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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jan 30, 2023



SAGIP PELIKULA of Leo Katigbak and ABS-CBN Restoration that restore old films so new generations of viewers can watch them, currently pay tribute to ace cinematographer Romy Vitug. 

Romy started as a photographer for the Manila Chronicle. He and I met at  the Associated Broadcasting Corporation’s Channel 5 in the mid-60s. 

He was with the news department doing newsreels and I was with Film Programming, but every now and then I would pinch hit for news writer Marita Manuel to write “The Big News”, then anchored by Bong Lapira and, later by Jose Mari Velez.  

Marita eventually moved to ABS-CBN to be part of Ric Tierro’s news team.  It was in Channel 5 that Romy’s relationship with the late Bibsy Carballo started and I remember they were among the first news teams to cover the Vietnam War in Saigon.  

When Channel 5, the TV station then of the Manila Times, was closed down by martial law in 1972, Romy and Bibsy both moved to showbiz. Romy as cinematographer for Lino Brocka’s “Tatlo, Dalawa, Isa” in 1975, while Bibsy started doing PR work and managing her own talents, like Kuh Ledesma and Dawn Zulueta.  

Romy photographed the early films produced by Armida Siguio Reyna’s Reyna Films, like “Mga Bilanggong Birhen” which won the best cinematography award in the 1977 MMFF and “Laruang Apoy”.  We watched "Mga Bilanggong Birhen" on KTX and Alma Moreno  looks so stunningly beautiful on screen. 

In 1978, he won the MMFF again for “Atsay” starring Nora Aunor.  

Romy has harvested many trophies from all the major award-giving bodies, including Film Academy or FAP Awards, Urian and FAMAS awards. 

In the MMFF, he has been elevated to their hall of fame and given the lifetime achievement award for winning a total of eight (8) best cinematography awards.   

He also did several films for Viva Entertainment mostly helmed by the late Eddie Garcia, including “Sinasamba Kita”, “Kailan Tama ang Mali”, “Flor Contemplacion Story”, and the Sharon Cuneta movies “P.S. I Love You”, “Friends in Love”, “My Only Love”.

He did two award winning films for the late Celso Ad. Castillo: “Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak” and “Paradise Inn”. The son of Honesto Vitug, considered the dean of Philipppine photojournalism, Romy was born in 1937 in Floridablanca, Pampanga.

As he celebrated his birthday on January 27, SAGIP PELIKULA, which has restored many of his films, pays him homage. They have restored many of his film, including, “Mga Bilanggong Birhen”, “Inagaw Mo ang Lahat sa Akin”, “Ikaw Pa Lang ang Minahal”, “Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit”, “Saan Ka Man Naroroon” and “Kung Mawawala Ka Pa” (all made by Reyna Films). 

They've also restored  “Haplos”, “Maalaala Mo Kaya, The Movie”, “Teka Lang, Diskarte Ko To”,  “Kapag Langit ang Humatol”, “Sa Aking mga Kamay” and “Sana Maulit Muli”. 

You can now watch these restored films on KTX.PH.