Considered to be one of the most popular and trend-setting sitcoms in the history of Philippine television is Iskul Bukol. A certified ratings champion, the show that tackled the intricacies of college life became a staple in millions of Filipino households on Tuesday evenings from 1978-1987.
Whenever Iskul Bukol is mentioned, what automatically come to mind are Wanbol University and the zany characters populating it. There is Victor Ungasis, the good-looking, kind and brainy teacher’s pet, Tito and Joey Escalera, the class bullies who always pick on Vic, Miss Tapia, the university’s resident professor who has a crush on Joey, Bibeth, Vic’s opinionated friend, Mang Temi, the operator of the school cafeteria, Tonette Macho, the gay student who befriends the fairest girl in class and Joey Anson, the campus darling who is the apple of Vic’s eye. Every episode was simply a riot with the whole gang then.
Fast forward, 20 years later, Vic Ungasis is now an excellent History professor at Wanbol University and has also successfully ventured in the field of archaeology. His recent recovery of the Kali of Humabon opens a door to a mystery. He hopes to find next the Kampilan of Lapu-Lapu and be able to display the twin war relics, side by side. Actually, the Kampilan is in the hands of Shimata, a wealthy Japanese national whose main interest is the Peseta, which should be found in the Kampiian’s bracket. The Peseta is one of the few remaining 30 pieces of Judas’ silver, which gives immortality to whoever possesses it. Unfortunately, it’s missing when he fishes the Kampilan from the depths of the water.
Interestingly, the inscriptions on the Kampilan’s hilt when put side by side with the inscriptions on the Kali will point the way to the exact location of the Peseta. Shimata steals the Kali but it’s futile since he can’t decipher the inscriptions. When Vic went to Cambodia for a speaking engagement, he’ll discover secrets that are connected to the mystery, especially when he got to know the uncle and nephew Samnang and Woog who are being hunted by Shimata’s men. Does it have something to do with the Alibata inscription on Woog’s ass whose strokes are similar to the inscriptions on the stolen Kali? And why are Tito and Joey Escalera also hiding from Shimata? How will the whole gang be involved in the exciting but dangerous search for the all-powerful Peseta?
These are some of the questions to be answered in Iskul Bukol…20 Years After, which top bills the wacky trio of showbiz pillars Tito, Vic and Joey as they reprise their roles from their very successful boob tube show before. The project is special mainly because this is the first time that the formidable triumvirate is gracing the big screen again after almost two decades.
It’s also nice to see some of the original cast members relive their roles like Bibeth Orteza (as Bibeth), Jimmy Santos (as Big J), Mely Tagasa (as Miss Tapia) and Anthony Roquel (as Tonette Macho). What’s more exciting is that some of the industry’s brightest luminaries are lending their screen presence too for this grand project like Ryan Agoncillo, Carlene Agui!ar, Robert Villar, Francine Prieto, Keempee de Leon, Oyo Sotto, EB Babes and Benjie Paras. And since this is a reunion project, Megastar Sharon Cuneta has a special participation as Sharon Escalera, the younger sister of Tito and Joey in the story.
Iskul Bukol…20 Years After is an official entry to the forthcoming Metro Manila Film Festival. Written by Bibeth Orteza and directed by Tony Reyes, the film is touted to further solidify Vic’s hold as MMFF’s undisputed Box-office King for six straight years now. An ambitious project in terms of budget, casting and story line, three of the country’s major film outfits merged forces namely, Orly llacad’s OctoArts Films, Vic’s very own M-Zet TV Productions and Tony Tuviera’s APT Entertainment to make it a reality.