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When PH ruled Asian cinema

AD of Gerry de Leon’s ‘Ifugao’

GOLDEN AGE – The ’50s (up to the early ’60s) is called the second Golden Age of Philippine Cinema, the first being the ’30s and the third the ’70s.

Then Philippine movies ruled Asian cinema, in a manner of speaking. The leaders included Gerry de Leon, Bert Avellana, Eddie Romero, Ramon Estrella, Manuel Conde, Gregorio Fernandez, Carlos Vander Tolosa, Manuel Silos.

Local movies were at its peak and best, winning awards at the Asian Film Festival, where the trophies were called Golden Harvest.

Let’s look back to those glorious years.

AVELLANA – Bert Avellana’s most memorable movies were “Anak Dalita” and “Badjao,” topbilled by Rosa Rosal and Tony Santos, and “Kundiman ng Lahi,” starring Charito Solis.

“Anak Dalita” won the grand prize at the 1956 Asian filmfest and was shown at the Franklin International Film Festival in 1957.

“Badjao” won best director for Avellana, screenplay for Rolf Bayer, cinematography for Mike Accion, editing for Gregorio Carballo in the 1957 Asian filmfest.

“Kundiman ng Lahi” gave Charito Solis her first best actress award.

DE LEON – Gerry de Leon’s classics included “48 Oras” (copied by Hollywood), “El Filibusterismo,” “Moises Padilla Story,” and “Ifugao.”

At the 1955 Asian filmfest, “Ifugao” won best director (De Leon), actor (Efren Reyes), screenplay (Ding de Jesus and Gerry Santiago).

FERNANDEZ – Gregorio Fernandez’ outstanding works were “Malvarosa” and “Higit sa Lahat.”

“Malvarosa” gave Rebecca del Rio the best supporting actress award at the 1958 Asia filmfest held in Manila.

“Higit sa Lahat” won best director (Gregorio Fernandez) and best actor (Rogelio de la Rosa) at the 1959 Asian filmfest.

OTHER AWARDEES – Romeo Vasquez was best actor for “Ako ang Maysala” at the 1958 Asian filmfest. Leroy Salvador was best supporting actor for “Biyaya ng Lupa” at the 1960 Asian filmfest.

Much later, Charito Solis, Ric Rodrigo, Charo Santos, Rosanna Ortiz also won acting awards in the Asian filmfest, later expanded to include the Pacific region.