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Cinemalaya 2014: Hari ng Tondo by Carlos Siguion-Reyna

Everyone can be "Hari ng Tondo". Elites, middle-class, all walks of life can become 'Hari ng Tondo'. This is the phrase where are conversation with some of the casts of Hari ng Tondo centered.

Last Thursday, we're one of the few, who got invited for an exclusive dinner/ mini-blogcon with the Director himself, Carlos Siguion-Reyna, for an intimate session together with our fellow online publishers and bloggers. We were told that this is about "Hari ng Tondo", one of the entries for Cinemalaya 2014. This is the 10th year of Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, whom produces quality local films, that other festivals usually fail to do.

Hari ng Tondo official poster. A Cinemalaya 2014 entry directed by Carlos Siguion-Reyna
Hari ng Tondo. Photo from
So one of the few questions that bloated our minds where, is this another action movie set in Tondo? Any modern-day artist today fits the criteria of being called Hari ng Tondo?

To our surprise it is something different. Something that is worth to watch and something we can reflect on. "Hari ng Tondo" is set on a modern-day Tondo that talks about a father who lost almost all his riches. This is Director Carlos Siguion-Reyna's comeback movie, after 14-year absence from feature-length film-making.

According to Ms. Bibeth, Director Siguion-Reyna was one of the judges during last year's Cinemalaya, and this is one of the many factors he decided to direct the said movie. For those who don't know Cinemalaya, is film festival, much like Sundance. Usually tackles real-life topics and the struggle in life.

This year's Cinemalaya, Cinemalaya X, has 3 categories:

  • New Breed (full-length features for new directors)
  • Directors Showcase (full-length features for established directors)
  • and 10 Shorts (short features of new directors)

Hari ng Tondo snapshot. 'Hari ng Tondo' directed by Carlos Diquion-Reyna

We were privileged enough to watch the first 30 minutes of Hari ng Tondo. To us, it's much more of a teaser us we wait to see what will unfold as we go deeper into the story. What will be the twists and challenges that the main characters will face in Tondo? What lessons they will learn on this territory that they thought they once knew?

During the night we're able to meet Director Carlos Siguion-Reyna, Bibeth Orteza(who wrote Hari ng Tondo), Gian Magdangal, Rafa Siguion-Reyna, Ciara Sotto, Audie Gemora, Rez Cortez, Robert Arevalo, Lorenz Martinez who all shared their experiences during the taping of the Hari ng Tondo.

They actually shot majority of the scenes in Tondo, where the actors and actresses felt and experienced the reality of living in the infamous Tondo, Manila, as stereotyped by many. The casts who we met during this small gathering, all shared a good side of Tondo. The people there are also up-to-date when it comes to gadgets, and some have bigger flat screens than most of us. It's like just everyone of us, struggling, trying to live and survive.

Interestingly, Director Carlos Siguion-Reyna shot the entire film using one camera setup. He highly believed that it's much easier to shot every scene at help him accomplish his vision towards the film into reality.

The casts also include the following great actors and actresses:

  • Eric Quizon
  • Cris Villonco
  • Ali Sotto
  • Liza Lorena
  • Aiza Seguerra

Screening hours and location of 'Hari ng Tondo' can be found on Cinemalaya's official site. As for us, we'll watch it this Wednesday, August 6 at CCP Complex.

You can enjoy and support films under Cinemalaya 2014 via CCP, Greenbelt 3, Trinoma, Alabang Town Center and Fairview Terraces. Tickets sold around PHP150.00

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