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Film / Temptation Island

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"What do you expect me to do? Resist all temptations on this island?"

The search for a new Miss Manila Sunshine is on. Prizes include a trip to California, a house and lot, a brand new car and a substantial amount of money. Four lovely young ladies from all walks of life join, and are chosen as finalists. Suzanne (Jennifer Cortez)/Serafina (Lovi Poe) is a bored heiress who wants to get out of the country for the summer. The overprotected Dina (Dina Bonnevie)/Virginia (Heart Evangelista) hates depending on her brother for rides, and wants a car of her own. Bambi (Bambi Arambulo)/Pura (Solenn Heussaff) is a beauty pageant veteran who has fallen on hard times from her frivolous parties. Azenith (Azenith Briones)/Cristina (Marian Rivera) is a con artist who aims for the house and lot, and plans to seduce the judges with the help of her boyfriend.

All finalists and judges board a yacht for the pageant finals. Also on board is the pageant coordinator Joshua (Jonas Sebastian/John Lapus), his boy toy/photographer protégé Ricardo (Ricky Belmonte/Mikael Daez), the no-nonsense waiter Umberto (Domingo Sabado/Tom Rodriguez), Suzanne's loyal maid Maria/Nympha (Deborah Sun/Rufa Mae Quinto), and the stowaway smitten with Dina, Alfredo (Alfie Anido/Aljur Abrenica).


But a fire breaks out and sinks the yacht! These people then jumped overboard and washed up together on a barren desert island, forced to tolerate hunger, heat, thirst, lust... and each other.

Temptation Island (1980) is considered as director Joey Gosiengfiao's masterpiece. It has been considered the crown jewel of Camp, and the Bible of witticisms to a generation of Filipino cineastes. It was adapted for the stage with gay actors playing the beauty contestants. A faithful 2011 update was helmed by Chris Martinez and became a box-office hit.

Not to be confused with the Reality TV show.


Temptation Island provides examples of:

  • Abandon Ship - A fire in the yacht was set off accidentally by Umberto's cigarette. He dropped it as he tried to catch Alfredo, whom he discovered hiding in the crew's quarters.
  • Bag of Holding - Suzanne/Serafina's maid Maria/Nympha lugs around her make-up box, full of accessories like silk scarves, sunglasses, Walkmans/iPods, a hair dryer and an ironing board. It contains nothing that can help with their situation.
  • Beauty Contest - The Miss Manila Sunshine pageant kicked off everything.
  • Bittersweet Ending - Soldiers spotted them by helicopter and rescued them shortly after they ate Joshua's corpse. The contest went on, with Joshua commemorated on coronation night. Suzanne won by being nice to Maria in her Q&A. In the remake, Serafina won the contest via her connections.
  • Black Comedy
  • Bury Your Gays - Joshua is the only casualty among the castaways. He lost the will to live after Ricardo chose to be with Bambi/Pura.
  • The Cameo - The 2011 version featured socialites Tessa Prieto-Valdez and Tim Yap.
  • Camp
  • Casting Couch - Both of them intended to work the judges.
    Azenith/Cristina: ...There are a lot of old men on the second board of judges. The dirtiest, and the oldest!
    Tonio: And aren't they your forte?
    Azenith/Cristina: And yours are the cougars!
  • Casting Gag - In the 1980 version, Anita Linda played Bambi's mother, Nenuca. "Nenuca" was the name of a character Anita Linda once played.
  • Con Man: Who Don't Do Anything - Azenith/Cristina, and her boyfriend Tonio, are "damn good crook(s).". They were not able to engage in their work because the shipwreck ruined their plans.
  • Darkest Hour - Helicopters fly ahead. The castaways wave vigorously, but somehow they weren't seen. After resigning themselves to their doom and resolving their petty fights, the choppers come back for them.
  • Deadpan Snarker - The castaways. Queen of Snark is either Suzanne/Serafina or Joshua.
  • Deserted Island - It's vast but barren except for sparse and inedible shrubbery.
  • Despair Event Horizon - Joshua realized that he lost Ricardo to Bambi/Pura. This makes him lose the will to survive.
  • The Dog Bites Back - Maria finally has had enough and attempts to strangle Suzanne/Serafina because of delayed salaries and insults directed at her parents.
  • Do Not Go Gentle - Some examples:
    • Suzanne/Serafina rummages through her make-up box and finds her Walkman/iPod. Everyone appreciates the music. Azenith/Cristina notes, "No water, no food, (no signal). Let's dance!" And they all do.
    • Another Azenith/Cristina example, to Umberto: "They say love is like food too, so please love me somehow."
    • The castaways bravely look for food and light a fire to attract would-be rescuers.
    • After the rescue chopper misses them, the girls settle their differences and playfully crown Maria/Nympha as Miss Manila Sunshine. Ricardo pretended to take pictures, Alfredo's cap was her crown, and the other girls were her runners-up.
  • Due to the Dead - On coronation night, the girls give Joshua tribute. Suzanne/Serafina slightly subverts it: "Thank you, Joshua, wherever you are. You're right. We're both divas. And I guess the world can only handle one."
  • Femme Fatale - Azenith/Cristina. "I'm a big-time bitch... people think lowly of you because they believe your main tool is your body. But they're wrong. It's your brains!"
  • For the Evulz - Suzanne/Serafina seems to enjoy deliberately taunting the other girls. Her worst act was to take Alfredo's virginity, and gloat about it to Dina/Virginia the next day.
  • Gentleman Snarker - What Suzanne/Serafina and Joshua believe themselves to be. Given their actions in the movie, they're actually...
  • Green-Eyed Monster - Joshua envies Ricardo's warmth towards Bambi/Pura, and this motivates him to constantly belittle her. His fear of losing Ricardo comes true, and his grief helped hunger and thirst in killing him. Suzanne/Serafina hates that she didn't get to pair up with any of the straight guys. She exploits Dina/Virginia's initial ambivalence toward Alfredo by taking his virginity, and gloating about it to Dina/Virginia the day after.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn - In the remake, Cristina left Tonio and a life of crime for Umberto and respectability.
  • Impoverished Patrician - Bambi, because she forced her parents to spend on her lavish parties and designer clothes. She is named Pura in the remake, prompting Joshua to rub her poverty in her face.
  • The Ingenue - Dina, renamed as Virginia in the 2011 film.
  • Lampshade Hanging - Several instances.
    • Azenith/Cristina was exasperated with Bambi/Pura. "For your information, we are shipwrecked and currently in the middle of nowhere!"
    • After convincing them to vote for her by text, Serafina thanked her family friends openly in her victory speech.
  • Large Ham - In order of hamminess: Joshua, Cristina, Nympha and Serafina in the 2011 version.
  • Les Yay - Nympha often applies lotion or massages Serafina. In the pool scene Maria/Nympha is shown working at the center of Suzanne/Serafina's chest.
  • Lover and Beloved - Joshua and Ricardo. This is deconstructed. Joshua is eventually seen to be patronizing to Ricardo, particularly to his humble roots and his provincial accent. Suzanne/Serafina points out that Joshua only sees Ricardo as part of his collection of "poor, proletarian, indigent men." Ricardo had resented this treatment for some time, and later falls for the more appreciative Bambi/Pura.
  • Maid - Maria/Nympha.
  • MacGyvering - The women (except for Suzanne/Serafina) took off their pantyhose and used them to catch a few puny fishes they all shared.
  • Meaningful Rename - Shout-outs aside (see below), Virginia and Pura's renames suit their characters. Cristina and Serafina's renames have a touch of Irony.
  • Mock Millionaire - Bambi/Pura throws parties and buys new clothes to keep up appearances; these are not enough to upstage her frequent guest, Suzanne/Serafina. Joshua sees through her efforts and despises her for her social climbing.
  • Nature Adores a Virgin - Alfredo, despite losing his virginity to Suzanne/Serafina, still prefers to be with Virginia. He successfully wooed her back after coronation night.
  • Nice to the Waiter - Suzanne/Serafina finally learns to be this to Maria/Nympha. She publicly thanks Maria/Nympha and presents her to the audience's applause. She takes her along on the California trip. They even swear to see "Parra Fusit" in the original, and Justin Bieber in the remake!
  • No Party Like a Donner Party - The dead Joshua was grilled and eaten by the other castaways. They try to take their minds off the fact with a tearful sing-along.
  • Old Retainer - Maria/Nympha has been in Suzanne/Serafina's service for some time, and has been involved in her upbringing. She even took care of the girl during a bout of typhoid fever. That said, she can't be more than a decade older than the beauty contestants.
  • Pet Homosexual - Joshua tries to be this to the "upper-upper" Suzanne/Serafina. Suzanne/Serafina is somewhat sympathetic as they watch Ricardo flirt with Bambi/Pura. Otherwise, she condescends to him as she does everyone else.
  • Princess in Rags - Bambi/Pura resents her mother's reminders about their debts.
  • Relationship Upgrade - Ricardo and Bambi/Pura get married. It took a little more effort for Alfredo to win Dina/Virginia back. In the original, Azenith reluctantly settles for Slap-Slap-Kiss domesticity with Tonio, much to Umberto's grief.
  • The Remake - In 2011. At times it was shot-for-shot, with lines echoing together in the credits.
  • Remake Cameo - Azenith Briones became the pageant's corporate sponsor. Deborah Sun became Pura's mother, Nenuca.
  • Rich Bitch - Suzanne/Serafina. She bullies Maria/Nympha even when her wealth is meaningless on a deserted island. Maria/Nympha later gets her revenge.
  • Romance on the Set - Dina Bonnevie and Alfie Anido were an item on location, with a Slap-Slap-Kiss dynamic.
  • Sacred First Kiss - Dina/Virginia and Alfredo. This becomes especially painful for her when she discovered that Alfredo later had sex with Suzanne/Serafina.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections! - In the remake, Serafina won by convincing her dad and family friends to text-vote for her. She even lampshaded it in her victory speech.
  • Service Sector Stereotypes - Umberto served drinks in the yacht, thus he is a "posh waiter/bartender" stereotype. He failed to catch Alfredo, and accidentally set the boat on fire in the process. Nevertheless, he proved to be the most pragmatic castaway, and he ended up butchering and grilling Joshua's dead body.
  • Shout-Out - Names of Joey Gosiengfiao heroines are used for the remake.
    • Nympha (1980), for Maria.
    • Diary of Cristina Gaston (1982), for Azenith.
    • Virginia P. (1989), for Dina.
    • Secrets of Pura (1991), for Bambi.
    • Nights of Serafina (1996), for Suzanne.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss - Azenith and Tonio in their last scene in the original. She was awkwardly cooking dinner. He swoops in to kiss her but she ducks, so he slaps her jokingly before they kiss in a more tender way.
  • Stalking Is Love - Alfredo is portrayed sympathetically. His stalking pays off, and after a few false starts, Dina/Virginia falls for him.
  • Stage Mom - Nenuca pushes Bambi/Pura into joining beauty contests to replenish the family coffers. In the remake Pura manages to get her to back off: when asked to join another contest, she replies, "There won't be a next time." She then shows off an engagement ring.
  • Trademark Favorite Food - These are desperately missed on the island.
    • Suzanne/Serafina cannot be without iced tea. Maria/Nympha managed to stash one teabag and a small jug of water to make one more serving. Too bad, they didn't bring ice.
    • Joshua reminisces about his last good meal: "Just last night I was supping on the most delicious fried chicken, and cold rosé wine." Continuing the fried chicken theme, Serafina vows to do "anything for crispy fried chicken!"
    • All the girls crave chicken in one form or another. They desperately, stylishly clung to an imaginary giant roast fowl in the remake. It wriggled away from their grasp and they were forced to chase it.
    Cristina: Chicken curry!
    Serafina: Chicken cordon bleu!
    Virginia: Chicken nuggets!
    Pura: Chicken a la king!
    Nympha: Two-piece chicken... with extra rice!
  • Upper-Class Twit - Joshua is implied to be slightly worse than Suzanne/Serafina.
    • The pageant's corporate sponsor also has shades of this.
  • The Vamp - Azenith/Cristina planned to win the contest by being "a crook; a damn good crook." It didn't work. Suzanne/Serafina was better at vampiness. Not only did she seduce the virginal Alfredo, she won the contest in the remake with the help of influential family friends.
  • Yes-Man - Maria frequently strokes Suzanne/Serafina's ego. It's rarely enough to please the boss.