At 2 pm this coming Saturday, November 15, my first feature-length documentary entitled Tiga-Isla, a historical film on pre-war Corregidor will be shown at NHCP-Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite. The film is about the lives of some of the residents who lived there before World War II. Three of my siblings, now all deceased and four others including their elementary school teacher, Ms. Simeona Fragante of Cavite City were interviewed for the film. They are personal accounts of their experiences there. I made the film to share their stories that are unknown to most Filipinos. Fortunately, an American doctor, Dr. Selma Calmes Harrison, who was born there joined us during the shooting proper.
My historical consultant and of course one of my interviewees was my brother Dr. Isagani R. Medina, a historian. In fact, he was one of the reasons why I pushed through with the film’s making. Knowing how much he loved his birthplace, I thought that it would help in keeping his spirit alive at the time when he was bedridden. When he saw the final output, he was overjoyed. It must have been because his childhood memories were relived as I found archival materials to complement their stories. When I asked him what grade would he give me for my research, he said: “Excellent! or “1”. Hearing it from a strict history professor, and seeing his happy reaction, I was as happy as he probably was.
Formerly called Fort Mills, Corregidor is now a national historical shrine. It used to be an American military fort and was noted for being the place where Escuela Pia, the first American public school was established. My mother studied there. During the Japanese period in the Philippines, it was notably the last island to surrender to the Japanese. Produced in 2003, to be shown however is the shorter version of the film.
Tiga-Isla was premiered at the CineManila International Film Festival in 2003, and was also shown at the New York Filipino Film Festival (2005), and the Chicago-Filipino-American Film Festival (2007) in the U.S.A.