Manila is Madly Beautiful.

Chase scenes are staples in action movies. From Wraiths on horses to Storm Trooper-Riders, to X-Wings, to Autobots on highways, we’ve had varieties. But they’ve become such staples, that they’re mostly predictable.

There are two that stand out for me. The first one is the car chase scene in Matrix: Reloaded. But this entry is not about Neo, ghosts or Trinity.

The second, and more related to my point, is the chase scene in Bourne Legacy.

shooting in manila. taken from

There was something about this Manila that was seen through the eyes of a foreigner. The organized chaos was a thing of beauty. A pinata exploding at every moment. A fiesta of fatality. Madness and mania – yeah, that’s my Manila.

It is also the first chase scene I’ve seen that was done in the middle of heavy traffic. It was believable, breathable (with cigarette smoke, palengke odor and human sweat), and combustible. Especially for us who commute, drive and/or walk its streets everyday and seem to have our own car chase scenes (okay, or have imagined it as we sat helplessly in traffic). From police bikes and cars to jeepneys, from steps to rivers and highways. It was Manila on the world stage, and it was Putang-Ina-Mo unapologetic.

As I enjoyed the rush provided by near-death scenes shot from within the jeeps and the crashing on fruit vendors, I also felt that there was a message here. That we should stop being apologetic about who we are today.

True, there’s a lot for us to fix. Of course there are! What country doesn’t? But I could almost hear our collective mothers (and aunts and grandmothers) telling the director/producer, “Pasensya na po kayo ha. Magulo po ang bahay ngayon…” You know what – we’ve said that to visitors for too long. Tigilan na ang paghingi ng pasensya. Walang kailangang pag-pasensyahan. Maganda ang bayan ko.

The director showed that, and it was explosively exquisite.


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