‘O Maliwanag Na Buwan’ lights up ‘Moonlight Over Baler’

posted February 14, 2017 at 04:50 pm
by  Isah V. Red
Every romantic film needs a theme song to set the mood, move the narrative forward, convey the characters’ feelings and capture the audience’s hearts.

Moonlight Over Baler, rated B by the Cinema Evaluation Board  and the newest film from T-Rex Entertainment, tells the story of Fidela, a retired schoolteacher in Baler who is still pining for her lost love Nestor, a World War II soldier. Fidela’s world turns upside-down when she meets Kenji, a Japanese photojournalist who eventually seeks her help to court Roryė

Rising stars Vin Abrenica and Sophie Albert 
Moonlight Over Baler, still showing in cinemas, is based on the experiences of the aunt of director Gil Portes. His aunt was so loyal to her former fiancé who did not come home after the war. She remained single and in her middle age met a young man who had a striking resemblance to her lost love.

Portes opened up about his aunt to screenwriter Eric Ramos. Immediately, the latter had the song “O Maliwanag na Buwan” in mind. “I included the song in the script. Angkop na angkop sa situation ni Fidela,” says Eric. 

Seasoned actor Elizabeth Oropesa plays a pivotal role in the Gil Portes movie
The noted writer had learned the ballad from a grand uncle. Eric reveals, “He taught it to me when I was only five years old.”

“O Maliwanag na Buwan” is the Tagalog version of the Ilokano folk song “O Naraniag O Bulan.” National Artist Levi Celerio translated the Ilocano lyrics to Tagalog. Asia’s Queen of Song Pilita Corrales recorded the song, which became one of her signature tunes.

Screenwriter Eric Ramos with "Moonlight Over Baler" lead star Ellen Adarna
As fate would have it, producer Rex Tiri, the big boss of T-Rex Entertainment, is a genuine Ilocano. Rex tells more about the ditty. “Lahat ng llocano alam ang kantang ‘yon. Sinasayaw sa mga fiesta. Hindi puwedeng mawala ang ‘O Maliwanag na Buwan’ sa mga importanteng okasyon sa Ilocos. Mula bata hanggang matanda kabisado ito. Malawak ang appeal ng song.”

Eric and Rex hope that like them viewers of Moonlight Over Baler will also be captivated by this lovely song. Musician Francis de Vera made a modem jazz arrangement exclusively for the film soundtrack.

Film producer and director Gil Portes 
Moonlight Over Baler stars Elizabeth Oropesa, Ellen Adarna, Vin Abrenica, and Sophie Albert, among others. 

For updates, check out the movie’s FB page where a videoke video of “O Maliwaneag Na Buwan” is posted.


TOFARM ushers 2017 with two grand events that celebrate the lives of farmers in a non- conventional yet highly artistic way.

The 2nd TOFARM Film Festival is set to light up the silver screen once more with a new batch of entries. Following its successful debut in July 2016, this year’s edition of the TOFARM Film Festival promises to be another bountiful harvest of cinematic excellence.

“We were overwhelmed with the turnout of last year’s festival,” says Festival Director Maryo J. De Los Reyes, “The festival was warmly received by the movie industry, and a lot of independent producers and directors expressed their interest to join this year.”

He also notes that the number of script submitted doubled this year. This only proves that filmmakers are tremendously interested to participate in a festival that revolves around the farming industry and, at the same time, provides a venue for them to showcase their craft,” adds the award-winning television and film director.

With this year’s theme, “Planting the seeds of change”, a total of six films were chosen to be this year’s official entries.

In addition to the film festival, TOFARM also announces the list of entries that qualified for the first ever TOFARM Songwriting Competition. Launched in May 2016, the competition is open to both amateur and professional songwriters whose task is to come up with an original composition about agriculture, with the central theme, “Planting the seeds of change.”

Noted musical director Ria Villena-Osorio is at the helm of the competition, together with the selection panel composed of Josefino Chino Toledo, Luchie Roque, Olivier Ochanine, and Jed Balsamo.

“I am excited to work on this new project under TOFARM. This is the first time I will be heading a competition that celebrates farmers and farming,” Osorio enthuses.

Again with this year’s theme, “Planting the seeds of change”, a total of ten songs were chosen to be this year’s official entries. The finals night is slated on April 9 at the Samsung Hall in SM Aura Premier.

Both TOFARM Film Festival and Songwriting Competition are under the patronage of Dr. Milagros O. How, TOFARM Chief Advocate and Executive Vice-President of Universal Harvester, Inc. Her vision is to give due recognition to the selfless contribution of farmers to the nation.

“Our farmers have been diligently working in the field to make sure we all have food on our tables. It is high time that we celebrate their hard work through popular media so that more people can appreciate their valuable role in our lives,” explains Dr. How. Aside from these undertakings, TOFARM is also behind the Search and Award for Outstanding Farmers of the Philippines, an internationally acclaimed award-giving body that recognizes the achievements of farmers, fisherfolk, livestock raisers, cooperatives, and local government units in the advancement of the agriculture sector.

“We are greatly indebted to our farmers, and we at TOFARM can only do so much to make them feel that all their efforts are sincerely appreciated,” says Dr. How.

Topics: Moonlight Over Baler , O Maliwanag Na Buwan , Vin Abrenica , Sophie Albert , Elizabeth Oropesa , Gil Portes , Eric Ramos , Levi Celerio , Pilita Corrales , Rex Tiri , Francis de Vera , Ellen Adarna , 2nd TOFARM Film Festival
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