My Journeys

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ginang Milyonarya

     Ginang Milyonarya was a TV show that was popular among Filipino televiewers during the 1970s and it was shown on channel which was then known as BBC or Banahaw Broadcasting System. The lead role of a female philanthropist was played by the late Chichay and his chauffeur cum errand boy was played first by Rudy Manlapaz then by Yoyong Martirez. In every episode, Ginang Milyonarya would discretely help those who are in need. The TV show is worth watching since it imbibes among the viewers, particularly the children, the value of helping the less fortunate and sharing with them one's fortune.

Kuwentong Kutsero

     The TV sitcom Kuwentong Kutsero was a big hit among prime time audience during the mid 1970s. The show was actually a satire of the events that take place every day in Philippine society. Not only does it make fun of the foibles of regular Filipino citizens but also members of the Philippine government. Almost each member Philippine society is represented by the characters in this TV sitcom which opens with the horse talking and setting the tone for the evening's episode. Some of the characters I  remember are the lawyer  Attorney Diskurso, the scholar Mr Luningning, and the Chinese shop owner Akong Santosi. The showing of the sitcom was momentarily stopped after one of its stars, comedian Casmot, died in a car accident. He was later replaced by Ruben Rustia who made it appear that Casmot's character survived the accident and underwent reconstructive surgery.
    The other stars of the show were Matimtiman Cruz, Luz Valdez, Rolly Papasin, Subas Herrero, Nena Perez, Rubio, Manny Castaneda, and he late Ric Tierro.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Good-bye Tatay

Last August 10, 2015, Tatay Ben passed away due to complications brought about by the surgery done to seal the hole in his small intestines. His passing away broke the heart of my wife who blamed herself for bringing Tatay to the province to have a short vacation. For my wife, Tatay might have lived a bit longer had she not brought him to the province. I do not blame my brother-in-law or my sister-in-law since both of them did an excellent job of taking care of Tatay. Neither do I blame the doctors at the Batangas Medical Center where Tatay was confined and operated on. They did an excellent job of relieving Tatay of his stomach pain.

In as much as I do not want to, I blame Tatay for what happened to him. Perforated ulcer is caused by taking non steroidal pain killers like Naproxen. When Tatay was still with us, I advised him to take the med only when he feels pain in his joints. With regard to the antiobiotic which he took daily, I advised him that it is bad for one's health. But no matter how hard we try to explain, he always says he is right since he knows what his body needs and what it does not need. He would often go into a fit whenever we try to dissuade him from taking strong medicines.

Do I miss him? In spite of the arguments that we had had since 2003, the house feels empty without him in it. He is much a part of our home like the pieces of furniture that we have there. I hope in his passing away, he would find the release from his pain that he had always longed for.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

How Do You Solve a Problem Like My Author

     I'm glad Miss Sofie, Paeng, and Kuya Rex asked me to attend their meeting about my author Mrs. Riego. They could not figure out why Miss Riego feels frustrated with me and suddenly doesn't want to communicate with me. I explained to them I too could not understand what's wrong with her. As far as Production procedures are concerned, I followed them to the letter. At the onset when Miss Riego complained about the softcopy being different from the book they used in her school, I explained to them that all incoming MS undergo evaluation and editing and it's up to the author to approve or disapprove of the edits. I have the feeling that Miss Riego wants to take charge of the production of her book which of course we will not allow her to do. For example, I was bewildered when she asked for the hardcopy with her corrections on it. According to her, she will use it as a basis to decide which of the items to delete for her MS to meet the allowed number of pages. The more I was surprised when she told me that not all of her corrections were entered in the soft copy. I told her that it was our job to see to it that all corrections were implemented. Had she listened to me, she would not have felt frustrated after seeing the corrected soft copy. Same thing happened when she was surprised to learn that Write This Way Nursery is already being illustrated. She wanted to see first the proofs. I had to tell her that she would the proofs later on. It's good the three decided that they would explain to Miss riego again the limits of her responsibilities as an author.
     I'm glad that Miss Sofie brought up Miss Riego's never ending complaints about Mayan's editing of her grade 1 book, the softcopy of which is very far from the original. I explained to her that Miss Mayan based her edits on the K to 12 curriculum which Miss Riego believes  limits the capabilities of the learners. I'm glad the three agreed with me when I said that if there's anything Miss Riego is frustrated about, it's my continuous reminding her to submit the MS on time as we too are being pressured by management.
     Miss Sofie mentioned that Miss Riego more often than not tends to be demanding especially when it comes to money. It's ok for her to have co-writers but not co-authors. This means that she intends to keep the royalty for herself. I recalled that time when she asked it it's ok for Production to use her illustrations. She expects to be paid of course at least at a discounted rate. Kuya Rex told me that the problem is I give her false hopes about her expectations for her book . I explained that there are things I left to management to decide.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Visit to Corregidor

     Last year, I joined my wife and her staff in their outing to the island fortress named Corregidor. I have always wanted to visit this island again especially after hearing from a former colleague that Malinta Tunnel which served as General Douglas MacArthur's headquarters during World War 2 was opened to the public. The last time I was in Corregidor was when I was about 7 or eight years old.

     We arrived at the dock which was located at the back of the Folk Arts Theater in Manila at around 7:00 in the morning. The catarman which was a sea craft that had banca shaped structures on both sides was our ride in going to Corregidor. When I was first went to Corregidor with my folks during the 1970s, we rode on a Philippine Navy ship. I couldn't recall what type of naval war craft that was. Also during that time, tours to the island of Corregidor were handled by the Philippine Navy. The tours to the island are now handled by a tour agency.

     The trip to the island from Manila took about 2 hours. The sky was quite overcast during that day and the waves were somewhat rough. It was my first time to ride a boat again after several years. I noticed that some of our lady companions were getting seasick. This is why the crew were passing around paper sacks for passengers to throw up in.

     After 2 hours, I finally saw the mountains of the island fortress looming in the distance. After getting off the boat, we got into vehicles which were in the shape of the tranvia which was a car that moved on tracks. You can still see these cars still being used as a mode of transportation in the San Francisco Bay area in the United States. As the tranvia we were in started to move, we were greeted by our dynamic tour guide named Rowena. As our tranvia rolled on, Rowena started talking about the history of the island. The first structures  that we pass by were the ruins of the hospital. It kind of felt eerie as I looked as the remains of the hospital. I could not help imagine how many people died there as the surging Japanese forces bombarded the island from the air and from Bataan.

    According to our guide, the name of the island comes from the Spanish word "corregidor" which translates to "corrector" in English. During the Spanish period, ships entering Manila Bay have to stop by the island to have their papers checked. The conquering American forces fortified the island with cannons and mortars after defeating the Spanish navy in the Battle of Manila Bay in the 1800s. Rowena explained further that Corregidor is under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Cavite. Rowena also mentioned that the island of Corregidor was also in the shape of a tadpole and divided into four parts namely topside, middleside, bottomside and tailside. 

     Our first stop was was Battery Way where you can find huge short cannons called mortars. These were used to bombard the invading Japanese forces on the Bataan Peninsula.
     From Battery way, our group proceeded to the Mile Long Barracks. These long row of buildings used to be home to American officers, servicemen, and their families. We also got to see the huge parade ground as well as the ruins of the buildings which according to our vibrant tour guide included a cinema.

     We took pictures and began walking toward the monument called the Pacific War Memorial which was erected in memory of those who perished in the war. The memorial housed a sculpture called the Eternal flame. Our tour guide explained that once during the month of May, the beam of sunlight fell directly on the circle at the bottom of the structure. From there we proceeded to the museum where I got to see relics such as bombs, shells, uniforms, weapons, and other military equipment.

     We got on the bus again and drop by the hotel for a sumptuous lunch. After having our fill of the wonderful food, we got back on the bus and proceeded to where to old Spanish lighthouse was located. It was a difficult to get to the top of the lighthouse since the stairs were built in a spiralling and steep manner. From there, our tour guide took us to see Battery Crockett in which one finds one of the disappearing cannons. They were called such because their muzzles retracted after firing a round. While on Battery Geary, our tour guide pointed to us three small islands near Corregidor. These were Caballo Island, Monja Island which was actually seamount, and El Fraile Island.

     After leaving Battery Geary, our tour group proceeded to Malinta Tunnel. I was excited because this is one reason why I wanted to revisit the island in the first place. After paying extra cash, we followed our tour guide inside the tunnel where we were treated to a light and sound show of the history of the island. After the light and sound was over, we continued walking until we reached the other end of the tunnel. Was that tunnel really long!

     Our last stops were the monument dedicated to the Filipino woman and the Japanese Garden of Peace where the remains of Japanese soldiers were buried by the conquering American forces. What is touching about the story behind this place is the Americans took the time to give their dead enemies a decent burial. This place was rediscovered by a visiting American veteran during the 1950s. The Japanese government was informed and they were only too happy to bring their dead home to their real resting place.

      Since we paid for an overnight stay, our group decided to join a tour of the ruins of the first hospital as well as the ghost hunting activity inside the Malinta Tunnel. I'll tell you you all about it in my next blog.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Dolphy Movies I Remember

     If there's one word to describe all the movies the late Dolphy made, it's RIBTICKLING. While watching his movies, one would find difficulty  controlling his or her laughter which happens spontaneously. Thanks to directors like Ben Feleo and Ading Fernando, Dolphy made movies that allowed locally produced films to be at par with foreign movies during the so called "Golden Days" of Philippine cinema. Here are some of those movies:
     El Pinoy Matador. Dolphy plays the role of a Filpino guy in Spain who was forced to become a matador just to prove his love for a girl named Sylvia  played by Pilar Pilapil who happened to be the daughter of a rich Spanish guy played by the late Panchito. One unforgettable scene in the movie showed Dolphy running away from the bull. Panchito then threatens Dolphy to finish the job the pointing a sword at him.
     An unforgettable song in the movie goes, " O sa Tundo maraming dalaga, nguni't ang nasa aking puso ay si Sylvia." 
     Buhay Marino. In this movie, Dolphy plays the role of sailor enlisted in the Philippine navy and his superior officer was played by the Panchito.  This is one of the movies wherein Dolphy is always bullied around by Panchito. One funny scene in the movie shows Dolphy being refused a pass by Panchito. Instead, he orders to Dolphy to paint a docked naval vessel. An hour later, Dolphy goes back to Panchito to tell him that he's through painting the ship. The surprised Panchito is shocked to see that the ship had been painted with a polka dot pattern.
     Buhay Pulis. One unforgettable scene in this movie shows Dolphy preparing the requirements that he needs to submit for his application as a police trainee. In that scene, he asks his sister played by Pinky de Leon to fill up a vial with her urine. Pinky then sees their pregnant neighbor played by Lorlie Villanueva and asks her instead to fill the vial with her own  urine. Pinky then hands the vial to Dolphy as he rushes out of the house to go to the police recruitment center. The following day, when Dolphy claims the result of his medical test, he is suprised to hear the clerk say "Binabati ko po kayo!" When Dolphy asks why, the clerk says, "Nagdadalantao po kayo!"
     John and Marsha sa Amerika. Watching this movie made me laugh to no end. Here John played by Dolphy and Marsha played by the late Nida Blanca win in a game show a consolation prize which is an an all expense paid trip to America. There are numerous funny scenes that will never make one tire of watching the movie again and again. One scene shows Dolphy dressing for the trip in his long sleeves and asks his son Rolly played by Rolly Quizon to bring out the cufflinks. Rolly then produces a stapler and staples the sleeves of Dolphy's shirt. During the farewell, Dolphy utters an unforgettable line, "Nalulungkot ako kasi matagal ko kayo hindi makikita (Referring to his daughter Shirley played by Maricel Soriano)". After a pause, he suddenly blurts out, "Gayunpaman, masaya din ako!" to which the family replies with " Aba'y bakit?!!!". Dolphy points at his mother in law and tells her "Kasi, dalwang buwan ko kayo hindi makikita hehehe!" Dona Delilah played by the late Dely Atay-Atayan angrily replies with her famous line " Hudas! Hestas! Barabbas!"
     One scene in the airplane always made me fall of my seat while watching it. Dolphy goes to the restroom to do this thing. Unknown to him, there was already a signal for everyone to put on his seatbelt. As the plane dives, Dolphy is thrown out of the restroom with his pants down. At the airport, Dolphy gets separated from the group and waits for them at the Lost and Found section.
       Another funny scene in the movie shows the jealous Marsha chopping the middle of a long hot dog sandwich which Dolphy and the female African American guide plan to eat by having each other start from opposite ends of the sandwich and continue chomping until they meet in the middle.
       The scene at the safari was also memorable. Seeing a herd of elephants to cross their path, John tells Marsha, "Aba Marsha! Sumunod pala ang mga Mama e!" to which Marsha replies with "Saan?". Dolphy says "Ayun o!" while pointing to a herd of elephants.
     Pacifika Falayfayfay. In this movie, Dolphy plays the role of a gay. At the beginning of the movie, the audience witnesses how Dely Atay-Atayan who plays the role of Dolphy's mother dresses up her son in girl clothes brought about by her frustration over wanting to have a daughter.
     John and Marsha sa Probinsya. In this movie, John goes home to the province to visit his sick mother. The opening scene of this movie was totally hilarious as it shows the "papag" Dolphy was sleeping on during a heavy flood float away into the river. A dog gets on the bamboo bed and even urinates on the still sleeping Dolphy. A fish accidentaly gets inside Dolphy's shorts and the hungry dog ends up biting the manhood of poor Dolphy.
     Another funny scene in the province takes place when Dolphy takes over his family's barber shop. A young guy walks in and tells Dolphy to cut his hair in the style popular in the city called "Syete" (seven). Dolphy thinks for a moment and starts cutting. To the man's surprise, he tells Dolphy, "Di ba Mang John sabi ko syete?" Dolphy says, "O ayan syete (with the number 7 cut on one temple), syete (The number 7 cut at the back of one's head), syete (The number 7 cut on the other temple), otso (The number 8 cut on the man's head).
     Kalabog en Bosyo. Now this is another funny Dolphy I'd love to watch all over again. One funny scene in this movie shows Dolphy and Panchito preparing a concoction using boiled eggs. While crushing the eggs, Bosyo played by Panchito accidentaly throws some crushed eggs on Kalabog's (played by Dolphy) shirt. Kalabog then gets Bosyo's eyeglasses, dips them into the concoction, and puts them back on Bosyo's face. Bosyo retorts by getting a handful of the concoction and wipes them all over Kalabog's face. For his part, Kalabog gets back at Bosyo by filling up his shirt with the egg mixture.

     These are just some of the many Dolphy movies I'd love to see all over again. I hope Channel 2 or 7 would come up with a show featuring all these movies.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Quiapo Fiesta Then

     The feast of the Black Nazarene is one of the events that I always looked forward to during my younger days. One of the events that always kept us excited was the grand parade which featured more than 60 brass bands along with different lanterns carried at the head of each band. Being a guy, I was excited about seeing beautiful majorettes in their uniforms who displayed those long thighs and legs as they marched twirling their batons.

     Because our lolo's grocery was doing fine during those days, my family would hire a band coming from Pakil in Laguna. During the night, the band would hold a mini concert in front of our lola's house in Concepcion Aguila St. in the Quiapo district. After the concert, we would be tucked in bed and prepare to attend the mass the following morning.

     Mama would wake us up at around 4:00 in the morning and have us take a bath before dressing us up for the mass. Then off we would march to Plaza Miranda where masses are held one after the other. After attending the mass, we would return to our lola's house and have a sumptuous breakfast of different Filipino dishes. I forgot to mention that on the eve of the Quiapo Fiesta, the kitchen of my lola's house was a beehive of activity. Aunts and cousins would be seen busy cooking food for the guests who would drop by and share  with us the joys of the annual feast.

     At around 9:00 in the morning, we would hear the sound of the approaching bands. We would rush out and line up the streets as we watched the bands pass by one after the other. The parade would last for about one or two hours. Compared to the past years, there are only a handful of bands that participate in the recent celebrations of the Quiapo fiesta.

     In the afternoon, there would be the procession of the Black Nazarene. Because I was too young to help in the distribution of food and drinks to the devotees, I would watch the procession go by from the window in the second floor of my lola's house.

    Come evening, there would still be much eating and drinking. We would all go home at around 11:00 in the evening.