According to my record, I’ve watched over 50 films in 2013, most of it Filipino-made. That’s a great leap from my record of less than 10 annually, excluding reruns of my favorite romcoms. (Yeah, haha, I’m so busy looking toward the oblivion instead of the big black screen back then)
But French Film Fest and Cinemalaya changed all that.
I’ve been watching a few indie movies before but it was only last year that I intended to focus and cherish its contribution to my cinematic experience. I had become on the lookout for schedules of local film fests and made a promise to watch at least one or two movies from each. It’s a promise I was able to keep, but I had this sense of loss (lol drama) when I’m not able to watch other possibly good entries because of schedule conflict, travel distance, money, etc.
All these aside, I consider 2013 as a year of growth, enlightenment, and awakening. This year, I wish to watch more, probably even double the figures from last year.
Now since local film festivals are just around the corner, I’m listing down my 17 significant Filipino movie characters of 2013.
Whether it was a big budget film or not, we know that remarkable character arc doesn’t happen overnight. With the right material and proper execution, the possibilities are endless.
From the lead actors to bit players, including even the villains, the ones who changed or become the agents of change, see them all here!
17. Laida, It Takes A Man and a Woman
Laida quote: “Matagal bago ko naintindihan na walang instant happy ending… Ganun pala ‘pag nagmahal ka ng totoo. Kasama lahat ng maganda, pangit, ng malungkot at ng masakit.”
We’ve seen every stage of Laida Magtalas’ character development over the years. From the innocent girl in A Very Special Love, to the carefree lady in You Changed My Life, up to the mature woman in It Takes A Man and a Woman. It’s easy to say that we’ve been there every step of her way because why not? Our Laida is lovable even at her worst.
16. Teresa, Ano Ang Kulay Ng Mga Nakalimutang Pangarap?
Teresa quote: “Tama ka nga naman… Luma na… Aanhin pa nga niyo iyon?”
Teresa had her chance at love and on having her own family, but she traded all these to serve one family which spanned for six decades. Over the years, her loyalty and dedication has been proven again and again only to be confronted with the sad truth later on that the family she served is thinking of how to dispose her as they’re all migrating abroad. Teresa’s story is both inspiring and distressing. Every time I remember the scene when she doesn’t utter even a single word, I feel the pain she’s into and the betrayal she refuses to believe in. And then I’m all messed up with tears in my eyes because it hurts so much to remember her struggles and feel it until the last frame of the movie.
15. Blondie, Bendor
Blondie quote: “Bakit ba kasi pumapayag ka na ganyan-ganyanin ka ng asawa mo?”
Blondie recently split up with her womanizing husband and she’s left with mouths to feed plus a secret to keep. On the sidelines of being a candle vendor in Quiapo, she does abortion and a bit of mysterious self-discovery. Blondie is hardworking and unglamorous in every sense of it. She’s a person who lives life on a constant phase but despite that she never fails to dream.
14. Loida, Ekstra
Loida quote: “Crowd lang?! Wag mong nila-lang ang crowd! Crowd is crowd! Crowd ang bumubuo sa eksena.”
A bit player role played by the Star for All Seasons, Vilma Santos. Here we see not a superstar but a real bit player. Loida is just like any human being with dreams and aspirations which drives her to get on with life. She thrives with ideals and yet life doesn’t always favor her way. You will smile with her achievements and sympathize with her demise. Others may often regard her as unimportant but she dare thinks otherwise. With that, she’s one of the many unsung heroes both in their own home and even at work.
13. Sandy, Bakit Hindi Ka Crush ng Crush Mo
Sandy quote: “Puro lang kayo paasa. Pa-yummy. Ako naman, pa-victim. Pero wala na akong magawa kundi umasa nalang na makarma kayo… Oh ano masaya ka na? Pakshit ka! G*go!”
Have you ever had a crush / special someone who didn’t want you the same way you want them? Well, that’s what Sandy’s life (and probably some of us) is all about. We all come to that point in our lives wherein we are willing to invest everything in a relationship only to be left heartbroken in the end. Being in that ugly duckling stage doesn’t feel good because everyday could be a struggle of fighting the inner demons. But just like any phase, it will also pass. For Sandy’s case, she surpassed it and changed for the better. Bonus: she even found someone who’s willing to try and try when things don’t work out, just so they could reach their own “happy ending.”
12. Tonio (Leo Martinez), Tuhog
Tonio quote: “Wala (akong alam sa business), pero alam ko ang gusto ko –maging panadero.”
Tonio spends most of his retirement days playing Pusoy Dos with friends until one day, he decides to pursue his dream of becoming a baker. He invests all his retirement pay on a bakery, to which his family disagrees. Later on, we see Tonio’s determination come to fruition as he proves three vital things: 1) age is just a figure 2) never give up no matter what other people say 3) believe in your dreams because if you don’t, who will?
11. John, Sana Dati
John quote: “CERE-mony, Ce-RE-mony, Ce-REMONY”
Uncertainty is the primary mood showcased in Sana Dati that even the minor roles exhibit this. One of them is John, who is busy practicing his craft: hosting. In Sana Dati, we see him trying to perfect the pronunciation for his speech. In light to the troubles and doubts surrounding the bride, John also creates his own piece of uncertainty on pronouncing the word “ceREmony” correctly. And he does so in a scene-stealing manner as he adds fun to the unpleasant condition everyone is currently in. Don’t you just like it when some people are there to ease the tension?
10. Atty. Francis Coronel Jr., On The Job
Atty. Francis Coronel quote: “I’m sorry Nick, pero kailangan kong gawin ang trabaho ko. Madamay nang lahat ng kailangang madamay.”
Well, just look at that photo. Need I say more? It must be a crime to look that good. Not only that, he’s also an NBI agent with a firm belief on doing good, whatever it takes. /sigh
9. Ka Felix (Joem) Lihis
Ka Felix quote: “Mahalaga ang tamang perspektibo sa kahit anumang usapin….”
Ka Felix has two secrets: first, he is a member of NPA; second, he is in love with his fellow rebel who also happens to be a man. Set on a backdrop of martial law era, the conservative Ka Felix decides to be with a woman even if his heart tells him to be with a man. He moves out of the mountain, creates a family in the low land and maintains a peaceful life as a commoner. However, it seems that true love reigns and he soon reconciles with Ka Jimmy (Jake Cuenca). Here we see Ka Felix fight two wars: one against oppression and the other, gender liberation. In the end, he stands firm to fight for his beliefs and he wins on a personal level, more than anything.
8. Ong, Metro Manila
Ong quote: “Baka mas madalas ka pang makakita ng alien kaysa manalo ka sa lotto…”
Ong, the kind of man you’ll try to understand and hate at the same time. He has clear and unabashed intentions which results to manipulative actions. He plays the villain card simply because he has no other option but to be one. I think one of the most cruel things this life could give you is the lack of options, or rather, a better and more acceptable option.
7. Sgt. Joaquin Acosta, On The Job
Sgt. Acosta quote: “Sana naman asikasuhin niyong mabuti (yung kaso)! Huwag yung itatanim niyo lang sa lupa para mamunga ng pera!”
He’s the hero we all want our policemen to be –tough (and rough) enough to do the right thing even if it costs him so much (read: he arrested his drug addict son). He’s the kind who aims for more even though he gets less. He’s a breed that is so rare, it hurts.
6. Robert, Sana Dati
Robert quote: “You can’t be a public servant and a politician at the same time. Mag-negosyo nalang ako.”
Robert, a politician turned businessman, plays a calm and hard exterior on his wedding day while secretly maintaining that he’s emotionally on the edge of a cliff. In the film he is a hopeful groom but more than that, he is a man of dignity, restraint, and honor. I bet a woman will be really lucky to find one like him in real life.
5. Regina, Sonata
Regina quote: “The way that you feel for somebody doesn’t vanish even after they’re gone.”
Undeniably present and at the same time absent, operatic singer Regina Cardena is a tower, both triumphant and scary. She is strong and yet she’s also vulnerable. Nothing and nobody owns her and despite her lost voice, it’s the one thing that truly defines her. And in times of darkness, she teaches us that sometimes holding on to what remains in you is the most important.
4. Irene, Mga Anino ng Kahapon
Irene quote: “Ayoko sa tuwing pinapainom mo ako ng gamot dahil nakikita ko sa tingin mo na hindi na asawa ang turing mo sa akin kundi pasyente na.”
What I loved best about Irene is despite having difficulty on distinguishing real from unreal –the struggles, the discomfort, and the inconvenience that her illness have brought to her and her family– she showed me that schizophrenia is a lifelong battle best fought with your loved ones. Because again and again, everything becomes easier to bear when you have someone to share it with.
3. Lilet, Lilet Never Happened
Lilet quote: “He fucked me! He fucked me hard!”
Lilet is living a life of waste -she curses, she fights with elders, she lights a cigarette, and most importantly, she sells her body. Despite all the odds this 12-year-old kid have been through, she still has dreams of being an actress some day and earn money to support her family. Lilet continues to hold on to her life strongly even if it is not exactly dearly.
2. Tatang, On The Job
Tatang quote: “Madaling pumatay ‘pag may rason, ‘pag may pinanggalingang inis o galit.”
Tatang is the kind of villain that will tore you apart. A determined killer who will stop at nothing, he is also a man who is bold enough to protect and provide for his family. Tatang has the dirtiest hands of all but he operates to make his acts feel like it is the right thing to do. To him, deception, especially from your loved ones, could be the only division between what is and the great perhaps.
1. Andrea, Sana Dati
Andrea quote: “After ng reception…takas tayo.”
This is the film that made me realize how effective Lovi Poe can be. She portrays Andrea as a beautiful woman who tries to escape her past by committing to a future she never wanted. Her subdued struggles and sudden quips reflect her emotional instability. She has this idea of a perfect love and will do everything she can to achieve it. Some will understand her (and probably love her, I do!), while the rest will hate her. Either way, it shows that Andrea is in all of us as she tries to live life despite a tragic loss that it’s almost impossible not to be moved by her doubts and unpredictability.
Films not seen because of schedule conflicts:
Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan by Lav Diaz
Blue Bustamante by Miko Livelo
Riddles of My Homecoming by Arnel Mardoquio
Iskalawags by Keith Deligero
Transit by Hannah Espia
Babagwa by Jason Paul Laxamana
Purok 7 by Carlo Obispo
Kabisera by Borgy Torre
Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita by Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na by Jet Leyco
Sitio by Mes De Guzman
Death March by Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr.
Ang Turkey Man ay Pabo Rin by Randolph Longjas
Philippino Story by Benji Garcia
Dukit by Armando Lao
How to Disappear Completely by Raya Martin