A man faces 20 heavily armed goons encircling him. Alone yet undaunted, he draws his gun. Bullets fly. Soon the lone man—wounded with just a few gashes, his clothes slightly torn—stands over the dead guys strewn on the ground. He declares gravely, “Hindi pa tapos ang laban.”
Applause! Once again the hero overcomes.
But, come to think of it, the bida captures our full attention only after he successfully guns down the goons, right?
Throughout the movie we yelled or muttered, “Mamatay ka sana!” at the cruel, brutal, devious, macho kontrabidas. In the end, they earn their karma, good!
For all that—or rather, because they were so good—hats off to the character actors who played their despicable roles to the hilt.
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) pays homage to the men we love to hate: the bad guys of local showbiz. The list is in two categories: the villains of action films and the evil characters of drama.
Eddie Garcia. This veteran actor was first known as a kontrabida during his earlier years in showbiz, before he became a lead in action and sexy-comedy films. He was no ordinary villain. Majority of the kontrabidas in local movies reported to him and called him “Boss.” He was the “Bida ng mga kontrabida” in Philippine showbiz. No other evil character could match his feat.
Eddie portrayed all possible roles for male villains in the movies—from the DOM (dirty old man) in Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayonto the iron-fisted grandfather in Pati Ba Pintig ng Puso, to the corrupt leader in Kapag Puno na ang Salop.
The versatility of Manoy, as he is fondly called, gave him the chance to play the wicked roles opposite Da King Fernando Poe, Jr., Drama King Christopher de Leon, Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos, and even Comedy King Dolphy.
Max Alvarado+.He was the original Lizardo, the arch-nemesis of the late FPJ in the movie Panday and in all its three sequels. Although he was finally slain by the hero Panday in Panday, Ika-apat na Aklat, Lizardo resurrected in the 1993 film adaptation, Dugo ng Panday. Here, Max played the disembodied head of Lizardo.
His portrayal in Ang Kampana sa Santa Quiteria, an FPJ-starrer, won him the FAMAS (Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences) Best Supporting Actor award in 1971. That same year, he was given the same distinction by the Quezon City Film Festival for his performance in Alyas Bagsik.
When he died in 1997 of cardiac arrest, the action-film heroes and fans of local showbiz mourned, “Hindi na natin maririnig ang halakhak ni Mang Max.”
Paquito Diaz and Romy Diaz.These two brothers were commonly seen in the movies of FPJ. Their mission in life was to kill the King of Philippine Movies but they always failed.
Paquito was known for his roles as a filthy-rich character, or as the leader of a syndicate, or sometimes, as a corrupt police officer. By his side were bodyguards, all fully equipped with weapons, who were usually the first targets of the hero's fire power.
Romy, on the other hand, usually ended up as the right-hand man of the main antagonist. He got slapped by the master more than a couple of times because of his foolish acts. His devilish laugh was famous.
The trademark of the Diaz brothers? Their bigote. For a time, women actually avoided moustached suitors whom they associated with the bad characters of Paquito and Romy.
John Regala.John was the reel adversary of Jestoni Alarcon. Their tandem produced action films like Lihim ng Golden Buddha, Walang Panginoon, Babayaran Mo ng Dugo, Kunin Mo ang Ulo ni Ismael, Jerry Marasigan, WPD,among others.
His specialty: drug addict, gang leader or madman. John was also known for his tear-jerking performances as kontrabida. The producers and directors took note and eventually launched him as an action star.
His latest appearance was in the teleserye Mga Angel na Walang Langit, where he portrayed the role of Harry, an unbalanced guy who imprisoned Domeng (Johnny Delgado) in his home to appease Harry’s sister (Sylvia Sanchez).
Jorge Estregan Jr.Who can forget his Mohawk ‘do and punk get-up, with matching chains and spike bracelets? When the son of the late George Estregan entered showbiz almost 20 years ago, he initially bagged the role of a bratty kid. Later, he characterized roles such as a gang leader and even a rapist.
The nephew of former president and action hero Joseph Estrada played kontrabida to big actions stars like Bong Revilla, Lito Lapid, Robin Padilla, Philip Salvador, and Ronnie Rickets.
But in 2004, Emilio Ramon Ejercito III in real life, said goodbye to being a showbiz bad guy to become a good local official in Pagsanjan, Laguna.
Rez Cortez.This B.S. Electronics and Communications Engineering graduate established his contravidapotential in Lino Brocka’s Insiang(1976)as the sleazy suitor of Hilda Koronel’s character.
After his movie break, Rez became a steady cast member of movies top-billed by Nora Aunor (Annie Batungbakal, Bongga Ka Day) and Alma Moreno (Mga Bilanggong Birhen and Rebecca Marasigan).
He also starred in three more Lino Brocka films: Angela Markado(1980), Burgis(1981), and Bayan Ko Kapit sa Patalim(1985).
It was easy to spot him because of his Afro curls. It was easy to note his wicked character because of his thick eyebrows. And it was easy to remember him as an actor because of his versatility—he could be your best friend or the Simon Peter in your group; the man you trust or the rapist; the honest policeman or the syndicate leader.
Rez is one of those few villains who gives justice to both wicked and righteous roles.
Albert Martinez. Before he tried his hand at character acting, Albert used to be one of showbiz’s favorite leading men. His mestizo features made him the perfect screen partner for Dina Bonnevie and Snooky Serna. Eventually, his handsome face defined the drama stereotype for the Pinoy kontrabida.
The Albert who used to be the guy you’d introduce to your parents became the “man with a thousand faces”—obsessed or mentally-disturbed suitor, possessive boyfriend or husband, and perfectionist or strict dad.
Remember his portrayal of Benicio Chuatoco's role in Sa Piling Mo? He was the controlling husband of Catherine (Judy Ann Santos). When Benicio found out that his wife and Adrian Tuazon (Piolo Pascual) used to be childhood sweethearts, he did everything to keep Catherine and Adrian apart.
Benicio was so immersed in his character that when he delivered this line, Catherine was stunned. “Ayaw mo akong maging gago, ha? Hindi mo ako ginustong maging gago, alam mo yan! Kahit kailan kaya kong pumatay para sa’yo!”
Albert also made life difficult for the screen characters of Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos, Joyce Jimenez, and Lorna Tolentino.
Edu Manzano. The witty, humorous Edu Manzano used to be a “Too bad you’re bad” movie character. He was a just a bit player as kontrabida, but his portrayals were impressive. He was devious, big-headed, and even played a wife beater. He worked with the finest actors in Philippine cinema: FPJ, Vilma Santos, Sharon Cuneta, Dina Bonnevie, Maricel Soriano, Christopher de Leon, and Lorna Tolentino.
Remember his role in Ama, Ina, Anak? Imagine Angelica Panganiban’s fear when he boomed, “Ilayo niyo ang batang iyan sa harapan ko!”
His latest portrayal of Ariston Borromeo in the TV remake of Walang Kapalit proves that Edu still has what it takes to be bad.
Pen Medina.He personifies the saying, “Tahimik ngunit mapanganib.”
Pen earned the ire of moviegoers when he played the role of booty-bandit Gabino in Deathrow. He turned the life of 16-year-old prisoner Sonny (Cogie Domingo) into a living hell. After several days of bullying Sonny, Gabino cornered the hapless teenager and sodomized him.
His most notable performance was when he played Hagorn in Encantadia, one GMA-7’s grandest production and most popular TV series. Christopher de Leon was said to be envious of Pen for bagging the role of the power-hungry King of Hatoria, who became the main adversary of the four Sang’gre sisters Amihan (Iza Calzado), Alena (Karylle), Danaya (Diana Zubiri), and Pirena (Sunshine Dizon) who turned out to be his daughter.
PEP’s other choices are Efren Reyes, Jr., Bomber Moran, Charlie Davao, Ruel Vernal, Dick Israel, and Roi Vinzon for action movies. And there’s the Eigenmanns—Michael de Mesa and Mark Gil—and sometimes, father and son Eddie Gutierrez and Tonton Gutierrez for drama.
SPECIAL THANKS:PEPsters Loi Reyes Landicho and Sheryll D. Remo for sharing your list with us and to www.nostalgiamanila.blogspot.com for Max Alvarado’s photo.