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7 Modern Filipino Movies to Add to Your Bucket List

From the film, “Kita Kita”

The Filipino movie is worth dying to watch for and the future is bright for Philippine cinema! The Philippine movie industry has proved itself to be a promising feat, especially with the rise of new and talented filmmakers.

With the likes of Antoinette Jadaone (That Thing Called Tadhana and Love You To the Stars and Back) and Sigrid Bernardo (Kita Kita), these filmmakers have created themselves players of a “new game” in the Philippine movie industry, experimenting with uncommon storylines and techniques, and screening them to public theaters in areas where masses usually gather.

Although the much-loved rom-com is still a popular genre, several Filipino movies involving action and thrill proved it could create stimuli among the perceptive Filipino audience.

From the movie, “That Thing Callled Tadhana”

Since June is the month to wave the Philippine flag with honor, what better way to complete this month-long celebration than to add these to-die-for flicks that will make your #ProudlyPinoy heart skip a beat? So treat yourself to a break, invite some company and pop in these movies that will no doubt give you a great time.

Going on a movie marathon by yourself or with friends and family is not only a fun way to bond, but also a way to support locally produced films and to truly appreciate the Filipino mind.

We listed down some movies recommended by family and friends. Some films on this list may be something you may have watched already (Tick them off to your list, then!) So pop that corn, get a large drink and sit down because these movies are going to blow your mind, while simultaneously poking that proud Filipino heart of yours.

100 Tula Para kay Stella 

Directed by Paul Laxamana
100 poems = 100 reasons why the stuttering boy loves the girl in the black lipstick.

Psychology freshman and poet, Fidel, meets and falls in love with fellow freshman Stella, a rocker who prefers her band than her studies. Having difficulty to express his affection due to his stuttering, Fidel secretly writes her 100 poems in a fleeting course of four years.

Meanwhile, Stella goes through a rough patch in her life. The only thing she wants to achieve in her life is to score a record label and be the most famous rock star in the country. Along the way, she struggles to find love and her true self, oblivious to the fact that one person has set his heart for her.

This heart-wrenching film is one unforgettable story. And since everyone loves a heart-breaking story, it’s no wonder that this was the most suggested one of the bunch. The film depicts love in its most sincerest and silent forms, and how it could turn things around in the most unexpected ways.

Heneral Luna 

Directed by Jerold Tarog
The ultimate decision between self and country.

The year is 1898, and the Philippines has just been declared independent from the Spanish colony. Yet, a new problem arises our revolutionary leaders– the Americans. General Antonio Luna, with his great love of country than of himself, fights tremendously to save the Philippines from yet another foreign colonizer, and sees beyond the Americans’ sweet advances that entices his fellow leaders.

Heneral Luna takes us way beyond what we’ve learned from our History classes. It’s one of the most brilliant historical films produced in the Philippines. If you have seen this film, then you must agree on me on that note. If you haven’t, then I’ve got three words for you: Watch. It. Now.

That Thing Called Tadhana

Directed by Antoinette Jadaone
Where do broken hearts go? It takes you where you were meant to be.

Anthony and Mace meet at a rather unpleasant situation; Mace cries over which of her belongings to let go while relating everything to her recent breakup, while Anthony finds himself lending a hand to the poor lady at the airport in Rome. Upon arriving in the Philippines, they go on an unexpected journey to find a way to mend their broken hearts

On their journey, they help each other forget their own disappointment and heartbreaks in recent and previous events, while developing a closeness that deepens as they get to know each other more.

With its quirky statements and cheesy “hugot” lines, That Thing Called Tadhana will make you believe in love again. The film stirs from the usual Filipino love story format seen in commercial films with its simplicity and realistic vibes, the reason why audiences were captivated by this unlikely story. It catapulted to the success and recognition of Jadaone as a fierce and upcoming director of Philippine cinema.

Love You to the Stars and Back 

Directed by Antoinette Jadaone
Their love goes where the road takes them; part of it involves getting captured by aliens.

Mika, an eccentric and awkward girl, set out for a road trip after feeling out of place at home. She decides to go to Mt. Milagros, a place her mother used to talk to her about, to get captured by aliens. Along the way, she accidentally meets Caloy, a good-humored boy and decides to give him a free ride until he reaches his destination.

Mika is surprised when she learns that Caloy has cancer. Despite his condition, he accepts this and remains positive and joyful. They both embark on a series of adventures and misadventures that unexpectedly leads them to a memorable romance even at such a young age. They eventually arrive at their destination, learning an important lesson on love and life.

This movie is another setback for Barreto and Garcia, this being their second movie as a tandem. They have really spiced up audiences with their charm and chemistry, even with the simplicity of the storyline. Jadaone has yet again turned herself away from the usual rom-com and delivered.

Patay Na Si Hesus

Directed by Victor Villanueva
This is not a road trip movie; this is a funeral.

Iyay informs her three adult kids that their estranged father, Hesus, has passed away. Despite the reluctance of her children, she pushes them and her sister Lucy to join her on a road trip from Cebu to Dumaguete to attend the funeral

This Cebuano dark comedy was one of the crowd favorites during last year’s Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino film festival. Jaclyn Jose, having won the Best Actress award at the 2016 Cannes Film festival, takes a different take from her usual dramatic roles. In this film she proves that she can also do the comedic role. So put on your seatbelts, and take the dreary but funny road to Hesus’ funeral.

Kita Kita

Director- Sigrid Bernardo
A heartwarming story of an unlikely couple who meets and proves to themselves that love is not blind.

Lea, a Filipina tourist guide who lives in Sapporo, Japan loses her eyesight after seeing her fiancé cheating on her. As she lives her life in temporary blindness, she encounters Tonyo, her neighbor who is also Filipino. Tonyo tries to cheer Lea up by doing her a few favors. Once he gained her trust, the both of them visit Sapporo’s tourist destinations.

On the night that Lea finally regains her eyesight, she sees Tonyo happily waving at her from the other end of the street, but he gets hit by a vehicle afterwards. Days after, Lea visits Tonyo’s house and discovers a lot more about Tonyo. Later on, she revisits all the places she and Tonyo used to go, carrying with her always a blindfold.

With this unlikely duo, this movie shows you that love is truly unconditional. It knows know condition or circumstances; it is as it is. Be prepared, though, because tears may also be involved when watching this film.

Ang Larawan 

Directed by Loy Arcenas
A high-price bidding war of an unlikely masterpiece. In song form!

A throwback to the American colonization of the Philippines, this movie was based on a play titled Larawan by national artist Nick Joaquin. The film circles around two sisters, Candidad and Paula Marasigan, who find themselves in a financial crisis after their father, Don Lorenzo was caught in a recluse and has stopped painting for a long time now. To get some money, they take in a boarder named Tony Javier.

Meanwhile, a self-portrait made by Don Lorenzo sparks the interest of many high-profile personalities. Although the bid price could help them ease their way out of their financial problems, Candidad and Paula fear that they will lose such a precious treasure from their family. From there on, the two sisters shall choose between family and stability.

This is a perfect film to watch with your family, especially that the story surrounds one as well. Aside from that, it also gives a clear picture of the lifestyle of that time, when materialism and consumerism were on the rise. With an original score composed by the iconic Ryan Cayabyab, this Filipino musical will surely captivate you.

Culture

The Uncommon Traditions that Mexicans and Filipinos share when celebrating the Day of the Dead.

Dia de los Muertos

By Allain Dumon Fonte

The 2nd of November is All Soul’s Day, a holiday that is very important to many Filipinos to remember our loved ones who passed on. This is also widely celebrated in Mexico as “Dia De los Muertos” or in English, “The Day of the Dead”. And Mexicans celebrate the 2nd of November grander than they celebrate Christmas. Well, you can witness it from the Disney movie, “Coco”.

As All Soul’s Day or Dia de los Muertos is about to end, here are some interesting traditions and superstitions that Filipinos and Mexicans share:

1. IT IS NOT ON THE 31st OF OCTOBER

Dia de los Muertos or All Soul’s Day is not practiced on October 31st or on the Hallow’s Eve as many other western cultures practice; but we celebrate it on the 2nd of November. We celebrate November 1st as All Saint’s Day or the Day of the Holy, while in Mexico they call it Dia de los Innocentes or Dia de los Angelitos to commemorate the children who died too early in life.

2. THE RITUAL

Both in Mexico and in the Philippines, we visit the grave of our loved ones and we clean it well. This is a ritual to honour their resting places and to let them know that they are never forgotten.

3. FLOWERS INVITE SPIRITS

In Mexico, they believe that the scent of flowers attract spirits. So the flower offerings are invitation to their dead loved ones to visit the living families. While in the Philippines, we believe that flowers offered to the dead exalt the souls and somehow fill in the sadness that we feel when missing our dead loved ones.

Most of the time, Filipinos choose all-white flowers to offer because white is the absence of colour, which means the absence of Joy and happiness. White also symbolises purity of soul which we hope our dead loved ones will attain as they journey to heaven. While in Mexico, they have the yellow Mexican marigolds as the official flowers of the dead that will guide them in their journey to the afterlife.

4. THE LEGEND OF THE MONARCH BUTTERFLIES

Both cultures believe that monarch butterflies are dead loved ones who visit us and show their appreciation that we have not forgotten them. A presence of monarch butterflies also means that our dead loved ones are always there guiding us and looking after us.

5. A PICNIC IN THE GRAVEYARD

Spending a night at the graveyard and picnicking with the rest of the family may sound very creepy to many; but to both Filipino and Mexican cultures, picnicking and spending a night at the cemetery is a must to show our love to our dearly departed. It is the only time in the year that families gather and tell stories of the dead loved ones and how colourful or how great their lives were.

6. FOOD FOR THE DEAD

In Mexico, they have what they call “ofrendas” or an altar where the pictures of their dead loved ones are displayed and offered with flowers, candles, and their favourite food. Very similar to the Filipino culture of cooking the favourite food of our dead loved ones and everyone in the family enjoys the food for dinner.

My family tradition involves me driving all the way to Colon street and buy that famous Snow Sheen’s “pancit canton”. This is my granddad’s favourite snack. Sadly, the old Visayan Restaurant is no longer there. My late uncle and my late grandpa love their sweet ad and sour fish. We also set up an “ofrenda” on their graveyard and eat their favourite food while picnicking in the cemetery. We do not spend a night in the cemetery; but while we are picnicking there, we usually play the songs of Pilita Corrales and Susan Fuentes that my late grandpa used to listen every afternoon while enjoying his coffee, pan de sal, and pancit canton.

What about your family traditions? Share your thoughts by commenting to this article.

MODEL: Michael Joseph Mortola Enriquez & Alexis Wingfield
PHOTOGRAPHER: Gianne Paolo Anciano
HMUA/DESIGNER: Hazel Ocaba
STYLING: GPA Lifestyle + Clothing

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Catch Ted Lasso the Emmy Award Winning Comedy Series on Apple TV+

Catch Ted Lasso the Emmy Award Winning Comedy Series on Apple TV+

 

Rating: *****/ *****

The multi award–winning comedy series airing on Apple TV+ is one of my favorite shows.  Ted Lasso starring Jason Sudeikis is about a fun good-natured American football coached hired by a British soccer club (AFC Richmond in London) to become their new coach.  In spite of the fact that Ted has no experience or knowledge about British football/soccer, his positive demeanor and charm helps him overcome the animosity of the team’s players, staff and fans.  Eventually Ted wins over the team and the locals as they fight for position in the English Premier League.

The show won the 2021 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and 7 Emmy Awards in its 2 seasons and Season 3 is just around the corner.  You can catch Seasons 1 & 2 of Ted Lasso on Apple TV+

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PANDEMIC DIARIES: Twelve Months Later

Photos taken by Pablo Quiza around Cebu City during the months of March, April and May 202

AS WE APPROACH ONE YEAR under pandemic times, we look back at March 2020 with fascination. And awe. We had 12 months of lockdown and survived the so called new normal. We lived with masks and alcohol even today. Carless roads and dark malls. Those were the early days of March, April and May.
It stretched to October and past Christmas. No Sinulog. Virtual parties on Zoom and virtual mass on You Tube and FB Live. We debated on the best meds to take if we get sick and whether to wear masks (please do!). We scampered for face shields and anti-viral sprays. Vitamins C and D and zinc. Later, we survived being swabbed and we learned the difference between a PCR and an anti-gene test. The latter cost less.

We dreaded the declarations of IATF mandated from Manila. And we got mad at the police chief who had a birthday party while his people were busy locking up everyone violating the lockdown. Most horrifying of all, we needed to produce IDs! Are you a resident of Barangay Lahug or Banilad? Are you employed and why are you still working? Everyone suffered thru endless checkpoints. Most sad of all are those using motorbikes, they seem to get the raw end of the deal since those with cars are not as scrutinized. We managed to trick the system by putting a big handwritten note in front of the car: COMPANY CAR, and zipped tru the police desks in the middle of the road. Don’t even think of travelling, by plane, boat or bus. The collection of the required documents is enough for one to get exposed to Covid.

We learned to shop online, order groceries and necessities thru delivery. We slowly moved towards cashless payments. Gcash and banks like Union Bank and China Bank with friendly apps are heroes for making life easy for most of us to spend what little cash we have to spend on Lazada or pay the VECO bill. Oh and we binged on K dramas on Netflix and You Tube, kamsaminada.
As 2021 enters, there are some good news. For those obsessed with news, you already know that 7,000 vaccines arrived last March 2 in Cebu, with more expected in the next few weeks. The death rate is not as high among those who caught this pesky virus, which tells us that doctors in the hospitals have some proven expertise in dealing with Covid. More cures should be in the horizon.

Meanwhile, lets continue dreaming of the day when we can cross borders again, even if its just Bohol or Boracay, Bangkok or Hong Kong. Ready those luggages and bags bought during the 3/3 sale in Shopee in preparation for the day when we can take the ferry or the plane for new adventures.

 

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