Category: gender

ishmael bernal would have loved jun lana’s Die Beautiful

thanks to cinema one i finally got to watch Die Beautiful (2016) and i must say it deserves all the awards and rave reviews.  buong buo ang loob ng pelikula — walang takot, walang hiya, walang patawad — kudos to director jun lana who also wrote the script with rody vera.  a very complex story told in zigzagging flashbacks, no particular order, framed only by a week’s wake that sees trisha in death transforming nightly into a favorite persona, last run kumbaga.  and, yes, brimming with stereotypical stuff, but mere nods to, not lingering, much less wallowing in the cutting slices of macho oppression.  rather, sashaying on, bravely, and beautifully.

perfect casting, too.  paolo ballesteros more than carries off the transgender trisha role, s/he runs with it (as does christian bables aka best friend barbs)!  it helps of course that we know ballesteros as the eat bulaga co-host who transforms himself and impersonates iconic beauties a la drag queens of the sixties (her julia roberts is awesome).  even better, he is a seriously good actor pala and his trisha is both funny and sad, and very much her own person on that rocky road to transformation.  that his man-size makes her a big woman works in her favor, making trisha larger than life, and difficult to ignore and forget.

i love how trisha and barbs address each other “bakla,” fondly, lovingly, embracing and transforming what was once meant (by the macho world) to hurt and put-down into a term of endearment, warm, soothing, malambing.  way to level-up, mga bakla, mabuhay kayo!

i’m reminded, of course, of national artist ishmael bernal’s (1938-1996) dream films, one on juan luna’s crime of passion and brother antonio the general, one on emilio aguinaldo and felipe buencamino, and the one closest to her heart, on filipino homosexuality.

but of course ishma and writer jorge arago (1943-2011) were off on a totally different take in a super wayward world.  bernal was thinking a series of gags a la Working Girls 2, but outstripping it.

JORGE.  We talked as much about the gay film as about the Luna project and it is difficult to say which one had faced bigger impediments. In the case of the gay film, one interior battle had created an inescapable contradiction. It was going to be truly gay, Bernal knew, an unending string of hilarious “misadventures” in which all gay roles – and there was nothing else to be sure – were to be played by non-gay actors, none of whom was to behave like the stereotyped sissy that Philippine machismo was constantly wishing away and factoring in. [“ISHMAEL BERNAL Last Full Show.” Manila Out. 1999 July.]

imagine if you will.  the “inescapable contradiction.”  

heartthrobs piolo & sam vs. lolit solis

interesting the 12-million peso libel suit that piolo pascual and sam milby filed against lolit solis and her tabloid editor for intimating that they’re gay – said to be the first ever in the history of jurisprudence in the philippines and in the world.

usually kasi, true or not true, guys just shrug it off, hindi na lang pinapatulan, why fuel speculation, such as the biggest buzz of all: that it’s a publicity stunt to get them on the front pages and gossip columns in aid of promoting piolo’s coming concert and sam’s coming album.

sey ng isang gay friend ko in media: take note, for a 12-million peso libel suit, the filing fee is 10 percent, that’s 1.2 million bucks, only 600 kyaw each, which isn’t much, as promotional expenses go, peanuts kumbaga, lalo na for the kapamilya network, IF they’re involved. and, given lolit solis’ (har)batting record, even she could be in on it, har har.

makes sense to me. twould explain the timing, why now lang, e dati na namang tinitira-tira ng bading press si piolo, who has been linked to more guys than gals, or so it seems to me.

besides, it’s not as if the gay rumor has harmed piolo’s career, or sam’s, in any way. if we are to go by their many solo product endorsements and their series of hugely successful “heartthrob” concerts here and abroad, the two hunks have happily been making capital of it and raking in the big bucks. they’re bankable, gay or not, lolit or not.

i think piolo’s the most beautiful hunk alive. i don’t think he’s gay but he could be – interesting ang chemistry nila ni sam on cam and i don’t mind in the least.

neither do my gay friends. says one: i hope they’re gay! they’re such cuties. we need cute icons in gayland. puro manicurista at peroxide queens ang nag-leader of the pack! adds another: agree! enough of boy abunda. ngek. icon ba ‘yon?

of med schools & sluts

O.A. na talaga the howl over the desperate housewife’s dig at diplomas of philippine med schools. besides the class action suit to be filed by filipino doctors in the u.s. against producers abc/walt disney, a second lawsuit is being planned daw with philippine-based lawyers representing the medical schools. “there was blatant defamation, not only against filipino doctors but also against philippine medical schools,” sey ni california-based ted laguatan to inquirer yesterday.

naku, ha. sana pag-isip-isipan muna nila. baka in the end, mapahiya lang tayo lalo. sey ni former doh secretary dr. alberto “quasi” romualdez jr. in his malaya column:

“The unfortunate fact is that the line had some basis in the true situation of Philippine medical education today. Since the early 90s, when a misguided secretary of education deregulated medical schools in the belief that market forces would determine the quality and quantity of the physician education in this country, medical schools have proliferated in this country – from the original seven in the 80s to more than 40 today.

“The results are reflected in the dismal passing rates of most new schools in the medical board examinations. Appropriately trained teachers in both basic and clinical sciences are now in short supply. In addition, clinical training facilities in the form of academically oriented tertiary medical hospitals are sorely lacking.

“Moreover, as a consequence of poor quality pre-medical education in the country, the number of qualified applicants to medical schools has dropped down considerably. For this reason, most of the new schools have directed their marketing efforts to attracting overseas students who have problems getting into medical schools in their home countries.

“In the past, this need for placement in foreign medical schools was filled by institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. Today much of that need is served by the excess medical colleges in the Philippines. This is why TV jokes now refer to ‘Philippine med schools’ instead of Caribbean or Latin American.”

as for the ‘slut’ swipe, i actually caught that jon stewart segment asking if america was ready for a woman president, cut to other countries’ women presidents, and i was expecting to see gloria dissed, not cory, so natawa ako, si cory pa, at slut daw, haha, she and her other daughters don’t even know the meaning of the word, sey ni inkredibol kris.

but check out dean jorge bocobo’s aren’t all filipinas sluts anyway? where he takes to task inquirer‘s “quintessential writer on philippine women’s issues” rina jimenez david for making light of a slur rooted in “the old stereotype brought home by American servicemen who had the best sex they ever had in places like Clark and Subic that all Filipinas are sluts, wonderful sluts!”

oo nga. ayaw ni nicole ng ganyan.

Hiding under the bed

Isyu 20 Nov 1995

Palakpakan, aprub na aprub, ang maraming kaibigan sa media at iba pang tagahanga ng yumaong si Louie Beltran when the Court of Appeals ruled in his favor, overturning the 1992 Regional Trial Court decision that found him guilty of libel. They agree, one and all, with Justice Jose de la Rama that Beltran’s statement to the effect that President Cory Aquino “hid under her bed” at the height of the August 1987 RAM coup attempt was a “fair comment of a public event and was made without malice.” Making matters even happier, President Cory has decided to take no further action on the case. It would seem that Beltran has been vindicated and media can now live happily ever after.

All’s well that ends well? I’m not sure. Ang totoo, I don’t quite agree that Beltran’s statement was “fair comment of a public event” or that it was made “without malice.” Say niya, if you will recall, during that August 28 coup try, “the President hid under her bed while the firing wasgoing on—perhaps the first Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to have to do so.” He wrote it for his October 12 column (Straight from the Shoulder, Philippine Star) more than a month and a half later. I remember taking him literally. I thought he was stating an objective fact, that he had newly discovered this facet of Cory’s behavior during the crisis – nothing in the statement suggested to me that he was just kidding. That’s fair? Besides, which “public event” was the statement a “fair comment” on? Sure, the coup attempt was a public event and open to comment, but Cory hiding under her bed was not, couldn’t have been, since it didn’t happen.

Too bad Cory and her advisers aren’t into the gender issue. Sa akin, Beltran’s statement smacks of male malice or chauvinism. I ask you. If it hadn’t been Cory in Malacañang when RAM struck, if it had been Laurel or Enrile or Tolentino, would Beltran even have thought of making such a statement? Of course not. Not unless it was true.