Kidlat Tahimik

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Kidlat Tahimik (Photo by "Christian Cabuay" c/o Some rights reserved.)

Eric De Guia, also known as Kidlat Tahimik, (born 3 October 1942 in Baguio City, Philippines) is an internationally acclaimed indie filmmaker and writer who is best known for his work, Mababangong Bangungot(Perfumed Nightmare), for which he won the Berlinale International Film Critics Jury Prize in 1977.

The film tells the story of a jeepney driver who fulfills his dream of going to Europe but was later forced to confront his colonial mentality about the West. It gave birth to the character Kidlat Tahimik (quiet lightning), a name Eric De Guia adopted for his own.


Early life

Eric De Guia is the son of Victor De Guia, an engineer, and Virginia Oteyza, a former film actor who became mayor of Baguio City in the 1950s. He finished elementary education at Maryknoll Convent School in 1954 and later graduated from St. Louis University’s Boys’ High School in 1958. In 1963, on his last year as a Speech and Drama major at University of the Philippines - Diliman, he became the president of the UP Student Council. He worked on his MBA at the Wharton School of Business in the University of Pennsylvania.


After obtaining his MBA, De Guia wrote reports for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris in 1968. In 1971, he worked in a farm in Norway, where his transformation as an artist began. He went on to sell memorabilia at the Munich Olympics in 1972. He tore up his MBA diploma and decided to live as an artist after living in an artists’ commune. He was cast by Werner Herzog as a bit player in The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser in 1974. Herzog inspired him to take up filmmaking.

De Guia returned to the Philippines with film student Harmut Lerch, who became his cameraman. They started filming Mababangong Bangungot in 1975, wherein De Guia also acted . Perfumed Nightmare was also screened in 20 festivals. Tom Luddy of Pacific Film Archives at Berkeley brought the film to the attention of Francis Ford Coppola, who was then filming Apocalypse Now in the Philippines. Coppola’s Zoetrope company brought Perfumed Nightmare to New York for its premiere at the James Agee Cinema.


In Munich, where he tried his luck in selling Olympic memorabilia, he met Katrin Muller, a German stained-glass artist, who became his wife. Katrin was the one who brought him to an artists’ commune Muller was cast as one of the characters in Mababangong Bangungot. Tahimik has three sons with Muller, who he dubbed as the “KKK barkada.” The eldest is Kidlat, followed by Kawayan and Kabunyan. His sons joined him in the “yellow rallies” on EDSA, where De Guia filmed footages for I Am Furious (Yellow).


  • Guest lecturer at the Robert Flaherty Film seminar during the assassination of Ninoy Aquino
  • Was an artist-in-residence in the East West Center in Hawaii
  • Co-founded the Baguio Arts Guild in 1986 with Bencab, Santi Bose, Willy Magtibay and other artists
  • In 1990, he became filmmaker-in-residence and professor at San Francisco State University
  • He was one of the Asian artists at Viennale, where he staged his works in 2005 with an installation art piece entitled, “A Tale of Two Goddesses of the Wind: Inhabian of Ifugao and Marilyn Monroe of Hollywood”
  • Juror at the Yamagata Documentary Film Festival in 2007; his Why is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow? was chosen as the closing film of the festival
  • Turumba won as Best Third World Film at the Manheim Festival in 1983, and the Red Ribbon Prize in the American Film Festival* honored by the Film Academy of the Philippines with a Film Achievement Award in 1993
  • Honored at the 31st Gawad Urian in 2008 for his breakthrough work of documenting the culture and tradition of the Ifugaos, aside from his other major contributions to Philippine film
  • Honored by the Philippine Daily Inquirer through their annual The Inquirer Indie Tribute on December 2011 for his contributions to the indie film industry
  • Awarded the Arts and Culture Prize by the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes 2012 for his work as a “Film maker, Installation/Performance Artist, Culture Observer”
  • His art installation dubbed as “Ay Apo…May Shooting ng BambooCam” was on exhibit at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on August 2012
  • 2012 screenings of his films and his sponsored visits to the United States at the Anthology Film Archives in October, Harvard College Library (through the special support of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that holds the annual “Oscars”), the University of California Berkeley Art Museum, and Pacific Film Archive in November.


  1. Mababangong Bangungot (Perfumed Nightmare), writer, director, actor, 1977
  2. Sinong Lumikha ng Yoyo? Sinong Lumikha ng Moon Buggy? (Who Invented the Yoyo? Who Invented the Moon Buggy?), writer, director, 1979
  3. Turumba, writer, director, 1981
  4. Bakit Dilaw ang Kulay ng Bahaghari (Why is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow?), writer, director, 1981
  5. I Am Furious, (Yellow)
  6. I Am Curious, (Pink)
  7. Video Palaro: The Video Diaries of Kidlat Tahimik
  8. Some More Rice, 2005
  9. Bubong (Roofs of the World! Unite!), 2006
  10. Our Film-grimage to Guimaras, 2005
  11. Orbit 50: Letter to My Three Sons, 1990-1992
  12. Celebrating the Year 2021, Today, 1995
  13. Bahag Ko, Mahal Ko (Japanese Summers of a Filipino Fundoshi), 1996
  14. Ang Balikbayan (Memories of Overdevelopment), 1980-2011


When Tahimik won the Fukuoka award, his secret, he says, is to 'stray on track” by refusing to go with the flow, by not using the “sex/violence-for-profit formula” in his films and by his “parallel engagements in the modern and the ancient worlds”. He advocated the Balik-Bahag movement, filming documentaries based on “indegenius” belief in the four tenets of Filipinism – MakaDiyos, MakaKalikasan, MakaTao and MakaBayan – celebrating only the Filipino historical days and his preservation of Ifugao culture. He honors the loincloth by proudly wearing it himself and has borrowed the term “indigenius” from a friend in order to let the genius of the indigenous culture flow.


  • [1] Harvard College Library (Accessed 15 December 2012)
  • Santos, Simon [2] Mababangong Bangungot clip (Accessed 15 December 2012)
  • Lapeña, Carmela G. [3] (Accessed 15 December 2012)
  • San Diego, Bayani Jr. [4] Philippine Daily Inquirer (Accessed 15 December 2012)
  • Cuadra, A.Z. Jolicco [5] Manila Bulletin (Accessed 15 December 2012)
  • Sanders, Jason [6] Afterimage: The Films of Kidlat Tahimik, Indigenius (Accessed 15 December 2012)
  • Cruz, Oggs [7] Oggs' Movie Thoughts, Letters from the School of Inattention (Accessed 15 December 2012)



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