Posts Tagged ‘Tiga-Isla’


Gen. Charles E. Kilbourne Initiated the Building of Malinta Tunnel in Corregidor?

June 28, 2019

General Charles E. Kilbourne

Oh well, that’s what I just read today from an article about Malinta Tunnel building on Corregidor Island — birthplace of my forefathers, father and siblings. It was Gen. Charles Kilbourne, then re-assigned to assume the Harbour Defense Command in 1929 who revived the idea of building the tunnel under the Malinta Hill in December 1931. He worked on its realization, initiated and finally got the approval of the building project on January 14, 1932. To lead the construction work, Lt. Paschal N. Strong of the US Army Corps of Engineers was sent over. He arrived in the Philippines in 1932.

So, the idea which got hatched in 1921 started to get realized only in 1932 not 1922 as stated on a sign displayed outside Malinta Tunnel. The use of prison labor from Bilibid prison was said to be also his idea leading to building of prison stockades. The photo of Dr. Selma Harrison Calmes’ father with the prisoners that she graciously allowed me to use in my documentary TIGA-ISLA (The Islanders of Corregidor) is included in the same article simply captioned “Bilibid stockade.”

To read all the details, here’s the link to the article of Mr. John Moffit written on December 12, 2012:

Incidentally, I found just a few days ago, a letter already eaten up by silver fishes written by Gen. Charles E. Kilbourne in reply to I do not know exactly who. Was it my father, or my historian brother who wrote to him? Since Juan Medina whom he mentioned in the letter were grandfather to both, I wouldn’t know until I find a copy of the welcome letter sent to the General that he was referring to. Anyway, what is clear was that he was on a visit here at the time the undated letter was written. Knowing that he died in 1963, I would assume that he was in the country sometime in the 50s for a sentimental journey.

Gen. Kilbourne sounded how well he knew my great granduncle Juan Medina, former municipal president (mayor) of Bo. San Jose, Corregidor. Lolo Juan and my father’s father Mateo were brothers. The latter was appointed as Corregidor municipal councilor in 1906.

Kilbourne Letter_Front

Letter of Gen. Charles Kilbourne in reply either to my father, Ricardo M. Medina Sr. or my historian-brother Isagani R. Medina, both Corregidorians

Kilbourne Letter_Back

kilbourneGen. Kilbourne “was responsible for much of the military development of the island fortress of Corregidor. During his third assignment there [Philippines], from 1908 to 1913, he established the first artillery garrison on Corregidor.” (

We have two other letters written by Gen. Kilbourne, one dated 1936; the other written from Maryland that is undated. Both original copy of the letters were deposited in 2004 at the Pacific War Museum on Corregidor Island. In addition, the Certificate of Appointment of my grandfather Mateo dated 1906, and written in Spanish is also at the museum. Currrently, they are under the care of Corregidor Foundation, Inc.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement_Making Docus

November 19, 2014

For me, it is an achievement to hop around towns in our country to spread Autism and Deaf Awareness through my documentary films — “Alyana” [2006] and “Silent Odyssey” [2008] . From the time I made them some 8 years ago up to now, they continue to be shown in different provinces. The impact has not waned, only the statistics. The power of film cannot be contested…

More than anything, finishing them quite gave me great sense of triumph. All of them took many months to finish: Alyana took me two-and-a-half years; Silent Odyssey and “Tiga-Isla” both took me one-a-half years. The reason??? I started with only some great desire to do them, borrowed cameras especially when I made Alyana and Tiga-Isla, and help from friends. I have no full budget at hand every time I start working on my personal docus, only the belief that I would finish them, come what may — with God behind me in whatever I do, passion and determination to achieve my goals.

DASMA Zone 1A_4

Reaching out to the masses to raise autism awareness; my docu on autism was shown in a covered court at Barangay Zone 1A in Dasmariñas, Cavite last October 24, 2014. On the screen is Alyana.

PSD Before Screening

Parents of Deaf children studying at the Philippine School of the Deaf watched “Silent Odyssey”, a docu touching on Audism/Discrimination, history and Deaf Filipino culture. It advocates for Filipino Sign Language use. Showing was held last September 25, 2014

Tiga Isla Screening

Even “Tiga-Isla,” my historical film docu on prewar Corregidor, the last island that surrendered to the Japanese during World War II still had impact on the viewers though made 11 years ago in 2003. It was shown last week on November 15, 2014. The docu ends with an anti-war sentiment.




September Showings_Target Dates

September 7, 2014

Roadshow Sked of my docus:

September 20 – “Silent Odyssey”, Philippine School for the Deaf in celebration of International Deaf Day

September 28 – “Tiga-Isla” [The Islanders of Corregidor] – Aguinaldo Shrine, Kawit, Cavite, in celebration of Tourism Day

September 15[?] – “Alyana — A Study of Autism in the Philippines”, Dasmariñas, Cavite

All are fully subtitled in English.

More notes: Last Thursday, Architect Jaime Silva was interviewed for a docu on Apolinario Mabini

Additional Notes as of Sept. 18: 1] There will be additional showings Sept 19 at PSD; 2] Tiga-Isla showing in Kawit was moved to October; 3] Showing of Alyana finally sked on September 27


Farewell to a Corregidorian

May 18, 2014

My eldest brother, Virgilio R. Medina, Sr., retired Manila policeman died day before yesterday on the same day my youngest brother, Senen was operated on because of very low blood pressure caused by blood clots and water around his heart. He has been confined since May 8 at the ICU of the Heart Center in Quezon City. We transferred him from a Laguna hospital because of lack of facilities. Another family member has undergone a heart bypass operation on the same day.

My eldest brother was one of my three siblings featured in TIGA-ISLA, my first historical documentary on prewar Corregidor. He was one of my primary sources of information along with my eldest sister, Dr. Ligaya M. Miranda, second president of Metro Manila College in Novaliches, Q.C., and Dr. Isagani R. Medina, professor emeritus of the UP Department of History. The latter was a colleague of Prof. Teodoro Agoncillo, Dr. Bernardita Churchill and Dr. Samuel Tan. All three of them were born in Corregidor.

By now, I do not know how many Corregidorians are still around.


WPC: UNIQUE / Mortar Bullet Craft

February 4, 2013

My family originated from the small, tadpole-shaped island of Corregidor in the Philippines. Now a National Shrine, it was the last island to surrender to the Japanese during World War II. How the civilian people lived there before the war were all tales from my parents and siblings, eight of whom were born there. Some documents and crafts remain that tell of their lives there. The Island became a military stronghold of the Americans when they came, and decided to stay after a mock battle in Manila Bay with the Spaniards in 1898. To help in fortifying the island they named Fort Mills, most of the original inhabitants remained to work with the Americans. One of them was my father who, during his leisure hours engaged in fishing and “bullet crafting.”

Corregidor Artifacts

Artifacts made, used and found in Corregidor Island, Philippines before 1941. They now form part of the exhibit in the Island’s War Museum located at Topside. Items 1, 2 [made of mortar bullets] and Item 5 were my father’s handiwork.

Using an empty mortar bullet, approximately 4” in diameter, my father crafted a lamp [Item 1] using it as his material. To do the relief design on it, the bullet had to be put on fire to soften or make it malleable. He chose the cover of then very popular pre-war magazine called Liwayway [Dawn]. As I imagine the lamp to be according to his description, it would have been something like this [See drawing]. LampBecause of its weight and bulkiness, only its tube was saved from the War. His work is dated 1928. His other metallurgic work was a talcum powder container made of mortar base plate [Item 2]. With a heavy lid and appearing to be of bronze material, it must have father’s gift to my mother. The pair of scissors [Item 3] was also crafted by my father.

All of them can be found with some civilian prewar documents in a small room at the War Museum of the Corregidor Historical Shrine. Toys like the Singer sewing machine, a flat iron that uses charcoal are also displayed in the museum [Items 3 & 4]. All that remained in our possession related to their lives in Corregidor after the fire that destroyed our house in 1998 were donated to the Museum. Fear of another fire tragedy greatly motivated me to donate, not keep the remaining artifacts with us. Most of them are burnt-looking if you will notice because they actually went aflame at that time. I just retrieved them for sentimental reason. One of my father’s creations, a lighthouse about 16” in height, also made in Corregidor fully melted in that fire incident, and of course their pictures during the American period.

The other reason for giving them away is for visitors – local and foreign — to see, or give them concrete idea on how people lived in the island before. No books comprehensively tackle about the civilian lives before 1941. All are centered on the War, and, especially the Fall of Corregidor; to be more precise most of the books focus on the fall or the surrender of the Americans to the Japanese, especially so, on the return of Gen. Douglas McArthur. That’s exactly why I was led to do my first feature-length docu, TIGA-ISLA [The Islanders of Corregidor]. Using oral history, I focused on the socio-cultural lives of the American servicemen, Philippine Scouts and civilians that included my family. But what sparked me the most to work on it was when I visited the island sometime in 2000. Balikbayan Filipinos [specifically those who immigrated to the US] were completely surprised to know that there were villagers in the island, and that it was actually inhabited before. As I’ve said, lack of materials on prewar lives in the island cause that ignorance even up to now. Currently, only hotel workers and maintenance personnel live there.

Corregidor is a must-see historical shrine in our country. I am not saying that because of my affinity to it but because it is one of the actual reminders of the horrors of World War II. It is being kept and preserved by Corregidor Foundation. Unfortunately, the forces of Nature are slowly eroding the structures there including what is called Mile-long Barracks, said to be the longest barracks in the world [].


Silent O and Ultimo A Now in Gallaudet Univ Library

July 10, 2012

Last week, Ms. Diana Gates Moore, Gallaudet University Deaf Collection & Instruction Librarian acknowledged the receipt of Silent Odyssey, my docu on Deaf Filipinos, and Mi Ultimo Adios, the first-ever translation of Dr. Jose Rizal’s last poem in Filipino Sign Language. Now I feel secure about the copies of my work. Burning of our house into ashes in 1998 continue to make me insecure as I live in a crowded place in Pasay City.

At the same time, I am also happy that researchers from the U.S. who want to learn about the plight of the Deaf in the Philippines can now have access to them especially, Silent O, which is the first feature-length docu on Deaf Pinoys. There used to be some students from the U.S. who have asked me for copies. Now, they can go to Gallaudet U for their viewing when they are ready for issue by their students.

Violation or I would say, taking advantage of my trust and confidence led to multiplication and selling online of my first historical documentary on the life of Filipinos before the War in the Island of Corregidor entitled Tiga-Isla by a foreigner who have no respect for another person’s rights.  That experience made me somewhat paranoid and led to losing my confidence on people whom I do not really know. Persons with no delicadeza or kapalmuks doing that have no respect for intellectual property rights. They just think of their own pockets at the expense of their “poor”, literally poor victims. And to think that that person is a lawyer, is really quite appalling.

[Note: I met Ms. Moore at Gallaudet University with my relatives the following year. Click to see photos with Ms. Moore]


Tiga-Isla / The Islanders of Corregidor

May 23, 2011

From deep slumber, I was awakened when I received an unexpected call from Kristine Castro of Suncruises day before yesterday asking me whether I have plan to “sell” copies of my documentary in the island. Why not, I thought. For years, I have managed to stop the selling of the film [I do not know if there is under the table dealing though] by an Australian who started selling it without my knowledge, or at least, without the courtesy I expected of someone whom I believed to be a gentleman. My reason is valid having an attorney-friend studied the agreement which that supposed gentleman prepared, he being an attorney, and which I stupidly signed simply because of trust. Well!  That agreement turned out to be favoring him more than I do, and in fact, it was written in such a way that I would be on a losing end. It had no closure, and he can sell until eternity!!!  That is why my friend told me to talk him out about some revisions on what he had written. I have asked him to do the change. He has agreed in the beginning to do the change on our personal agreement but dilly-dallied later saying he was busy, probably thinking of what he would lose should he do it. Until I came to know that he resisted the clause on accounting for the sales which my attorney-friend included. He actually even detested the action of my friend. Then, so suddenly, and unexpectedly, when I visited the island with a Balikbayan relative, I saw his well-packaged “product” — my film — being sold at Corregidor Inn! My trust having been betrayed, I fumed with anger. I met with the Corregidor Inn authority and went to meet the manager in Manila to tell them the situation. Knowing that I worked on the docu for a year-and-a-half, she immediately phoned the Inn to stop selling the docu.

So, he turned ONLINE. My documentary started selling from his end in Australia for years now, and what do I get? Not a penny! That is how he proceeded with his business. Marketing somebody else’s work. He is selling it online for $25. Click below to see:


I am not a business-minded person, and I have never thought of my work as a commodity but he did, and he did it in such a way that gives the perception of a good and honest collaborator…emphasizing on the words “produced in co-operation with the Corregidor Historic Society. The article below do not mention the other collaborators nor my name. Click below to see


He banked I am sure on my status as a “poor” person who won’t have the means to run after him in Australia to sue him. Well! He is right. For one thing, I have many work to do that requires my attention. I let him yes! Until conscience, if ever he has one, or delicadeza tells him that he had been unjust. I let GOD do whatever he deserves. In God’s time, it will come. I know it.

He may be laughing for my inaction, for letting God to do His way. But being a positive person, I did not take everything negatively. For he should not forget that my film is a vehicle of my expression. When I was working on it, selling the output was never in my thought. I was just thinking of preserving our cultural heritage, of preserving our history which are not found on books. So, I am at an smiling end as well. For I have my consolation. For the people who bought from him thinking that he was the producer and those would who would watch my docu would know, especially the Americans that I detest War; for viewers would see how Corregidor was like, and how the family of Dr. Selma Calmes lived in Topside; the Philippine Scouts in Middleside, and our family in San Jose in Bottomside—simple yet happy. No monkey business despite the literal presence of monkeys!!!

I have learned my lessons too — for I continued to make my docus, but I have refrained and have been conscious of people’s interest in them. Because of that, I have found true, honest, and transparent partners.

I have been quiet for years but now yes, I will make an abridged version of that docu…and for the respect that was gained and lost by a big monkey in it, you will get what you deserve.

Thanks anyway for multiplying copies of my film which you are marketing as if they are yours. I will pray for you so that your conscience guides you on the true and right path. That money alone will not make you live happily ever after!!! That art is long, life is short. Mass duplication of my film will outlast us — you and me!

For the person this blog is meant for…happy reading! From deep slumber, I got awakened to yes!!! the idea of making a version with as I’ve said, sans monkeys. May your tribe decrease!


My Deaf Neighbor

April 26, 2009

I studied Filipino sign language for a year from 2006-2007 but it was only yesterday that I came to know that I have a Deaf neighbor I should have been communicating with.

Walking down Cuneta Ave. on the way home, I met Liza, a Deaf member of Filipino Deaf Women’s Health and Crisis Center (FDWHCC), a group I actually belong too. It was her who saw me first. I was so surprised to see her so I asked where she is staying. We walked towards the road where I pass almost everyday and she pointed at a house with a small store in front of it. It was greatly surprising! Not only because I always pass that way but I used to stop by at that place to have a chat sometimes with an old man who tends his plants with great care, a man with green thumbs. She too was surprised as I showed her where our house is located which must be some 30 steps away from their house.

I first saw Liza at the MRT station a couple of months ago. She is quite small but it was very easy to remember her features. It was a Sunday and I received an invitation from Liway Cabildo for an emergency meeting of FD..When I was walking to go to the Church of Liway located at the corner of EDSA and GMA, I saw her again. When I entered the church’s gate and she entered the gate too, I got an inkling that she must be attending the meeting too. So, I talked to her but she started signing. Only then that I came to know that she is Deaf and that she is a member of FD too. Yesterday, when I came to know that she is my neighbor I felt so happy—I never really knew that there is Deaf in our neighborhood and on top of that, that she is a member of the group I have joined in.

Incidentally, yesterday too, I went to Instituto Cervantes to attend a meeting on “Copyright in the Digital Environment: A Forum for Writers and Publishers.” I was also surprised to meet Deaf students from DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies’ (SDEAS) Ana Arce, Anaditha and Bronson. Giselle who informed me about the forum was their interpreter. Panelists were Atty. Louie Calvario, Dr. Isagani R. Cruz of DLSU and Ramon Sunico of Cacho Hermanos. Although my problem is about my film, I did ask them for their advice re the case of my historical docu TIGA-ISLA / The Islanders [of Corregidor] which is being sold online and being profited by an Australian webmaster. A lawyer named Atty. Adrian Sison offered to help me re the matter.


Advocacine Origin

November 4, 2008

“ADVOCACINE” is a contraction of the words “advocacy” + “cine” [Sp.meaning film]. It was coined by Erlinda “Dang” Koe, President of Autism Society Philippines (ASP) as I am, to my ASP clan an “advocacine artist.” See her column Angels Talk entitled “Alyana: Film educated people about autism.”


Dang actually coined that word long before that article got published probably because I produced the first feature-length documentary film on autism, ALYANA—A Study of Autism in the Philippines and had been going around with it since 2006 to screen it in provinces outside Manila wherever there are requests as part of the autism awareness campaign of ASP.

And since I am actually pursuing the film advocacy path centering on “special people,” I find it appropriate to adopt it and name this blogsite “advocacine” as this will contain the trails my films ALYANA and SILENT ODYSSEY are taking — their past, as I am rather late in starting this blog, their present and my thoughts on the future films that I want to make which focuses on special children and hopefully other marginalized groups as well.

But on the side, I am planning to have a separate section for the other films I have done, have taken part of, or shall be working on which are not advocacy in content. Just so, I can “can” in one whole blogsite my filmmaking activities.

Why I turned to making advocacy films has always been my friend’s question especially those who know me as full-pledged film editor of mainstream films. I have in fact, edited all the films of independent producer-director/ CineManila International Film Festival founder Tikoy Aguiluz from “BOATMAN” (1984) down to “XXX.COM” or “WEBDIVA” (2003). The latter is the first digital film blown up to 35 mm and the first film of Juliana Palermo. To them, I would reply automatically that I have been led to it I feel as I have never really imagined myself to be making documentary films, and on top of that, advocacy in nature.

It was the response to my first feature-length documentary entitled TIGA-ISLA (The Islanders/2003), a historical film on Corregidor Island where my parents and majority of my siblings were born that I have realized the great need for films with in-depth study of the subject, and not half-hazardly done.

See islanders-mirana-medina-2007.html

Incidentally Tiga-Isla was shamelessly multiplied and sold in the island itself by an Australian without notifying me, the rightful and intellectual property owner of the film. Fortunately, I went to the Island to accompany a balikbayan relative. Lo and behold! I saw my own film being sold! (That Australian is suppose to be my economic partner by the way, nevertheless due to my naiveness, if not, stupidity, or simply too much trust…jajajaaaan…well, details to follow in a special section that I am going to write about this to caution other trusting independent filmmakers).

Anyway, after the showing of Tiga-Isla, it made me really deeply think about the importance of giving the audience facts about something they have no knowledge about. With the power of the film medium that I witnessed and experienced myself —film as a means to change attitude and break attitudinal barriers, a means to educate distorted minds, a means to turn the ignorant into knowing souls, a means to give my personal insights across without being didactic—all those came to the fore.

What are the subjects of my interest which would probably be of interest to others too, I mused…

Finally, I have settled on the idea of making a film on sign language—specifically, how sign language is being taught by hearing teachers to Deaf students. I live in Pasay City near the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD). I used to walk to school and had always seen them daily as I often passed in front of PSD. At times when riding back home by jeepney from school, Deaf co-passengers happened to be always there. How I loved watching them sign must have subconsciously etched in my heart! In college, I had a Deaf classmate named Daniel Pantig, I was so happy and got so interested in trying to communicate with him that I have tried really hard to learn fingerspelling. And we did communicate using simply fingerspelling making me think that sign language is pure fingerspelling!!! Oh well! It proved to be wrong afterall. And I came to know that three decades later!

So, I have started to prepare for my film on sign language—by going to the Department of Education, to Philippine School for the Deaf informing them of my intention to make the film. While in the preliminary process towards the direction of making that film I met my niece Eileen Cruz, the mother of Alyana, my grandniece with autism. She asked me then what film I was doing. When I told her that I wanted to make a film on Deaf persons, I still remember it quite vividly when she said: “Igawa mo rin ng film si Alyana.” (Make a film too on Alyana.) She then talked about tuberous sclerosis and autism which never registered in my mind anyway because they sounded so foreign to me. That time, I only knew that Alyana is “autistic” (not even knowing that it is not politically correct to say that but instead one must say, a ‘child/adult/person with autism’). However it was seeing beyond her mother’s eyes, seeing the anxiety of a mother towards the future of a special child, that made me decide to shelve the film on Deaf persons. “If handling what we may call a “normal” person or regular child is difficult enough, what more with coping and handling a child with autism?” I asked myself that night. So, I worked on ALYANA… from 2003 to 2006. Quite long, indeed!

It had not been easy!!! It was sheer determination and passion to do the work that pulled me through. In the case of “Alyana…” —with nothing except P12000, roughly US$240 that I got from the showing of my film “Tiga-Isla” to buy the initial materials, and with a borrowed camera, I started the work which lasted two-and-a-half years. I wrote to seek help in production to nearly a hundred individuals and institutions which I believed would have interest in the subject of autism. Except for one, nobody bothered to reply. Obstacles after obstacles piled up stagnating the work mainly due to lack of funds. A mini-dv camera was finally donated for the purpose before my first year on the work ended but unfortunately it was stolen… from our house…”akyat-bahay” victim you might say. For four months, the work completely stopped. I worked on something instead. It seemed everything’s going hayward and against the work on autism film. Surprisingly, PAGCOR’s help came enough to buy me tapes, also unexpected help from some friends and relatives. So, I continued. Then, there was a stand still. Funds ran out again. Finally at the end of the second year in the making of the film, the National Commission for Culture and the Art’s approval of my proposal for post-production grant was finally approved. It was in 2006, running on its third year that “Alyana…” was finally premiered in July 20 at the UP Film Center in Diliman, Quezon City.

The rest is history. By now “Alyana…” is on its third year (again) in roaming around the country. Currently, “Silent Odyssey” joins in moving around and alternately showing with “Alyana…” The former touches the hearts, the latter touches the minds. But same kind of positive reactions are elicited from all sectors who came to watch the films.

With the belief that I am being led and guided by the Supreme Power in the making of films for the marginalized groups, I believe therefore that I cannot go wrong…whichever path I take and whichever way I go.

Although making a film is for me a struggle, finishing one becomes always a “triumph.”

P.S. After “Alyana…” it should have been an advocacy film on breast cancer that I wanted to pursue but due to lack of support from the group I wanted to make the film for, I went back to my original plan to make a film on Deaf persons. Having become a true believer in God’s guidance through some events which converted me and my thinking while in the process of making my films, I finally decided to fix my goal of making “SILENT ODYSSEY” (2008). There was a short film that I made before which I titled “BREAKING DOWN THE BARRIER” (2007), sort of warm-up to the Silent Odyssey film. It was about my immersion into the study of sign language and my initial experiences being in the Deaf world. A short and funny film about my thoughts, well-received though when it was shown during the International Women’s Film Festival in 2007 preceding the shortest version of Alyana (97 min) which I specially captioned for the Deaf.