Kaaway Ng Babae (1948)
Directed by Nemesio E. Caravana
Story by Nemesio E. Caravana, serialized in Ilang-Ilang
Screenplay by Nemesio E. Caravana
His mother consoles the jilted Daniel.
Daniel: 'Inay, ang baso ng whisking ito'y mas
mahalaga pa sa isang babae!
A prominent local critic, while watching Kaaway ng Babae for the first time in 1988, made this remark, supposedly in jest: "This is probably the first Filipino gay film, but the filmmakers weren't aware of it." Kaaway ng Babae is not a gay film, of course, but a light farce about a woman-hater, perhaps even a black comedy, wherein a prominent society bachelor, Daniel Ricamora (Jose Padilla Jr), after his third and most traumatic experience with a woman, decides to turn his back on womankin d for the rest of his life. "Sumpain ang mga babae!," he exclaims.
Together with his best male buddies, Daniel makes everyone take a solemn vow to curse all women: "Kaming mga kaaway ng babae ay buong pusong sumusumpa… na tatalikod nang lubusan sa mga naka baro't saya!"
Lilia Dizon as Lydia/Tenorio
The group goes on a self-imposed exile to an island owned by Daniel's family and Daniel immediately instructs the island's caretaker, Mang Pedro, to rid the entire island of all women. Mang Pedro quickly cuts off the hair of his lovely daughter, Lydia (Lilia Dizon), and dresses her up like a man. She changes her name to Tenorio and is introduced to Daniel. To her surprise, he makes her his bodyguard.
Tenorio soon becomes one of the 'boys' and joins every activity the bored young men engage in - like boxing matches, track and field, even 'bunung-braso.' Once, during a drinking session, the guys engage in woman-bashing again, using some of the funniest dialogue ever written for the local screen - "ang babae ay apoy na nakasusunog ng kaluluwa", "ang babae ay ampalayang nababalot ng asukal."
(from left) Armando Goyena, Armando Canseco, Bayani Casimiro, Lilia Dizon, Jose Padilla Jr, Luis San Juan, Alfonso Carvajal
All this negative talk about women is upsetting Tenorio and she asks Daniel why he dislikes women so much. He relates his story in flashback. He'd had two bad experiences with women, he explains, but he easily got over them, but the third and last turned him into an ardent woman hater. He had met this pretty waitress (Carmencita Palma), and because of his influence, turned her into a big movie star, with the screen name of Delia Razon. (This was before there was a real star who was given th at same screen name).
Carmencita Palma as Delia Razon hits
the big time, thanks to Daniel.
They had a serious romantic relationship and planned to wed soon. But on the wedding day, Delia failed to show and instead sent him a letter saying she had run off with one of her on-screen lovers. 'Wag mong nilalahat, hindi lahat ng babae ganon…' counters Tenorio, but Daniel will not be swayed.
The situation on the island is suddenly complicated by the arrival of a group of young women who are ostensibly on vacation. Daniel is furious and sets up a barrier separating the men and the women. Tenorio patrols the barrier to make sure there are no defections. The two sides jeer, argue, and even sing about the merits of being either male or female.
"…Gumuho't natupok ang imperyong Roma
Ang dahila'y itong magandang si Cleopatra…"
But Daniel's gang, upon seeing the lovely and sexy women, begins to realize the foolishness of their situation and one night, with Daniel asleep, the guys pair off with the girls. Tenorio immediately reports this act of insubordination to Daniel who orders Tenorio to punish each of the guys with a resounding slap on the face.
The resentment against Tenorio grows and Martin (Bayani Casimiro), decides to spy on her/him. He soon has appalling news for everyone - every Sunday, Tenorio picks fresh flowers and takes them to a grave - a woman's grave, and there she sings a hauntingly sad song. The gang catches her in the act and Daniel hits Tenorio in anger.
Tenorio and her father are angry and hurt beyond words, for the grave happens to be that of Tenorio's mother. She finally reveals the truth - that she is Lydia, a woman, nothing more, nothing less. She and her father hastily leave the island.
Daniel becomes extremely depressed, and one by one, the members of his gang desert him. Eduardo (Alfonso Carvajal) minces no words. "Kahit na paliguan mo ng tampal ang aking mukha, ako'y naniniwalang hindi maaring mabuhay ang paruparo kung walang bulaklak…" The guys give Daniel a photo of Lydia, and the distraught young man finally comes to his senses.
Daniel confides in his mother, Dona Aurora, and finds out that the presence of the young girls on the island was her idea. He vows to find Lydia, wherever she may be. They finally meet again, and Daniel sees her for the first time as she really is, a beautiful woman, her hair grown back, no trace of his former bodyguard Tenorio. At first Lydia will not be moved, but Daniel shows his sincerity by a display of melodramatic masochism (Daniel accepts the blows on his face inflicted by Lydia's ba kya). Feeling sorry about Daniel's bleeding face, Lydia finally admits her true feelings for him. Daniel's old buddies reappear; the old gang's reunited, it seems, but with one big difference. Each one's got his own lady partner now.
NOTES: DVD is a burned copy only but guaranteed copied
from the only existing master copy.
Copying is done entirely by LVN Pictures.
This vintage video is not a restored version.
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