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Praised by the Mentor

In the Philippine film industry, there is one screenwriter whom I have always looked up to, his name is Armando “Bing” Lao.

I have always admired the sophistication of his narrative technique as a screenwriter in his films (Pila Balde, Tuhog and Sana Pag-Ibig na). His screenplays were rich like a novel. At the beginning of this century, he helped re-define Philippine cinema with his real time approach as he mentored the screenplays of “Foster Child”, “Tribu”, “Kubrador” and the Cannes Film Festival Entry “Serbis”. For me, Bing Lao, is the new creative force in Philippine Cinema.

Whenever I talk to him, I do not dare mention any of my screenplays and works. But last Friday (June 6), in my conversation with him in Tree House grill in Quezon City, he managed to mention watchin “Ang Lihim ni Antonio”. And he just said “Nagustuhan ko siya ha! Totoong totoo ang kuwento. Tapos kitang kita mo ang mga narrative objects. Kahit si Dante (director Brillante Mendoza) nagustuhan siya” (I liked it. The story is genuine. You could read the narrative objects in the film. Even Dante (director Brillante Mendoza) liked it)

And I almost fell off my seat. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was able to write something that was appreciated by Bing Lao and the great filmmaker Brillante Mendoza (also, one of my most admired).

And it certainly made my week.

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Harry Laurel

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He walked inside the audition room nervous and without any pretensions.

As the writer of the film project “Ang Lalake sa Parola/ The Man in the Lighthouse”, I was not able to see the star in him quickly. He seemed to be your ordinary bikini contestant. 

But when he started reading the lines as Mateo, our lead character, Harry Laurel’s authentic provincial accent and the genuine pain in his voice darted across the room. And we knew, Harry Laurel is “Ang Lalake sa Parola/ The Man in the Lighthouse”