“I would highly appreciate very much if you would at least acknowledge any materials used or at least ask for a permission first. Unless specified, all other materials are from the private collection of the blog owner. Thank you very much!”

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Mutya ng Pasig, directed by Richard Abelardo, is a supernatural melodrama of a woman's misfortune and suffering interwoven with the legend of the Pasig. The legend itself is inspired by the immortal kundiman of the director's brother, Nicanor Abelardo. The movie, released in 1950, starred screen legends Jose Padilla, Jr., Rebecca Gonzales, Teody Belarmino and Delia Razon.

Mercedes (Rebecca Gonzales), aside from being the town's current mutya (fiesta queen), is about to be married to his childhood sweetheart. (Roger Nite). Unknown to them, Dr. Modesto Millar (Jose Padilla Jr.), is also secretly in love with Mercedes. One night, Modesto's house is robbed and the blame is placed on Mercedes' groom-to-be. He is arrested and imprisoned after which Modesto courts Mercedes and eventually marries her. When the former fiancé is finally released, gossip spreads about him and Mercedes.

Consumed by anger and jealousy and believing the superstitious talk that the baby girl is not his because of an ugly birthmark, he banishes Mercedes and the child, chased by his monstrous dog, and she drowns in the river. From that point on, a legend spreads about a woman, a sirena, haunting the river singing a sad but beautiful song.

Mercedes' daughter is saved by a childlesss couple (Tolindoy and Angge) and grows into a lovely woman (Delia Razon) inheriting her mother's love for music. She is betrothed to Basilio (Teody Belarmino), the son of Mercedes' former flame. When Delia becomes the town's mutya, a commotion ensues and in the dead of night, she takes a banca and ventures into the dark river. Basilio is frantic and searches for her, believing she may have drowned.

He hears the haunting song and witnesses the apparition, but it is no sirena, but the ghost of the lovely Mercedes, hovering over a bed of water lilies with the practically lifeless body of her daughter at her feet. Mercedes is singing the haunting kundiman "… ako ang Mutya ng Pasig…"

The townspeople take the unconscious Delia to Don Modesto but at first he refuses to treat the young woman until he sees the birthmark on the young woman's shoulder. He finally realizes the truth and finally accepts Delia as his daughter.

(Stills and synopsis- from LVN-Kabayan Central site)

Here's the movie's final 10 minutes---

Courtesy of LVN Pictures


TheCoolCanadian said...


Another good collection from you.
Apart from the little gaffe in (once again, from lack of medical research – that drowning can be cured by simply inhaling ether and/or an injection), the film clip is quite engaging. The song is very good (and I wonder if Rebbecca used her own voice here?). I've always known Rebbecca Gonzales as "the fat lady" in the 70s, and she was looking lovely and absolutely in ship-shape condition here. Also, I have just realized that Lily Miraflor was already acting in the 1950s. Delia Razon and Teody Belarmino look great as the young couple.

Funny how in the old days of Tagalog films, the use of birthmark was always present. In another old film (whose screenplay was written in the early 1900s: DAHIL SA ISANG BULAKLAK, this device was also used to trace the biological lineage of a character (this time, on the foot of Liza Lorena who played Charito Solis' daughter).

Seeing these film clips you've been posting here keep educating me as to how the old Tagalog films were done technically (the constant use of tripod shot is obvious), and it seems that medical research was the constant blunder, and the movie stars were all looking fantastically glamorous and gorgeous, just like what see now in Bollywood films. Manilawood was just more advanced than Bollywood, since we've had our lips-to-lips kissing scene quite early on in 1898 – while Bollywood has yet to do it. Manilawood had its own episode of Bomba, ST, Bold, and what-have-you, and I don't think Bollywood will ever evolve beyond the sing-and-dance routine that they seem to have been stuck in for quite a while now.

So, Simon, thank you for these film clips. Keep them coming to enlighten us all about our Tagalog movies of olden days.

Rodolfo Samonte said...

Simon, JM,
I have no idea who Rebecca Gonzales is, but she shares top billing with Jose Padilla Jr. All the other actors became quite prominent in Philippine films of course, and always so welcomely refreshing to see a young and lovely Delia Razon (who's still alive, I think).
JM, the medical gaffe is so absolutely insane, I almost want to go into the movie and give her mouth-to-mouth or artificial respiration. And to think they drag her unconscious all the way to the doctor's house, who even at that point was unwilling to treat her. Dios mio naman, she's about to die.

TheCoolCanadian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheCoolCanadian said...


Hahaha! Did you know I am a certified lifeguard and I volunteer every summer as swim instructor to kids and adults alike?

I almost dived into the Pasig River to save Delia Razon from drowning! He-he.

But, because of these film clips we all become aware of our old Tagalog movies. So far we've realized a common occurrence of the following elements –

The negative ones:

1. The lack of medical research
2. The use of the device known as: virtuous women accused of infidelity, then unfairly punished, and most of the time with tragic consequence.
3. The use of BIRTHMARK as a plot point to reveal a character's biological lineage
4. The use of coincidences to solve the conflict
5. Use of deus ex machina when the protagonist faces the so-called black moment in the story

The positive ones:

1. The use of beautiful music and dance to accentuate a dramatic scene
2. Gorgeous actresses to keep us enthralled watching them on screen
3. The revelation of the Filipino spirit through the characters' sociological/psychological aspects: the "pakikisama", the "kahihiyan", the "palabra de honor", and so on.
4. The Filipinos' dreams and aspirations as race
5. The use of slang during the period when the film was made, thus keeping us informed how the Tagalog language grew and evolved through the years

I bet we'd learn more as we keep seeing all these oldies clip from Simon. We love them, Professor Simon. But, please don't give us a test afterward, we might fail. He-he.

Rodolfo Samonte said...

An excellent list of negatives and positives, and your spot-on. I guess the medical gaffe itself was to add an element of suspense, because anybody knows the way to revived a drowning victim is by artificial respiration. You didn't need any medical research for that one. Reminded me of a near drowning incident when we were kids swimming (or trying) the Pasig river. We lived in Sampaloc, as we've talked about before, and the Pasig river is walking distance. One time my brother and I and some friends went to the river where there's a small island by the side of the river, somewhere near the Hospicio de San Jose, itself situated on an island in the middle of the Pasig River and accessible via the Ayala Bridge. Anyway, there was a really short distance (about 15 feet) between the island the the mainland and what we would do for thrills was to dive into the river (none of us knew how to swim) and by the time we come out, we'd be safely on the other side. We did the same thing going back. Unfortunately, one of our friends got caught in the strong current, which carried him fast, for almost a quarter of a kilometer downriver, all the while struggling to stay up, he didn't know how to swim, none of us knew how to swim, and we didn't have any life-saving device to throw him, as we just followed him along the river side in horror. Then, would you believe, we saw a passing mag-tataho, a young well-built man, we shouted to him for help, he immediately jumped into the river, hauled the drowning boy out, by that time the boy was unconscious, and the man administered some kind of artificial respiration by carrying him feet up and trying to get the water out of his lungs. Whatever, he did miraculously worked, and in a few minutes he was revived. We all got a scolding from his parents, and the very next day my dad took me and my brother to the YMCA, also on Ayala on the other side of Pasig for swimming instructions. My God, what a horrific experience that was. And that boy owed his life to that mag-tataho. The moral here is that even somebody like a taho vendor, knew some basics of artificial resuscitation, yet in the movie nobody knew, or even tried anything.

TheCoolCanadian said...

Which really puzzles me why Richie didn't bother to let the townspeople do something on Miss Razon.

Funny how it is that when you take your certification to become a swim instructor and/or lifeguard, the first thing you learn is: WATCH THE ETHNIC SWIMMERS!


A lot of immigrants from outside north America DO NOT KNOW HOW TO SWIM! Including a lot of FILIPINOS who originally come from 7,200 islands known as the Philippines! Imagine, we are surrounded by water and many do not know how to swim.

I bet when you guys were swimming in the Pasig River it was still clean. In the 1970s, it was so filthy and full of garbage. You may try to kill yourself by jumping into the river, and you might survive the fall, but the germs in the water will not spare your life.

Rodolfo Samonte said...

Hahahaha. Is that right? That is an astute observation. Many Filipinos do not know how to swim. My wife doesn't know how to swim. I'm not a good swimmer. My brother and I learned to swim at the same time under the same instructor, he became the better swimmer. My father though was an excellent swimmer, he tells us that in his younger days (before the War), he used to swim across the Pasig River. Anyway, you're right, the Pasig was so clean at the time, this was early 50s, and that area where that incident happened was kind of a deserted place, no houses, just trees and leaves around and nothing else, the river bank was earth, no cement at that time. I'm surprised that taho vendor was even in that area.

Anonymous said...


That's true. Even in Sorsogon many people don't know how to swim, including me. I don't know how I passed the PE at UST, it was swimming. Maybe because I can cross the pool. But indigenous swimming style in Bicol was called LANGOY-ASO, it wasn't the scientific free-sytle being taught in organized swimming lessons, but they can get by and are really very fearless, even in deep waters.
Ilang sytle ang alam mo including the standard freestyle?


TheCoolCanadian said...

Auggie & Rod:

Yes, the kids in Bicol can float and swim but with all the WRONG strokes! Meaning, they would never sustain to swim for hours on end because of wrong strokes. If they figured in a ferry sinking, they will surely perish. What I noticed was they would fold their knees like a dog when swimming. And that's a no-no. The legs should be straight with pointed toes and the force of the kick should come from the thighs. I usually teach them the front crawl, the back stroke, the scissors kick, and the butterfly.

Btw, Teody Belarmino's swimming in the film clip was really wrong. He could have drowned first before he culd have saved Delia Razon.


Rodolfo Samonte said...

Pati yung bida hindi marunong lumangoy, hahahaha.
Yes, we're surrounded by water, but many, especially women are afraid of the water, or heaven's afraid of getting sunburned. We like to go to the beaches, but I never see people actually go swimming, except for the foreigners. One time we were in a Batangas beach with a Filipina friend who was married to an American. The husband's favorite exercise was to take 50 or more laps along the ocean like nothing, and he'd do this every morning, and I can't understand how he could do it, when I couldn't even swim a hundred yards. In the Philippines, the only place I actually know that had formal lessons in swimming is the YMCA. High Schools don't have swimming pools, and then even in College, students prefer basketball. You know of course, here in America, swimming pools are everywhere. Here alone in Burbank, we have 3 Olympic-size swimming pools in the parks alone, plus each High School (we have two) have a swimming pool too. Plus every other home here have swimming pools. Of the 10 homes nearest me, 5 have swimming pools. Maybe that's why American's are better swimmers.

TheCoolCanadian said...


Sea water is very light, and therefore, much easier to swim in.

Pool water is 10 times heavier, hence it is much harder to the swimmer.

However, what makes a person swim non-stop for miles and miles, is through:

• Correct stroke
• Being streamline along the water
• Proper breathing

The Red Cross has adopted the MARK SPITZ invention called: the INVERTED S PULL. The mechanics of this is: stab the water in 45 degree angle, push, then pull towards your body in an inverted S position, past your hip. This propels you better. Breathing, it has to be bilateral: 1. hand right, 2. hand left 3. head turn left. Repeat the same, but this time, head turn right.

If one can swim say 2 kilometers without stopping in a pool, he can swim 10 times longer than that in an ocean because he'll float better.

Yes, indeed. In north America, we have pools in every corner, but in Metro Manila, there are only few public pools.

If more Filipinos knew how to swim during the ONDOY FLOOD, more people would have survived the disaster.

Last note on swimming: WOMEN are better floaters because they have more FAT in their bodies; while men are poor floaters because they have more muscles in them. FAT floats, MUSCLE sinks.

Every summer, we have a Water Polo tournament of MALE LIFEGUARDS vs FEMALE LIFEGUARDS, and believe it or not, the women always win. They just float very well, that's why.


Anonymous said...

JM, Rod,

Dapat siguro gawin na itong top priority ng gobyerno didto, yung SWIMMING FOR SURVIVAL, sa lahat ng baranggay, kasi yung mga darating na bagyo at baha, eh talaga daw super-lupit dahil nga daw sa freakishness ng weather at global warming. I wonder kung anong style ang alam ni SuperKap, kasi he was swimming with sharks daw doon sa dagat ng Gubat, Sorsogon.Ang problema ko ngayon eh ang cramps sa muscle sa legs, masakit talaga , parang sinusuntok, at pag inabot ka niyan sa tubig ,itcould have tragic consequences...may gamot pa sa pulikat?


TheCoolCanadian said...


When you are not using the muscle, such as your leg muscle in swimming, then that can happen. I was once swimming with a professional hockey player. After two laps, he gave up. Hockey is intense. Yet, he couldn't swim beyond two laps. Well, the answer is simple. The muscles he was using in swimming are not the same muscles he was using in playing hockey. It's that simple.

Anonymous said...


Sabi deficient daw ako sa POTASSIUM, totoo ba?


Rodolfo Samonte said...

Kung kailangan mo ng calcium, ang dami masasarap at iba't ibang klaseng saging sa Pinas. Bananas are rich in potassium.

Anonymous said...

siya ang kumanta sa movie na ito...may movie din ako niya...PISTA SA NAYON,1948.


pilipinomovies/cinemasuerte...youtube accnt.

neto malikot

Noel Vera said...

Sir, would like to use two of your pics for my blog. Thanks!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin