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Philippines’ cinema icon Armando ‘Bing’ Lao dies at 75

Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker Armando “Bing” Lao has passed away at 75.

Known as a genius of Philippine independent cinema, he bagged numerous awards for his screenplays like “Takaw-Tukso” (Urian Best Screenplay, 1987), “Itanong mo sa Buwan” (Urian Best Screenplay, 1989), “Oras-Oras, Araw Araw” (Film Academy Award Best Screenplay, 1990), “Sana Pag-ibig Na,” “Pila-Balde” (Urian Best Screenplay, 2000), “Tuhog” (Urian Best Screenplay, 2001), “La Vida Rosa” (Urian Best Screenplay, 2002) and “Serbis” (Cannes Film Festival Official Entry, 2008). 

Lao established the “Found Story” School of filmmaking, where he shared his decades-long writing experience and knowledge to over 40 batches of aspiring writers and artists.

Beyond the classroom, he served as a creative consultant and mentor to various Filipino filmmakers. With his guidance, numerous masterpieces were recognised internationally, such as “Kubrador”, “Kinatay”, “Masahista”, “Foster Child”, “Taklub”, “John Denver Trending”, “Ma Rosa”, “Tribu”, “Pamilya Ordinaryo”, and many more.

Last April, he was among the “Parangal ng Sining” awardees of Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) — a recognition given to exemplary Filipino artists or organisations who had significant impact to the Philippine cinema.

Lao personally accepted the award, despite having the right side of his body paralyzed, and being unable to speak. He had suffered a stroke in 2022.

Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Film, Broadcast and New Media Division said his works will serve as a “cultural archive for future generations”.

“His depiction of Filipino culture and experiences has helped promote the nation’s heritage through film,” CCP stressed on a Facebook post.