Atang dela Rama: ‘The First Star of Philippine Cinema’

REMEMBER WHEN? - Danny Dolor - The Philippine Star
Atang dela Rama: âThe First Star of Philippine Cinemaâ
Atang dela Rama in 1919, the year she starred in Dalagang Bukid.

Atang dela Rama is billed ‘The First Star of Philippine Cinema’ as she portrayed the title role in Dalagang Bukid in 1919. The centennial of local movies is celebrated this year, 2019. Dalagang Bukid is the first all-Filipino film, produced and directed by Jose Nepomuceno, the father of Philippine Cinema.

Atang’s co-star in Dalagang Bukid is Marceliano Ilagan, also known as Mar Esmeralda.

She appeared in other Filipino films, including as the mother of National Hero, Doña Teodora Alonzo in Buhay at Pag-ibig ni Dr. Jose Rizal in 1956.

Atang dela Rama in her 30s

Dalagang Bukid is originally a zarzuela which also starred Atang dela Rama and was staged for some 1,000 times.

In 1987, Atang was named National Artist for her ‘sincere devotion to original Filipino theater and music, her outstanding artistry as singer and as zarzuela actor-playwright-producer, her tireless efforts to bring her art to all regions and sectors of Filipino society and to the world.

The accolade was written by D.G. Fernandez for the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art.

Atang dela Rama in her Dalagang Bukid attire.

This columnist had the great honor and pleasure of knowing Atang dela Rama. She was born on Jan. 11, 1902 in Pandacan, Manila and died on July 11, 1991.

She was married to National Artist for Literature Amado Hernandez. — RKC

Atang dela Rama on the cover of Philippine Panorama in 1979.



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