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The 23 independent Filipino films you should watch

While certain movies go against the norm, mainstream Filipino blockbusters have a reputation for clichéd and formulaic plots, repetitive celebrity tandems, and standard happy endings, among other factors. But when you delve into the world of independent movies, you’d find that there are some quality films that help elevate the local industry into something world-class.

The Binisaya Film Festival 2016, running from September 17 to 24, aims to help promote these movies by bringing them to a wider audience. After years of small screenings in coffee shops and under the bridge communities, this year marks the first time the festival will take place in commercial theaters.

Here are some of the independent films worth checking out:

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2013

Eluna Cepeda
2013

A romantic misadventure leaves our protagonist struggling with depression. He finds himself in the care of a male nurse, who lives with his gay brother. Together, they dole out equal measures of care and taunts to their patient. But one day, the urge to take revenge is felt. Bodies are dismembered and mutilated. No guilty party is spared. Will history be easily outrun?

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ALUNCINA

Grace Marie Lopez
aluncina

One day in the life of a young woman in a burgeoning city.

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AMBIHAS

Jaylou Dari
ambihas

When Jaylou, a mechanic, discovers the code of conventional courtship, he decides to use that discovery to carve his name in history. What could possibly go wrong?

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COBRA

Marco Campos
cobra

A bet collector makes the gamble of his life.

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engkwentro

ENGKWENTRO

Pepe Diokno

“Engkwentro” follows two teenage brothers attempting to escape an unnamed city controlled by an iron-fisted mayor. They must first break away from the cycle of crime, while trying to run from rival gang leaders and the state’s murderous vigilantes.

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FAMILIAR STRANGERS

Eric Peter
familiar-strangers

There is a social transformation worldwide into a positive attitude that unites us instead of tears us apart. Familiar Strangers: Conversations on the Near Future explores this very shift through a series of performative dialogues from a personal and local viewpoint. As a small-scale gold miner, Henerose Lorono can often be found digging for gold in his tunnel. Whereas, this practice seems to affect nature negatively, people’s lives have improved in financial terms. Heneroso’s daughter is now able to study.

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GET CERTIFIED

Isaias Herrera Zantua
get-certified

Heaven or Hell? These are the paths that the resurrected lost souls have to choose in the afterlife. But for Angelica — it’s hell or nothing! Will her strong conviction to become a full-fledged demon be enough for her to get certified?

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gugma-ni-olivia

GUGMA NI OLIVIA

Christian Linaban

Olivia, who sells knives for a living, develops a romantic obsession with her next door neighbor, Jeffrey.

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HAPPY FIESTA

Joe Bacus
happy-fiesta

A Western man in black pays local hospitals nightly visits carrying an ice bucket. Later revealed as a member of an international organ-trading association, he seduces women into spending nights with him with his ulterior motive. This night, however, he meets a mysterious woman who proves to be his match.

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HINAGUNOY SA GURYON

Karl Derick Sia
hinagunoy-sa-goryon

It was in the humble and peaceful countryside where the clouds spread across the sky and the palm leaves sway to the fresh mountain breeze that a growing fledgling experiences the pain of loss, the loss of time, and the time unspent with the father he never met. We follow the life of this tree sparrow towards the end of his, and the start of another.

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INAHAN SA KANUNAYNG PANABANG

Chloe Veloso
inahan-sa-kanunayng-panabang

Three brothers quarrel over the rights of their ancestral home and the care of their mother suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

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JUNILYN HAS

Carlo Francisco Manatad
junilyn-has

A dancer in a nightclub, Junilyn has to learn new moves to attract more customers during the Pope’s visit to the Philippines. But while she rehearses, she is also preparing her bold move to free herself.

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LOLA

Roberta Fuentes
lola

This is a portrait of my grandmother. Every day, she would sing her song while threading sorghum seeds that she sells in the market.

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LUNCHBOX

Remton Siega Zuasola
lunchbox

A mother works abroad leaving behind her sick husband and young son who couldn’t stand each other. Both boys suffer from intense longing of the same woman they loved and started drifting in a world of their own; Father drowns his sadness with his vices while son escapes through his drawings of imagined adventures, but an accident forces both boys to work together to become better men.

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MISS BULALACAO

Ara Chawdhury

BEHIND THE SCENE: Director Ara Chawdhury films one of the movie's pivotal scenes. (Photo credit: Panumduman Pictures)

BEHIND THE SCENE: Director Ara Chawdhury films one of the movie’s pivotal scenes. (Photo credit: Panumduman Pictures)

A young drag queen, Dodong, joins a barangay gay pageant to gain acceptance in his father’s community. He is instead met with hostility from his father, who chases him to a jungle, where he sobs to a lone bright star. What follows is the strangest night in his entire life, and an even stranger 9 months when he realises he is pregnant. With his only his stepmother, Lisa, as support, Dodong deals with ridicule from a barangay who does not believe him – until the rumours become a headline in a tabloid, “BAKLA, INA NG DIYOS”

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ONE DAY, ISANG DIWA

Nickle John Lim
one-day-isang-diwa

Two people facing the same fate and meeting the same end: sadness, darkness, fulfillment, and enlightenment. Will they find solace until they learn to accept life as it is?

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PAKIGBISOG

Steven Atenta
pakigbisog

A few days after a super typhoon ravages a small town in the Philippines, a lone survivor scavenges for food in an abandoned compound. He stumbles upon a large can of food which he takes for himself but also discovers another desperate and starving survivor willing to use violence.

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PROLOGO SA ANG DAKILANG DESAPARECIDO

Lav Diaz
prologo-lav-diaz

It had been 325 years that the Philippines was under Spanish rule when the Revolution, led by Andres Bonifacio, exploded on August 21, 1896. But on May 9, 1897, Bonifacio was charged with death sentence by rival revolutionaries led by Emilio Aguinaldo. Bonifacio’s body has never been found. His wife, Gregoria De Jesus, searched for his body in the mountains for thirty days, calling for Andres and even spirits to help her find her husband.

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saranghae-my-tutor

SARANGHAE MY TUTOR

Victor Villanueva

Benjamin teaches English to Koreans in an ESL centre. Despite his mundane and routinary life, he still believes that he will find his soul mate. One day, as if destiny intervened, he meets his new Korean student, Mi-Ok North Park…. it was love at first sight! Is this the soul mate that he’s been longing for? Will there be a happy ending between the shy Cebuano teacher and the beautiful Korean Angel despite their language barriers?

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STATIC

Jose Victor Bacsarpa
static

An inspector tries to get to the bottom of a local drug-related killing.

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SUPERPSYCHOCEBU

Christian Linaban
superpsychocebu

A young man is on a quest to find a mythical strain of cannabis called the SUPERPSYCHOCEBU. Along the way, he meets characters that appear to have lost their minds after trying it, one of them even possessed by the Devil, at which point he starts questioning whether he’s in for some good weed or just one hell of a bad trip.

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uwan-init-pista-sa-langit

UWAN INIT PISTA SA LANGIT

Keith Deligero, Remton Siega Zuasola

A story about heaven and hell.

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YES

Hanz Florentino
yes

Miguel gives a surprise wedding proposal to his girlfriend Jonah, when in the middle of the proposal Jonah secretly leaves and appears to have been cheating on him over a mysterious guy named Henry. Miguel retreats to a bar where he meets the temptress Melena. He now faces the dilemma of sulking on his fate with Jonah or accept the sweet invitation of Melena?

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BINISAYA 2016 SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES:

SATURDAY, September 17
SM Seaside City Cebu

6:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Lunchbox (Remton Siega Zuasola | PG)

7:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Q&A with the cast and crew

8:00 – 10:00 p.m.
ASIAN SHORTS:
Daughters of a Lesser God (Ammar Aziz | Pakistan | PG)
Fat Boy Never Slim (Sorayos Prapapan | Thailand | R13)
Lo Sum Choe Sum (Dechen Roder | Bhutan | R13)
Sepatu Baru (Aditya Ahmad | Indonesia | PG)
There Is No Poetry Here (Kalinga Deshapriya | Sri Lanka | R13)
Three Wheels (Kavich Neang | Cambodia | PG)

MONDAY, September 19
UP Cebu

6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
BINISAYA CLASSICS
Saranghae My Tutor (Victor Villanueva)
Gugma ni Olivia (Christian Linaban)
Uwan Init Pista Sa Langit (Keith Deligero, Remton Siega Zuasola)

7:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Q&A with directors

TUESDAY, September 20
CIT

2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
BINISAYA CLASSICS

3:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Q&A with directors

WEDNESDAY, September 21
CNU

2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
BINISAYA CLASSICS

3:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Q&A with directors

Robinsons Galleria

5:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Engkwentro (Pepe Diokno | R13)

8:00 – 9:30 p.m.
Miss Bulalacao (Ara Chawdhury | R13)

THURSDAY, September 22
USJR MassComm Studio

2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
BINISAYA CLASSICS

3:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Q&A with directors

FRIDAY, September 23
USC SAFAD Theater

1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Filmmaker’s Forum with FDCP chair Liza Diño-Seguerra

4:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Prologo sa Ang Dakilang Desaprecido (Lav Diaz)

SATURDAY, September 24
USC SAFAD Theater

9:00 – 12:00 p.m.
The Film Business and Production with Cebuana producer Bianca Balbuena

SM Seaside City Cebu

1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
REGIONAL SHORTS IN EXHIBITION
Happy Fiesta (Joe Bacus | Cagayan de Oro)
2013 (Eluna Cepeda | Manila)
Cobra (Marco Campos | La Union)
Aluncina (Grace Marie Lopez | Cebu)
Familiar Strangers (Eric Peter | Compostela Valley/Surigao del Sur)
Pakigbisog (Steven Atenta | Cebu)
Junilyn Has (Carlo Francisco Manatad | Tacloban)
Lunchbox (Remton Siega Zuasola | Cebu)

3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
SHORTS IN COMPETITION
Lola (Roberta Fuentes | Bantayan | PG)
Hinagunoy Sa Goryon (Karl Derick Sia | Cebu | PG)
Inahan Sa Kanunayng Panabang (Chloe Veloso | Cebu | PG)
One Day, Isang Diwa (Nickle John Lim | Davao | R13)
Static (Jose Victor Bacsarpa | Cagayan de Oro | R13)
Get Certified (Isaias Herrera Zantua | Cebu | PG)
Ambihas (Jaylou Dari | Cebu | PG)
Yes (Hanz Florentino | Cebu | R13)

5:10 – 5:30
Q&A with Directors

6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
SUPERPSYCHOCEBU (Christian Linaban)

7:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Q&A with the cast and crew

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Like Binisaya on Facebook for more updates.

All plot synopses courtesy of Binisaya.

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Events

Citizens of the World: CAMPAIGN 2KRAINE

Asmara Urban Resort and Lifestyle Village

Citizens of the World: CAMPAIGN 2KRAINE

By Eva Gullas

“We are all citizens of the world. What’s good for you, must be good for all. If you are lost, share a plate with a stranger… you will find who you are.”

-Jose Andres, renowned Spanish Chef and founder of World Central Kitchen

 

Chef José Andrés

Where there are humanitarian disasters, you will find the volunteers of World Central Kitchen.  In their midst will be local chefs, most of them inspired by its iconic founder, celebrity chef José Andrés. Founded in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in  2010, World Central Kitchen established its “chef network,” of global professional chefs. The vision was for a kind of “chefs without borders” program where volunteers would enact positive change by cooking using local knowledge and resources. Last year, they even came to the island of Siargao in response to an Instagram plea for help after typhoon Odette almost levelled this idyllic paradise. WCK sponsored 2 community kitchens for 2 months serving 250 to 500 meals per day in Siargao.

WCK at Siargao with volunteers, December 2021. (Photo courtesy of Ai-Ai Garcia)

Chef José Andrés was born in Spain where he honed his culinary skills at the eponymous El Bulli under Ferran Adria. By the time he moved to the US in 1991, he was well on his way to being part of the celebrity chefs, with his Bazaar restaurant at the then SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills a favorite hang-out for Hollywood stars. Michelin stars and James Beard awards followed closely. These days though, Jose Andres spends his time in kitchens all over the world while his top rated chain of restaurants in the US continue to thrive. There’s a Bazaar restaurant at Las Vegas and Miami, and if you happen to be in the area, check out their amazing servings – it’s worth the splurge especially since it is owned by this great humanitarian!

The Bazaar Restaurant in Miami

With the Ukraine invasion delivered to us in sharp details tru social media and TV, it’s hard to ignore. And so, it was a natural conversation to be able to do something about it even in a small way. On a full-moon evening a few days ago, joining us at a beachside home for dinner was Matthew Wood, the German singer guest of Miranda Konstantiniduo who is here for a few days to shoot his latest music video. Sated with a good meal by the sea, we idly discussed a fund raising event with Matthew. We have been so engrossed with local politics and a looming election in just 2 months, that it was refreshing to talk about something bigger than our small world. Butch Carungay, seated in front of me, took the idea to heart and by the following day, he had the graphics for the event, and a ready rolodex of possible donors for the silent auction. Getting on board the following night was Carlo Cordaro, who happily lent us the second level of Asmara Resort. To complement Matthew, Cebuana singer Doods Osmena also will belt out a few songs. An impressive list of items for the silent auction is being compiled by Butch, composed of overnight stays at top resorts, artworks and furniture pieces from named artists.  We will post a list on the day of event. 

German singer Matthew Wood

Asmara Urban Resort and Lifestyle Village

Ribbon designed by Butch Carungay for guests at the fund raising event

It is sponsored by Zee Publications Inc., in our first foray after having been dormant during the pandemic and typhoon Odette. Zee will soon be launching a new artsy printed magazine called Eatz Cebu! 

This Friday, March 25, at 6pm, we open the doors of Asmara Urban Resort (see map) for this fundraising where we hope you can join us by donating a minimum of $50 to the World Central Kitchen directly at https://wck.org/donate. It will be an evening of fun and fundraising, and entry is tru an email or digital receipt of your donation. 

***

On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. By February 25, 2022, Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen (WCK) was on the ground serving free wholesome meals to those fleeing the violence. Chef Andrés and his volunteers have already served more than one million meals to Ukrainian refugees, from basements, train stations, and shelters. Still, cooking and distributing food in a war zone comes with unique challenges. “We began operations…over two weeks ago inside Lviv,” says Andrés. “The last two days we saw some missiles falling down. So, the western side of Ukraine, that actually was a safe haven for many Ukrainians leaving war, is already kind of feeling like the war is getting closer.” For Andrés, it’s a humanitarian necessity and a call he answers. “The least we can do at World Central Kitchen is be next to them – making sure they will be fed every day.”

SOURCE: MSNBC

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Events

Take a Closer Look at the Stunning Couture Wedding Dresses of The Brides At Triton Fashion Show

photography by Ephraim Basbas

The wedding industry, together with twenty of Cebu’s leading as well as emerging fashion designers just made a glorious comeback in one magnificent fashion show, The Brides at Triton last March 12, 2022 at the Triton Grand Ballroom of the only 5-star premier resort & water park in the Philippines, Jpark Island Resort & Waterpark Cebu, in partnership with Danny Villarante, Emi Ayag and Cary Santiago.

Let’s take a closer look at the exquisite bridal couture dresses showcased at the fashion show:

Anthony Romoff

Anthony Romoff

Arnu Poe Camay

Arnu Poe Camay

Cary Santiago

Cary Santiago

Cary Santiago

Cary Santiago

Dexter Alazas

Dexter Alazas

Dino Lloren

Dino Lloren

Edwin Alba

Edwin Alba

Edwin Ao

Edwin Ao

Edwin Ao

Hanz Coquilla

Hanz Coquilla

Harley Ruedas

Harley Ruedas

Jun Escario

Jun Escario

Marichu Tan

Marichu Tan

Mel Maria

Mel Maria

Mike Yapching

Mike Yapching

A tribute was made for Philip Rodriguez’ 40th year in the fashion industry

Philip Rodriguez

Philip Rodriguez

Philipp Tampus

Philipp Tampus

Protacio

Protacio

Rei Escario

Rei Escario

Ronald Enrico

Ronald Enrico

Valerie Alvez

Valerie Alvez

Wendell Quisido

Wendell Quisido

 

 

 

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Events

Inside Scoops at Cebu Art Week 2021

Post-Art Affair

By Emcee Go

On a rainy evening last Thursday, the first ever The Visayas Art Fair opened with fanfare, attended by art collectors, political personalities headed by Governor Gwen Garcia and Mayor Mike Rama, and big a crowd of Cebuanos.  The well attended 4-day event at the Montebello Hotel was an initiative of the Cebu Design Week (CDW) Inc., in collaboration with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, the Sacred Heart School for Boys Batch 1985 Foundation and the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation.

Ronald Ventura’s obra was the opening wall of the exhibit.

Celebrated artist Ronald Ventura at the Cuevas Retrospective.

A separate hall was created purposely to house art galleries from Cebu, Manila and Bacolod. Qube Gallery headlined with an impressive body of work by Cebuano artist Anton Quisumbing and Sio Montera.  Quisumbing, noted for his metallic sculpture of churches, showed his latest collection with flat renditions of his otherwise 3D works, a series of architecturally defined lines that evoke his many churches.  On one side of Qube was a booth with paintings done by UP Fine Arts students while on the other side stood a huge painting done by Bacolod-based Charlie Co, titled Lukbo (reportedly priced at 4M). Project Orange, the Bacolod based collective, was well represented, as well as from Manila, among them Metro Gallery where a Dino Gabito painting of a monotone drape was sold early on.  Brisk sales were done as art lovers mingled with a surge of curious crowd who were there mainly for their IG feeds.

A trio of masters (left to right): landscapes by Fernando Amorsolo, Martino Abellana and Romulo Galicano from a private collection

Across the hall beyond the main driveway, in the central lobby, quietly facing the food stall of Tinderbox and Chocolates, a display wall featuring a Fernando Amorsolo, Martino Abellana and Romulo Galicano stood unguarded behind a large canvas of Ronald Ventura. Collectively, these 4 painting would be the Mona Lisa of the exhibit.  The elusive Mr. Ventura famously sold an artwork titled “Party Animal” at Christie’s Live Auction in Hong Kong for a cool 120 million pesos recently.

Melo Esguerra, Laurie Boquiren, Qube Gallery’s Mariz Holopainen and Charlie Co against Charlie’s red clown painting.

Late in the afternoon, an open auction of art pieces was going on — with jaw dropping figures of several zeros casually being thrown around, including another Gabito canvas that allegedly banged for 2M. Looking at the auction list, one wag was prompted to comment — I don’t know any of these art collectors, all names with 2 or 3 letters!

Congressman Toff de Venecia, architect Buck Sia, Esperanza Garcia and Butch Carungay

Other activities were on hand. The finalists of Miss Cebu 2022 were presented during a fashion show that featured the locally woven hablon creations of Dexter Alazas.  Another fashion show by FIDA students got rained on and had to transfer indoors. Both were staged to perhaps attract the otherwise uninclined art audience, a laudable enough reason. Seen downing several goblets of celebratory Moët was CDW’s Butch Carungay, together with Congressman Toff de Venecia who was on hand to talk about his creative industry initiatives in Congress, and Isa Garcia, perhaps eyeing more artwork for her dad Winston Garcia’s old masters.

The last, and best attraction of the Cebu Art Fair, at least in the opinion of this magazine, was the impressive pavilion housing the Tito Cuevas retrospective.  The modernist Cebuano artist operated for many decades at his humble home near the Cebu Capitol. Cuevas passed away in 2012. This would be the first time his body of work is displayed, and the scope and breath of his genius is impressive, largely undiscovered except to his avid collectors. In this exhibit, 2 paintings of  self portrait was a fun and irreverent play of colors and multiple heads with different expressions, part of the artist collection now belonging to his family. The 36 x 36 canvases are currently priced at P990,000. A large part of the Cuevas exhibit is owned by art-lover Michael Dino and his wife Christine.  Dino has been buying the Cuevas for some time, and now his more than 20 artworks anchors this retrospective.  “This is his last work and remains unfinished”, Christine Dino explained when asked why the huge splash of orange and yellow canvas was in prominent position.

Noted art collector Michael Dino and wife Christine has been collecting Cuevas for a long time.

Michael Dino is in a unique position to pull off this feat.  As the Presidential Advisor in Cebu, he has at his disposal the many government agencies needed to help.  Add to that his genuine love of collecting art, and access to the city’s only estate hotel, Montebello. “It was a collective effort,” he answered when we congratulated him. “Have you seen the wall of our next project,” he further tells us.  This would be CICAD, the exciting new chapter of Michael Dino’s passion with art. But that would have to be another story.

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