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Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Susana C. de Guzman (1912-1992) was one of the very few successful woman directors in Philippine cinema. She was a prolific writer and many of the films she made for LVN were serialized in Liwayway and other popular magazines. She was best remembered for her movies, like Sarrung Banggi (1947), Sumpaan (1948), Sonny Boy, (1955), Krisalis (1957), Villa Milagrosa (1958), among others. She was the recipient of Natatanging Gawad Urian in 1991.

One of De Guzman's works was Sa Paanan ng Bundok, which appeared on the pages of Liwayway Magazine in 1953. It was adapted into the screen which she also directed.

"Sa Paanan ng Bundok" (1953)- Stars Rogelio de la Rosa, Lilia Dizon, Rosa Aguirre, Jose de Cordova, Maria Norma Mendoza, Jose Cris Soto, Ike Jarlego, Jr./ Directed by Susana C. de Guzman

Sa Paanan ng Bundok tells of Ric (Rogelio de la Rosa), a doctor who finds love in a remote resort when he was asked by a friend to be his best man in the wedding. Ric and Gloria (Lilia Dizon) met accidentally while fishing at the foot of the mountain. They soon fall in love.

However, Lukas (Joseph de Cordova), who is also in love with her, is against of the relationship. Lukas is the son of Gloria’s stepfather. Her mother (Rosa Aguirre) remarries after her father dies. It turns out to be a miserable life for Gloria and family. Lukas is able to succeed in cutting the ties between Ric and Gloria.
Ric, heartbroken, goes back to Manila and continue his medical profession. He met Elvie (Maria Norma Mendoza), the socialite-daughter of a medical director. Ric is very close to the father, from which he is fully grateful for of what he is now. Elvie is suffering from a serious heart ailment and was advised to take it easy. Ric is tasked to take care of Elvie. Elvie thought that Ric is in love with her and not to hamper her health condition Ric decides to pretend that he also likes her, all upon the advice and orchestration of the father. Unexpectedly, both get married.
On the other hand, Gloria, her brother (Ike Jarlego,Jr.) and mother are able to escape from the clutches of Lukas and head towards Manila. They ask Ric for help for temporary shelter. Gloria learns that Ric is now married. Though married, Ric still sees and visits Gloria now and then. When Elvie learns about it, she confronted Gloria. The confrontation can be viewed on the short clip below---

Courtesy of LVN Pictures

Elvie's health deteriorates and dies.
The movie ends with Ric going back to the foot of the mountain where he finally reconciles with Gloria.


Vince said...

Wala ka bang tribute kay Marco Polo Garcia? Gumanap bilang rapist ni Kris Aquino sa Vizconde Massacre at batang Rigor sa Pieta. Parehong obra ni Carlo J.

TheCoolCanadian said...


There were very few women scriptwriters in the early days of Philippine komiks, prose, Radio-TV, and movies.

Susana C. de Guzman was one of the more well-known ones, but most of her tales were quite soap operatic (she must have started in radio soap operas?) and it really shows. The solutions to her conflicts were quite convenient, like in the case of Elvie's death in this film, to pave the way for a happy ending for the leading characters. I've had the opportunity to read some of de Guzman's works published in very old copies of Bulaklak and Alimyon prose serials in my younger days, and again, they were all melodramatic.

Compared to the works of LIWAYWAY ARCEO, de Guzman's well-known dramas pale when it comes to building conflicts and resolutions. ILAW NG TAHANAN, despite its soap-ish approach of forcing cliff-hangers every episode for the listening pleasure of radio listeners of the early days of Philippine radio (thanks to Koko Trinidad for showing us old radio scripts in our class), there were always genuine moments of revelation of the true human condition that the audience can easily identify in real life.

In Arceo's UHAW ANG TIGANG NA LUPA, for instance, despite its love triangle theme and the soap-operatic sacrifices of the real wife from silently bearing the pain of her husband's affair with another woman – the author did not resort to a convenient ending, rather, we were brought to another level that we do not expect as an audience: pretend to her husband as the "other woman" in his death bed while he was deliriously calling the other woman's name – just to make his husband's last moments here on earth a blissful one. Well, setting someone free who hurt you for a long time may not be a popular showcase of humility, but nevertheless a genuine affirmation of the so-called: "the true, the good, and the beautiful."

This is where the difference lies: we see real human suffering and heroism in Arceo's work, while we only get melodrama from de Guzman.


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