August 11, 2023 Mario Bautista 439 views

ROBERT Arevalo was introduced by People’s Premiere Productions in 1960 in the movie “Huwag Mo Akong Limutin”, a movie directed by his uncle, National Artist Gerry de Leon. It became controversial because the local censors at that time tried to ban it due to its theme of infidelity and some steamy scenes.

It starred Arsenia Francisco, Cesar Ramirez, Cynthia Zamora and the sex symbol of that era, Aura Aurea. We remember watching it in a theatre in Malabon (home of second run theaters then like Leonor, Concepcion, Estrella and Filipinas) and it was truly masterfully directed by Gerry de Leon. Too bad there’s no existing copy of this film.

Robert then did “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo”, again with his Uncle Gerry, and he did two memorable films with National Artist Eddie Romero, “N.B.I.” (which was inspired by the huge success of “FBI Story” starring James Stewart) and the omnibus romantic comedy, “Magtago Ka Na, Binata”.

He did action films with Efren Reyes like “Panginoon” and “Bangkay Kaming Hahakbangan” and the war movie “Labanan sa Balicuatro” with Danilo Santiago. One of the best dramas he did is “Sa Atin ang Daigdig” with Nida Blanca, directed by Cesar Amigo.

He also did action-dramas released abroad like “Flight to Fury”, “Cordillera” and “The Ravagers”. In 1965, he did “Daigdig ng mga Api”, with his wife Barbara Perez, directed by Gerry de Leon. It won so many major awards at the FAMAS, including best actor and best actress for himself and his wife.

This is a heartbreaking story of tenant farmers and we remember that the most unforgettable scene is when rains finally came after a long drought and the farmers were all rejoicing in the heavy downpour. It’s just too bad that there’s also no existing copy of this film.

Another socially relevant film he did was “Sakada” with Rosa Rosal in 1976 and in 1977, he went into directing in “Hubad na Bayani”, about a peasant revolt. It won best picture in the Urian Awards.

When his showbiz assignments lessened, he accepted an executive position with a big advertising agency. In 1968, Associated Broadcasting Company owned by the top newspaper that time, The Manila Times, got him to be the station manager of their TV station in Pasong Tamo, Makati, Channel 5.

This was where we got to work with him. We were head of the Film Programming-Traffic Department when he got in and we attended a lot of company meetings together. We even had a team building activity in a hotel in Pagsanjan where we got to discuss the most popular book at that time, “The Godfather” by Mario Puzo.

The sales manager then of Channel 5 was Romy Jalosjos, who’d later become a congressman and executive of TAPE.

Our work in Channel 5 ended when martial law was declared in 1972 and The Manila Times and all their companies were closed down by Marcos for being critical of the administration.

Through the years we’d see Robert every now and then in various showbiz events and he’d always be warm to us. We’ll always remember him as being very level headed, cordial and friendly to everyone. Let’s all pray for the repose of his soul. Our deepest condolences to Barbara Perez and their two daughters.