Batch '81

Batch '81
Directed by Mike De Leon
Produced by Marichu Maceda
Written by Clodualdo del Mundo, Raquel Villavicencio, Mike De Leon[1]
Starring Mark Gil
Sandy Andolong
Music by Lorrie Ilustre
Cinematography Rody Lacap
Edited by Jess Navarro
Distributed by Sampaguita Pictures
Release dates
18 November 1982
Running time
100 minutes
Country Philippines
Language Tagalog/English

Alpha Kappa Omega Batch '81 (also known as Batch '81 or ΑΚΩ 81) is a 1982 Philippine dramatic film starring Mark Gil. Directed by Mike de Leon from a script by Clodualdo del Mundo, the film is about the titular fraternity's harsh initiation of a new batch of members in 1981 as seen from the eyes of Gil's character, Sid Lucero. It was screened at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival's Directors Fortnight. Although it is a joint production of LVN Pictures, MVP Pictures, and Sampaguita Pictures, the movie was also Sampaguita's last before it closed down.[2]


Sid Lucero, a student at an unnamed university in the Philippines, is attracted by the prospects of joining the Alpha Kappa Omega, one of the school's most prominent Greek-letter organizations. He is considering a new direction in his life, as his mother was pushing him to take up zoology and later on to medical school.

Lucero is one of the fraternity's 15 initial applicants, but only eight make it into the group's six-month initiation program with the seniors overseeing it. One neophyte is kicked out on the first day for defying the masters' orders to strip after noticing a prerecorded tape of women giggling and talking about men stripping in front of them. The fraternity leader, Vince, orients the batch in the ways of the group before submitting them to their first hazing, which lasts all night.

Over the next several months, the fraternity masters submit the neophytes to a series of tests. Pacoy Ledesma has sex with a teacher whom a senior, Gonzalez, asked him to send a bouquet to, and is made to eat his lunch food mixed with soft drinks and ketchup when Vince chances upon him at the school cafeteria. For falling behind during a test where the neophytes ran in public in their underwear and sneakers, Pete Magtibay is forced to hold a mosquito net over Gonzalez as he sleeps all night. Ronnie Roxas Jr. is made to drink beer laced with his batchmates' spittle at a birthday party (and everybody else was in on it). A doctor who is an AKO member attaches surgical equipment as a pain-tolerance experiment to Lucero, whose girlfriend is concerned for his safety after losing her only brother in the frat's initiation rites two years before.

The psychological pressure takes its toll on Ronnie and Arni Enriquez and both decide to leave. When Vince discovers this, he has Ronnie tied to an electric chair as part of a quiz for all the neophytes to see. Ronnie's own father - one of the fraternity's founding members - oversees the session, where the younger Roxas will be shocked for the wrong answers. When the voltage is set higher and Ronnie Sr orders the session to continue, the neophytes are made to shock their friend even if he has to die in the process. When Pacoy sees that Ronnie is not responding to the questions, he refuses to do so and is made to replace Roxas, who suddenly wakes up. Ronnie Sr explains that everything was a set-up to help the neophytes trust their masters. Later, Arni gets angry at Sid being callous over everything and it takes the entire group to placate them; Roxas decides to stay.

The neophytes are elated at Ronnie's decision and push on with their presentation for the university's annual Upakan inter-fraternity talent show, a rendition of the classic play Cabaret. Later after the show, Sid, Arni, and Arni's girlfriend Tina are waylaid by members of the Sigma Omicron Sigma fraternity. Its leader – Tina's brother Abet – makes good on his earlier threats to stop Arni dating his sister by drowning him in front of Lucero's eyes. Eager to avenge Arni's death, Sid asks Vince to retaliate. Both fraternities break up a truce and settle everything in a street fight. Ronnie is killed on the AKO side by a Sigma Omicron fratman, who falls to a cleaver strike by Gonzalez; he then works with Sid to kill Abet but at the cost of his own life. Saddened at what AKO had become, Ronnie Sr. forgives the group. After one last hazing at a beach, the remaining neophytes – Lucero, Ledesma, Magtibay, Santi Santillan, and Ding Quintos - are officially welcomed into the fraternity.

A closing voice-over by Lucero reveals that he eventually becomes one of the masters overseeing another batch of neophytes.



Clodualdo del Mundo, Raquel Villavicencio, and director Mike de Leon created the screenplay using information discreetly gleaned from members of the University of the Philippines' Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity. Producer Marichu Maceda claimed her experiences on the film were based on what she felt when her own son was beaten up by his own "brods" (Tagalog slang for frat members). It is often seen as an allegory on the Marcos regime's tyrannical rule.[3]


The movie left an impact as a study on the psyche of fraternities in the Philippines.[4][5][6] The realism of the movie's initiation scenes are also referred to by Philippine media on stories of fraternity hazings.

The film eventually became one of Gil's most known works. His son Tim, who was a year old at the time of the film's release, would eventually assume his character's name Sid Lucero as a stage name upon joining show business years later.[7]


The film was accepted for screening at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival's Director's Fortnight. It landed seven nominations at the 1983 Film Association of the Philippines Awards for Best Performance By an Actor in a Leading Role, Best Production Design, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Original Screenplay, eventually winning the latter two.[3]


  1. "Batch '81 (1982): Full Cast & Crew". Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  2. Caole Vila, Alixandra (2014-09-01). "WATCH: A look back at Mark Gil's colorful career". Retrieved 2014-09-28.
  3. 1 2 Agoncillo, Jodee A. (19 July 2014). "Take it from 'Batch '81' writer: 'Frats never learn'". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  4. Sallan, Edwin P. "Legendary filmmaker Mike De Leon to join FDCP filmfest in 2013? | Entertainment News –". Retrieved 2014-01-03.
  5. "Your Say: The Hazards of Hazing | Opinion | GMA News Online". Retrieved 2014-01-30.
  6. "Batch '81' revisited -, Philippine News for Filipinos". 2007-03-28. Retrieved 2014-01-03.
  7. Anita, Ida (2010-04-25). "Sid Lucero: Making A Name For Himself | Starweek Magazine, Other STAR Sections, The Philippine Star". Retrieved 2014-01-03.

External links

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