Tuesday, November 30, 2010

BALANGIGA: The Unproduced Screenplay

Noong Setyembre 28, 2008, ika-107 anibersaryo ng Labanan sa Balangiga, ipinost ko sa blog na ito ang storyline ng Balangiga, isang dulang pampelikula na sinulat ko noon pang 2002. Nitong nakaraang Hulyo 2010, ang dulang pampelikulang iyan ay nanalo ng unang gantimpala sa kaSAYSAYan Historical Scriptwriting Contest na inisponsor ng Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

Narito ang press release ng FDCP tungkol sa mga nagwagi sa timpalak:


FDCP kaSAYSAYan Historical Scriptwriting Contest Awarding
July 20, 2010

The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) awarded the winning scripts of its ‘kaSAYSAYan’ Historical Scriptwriting contest on Monday, July 19, 2010 at the FDCP office.

After an overwhelming response from all over the Philippines and the world, and a gruelling deliberation, only the most brilliant three were named winners.

It was a toss-up between first and second place, but ultimately, “Balangiga” by Jose F. Lacaba took top spot for its sheer brilliance and polish as a full-length screenplay, and Floy Quintos’ impressive “Nan Hudhud Hi Apo Ilyam (Apo Ilyam’s Hudhud)” won second prize. Meanwhile, the Hollywood-ready” script by Eduardo Rocha and the late Henry Francia (represented by his nephew, Amos), “The Whirlwinds of Dust: The Fall of Antonio Luna” bagged third place.

Apart from these, the judges were impressed with Arnel Mardoquio’s “Mangulayon”, granting it a Special Mention prize for its fresh subject matter and for being a worthy story heralding Mindanao, and being only one of two scripts that represented the Islamic region, geographically speaking.

Meanwhile, out of the scripts that made it to the short list, 20 were set in Luzon, 9 in Visayas, 3 in Spain, 1 in the USA, and 1 in the afterlife. The most common subjects, on the other hand, were the Katipunan and bio-pics or historical places, the Filipino-American war, WWII, and the Japanese occupation. All the 46 entries form a very impressive pool of historical literature and FDCP is willing to assist producers or film enthusiasts who may want to coordinate for projects with the writers/ creators of these scripts.

A deciding body of distinguished educators and industry greats was pooled to determine the winning scripts. Sen. Edgardo Angara headed the Board of Judges, with director-screenwriter Doy del Mundo, screenwriter Roy Iglesias, film archivist Teddy Co, and newspaper columnist Bum Tenorio as members.

Besides their cash prizes, there is a possibility that the winning scripts may be developed into film.

The project was launched in February 2010 in preparation for the year 2011’s being a marker for several notable events in Philippine history, such as Jose Rizal’s 150th birthday, the country’s 65th year of independence from America, and the People Power Revolution’s 25th anniversary. 

The contest aimed to find the most captivating yet unknown story, in the form of a full-length screenplay, using Filipino natural history as a springboard.


Kung interesado kayong basahin ang dulang pampelikulang Balangiga, pumunta lang sa jokojun.com, ang website ng pamangkin kong si Junjun Lacaba Malillin. Diyan ay puwedeng i-download ang pdf file ng script. Narito ang link:

 At the awarding ceremonies for the kaSAYSAYan scriptwriting contest
Front row: Floy Quintos, Pete Lacaba, Eduardo Rocha.
Back (L-R): Roy Iglesias, Christine Dayrit (project head of the kaSAYSAYan scriptwriting contest), Teddy Co, Marinella Suzara (then FDCP executive director), Digna Santiago (then executive director of the Philippine Film Export Services Office), and Amos Francia (representing his uncle, the late Henry Francia).

Monday, November 22, 2010


Here’s the introductory piece in my book Showbiz Lengua: Chika and Chismax about Chuvachuchu (Anvil Publishing, 2010), the compilation of 68 columns that I wrote for YES! Magazine from 2003 to 2009.


ONCE UPON A TIME I had a language column on Pinoy English called “Carabeef Lengua.” The column “Showbiz Lengua,” which appears in YES! Magazine, a glossy showbiz monthly, focuses this time around on the language of Pinoy showbiz—the fascinating, exasperating, continually evolving lingo of the entertainment industry.

I don’t claim to be a linguist or a lexicographer. I just happen to be a diligent consulter of dictionaries. In fact, as soon as I wrote that last sentence, I checked out my Merriam-Webster to see if the word consulter is in it. I am glad to report that it is. In the process, I learned that there is such a word as consultor, which has been in use since 1611 and means “one who consults or advises; especially: an adviser to a Roman Catholic bishop, provincial, or sacred congregation.”

In other words, a consulter is a receiver, one who consults, like a consultee; whereas a consultor is a giver, one who provides consultation, like a consultant.

That’s how I describe myself in my calling card: Editorial Consultant. Which is why friends of mine who are highly paid editors often text me with questions like: “wats d korek spelling, glamor or glamour?” And without a second thought I text back: “both. bt glamour w U s preferd coz it looks more glamorous.” Before I can even receive a message of “tnx,” I am texting again: “note that glamorous s always spelld wo U. ü”

Such consultation is often given gratis et amore to friends who know my cellphone number, but I expect them to pay for my drinks the next time we meet. And when they read this, I hope they will also consider gifting me with prepaid cellphone cards.

As I was about to say before I started to ramble, strict grammarians chide us for using words that are not in a dictionary by claiming that the words in question do not exist: “The word aggrupation does not exist!” My own position on this issue is that, the moment someone uses a word, whether wrongly or wrongheadedly, it comes into existence. The question is whether the word is to be found in any dictionary.

Now the problem with showbiz lingo is that it consists of words that usually have no dictionary existence. Take the word chuvachuchu, for instance, about which I was reminded when I learned that Jolina Magdangal has a restaurant called Chuva-Chicha.

But I have filled up my allotted space, and the discussion of chuvachuchu and chicha and their cognates (achuchu, chukchak, chika, chismax, chuchuwa, chuwariwariwap, chuwap, chuchu, chibog, chichería, chicharon) will have to wait until next month.

First published in YES! Magazine, March 2003

You’ll have to get a copy of the book to read the other 67 columns in Showbiz Lengua: Chika and Chismax about Chuvachuchu. The book costs P295 and is available at National Bookstore branches in the Philippines. Last I looked, it wasn’t on Amazon.com. I don’t know if it will ever get there.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Showbiz Lengua: Chika & Chismax about Chuvachuchu (Anvil Publishing), a compilation of the columns that I write for the monthly YES! Magazine, is now off the press, and available at National Book Store, at P295.

Here's what reviewers say:

... it’s not a dictionary, but a collection of ruminations on contemporary language (riffs on riffs).

And the author is Jose F. Lacaba a.k.a Ka Pete of Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage, Mga Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran, the screenplays of Bayan Ko: Kapit Sa Patalim, Sister Stella L and others, and the Showbiz Lengua column in Yes! magazine.

Ka Pete ponders the etymology and usage of taray, kikay, krung-krung, carry-carry, kaposh, and other “words that usually have no dictionary existence” that have crept into everyday Filipino speech anyway.

You need this book to explain why we sound like this today.

“Ka Pete, chumuchorva! Pagsa-Safire, kinarir! Plangak!”
Jessica Rules the Universe website
October 6, 2010
You can read the full review here:

“I don’t claim to be a linguist or a lexicographer,” Lacaba writes in the first entry of his new collection, Showbiz Lengua: Chika & Chismax about Chuvachuchu (Anvil, 2010). “I just happen to be a diligent consulter of dictionaries.” Self-effacing as that might sound, it isn’t that easy. It’s apparent to the reader that Lacaba is not just referring to a trusted set of tomes and reference books that he has referred to with unwavering devotion since the late Sixties. Reading the book, a collection of columns the author has so far written for the popular showbiz monthly, Yes!, one gets the impression that he’s actually very open-minded if not indiscriminate in finding sources for the definitions and uses of language, consulting and referencing books, newspapers, tabloids, and the Internet in his columns. In this regard, Lacaba is no snob. He who wrote the now-classic “Notes on Bakya” certainly can’t be accused of cultural elitism. Lacaba’s stated diligence in finding the meanings of words can be described as—to use a term discussed in the book—kinarir.

In a 2005 column that he titles “Spokening,” Lacaba cites the question on a televised debate show, “Kailangan ba ang perfect English para umunlad ang bansa?” That question,” he writes, “was not about adequate English, or competent English, or even excellent English, but about perfect English….And the survey showed an overwhelming majority of texters saying: Yes!

“Oh wow! If the informal, that is, survey results are indicative of the thinking of the general population, then this country is doomed, starting with showbiz linguists.”

It is at this point that the younger Lacaba of the Free Press and the elder statesman of Filipino literature today meet and converse…

Lacaba’s writings on language, first in his column for the Manila Times, “Carabeef Lengua” and now for Yes! in “Showbiz Lengua” are as revelatory. It is a celebration—albeit a cautious one—of being Filipino, of the virtues of being part of a so-called mongrel race in an increasingly blurry world. But more than that, they are enjoyable reads that appeal not only because they entertain but also instruct. Again, to refer to the author’s earlier essay, he writes that because of pop culture in the form of movies and comic books, he seldom had difficulty in “communicating with people born and bred in a different dialect.” With his new collection, he continues to explore that fascinating terrain of Filipino culture, transmitting back to us a comprehensive reportage on a truly and happily alien species: ourselves.

“English—Pinoy Showbiz Style”
Philippines Free Press
Posted on October 5, 2010
You can read the full review here:

…long-time fans of Jose “Pete” Lacaba will find Showbiz Lengua a highly amusing, though quite surprising detour from his earlier books like “Mga Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran” (1979), “Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage” (1982), “Sa Panahon ng Ligalig” (1983), “Sa Daigdig ng Kontradiksiyon” (1992), “Edad Medya” (2000), and “Kung Baga sa Bigas” (2002).

Except for “Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage,” a compilation of on-the-spot reports on the First Quarter Storm that in 1982 won the National Book Award for nonfiction, all the other books are collections of Lacaba’s poems.

For the first four decades of his writing life, Lacaba’s works mostly focused on social and political contradictions that hounded Philippine society. Prolific and versatile, he spun poems and wove commentary, even put lyrics to music and wrote searing screenplays that gave meaning to powerful films like Angela Markado (1983), Sister Stella L. (1984), Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim (1984), Orapronobis (1989), Eskapo (1995), Segurista (1996), Bagong Bayani (1996), and Rizal sa Dapitan (1997).

And just when everyone expected that Lacaba, now in his ’60s and an established icon of Philippine cinema and literature, was about to retire from doing social commentary, he turns around and practically does a Madonna, reinventing himself as “El Lenguador,” a tongue-in-cheek expert of words and phrases commonly used by Philippine showbiz denizens.

Why show business? Well, it could be because the entertainment business has been Lacaba’s immediate milieu for some years now. As executive editor of Summit Media’s YES!magazine, he most probably gets to read all the interesting and controversial happenings in the entertainment industry before everyone else.

Long exposure to showbiz talk has perhaps tickled his imagination to the point that he had to write about it. The result: Pithy discourses providing amusing insights on why Korean star Sandara Park is a “krung-krung;” what happens when someone thinks “kinakarir mo ang BF niya;” and how to say “sobra!” as one gets swamped by intense emotion…

Definitely, Showbiz Lengua is not a trivial pursuit to be dismissed by serious students of the fast-evolving Pinoybiz language.

Should the book be highly recommended? Well, if only for the almost scholarly effort to put rhyme, reason, humor, and fun to what many dismiss as mere kaartehan or kakikayan I’d say, “Plangak!”

“The Book of Lengua”
Philippines Graphic
Posted on October 11, 2010
You can read the full review here:

“Chuvachuchu," “Jologs," “Krung-krung" at “Kikay." Ilan lang ‘yan sa mga nakaaaliw na salita na madalas nating marinig sa mga showbiz personalities… na malamang ginagamit mo rin paminsan-minsan. Pero kagaya ka ba ng manunulat na si Pete Lacaba na nagtatanong kung saan nga bang lupalop nahugot ang mga salitang ito?

Karaniwang sa mga bading at mga personalidad sa showbiz natin naririnig ang mga kakaibang salitang ito, na noong una ay iilan lang siguro ang nakakaintindi. Pero sa paglipas ng panahon, naging karaniwan na ito sa ating pandinig at tila nagbago na rin ang kahulugan.

Ano nga ba itong “chuvachuchu" na parang nagtataboy lang ng aso? Ang “Krung-krung" ay tunog ba ng “ring" ng lumang telepono na pa-ikot pa noon ang dial? At itong “Kikay," hindi ba parang tunog ng maselang bahagi ng katawan ng babae?

Sa librong ‘Showbiz Lengua: Chika & Chismax about Chuvachuchu’ na akda ni Pete Lacaba, hinimay niya ang ilang “posibilidad" na pinanggalingan ng mga showbiz o gay lingo na ito. Isinama na rin niya ang iba pang “pinausong" salita na ang kahulugan ay hindi mo makikita sa mga diksyunaryo sa Filipino o sa mga translator sa Internet.

Pero paalala ni Lacaba sa kanyang libro: “Don’t ask me for lexicographic proof. My assertions here are based purely on chika, chismax and chukchak."

“Mga chika, chismax, at chukchak ni Pete Lacaba”
Posted on October 22, 2010
You can read the full review here:

Showbiz Lengua by Jose "Pete" Lacaba, our only certified word maven, a multi-lingual one at that, since he dwells with much expertise and panache not only on English word usage but, as shown in this collection of columns done for the monthly entertainment YES! Magazine which he helps edit, mostly on new additions to our Filipino and regional languages, plus a lot of chuvaspeak.

Published by Anvil, the book's full title is Showbiz Lengua: Chika & Chismax about Chuvachuchu. And there's no one else who can give us the rundown on such chic chump change of lilting language (possibly patois) than Ka Pete, who sagely scours dictionaries, interrogates area experts (as part of cultural research), and indulges in his own educated guesswork to fill us in on delightful new additions to our Pinoyspeak…

It makes for thoroughly enjoyable reading, this book. Trust Pete to entertain and enlighten you to the chuva max.

“New Filipiniana titles” (in his column “Kripotkin”)
Philippine Star
Nov. 1, 2010
You can read the full review here: