I just finished watching a Filipino movie entitled Strangers in Paradise which was directed by the late film genius Lino Brocka. The story was initially set in an unidentified secluded island where a girl grew up alone (but was later befriended by a hunky local island boy) and was ostracized by her Tagalog-speaking tribe-mates for she was a child conceived and born out of wed lock. The island girl met a young Hawaii-based Filipino-speaking tourist who decided to bring her to Hawaii (which wonders me how did this young Filipino tourist was able to secure a US-Hawaii Visa for the island girl). In Hawaii, the island girl was still detested yet encountered an unexpected truth about her past.
For me, the movie Strangers in Paradise is divided into three equal parts. The first part had very minimal dialogues and seems to look like a mini-soft-porn. It featured nothing but the incredibly sexy body of the female lead character Mauana (played by Snooky Serna), the boy-next-door charm and flawless skin of Antonio (played by Lloyd Samartino) and the to-die-for hunky flesh of the island boy (played by Tom Babauta).
The second part seems to have looked like a mini-travel show ala The Lonely Planet featuring the cultural dances and sights of Hawaii. Then the flick for its final part suddenly became a mini-soap opera that features the predictable twists and turns of a typical Pinoy afternoon TV drama.
Nevertheless, what is good about the movie is it’s not being a love story where the characters at the end would live happily ever after or had a sad ending where they ended up in tragic turns of event. Amazingly, the ending was neither happy nor sad. The ending was just true to what a typical life is.
But the main reason why I have always wanted to watch the film is because I was longing to recall and review how Tom Babauta looks like. Thanks to Kuki Catindig, the effervescent aficionada of Snooky Serna, for giving me a DVD copy of the movie.
Young adults today may not know this, but it was the name of this B-list actor that gave birth to the coinage of a local slang that proliferated in the late ‘80s until mid ‘90s. Out of Pinoy’s crazy yet cunning uniqueness, the name Tom Babauta during those times was conceived to mean gutom (hungry). Often times, Pinoys a decade ago would say “Tom Babauta na ko” when they meant “Gutom na ako” (I’m already hungry).
Tom Babauta may have not contributed in the enrichment of Philippine cinema or may have not even acted very well in his role in Strangers in Paradise but his name has definitely been immortalized in the Pinoy pop-culture neologism.
Mabuhay ka Tom Babauta!