Panoorin ang ‘Hari ng Tondo’ kasama ang pamilya at mga kaibigian. Masaya, makabuluhan, at napapanahon, sinasalamin ng pelikulang ito ang buhay Pinoy, kaya makaka-relate ka sa mga scenes, depende sa estado mo sa buhay. Sa kabuuan, lalabas ka ng sinehan na inspired para simulang may baguhin sa sarili o may matutunang bago.
SYNOPSIS: Hari ng Tondo follows Ricardo, a wealthy businessman who, after learning he is about to go bankrupt, returns to Tondo, where he grew up, against the wishes of his children. He brings his two grandchildren along to teach them about life.
GENRE: Drama, Family
DIRECTOR: Carlos Siguion-Reyna
WRITER: Bibeth Orteza
CAST: Robert Arevalo | Liza Lorena | Rez Cortez | Aiza Seguerra | Cris Villonco | Ciara Sotto | Rafa Siguion-Reyna | Lui Manansala | Gian Magdangal | Lorenz Martinez | Menggie Cobarrubias | Carlos Canlas | Mark Tayag | Raul Montesa | Jelson Bay | Hans Eckstein | Gino Ramirez
“Hari ng Tondo” is a story of self-discovery, set against the background of the divide between the rich and the poor.
We’ve all heard tales about Tondo and the rich history of its people. Today, it represents people who seem to be caught in an endless cycle of poverty. But some, like Ricardo (Robert Arevalo), are able to work their way through life and find success outside Tondo. Some even become legends, heroes, and revolutionaries.
And this is what Ricardo wants to be, coming back to Tondo—a hero, maybe even a king, to a community he seemed to have forgotten while we was living comfortably in affluent Makati. And he could, couldn’t he?
This is a film that puts all its energy on the story by Bibeth Orteza. The technical aspect disappears, and perhaps that was a deliberate move from director Carlos Siguion-Reyna. The film is successful in capturing the Filipino spirit, culture, and habit both good and bad. The cast, led by Arevalo, gives a believable performance. Music is a big part of Pinoy culture and is used effectively in this movie, courtesy of Myke Salomon.
Going back to Tondo, Ricardo quickly learns that things have changed. The apartment building he owns and rents out to families in Tondo has not kept up with progress and in many ways degraded, a reflection of the life of the families.
They seem to have resigned to helplessness in their situation. A lady who occupies a room in the same apartment shared Ricardo and his grandchildren endures battery by her boyfriend. Ricardo’s friend and caretaker of the apartment building at one point tells him: “hindi namin kasalanan na naging ganito kami”, implying it’s the rich who are to blame for the condition of their lives.
This condition has created an environment Ricardo hopes his grandchildren will learn lessons from: rejection, the fluidity of sexuality, the guts to take on the disgusting and general brawn.
The grandchildren at first, surprisingly, survive in the environment, even begin to thrive in it. They are motivated by the fact that it is a temporary arrangement. Unlike the people in Tondo, they can leave anytime they want. And that they do. Faced with challenges too great, they decide to run away. Even though they volunteered and wanted to learn, they realize they couldn’t stand it. They realize they couldn’t change themselves that fast.
Ricardo realizes this, too. If he couldn’t help change his grandchildren for the better, how can he hope to change a community. In one grand sequence, Ricardo walks along the streets of Tondo and for the first time really sees the miserable situation. He ends his tour in a huge garbage dumpsite and breaks down. He isn’t a king after all.
Success and money don’t create a king; they do not give anyone the power to change the people around us, or the society, no matter how good the intention.
But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying. It all starts within us, with the realization that something is wrong, something has to change, we need to get out of the cycle–whether that’s a cycle of comfortable obliviousness to the problems of our own society, or a cycle of hopeless poverty. ♦