watched CITIZEN JAKE last weekend march 10 at its world premiere in the UP film institute (formerly film center which we still fondly call it). it was a very strong piece of work and timely for this generation. mike de leon hasnt made a film in 18 years but clearly he hasnt lost his magic touch. the little touches of breaking the narrative with inserts of bts footage reminds you of bayaning third world.

atom araullo was awesome as the titular character and i was pleasantly surprised by max collins’s performance. luis alandy’s jonie was the ER we all wanted to have and even richard quan’s take on the henchman, enchong, was chilling i was afraid to approach him after the premiere coz he might pull out his gun on me. lol.

maybe i havent been clear but, yes, atom araullo is gorgeous on-screen and in person. probably not ok to drool on his coat but it’s hard to stop oneself. charot.

the film also brings in mike’s long-time collaborator, cesar hernando, the production designer for his previous movies, and who just retired from teaching at the up college of fine arts. he was our mentor and friend in university, he often brought us along to film festivals and continued to nurture our love and passion for filmmaking and we owe much to this awesome guy.

rounding out the stellar staff are colleagues from our FA organization, UP CINEMA AS ART MOVEMENT (UPCAM): editor tom estrera iii, who was chairman before me, and noel pascual our lib-sci member who eventually went to write for graphic novels like patay kung patay and now co-writer with mike de leon for citizen jake.

didnt have a photo but dix buhay is cinematographer i normally get to work with in commercials (and also dop for erik matti’s honor thy father and pepe diokno’s dinner for three) and martin mayuga, bianca balbuena’s little me, played line producer for mike de leon in this film.

art & design, filmmaking, laundry therapy, movies, musings

i cam i saw i cam


cesar hernando, production designer for most of mike de leon’s films (batch ’81, kisapmata), sent us invitations to revisit the college of fine arts at university of the philippines and celebrate our organization’s 16th year anniversary last saturday, 25th of october 2014. that org is CAM, Cinema as Art Movement. generally a group of film enthusiasts from fine arts who love to watch and dissect films, the org evolved to encouraging students to work on their own cinematic masterpieces and involving more to see cinema beyond entertainment. the broadness and loftiness of the concept that embodies the org’s name may lead to its own downfall but the org strived to meet each generation of members’ goals for the sake of cinema. and art. 16 years later and even 10 years since my batch has graduated, the argument on what the org really should be remain diverse; its implied goal elusive.

CAM’s pioneering members include esquire magazine’s editor-in-chief erwin romulo, photographers gary buenavista, richard de guzman, j lucas reyes, film cinematographer eli balce, and graphic artist tom estrera iii. some of the org’s advisers and supporters are cannes winner raymond red, cinematographers larry manda and dindo martinez, and independent filmmaker mes de guzman.


long ago its membership was exclusively fine arts students until the group, under my leadership in 2002, opened to accept students from other colleges in UP. we enjoyed a strong physical presence in the fine arts halls that year, aided by a healthy number of members, and even went as far as leveling up the org’s indie video film festival, inyorai, to become an intercollegiate event and saw entries coming in from ateneo, la salle, and PLM. towards the 2nd half of the year, we planned to hold workshops on various aspects of production with the hope that members and students would have the necessary know-how to produce their own works. a school year is too short and we were only able to hold 2 workshops and it was like starting from scratch the year after. such is life for a school organization.

photo of past and present chairheads of CAM

that saturday we did find ourselves again in the hallowed halls of hogwarths, communing with ghosts from the past and stray cats of the present. i was late coming into the program so i had no idea what was being discussed earlier. i had to introduce myself to the kids.


so it is with a reassured heart that we leave an impression with the young ones to continue what he had hoped to accomplish back in the day. however, i do fear (i believe) the key to success for this so-called movement lies with the alumni. and maybe even outsiders who can pursue that grand idea and move the call forward. this movement can no longer be contained in a college organization whose lifespan is limited to periods the length of a school semester before restarting its programs or do an overhaul with every new enrollment of students. maybe it’s time we pick up the camera again, this time armed with real world know-how and connections beyond the world of the academe.


class picture! i love you new cam members but i dont know all your names. on the front row are alumni from left: jopay cuntapay, peta stage writer and actress anj herjuela, tv commercial director mike talampas, esquire editor-in-chief erwin romulo, prof cesar hernando, myself, bates ad agency acd jhem manalang, prof ruben de jesus, comic book illustrator aj bernardo, graphic artist tom estrera iii, gma agency hotshot jimi diga, comic book writer and editor noel pascual, and chorva.

*special thanks to anj for sharing the last three photos in this article. for more information on Cinema as Art Movement, check out the group’s facebook page.

art & design, filmmaking, food trip, laundry therapy, movies, musings

i was once a filmmaker

before all these pd work on tv commercials, before regal films and centerstage, revolver and abracadabra, before doing design for brillante mendoza and jerrold tarog and chito rono and tikoy aguiluz, before getting the urian and a ycc, before graduating and all the bills, i was once a filmmaker. i wouldnt go as far as say i was great, but i was a friggin filmmaker.

and i got reminded of that by eating my instant pancit canton.

and watching the trailer of amorres perros.

in high school and college i got interested in a lot of movies. i read about some highly-praised films that i would never get my hands on. being in the province with no access to obscure movies and art house films, plus technology would not be pirate friendly for another 10 years, i was cinema-starved.

in 2000 i transferred to the college of fine arts and met kindred spirits who were also hungry for good movies. we fed on films by fincher, lynch, inarritu, mike de leon, lav diaz, tornatorre and of course on lucky me pancit canton and red horse beer. after a few years, pirated dvds and players started popping up in quiapo and it was the motherload. we continued feeding on more world cinema along with our unsatiated appetite for pancit canton and moud halal’s roasted chicken and kabsa rice.

back then we dreamed of films, ate films, breathed films. ive been lucky to have shot, produced and directed a few short films. we were living the dream, quite frankly.

before i graduated, my choices of meals were cheap or cheaper. when i started working (with then PD dante mendoza), i could afford to watch more movies on the wide screen and eat in a variety of restaurants. more when i started to do my own PD work in tv commercials and films. now it was a choice of whether we’d eat japanese, italian, pinoy or whatnot, no matter the price.

today i stayed home and waited for the rain. by the time the roofs started their staccato beat, i got hungry and cooked a batch of pancit canton. who’d have thought this bowl got me reminiscing and find enlightenment?

before all these pd work on tv commercials, before regal films and centerstage, revolver and abracadabra, before doing design for brillante mendoza and jerrold tarog and chito rono and tikoy aguiluz, before getting the urian and a ycc, before graduating and all the bills, i was once a filmmaker. i wouldnt go as far as say i was great, but i was a friggin filmmaker.

and i got reminded of that by eating my instant pancit canton.  and now maybe it’s time to go back and make my own films.


remember remember the 5th of november

1. Student number?
1995-41759 hahaha

2. College?
Fine Arts.

3. Course?
BFA Visual Communication.

4. Nag-shift ka ba o na-kickout?
shift. originally enrolled at the college of home economics (what?) before shifting to architecture before shifting and finishing in fine arts.

5. Saan ka kumuha ng UPCAT?
mindanao polytechnic state university, formerly dmpsc, in mindanao. took the test with about 70% of my classmates. only 3 eventually enrolled in UP, and me being the only one in the diliman campus.

6. Favorite GE subject?
hmm. that science course with prof ranjit rye or something. i dont remember the course, i remember his manner of lecturing. i thought he was pretty good

7. Favorite PE?
1st PE, skin diving. for the finals we headed to batangas to swim in the ocean. coolness

photo_Dicey Situation.jpg

8. Saan ka nag-aabang ng hot girls/guys sa UP?
never did. but i stayed behind the bulletin boards in the FC watching feet and shoes go by.

9. Favorite prof(s)
ARCH del castillo and Dean honny fernandez. FA hernando and eli. GE ranjit rye.

10. Pinaka-ayaw na GE subject.
math1. math11 1st take. math11 2nd take. math14 1st take. math 14 2nd take. math 14 3rd take. math531st take. math 53 2nd take. math53 3rd take. math 53lab 1st take. physics71 1st take. physics71 2nd take.

11. Kumuha ka ba ng Wed or Sat classes?
sometimes. wa choice

12. Nakapag-field trip ka ba?
yup.PI100 field trip to montalban and the smokey mountain

13. Naging CS ka na ba or US sa UP?
haha yes. CS and US

14. Ano ang Org/Frat/Soro mo?
upcam, upcym, cmsm, kagay-haan, rotc chorale, soul singers.


15. Saan ka tumatambay palagi?
CRL upcym. and FA

16. Dorm, Boarding house, o Bahay?
Bahay was a 5-10 minute ride away

17. Kung walang UPCAT test at malaya kang nakapili ng kurso mo sa UP, ano yun (Given ang mentality mo nung HS ka)?
architecture pa rin siguro

18. Sino ang pinaka-una mong nakilala sa UP?
marianne sy-quimsiam CHE. faisal alih ARCH. von layugan CFA

19. First play na napanood mo sa UP?
gawd, i dunno, sakurahime i guess

20. Name the 5 most conyo orgs in UP
AIESEC. that archi org on the 4th floor. UPIC. dont know any other or dont remember anymore

21. Name 5 of the coolest orgs/frats/soro in UP.

22. May frat/soro bang nag-recruit sa yo?

23. Saan ka madalas mag-lunch?
RODICS. baroque’s. Khas Food stop sa may swimming pool. CASAA. isaw and fishball

24. Masaya ba sa UP?
nirvana itetch

photo_Tired 3.jpg

25. Nakasama ka na ba sa rally?
unfortunately no. i envied gemini’s story of her close encounter with the fireman’s hose (literally i mean)

26. Ilang beses ka bumoto sa Student Council
i did my best/ but i guess my best wasnt good enough/

27. Name at least 5 leftist groups in UP
umm… University Council. LFS. anak bayan (meron ba sa UP?). la liga filipina (panahon pa to ni luna at rizal ah). up babaylan (ya right)

28. Pinangarap mo rin bang mag-laude nung freshman ka?
of course. the nearest i got to losing that was a 5.0 grade in math 11. and the nearest i got to getting a nod was a US (univ scholar) in fine arts. astig !

29. Kanino ka pinaka-patay sa UP?
wala naman. i didnt have to-die-for crushes haha

30. Kung di ka UP, anong school ka?
xavier university cagayan de oro. or cagayan de oro college (formerly COC, now CU) because it was the only school in cdo offering architecture back in 1995. i could have gone to cebu but that wasnt exactly the plan then. shet what could have happened if my lolo didnt drag me on the negros navigation to manila? hmmm..