way. He sits on a deck chair out on his front porch, a cooler of beer beside him, the American flag hanging limp over his square patch of lawn.

It's a portrait of implacable American isolationism -- until the teenage son of his Hmong next-door neighbor encroaches on Walt's turf. Thao (Bee Vang) nearly gets his head blown off trying to steal Walt's prized 1972 Ford Gran Torino. To apologize, and to thank the white guy for stepping in to save him from the gangbangers who put him up to the stunt, Thao reluctantly reports for a week of whatever chores Walt might ask of him.

The grudging mutual respect that develops between them is entirely predictable, but in Eastwood's clean, unfussy but discreetly patient direction, even a banal task -- like wrestling an old fridge out of the basement -- assumes the bonding power Alan Ladd and Van Heflin found in digging out a stubborn tree stump in "Shane." Like other Eastwood heroes before him, Walt sacrifices his independence by accepting that others depend on him.

The relationship is also laced with plenty of gruff humor. If you're feeling indulgent, the film has almost as many laughs as a comedy. The older man introduces Thao to his barber (John Carroll Lynch) for a lesson in guy talk -- which turns out to be the art of barking invective with impunity. (PC, it's not.)

Meanwhile, Walt's own racist (Archie) Bunker mentality thaws when Thao's self-assured sister Sue (Ahney Her) introduces him to the pleasures of Thai food.

All the while, the neighborhood punks hover in the background, waiting for the right moment to test whether Dirty Old Harry is firing anything more than blanks these days.

Schenk's screenplay isn't subtle, and some of the young cast struggle to camouflage its crudeness, but Eastwood revels in the pragmatic design and roughneck humor of the piece. Walt may be a dinosaur, but he carries a big footprint. In a similar way, "Gran Torino" is no classic, but at least it's a star vehicle worthy of a true legend.

By Tom Charity
Special to CNN

At more than $110.5 million and counting, "Gran Torino" is now the top-grossing movie of Clint Eastwood's career.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Hari ng Karate (1966)- Stars Roberto Gonzalez, Josephine Estrada, Carlos Padilla, Jr., Merle Fernandez, Martin Marfil, Eddie Torente/ Directed by Solano Gaudite

Roberto Gonzalez, Karate King of Philippine Movies and one of the finest action stars of the 60s, passed away last February 5. He was 66. Gonzalez' body lies in state at his friend’s house in Tandang Sora, Quezon City.

“Maliit kasi ang pasilyo papunta sa bahay namin kaya nagprisinta ‘yong kaibigan niya na dito na siya iburol,” partner Rose said. Gonzales had sired two children with his former househelp Rose- Rhoda, third year, and Bobby, first year high school. “Eighteen lang ako no’n nang pumunta sa kanilang bahay sa Project 6. Ako ang nagtatrabaho sa kanyang bahay. May pera pa siya no’n. Hanggang sa nawalan na siya ng girlfriend. Ako ang naiwan. Ako ang nag-alaga sa kanya hanggang ngayon,” confessed the now 40-year old common-law wife.

The former debonair karate expert, who introduced self-defense in the local movies in the tradition of Bruce Lee, had seven other kids with three women. He had three children with former leading lady Rina Imperial, who is now based in the United States, and two each with non-showbiz women.

“Nag-reunion nga ‘yong mga anak niya sa burol no’ng isang gabi,” chuckled Rose.


He used to be Fernando Poe Jr. and Joseph Estrada’s rival at the tills during the late 60s and early 70s. There was even a time that Gonzalez had surpassed the combined box-office receipts of both Poe and Estrada’s movies.He was famous and rich but, somewhere along the way, he lost his popularity and his millions. Gonzalez died poor.

Years before he succumbed to second heart attack last week, friends said he was like a beggar asking for alms from his colleagues in the film community. “Nakakaawa talaga si Betong,” said comedian Amay Bisaya, referring to Gonzalez pet name. There were no more movie offers except for occasional screen appearances. But the talent fees were still not enough to feed his family.“Pero ang ipinanghihingi niya ng pera araw-araw sa kanyang mga kaibigan ay para sa kanyang dalawang anak na estudyante,” said dubber, actress and line producer Olive Madridejos.

Although interment has been scheduled on Sunday, Gonzalez family has yet to look for additional money for funeral expenses. Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Lito Lapid, who are also actors, have already sent flowers. His family said hopefully financial donations would follow. “Pag nagkakasakit noon si Betong, sina Bong at Lito ang nagbibigay sa akin,” said Rose.

By Boy Villasanta, ABS-CBN News

More on Roberto Gonzalez

Magnificent Brothers (1966)- Stars Roberto Gonzalez, Rolando Gonzalez, Carlos Padilla, Jr., Merle Fernandez, Martin Marfil, Marilou Ver, Eddie Torrente and Anna Ledesma/ Directed by Solano Gaudite

Digmaan sa karate (1967)- Stars Roberto Gonzalez and Liberty Ilagan/Cast of top foreign and local martial arts experts / Directed by Solano Gaudite

Bertong Karate (1967)- Stars Roberto Gonzalez, Liberty Ilagan, Rolando Gonzalez, Eddie Torrente/ Directed by Solano Gaudite

Berdugo ng mga Hari (1967)- Stars Roberto Gonzalez, Merle Fernandez, Eddie Torente/ Directed by Leo Sun

Bulag na Matador
(1968)- Stars Roberto Gonzalez, Alicia Alonzo, Roderick Paulate and Verna Gaston/ Directed by Solano Gaudite

Hari ng Slums (1968)- Stars Roberto Gonzalez, Elvie Gonzales, Stella Suarez, Edie Torrente, Tony Villar and Rolando Gonzalez/ Directed by SolanoGaudite


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