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The Trouble with Some Filmmakers

In my work as a screenwriter, I have had the opportunity to meet with a few young Filipinos who are into advertising but are also interested in filmaking. And I find their passion and drive are just inspiring. They dream to create that film that will break boundaries for the Philippine Cinema. And I admire them for such brave vision.

But here is one fault that I have noticed with these young people I have talked to. They watch a handful of popular Filipino movies, and they think they know exactly what Philippine cinema is! With very limited knowledge, they even dare to describe Philippine cinema as predictable, dry and even brainless.

I was aghast to learn that they have not even bothered to watch the works of today’s brilliant filmmakers: Jeffrey Jetturian, Brillante Mendoza, Mes De Guzman, Aureus Solito, etc. Nor have they even bothered to buy the DVD copies of Ishamel Bernal, Mike De Leon, Mario O’ Hara and Lino Brocka’s classics.

Oh young men and women! Try to back to learn that Filipino filmmakers are not as dumb as you think they are!


“Coming Out”

One quiet evening by the low tide beach of La Union, a beautiful friend of mine, Mayi Fabros, shared an interesting speculation on people who have come out with their sexuality at a young age.

For her, people who are able to admit their queer sexuality publicly at an early age tend to be unafraid to make drastic decisions in their lives way into their adulthood. In her observation “Coming out” is a test of character and determines one’s capacity to make strong decisions in life.

Thinking about it, it could also work another way. Maybe only strong-willed people are able to come out. And “coming out” is probably not for everyone as a particular strength of character is necessary to be able to accomplish it given the harsh realities some people experience after they admit their sexuality.

Either way, “coming out” for me is a complex task that primarily requires two factors: self acceptance and wisdom. And a person’s strength must be founded on these to be able to come out.

Above is a photo of Mayi, which I took when we both went to La Union. Mayi is a civic worker fighting against poverty in the Philippines.

The Malate Addiction

About five years ago, I was addicted to the Malate (Manila), scene. I was in Malate partying at least 4 nights a week. I became friends with the bar owners that I frequently visited. I was friends with the parking boys who would always reserve a slot for me. And even if I never took alcohol and I never smoked, I tremendously enjoyed the night life then because of the spirit within this place.

Malate for me was a symbol of liberation. The place was a statement of free expression. It was diversity at its best: straight, gay, socialite, social climbers, achievers, artists, perverts, hustlers, hedonists and dreamers all come to this small place to enjoy a few hours of their lives.

But I no longer go to Malate. Not because I have stopped enjoying the place but mostly due to the fact that I no longer enjoy late night outs. Teaching yoga everyday has trained me to be asleep by 1am. And I have learned to respect my body’s rhythm.

But the spirit of Malate will always be alive in me for I shall forever embrace diversity and I shall live my life in the spirit of freedom.


Sad Stories

I have been receiving comments from people asking me to stop writing sad stories.

My first two screenplays were categorically sad, the first one “Ang Lalake sa Parola” (The Man in the Lighthouse) was bittersweet. The second one “Ang Lihim ni Antonio” (Antonio’s Secret) was outright tragic.

It makes me want to ask myself, am I a sad person? Do I see the glass half empty?

I think it takes a lot of courage to look pain in the eye.

To accept the fragility of our lives demands rationality and wisdom from us.

One must first accept the real state of his life and the world that he lives in before one can begin a true journey towards happiness.