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Thursday, August 27, 2009


Philippine Daily Inquirer/ August 26, 2009

Baguio Movies in our Mind
by Frank Cimatu
Inquirer Northern Luzon

Baguio City
, Philippines—The start of the movie “Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising” would put a smile on the faces of most Baguio City residents, nostalgic of the pre-Edsa Revolution years. It was a young man waking up to the sound of the AFRTS (Armed Forces Radio and TV Services Network) which brings American tunes to United States servicemen all over the world. Residents of Baguio, site of the American rest and recreation center Camp John Hay, listened to the AFRTS not only because it gave them the Top 40 two weeks before Manila did, but also news, sometimes critical of the regime of strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

And watching “Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising,” the 1977 movie, helmed by Mike De Leon, brings back the Baguio many old-timers wish to return to. Watching Christopher de Leon play the piano with the Apo Hiking Society on the University of the Philippines Baguio campus, having a picnic with Hilda Koronel among the limestone outcrops of the Dominican Hill and walking in the rain along Outlook Drive captured the essence of Baguio romance.

It is no wonder that when the Philippine Daily Inquirer asked several movie reviewers which film reminds them of Baguio, “Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising (Moments in a Stolen Dream)” came out on top.

Prof. Rolando Tolentino, dean of the UP College of Mass Communication in Diliman, Quezon City, and author of various critiques on the movie industry, chose “Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising” because it depicts a “picturesque Baguio that makes you fall in love, fall out of love, and gives the melancholia to make the loss linger.” The movie tells a story of a biology student (De Leon) who wanted to be a musician and met a young woman on the verge of a marriage breakdown. They briefly fell in love and broke up to live the rest of their lives.

Simon Santos, son of the artist Malang and the owner of Video48 in Quezon City which has an extensive collection of old Filipino movies and memorabilia, also chose “Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising” for the distinctive Baguio scenery.

Mauro Tumbocon, a San Francisco-based writer on movies and popular culture for the past two decades, chose the movie because it was not “touristy” and did not use the popular tourist spots to convey the Baguio mystique. Tumbocon also chose “Magandang Gabi sa Inyong Lahat” by Lupita Aquino as his other Baguio film favorite. The 1976 movie is about a balikbayan played by Nora Aunor who met a former boyfriend, played by Tirso Cruz III.

Tolentino also chose “Dear Heart,” starring Sharon Cuneta and Rowell Santiago as students of the Brent International School, as well as another Mike De Leon movie, “Kakabakaba Ka Ba?,” a satire about a pair of lovers played by De Leon and Charo Santos caught in a search for cocaine by Chinese agents and Japanese drug lords with fake nuns as “mules.” Tolentino also cited Kidlat Tahimik’s “Bakit Yellow ang Gitna ng Bahaghari,” a documentary about the Baguio filmmaker’s sons amid the country’s political awakening that led to the 1986 People Power Revolution.

Santos’s other favorites are “Baguio Fever,” a 1959 comedy starring Nida Blanca and Nestor De Villa; “Daigdig Ko’y Ikaw,” a 1965 film starring Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces; and “Bato sa Buhangin,” a 1976 movie starring Poe and Vilma Santos. He said the changing Baguio through the decades could be discerned from these movies. Mario Hernando, another movie critic, chose “Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising” as his best Baguio movie, as well as Cirio H. Santiago’s 1961 movie, “Mga Yakap na Walang Bakas,” starring Nestor De Villa and Aura Aurea, and Chito Roño’s 1996 “Istokwa,” starring Mark Anthony Fernandez and G Toengi.

Only New Jersey-based film archivist and film blogger Jojo De Vera did not choose “Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising.” He picked Peque Gallaga’s 1995 “Baby Love,” starring Edu Manzano and Anna Larrucea; Baguio-born Tata Esteban’s 1995 thriller “Alapaap,” starring Tanya Gomez and William Martinez; Celso Ad Castillo’s 1987 movie, “Mga Lihim ng Kalapati,” starring Isadora, Tanya Gomez, and Marissa Delgado; “Nakaw na Pag-ibig,” a Lino Brocka 1980 adaptation of Theodore Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy,” set in Baguio and starring Nora Aunor and Hilda Koronel; and Romy Suzara’s 1980 film “Sa Init ng Apoy,” starring Rudy Fernandez and Lorna Tolentino.


Dennis said...

How I long to see the poster ad once again for SA INIT NG APOY, thanks Mr. Simon Santos!

gerbo75 said...

LVN's Sumpaan is another Baguio film...there is also a pseudo-travelogue of postwar within the film. Here you will see the pristine Burnham Park uncontaminated by stuctures

Unknown said...

There's another one movie made from Baguio, but I don't know the title anymore. The plot: there's twin brothers fight for the love of a blind girl. This is starred by Pancho Magalona and Tita Duran. I hope Video 48 will give time to research and find this movie because this one is truly a gem.

Anonymous said...

where can we watch SA INIT NG APOY? been looking for this for months but to no avail :(

Anonymous said...

i discoverd this blog about a year ago na, and i personally declare that of all the blogs i have visited, this is by far THE BEST BLOG of all!!!

Anonymous said...

sir, FRIENDS IN LOVE was the title of the sharon-rowell movie that was shot in baguio. along with jackie lou blanco and william martinez, they played the role of students at brent high school. DEAR HEART belonged to sharon-gabby. aga-janice movie BAKIT MADALAS ANG TIBOK NG PUSO was also shot in baguio.


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