Hot Aloha and the ‘disappointment’ of Citizen Jake

Hot.  Temperature in Manila as recorded by the Young Earth Scientists’ Society was recorded to reach a maximum heat index of 41 degrees Celsius.

Island Cove

Island Cove

The country, PAGASA said, will experience an overall heat index of “extreme caution” from April 25 to 29.

Meteorologists indicate that this is “dangerous” as people will feel heat cramps, exhaustion and heat stroke.

Aloha

It was good that some of us participated at the Aloha ADEC:  The Island Summer Get-away. From Alabang, I had a wrong turn leading me all the way back to Pasay for a U-turn.

Island Cove was great discovery.  Passing through makeshifts and lots of garbage with many topless people who seem to scour piles of wastes on the side way, one could never imagine that the road ahead will lead to a cool paradise in this coastal place.

From the coastal road, I have seen its bridge adorned with colorful flaglets but I never imagined that this is a quiet and refreshing piece of recreation.

Once inside the facility, it is easy to navigate with the help of very accommodating staff.

It was a huge facility and ADEC just got the Oceania Park for its exclusive use.

What I extremely admired in Aloha ADEC is that employees and their families were given the freedom to enjoy what and how they spend the day there.  Yes, there was a program but this did not hinder people from doing what they wanted to do while activities were on-going.  From swimming and videoke to the various games in the game room or just enjoying the view and feeling the cool whiff of air from the bay.

While it was fun, it was also work for some of us who were documenting these fun activities that included the search for Mr Lodi and Ms Petmalu.  That is a different story and I opt not to discuss it here.

Citizen Jake

After a tiring day under the scorching sun, I chose to cool off watching Citizen Jake.  I felt that I needed to rest as there was something unusual about my blood pressure which obviously was caused by the summer heat.

Atom Araullo

Photo: Citizen Jake Facebook Page

I didn’t feel guilty not watching alone because I thought that this could be another indie-style movie and that it is something that will not keep my kids and wife on the edges of their seats in excitement in terms of entertainment value.

I watched it because of three reasons:

  1. I wanted to know why Mike de Leon was apparently disappointed by Atom Araullo.
  2. I felt bad reading some posts that the movie will be used by some with their personal agenda.
  3. I always loved the Marcoses, I was born in Baguio and I wanted to cool down in one of Alabang’s posh cinemas.

On the first item, Atom Araullo was a revelation.  He can act.  But the reason why he came out a neophyte is the fact that he was surrounded by a very powerful cast, the topnotch caliber ones.

Si Enchong na lang played by Richard Quan, nilamon na siya eh.  Richard Quan didn’t have to say a word, he just stood there and his acting was enigmatically absorbing.  Richard just had to move his eyes and that was that, while Atom had to make an effort.

Also that police inspector played by Victor Neri, all he said was “Anak ng senador, media pa…”  and he just took the scene.  It was clear in this movie that most, if not all the bit roles were the most engaging, noticeable ones.

Who else?  Atom was paired with Nonie Buencamino, Cherie Gil in some scenes.  You can’t expect Atom to be Christopher de Leon in one movie.  Well, others may have done it in this case, nalamon siya by some but to be fair, he had many highlights.  Bottomline is that Atom delivered.  He is deserving to be a movie star.  It maybe Mike de Leon’s casting and it is not fair to blame Atom.

Another revelation is Max Collins.  Behind that pretty face is believability.  Her acting was impressive.  And she allowed her pretty face to be distorted.  Sana ginawa kay Atom din.  Max should be given more projects in the industry.

Story-telling

While story-telling looks new, Citizen Jake is politically-charged.  Very anti-Marcos.  I cannot fathom reading posts on Facebook that this should not be used by those with political agenda.  It is not only satire, it depicts a lot of truth.  So I cannot reconcile the appeal to leave the film as it is when its theme and story rekindles old political colors and beliefs.  Pero wala namang bago,  narinig ko na at maaaring narinig na nating lahat.  Kaya wala pa ring nabago sa pananaw ko sa mga Marcoses.  I am still awed by them and still is intrigued by Imelda.  Pasensiya na, sa Region 2 lumaki.

There were very direct attacks and insinuations to political figures both past and present and I just cannot help but laugh with some of the lines.

And this guy Gabby Eigenmann, he is a monster.  Halimaw sa galing.  Pansin na pansin mo ang dugo ng kaniyang lahi bilang artista.  His role was difficult – providing comedy by acting as a stupid sonnababitch congressman.  His Godfather/Corleone lines were delivered with great timing.  I had to google his name as I remembered Roxie Herrera, his character in the movie.  Ganun siya kahalimaw, mas tanda mo character kesa name ng artista, ayun namatay tuloy.

It is a serious movie but it will surely be appreciated by millennials.  They can very well relate to Jake Herrera.  Matigas ang ulo, ang gusto, gusto, ang ayaw, ayaw.  As one of the reviews I read, there is a Citizen Jake in all of us.

It was a story of a family.  Bu-ang na family.  Maraming mga sikreto ang mga pamilya, malas lang ng Herrera family, ang kabaliwan nila, hayag.

I watched in one of Alabang’s posh cinemas and saw an elite audience who probably lives in the neighboring expensive subdivisions.  It made me wonder what they may have thought in a part where the movie tackled, “a master and a servant cannot develop friendship, the relationship will only be based on what comfort each one brings.” Not exactly like that but that was the essence that I remembered.  Jake, in the movie, is a friend of Jonie, the son of their caretaker in Baguio.  Isa pa etong si Jonie na halimaw din (Adrian Alandy).

I was born in Baguio which made Citizen Jake a very special screening for me.  There was a lot if trivia including photos that was shared by the movie narrating how Baguio was developed by the Americans who later were served by the very owners of the land.

But what is also unforgettable to me was when Miss Merci said, “ang dami nang turista dito sa Baguio, wala naman silang ginagawa, paikot-ikot lang.”  And it dawned on me, wala nga.  Kahit kami pag pumupunta sa Baguio, we never do anything physical.  Just driving around.  Paikot-ikot nga lang talaga.  Yung iba, para lang makagamit ng jacket, as the movie said.

This movie was the very first movie that I have watched dealing on Philippine politics for a long long time.  And it wasn’t a disappointment.  Pero yun nga lang para lang din akong nanood ng news kasi it was a reflection of the Filipino’s daily life – a fusion of fiction and reality.  Sometimes, or most of the time, the Filipino fiction is everyone’s reality.

I joined the elite Alabang moviegoers applaud after the movie.

When I stepped out of the movie house,  the temperature was still very hot.  That was a fact.  It is also a fact that I did not waste my money watching this Mike de Leon masterpiece.