ABS-CBN Film Restoration honors the countless contributions of veteran cinematographer Romeo “Romy” Vitug in Philippine cinema in the latest edition of its Sagip Pelikula Spotlight series, featuring the online screening of the 1977 classic “Mga Bilanggong Birhen” on KTX.ph.
Directed by Mario O’Hara and Romy Suzara, and produced by Armida Siguion-Reyna, the period-drama classic serves as a social commentary today during the American colonial era in the 1920s, focusing on the uprising of a revolutionary group, the Pulajanes, and their fight against the ongoing injustices caused by the ruling class. But amidst the bloodshed, political turmoil, and forbidden love ensuing, Cecilia (Alma Moreno) and her sister Milagros (Trixia Gomez) become captives for tarnishing their family’s name in vain. The film also served as one of Romy’s earliest cinematography works in his career.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest cinematographers in the country, Romy is known for his impeccable visual prowess brought about by his vast experience in still photography—amplifying the film’s overall story and tone it evokes in each scene. His keen eye for visual storytelling drew the attention of the industry’s biggest names who have worked with him throughout the years, from Lino Brocka, Mario O’Hara, Laurice Guillen, and Olivia Lamasan.
Following a cinematography career spanning decades since the ’70s with countless local movies and TV series credited to his name, Romy has received multiple distinctions from various award-giving bodies and was named a lifetime achievement awardee by the Cinemanila International Filmfest in 2000, Gawad Urian in 2016, and as a hall-of-fame inductee by the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) in 2019.
Aside from his work as a cinematographer, Romy is also a supporter of Sagip Pelikula’s advocacy of restoring timeless Filipino classics for today’s viewers and future generations to appreciate—continuously amazed by the amount of effort spent in preserving notable titles in the past.
“I feel so happy to see these restored titles, and it makes me feel like we’d just shot the scenes a while ago. I would have hoped that there were these restoration efforts during my time, just as Sagip Pelikula is currently doing,” Romy shared in an interview with ABS-CBN Film Restoration head Leo Katigbak.
Catch “Mga Bilanggong Birhen,” with a special pre-show interview with Romy himself, now streaming on KTX. Tickets are available at https://bit.ly/MBBonKTX for only P150 each.
Apart from “Mga Bilanggong Birhen,” viewers can also catch Romy’s works in the digitally-restored version of “Sa Aking Mga Kamay” and “Ooops Teka Lang… Diskarte Ko ‘To!” on KTX from January 27 to 31. Also streaming alongside are more of his attributed titles, including “Haplos,” “Kung Mawawala Ka Pa,” “Sana Maulit Muli,” and “Ikaw Pa Lang ang Minahal,” among others, until the end of January.
For more details on its upcoming film showings, follow ABS-CBN Film Restoration on Facebook (facebook.com/filmrestorationabscbn), Twitter (@ABS_Restoration), and Instagram (@abscbnfilmrestoration).