Wednesday, October 12, 2011

49. TATLONG MARIA and other WWII Japanese Movies


During the Japanese Occupation, film making was suddenly put to a halt. The Japanese brought with them their own films, but this was not appealing to the local audience. Japanese propaganda offices began hiring several local filmmakers, including Gerardo de Leon, to make pictures that promote Filipino-Japanese friendship. One of these  films was Tatlong Maria in 1944. It was written for the screen by Tsutomu Sawamura from Jose Esperanza Cruz’s novel.

Tatlong Maria starred Carmen Rosales, Norma Blancaflor, Liwayway Arceo, Fernando Poe, Jose Padilla, Jr., and Ely Ramos. It was produced by Toho films and directed by Gerardo de Leon. The film was distributed by Eiga Haikyusa. It was not a propaganda film, however, but a romance story of three sisters.


Tatlong Maria starred Carmen Rosales,
Norma Blancaflor,  and Liwayway Arceo,
as the 3 sisters.
Some 200 kilometers from Manila nestles a quiet little village surrounded by coconut groves and rice fields. In this barrio lives the Luna family, whose three girls-Maria Fe, Maria Esperanza, and Maria Caridad-are known as the "Tatlong Maria." 

The mother, Mrs, Luna, is a widow and is very devoted to her three girls although the two elder daughters are not really her daughters-they are Mr. Luna’s daughters by his first wife.
Padre Francisco, the village priest, encourages Dona Pilar to cherish the three Marias and to spare nothing to bring. them up well. June, 1942, shortly after the fan of Corregidor, Maria Caridad is to be wedded to Andres Diwa, a country lad.

On the eve of Maria Caridad's wedding, her two sisters arrive at the village, not so much to attend the wedding, as to have the property divided.

The marriage does not take place, due to Maria Fe's violent opposition. Remembering that she came for a specific purpose Maria Fe demands her share of the property. Mrs. Luna cannot refuse since the property belongs to her daughters but she requests that the rice fields, the coconut groves, and the house be given to Maria Caridad. later, Maria Caridad is induced to go with her sisters to Manila.

Maria Caridad, who lives in her sister's house, is strictly prohibited to write to Andres or to her mother, Dona Pilar. Her kindly brother-in-law, Felipe Goco, is her only consolation.

One evening Maria Caridad is brought to a dance party sponsored by Maria Fe. Maria Fe introduces Gregorio Reyes, a millionaire, to Maria Caridad who dances with him, but sadly for all the time she is thinking of Andres. Capricious Gregorio falls madly in love with her.

Forced to associate with Reyes, Maria Caridad one day walks out on him. Returning to the house of her brother-in-law, she sees Mario, Andres' younger brother, waiting for her with the news that Dona Pilar is seriously ill. Maria Caridad informs Felipe about it and is driven home in the Goco car to the province.

Maria Caridad arrives and her mother is dying. Overjoyed at seeing her daughter, Dona Pilar requests the village priest, Padre Francisco, to unite her and Andres in holy wedlock. The ceremony is performed and quietly Dona Pilar breathes her last.

The young couple's life is a happy one. Andres' family moves into the Luna house. Andres takes charge of the house, the coconut groves and the rice fields.

In the midst of this peace, one day in April, a person drops in on Mr. and Mrs. Andres Diwa. The person says that he bought the house from Maria Fe in Manila and that they must vacate the place within 10 days. The coconut groves and the rice field go the same way-they are disposed of by Maria Fe. Excited Maria Caridad tells Andres to go to Manila to talk things over with Maria Fe.

In Manila, in the house of. Maria Fe, Maria Caridad find out that Felipe is sick but is not permitted to see him. Maria Fe will not listen to the pleas and protestations of Maria Carida, and claims that since Dona Pilar died intestate, the property was automatically hers. she being the eldest daughter.

Maria Caridad and her husband are turned out  into the streets of the city. In their aimless wanderings, they pass the Luneta. Andres Diwa gets renewal and inspiration from the effigy of Rizal.  They return to the farm.

Farm life for Maria Caridad is as hard as it is immediately enjoyable. She exults in labor.
It is October and their efforts bear fruit. The rice plant are heavy with grain. Maria Caridad prays at the altar for the safe delivery of the life she bears' within her which' is 10 days past its time …

Meanwhile, the father of Andres visits the village priest and shows the latter a letter which are marching orders for the Veterans of the Philippine Revolution: they are to march in front of the grandstand with their old and original standard. The elder Diwa is overjoyed: with tears in his eyes he says that now he can go to Manila after 40 years of waiting.

The Philippines become independent and a Republic is born. The new flag of the Republic is' hoisted up in the blue sky, amidst the extraordinary excitement of a grand ceremony.

Maria Caridad gives birth' to a vigorous baby boy. Andres is a proud happy father; the elder Diwa is happier still on his return.

Behind this great joy. however, lurks a tragedy. Padre Francisco reveals that Felipe died in May, and that after his death, Maria Fe was driven out of the Goco house and now leads a miserable life in the city.
This cannot be revealed to Maria Caridad who has just given birth. Andres sells his carabao and goes secretly to the city to look for Maria Fe. He goes to Maria Esperanza's house, thinking that he might be able to obtain the whereabouts of Maria Fe, but he is told that Maria Esperanza lives elsewhere. He is finally directed to a bar on the outskirts of the city. He walks up the second floor of a dirty bar room. He learns that Maria Esperanza is in the hospital, resting from an operation. In the hospital he learns that Julian Felix had been arrested three months ago and jailed. He also learns that Maria Fe and Maria Esperanza work together in the bar he has just seen. Andres advises Maria Esperanza to go back to the province with Maria Fe and help in the harvest.

Maria Fe, thickly painted, goes to the house of her former friends to borrow money for Maria Esperanza. Nobody pays any attention to her. Not even Jose Santos, the pianist, who has a new girlfriend. Maria Fe realizes the truth-and amidst incense and candlelight, she is reconverted to the good life and the farm.

In the village church, a morning mass is being sung. Padre Francisco is in the pulpit and tells his congregation that thanks should be offered to the God Almighty for the glorious independence bestowed upon the people.

The sermon goes on. Padre Francisco says that independence is not complete or real unless the individuals are reborn into a compact nation-a people that can exert united efforts for the sake of the happiness of the country.

After mass, Maria Caridad goes to the Padre and tells him that the Iwo' other Marias, Fe and Esperanza, are coming back to the, country from Manila on Saturday.

Harvest time. Maria Caridad, suckling her baby, sees Maria Fe and Maria-Esperanza from afar, arriving in a caretela.

The-villagers gather in the garden to celebrate the harvest. In the circle of dancers may be discerned Maria Esperanza and Maria Fe, rid of the vanity of city life. In the center of the circle sings Maria Caridad, her face radiant with joy….

Movie advertisement on LIWAYWAY Magazine in 1944

Movie advertisement on LIWAYWAY Magazine in 1944

Movie advertisement on LIWAYWAY Magazine in 1944

Movie advertisement on LIWAYWAY Magazine in 1944.
Shown on IDEAL, TIMES, STATE and CAPITOL Theaters.

Movie advertisement on LIWAYWAY Magazine in 1944

Movie article about the movie on LIWAYWAY Magazine in 1944

 Below are Japanese WWII Movies shown in Philippine theaters in 1944.  These were advertised in LIWAYWAY Magazine

Fury of Furnace  and  Design for Marriage movies

Current of Youth movie

Young Eagles movie

The Sky is Blue movie
Current of Youth movie

Fury of Furnace movie

Fury of Furnace movie

Fury of Furnace movie

On the Eve movie

Fury of Furnace movie

Uncle Kruger movie

Fury of Furnace  and  Design for Marriage movies

12 Hours before Departure movie

Spirit of the Navy movie

Spirit of the Navy movie

Spirit of the Navy movie

Grandma movie

The Opium War and  Grandma movies

Men of the Border and  The Opium War movies

Men of the Border movie

Silent Stalkers of the Sea and Men of the Border movies

Silent Stalkers of the Sea Movie

Sansiro learns Judo movie
Soochow Nights movie

Grandma movie


  1. To Pinoy Kollektor, thank you! I love this, I've been looking for my grand father's works and I found you. I am the grand daughter of Jose Esperanza Cruz, whose novel was brought to life on screen by Carmen Rosales, Norma Blancaflor and Liwayway Arceo. I know about "Tatlong Maria", but to actually read the synopsis from you blog, fantastic! Thank you!


    1. hello! :)

      I'm one of the students of Claret School of zamboanga city currently working on a research paper on your grand father's novel..... can i ask, where can i find the whole story of it?

      __Taoism Disciple__

  2. Hi case you want to sell these magazines, please let me know, I'm collecting all pre-war Liwayway magazines...PM mo nalang ako sa Facebook sir..thanks!

  3. Hi. I am so glad to find my Grandfathers novel featured here on your site. I am a grandson of Jose Esperanza Cruz. I also wrote a short novel to self publish this year entitled " Hawak Kamay Sa Ating Mga Pangarap" Check out our Facebook and Wattpad accounts to read a few first chapters. I am new in writing but I guarantee that you will love it.
    Just search the title and have a good read. Thank You!


    1. Like Grandpa, like grandson, both of you are great writers. Hope someday it will be made into a movie

  4. Hi FJCruz. Your grandfather is one of the many great entries of my book MOHON Mga Bulakenyong Biyaya ng Kasaysayan published in 2012. Do you have any knowledge on the dateand cause of his death? Please contact me 09172036191 /

    jaime s. corpuz "jimmy"

  5. it's nice story.hope one day it will play judy ann ssantos as a role o fmaria luna movies

  6. not because i like judy ann but because she knows to act a drama and wishing that one day she will play the role from liwayway magazine.thanks!

  7. pwede mag request..... mapakita angkwento sa abs cbn... maria luna by Norma Blancaflor, and Liwayway Arceo,
    as the 3 sisters. play by judy ann santos.salamt po!

  8. salamt liwayway magazine... hope you will continue to publish any moral story and be an inspiration to others like me. i don;t want to be seen in this comment the important is i was able to read your magazine. thanks for letting me understand some story to be my guide and enlightened my understanding .i am proud to be one of a reader of liwayway magazine.

  9. where i can find the whole copy of the story? need it for my project. Thank you..