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Four Values in

Filipino Drama and Film


By: Nicanor Tiongson
The Filipino Cinema
Nicanor Tiongson, Ph.D., is a well-known critic, writer and academic scholar.

He finished his undergraduate studies from Ateneo de Manila University


where he received a bachelors degree in Humanities. He later received his
Ph.D. in Philippine Studies from the University of the Philippines, Diliman.

Tiongson was a founding member of the Manunuri ng Wikang Pilipino. The


organization was primarily established to achieve its goal of recognizing,
appreciating and giving of awards to people behind the Philippine movies.

He became part of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, an institution that


nurtures Philippine identity through recognizing and appreciating Filipino
aesthetics and promoting positive cultural values.

He also became part of the Movie and Television Censorship and Review
Board or MTRCB.

Tiongson wrote and edited critiques, essays and books on Filipino and
Philippine literature, theater and culture. He was acclaimed by the Manila
Critics Circle and the National Book Development Board and was a finalist
for the National Book Awards in 2007.
Cinema has risen as one of the most popular means of mass
communication in contemporary Philippines. Movies theatres
before are the important commercials centers from Aparri to
Jollo. That time Nora Aunor has truly become national figure
and the Tagalog has risen to the status of a real national
language. No doubt those movie theatres are the most
important to those people before.

The Principal values encountered in most Filipino movies


today are the same negative values they have inherited from
the traditional dramas. Four of these values which we must
single out for their prevalence, perseverance and
perniciousness maybe encapsulated in the following
statements:
Maganda ang maputi White is beautiful
Masaya ang may palabas Shows are the best
Mabuti ang inaapi Hurrah for the undergo
Maganda pa ang daigdig All is right in the world
Symbols of Social Stratification in the
Philippines
Light coloring is correlated with intelligence
and a light-skinned attractive person will
receive advancement before his or her
colleagues.
Family position and patron-client associations
are useful in achieving success.
Money to buy consumer goods is an indicator
of power.
Owning a vehicle is a clear statement of a high
social level.
Women above the poverty level have
extensive wardrobes.
Sending one's children to the best schools is
the most important indicator of social
position.
Aesthetics
is a branch of philosophy dealing with the
nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the
creation and appreciation of beauty.
sometimes called judgments of sentiment and
taste.
defined as "critical reflection on art, culture
and nature.
studies new ways of seeing and of perceiving
the world.
White is Beautiful
During the Spanish times:
To be a prince or a princess in a komedya, one had to
look the part.
One had to have sharp nose, big eyes, small mouth,
and most of all, white skin.
He or she had to have magandang tindig, which is to be
tall like a man.

*Komedya dramas from awits and koridos involving


around the love of princes and princesses or the fight
between Christians and Moros during the Middle ages.
During the American regime:
Bodabil not only singled out Filipinos who can do imitations
but necessarily favored the Caucasian-looking either as the
closer imitations of the originals or as leading mans types,
above the ethnic-looking who, in spite of their superior
talent, were relegated to slapstick comedians and roles of
maids or minor friends.

Bodabil stage shows which showcased American songs and


dances
Examples Eddie Gutierrez, Joseph Estrada, Fernando Poe Jr.,
Amalia Fuentes, Gloria Romero, Elizabeth Oropesa, and Nida
Blanca with the exception for Nora Aunor.
Shows are the Best
Forms of Entertainment before:

Komedya delighted audiences for days on with batallas or fights between


individuals (both men and women) and in armies (Christian or Moro)
Sinakulo provided the masses with an entertainment of both laughter and
tears
Zarzuela was responsible for forming and crystallizing the taste of the
masses for musicals
Dramas entertained by squeezing the glands dry and making a river of ones
nose
Bodabil and stage show used a tool the song and dance of the zarzuela and
magnified these into a potpourri of chorus and further apprehended the
teary-eyed drama to supplement the titillation of song and dance with tears
Hurrah for the Undergo
In the Spanish times the two principal forms of literature and their dramatic
counterparts set up two types of heroes for the indios edification and emulation.
The pasyon and its dramatic counterpart, the sinakulo.
The awits and koridos and their dramatic counterparts, the komedya and the moro-
moro.

The pasyon and its dramatic counterpart, the sinakulo - had Christ as mabuting tao
whose main virtue seemed to be the lack of a backbone and whose acute anemia
of the will was more than compensated for by mafunctioning tear glands.
Koridos- tagalog adaptations of European metrical romances
The awits and koridos and their dramatic counterparts, the komedya and the moro-
moro extrolled princes who were dehado or ermitaynos, lepers and bilyanos who
turn out to be princes or kings or at least possessors or donors of the powerful
anting-antings that help out the dehado prince.
During the American regime, usually has for
heroines are, blushing rural maids, utusans,
labanderas, tinderas of sampaguita or kakanin
who are hounded by various relentless furies,
represented by adject poverty by rich donyas,
evil madastras, malicious mother-in-law, and
ugly but well dressed step-sisters.
*Example: dalagang bukid
All is Right in the World
In Spanish times, the colonial dramas always
ended with the affirmation that all evil are
punished and all good are rewarded.
In American times, the maudlin heroines and
shy heroes of the dramas and zarzuelas were
showered with happy endings usually in the
form of marriage to a rich mans son or
daughter and were besieged by teary
repentance of donyas, madrastas and sisters-
in-law.
1. Why do you think the cinemas has risen as one of the most popular and powerful means
of mass communication today?

Cinemas hold many special and fond memories for individuals. The medium invokes an
emotional connection through the visual and moving image and has entertained generations
for more then a hundred years now.

2. Why is Philippine aesthetics considered colonial?

Kayumanggi versus Maputi


Filipinos have always considered foreigners as beautiful wherein they regard fellow Filipinos as
ordinary. Since Light coloring is correlated with intelligence and a light-skinned attractive
person will receive advancement before his or her colleagues.

3. Do you agree that the principal values found in most Filipino movies today are negative?
4. Cite some of the standards of beauty in the Philippines.

White is beautiful.
During the Spanish times, to be a prince or a princess in a komedya, one had to look the part.
One had to have sharp nose, big eyes, small mouth, and most of all, white skin. He or she
had to have magandang tindig, which is to be tall like a man.
Bodabil not only singled out Filipinos who can do imitations but necessarily favored the
Caucasian-looking either as the closer imitations of the originals or as leading mans
types, above the ethnic-looking who, in spite of their superior talent, were relegated to
slapstick comedians and roles of maids or minor friends.

5. What kind of entertainment do most Filipinos find most enjoyable?

Komedya
Sinakulo
Zarzuela
Dramas
Bodabil
Stage Show
6. What is the concept of hero in Filipino motion pictures?

The concept of Mabuti ang Inaapi has always been the characteristic
of the hero in Filipino movies. During the American regime,
blushing rural maids, utusan, labandera, tinderas of
sampaguitas or kakanins who are hounded by various relentless
furies, represented by poverty by rich donyas, evil madastras,
malicious mother-in-laws, and ugly but well-dressed step-sisters.

7. Discuss some of the reasons why most Filipino movies have happy
endings?
To assure that all evil are punished and all good are rewarded.