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Hari ng Tondo (2014)

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"Hari ng Tondo: Where I am King" is a 2014 Filipino independent film starring Robert Arevalo, Liza Lorena, Rez Cortez, and Aiza Seguerra. This Cinemalaya Official Entry to the Directors' Showcase which won the Special Jury Prize is produced by Reyna Films, Inc., Central Digital Lab, and Cinemalaya. It is directed by Carlos Siguion-Reyna and distributed by Star Cinema.

Plot: RICARDO VILLENA (Robert Arevalo) finds out he has lost his fortune, on the same day he is told his granddaughter ANNA’s (Cris Villonco) wedding is not pushing through and his grandson and namesake RICKY (Rafa Siguion-Reyna) is not graduating from college—again.

Anna has caught her fiancé philandering. Ricky wants to just sing and compose songs.

Believing that the cousins’ weaknesses to battle life’s trials are on account of their closeted upbringing, Ricardo brings them to his birthplace, Tondo, where he owns a decrepit tenement building called “Alapaap.”

His children are upset, daughter OLIVIA (Ali Sotto), married to businessman DANIEL (Eric Quizon), the parents of Anna; and son JULIO (Audie Gemora), the widower university professor, father of Ricky.

BOYONG (Rez Cortez), Ricardo's best friend and Alapaap's encargado, is totally against the idea, because today’s Tondo is a far cry from the Tondo of their youth: “No’ng araw, ang siga, konti, nabibilang, kaya nagkakapangalan, sumisikat—Asyong Salonga, Totoy Golem. Ngayon, lahat ng tao ro’n, siga. Sandamakmak na ang hari ng Tondo…matanda, bata, lalaki, babae, bakla, tibo. Ititira mo'ng mga apo mo ro’n para magaya sa kanila? Bukod pa sa marumi, mabaho—”

Ricardo cuts Boyong off and tells his grandchildren to please go stay with him in Alapaap even if only for a short while, that if he’s wrong about their growing balls in the place, then he’s wrong. But if he’s right, the two will have the world to gain.

In Tondo, Anna and Ricky meet people so unlike those in their Forbes Park milieu.

There’s FELISA (Liza Lorena), identified by Ricardo as his former girlfriend; the fine upright community leader EMIL (Lorenz Martinez), immediately attracted to Anna; the young accomplished musician RAULA (Aiza Seguerra), whom Ricky stands to learn well from; and SALLY (Ciara Sotto), at the mercy of abusive live-in partner VIC (Gian Magdangal).

Whether or not Ricardo succeeds is what Hari ng Tondo is all about, as Anna and Ricky also find out if what they see is what they get.

Tondo is no longer what it used to be, but Manila’s erstwhile premiere district will keep on going.

Supporting Cast: Cris Villonco, Ciara Sotto, Rafa Siguion-Reyna, Lui Manansala, Gian Magdangal, Lorenz Martinez, Menggie Cobarrubias, Carlos Canlas, Mark Tayag

Special Participation: Eric Quizon, Ali Sotto, and Audie Gemora

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