Kakabakaba ka ba? (film)

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Kakabakaba Ka Ba? (lit. Does Your Heart Beat Faster?) is a 1980 musical-romantic comedy film produced by LVN Pictures (in its last offering), written by Clodualdo "Doy" del Mundo Jr., Raquel Villavicencio, and Mike De Leon, and directed by Mike De Leon.

The film revolves on two couples who found themselves in conflict with the foreign commercial giants that control the Philippine economy, the Japanese and the Chinese. Moreover, it involved the Catholic Church which has a stranglehold on the Philippine society itself. The film reflects on the Philippine economy and society being primarily controlled by other forces for their own benefits and become instruments in performing illegal activities.[1] Actors Christopher de Leon, Sandy Andolong, Jay Ilagan and Charo Santos starred as main cast in the film, while Johnny Delgado and APO Hiking Society's Boboy Garovillo portrayed the main villains.


As he arrives home from Japan, Johnny (Christopher de Leon) unknowingly smuggles in high-grade opium via an unassuming audio cassette. Japanese gangsters go after him and his friends to take back their goods. Johnny's group takes refuge in a church in Baguio, but there they discover that the priests and nuns there are fakes and actually in league with the Japanese. Adding to the mayhem is the Chinese mafia, which have agenda of their own that pits them against the Japanese. Appropriately, hijinks ensue in a battle cum musical extravaganza.


Cold open

The film begins in 1964 at the Manila International Airport, Onota (Boboy Garovillo), a member of the yakuza, arrives in the Philippines but the checkpoint denied his entry when he was caught by the customs where they found out that he smuggles diamonds hidden in a Japanese doll. Five years later, in 1969, he tried it again and disguised himself as a Japanese hippie but he was caught again by the customs because they discovered that he would smuggle dollars hidden in his guitar. Seven years later, in 1976, he disguised again and cross-dressed himself as a Japanese woman wearing a kimono (specifically, a geisha) but unfortunately, he was caught again when they discovered he would smuggle opium hidden and strapped inside in his kimono sash.

Main plot

In present-day Japan (1980), Onota has given a chance by his boss, the Japanese Grand Master (George Javier), after he failed his missions on smuggling diamonds, dollars, and opium in the Philippines in three respective periods. These failures led to Onota cut his fingers as punishment for not achieving the goals.


Actor Character
Christopher De Leon Johnny
Charo Santos Melanie
Jay Ilagan Nonong
Sandy Andolong Nancy
Boboy Garovillo Onota
Johnny Delgado Pinoy Master
Armida Siguion-Reyna Madame Lily
Leo Martinez Padre Blanco
Nanette Inventor Mother Superior
Joe Jardi Wagner
Moody Diaz Melody/Virgie
Danny Javier Santacruzan
Dyords Javier Grand Master
Jim Paredes Conductor of the New Minstrels Band
UP Concert Chorus fake priests and nuns

The APO Hiking Society made a contribution in this film. While Buboy Garovillo and Danny Javier portrayed the characters of Onota (main villain) and Santacruzan (supporting role) respectively, Jim Paredes made a cameo appearance as the conductor for the New Minstrels Band in the finale.


Original theatrical release

Kakabakaba Ka Ba? was released in the Philippines on August 8, 1980 by LVN Pictures. The film made its international release, starting in Japan on January 31, 1993. Aside from Japan, the film was also released in France on July 4, 2008 and Italy on May 6, 2011 as part of the Udine Far East Film Festival.

Digital restoration and re-release

The film was commissioned by ABS-CBN Corporation to be digitally restored and remastered by L’Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna, Italy and was supervised by Davide Pozzi. This is the first film in the ABS-CBN Film Archives entirely done abroad. The film was re-released with in select cinemas on December 9, 2015.

The restored version of the film made its television premiere on ABS-CBN's Sunday's Best on July 2, 2017 11:15PM. It was the first film to be broadcast under the Restored Classics banner. According to the Kantar Media-TNS statistics, the showing attained a 2.9% nationwide audience share.


FAMAS Awards

Year Result Category/Recipient(s)
Best Director
Mike De Leon

Best Supporting Actor
Johnny Delgado

Best Picture

Urian Awards

Year Result Category/Recipient(s)
Best Direction
Mike De Leon

Best Editing
Ike Jarlego, Jr.

Best Music
Lorrie Ilustre

Best Sound
Ramon Reyes

Best Supporting Actor
Johnny Delgado
Best Supporting Actor
Boboy Garovillo

Best Supporting Actress
Nanette Inventor

Best Supporting Actress
Armida Siguion-Reyna

Best Screenplay
Doy del Mundo
Mike De Leon
Raquel Villavicencio

Best Production Design
Raquel Villavicencio

Best Cinematography
Rody Lacap

Best Picture

See also


External links