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‘O Maliwanag na Buwan’


JUST A THOUGHT: A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer. – Bruce lee

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SUPERMOON, O MALIWANAG NA BUWAN: How long ago has it been when we heard a performance of the classic folk song, “O Maliwanag na Buwan” on the big screen or elsewhere?

Can’t recall now. The use of our very own kundiman and other folk songs has been declared out of fashion by today’s filmmaking standards, leaning as it were to more contemporary tastes, such as rock, hip-hop or rap.

It took veteran director, Gil Portes, to remind us how beautiful “O Maliwanag na Buwan” is as a song by using it as prevailing theme of his new film, “Moonlight Over Baler.”

“Moonlight” is one of 27 films eyeing a slot at the 2016 MMFF opening on Dec. 25. The eight final entries will be announced Friday at Club Filipino.

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BASED ON TRUE STORY: The romantic drama “Moonlight Over Baler” took eight years to make the leap from the written page to the big screen.

In 2008, director Gil Portes told writer Eric Ramos about the story of his aunt, a spinster and retired school teacher who met and became friends with a young medical salesman who resembled her lost love – a soldier who never returned from World War II.

Eric immediately recognized a potent premise for classic romance.

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THEME SONG: From the beginning, Eric had a theme song in mind for the movie, “O Maliwanag na Buwan,” a classic romantic ballad he had learned from a grand uncle when he was a child.

Originally an Ilocano folk song entitled “O Naraniag a Bulan” whose composer is unknown, it is better known as a Tagalog kundiman with lyrics written by the late National Artist Levi Celerio. The most popular rendition is a haunting recording by Pilita Corrales.

Moonlight’s script won third prize at the 2009 Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.

Rex Tiri of T-Rex Entertainment bankrolled production of the film as a follow-up to Portes’ historical drama “Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli.”

This epic tale of romance, devotion and sacrifice across generations stars Elizabeth Oropesa, Ellen Adarna, Sophie Albert, and Vin Abrenica.

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MAY-DECEMBER CONNECTION: With its remote location, pristine beauty and tempestuous history, the fabled town of Baler becomes a perfect setting for this epic tale of romance, devotion, and sacrifice across generations.