Chris Martinez: Bringing Pinoy humor to life (

Published in (August 13, 2012)

Photography by Cholo dela Vega. Grooming by Georginna Desuasido. |
Photography by Cholo dela Vega. Grooming by Georginna Desuasido. |

MANILA, Philippines – If you’ve seen or heard of the indie film Ang Babae sa Septic Tank (The Woman in the Septic Tank, 2011)Philippine cinema’s highest-grossing independent film to date, then you will have an idea of the kind of sensibility that it takes to capture a subject so irreverently yet so truthfully.

In the film, 3 film school graduates take on the lofty dream of producing an Oscar-worthy independent film about — what else? — poverty and prostitution in the Philippine slums (in this case, Payatas).

The film shows the young filmmakers experimenting with different treatments, exposing the tired old assumptions and formulas of Pinoy indie filmmaking.

It poked fun at the way the industry moved and looked at itself, and it made audiences laugh with recognition. It also made them think of the way Philippine art cinema kept on presenting itself to the world.

The film broke box-office records at the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and was later on bought by Star Cinema for a wider release. It became the most successful indie film in Philippine history, and won numerous awards for lead actress Eugene Domingo, director Marlon Rivera and screenwriter-producer Chris Martinez.

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Author: Niña Terol

Niña Terol describes herself as a "communicator, connector, idea curator, and changemaker." A writer at heart whose 16-year career has spanned the public and private sectors, including roles in marketing, non-profit consulting, creative enterprise, publishing and media, politics, and corporate communications, she now heads corporate affairs for the Manila office of one of the world's largest and most trusted names in integrated marketing communications. Niña has written for a long list of magazines, dailies, and websites, including CNN Travel, Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia,, and She has also written and edited a number of books published by such institutions as the World Bank-Manila Office, the Asian Development Bank, the National Youth Commission, and a few others. Also a public speaker and trainer at heart, Niña has spoken at prestigious events such as TEDxManila (2010), Pecha Kucha Manila (2010), Ignite Manila (2010), the Social Good Summjit (2012), and the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP) Summit (2013). She has also taught live lectures and webinars, and been a panelist and thesis adviser, under the Certified Digital Marketer (CDM) program of the International Institute for Digital Marketing (IIDM). Niña graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications degree, minor in Hispanic Studies, from the Ateneo de Manila University, and obtained certificates in Internet Marketing and Professional Blogging (under scholarship) at the Asian Institute of Management and the European Journalism Institute (under scholarship) from Charles University, Prague, the Czech Republic and The Fund for American Studies, Washington D.C. When she's not working, writing, or speaking, Niña is running, practicing yoga, promoting sustainability and mindful living, trying out all sorts of dark chocolate, and planning her next plane ride. She blogs at and Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @ninaterol.

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