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Sunday, May 31, 2009


Newspaper ads/ 1963 Philippine Soap Box Derby

-->The Soap Box Derby is a youth soapbox car racing program which has been run in the United States since 1934. World Championship finals are held each July at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio. Cars competing in this and related events are unpowered, relying completely upon gravity to move.

The first All-American race was held in Dayton on August 19, 1934, after an idea by Myron Scott, a photographer for the Dayton Daily News. The following year, the race was moved to Akron because of its central location and hilly terrain. In 1936, Akron civic leaders recognized the need for a permanent track site for the youth racing classic and, through the efforts of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Derby Downs became a reality.(wikipedia)
Why is it called the "Soap Box" Derby? Were the cars ever made from soap boxes? Was a soap company an early sponsor? Kids would take empty soap crates or wooden soapboxes that were destined for the trash, put wheels on them and race them usually downhill. The wheels were often from baby carriages. The first ones were steered by ropes tied to the axles or simply by placing the feet on the axles and pushing on the one you needed to go in the correct direction. (internet source)

Philippine Soap Box Derby- 1962

-->Soap box derby was one of the country’s biggest summer sports events in the 50s and 60s. Close to 300 kids vied for the title, racing against time down in a 300 plus-meter course. Their race cars were made of wood on a steel chassis, which were hoisted up 16 feet to a holding pen before they were released.
Soap box derby racing was introduced in the Philippines in 1955 at Clark Air Base. The following year, under the sponsorship of the Better Boys Association, the first Philippine national soap box derby was held in Quezon City on Highway 54 (now EDSA) near Camp Murphy, with Rafael Prieto, coming out as the champion. Since then, the soap box derby races, which aimed to instill discipline among the youth, show them the value of sportsmanship and respect of the rules,
became an annual event, with the champion each year going to Akron, The popularity saw its decline in the latter part of the 60s and was eventually scrapped. It was temporarily revived in the 80s, but the enthusiasm and interest to the sport was not there.

This was how this section of Quezon Blvd. looked like in 1962 when racers, with crowds cheering, streaked toward the finish line.


Did you know that in the 60s, part of sloping stretch in Quezon Blvd was used as the venue for this grand sports spectacle? These races, from 1961 to the latter part of the 60s were held in this section of Quezon Blvd, from near the junction of West Avenue and Quezon Blvd (within the vicinity of JUSMAG Officer’s Clubhouse) up to Roosevelt Avenue near the Pantranco bus terminal. The area, which was closed to traffic for two days, was turned into a gigantic field with lots of ambulant vendors i.e. selling ice cream, popcorn and cotton candy. Festive moods filled the air as people, young and old, witnessed the races.

8th National Soap Box Derby/ May 18 and 19, 1963


May 19, 1963--- Fourteen-year old Emmanuel Nolasco, a Philippine Trust Company entry tops the 1963 8th Soap Box Derby. A veteran of two previous Soap Box Derbies, Nolasco negotiated the 975.4 foot course on the gravity-propelled races in 26.8 seconds to nose out Carmelino Dumo, 13-year old of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, in a virtual photo-finish. The triumph entitled him to a four-year college schorlarship at the University of the Philippines and the chance to compete in the All-American Derby in Akron, Ohio.
A total of 296 participants took part in this year’s derby. Eighteen were eliminated on the first day. About 3,000 fans and spectators braved the sweltering heat to witness the finals, in front of the Jusmag Officer’s clubhouse on Quezon Boulevard Extension, Quezon City.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Inquirer photo

Last Thursday’s Senate inquiry on the sex video scandal involving cosmetic surgeon Hayden Kho and sexy actress Katrina Halili turned into a circus. A man poured bottled water on Kho, who remained unbothered and unaffected in his seat. The man was ordered arrested and detained. The man turned out to be Abner Afuang, an ex-police officer and former Pagsanjan, Laguna mayor. Afuang, who caused a scene when he burned the Singaporean flag at the height of rallies to save convicted Filipino Flor Contemplacion from hanging in Singapore in 1995, was not apolegetic. He added that while he had no intention to show disrespect to the Senate, he felt a surge of emotion when he took his seat at the Senate hearing. But he said that when a waiter brought him a bottle of water, “nagdilim ang paningin ko, galit ako sa mga walanghiya [everything went dark for me, I really hate jerks)."He also said he was mad at Kho because his only daughter, who he said is a nursing student in the United States, looked like Halili.

Did you know that a movie was made in 1988 based on his life as a policeman? The movie, aptly titled “Afuang: Bounty Hunter,” starred Phillip Salvador, who happened to be in the Senate floor when the incident took place.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


October 24, 1972/
Published in the Times Jornal

This is it folks! Nora Aunor vs. Vilma Santos, And God Smiled at Me vs. Dama de Noche. Which one will the FAMAS bless? The awards of the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences are still far away though. But not the Quezon City filmfest awards which will be known tonight at the Nation Cinerama theater.

One persistent prediction in showbiz is that Vilma will make it, hands down. However, Nora watchers are just as insistent that her ‘inspired’ performance in And God Smiled at Me is simply ‘super’ and worth no less than a best actress award.


Dama de Noche is showing in three theaters--- Remar, Delta and Sampaguita. It is, Vilma was quoted as saying, her dream role fulfilled. The very professional Vilma has come out with the resolution than henceforth she will demand to see the script and also see that the script is demanding--- or she’ll say nix. Well, Dama de Noche is exactly just that: demanding. In it she delineates the twin-sister roles of sweet Armida and deranged Rosanna. Vilma sobs and screams, giggles, and crazy-dances, claws and clowns, sobs again and screams some more. But she does more than all these things. She acts. In the Filipino movieworld where crying is synonymous with acting, that certainly is being ahead of one’s kind.

Vilma as Armida is drab and dry, almost a movie prop. It is in the portrayal of Rosanna that Vilma would tear one’s heart away. The many close-ups so effectively used throughout the movie show the unglamorous Vilma: her frowns, her lip-twitching, her uninhibited and stifled sobs. But Vilma is less successful with the shifty look that is the distinctive trait of the deranged. She compensates for this in the ‘betrayal’ scene when Rosanna suspects that Leo, Armida and the psychiatrist (Fred Montilla) all conspired to imprison her in the hospital. Another outstanding feat is the subdued scene where Rosanna learns that Leo has gone to the Lerma villa to meet Armida.

The vivacious Rosanna is just as winsomely pathetic. Watching her is just like seeing a bosom friend trying to pretend she’s happy when both of you know she’s not only in this case, Rosanna is truly happy. Her non-knowledge of her plight is what is particularly heart-curling.

Dama de Noche is Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Production’s entry in the QC filmfest which started on Oct.15. It is a very simple story, almost run-of-the-mill, but Nestor Torre, Jr. who wrote the screenplay saved it with his meaningful and amusing lines. However, the movie is occasionally dragging with the Filipino moviemania for spoonfed sequences.

Will the memorable Rosanna win for Vilma the most coveted award tonight? Or will Nora the Superstar make it? The die is cast and tonight is the NIGHT.

New Frontier Cinema in Cubao was never before so loaded that the fire exits had to be opened to let in air. It was so badly jampacked, one swore it couldn’t be worse. But it was, a ‘stand-mate’ (there were no seats) quipped, ‘Noong first day, mas grabe.’ And so through a snail-pacing 20-yard pila and after exactly one hour, one got inside the theater, at last! On the screen: La Aunor doing her thing--- praying. A few steps away from the chapel, in their home in Davao, her mother (Naty Santiago) lies dying. Damian (Luis Gonzales) sits by the sickbed, comforting his wife, assuring her she is the only woman he has ever truly loved. The good woman dies and Celina (Nora) is bitter. She had prayed so hard, had run so fast from the chapel home, only to find the elder women reciting the litany of the dead. Here, the first sobs from a woman stand-mate as Celina pounds clenched fists on the door. After the burial, father tells daughter the well-kept secret of her being illegitimate. Celina shows bitterness again, but the good daughter that she is, she soon gets over from the shock and decides to live with it. Damian brings Celina to Manila as his ‘inaanak.’ They’ll wait for the perfect timing, he says and then he’ll tell his wife Olga (Lucita Soriano) everything. The perfect timing never comes. One morning, Celina just can’t help calling him ‘Itay,’ telling him she loves him very much and that he must come home at once, please. The tender moments take too long, and everybody in the theater knows Damian is ‘tsk, tsk, tsk, mamamatay.’ Everybody is right. At the hospital, the secret lets loose as Celina jerks in agony. ‘Itay, Itay,’ she sobs, in the presence of Damian’s wife and two adopted daughters. Here, Nora’s bid for a best actress award really begins. The three witches (oh, how the fans hated them) now maltreat Celina all the more, slapping her, pulling her hair, kicking her right in the tummy. All through these, Celina’s only consolation is her love for Carding (Tirso Cruz III), the laundry-woman’s (Nenita Jana) son. He is blind. He is desperate. He loves Celina very much but ‘wala akong karapatang umibig.’ And so he contemplates suicide, sneaking out one night, begging between yells of ‘Gusto ko nang mamamatay,’ for a vehicle to run over him. An irked driver shouts at him: ‘Ano ka ba, bulag?’ A woman fan shouted too: ‘wag kayong tumawa, serious yan.’ And then, what do you know, another death: not the blind leading man (that would’ve been a blunder) but his mother, who had followed him.

After so much unbearable beating and tearful moments between the lovers, Celina delivers her ultimate prayer --- she can’t take it anymore. AND GOD SMILES AT HER. God grants her a golden voice (for a while one thought that was only the beginning of the movie, after no less than two-and-a-half hours) and she sings all her heart at the foot of the altar. And this is not the end of it.

Nora Aunor won the Quezon City Film Festival Best Actress award and her movie, "And God Smiled at Me" also took home seven more including the Best Picture and Best Actor awards .

In reaction to the article above and the filmfest award results, a reader sent an open letter to the QC Filmfest Judges. Read the text in full and be the judge yourself.

click image to enlarge

However, in 1973, Vilma Santos received the FAMAS Best Actress award (in a tie with Boots Anson-Roa in "Tatay na si Erap") in the movie "Dama de Noche," thus avenging her loss to perennial rival, Nora Aunor in the Quezon City Film Festival.

Nora and Vilma during the 1973 Famas rites
(photo from Eric Nadurata

Vilma Santos winning the Famas Best Actress trophy, with co-star Edgar Mortiz (left photo) congratulating her with a kiss. (photos from Eric Nadurata)

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

GARY V., THE ACTOR (Circa 1984-90)

Gary V. Live in Cebu Concert/
Cebu Plaza/ November 11, 1989

Edgardo Jose Martin Santiago Valenciano (b.1964), better known as Gary Valenciano or Gary V., is a Filipino musician, composer, actor, producer, and gospel singer who is best known for many songs, especially those that became theme songs for movies. His energetic dance moves also garnered him the nickname "Mr. Pure Energy."

In 1984, Gary V. tried acting, appearing in
Hotshots with upcoming teen star Aga Muhlach. But it took him another two years to star in another movie. But this time, Gary V. was already a very big star in the musical scene, dubbed as “Total Entertainer” and “Concert King.” He went on to do several movies with Regal and Seiko Films, mostly doing comedy roles. However, his talent in acting was further honed by the late Lino Brocka when he appeared in two movies with the great director. "I wanted intensity, soul, passion. All these Gary gave me and more. This (referring to "Kung Tapos na ang Kailanman"), our first team-up ("Natutulog Pa ang Diyos"), was very rewarding," says Brocka of his new talent. Gary's performances in both movies showed depth and maturity. "Acting has always been a real challenge for me," admits Gary V. in some of his interviews.

Left- Hotshots (1984)- Stars Herbert Bautista, Raymond Lauchengco, Gary Valenciano and Aga Muhlach/ with Eula Valdez, Jobelle Salvador, Monette Rivera/ Directed by Jeric Soriano

Right- Horsey Horsey Tigidig Tigidig (1986)- Stars Tito, Vic and Joey, Maricel Soriano, Gary Valenciano, Manilyn Reynes, Chuckie Dreyfuss/ Directed by Luciano B. Carlos

Left- Di Bale Na Lang (Di Bale Na Lang Daw, O!) (1987)- Stars Gary Valenciano, Jackie Lou Blanco, Ricky Davao, Jestoni Alarcon, Rita Avila, Mon Alvir, Michael Locsin, Ian Veneracion/Special Participation- Pilita Corrales, Ronel Victor/ Directed byMike Relon Makiling

Right- Maria Went To Town (1987)- Stars William Martinez, Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera and Maricel Soriano/ Directed by Luciano B. Carlos

Rock-A-Bye Baby (Tatlo ang Daddy) (1988)- Stars Gary Valenciano, Jestoni Alarcon, Romnick Sarmenta, Sheryl Cruz, Rita Avila, Rachel Anne Wolfe, Joe Ed Serrano/ with Greggy Liwag, Maya dela Cuesta & Mutya Crisostomo/ Directed by Luciano B. Carlos

Ibulong Mo sa Diyos (1988)- Stars Vilma Santos, Gary Valenciano, Miguel Rodriguez and Eric Quizon/ with Nadia Montenegro, Rachel Anne Wolfe, Perla Bautista, Armida Siguon-Reyna/ and Nida Blanca, Edie Garcia & Barbara Perez/ Directed by Elwood Perez

Natutulog Pa ang Diyos (1988)- Stars Lorna Tolentino, Gary Valenciano and Ricky Davao/ with Gina Pareno, Ricky Belmonte, Dante Rivero, Marita Zobel, Michael Locsin, Tina Godinez/ Directed by Lino Brocka

Kung Tapos Na Ang Kailanman (1990)- Stars Gary Valenciano, Gretchen Barretto and Princess Punzalan/ with Eddie Garcia, Ricky Belmonte, Gina Pareno, Aurora Salve, Michael Locsin & Helen Vela / Directed by Lino Brocka

Papa's Girl (1990)- Stars Gary Valenciano, Alice Dixson and Aiza Seguerra/ with Kristina Paner & Cris Villanueva, Isabel Granada & Chuckie Dreyfuss and Cyntia patag/ Directed by Luciano B. Carlos

Monday, May 25, 2009


Director Brillante Mendoza (second from right)

Cannes--- Brillante Mendoza of the Philippines on Sunday picked up the best director prize at the Cannes film festival for his dark movie "Kinatay". "Kinatay" (Butchered) tells of corrupt cops hacking a prostitute to pieces with blunt kitchen knives. Mendoza, at Cannes for the second year running, again split the critics, drawing both hisses and applause for "Kinatay". Last year's "Serbis" was set in a Manila porn-theatre with long close-ups of festering boils and overflowing toilets, as well as the poverty and distress on the streets.

A scene from 'Kinatay'

Still determined to portray the social reality around him, Mendoza in "Kinatay" traces 24 hours in the day of a trainee policeman, happily beginning with his wedding in the morning to close with the young man's first outing at night with a band of corrupt colleagues. To his surprise, fear and anguish, they pick up a prostitute accused of betrayal and wind up torturing, raping, killing and hacking her before disposing of the body parts across Manila. " This is not just entertainment, these kinds of stories are real," Mendoza said at Cannes. Last year was the first time since 1984 the Philippines had a film competing for the top prize at Cannes, the Palme d'Or. (Agence France-Presse/ May 25, 2009)

Mendoza's Acceptance Speech: "First of all I would like to thank the selection committee, who are responsible for bringing my films here for the past three years. And now with an award for Best Director, I would like to thank the Jury. And of course I’d like to thank my producer; thank you for the trust and faith in my films. I’d like to thank also a very committed staff and crew. I’d like to share this award with my daughter, Angelica, who has always been my number one critic and to an actor I really respect, Coco Martin. Thank you all for embracing my kind of cinema."

Last year, Mendoza made the country proud because his film “Serbis” (Service) was selected as one of the finalists competing for the prestigious Palme d’Or. The first and only time a Filipino director had a film including in the competition category of the Cannes Filmfest was in 1984, when Lino Brocka's opus “Orapronobis” was accepted.

Serbis (2008)/ Stars Gina Pareno, Coco Martin, Jacklyn Jose, Julio Diaz, Dan Alvaro, Kristoffer King/ Directed by Brillante Mendoza--- The Pineda family operates and lives in a run-down movie house which shows dated sexy double-feature films. As the rest of the members go about their daily activities, we get a glimpse of how they suffer and deal with each others sins and vices. Preoccupied with their personal demons, the family is unmindful that inside the movie theater, another kind of business is going on between hustlers and patrons. (internet source)

Tirador (2007)- Stars Coco Martin, Jiro Manio, Kristoffer King, Nathan Lopez, Harold Montano and Jacklyn Jose & Julio Diaz/ Directed by Brillante Mendoza/ Winner of Gawad Urian Best Picture and Best Director--- The movie is about the intertwined lives of Caloy, Leo, Rex and Odie. All of them live in the depressed slum area of Quiapo, Manila. The film takes place during Holy Week amidst the 2007 elections. It represents Manila as swarming with criminals -- snatchers, pickpockets, drug pushers, shoplifters and the like. However, these petty criminals are portrayed as nothing compared to the corrupt, hypocritical politicians who make false promises, exploit poverty and call on God for help.(Wikipilipinas)

Foster Child (2007)- Stars Cherry Pie Picache (Gawad Urian Best Actress), Eugene Domingo, Jiro Manio, Kier Segundo, Dan Alvaro, Alwyn Uytingco/ Directed by Brillante

Left- Pantasya (2007)- Stars Arthur Estrella, Roy Roxas, Mark Dionisio, Harold Montano, Kiko Montenegro, Kervin Castillo, Dexter Castro, Brent Lorenzo, Nicco Taberna, Kyle Zenorio Justin de Leon/ Directed by
Brillante Mendoza

Right- Kaleldo (2006)- Stars Johnny Delgado, Cherry Pie Picache, Angel Aquino, Juliana Palermo, Allan Paule, Criselda Volks, Lauren Novero/ Directed by Brillante Mendoza

Left- Manoro (The Teacher)/ 2006- Stars Jonalyn Ablong/ Directed by Brillante Mendoza

Right- Masahista (The Masseur)/ 2005- Stars Coco Martin, Jacklyn Jose, Alla Paule, Katherine Luna, Paolo Rivero, Kristoffer King/ Directed by Brillante Mendoza

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Lualhati Bautista (b.1946), a fiction writer and movie scriptwriter, is one of the foremost Filipino female novelists in the history of contemporary Philippine Literature.

Two of Lualhati Bautista's novels, "Gapô" and "Desaparesidos," are widely available in leading bookstores.

In addition to being a novelist, Lualhati Bautista is also a movie and television screenwriter and a short story writer. Her first screenplay was Sakada (Seasonal Sugarcane Workers), a story written in 1975 that exposed the plight of Filipino peasants. Bautista has received recognition from the Philippines' Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature and the Surian ng Wikang Pambansa in 1987. Her award-winning screenplays include Bulaklak sa City Jail (1984), Kung Mahawi Man ang Ulap (1984), Sex Object (1985). For screenplay writing, she has received recognition from the Metro Manila Film Festival (best story-best screenplay), Film Academy Awards (best story-best screenplay), Star Awards (finalist for best screenplay), FAMAS (finalist for best screenplay), and URIAN awards. Two of her short stories have also won the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, Tatlong Kuwento ng Buhay ni Julian Candelabra (Three Stories in the Life of Julian Candelabra), first prize, 1982; and Buwan, Buwan, Hulugan mo Ako ng Sundang (Moon, Moon, Drop Me a Sword), third prize, 1983. Bautista also authored the television dramas Daga sa Timba ng Tubig (The Mouse in the Bucket of Water) (1975) and Isang Kabanata sa Libro ng Buhay ni Leilani Cruzaldo (A Chapter in the Book of Life of Leilani Cruzaldo) (1987). The latter won best drama story for television from the Catholic Mass Media Awards.Bautista was honored by the Ateneo Library of Women’s Writings on March 10, 2004 during the 8th Annual Lecture on Vernacular Literature by Women. In 2005, the Feminist Centennial Film Festival presented her with a recognition award for her outstanding achievement in screenplay writing. In 2006, she was recipient of the Diwata Award for best writer by the 16th International Women's Film Festival of the UP Film Center. She is also the only Filipino included in a book on foremost International Women Writers published in Japan, 1991. (wikipedia)

Sakada (1976)- Stars Robert Arevalo, Hilda Koronel, Pancho Magalona, Rafael Roco, Jr., Gloria Romero, Rosa Rosal, Tony Santos Sr., Joseph Sytangco, Alicia Alonzo/Story by Oscar Miranda/ Screenplay by Lualhati Bautista/ Directed by Behn Cervantes

Left- Kung Mahawi Man Ang Ulap (1984)- Stars Hilda Koronel, Christopher de Leon, Amy Austria, Isabel Rivas, Michael De Mesa andEddie Garcia & Gloria Romero/Screenplay by Lualhati Bautista/ Directed by Laurice Guillen

Right- Bulaklak sa City Jail (1984)- Stars Nora Aunor, Gina Alajar, Celia Rodriguez, Perla Bautista, Maya Valdez, Zenaida Amador, Maritess Gutierrez, Shyr Valdez/ Screenplay by Lualhati Bautista/ Directed by Mario O'Hara

Sex Object (1985)- Stars Stella Suarez, Jr., Liza Lorena, Lovely Rivero, Julio Diaz, Ama Quiambao, Jaime Fabregas, Patria Plata/ Screenplay by Lualhati Bautista/ Directed by Boots Plata

Left- Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa (1998)- Stars Vilma Santos, Albert Martinez, Ariel Rivera, Raymond Bagatsing, Carlo Aquino and Serena Dalrymple/ with Rosemarie Gil, Cherrie Pie Picache, Cita Astals, Dexter Doria & Angel Aquino/Story and Screenplay by Lualhati Bautista/ Directed by Chito Rono

Right- Dekada 70 (2002)- Stars Vilma Santos, Christopher de Leon, Piolo Pascual, Marvin Agustin, Carlos Agassi, Danilo Barrios, John W. Sace / Story and Screenplay by Lualhati Bautista/ Directed by Chito Rono

One of a few times her work appeared in komiks.

click images to enlarge

Pilipino Komiks/ 1979


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