If you are a movie fan, it would be easy to identify the origins of these phrases: Go ahead, make my day [Clint Eastwood, Sudden Impact]; I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her [Julia Roberts, Notting Hill]; Houston, we have a problem [Tom Hanks, Apollo 13]; I’ll be back [Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Terminator]; I see dead people [Sixth Sense]; and the list goes on and on. But what about lines from the Filipino movies? Here are some of the most popular ones (note: apologies for not having an English translation. The emotions and wittiness are sometimes lost in the translation):
Walang himala! Ang himala ay nasa puso ng tao! Nasa puso nating lahat! [Nora Aunor, Himala]. The film centers around a young visionary who has caused a stir in an isolated village, challenging people’s attitude towards their religious faith. Directed by Ishmael Bernal with story by Ricardo Lee based on a true story, Himala is considered as one of the best acting feats of Nora Aunor. Premiered in 1982, it went on to win numerous film awards, i.e. CNN Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Bronze Hugo prize at the 1983 Chicago International Film Festival. It was also exhibited in international film festivals, i.e. Berlin International Film Festival (the first Filipino film to be included in the Competition Section)
You’re nothing but a second-rate, trying hard copycat. [Cherie Gil, Bituing Walang Ningning]. This is the story of a die hard fan rising to fame and becoming the most formidable rival of the star singer. Released in 1985 and directed by Emmanuel H. Borlaza, it starred Sharon Cuneta, Christopher de Leon, Jay Ilagan, Cherie Gil, Tommy Abuel, Chanda Robero and Joel Torre. It was a blockbuster hit and this quoted line uttered by Cherie Gil as the star Lavinia Arguelles, to Sharon Cuneta as the fan Dorina Pineda, was the ultimate catfight scene, splattered wine and all.
Ding... ang bato! [Darna]. Who doesn’t know about the Filipino comics superheroine by writer Mars Ravelo and artist Nestor Redondo? Created in 1947, Narda, a young girl transforms into Darna, and vice versa by shouting out their respective names, and by swallowing a white stone, from the planet Marte. This superheroine has been portrayed in both tv and the movies since 1951 with the following actresses and even actors: Rosa del Rosario (1951-52), Liza Moreno (1963), Eva Montes (1965), Gina Pareno (1969), Vilma Santos (1973), Chiquito (1974), Lorna Tolentino (1977), Dolphy (1979), Rio Locsin (1979), Nanette Medved (1991), Anjanette Abayari (1994), Angel Locsin (2005), Marian Rivera (2009).
Trabaho lang ito, walang personalan. [Rudy Fernandez, Markang Bungo]. This 1991 movie was based on the life story of Baguio City police officer Bobby Ortega. This line is still widely used - from Manny Pacquiao, to the current President of the Philippines.
Kakabakaba Ka Ba? This movie with the same title was a 1980 movie by Mike de Leon. A comedy of misadventures, and of gangsters smuggling an audiocassette tape of opium in the Philippines, it starred Christopher de Leon, Charo Santos, Sandy Andolong and Jay Ilagan. It was significant in the sense that it managed to be a political satire, escaping censorship during a Martial Law regime.
Isang bala ka lang. [Fernando Poe Jr., Isang Bala Ka Lang]. A classic action movie starred in and directed by Fernando Poe Jr., the story is of a good cop, convicted and jailed for avenging his wife’s death, turns vigilante in the light of injustices to innocent victims. Released in 1983, it also stars Maggie dela Riva, Marianne de la Riva, Julie Vega, and Paquito Diaz.
Ginto na ang nasa harap mo, basura pa ang pinili mo. [Vilma Santos, Sinasamba Kita]. Directed by Eddie Garcia in 1982 with actors Vilma Santos, Christopher de Leon, Phillip Salvador and Lorna Tolentino, the movie is about half sisters, with the younger one as the father’s illegitimate daughter. Maltreated and oppressed, the younger sibling leaves but fate brings them together for a final reckoning. The theme song of this movie, with the same title and composed by George Canseco, was a popular hit too. It won film awards for Best Director, Best Original Song and became a tv movie in 2007 with Joel Lamangan as director, starring Sheryl Cruz and Valerie Concepcion.
Mahal mo ba ako, dahil kailangan mo ako o kailangan mo ako kaya mahal mo ako? [Claudine Barretto, Milan]. A 2004 romance film starring Claudine Barretto and Piolo Pascual, it is a story of two people who are strangely banded together by their own personal quests, fall deeply in love and later called on to make personal sacrifices. Aside from the beautiful locations in Italy, it garnered acting awards and nominations for the 2 lead actors. It also featured the singing voice of Piolo Pascual for its theme song, The Gift.
These are just a few of the many highly dramatic, comedic and memorable dialogues in Philippine cinema. What are your favorites?
* This article was written for and published in the Pinoy Times September 2012 issue.