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Sunday, February 10, 2013

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.

Zandro Limpot, the 1993 PBA Rookie of the Year, has special participation in the movie. Other PBA players in  the cast include Jerry CodiƱera, Bong Alvarez, Peter Aguilar, Elmer Cabahug, Benny Cheng, Harmon CodiƱera, Elmer Guanio, Dwight Lago, and Olsen Racela.

Carlo J. Caparas, Alvin Patrimonio, Kris Aquino, Tasya Fantasya

On January 26, 1994, Manny Reyes' Suwapings, the initial presentation of Safari Films, opened in theaters. The title of this satire on Philippine politics can be deduced as a portmanteau of the Tagalog word suwapang, which refers to a greedy person, and Gwapings, a popular teen idol trio during the early part of that decade. The cast of this comedy film is led by Noel Trinidad, Lou Veloso, and Cynthia Patag.

Suwapings, Safari Films, Manny Reyes, Lou Veloso, Noel Trinidad, Cynthia Patag

Kris Aquino had another comedy film in 1995. Tony Cruz's Pempe ni Sara at Pen, which also stars Anjo Yllana and then child actor Vandolph, opened in theaters on January 18 that year. The title might have been inspired by the Tagalog children's song Pen Pen de Sarapen. It is worth wondering what labor authorities might have reacted to the poster which depicts Vandolph as a child takatak boy (cigarette vendor).

Pempe ni Sara at Pen, Vandolph, Anjo Yllana, Tony Cruz, Kris Aquino


  1. Greetings!

    Dr. Veronica E. Ramirez is currently writing a book on Contemporary Art in the Philippine Regions, which is a compilation of lessons on the visual and performing arts. She intends to include in this book your photo of Manny Reyes' "Suwapings" (, which can inspire the intended readers, Senior High School students. May I respectfully ask permission on her behalf to include this photo in the said book? Rest assured that you will be properly acknowledged in the book.

    Nicole Fuentes

    Please e-mail me your response. Thank you.

    1. I grant the permission to include it in Dr. Ramirez's book. The honor is mine.

      I look forward to the book's successful publication. Thank you very much.