Oro Plata Mata on Netflix

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Oro Plata Mata is a 1982 film directed by the late Peque Gallaga. It’s a wartime story of survival and conscience where a test of one’s loyalty is clearly conveyed.

The oro (gold) represents the times of plenty which is shown during the opening part of the film where guests in their beautiful clothes attend the 18th birthday of Maggie (Sandy Andolong), one of the señoritas in the Ojeda household. In one scene, Maggie comforts her younger sister Trining (Cherie Gil) when the latter received her first kiss from her childhood sweetheart Miguel (Joel Torre). She tells her that kissing is part of the relationship and admits that her boyfriend Ramon has kissed her, too. Their talk is interrupted by their mother Nena (Liza Ojeda) who tells Maggie to entertain her visitors. At the living room, a close family friend Minggoy (Jaime Fabregas) announced the coming of age of Maggie on behalf of Don Claudio (Manny Ojeda) when the clock hits 12:00 AM. Everyone is having fun until they receive the unfortunate news about the sinking of the SS Corregidor which some of the guests’ sons are into. The party is cut short thereafter.

The plata (silver) represents the changes in their lives, the adjustment period. Used to the luxuries in their mansion, Maggie complains about the dish served at the Lorenzo mansion. Inday Lorenzo (Fides Cuyugan-Asencio) scolds the cook in the typical Filipino trait of always being hospitable towards our guests. Of course, the Ojedas stay in the Lorenzo mansion is not as short as they thought it would be. When they realize that the war will take longer than expected, reality catches up to them. Two more friends Dr. Jo Russell (Maya/Mitch Valdez) and Viring (Lorli Villanueva) take refuge in the Lorenzo mansion.

The start of the mata (death/misfortune) phase is predictable from the point of view of an onlooker. Inday does not trust her foreman Melchor (Abbo dela Cruz) but continues to let him stay anyway because he is competent. Don Claudio continues to support the revolution and reminds them that his hunch about the Japanese invasion was right all along. The Hacienda Lorenzo provides all of them with safety and peace of mind but that is short-lived. When the loyal servant Nana Tating (Mary Walter) fails to come home after looking for Don Claudio in the sugarcane field, they know that something is not right. The burning of the sugarcane field happens later that night prompting Maggie to check the horizon using Miguel’s telescope in the tower. Dr. Jo adjusts the lens and peeps through it and from there, she sees the city with Japanese trucks in tow.

Whoever burned the sugarcane field is not shown in the movie and the disappearance of Nana Tating is not explained as well. I have a feeling that Melchor has something to do about it and maybe Nana Tating discovers his plan.

The group moves to the hidden forest lodge that the Lorenzos own. This is the part of the film where each character’s dark side appears.

-The sibling rivalry between Maggie and Trining for Miguel’s affection.

-Dr. Jo is helpful and logical yet she doesn’t care who to sleep with as long as her sexual needs are met.

-Viring cares about her jewelries more than anything.

-Miguel is a wimp.

-Trining is not loyal to Miguel.

-Melchor has a twisted mind.

-Hermes (Ronnie Lazaro) disrespects Miguel when he had a sexual relation with Trining

The forest lodge is meant to be their sanctuary but the opposite happens. Melchor shows his true colors and justifies his robbing of Viring’s pieces of jewelry as a form of payment for his services. It is for this reason that I thought that he might be the one responsible for the burning of the sugarcane field because of his grievances against the Lorenzos. When Inday fires him, he comes back with a gory vengeance. For some reason, Trining willingly goes with the bandits despite her mother’s pleading.

In retaliation, Hermes and Miguel attack Melchor’s territory. Trining is hesitant to be rescued. The duo kills all the bandits. In one scene, a young Kuh Ledesma who plays the diwata kneels before a bewildered Miguel who does not have qualms about pulling the trigger.

The oro period is shown again during the engagement dinner for Maggie and Miguel. The war is over. The house looks cramped and the walls are untidy. The foods are not as extravagant and overflowing as during Maggie’s debut. Everyone seems to be moving on from the trauma of the war. We see Carlos/Charlie, Don Claudio’s former accountant, now chatting with the elite group. We learn that the adopted Emilio becomes the sole heir to his family’s wealth—and he is now ready to reveal his sexual preference. We feel for Ramon, Maggie’s former boyfriend because fighting for the country leaves him an invalid. We can’t help but sympathize with Don Claudio when signs of advanced aging disallow him from recognizing his granddaughter. Trining’s coping mechanism is forgetting whatever happened during the war yet acknowledging that that period led them to become animals. On the other hand, Nena appears to be ready to fall in love again when she gamely danced with Charlie.

Baldivia vs Baldivia

The recent interview of Julia Barretto obviously affected her father, Dennis Padilla. In a series of a now-deleted Instagram posts, Dennis refuted Julia’s insinuation about their financial situation after her parents separated. 

Dennis was a popular comedian in the early 90s. He used to play sidekick roles to Robin Padilla and even had the chance to get leading roles in television. He is the son of Dencio Padilla, a popular comedian during his prime. It was said that Dencio was against the relationship of Dennis and Marjorie because the former was already committed to a certain Monina at that time. There was no confirmation if Dennis and Monina were married. But one thing was sure, they have kids. Marjorie has a young daughter at that time from a previous relationship with Kier Legaspi, also an actor. 

Dennis became a Caloocan councilor before Marjorie won in 2007. It was in the same year when rumors about a trial separation surfaced. Both parties were mum about it at first. Then sometime in 2008, there was a malicious letter that circulated online about an alleged affair between a married councilor and her city mayor. It was said to come from Dennis Padilla. Good thing, social media was not yet at its peak then. Otherwise, it would have gone viral.

Around this time, the eldest child Julia was already 10 years old. Being on TV was nothing new to her as she started her shampoo commercial when she was younger. Her first TV project was Kokey. These years were silent years between Dennis and his former family until the time came when Julia was starting to build a name for herself. It was the netizens’ impression that Dennis only started to care for his former family when the kids were already grown-up and more stable. 

Of course, Dennis refuted this claim by telling his partial side of the story. But we have to take into consideration the timeline of the events that led to the children’s hurt— what happened after 2007? 

  1. Dennis was probably not able to provide while the kids were growing up because he was no longer that active in showbiz. Before the separation, Dennis and his then sister-in-law Gretchen had an issue when he confronted the latter about TV5’s decision of picking Willie Revillame over him. Gretchen’s common-law husband was the owner of TV5 and Dennis felt that she could have done things to put him in a better position in the network. Their falling out caused them to leave Gretchen’s house where they lived for free. 
  2. In fairness to Marjorie, she took roles to earn when they were still together. Her detractors were probably not aware of it because these were minor roles. 
  3. The kids were probably not close with their Baldivia (Dennis’ real last name) side because Dencio died when Julia was only a baby. I have no idea about Dennis’ mother; I can only assume that the kids never really had a chance to bond with their relatives because of some issues. 
  4. The idea of changing their family name from Baldivia to Barretto could be a result of something that the kids found out later. Were they aware that there was a first family before them? Sometimes, kids get disillusioned when their perceived perfect little family comes out as the opposite. 
  5. Marjorie is no saint but she has her kids who love her very much. On the other hand, none of Dennis’ other kids are there to support him. 

I actually wish this family to heal and forgive one another. I still call them a “family” because even when the parents were no longer together, the love and respect must still be there. Dennis should take a lesson from Jackie Forster who waited for years to finally be welcomed again by her sons Andre and Kobe. When Jackie realized that her aggressive style only made her sons more distant, she let them realize how much she loves them by giving them time to heal and love them from a distance. 

Andrew E

The song Binibirocha made famous by Andrew E in the 90s is very popular today in Tiktok. Who is Andrew E? Andrew E is a Filipino rapper whose full name is Andrew Ford Valentino Espiritu. He was first known for his song “Humanap Ka Ng Panget” in 1990. The message of this song is the appreciation of people who are not beautiful or handsome but have pleasant character.

To those who are not yet born when this song became a hit, perhaps you are wondering who is Zoraida as mentioned in the song. Zoraida Sanchez was a popular comedian from the 1980s to the 1990s. But other than that, she is also a writer in a newspaper publication and also a television and film scriptwriter. She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas and had a degree in journalism. Other songs by Andrew E have a double-meaning theme such as Binibirocha which implies oral sex.

In Binibirocha, the emcee (or DJ) at Euphoria Disco meets by chance a beautiful woman who looks like Rita Avila. Her name is Bini B. Rocha. Euphoria Disco was formerly a popular disco located at the Intercontinental Hotel in Makati. The beautiful Rita Avila was a famous sexy star in the 90s. Her peers in ST (sex trip) films were Gretchen Barreto and Cristina Gonzales.

In the song, the second time that Andrew and Bini met turned his fantasy of an adventurous night with Bini into reality when he was invited to go on a joyride in a Pajero. The Pajero was the most popular car in the early ’90s because only the rich could afford it then. The song suggested that there was car sex between Bini and Andrew.

But if there was one woman who really captured Andrew E’s heart back then, it was the then teen star Ana Roces. She mentioned the name “Ana” in her song “Andrew Ford Medina” and he admitted that he admired the beautiful teen star a lot. They also starred in several movies such as “Alabang Girls.”

To date, Andrew E is happily married to his wife Mylene. They have three beautiful kids together.

Foreign Actors & Their Filipino Lookalikes

According to the researchers led by Ulf Gyllensten of the University of
Uppsula in Sweden, we are all descendants of a group of people that lived in
Africa about 170,000 years ago! That being said, we are related to each
other because we all descended from a single ancestral group. Scientists say
that the difference in the color of our skin is a natural adaptation to the
environment. Therefore, people from colder climates have little melanin while those that live in warmer areas have more melanin in their skin.
Of course, as we multiply through reproduction, we lose the DNA
that comes from the source. This is the reason why later on,
people become divided by ethnicity.

I guess these shared ancestors are the reason why people have lookalikes
in other parts of the world. Whenever I watch foreign movies, my first
reaction is how some of the actors resemble our local ones. Therefore,
I made a list of the actors and actresses that have their local counterparts here in the Philippines.

I became a fan of Ajay Devgn and Tabu when I watched their movie Drishyam.
Little did I knew that he is a very popular actor in India! Not only that, but he is also a film producer and film director. His face reminds me of
Raymond Bagatsing who is also a good actor. Coincidentally, the Bagatsings
have Indian blood so this must have also contributed to Raymond’s resemblance to Ajay.

Emma Watson is a British actress who is still known for playing Hermione
Granger in the Harry Potter movies. Her signature shy smile reminds me
of young actress Maris Racal who started her showbiz career through
PBB (Pinoy Big Brother).

A lot of Mark Herras’ fans claim that he is the George Clooney of the
Philippines. At first, I did not find the resemblance because George’s
features appear to be more masculine than Mark’s. I checked George’s
younger photos and I understood where the similarity was coming from.
Now, I agree that George Clooney, an American actor, looks like Mark Herras.

Kris Aquino once said that Vic Sotto reminded her of American actor
Gregory Peck. I checked Gregory’s old photos and found the similarity.
They both have a pair of thick eyebrows and tantalizing eyes.

Kate Winslet, an American actress, might have changed from being a sweet
young actress in the late 90s to a sophisticated lady in the present times
but watching her in the role of Rose in the Titanic reminded me of
actress-singer Jessa Zaragosa.

Chloe Grace Moretz grew up right before our eyes. The American actress started her career at the age of 7 and is still active now. Her
appearance in 500 Days of Summer reminded me of Andi Eigenmann. Andi
got her first break in showbiz when she played the dual role of Agua and
Bendita. Born to a family of talented and beautiful actors and actresses,
she chooses to live a simple life in Siargao with her children and fiance’.

Dr. Foster’s South Korean version is known as The World of the Married. Soon,
we’ll be having our version with the working title “The Broken Marriage
Vow.” We all know by now that the three lead characters will be played
by Jodi Sta. Maria as the wife, Zanjoe Marudo as the unfaithful husband, and Sue Ramirez as the mistress. But before the management confirmed Sue’s
role, fans were suggesting that the closest ones that look like Han So Hee
were either Kylie Padilla or Cassy Legaspi. Of course, that would not happen
because the two ladies are still under GMA’s contract.

Children of the 80s knew how big of a teen star Lotlot De Leon was. Her being
the firstborn of Nora Aunor and Christopher de Leon added interest in her
aside from the fact that she had her own mass appeal. I was watching
The Chronicles of Narnia and found that the actress that played Susan
has a strong resemblance to Lotlot. She is the British actress Anna Popplewell.

There’s a story that some people in the California area mistook Sarah
Lahbati for the famous model Gigi Hadid. They should probably meet
each other just like what happened between Liz Taylor and Amalia Fuentes
ages ago.

I have to admit that the only Thai actor that I am familiar with is
Mario Maurer. I watch some Thai horror movies but I just could not
remember the actors unless I google them. Suppakorn Chaiyo appeared
in one of my searches about Thai actors but very little information
is known about him. Anyway, he looks like Joem Bascon. Joem is a good
actor here.

Ananya Panday of India and Sue Ramirez can pass as sisters. They say that
Sue’s lookalike is Alice Dixson but I think they will change their mind
once they see Ananya.

I have been watching Mexican telenovelas since Thalia’s rise to fame
through Marimar. The golden girl is still as beautiful and sexy as ever!
You should see her recent birthday photos. Karla Estrada, Daniel Padilla’s
mother, is on the heavy side now. But 90s kids would attest that Karla
was slim during her teenage years. Google her old photos and you’ll see
her strong resemblance to Thalia. Another Mexican actress Eiza Gonzales
looks like Iza Calzado.Both of them have classic beauties.

I was watching Fantasy Island when I noticed that one of the actresses
look like Janine Gutierrez. Lucy Hale is an American actress who was
also in the cast of the TV series Pretty Little Liars. Some of Janine’s
fans say that she looks like Mila Kunis but I think that she has a
strong resemblance to Lucy Hale.

First Half of My Life Review (我的前半生)

The First Half of My Life is a 2017 C-Drama starring Ma Yili (Zijun),
Jin Dong (He Han), Lei Jiayin (Chen Junsheng), Yuan Quan (Tan Jing),
and Wu Yue (Ling Ling). If you are an avid fan of kabit-serye,
you might find that the story and concept are nothing new. Somehow,
the story of First Half of My Life reminds me of an old movie entitled
“Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan.” This Filipino movie is about two best friends
who fall in love with the same man. Despite the slight similarity in the
storyline, what made me hooked in the First Half of My Life was my curiosity about how this C-Drama would fare.

The story starts with Zijun who is “happily” married to Chen Junsheng.
They have a young son who is well-loved by his grandparents from both
sides of the family. Junsheng holds an executive position in the company
that he is working for that is why Zijun can afford to go shopping
anytime she wants. She is protective of her marriage and tends to be
suspicious about some women that are within her husband’s work circle.

On the other side of the story is the power couple Tan Jing and He Han.
Both have strong personalities and are very much dedicated to their career.
Han is Junsheng’s boss while Jing is Zijun’s best friend since college.

Zijun’s world collapses when Junsheng tells her that he wants a divorce.
To add insult to injury, the mistress is the woman that she befriends in the office. Without Junsheng’s money and a ready source of income,
she risks losing Pi’nger (son) to the former’s custody.

Jing helps her get on her feet but being a busy career woman, there are
times when she asks a favor from Han to be her proxy. Initially, Han and
Zijun clashes but when she realizes his sincerity, she begins to warm up
to him. Just like Jing before, Zijun becomes Han’s mentee and from being a saleslady, she now has the confidence to work in a corporate set-up.
Ironically, she targets a position wherein she will be one of Ling
Ling’s subordinates. Now, all five of them have a working interface.

While spending more time with Zijun and Pi’nger, Han feels that he is
falling in love with her. He tries to forget about his feelings by
proposing to Jing but Jing feels that there is more to the friendship
between her best friend and fiance. When Han confirms that he loves
Zijun, Jing returns the engagement ring.

Jing feels betrayed by Han, Junsheng, and Zijun. She feels that Han never
really loved her and his past relationship with Vivian is just an excuse
not to marry her. She feels that Junsheng covered up Han and Zijun’s
relationship to protect his position in the office. She hates Zijun for
allowing Han to fall in love with her.

Because the real score is now revealed, Han professes his love for Zijun.
Zijun tells him that the feeling is mutual but she cannot be with him because
she does not want to hurt Jing. In an attempt to save their friendship,
Zijun helps in tracking down the person who tried to set up Jing. But the
sad thing is, even when Jing’s name has been cleared, she still has to find forgiveness in her heart to redeem their friendship.

In the end, Junsheng stays with Ling Ling despite the trouble that she
made concerning Jing. Han resigns from his job to protect Jing and
goes to Guandong to start a seafood business. Jing remains in Shanghai
and continues her career. Zijun leaves with Pi’nger for Shenzhen to
start a new life.

They say that the First Half of My Life has an open ending so I’m going to
write my interpretation of the seaport scene. A year later, Zijun inspects the new project site and sees a man who she mistakes for Han.
In another seaport area, Han sees a woman who he mistakes for Zijun.
Both of them tell about their past life in Shanghai and why they end
up in Guandong. There are six seaports in Guandong and if Zijun regularly
visits the Port of Shenzhen, there’s still a small probability that they will see each other. Why? It’s because of the timing factor. Han’s seafood
business requires him to be away on the sea for most of the time.
And during his port transactions, he is too busy to even check on
every woman who comes to the port. Likewise, Zijun is busy with her project
and it’s impractical to wait on the port for every incoming ship. In the
first place, she does not know Han’s ship. She can easily find it out knowing how smart she has become but choosing not to do it means that she does not want to reconnect with Han. Mistaking the man for Han was just her initial reaction because she loves Han. But it doesn’t mean that she would reconnect with him as her lover. Zijun is more loyal to Jing than
her feelings for Han. In the same way, Han is more loyal to what
Zijun wants than his feelings for her. He respects her that is why even
if he can trace Zijun’s new workplace, he did not do it.

Some fans say that the story is about women power and independence. I agree.

If I may just add, this story is all about TIMING.

  1. It took a while for Junsheng to realize that the wife that he divorced is exactly the strong woman that he wanted to. Had he given Zijun more
    time to be a better person, then he would not divorce her in the first
  2. Jing and Han’s readiness for marriage came late when the latter is no longer in love with her. Had they settled early on, Han would
    probably choose to be loyal to Jing because he takes “contracts”
  3. Ling Ling’s timing is perfect when it comes to destroying Junsheng
    and Zijun’s marriage because they were at their most vulnerable
    stage when she came into the picture. A workaholic husband finds a
    reliable ally in Ling Ling and thinks of his carefree shopaholic wife
    as a liability.
  4. Jing and Zijun’s friendship can still be saved, it’s all a matter of timing. When Jing finds another man and is truly happy with her life,
    she will surely soften to Zijun and maybe try to reconnect with her.
  5. Item 4 leads to the possible scenario that since everything and
    everyone is forgiven, then Zijun can now reconnect to Han and start
    a new life with him.

Therefore, the Zijun and Han love story is only possible at a later time
because of the timings that I mentioned. I so love this C-Drama and if
we’re going to have a local adaptation, I think that these actors/actresses
fit into the role.