Posts Tagged ‘Virginia R. Moreno’


Virginia “Aling Barang” Reyes Moreno: “Matahari”

August 16, 2021

Aling Barang once told me that she was writing her memoirs; its title is “Matahari.” I wonder whether she managed to finish it because at the time of my visit, she was quite busy with J. Moreno Foundation activities.

[R to L]: Aling Barang, Jorge Arago, Hilario “Mang Larry” Francia, Rodrigo Paras-Perez? at the book launching of my brother’s {Isagani R. Medina) book, “Cavite Before the Revolution,” Balay Kalinaw, U.P., 1994. (Photo by Mirana)
Happy Together
VRM’s Birthday 2019 / Photo by Mirana
VRM’s Personalized/Autographed Invite
Aling Barang’s Signature
Poetry Reading 2005 Flyer signed Aling Barang by VRM; Mang Raul Ingles and Ms. Deana Ongpin-Recto

MANILA, Philippines — The poet, playwright and arts organizer Virginia “Virgie” Reyes Moreno died on Saturday morning after a lingering illness. She was 98.

Known for her grace and graciousness, Moreno earned lofty monikers such as “The High Priestess’’ or “Empress Dowager of Philippine Poetry”—conferred by no less than National Artist for Literature Jose Garcia Villa—both for her published works and the energy she devoted to stoking the creative spirit of likeminded artists who held her in high esteem.

She was the only female member of Villa’s coterie of younger writers known as “The Ravens.”

Moreno published only one collection of poems, “Batik Maker and Others,” but it was a slim volume of peak lyrical power when it came out in 1972. The titular piece “Batik Maker” and “Order for Masks,” for example, went on to become gems in Philippine literature in English, featured and studied in textbooks. The collection won first prize in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature.

Tondo girl

Moreno was born in Tondo, Manila, on April 24, 1923. She was the older sister of the late fashion designer Jose “Pitoy” Moreno, himself an icon in his field. (She later headed a foundation set up in his memory.)

eir father, a ship captain, died when Virgie was about 6 years old. The siblings were then raised by their mother, a rice trader, at a house on Juan Luna Street in Gagalangin.

Moreno earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of the Philippines (UP) and pursued further studies at the Kansas Institute for International Education, the British Film Institute and the International Writing Program in Iowa.

In 1976, she became the founding director of the UP Film Center, around the same time she was teaching humanities at the state university.

Outside the academe, she chaired the Unesco Culture Committee of the Philippines.

In 1984, she received the SEAWrite Award in recognition of her stature in the arts and letters of Southeast Asia. In 1991, the French government named her Chevalier (knight) in the Ordre des Palmes Academiques, a national honor bestowed on academics for their valuable contributions to education and science.

‘Onyx Wolf’

As a playwright, Moreno is best known for “The Onyx Wolf,” which won the National Historical Playwriting Contest in 1969. The play is also known as “La Loba Negra” and “Itim Asu.”

Adapted for dance and staged in 1970, 1984 and 1990, “Itim Asu” was scheduled for another run starting February 2020 as part of Ballet Philippines’ 50th season at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, with music by National Artist Antonino Buenaventura and choreography by Alice Reyes. The author was able to join the audience for a special one-off presentation, before the rest of the performance dates were canceled due to the pandemic.

Moreno’s wake will be held at Funeraria Paz at Manila Memorial Park, Parañaque City, on Aug. 16. The family on Saturday said that due to community quarantine restrictions, viewing will be for family members only.

Burial will be on Aug. 17. An online memorial will be held on the ninth day after her death, details of which will be announced soon.

“Ultimo Adios’ in Filipino Sign Language; showing sponsored by J. Moreno Foundation; a repeat showing was held at Cafe Orfeo in December
My last talk with Aling Barang was in April 2021 on her birthday. I couldn’t go to her place because of pandemic scare and restrictions. On the phone, she was excited talking about her plans. Last Friday, August 13, Sheila informed me that Ms. Moreno was back home, bedridden after hospitalization. I was surprised. From Tikoy, I came to know about her passing away. Lockdown however, prevents us from going to the Memorial Park to pay our tribute to her. Ms. Moreno was my professor in Humanities, and the one who recruited me to work as researcher at the UP Film Center. It is to her that I owe my being a film editor. She sent me to the Film and Television Institute of India to study. I am forever grateful! We shall all miss you Aling Barang! [Photos & Flyers: MRM collection]

Tikoy Aguiluz’s art of waves, whorls and wings

August 31, 2019

Posting late but as they say, better late than never….

“A fortnight after joining a group show at Sining Kamalig, Tikoy Aguiluz had his first one-man show at Kanto Gallery in Makati Central Square. Billed as “Rara Avis,” the exhibit opened on June 8, with Virginia R. Moreno cutting the ribbon with the assistance of Jun Factoran. Another guest of honor, Nestor Vinluan, came a little late for the opening rite.

Other artist-friends in attendance included Pandy Aviado, Heber Bartolome, Gus Albor, filmmaker Onin Delotavo Tagaro, who co-directed the Urian award-winning documentary, Yield, and filmmaker/producer Toshihiku Uriu, owner of the gallery and the Tiu Theater (with a screening room and a sound stage) also at Makati Central Square. Uriu is also the co-producer of Aguiluz’s film-in-progress, Pisonet.

Tikoy, a.k.a. Amable R. Aguiluz VI, who has won various awards for his notable documentaries and feature films, started with his recent spate of artworks in late 2017 when he took a three-month residency in Sri Lanka.

Rara Avis Xhibt

Film Director Tikoy Aguiluz, friend and UP Film Center colleague I have worked with for decades as his film editor, and I holding the drawing I have chosen from one of his sketchbooks. Ms. Virginia R. Moreno cut the ribbon to open the exhibit.

He says he made it a daily habit in the beginning of 2018, producing what were basically sketches for oil paintings, but that these developed a life of their own. For these sketches, he used a Bic ballpen and different kinds of Pentel pens, mostly black but sometimes blue.

To read Krip Yuson’s article full article: “Tikoy Aguiluz’s art of waves, whorls and wings”, please click the following link:



UP Film Center Reunion with Ms. Virginia R. Moreno on Rizal’s Birthday

June 22, 2017

Last January 19, Jose Rizal’s birthday J.Moreno Foundation hosted through its President Virginia R. Moreno, Founder of the UP Film Center the reunion of the former and current staff of the UP Film Center. Supposed to have been a celebration of the 41 Aprils of Cinema Artists, it has been moved to coincide with Rizal’s birthday. Because of that, I have had the chance of screening my film MI ULTIMO ADIOS, the first-ever interpretation of the poem in Filipino Sign Language, and the 123rd version of the poem. Aldrin Gabriel, the Deaf actor attended. Cannes Palme d’Or winner Raymond Red was present.

Ultimo _ smaller file


Aldrin Gabriel [Deaf actor], UP Film Center Founder Ms. Virginia R. Moreno, and me, original staff of UPFC

After the screening, Aldrin thanked all those who watched our film. He said he was very happy to see hearing people watching a Deaf film. Rizal descendant Ms. Lisa Tinio-Bayot was as happy for having the film shown. She was unable to come because they also celebrated the birthday of her lolo Jose.

[Note: Preparing the exhibit with Clare Salaverria and Sheila Red was fun and quite reminiscent of what we used to do decades ago at the Film Center. All photos here were courtesy of Aldrin except for the poster]


Remembering the UP Film Center

September 30, 2016

Tree planting ritual was part and parcel of celebrating important events at the UP Film Center, then headed by its co-founder, first Director, and my Humanities Professor, Ms. Virginia R. Moreno. I worked there as an artist-researcher, and was later sent as scholar to the Film and Television Institute of India.

Now, as Board Member and Gawad Metronian Educational Foundation Inc.’s [GMEFI] Community and Educational Fund Assistance Program Head, I thought of adopting the tree planting idea for GMEFI as part of Metro Manila College Foundation Day Celebrations. GMEFI is MMC’s Community Social Responsibility arm. Since a tree is one of the major design elements of GMEFI’s logo, it has become more than just replicating the UP Film Center’s activity. GMEFI scholars, I thought could be likened to a young plant which has to be nurtured to be able grow properly, and become productive in the future.


The mango seed that I planted and tended was sent to MMC to grow within the compound where the centennial-old Katipunan tree is located. Above are some of the Gawad Metronian scholars. The activity was held last September 27.



An Evening with Virginia R. Moreno, Poet-Playwright

April 27, 2014

My Humanities Professor, poet and playwright Ms. Virgie Moreno, co-founder of the UP Film Center celebrated her birthday yesterday. It was held in the house of Pitoy Moreno, Aling Barang’s brother. She was born on the 24th though. A few close friends and members of her family attended. Only Placid and I, from the original staff of the UP Film Center were present. Met cinematographer Kuya Romy Vitug, writer Corito Llamas, President and descendant of Teresita Reyes of the famed “Mama Sita’s,” Ms. Clarita Kalayaan R. Lapus, Celestial, Jimmy Cruz, and Dr. Suzette, also a former student of Ms. Moreno.

Quite an enjoyable and cozy evening with our esteemed and dear “Aling Barang” who was responsible for sending me to the Film and Television Institute of India to study film making. She recruited me then as researcher of the UP Film Center.

VRM Bday

Group Photo with Aling Barang [seated]. [R to L]: Jimmy, Celestial, MM, Dr. Suzette, Corito, Elaine, Placid, Mr. Reyes…

VRM Bday_selfie

Selfie on the mirror of Pitoy Moreno. Photos of Pitoy with his guests are displayed on the table.

Watch Miss Moreno and her writer friends including Nick Joaquin in the video below that I shot 10 years ago.


Asia-Pacific Film School – Broken Dream

December 1, 2011

With the presentation over for the CBR Meet Session – Working with Media, am now back to work and finish the FSL-Fil-with English subtitles version of A mi Patria. After which I’ll do the FSL-English version with Spanish subtitles [is it?].  Getting confused sometimes. He!He! This is being done while waiting for the final music composition due on December 12 for FSL. Reader for My Last Farewell is Rex Flores, Production Designer of the project. [Thanks Rex for the TY work!] He has good voice projection so I have asked him to read it in place of Vim Nadera who was then in the U.S. during our scheduled shoot. I had to reshoot it because of the nagging ambient sound – chirping birds returning to their nests  – ‘positioned’ outside the room where we held the shoot. By 5 pm they started to grow in number. When I reviewed the materials, I couldn’t really take the distractions. The place used to be the editing room when I was still working as one of the workshop facilitators at the UP Film Center. Since almost all the readers for the English and Filipino versions were from UP CAL, I decided to hold it there instead of CSB Theater which was the most practical thing to do. Unfortunately, all the avr’s at UPCAL have earlier skeds. The UP CSSP wouldn’t want to lend their AVRoom to outsiders.

Up to now, I am wondering why the UP Film Center do not have a proper sound booth when sound is as important as the picture! Well! It must have been designed to be simply a theater… If only the dream of Ms Virginia Moreno, UP Film Center Founder to eventually make it into an Asia-Pacific Film School was realized, everything film students need must have been provided by now – and centralized! How I wish there is a film school here subsidized by the government which is similar to the Film and Television Institute of India where I studied. Sayang talaga! But I am still hopeful…


The Filipino poet as filmmaker in the 1986 People’s Revolution

February 24, 2011

The article below was written by Ms. Virginia R. Moreno, a good and close friend of Quijano de Manila, the owner of Cafe Orfeo where artists and poets used to converge somewhere in Ermita, and my former director, U.P. Film Center Founder. “Aling Barang” as we fondly called her is the person who sent me to the Film and Television Institute of India to study filmmaking. The following essay won the “Creative Planet Prize” presented at the 2000 Cannes International Film Festival.

THE POET filming the 1986 Philippine Revolution and running after its spirit is like hunting the wild tamaraw found nowhere else in the world. Both the hunting and the filming are better left to us natives since, we imagine, we are in [the tamaraw’s] skin and running on its legs, this elusive animal is in us, our psyche. The illusion is that we own ourselves, and that no stranger or outsider can trap us, even only on camera. How that spurs on the young filmmakers!

In the last four days of the February “flower over gun” uprising, there was a third “army” of transistor-carrying Filipinos—men, women, children, trailed by vendors of cigarettes and fish balls. Called out by the rebel generals over the one remaining radio station into the streets, they ran with prayer beads and flowers to surround and protect the camp of the rebel generals. Called out again by the rebel generals to meet the rolling enemy tanks charging from the dictator’s palace, they rushed with kisses, flowers and bananas to stop the tanks and win over the dictator’s Army men in those tanks. The “battle” movements of this “people’s army” were orchestrated by broadcasters and anchor women hooked up with the rebel generals. What a far cry from the primitive tom-toms, smoke signals and World War I pigeon message carriers! The use of the transistor radio for winning a war without guns, is peculiar to this Philippine Revolution of modern times, while the lucky filmmaker found epic battles to film as director on his own, with a free “army” cast of throngs moving on kilometric highways, helicopter umbrellas in the sky and commanding generals for movie stars.


Like a prophet, I had predicted, on witnessing the filming of the Vietnam War by Francis Ford Coppola in the Philippines, the rise of the Filipino filmmaker afterwards as “Director General” in a war film set. Such as this one?

Making a film and conducting a war are the same acts. Generals and film directors are faces of one coin. They both dominate over people and wield life-and-death powers on their film wars. Like God, they are omnipotent.

Except, unlike real battles, a film can have a “reel” life, an afterlife that can live over and over again on screen, and the filmmaker survives over generals, as director of that “immortal” film.

(Source: The-Filipino-poet-as-filmmaker-in-the-1986-Peoples-Revolution)



January 11, 2009


“Yuta: Earthworks by Julie Lluch”
was Julie’s retrospective exhibition of terra cotta works spanning 30 years. It was held at the Cultural Center from October to December 2008. “Better late than never” they say. So no matter how late I am, I have  uploaded my photo files just the same to share with you and hopefully enjoy. You won’t regret if you do. That’s guaranteed! (Click on “Yuta Fotos” under the page “Film Show Respite” on the right column)

Attending exhibits is one of those rare activities that I do in between film documentation work. Anyhow, it turned out to be a documentation just the same as I took snap shots of her works that were exhibited there.

I first met Julie about a couple of years ago one April evening in the house of UP Film Center Founder-Director Virginia R. Moreno located at Malvar St., Malate, Manila. It was Aling Barang’s birthday. Her grand celebration wasn’t held on that day. But still April 24 was her day and a handful of us—maybe not more than five—paid her a visit. It was a very simple and cozy gathering. I have footages shot on that day.

Julie’s exhibit was very successful. Her interpretations were superb and awesome. Her dexterity on the use of clay displayed great control of the medium. She managefriedad to get the essence of all her subjects, especially that of Van Gogh, Picasso and Frieda Kahlo!!! Also the literary artists Jose Villa Panganiban, Nick Joaquin, Adrian Cristobal, etc. I do not know her subjects personally but many were popular and literary celebrities so they all seemed familiar.  I had a great time shooting at the exhibitmodel-and-modeled especially when I chanced upon the actual models standing or posing by their sculpted images.

Julie is well-known to be a prolific artist but it was just my first time to attend her exhibit. Well, probably because I got a personal invitation from her. That made a whole lot of difference I guess. There was no feeling that I was gate crashing.

With Alma and Aureus

With Alma Quinto (L) and Aureus Solito (Ctr)

During the exhibit, I met a few artist-friends, among them Alma Quinto,  Aureus Solito, director of “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros,” and Rembrant Vocalan, one of the cameramen of my first historical docu (Tiga-Isla) whom I later came to know was the exhibit’s photographer. However, both Julie and I wondered why Aling Barang failed to come anyway. Or, was VRM late??? (I left CCP early…)

All the photos that I took were shot using available lights. I only used my video camera’s digital photo shot to record. No enhancement was made to any of the photos.

For more re her exhibit click
Julie Lluch’s ‘Yuta’: A retrospective