Localizing James Reid as Pedro Penduko

Published September 20, 2018, 4:05 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

JUST A THOUGHT: In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.

James Reid (mb.com.ph)
James Reid

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PEDRO PENDUKO WHO: Growing up in the 1960s, I heard people call every lazy boy named Juan as Juan Tamad and every Maria as Maria Makiling. In my rural Batangas upbringing, there was also a Juanang Ilaya.

Then, there, too, was Pedro Penduko. It used to cause me embarrassment as my father was named Pedro, but he was too far from being Penduko, whatever it meant.

I couldn’t believe that 50 years later, the tag Pedro Penduko would continue to surface in this post-modern age.

Introduced as the title role in a new film project of the same title, James Reid downplayed claims that he is too good-looking or too foreign-sounding to play the part. Pedro, as created by National Artist Francisco V. Coching in Liwayway magazine, was a representation of the Filipino every man, poor yet dignified, cast in a rural setting.

To the late Coching, Pedro Penduko stood for the ordinary Filipino fighting forces of evil, armed only with an enchanted amulet.

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CAREER MOVE: In an interview following screening of his recent film “Miss Granny,” Reid said he has been priming up for the role, undergoing martial arts training.

Yes, he assured, he can level up to the demands of the character, despite his reputation as just another romantic leading man, prone to singing and dancing.

“Pedro Penduko” is just one of several career moves the actor is taking to step up his (temporary) separation from loveteam partner Nadine Lustre. Not for long, however, as it is said Nadine is being considered for the Maria Makiling guest role in the same film.

He believes the onscreen separation will be good for their individual careers. Nadine herself is doing other films with different male partners.

Reid assured the cooling off is merely professional. Off-screen, they’re still very much together.

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FILIPINO FOLK HEROES: “Pedro Penduko” is produced by Epik Studios in partnership with Viva Entertainment and Cignal TV.

Efren Reyes Sr. originated the role on the big screen in the 1950s. He was followed in the 1970s by Ramon Zamora. On TV, Pedro resurfaced as a series starring Janno Gibbs and Matt Evans.

Epik Studios plans to retell stories of more folk heroes as Bernardo Carpio and Maria Makiling. A good way to orient today’s young people on our homegrown, mythical folk heroes.