Kubrador and Collecting on Ninoy's Bet

We caught the award-winning movie by Jeffrey Jeturian, Kubrador (The Bet Collector), at SM Megamall the other day. A fourth of the movie house was not even filled -- well, maybe because it is a long weekend.

How did we find it? As usual, with all the good things said about the movie, I expected more. It is an interesting film though -- if only to find out about how jueteng (an illegal numbers game prevalent in the Philippines) goes. I don't know how factual or how well-researched the movie is. I did learn though that you only choose 2 numbers to make a bet, can bet as low as 25 centavos or a peso, and can hit P180,000 with just a P200 bet!

The film does not have much of a story. It's more like a day in the life of Amy (ably portrayed by Gina Pareno), the jueteng kubrador or bet collector. The ending leaves a lot of things hanging -- probably done by the director on purpose, similar to how the government's battle versus jueteng has been left hanging, if not totally non-existent.

The script is very funny and witty though ("Lunes na lunes, e...") and Gina Pareno has her acting (or should I say "non-acting") moments. It offers a glimpse into a segment of Philippine society that people on the internet probably do not get exposed to directly. It was interesting how certain "elements in life" correspond to specific numbers in placing a jueteng bet, but after seeing the concept used repeatedly, the approach got pretty tiring. The movie is a good portrayal of different aspects of Philippine culture -- from the things we like to the things we don't like. Watch out too for well-groomed Soliman Cruz in his brief role in the movie.

Should you go out and watch the movie? If you have the time, it would still be good to see. If your schedule is tight and you miss it -- that's alright too.

Speaking of bets, it is August 21, 2006 in Manila today. Today marks the 23rd death anniversary of Ninoy Aquino. Viloria.com requests its readers to say a brief prayer for his soul and more importantly, for our nation, the Philippines. When Ninoy decided to come home in 1983, he bet his life for the Filipino whom he believed was worth dying for. Twenty-three years later, we are still far from having a society or a political system which will truly make the Philippines a winner. I believe that that time will still come -- if not in our lifetime, then several generations after us. Ninoy will collect on his bet by then and the Philippines, just like any winner, shall take it all.

As author Jostein Gaarder says: "Life is a lottery where only the winning tickets are visible."

[By Angelica Viloria | Monday, August 21, 2006]

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