From Nuffnang

Thursday, August 15, 2013

This Week in Philippine History and Culture (August 15 to 21)

Aug. 15, 1945: The liberation of the Philippines from Japanese military becomes apparent as the Empire surrenders to end the Second World War. At noon that day, Emperor Hirohito read out the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War during a radio broadcast.

The Battle of Okinawa, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the declaration of war against Japan by the Soviet Union happened days before the Emperor's speech took place.

Aug. 15, 1945: Teen actress Gabriela Annjane U. Cruz, popularly known as Ella Cruz, is born in the town of Angat in Bulacan province. Cruz is part of the principal cast of the weekly miniseries Wansapanataym: OMG (Oh My Genius). She is also known for playing a mermaid in the defunct fantasy series Aryana.

Aug. 18, 2012: Jesus "Jesse" Manalastas Robredo (b. May 27, 1958) dies after the Piper PA-34-200 Seneca I aircraft carrying him crashed off the shore of Masbate. At the time of his death, Jesse Robredo was the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government.

Robredo was mayor of Naga City in Camarines Sur from 1988 to 1998 and from 2001 to 2010. He was a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 2000.

Aug. 19, 1878: Manuel L. Quezon, the president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 until his death in 1944, is born in the town of Baler in the province of Tayabas. (Note: Tayabas province was renamed Quezon in 1946. The town of Baler is now part of the province of Aurora).

Among his many achievements, Quezon was known as the Ama ng Wikang Pambansa ("Father of the National Language). Through Commonwealth Act No. 184, s. 1936, Quezon established the Institute that was tasked with the development of a Philippine national language.

Aug. 20, 1572: Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (b. circa 1502), the first Governor-General of Spanish East Indies, passes away in Manila. As Governor-General, Lopez de Legazpi founded the city of Cebu in 1565. This makes Cebu the oldest Philippine city. He also designated Manila the capital of the Spanish East Indies in 1571.

Aug. 20, 1939:  Actor, film producer, and director Fernando Poe Jr. (d. December 14, 2004) is born. Dubbed as "The King of Philippine Movies," Poe is also popularly known as FPJ and Da King. In many of his movies, Poe played a character who champions the cause of the masses. Through the years, Poe developed a screen persona that propelled him to box-office and critical success.

Poe is also one of the few actors who ventured into film production. As a result, he developed an archive that includes almost 200 titles. Poe also directed some of his movies under the name Ronwaldo Reyes. In 2004, Poe unsuccessfully ran for President of the Philippines against the incumbent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In 2006, he was was posthumously declared by Macapagal-Arroyo as a National Artist of the Philippines for Film. Six years later, President Benigno Aquino III confirmed the award.

Aug. 21, 1971: An explosion during a Liberal Party campaign rally kills nine people and injuring 95 others in Plaza MirandaManila. Among those injured on the campaign stage were senatorial candidates Jovito Salonga, Eddie Ilarde, and Eva Estrada-Kalaw. Party president Gerardo Roxas and mayoral candidate Ramon Bagatsing were also injured.

Aug. 21, 1983: Opposition leader Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. (b. November 27, 1932) is assassinated at the Manila International Airport upon returning from the United States. After the imposition of Martial Law in 1972, Ninoy was arrested and incarcerated, along with other dissidents. Seven years later, he was allowed to travel to the U.S. for medical treatment following a heart attack. Aquino stayed there until 1983.

Ninoy's assassination put his widow, Corazon "Cory" Aquino, into the political arena. Cory run against the incumbent Ferdinand Marcos in the 1986 snap elections. Allegations of massive electoral fraud contributed to the People Power Revolution which ousted Marcos. In honor of Ninoy, Manila International Airport has  been renamed Ninoy Aquino International AirportThe anniversary of his death is now a national holiday in the Philippines.

Aug. 21, 1988:  Guitarist and songwriter Teodoro "Teddy" de Villa Diaz (b. April 1, 1963), a founding member of the band The Dawn, is stabbed to death in Quezon City.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The French Song that Inspired the Deadly "My Way"

Singing with a karaoke or videoke machine is a favorite pastime among many Filipinos. The 1969 song My Way, as popularized by Frank Sinatra, is a commonly selected entry in those machines; at least when the machine is installed in a private setting. Many patrons of karaoke bars, which are usually situated in public areas, have avoided the song in view of the so-called "My Way killings."

"My Way killings" refer to a series of murders in which the victims got shot or stabbed while singing that famous song. According to a 2010 New York Times article, news media have recorded at least six victims in the decade up to that year. Those crimes have been attributed to many reasons such as irritability due to off-key singing and drunkenness. Perhaps, the song has something sinister in it. To some people, the opening lyrics even portend someone's death:

"And now, the end is near"  
"And so I face the final curtain"
"My friend, I'll say it clear"
"I'll state my case, of which I'm certain"

Many karaoke bar operators have voluntarily removed My Way from their playlists. Consequently, patrons in other bars have stopped selecting the song in effort to avoid trouble. Despite this phenomenon, you may like to sing along with Frank on this video:

Video Credit: YouTube / PanMVideos

My Way might have an ominous association but not many people know that the lyrics were written by the equally popular singer-songwriter Paul Anka. Anka's basis for the music is the song Comme d'habitude (French for As Usual), which he heard while vacationing in France in 1968. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Susy and Geno of Sustagen Fame

Adults who were children during the '80s more or less remember Susy and Geno. Who are they? Susy and Geno were the mascots who endorsed Mead Johnson's Sustagen powdered drink that was available in chocolate, vanilla, and mocha flavors. The etymologies of their names are very obvious. Susy and Geno purportedly targeted a market comprising young girls and boys, respectively. Following are videos of Sustagen's past TV commercials that featured the duo. Those are available on iwantpromo's YouTube channel.

Video Credit: YouTube / iwantpromo
The title of the first TV commercial is Sustagen Con Yelo. There, Susy and Geno come into life from a storybook. They give a step-by-step procedure on how to prepare Sustagen with ice: Four spoonfuls of Sustagen, sugar, and water are to be combined. Shake, then add yelo or ice. Moreover, the pair touts Sustagen's 23 Resistensya (resistance) builders, or nutrients that help children achieve good physical health.

Monday, August 12, 2013

From the '80s: Cindy's TV Commercial

"When you're hungry ... Cindys is the place to be..."
"When you're hungry ... Cindys is the place to be..."
"Burger, French fries, fried chicken"
"Chicken barbecue, palabok, spaghetti"

"When you're hungry ... (When you're hungry) ... Cindys is the place to be..."

Those are the lyrics of  the catchy TV commercial jingle of Cindys Bakery and Restaurant. The jingle, which became popular in the '80s, still never fails to elicit the last-song syndrome. A visit to YouTube led me to a chance encounter with a video of the said jingle which can be played below.

I first saw this TV commercial around 1987. At the start, there are two young men who appear to be stranded in an island. They were then visited by an animated pink crocodile. (Perhaps this crocodile inspired the creation of Barney the purple T. rex). The trio then dances and dines inside a Cindys branch.

A man and woman, presumably Adam and Eve, were tempted by an again-animated serpent to eat an apple.   While Adam holds the fruit, it changes into a burger. It is then revealed that Adam is accompanied by Eve and the serpent inside that Cindys branch.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Insights into the Coconut-Eating Goats and "Kaldereta"

Common knowledge reminds us that the kambing, or goat, feeds on grass. Based on the picture below it is surprising to know that these animals also eat the meat of buko or young coconut. To those who like food, kambing reminds of a dish called kaldereta, which is very good pulutan. In drinking sprees, pulutan refers to the food that accompanies any alcoholic beverage.

kambing, buko, kaldereta, goat, coconuts

Goat's milk can also be made into cheese. Since cheese and wine are end-products of fermentation, the alcohol comes again into the picture. We can recall from elementary science that alcohol is generated during fermentation. Sap from buko can be fermented into lambanog, a distilled alcohol drink. Lambanog, beer, and even wine is best enjoyed with kaldereta.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

This Week in Philippine History and Culture (August 8 to 14)

Aug. 8, 1927: The Manila Stock Exchange, Inc. (MSE) is established by W. Eric Little, Gordon W. Mackay, John J. Russell, Frank W. Wakefield and W.P.G. Elliot. MSE, along with the Makati Stock Exchange is a precursor of the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Aug. 8, 1967: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a geopolitical and economic organization is formed by IndonesiaMalaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the PhilippinesMembership in the ASEAN has grown to include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

Aug. 10, 1519: Ferdinand Magellan's five ships set sail from Seville in an attempt to circumnavigate the globe. The five ships were Trinidad, San Antonio, Concepcion, Santiago, and Victoria.Juan Sebastian Elcano will complete the expedition after Magellan's death in April 1521 in the island of Mactan.

Aug. 11, 1976: Actor and dancer Virgilio Hilario Jr., more popularly known by his nickname Jhong, is born. Jhong Hilario is a member of the dance group Streetboys in the Philippines. Hilario also ventured into portraying character roles on movies and television. He is now one of the hosts of the variety program It's Showtime.

Aug. 12, 1969: Actor and product endorser  Ariel Aquino "Aga" Muhlach is born in Manila. Despite his matinee idol image, Aga Muhlach also won awards such as the FAMAS Best Actor award for the 1992 film Sinungaling Mong Puso and the Gawad Urian Best Actor award for the 1995 film Sana Maulit Muli. Muhlach is also known for topbilling the defunct sitcom Oki Doki Doc.

Aug. 12, 1982: Actress and television host Maria Izzadora "Iza" Usher Calzado is born in Quezon City. Iza Calzado started her showbiz career as a homegrown contract artist of GMA Network. In 2012, she transferred to ABS-CBN. Calzado will host the upcoming The Biggest Loser Pinoy Edition: Doubles.

Aug. 12, 1984: Marian Rivera, one of GMA Network's prime artists, is born in Madrid, Spain. Aside from being a movie and television actress, Rivera is also one of the country's leading product endorsers. She also released two studio albums, namely,  Marian Rivera Dance Hits and Retro Crazy.

In 2013, Rivera was again named as FHM Philippines' Sexiest Woman in the World. She first gained that recognition four years ago.

Aug. 13, 1898: Spanish and American forces engaged in a mock battle for Manila as part of the Spanish-American War. After the mock battle, the Spanish forces capitulated in order to prevent Filipino revolutionaries from entering the city.

Aug. 13, 2012: Salvador H. Escudero III (b. December 18, 1942), a former Cabinet official and incumbent Congressman, dies in Quezon City. Escudero was Minister of Food and Agriculture from 1984 to 1986 under President Ferdinand E. Marcos. He served as Secretary of Agriculture from 1996 to 1998 under President Fidel V. Ramos.

Escudero represented the First District of Sorsogon in Congress from 1984 to 1998; and from 2007 up until his death in 2012.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Weird Food Combo: Suman and Guava Jelly

Hunger is a physical sensation that extends to the head, pushing one to exert all efforts possible to address it at once. Anything edible, regardless of taste, becomes manna from heaven when hunger sets in. When I experienced hunger a few days ago, the first thing I thought of was to raid the refrigerator.

The first things I saw were a jar of guava jelly and suman. The voice of weirdness whispered to my mind, as it instructed me to form a food combo out of these items. To those who do not know what suman is, it refers to a glutinous rice cake cooked in coconut milk. The cooked rice is then steamed while wrapped in palm or banana leaves.

How did the weird combo taste like? The milky richness of suman seamlessly merges with the jelly that lies on the border between tart and sweet. Appearance-wise, the look is not that good. The stimulus being brought to the tongue, however, compensates for this shortcoming. I highly recommend this food combo for snack and dessert.

suman, guava jelly, bayabas

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

This Week in Philippine History and Culture (August 1 to 7)

Aug. 1, 1901: Professional boxer Francisco Guilledo (d. July 14, 1925), popularly known as Pancho Villa, is born in the town of Ilog in Negros Occidental province. In 1994, Villa was poshtumously inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. According to its website, Villa is considered by many as the greatest fighter in Asian boxing history.

Aug. 1. 1944: Manuel L. Quezon (b. August 19, 1878), the first President of the Philippine Commonwealth, dies in Saranac Lake, New York after many years of suffering from tuberculosis. Quezon's image can be seen in the 20-peso banknote.

Aug, 1, 2009: Corazon Aquino, the first woman President of the Philippines (b. January 25, 1933) passes away in Makati City due to colon cancer. Popularly known by the nickname "Cory," she was the husband of former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., whose assassination in 1983 contributed to the 1986 People Power Revolution. Incumbent president Benigno "Noynoy" S. Aquino III is their son. Cory and Ninoy's image is seen in the 500-peso banknote.

Aug. 2, 1968: A magnitude-7.3 earthquake hits Luzon with the town of Casiguran in Quezon province as epicenter. (The town is now part of Aurora province). Despite the distance from the town, the city of Manila was hit the hardest. This earthquake caused the infamous collapse of the Ruby Tower in that city. More than 270 people were killed, while about 261 were wounded.

Aug. 2, 1980: Actor and film producer Jose Sixto Raphael Gonzalez Dantes, more popularly known by the nickname Dingdong, is born in Quezon City. Dingdong Dantes started his career in show business as a commercial model. His film company, AgostoDos, is named after the Filipino translation of the date of his birth.

Aug. 4, 1987: Footballer Philip James Placer "Phil" Younghusband is born in Ashford, Surrey, England. Phil Younghusband plays as a striker for the United Football League team Loyola Meralco Sparks F.C. and for Azkals, the Philippine national team.

Aug. 5, 2005: Former senator Raul Roco (b. October 26, 1941) dies of prostate cancer. Roco's political career started in 1987 when he was elected as member of the House of Representatives from the Second District of Camarines Sur. From 1992 to 2001, Roco served as senator. He ran for president under his Aksyon Demokratiko in 1998 and 2004. Roco also served as Secretary of Education from 2001 to 2002.

Aug. 6, 1944: Entertainment journalist Lourdes Jimenez Carvajal, better known as Inday Badiday (d. September 26, 2003), is born in Manila. Many colleagues in show business referred to her as "Ate Luds." Inday Badiday was best known as host of the talk shows Nothing but the Truth, See-True, and Eye to Eye.

Aug. 6, 1964: Singer-songwriter and actor Edgardo Jose Martin Santiago Valenciano, popularly known as Gary V., is born in Manila. Valenciano is also dubbed as Mr. Pure Energy. Some of his hit songs include Di Bale Na Lang (Never Mind), Eto Na Naman (Here We Go Again), and Sana Maulit Muli (I Wish It Happens Once More).

He also acted in movies such as Hataw Na! and I Do Bidoo Bidoo: Heto nAPO Sila! Valenciano recently celebrated his thirtieth anniversary in show business on the variety program ASAP 18.

Aug. 6, 2011: Pioneering pediatrician and National Scientist Fe del Mundo (b. November 27, 1911) dies in Quezon City. In 1957, Del Mundo founded he Children's Medical Center, the first pediatric hospital in the Philippines. She was also known for developing an incubator made out of bamboo, intended to help those who live in rural areas without electricity.

Del Mundo was the recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 1977. She was conferred the rank and title of National Scientist of the Philippines in 1980.

Aug. 7, 2012: Heavy monsoon rains started to affected the island of Luzon and western Visayas for at least two days starting August 7, 2012. The resulting floods led to suspension of classes and work in many areas. Click here for some pictures of the flood in an area in Bulacan.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Star Cinema's Adaptations of Tagalog-Dubbed Anime Series

Many of us who were children in the 1990s remember the Tagalog-dubbed anime series Princess Sarah and Cedie: Ang Munting Prinsipe (Cedie: The Little Prince). Who can forget Sarah Crewe's riches-to-rags-then-back-riches story? I bet there are many who still recall Miss Minchin, her tormentor, with hate. Cedric "Cedie" Errol, on the other hand, is the boy from Brooklyn who turned out to be the heir of the Earl of Dorincourt, his grandfather. With Cedie's charm and innocence, the grumpy Earl becomes the benevolent and beloved benefactor to his tenants.

Both were part of ABS-CBN's programming for young people that time. The television network's film production outfit, Star Cinema, was also just starting back then. As Star Cinema celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, it can be recalled the two of its best-remembered productions were movie versions of those programs. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Last Nine Days of April in Philippine History and Culture (April 22 to 30)

Apr. 22, 1970: Singer and actress Regine Velasquez, known by the moniker "Asia's Songbird" is born in Manila. According to the Philippine Association of the Record Industry, Velasquez is the country's Best-Selling Female Artist of All Time in the Philippines. Aside from selling more than 7,000,000 albums in the country, Velasquez has sold more than 1,500,000 albums in other Asian countries.

Apr. 23, 1946: Manuel Roxas is elected the last President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines and first President of the Third Philippine Republic. Roxas, standard-bearer of the Liberal wing of Nacionalista Party, clinched 54.94% of the vote. Sergio Osmeña of the said party's conservative wing garnered 45.71%, while Hilario Moncado of Partido Modernista had 0.35%.

Apr. 23, 1934: Song composer George Canseco (d. November 19, 2004) is born in the town of Naic in Cavite province. About 300 songs are credited to Canseco's name. Many Filipino singers' rise to popularity is also attributed to Canseco's works such as Ngayon at Kailanman, Hanggang sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan, Anak, Langis at Tubig, and Kastilyong Buhangin.

Apr. 23, 1985: Film and television actress Angel Locsin (born Angelica Colmenares) is born in the town of Sta. Maria in Bulacan province. Locsin is best-known for portraying the superheroine Darna in GMA Network's eponymous television series. Now a part of ABS-CBN's roster of talents, Locsin is also a perennial topnotcher in FHM Philippines' Sexiest Woman of the World list.

Apr. 24, 1972: Fernando Amorsolo (b. May 30, 1892), the first Filipino to be distinguished as National Artist of the Philippines, dies in Manila. Amorsolo was known for portraying rural scenes and landscapes in a very idyllic setting. His most enduring legacy is the image of St. Michael vanquishing Lucifer on the label of the Ginebra San Miguel gin.

Apr. 25, 1994: An Angeles City court finds actor Robin Padilla guilty of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. The court meted out a minimum jail term of 17 years, four months, and one day.

Apr. 26, 1945:  Filipino troops of the 66th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Commonwealth Army, USAFIP-NL and the American troops of the 33rd and 37th Infantry Division, United States Army was liberated in Baguio City. Together, they fought Japanese forces that were led by General Tomoyuki Yamashita.

Apr. 26, 1995: Actor and recording artist Daniel Padilla is born in Manila. Padilla's team-up with Kathryn Bernardo was launched in the 2013 movie Must Be ... Love. He will also headline a birthday concert titled "Daniel Live!"

Apr. 27, 1521: Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan is killed by natives led by chief Lapu-Lapu in the island of Mactan. At that time Magellan was leading an expedition to sail from the Atlantic Ocean into the Pacific Ocean. Juan Sebastian Elcano continued the expedition, which turned out to be the first circumnavigation of the globe.

Apr. 27, 1565: Explorers led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi establishes in Cebu the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines. Cebu was eventually renamed Villa del Santíssimo Nombre de Jesus (Town of the Most Holy Name of Jesus).

Apr. 28, 1611: Miguel de Benavides, the Archbishop of Manila, establishes the Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario, which was elevated by Pope Innocent X to a university, A La Real y Pontificia Universidad de Santo Tomas de Aquino, in 1645. The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines, is now popularly known as the University of Santo Tomas.

Apr. 28, 1949: Aurora Quezon, former First Lady of the Philippines,  is assassinated while on the way to Baler, Tayabas (now part of Aurora province) to dedicate a hospital in memory of her late husband, President Manuel L. Quezon.

Apr. 28, 1954: Comedian and producer Vic Sotto, popularly known as "Bossing," is born.

Apr. 30, 1937: The Philippines conducts a plebiscite for Filipino women on whether they should be extended the right to suffrage. More than 90% would vote in the affirmative.

Apr. 30, 1910: Composer and lyricist Levi Celerio (d. April 2, 2002) is born.

Monday, April 15, 2013

This Week in Philippine History and Culture (April 15 to 21)

Apr. 15, 1900: During the Philippine-American War, Filipino guerrillas led by Domingo Rebadulla instigate a surprise attack on U.S. 43rd Infantry Regiment and start a four-day siege of Catubig in the northern part of Samar island. Later known as the Siege of Catubig, the conflict claimed the lives of about 150 Filipinos and at least 21 Americans.

Apr. 15, 1985: Movie and television actress Rosemarie Joy Garcia, better known as Diana Zubiri, is born in the province of Bulacan. Zubiri's fame started to rise in 2002, when she posed on top of the EDSA-Shaw flyover in Mandaluyong City, wearing only a two-piece bikini, for FHM Philippines magazine. The ensuing controversy motivated the city mayor to file charges against her and the magazine. The charges were later withdrawn.

A discovery of Seiko Films, most entries in her filmography are sex-oriented movies produced by Seiko Films. Some of these movies are Itlog, Bakat, and Kasiping in 2002 Liberated in 2003, Liberated 2 in 2004, and Bikini Open in 2005. On television, Zubiri was part of the cast of the fantasy series Encantadia and the sitcom Bubble Gang, both on GMA Network. She is now with the cast of the ABS-CBN soap Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin.

Apr. 15, 1962: Journalist and politician Arsenio H. Lacson (b. December 26, 1912), the first mayor of Manila to be elected three times, dies at a hotel suite in the city. His career as a journalist started when he worked as a sportswriter before the start of the Second World War. Lacson then joined the military resistance against the Japanese Imperial Army. Lacson resumed his career after the war by hosting the social and political commentary radio program In this Corner.

In 1949, Lacson was elected to the House as representative of the Second District of Manila. Two years later, Lacson was elected as mayor of the City Manila. He won his reelection bids in 1955 and 1959. Lacson considered running in the 1957 presidential elections, but ruled against that possibility due to the lack of funds and machinery.

Apr. 16, 1899: Emilio Jacinto (d. Dec. 15, 1875), a Filipino revolutionary and writer known as the "Brains of the Katipunan," is born in Manila. At the age of 19, Jacinto joined the secret society and later became the advisor of leader Andres Bonifaction on fiscal matters. As a member of Katipinan, Jacinto assumed the alias Pingkian (Tagalog for "friction" or "flint"). He wrote for Kalayaan (Independence), the Katipunan newspaper, under the pseudonym Dimasilaw.

Apr. 18, 1877: Vicente Sotto (d. May 28, 1950), a senator who became the main author of Press Freedom Law, is born in Cebu City. He served in the Senate of the Philippines from 1946 to 1950. Sotto was also known for establishing La Justicia, the first newspaper to be published in Cebu by a Filipino citizen in 1899.

Other periodicals Sotto established include El Nacional, The Philippine Republic, and The Independent. Aside from being a politician, Sotto was also a playwright and short story writer. Among his works are Paghigugma sa Yutang Natawhan (Love of Native Land), Maming, and Elena, the first Cebuano play.

Apr. 19, 1937: Joseph Estrada, the 13th President of the Philippines, is born in Tondo, Manila. Estrada is the first movie actor to be elected to that position. One of Estrada's most famous movie roles was Asiong Salonga, which is also the title of the 1961 movie that catapulted him to stardom. His movie roles are typically those of a person of simple means who fights the corrupt elite.

Estrada's political career began in 1969 when he was elected mayor of the town (now city) of San Juan. He held this post until 1986. From 1987 to 1992, he served as Senator in the 8th Congress of the Philippines. Estrada was elected as for a six-year term as Vice President in 1992. He won in 1998 a six-year term as President, but was ousted by the so-called People Power 2 in 2001 over charges of plunder.

Apr. 19, 1990: Chinese-Filipino television and film actress Kim Chiu is born in Tacloban City. Chiu's fame rise after being declared as Big Winner in the reality program Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition in 2006. She went on to star in various ABS-CBN programs and Star Cinema movies. Chiu is currently seen in the primetime series Ina, Kapatid, Anak (Mother, Sibling, Child).

Apr. 19, 1994: A Quezon City court finds Fernando Galera, a 26-year-old fish vendor, guilty of rape and robbery. Judge Maximiano Asuncion meted the death sentence, the first since the Philippines restored capital punishment in 1993.

Apr. 21, 900: The Gregorian calendar date which is indicated in the the Laguna Copperplate Inscription, the earliest known document found in the Philippines. According to this document, "The Honorable Namwaran and his children, Lady Angkatan and Bukah, are granted pardon from all their debts by the Commander in chief of Tundun, as represented by the Honourable Jayadewa, Lord Minister of Pailah..."

Apr. 21, 1942: The most well-known - and first international - Aggie Muster is conducted in the island of Corregidor. Aggie Muster is a tradition at Texas A&M University which celebrates the camaraderie within the institution while commemorating the lives of Aggies who have died in the past year. In that year, Brig. Gen. George F. Moore led the observance, along with 25 fellow Texas A&M graduates who are under his command. The Aggie Muster was done while 1.8 million pounds of shells pounded the island over a five-hour attack.

Apr. 21, 1976: Professional basketball player Rommel Adducul is born in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. Adducul's professional career when he joined the Manila Metrostars team at the (now-defunct) Metropolitan Basketball Association in 1998. He played a key role in the team win as league champions in 1999. After the league's dissolution in 2002, Adducul joined the Philippine Basketball Association draft in 2003. He was then picked by the Barangay Ginebra team. Adducul also played for San Miguel Beermen, Red Bull Barako, and Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants. He is now part of the GlobalPort Batang Pier team.

Apr. 21, 1981:  Actor, television host, and model Luis Manzano is born in the town (now city) of San Juan, Metro Manila. Manzano is one of the most visible personalities in ABS-CBN as host of Minute to Win ItKapamilya: Deal or No Deal, and co-host of Pilipinas Got Talent Season 4. Moreover, his filmography includes box-office hits such as Ang Cute ng Ina Mo, In My Life, and This Guy's in Love with U Mare!

Monday, April 8, 2013

This Week in Philippine History and Culture (April 8 to 14)

Apr. 9, 1942: The Battle of Bataan ends with the capitulation of joint United States and Philippine military forces to the Japanese Imperial Army. More than 60,000 Filipino and 15,000 American prisoners of war were then forced into the infamous Bataan Death March. The surrender in Bataan accelerated the fall of Corregidor island, a month later on May 6.

The event is observed every April 9 as a public holiday (Araw ng Kagitingan or Day of Valor) by virtue of Executive Order No. 203, which was enacted on June 30, 1987.

Apr. 9, 1975: The first two games of the Philippine Basketball Association takes place at the Araneta Coliseum. The very first match pitted the Mariwasa-Noritake Porcelain Makers and Concepcion Carrier Weathermakers against each other. Joy Dionisio made the first shot for the Weathermakers. The Porcelain Makers, however, beat the Weathermakers, 101-98. In the second game, the Toyota Comets defeated the Universal Textiles Weavers, 105-101.

Other teams in the leagues inaugural season include Consolidated Foods Company Presto Ice Cream Makers, Crispa-Floro Redmanizers, Royal Tru-Orange Orangemen, Seven-Up Uncolas, and Tanduay Distillers.

Apr. 12, 1989: Dominic and Felix Roco, twin sons of actor Bembol Roco is born in Cebu, Philippines. They started their career in the entertainment industry through the reality dating program Qpids in 2005. Dominic is now seen mostly in GMA Network's programs, while Felix is recently seen in ABS-CBN's Angelito: Ang Batang Ama.

April 12, 2010: Veteran comedian Reynaldo Alfredo R. Hipolito Sr. (b. September 4, 1934), better known as Palito, dies in Manila. Known for having a thin frame, his screen name is the Tagalog word for matchstick. Typically cast as a zombie/corpse or sidekick roles, Palito also had his share of lead roles in action-comedy movies.

Some movies in which Palito was lead actor include Rambuto (a pun on Rambo with buto being the Tagalog word for bone) , No Blood … No Surrender, Kumander Kalansalay, James Bone (spoof of James Bond film series), and Walang Matigas na Buto sa Gutom na Aso (There's No Hard Bone to a Hungry Dog).

Monday, April 1, 2013

This Week in Philippine History and Culture (April 1 to 7)

Apr. 1, 1962: Avelino B. "Samboy" Lim, Jr., a former player for the San Miguel Beermen team in the Philippine Basketball Association, is born. Lim's career spanned more than a decade, from 1986 to 1997. Nicknamed "The Skywalker" because of his shooting skills, Lim also became popular for wearing knee-high socks.

Apr. 1, 1963: Teddy Diaz (d. August 21, 1988), a founding guitarist and songwriter of rock band The Dawn, is born.

Apr. 1, 1978: The Philippine College of Commerce, through Presidential Decree 1341, is converted into a chartered state university, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Apr. 2, 1788: Francisco Balagtas (d. February 20, 1862), author of the epic Florante at Laura is born in Barrio Panginay, Bigaa (now Balagtas), Bulacan. Another legacy of Balagtas is Balagtasan, a debate that is recited through poetry.

Apr. 2, 1672: Saint Pedro Calungsod (b. 1654), the second Filipino saint (after Lorenzo Ruiz) is killed while conducting Catholic missionary work in Tumon, Guam. Calungsod was formally beatified on March 5, 2000 by Blessed Pope John Paul II. He was officially canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on October 21, 2012.

Apr. 2, 1976: Singer and actress Geneva Cruz is born in Manila. Cruz's career started with the now-defunct music group Smokey Mountain. As her popularity soared higher, Cruz's also ventured into television and movies.

Apr. 2, 2002: Levi Celerio (b. April 30, 1910), National Artist for Music and Literature, dies in Quezon City. Aside from being a composer, Celerio had over 4,000 songs to his credit. Celerio's ability to play music using leaves earned him an entry to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Apr. 3, 1939: Film director Lino Brocka (d. May 21, 1991) is born in the town of Pilar, Sorsogon province. Two among Brocka's works are the first Filipino entries to become part of the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival: Insiang in 1978 and Bona in 1981. Another two are the first ones to get nominated for the festival's Palm D'Or award: Jaguar in 1980, and Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim (My Country: Clasping the Blade) in 1984.

Apr. 3, 1942: Japanese forces started to attack the United States and Filipino troops on the Bataan Peninsula, leading to the joint forces' capitulation six days later.

Apr. 3, 1946: Lt. General Masaharu Homma (b. November 27, 1888) of the Japanese Imperial Army is executed in Los Baños, Laguna for leading the Bataan Death March in 1942.

Apr. 3, 1994: Former New People's Army leader Leopoldo "Ka Hector" Mabilangan is shot to death at the front of St. Thomas Church in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.

Apr. 5, 1947: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the 14th President of the Republic of the Philippines is born in the town of San Juan, Rizal province (now part of Metro Manila). Macapagal-Arroyo assumed and finished the term of Joseph Estrada, who was ousted by a popular revolt in 2001. She got elected to a fresh six-year term in 2004.

Apr. 5, 1971: Poet and rock musician Westdon Martin Abay, better known as Dong Abay, is born in Manila. Abay is a founding member, songwriter and lead vocalist of the band Yano, which became popular because of hit songs such as Tsinelas (Slippers) and Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo (Holy Dog, Saintly Horse).

Apr. 6, 1988: Television personality Melisa "Melai" Cantiveros is born in General Santos City, South Cotabato province. Cantiveros' career started  to rise after becoming the Big Winner in the reality program Pinoy Big Brother in 2010. She is also the other half of the Melason love team, opposite Jason Francisco, whom she met in the Big Brother house.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Filipino Movies Having Titles that Contain the Word "Hudas"

Almost everyone knows Judas Iscariot as the Apostle who infamously kissed and betrayed Jesus Christ to the chief Sanhedrin priests in exchange for thirty silver coins. As a result, the name Judas or Hudas, in Tagalog, is typically used to accuse someone of treachery or of being a traitor.

There was even a popular saying in Taglish (mixed Tagalog and English that goes like this: "God knows Hudas not pay." (Hudas is a pun for the phrase "Who Does.") This saying is commonly seen in jeepney signage as an affront to passengers who intend to renege on paying the fare.

Many of us also remember the catchphrase, "Hudas, Barabas, Hestas!" which is regularly said by Doña Delilah (portrayed by Dely Atay-Atayan) to John Puruntong (portrayed by Dolphy) in the long-running TV sitcom John en Marsha.

We will be sharing with you posters of two Filipino action movies having titles that contain the word Hudas: Kapatid Ko si Hudas (My Brother is Judas) and Markadong Hudas (Marked Judas).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

From the 1990s: Two Movies with Religious Themes

Philippine film company Cine Suerte Inc. was known for producing religious-themed movies during the Lenten Season. In observance of Holy Week, we will be sharing posters of two of Cine Suerte's religious-themed movies during the 1990s: Divine Mercy sa Buhay ni Sister Faustina (Divine Mercy in the Life of Sister Faustina) and Kristo (Christ). Ben "M-7" Yalung directed both movies, which were also produced in cooperation with the Oasis of Love Community.

Divine Mercy sa Buhay ni Sister Faustina opened in theaters on March 24, 1993. It chronicles the life of Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska of Poland, to whom the Divine Mercy devotion is attributed. Interestingly, Filipino-American actress Donita Rose was cast in the role of the Polish saint.

Divine Mercy sa Buhay ni Sister Faustina, Cine Suerte, Donita Rose

According to the Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices, the Divine Mercy is a Roman Catholic devotion to the "merciful love of God and the desire to let that love and mercy flow through one's own heart towards those in need of it." In the Philippines, the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy is a major church dedicated to this devotion. It is located in the town of Marilao in Bulacan province.

Kristo, which stars Matt Ranillo III in the title role received general release on March 27, 1996. It details the life, passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Big names in Philippine entertainment industry lent support to the ensemble cast.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Using a "Palaspas" Against the "Manananggal"

Today, many Catholics commemorate Palm Sunday to usher the Holy Week. On this day, parishioners attend Mass so the priest can sprinkle holy water on the palaspas or palm branches they bring with them. As the priest does the blessing the parishioners sway their palaspas in remembrance of Jesus Christ's entry to Jerusalem. Many people believe that the blessed palaspas will protect them against misfortune such as being struck by lightning.

Considering the standing of the palaspas in Philippine religious tradition and superstition, it has breached the boundaries of popular culture: A case in point is an episode in the first installment of  Shake, Rattle and  Roll, the longest-running horror movie franchise in the Philippines. The first movie was released by Athena Productions in 1984; it features three episodes entitled Baso, Pridyider, and Manananggal.

We will focus on the episode about the manananggal. In Philippine folklore, a manananggal refers to a vampire-like creature that can sever its upper torso and make huge bat-like wings appear on its back to fly into the night. (Perhaps, the need to be cut in half is motivated by the goal to fly light.) The manananggal then searches for a victim, with its lower torso is left standing.

palaspas, Palm Sunday, manananggal, Shake Rattle and Roll, Irma Alegre
From rural maiden to manananggal
Herbert Bautista, the lead actor in this SRR episode, plays the role of Douglas, who is a visitor to a rural village. Irma Alegre portrays  a local lass who transforms into the manananggal at night. Smitten with her, Douglas attempts to woo her. He discovers her secret in the process. Upon discovering the manananggal's lower torso, Douglas puts salt on it. (WARNING: A highly graphic image follows.)

This Week in Philippine History and Culture (March 24 to 31)

Mar. 24, 1934: The U.S. Congress passes the Tydings-McDuffie Act allowing the Philippines to become a self-governing commonwealth. On November 15, 1935 the Philippine Commonwealth is inaugurated with Manuel L. Quezon as President and Sergio Osmeña as Vice-President.

Mar. 24, 1990: Film and television actor Aljur Abrenica is born in Angeles City, Pampanga. A product of the reality-based talent-search program Starstruck, Abrenica went on to become a contract artist for GMA Network. He also appears in Regal Films' productions.

Mar. 25, 1935: Internationally renowned Filipino boxing icon Gabriel "Flash" Elorde (d. January 2, 1985) is born in Bogo, Cebu. On March 16, 1960, about 30,000 spectators at the newly built Araneta Coliseum witnessed Elorde's victory over Harold Gomes for the world junior-lightweight title. Elorde held the title until 1967.

Mar. 26, 1989: Filipino-Italian film and television actor Matteo Guidicelli is born in Cebu. Prior to venturing into show business, Guidicelli was known for being a racer. Guidicelli was recently seen in the ABS-CBN series Paraiso.

Mar. 26, 1996: Film and television actress Kathryn Chandria Manuel Bernardo, popularly known as Kathryn Bernardo is born in in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija. She is best known for playing the role of Mikay (later Princess Areeyah) in the primetime series Princess and I. Bernardo's most recent movie is Must Be ... Love, opposite Daniel Padilla.

Mar. 27, 1899: The Battle of Marilao River is waged. That was the only time Emilio Aguinaldo, President of the First Philippine Republic and leader of the resistance to the Americans, led Filipino forces during the Philippine-American War.

Mar. 29, 1911: Actor and musician Tito Arevalo (d. December 4, 2000) is born in Tondo, Manila. He won the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Award for Musical Scoring five times during a period spanning 1961 to 1972.

Mar. 29, 2002: Film and television actor Rico Yan (b. March 14, 1975) dies of pancreatitis in Palawan. At the time of his death, Yan was under an exclusive contract with the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network. Yan's last movie appearance was with real-life girlfriend Claudine Barretto in the Star Cinema production Got 2 Believe.

Mar. 30, 1951: Broadcast journalist Tina Monzon-Palma is born. Monzon-Palma is also program director of the Bantay Bata 163 and Sagip Kapamilya public service initiatives of the ABS-CBN Foundation.

Mar. 31, 1899: As the Philippine-American War rages on, American forces capture Malolos, the capital of the First Philippine Republic.

Mar. 31, 1976: Comedian, television and movie personality Jose Marie Borja-Viceral, popularly known as Vice Ganda or Vice, is born in Manila. Vice Ganda is a regular host/judge on the noontime variety show It's Showtime and host of weekly talk show Gandang Gabi Vice! He is also part of the main cast of two of the highest-grossing films in Philippine cinema: The Unkabogable Praybeyt Benjamin, This Guy's in Love with U Mare! and Sisterakas.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

This Week in Philippine History and Culture (March 17 to 23)

Mar. 17, 1953: Revolutionary socialist and labor leader Filemon "Ka Popoy" Lagman (d. February 6, 2001) is born. Lagman was known for establishing the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and the multi-sectoral group Sanlakas after splitting with the Communist Party of the Philippines. 

Mar. 17, 1957: Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay (b. August 31, 1907), along with 24 others, dies in a plane crash in Mt. Manunggal in Cebu. Magsaysay was on the way to Manila early that morning after having speaking engagements in Cebu City on March 16. He boarded the presidential plane Mt. Pinatubo, which was named after a then-dormant volcano in his home province of Zambales.

Mar. 17, 1973: Rico Blanco, former lead vocalist of rock band Rivermaya is born. Blanco was one of the founding members of the band, in which he also assumed the roles of keyboardist, guitarist and songwriter from 1993 to 2007. Aside from being part of the ongoing ABS-CBN drama series May Isang Pangarap, Blanco is also host-judge in TV5's Kanta Pilipinas.

Mar. 18, 1928: Fidel V. Ramos, the 12th President of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998, is born in Lingayen, Pangasinan. Prior to being elected President, Ramos served for the military in various capacities for more than three decades. Ramos is also the first Protestant President to lead a predominantly Catholic Philippines. 

Mar. 18, 1994: World-renowned Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti performs at the Philippine International Convention Center. 

Mar. 18, 1996: A fire in the Ozone Disco nightclub in Quezon City kills 162 people, many of whom are young people celebrating their school graduation. The incident later became known in media circles as the Ozone Disco Tragedy.

Mar. 19, 1995: Television and film actress Mara Hautea Schnittka , better known by her stage name Julia Montes, is born in Quezon City, Philippines). She was part of the children's gag show Goin' Bulilit before portraying the role of Clara in the remake of Mara Clara (opposite Kathryn Bernardo). Montes was Coco Martin's leading lady in the recently concluded series, Walang Hanggan.

Mar. 20, 1942: General Douglas MacArthur, Commander of the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, makes a speech in Terowie, South Australia where he says, "I came out of Bataan and I shall return." At that time, the Philippine Commonwealth was in exile in Australia following the invasion of the Philippines by the Japanese Imperial Army. His return happened two years later, on October 20, 1944, in the shores of Palo, Leyte. The event is depicted in the obverse side of the 50-peso bill.

Mar. 21, 1978: Film and television actress Joyce Jimenez is born in Los Angeles, California. Jimenez's career in Philippine show business spanned more than a decade since the mid-1990s. She is known for playing the lead roles in many sex-oriented films such as Scorpio Nights 2 (1999), Warat (1999), and Biyaheng Langit (2000).

Mar. 22, 1869: Emilio Aguinaldo, the first President of the Philippines, is born in the town of Cavite El Viejo (now Kawit) in Cavite province. Aguinaldo declared the independence of the Philippines in 1898. He later led the First Philippine Republic's military resistance to the Americans.

Mar. 23, 1901: Emilio Aguinaldo, President of the First Philippine Republic and leader of the resistance to the Americans, was captured in Palanan, Isabela by forces of General Frederick Funston. Aguinaldo later took an oath of allegiance to the United States on April 19, 1901, effectively dissolving the First Philippine Republic and recognizing the sovereignty of the United States over the Philippines.

Mar. 23,1935: The Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Philippines is signed. It provided for a unicameral National Assembly and the President was elected to a six-year term without re-election. It was amended in 1940 to have a bicameral Congress composed of a Senate and House of Representatives, as well the creation of an independent electoral commission (now known as the COMELEC).

The amendment granted the President a four-year term with a maximum of two consecutive terms in office. The 1935 Constitution was also adopted by the Third Philippine Republic from 1946 to 1972, the year when it was suspended through President Ferdinand Marcos' declaration of martial law.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Some Pinoy Action Movies from the Mid-1990s

Once upon a time in the history of Philippine movies, the Pinoy action genre was king. Most movies belonging to this genre follow this formula: a protagonist who lives a simple existence versus the villain who would make Satan look like a saint. Of course, there is a need for the virginal lass and the hot vixen. And who will ever forget the Johnny-come-lately police force.

Despite the repetition of this formula, many aspiring actors found fame and fortune by playing lead roles in Pinoy action movies. (One of them was even elected President!) Without any further ado, here are some action movies that were released in the mid-1990s.

Monsour del Rosario and Baldo Marro played the lead roles in Chinatown 2: The Vigilantes, a Four-N-Films that saw general theatrical release on January 12, 1994. It was the sequel to 1988's Chinatown: Sa Kuko ng Dragon, which has Ramon "Bong Revilla Jr. in the lead role. Dawn Zulueta portrays the love interest of Del Rosario's character. The movie's co-directors are Manuel Marcos and Roger Baruelo.

Chinatown, Chinatown 2 The Vigilantes, Monsour del Rosario, Dawn Zulueta, Baldo Marro

Prior to venturing into show business, Del Rosario was the country's representative to international taekwondo competitions. On the other hand, Baldo Marro was a stunt man before clinching lead parts in action movies. His popularity increased after winning the Best Actor Award in the 1988 Metro Manila Film Festival entry Patrolman.

Fernando Poe, Jr. directed himself (as Ronwaldo Reyes) in Viva Films' Hindi Pa Tapos ang Laban, (The Fight is Not Yet Over) which opened in theaters on January 25, 1994. Other cast members include Paquito Diaz, Johnny Delgado, Dick Israel, Berting Labra, Ruel Vernal, and Max Alvarado. Michelle Aldana, 1993 Ms. Asia-Pacific, was introduced in this movie.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

This Week in Philippine History and Culture

Feb. 11, 1986: Evelio Bellaflor Javier (b. October 14, 1942), an opposition leader during the term of President Ferdinand E. Marcos, is assassinated in the town of San Jose in Antique province. Javier was elected provincial governor in 1971. He lost the Batasang Pambansa elections in 1984. At the time of his death, Javier was director of Corazon Aquino's campaign in Antique.

Feb. 11, 1987: The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines goes into effect.

Feb. 11, 1989: Movie and television actress Lourdes Virginia Moran Poe, better known as Lovi Poe, is born in Quezon City. A contract star of GMA Network, Poe is currently part of the weekly noontime variety show Party Pilipinas. Poe is also a recording artist, having released albums including The Best of My Heart and Bloom.

Feb. 13, 1907: Katy de la Cruz (d. November 10, 2004), a singer known for jazz vocals and torch songs, is born in Bustos, Bulacan. The career of de la Cruz spanned almost eighty years since the 1920s. De la Cruz also ventured into the movies, and she even won the FAMAS Best Supporting Actress Award for the 1953 film Inspirasyon.

Feb. 14, 1924: Juan Ponce Enrile, the President of the Senate of the Philippines since 2008, is born in the town of Gonzaga, Cagayan province. Enrile's career in the government has spanned more than four decades.

Feb. 14, 1971: Actress and television host Kris Aquino, the youngest daughter of former Philippine senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. and Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, is born. She is currently seen in the ABS-CBN talk show Kris TV, the drama series Kailangan Ko'y Ikaw, and starting February 16, the talent search program Pilipinas Got Talent.

Feb. 14, 1977: Recording artist-turned-actress Donna Cruz is born in Manila. Cruz popularized the single "Kapag Tumibok ang Puso," which is a track in her 1991 debut album, Donna.

Feb. 14, 1984: Television personality John Prats is born in Manila. He is part of the ABS-CBN weekly noontime variety show ASAP 18. Before becoming known for his dance albums, Prats was paired with Heart Evangelista in various ABS-CBN television programs and movies.

Feb. 14, 1985: Television personality Love Marie Payawal Ongpauco, better known as Heart Evangelista, is born in Makati. Prior to transferring to GMA Network in 2008, Evangelista was paired with John Prats in various ABS-CBN television programs and movies.

Feb. 14, 1992: Television host/journalist and actress Helen Vela (b. October 31, 1946) dies in Rochester, Minnesota. Aside from being known for hosting the drama anthology/counseling program Lovingly Yours, Helen, Vela also co-hosted the variety program Student Canteen. Vela also anchored various news programs for the defunct Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Feb. 16, 1945: In the Pacific theatre of the Second World War, American forces land on Corregidor Island in the Philippines. Less than three years before, the island's combined Filipino and American defenders had capitulated to Japanese forces on May 6, 1942.

Four Filipino Comedy Movies

Comedy is one of the most popular genres in the history of Philippine movies. Following are some newspaper advertisements of Once Upon a Time in Manila, Tasya Fantasya, Swapings, and Pempe ni Sara at Pen.

Tony Reyes' Once Upon a Time in Manila opened in theaters on January 11, 1994. Based on the title, the movie might have been a spoof of the Once Upon a Time in China series of martial arts films. Filipino Vic Sotto and Japanese-born actress Cynthia Luster lead the cast of Once Upon a Time in Manila. It can be noted that Sotto would partner with child martial artist Jacky Shik in Enteng and the Shaolin Kid 

Once Upon a Time in Manila, Vic Sotto, Cynthia Luster, Tony Y. Reyes

On the same date, Golden Lions Films released Carlo J. Caparas' Tasya Fantasya. The movie is not just a combination of comedy and fantasy; it also features many Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) players. Kris Aquino and 1993 PBA Most Valuable Player Alvin Patrimonio lead the cast of this fantasy comedy movie.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

This Week in Philippine History and Culture

Feb. 2, 1987: The Philippines enacts a new constitution, replacing the one enacted in 1973.

Feb. 3, 1927: Politician and diplomat Blas F. Ople (d. December 14, 2003) is born in the town of Hagonoy in Bulacan province.  February 3 is a non-working holiday in the province in commemoration of his birth.

Feb. 3, 1945:  A month-long battle aimed at retaking Manila from Japan was started by the United States and the Philippine Commonwealth. Japanese forces had invaded Manila in January 1942.

Feb. 4, 1899: Shots fired by Private William Walter Grayson on this date in 1899 sparks the Battle of Manila, the first armed conflict fought during the Philippine-American War.

Feb. 5, 1989: Movie and television actress Ara Marie Cristine Reyes, better known as Cristine Reyes is born in Marikina, Metro Manila. A contract artist of ABS-CBN, Reyes is also managed by Viva Artists Agency.

Feb. 6, 1931: Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop-Emeritus of Cebu, is born in the town of Mogpog in Marinduque province.

Feb. 6, 1964: Emilio Aguinaldo (b. March 22, 1869), first Philippine President Filipino general, dies at the age of 94. As of 2013, Aguinaldo was the youngest Philippine President, assuming the post in 1899 at the age of 29. He was also the longest-living former President of the Philippines. 

Feb. 6, 1966: Film producer Narcisa Buencamino vda. de Leon (b. October 29, 1877), co-founder of LVN Pictures, dies at the age of 88 in Quezon City.

Feb. 7, 1974: Broadcast journalist Cheryl Cosim, Filipina journalist is born. She currently hosts the radio program Diretsahan on Radyo 5 and the television program Good Morning Club on TV5.

Feb. 8, 1890: Poet and politician Claro M. Recto (d. October 2, 1960) is born in the town of Tiaong in Tayabas (now Quezon) province. Azcarraga, a main road in Manila, was renamed C.M. Recto Avenue in his honor.

Feb. 8, 1939: Writer and activist Jose Maria Sison is born in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur. Using Amado Guerrero, as the nom de guerre, Sison led the Maoist-leaning reformation of the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas into the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1968.

Feb. 8, 1960: Benigno S. Aquino III, the 15th President of the Philippines, is born in Manila. He is currently serving a six-year term of office since being elected in 2010.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Record-Breaking Rizal High School

An article that was published in the February 27, 1994 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported about Rizal High School in Pasig City being recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the "secondary school with the biggest student population in the world." According to the school's Web site,  the distinction has been in place since 1993.

Following is a scanned image of the article, which also reports on how the school got included in the Guinness Book:

Happy First Anniversary, Pinoy Pop Culture!!!

The Pinoy Pop Culture blog has just entered another chapter as it celebrates its first year. The people behind this blog would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for the support. Let us look forward to more posts about Filipino culture.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Movie Ads: "Campus Girls" (1995)

On January 25, 1995, the movie Campus Girls was shown in theaters. Under the direction of Mac C. Alejandre, the cast of this Viva Films presentation is led by Vina Morales, Donita Rose, Donna Cruz, and Geneva Cruz.

Campus Girls, Viva Films, Vina Morales, Donita Rose, Donna Cruz, Geneva Cruz

Miscellaneous Dates in Philippine History

* January 17, 1981: President Ferdinand Marcos lifts martial law eight years and five months after declaring it.

* January 19, 1607: San Agustin Church in Manila is officially completed. The Church building still stands up to this day.

* January 20, 2001: President Joseph Estrada is ousted in a nonviolent four-day revolution. Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo succeeded Estrada.

* January 23, 1899: The Malolos Constitution is inaugurated at the Barasoain Church. As the First Philippine Republic is established, Emilio Aguinaldo is sworn in as its President.

* January 25, 1933: Corazon "Cory" Aquino, the 11th President and first woman president of the Philippines, is born.

Movie Ads: "ProBoys" (1995)

ProBoys, a youth-oriented film from Moviestars and Mahogany Pictures opened in theaters on January 18, 1995. The ensemble cast includes Niño Muhlach, Ruby Rodriguez, Beth Tamayo, and Giselle Sanchez. The movie introduced Paco Arespacochaga of the rock band IntroVoys, along with Joan Pascual and Sharmaine Suarez.

ProBoys, movies, Paco Arespacochaga

Notes on "Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story" (2011)

A scene in the 2011 MMFF Entry Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story shows Asiong and his wife going to a movie theater which features the funeral of the comedian Togo.

In real life, Asiong was killed in a shooting incident in 1951, while Togo died of heart attack in 1952. In the movie, Asiong expressed his desire that his funeral be attended by many people, same as Togo's.

I'm not sure whether the anachronism was intentional to emphasize Asiong's dying wish.

Movie Ads: "Pare Ko" (1995)

On January 11, 1995 Star Cinema presented Pare Ko, which is also the title of a song by rock band Eraserheads. Mark Anthony Fernandez, Jomari Yllana, Claudine Barretto, Jao Mapa, Gio Alvarez, Nikka Valencia, and Victor Neri led the cast of this youth-oriented movie. Jose Javier Reyes wrote and directed Pare Ko.

Pare Ko, Star Cinema, movies

Santol (Lolly Fruit)

Santol (sour apple, cotton fruit, or lolly fruit) is one of the well-known fruits in the Philippines. Scientifically known as Sandoricum koetjape, the santol can also be found in other parts of Southeast Asia. Shown below is the yellow variety of the fruit, which has a fuzzy rind.

The inedible brown seeds are enclosed by a pulp that may be sweet or sour. The pulp can be enjoyed as it is, while the rind can be eaten with salt. Aside from being used as a souring agent for sinigang, the whole fruit can be made into candies, marmalades or jams.

santol, sour apple, cotton fruit, lolly fruit, Sandoricum koetjape

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Star Cinema's First Foreign Film Offering

According to an online news item by ABS-CBN News on January 3, Star Cinema's upcoming release of the Jackie Chan movie Chinese Zodiac will be the first time the leading Philippine film production company will be distributing a foreign film.

SOURCE: Facebook page of Star Cinema
This might not be the first time, however, based on an article that was published on the Manila Bulletin on August 8, 1993. Star Cinema's first foreign film offering was Hear No Evil, starring the John C. McGinley, Martin Sheen, and the Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin.

Hear No Evil, Star Cinema, Marlee Matlin

"Balimbing" (Carambola or Star Fruit)

Although the balimbing (carambola) is endemic to the Philippines, we are having a hard time finding this tree in our place. Scientifically known as Averrhoa carambola, the balimbing has distinctively shaped fruits, each having multiple, typically five, ridges. The sour variety of the balimbing is is greener and smaller than the greenish-yellow (and sweeter) variant.

When sliced crosswise, the resulting section is star-shaped, so balimbing is aptly called star fruit. Because of its numerous sides, balimbing has also become a Tagalog political slang term for turncoats. Following is a picture of a balimbing fruit from various angles:

balimbing, carambola, star fruit

balimbing, carambola, star fruit

"Matalino Man ang Matsing..." (The Monkey May Be Wise...")

There is an old Tagalog saying that goes like this: "Matalino man ang matsing, napaglalalangan din." Roughly translated, "The monkey may be wise, but it can also be deceived." Considering monkeys' biological affinity with human beings, the saying is also relevant to our daily existence. As we start this day, we ought to be watchful of deceitful persons who maliciously aim to make monkeys out of us.

A monkey inside a cage at a zoo in Bohol province.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Two Movies about the "Chop-Chop Lady Murder Case"

In early 1994, two movies about the Elsa Castillo murder case, infamously known as the "Chop-Chop Lady Murder Case" opened in theaters. OctoArts Films' The Elsa Castillo Story: Ang Katotohanan and FLT Films' Chop-Chop Lady: The Elsa Castillo Story.

OctoArts Films' presentation opened on January 27 that year. It has Kris Aquino in the title role. Important supporting roles were portrayed by Eric Quizon, Miguel Rodriguez, and Johnny Delgado. Laurice Guillen, Delgado's real-life wife directed this production.

The Elsa Castillo Story, Kris Aquino, Chop-Chop Lady, OctoArts Films, Laurice Guillen

FLT Films' version opened on February 2, with Lorna Tolentino in the title role. Under the direction of Edgardo "Boy" Vinarao, it also featured Mat Ranillo III, Mark Gil, and Amy Austria. Aside from featuring the witness Rio Ravelo as himself, the movie capitalized on endorsements from Epimaco Velasco, the Director of National Bureau of Investigation, and Adelina Santos, the victim's mother.

The Elsa Castillo Story, Lorna Tolentino, Chop-Chop Lady, Edgardo Vinarao

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sliced Chico

Last December 3, a post showed unripe fruits hanging from the branches of the chico tree in our backyard. Almost a month later, the fruits have ripened. A picture of a ripe fruit and another one, which had been peeled and sliced, is presented.

Achras zapota, chico, Manilkara zapota, tsiko

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pritos Ring

Many of us probably know the Pritos Ring, a brand of tsitsirya (junk food) that we used to buy from the neighborhood sari-sari store when we were younger. Pritos Ring is manufactured by Honai Food Corporation in Caloocan City. During the '80s and '90s, the packaging was bright red; it is now fuchsia pink. The font however remained the same. Following are pictures of the 30-gram pouch:

Pritos Ring, snacks, junk foods
Front portion of the pouch

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 35g
Servings Per Container: about 0.800

Amount Per Serving
Calories 160 Calories from Fat 50

                                        % Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 9%
Sodium 320mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 8%
Protein 2g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Pritos Ring, snacks, junk foods
Rear portion of the pouch

Ingredients: Wheat Flour, starch, MSG, iodized salt, sugar flavoring, edible oil and artificial food color

Manufactured by: Honai Food Corporation, 720 A General Luis St., Bo. Kaibiga, Caloocan City, Philippines

Tel. No.: (632)9840317, (632)9840319, (632)9840321