The truth deserves to be told for future generations.



by Lui Queano

Oras de Peligro, which prominently featured the historical narrative of the four-day peaceful EDSA revolution, was the result of a collaboration between acclaimed director Joel Lamangan (“The Flor Contemplacion Story”), 1Sambayan celebrities-turned-producers Atty. Howie Calleja and Alvi Siongco, who also played a police officer in the film. The script was written by veteran screenwriters Boni Ilagan and Eric Ramos.

The film opens on the eve of People Power after President Marcos has been reelected for a second term, marking the end of his unbroken twenty-year rule. Despite widespread allegations of cheating, it is unlikely that the dictator will be deposed anytime soon because he continues to enjoy the support of the Armed Forces and the feared Metropolitan Command (MetroCom) of the Philippine Constabulary.

Dario, portrayed by Allen Dizon (Dukot, Migrante, Twilight Dancers), and Beatriz, portrayed by Cherry Pie Picache (John John, Mano po), are diligently working to pay for the education of their two children. Beatriz urged Dario to prioritize providing for the family over attending rallies and demonstrations.  As the plot develops, Dario was murdered by a corrupt Metrocom police officer as he attempted to stop a botched robbery. After Dario was killed, Beatriz and the rest of Dario’s family must deal with a system designed to keep them in check.

The plight of everyday people was the film’s overarching theme. The film’s main premise is that this is an aspect of the past that is frequently forgotten. Beatriz’s family serves as a stand-in for the ordinary people who influenced historical events. The plight of ordinary people in the final days of a dictatorship provides the film’s context, and much of it comes from archival footage.

Without a doubt, Picache’s performance as the bereft Beatriz is the film’s narrative engine and emotional center. When we find out that her last conversation with Dario was an argument, we feel bad for her, but we also share her resolve to protect her husband’s legacy. When corrupt police officers tried to take the body away from the wake, Beatriz and her family fought back, inspiring the rest of the mourners to join in.

Adding the peasants’ struggle, which has been going on for over a decade, to the Oras de Peligro story makes it more compelling and makes sense. Lamangan was keenly aware of the political context surrounding the dictator’s overthrow: ordinary, struggling farmers took to the streets to voice their grievances, and the only moral response to the tyrannical regime was to join the revolution. Nanding Josef, a veteran of the Philippine stage and screen, played Dario’s father and a peasant leader in the movie.

The workers’ story is brilliantly woven into the plot, without which the film would be little more than a cock-and-bull tale. The script by Boni Ilagan and Eric Ramos helped make the film more believable and authentic in its depiction of the political crisis brought on by low wages and the exploitation of workers by capitalists who are direct puppets of the Marcos regime.

Alvi Siongco’s natural portrayal of Sgt. Ruiz illustrates how state forces change their allegiance depending on who is in power, while simultaneously forgetting the wrongs they’ve committed against the people. Lamangan’s portrayal of the middle-class forces’ willingness to take part in the revolution and join the throng of the masses in defense of freedom and democracy was echoed by the comedic and humorous performance of Mae Paner in the film.

The outstanding performance of Dave Bornea and Therese Malvar as the children of Dario and Beatriz gave a strong voice to the future of the country that the deposed dictator had stolen from. These orphaned children won’t have much time to grieve or accept that they are the generation destined to pay for the sins of the dictator who left nothing but poverty, injustice, and corrupt bureaucracy.

Those who were too young to experience the Marcos dictatorship firsthand will be grateful to Lamangan, writers  Ilagan, Ramos, and the producers for opening a door to the truth.

Even if it’s just to prove to the public how wonderful this film is, the truth deserves to be told for future generations. And yes, celebrity journalist and poet Pablo Tariman is correct in saying, “Oras de Peligro, is the movie of the year!” because of the story, the director, the writers, and the actors who all put their hearts and souls into their performances.

Oras de Peligro translates in English as “hours of danger” (oras from the Spanish word horas), a common Filipino expression that warns and urges one to be strong and on guard, the time to fight or to flee.  Source:

(Oras de Peligro is being distributed by Malaya Canada and is screening in theatres across Canada, including Toronto, British Columbia, Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Alberta.)

About the Writer:

Poet and songwriter-musician Luisito Queaño, who lives in Toronto and belongs to a family of musicians and writers, finished a Chemical Engineering degree from Saint Louis University in Baguio City. An active member of Migrante Ontario that promotes the rights and welfare of migrant workers, Louie hosts and writes for RadioMigrante and runs a weekly community TV talk Show TVMigrante aired on Filipino TV (FTV). Louie also writes for the community newspaper The Philippine Reporter. His collection of poetry was first published by the Cultural Center of the Philippines Literary anthology Ani in 2001. His first book of poetry entitled Engkwentro was included among the other twelve Filipino writers published by akdang_bayan (Artista para sa Kultura at Dalumat ng Bayan) in 2005. A member of Galian sa Arte at Tula (GAT), a group of progressive writers formed during the Marcos dictatorship, his first attempt in poetry won him first prize in Homelife Magazine national poetry contest in 1995 entitled Paano sumulat ng tula ang isang baguhang makata?. Before migrating to Canada in 2002, Louie played a cameo role in a multi-awarded film Dekada 70, a movie based on a novel written by Lualhati Bautista. He also used to appear on TV shows such as Today with Kris, Tonight with Julie Daza, GMA’s Paolo Bediones show and ABS-CBN’s Hoy Gising! with his group Bagong Dugo- a political satire group composed of writers, stage actors, journalists and musicians.