‘Bakwit Boys:’ The sound of dreams

JUST A THOUGHT: “Music is a way to dream together and go to another dimension.” – Cecilia Bartoli

(LEFTMOST): Vance Larena with the other cast of 'Bakwit Boys' (mb.com.ph) (LEFTMOST): Vance Larena with the other cast of 'Bakwit Boys'

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WHAT’S BAKWIT: To begin with, what is bakwit?

As a term, it came to fore prominently at the height of the Marawi Siege of 2017. “Bakwit” is an informal term for people who experienced war or calamity and must evacuate (i.e., “mag-bakwit”) to a safer place or higher ground. Its root word, of course, is the English evacuate.

The slang has inspired launch of a new film called “Bakwit Boys,” one of eight official entries to Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP) 2018. The romantic musical is written and directed by box-office filmmaker Jason Paul Laxamana, and produced by T-Rex Entertainment.

PPP year 2 screens in over 900 cinemas nationwide from Aug. 15 to 21 in celebration of Linggo ng Wika.

Laxamana and T-Rex Entertainment were the front-runners in last year’s PPP. Laxamana’s entry, “100 Tula Para Kay Stella,” was the top-grosser, while T-Rex Entertainment’s comedy “Patay Na Si Hesus” was the second highest-grossing film of the festival.

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“Bakwit Boys” tells the struggles of four Datul brothers – Elias (Vance Larena), Sonny (Mackie Empuerto), Joey (Ryle Santiago) and Philip (Nikko Natividad) – who are known as the band, Bakwit Boys.

When their barangay in Isabela was ravaged by a super-typhoon, the brothers evacuate to their granfather’s sitio in Pampanga where they meet Rose (Devon Seron), a rich city girl who discovers their musical talent and offers to help the boys fulfill their dreams of becoming recording artists.

Along the way, individual interests and personal conflicts create disharmony and test their unity as a family.

The premise, says the director, is inspired by his own experiences as a music producer.

“I have collaborated with musicians from Pampanga to Iloilo,” he reveals.

“We compose songs which we release online and submit to local radio stations for possible airplay. Because local radio stations mostly prefer to play songs by Manila-based artists, sharing the music we create to a wider audience has always been a challenge. This aspect of my life was what inspired me to make ‘Bakwit Boys.’”

Devon Seron (mb.com.ph) Devon Seron

Such premise appealed instantly to T-Rex Entertainment executive producer Rex A. Tiri, who was only too happy to help bring these songs to greater awareness.

“Let these songs be heard. When Direk Jason Paul pitched the concept to me and said he wanted to give a break to the composer, I said, ‘Game!’ I didn’t need to hear the songs. I was already hooked by what he wanted to achieve.”

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Jason Paul also tapped into his being a survivor of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption to create the tale of the four boys who dream of rising from misfortune.

“Hence, it is also a story about moving on and rising from the wreckage brought about by catastrophes, both natural and manmade,” he explains.

“Bakwit Boys” features six original songs composed by Tarlac-based Jhaye Cura. These are “Ligtas Ka Na,” “Fiona,” “High On You,” “Patibong,” “Tayong Dalawa,” and “Kung ‘Di Ikaw.”

The cast themselves perform these songs in the film.

Three of the songs in the OST have pop renditions by Jay-R, Kyla and Ice Seguerra.

“Bakwit Boys” will be launched at a special gig at Saguijo Bar in Makati on Aug. 3, wherein each song in the film will be performed by Shirebound and Busking, Sean Oliver, Rusty Machines, Munimuni, Clara Benin and Autotelic.