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Abrenian Profile: Cielito “Lee” Torrijos

Lee Torrijos

Lee Torrijos

His films are not your typical big budgeted Hollywood flicks. You won’t expect spectacular computer generated animations or sophisticated camera effects. Nevertheless his subjects are powerful and effective in the sense that it deals with real people, events and places (am not talking fake reality shows). His works deal with the myriad of our sociopolitical landscape of our country.

He is Cielito “Lee” Torrijos, an Independent film producer/editor/director currently based in Daly City, California.

His notable work “Pagasa sa Paglaya” is a documentary that shows the punishment of inmates in the Philippines, how they are paying for their debt  to society by incarceration,  their fears and hunger and how they are being helped to be re-integrated into our society by giving them the skill to be productive again.  .

Lee has published several documentaries about social, political and cultural issues through his Lampaso Multimedia Production’s website.

Currently, he is working on Cordillera: Myth Music Magic, Semana Santa, Gabriela Silang Documentary and plan to traverse the mighty Abra River. He’s been writing, rewriting a screenplay about the WW II, what took place during the Japanese occupation, the guerilla movement in Bangued, Tayum and Pidigan to a composite town of San Jose.

A native of Bangued, Lee immigrated to the U.S.  32 years ago. He served in the U.S Army in the early 80’s. Upon completion of his military service in 1985, He moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area. He got interested in photography and video editing and took courses at City College of San Francisco.

Lee is married to Nida Elio Torrijos. They have a daughter (Jonilyn) who is into Fine Arts and 3D Modeling Design.

You can contact Lee at:

Cielito B. Torrijos
Independent Film Digital Video Producer
PO Box 244
Daly City, CA. 94016-0244


About SysOp

Chief Architect of abrenian.com


15 thoughts on “Abrenian Profile: Cielito “Lee” Torrijos

  1. Mr. Torrijos:

    I’m an oldtimer, native of Bangued, I remember a big store east of the Catholic church owned by the prominent family of TORRIJOS (before WW II.) I believe one of the Torrijos youngster went to the same school as I did. May I know your patents. Thank you.

    Dr. Leo Tuason.

    Posted by Leo Tuason, MD. | June 25, 2012, 3:56 am
    • Dr. Leo Tuason, MD. Tata Leo,
      The Torrijos store east of Bangued church was owned by lolo Bernardino (Dinong) Lolo Antonio (Anton) and lolo Cornelio(Conning) store was located at Santiago St. My father was the late Jose(Peping/Amping) Manong na ni Tio Maning (Manuel) ken Tio Inso (Lorenzo) Ni Tio Condring a nauddian da ket agnaed diay Oxnard, California.

      Posted by Lee Torrijos | June 26, 2012, 8:05 pm
  2. Sir Torrejos: I am interested to hear more about our local folk unsung hero during WWII in the name of Lt. USAFFE Feliciano Madamba. I heard that he saved/hid a lot of Abrenians particularly the big politicians of Bangued during the said war. Since you are doing an important contribution to our cultural and political history, I wonder if you could include him in your research.
    Thank you very much Sir, and please don’t get tired for doing such a wonderful job where the past, present, and future generations would never forgot.

    Posted by malagantz | June 26, 2012, 12:51 pm
    • MALAGANTZ: Pls. email more info about Lt. Feliciano Madamba, USAFFEE and personal info. Thanks? I will SYSOP to create a Beterano thread where we can post oral history of WW II veterans. I will ask permission from my producer who is interviewing Battaan Death March survivors to post a clip about the heroism of Capt. Jesus Villamor during the war.

      Posted by Lee Torrijos | June 26, 2012, 8:32 pm
    • Lee:
      I’m elated to learn that you and Sysop have plans to create a thread in this Website on the exploits of Abrenian Veterans of WW II.

      May I include three youngsters from Bangued, all three freshman in Manila College at the time were inducted being ROTC into the Phil. Army on mid-1940 (WWII Bombing of Pearl Harbor Dec. 1941).

      I fully remember the induction event which took place at the Bangued Cadre now called (Camp Juan Villamor) being natives of Bangued, their names are:
      1. Moises ‘Isis’ Tuason (my brother)
      2. Luciano Tejero
      3. Honesto Trinidad
      My bro Isis died few years back. Before his death, he confided to me that he regreted
      that he was unable to write his book on his exploit of WW II ( years of contact with him I learn that he was indeed a good writter). The reason why he didn’t pursue writting his memoirs … he was busy in his profession as logger/lumberman to provide a decent living for his family of 6.

      To be continued:…

      Posted by Leo Tuason, MD. | June 30, 2012, 4:52 am
      • Lee:

        Having mentioned the three fellows born in Bangued who became Veterans of WW II, Survivors of the BATAAN DEATH MARCH, came out alive from the Japanese Concentration Camp..of Camp Odonnel of Capas, Tarlac. I would like to state their ‘ranks’. All three were assigned in the same DIVISION of the Phil. Army Artillery.
        1. Tuason .. Master Sargent (highest of the three).
        2. Tejero .. 1st Sargent 3. Trinidad .. Technical Sargent

        To be continued:…

        Posted by Leo Tuason, MD. | July 1, 2012, 10:55 am
  3. great works Mr. Lee

    suggestions po. can you feature exotic food of abrenians? like abal-abal, ipon, etc. It would be nice to know how it come to be such a staple for Abrenians.

    more power sir

    Posted by Kaaruba | June 28, 2012, 10:49 pm
  4. Sir: I think he was the Intelligence Officer at that time covering Abra to Tarlac where he was instrumental or part thereof in planning the very first and successful ambush against the Japanese. Perhaps you could interview the old prominent politicians at Bangued as well as our Chinese merchants to find out more about his heroism during the war.
    I’m sorry, how I wish to give you more info!

    Posted by Malagantz | June 30, 2012, 4:10 pm
    • Malagantz: excerpt from We Remained by Col.Russel W. Volckmann.
      Early resistance in North Luzon centered around Gov. Roque Ablan of Ilocos Norte Province. When the Japs following their initial landings, threatened the capital of Ilocos Norte, Laoag, Gov. Ablan transferred the seat of his provincial government back into the mountains….Ablan wasted no time in organizing his provincial government for the emergency. Under a Philippine Army officer, Lt. Feliciano Madamba, he organized and equipped a large guerilla force. Units under Madamba at the first Japs that ventured into the mountains of the province on Jan. 28, 1942., and an entire column of about fifty men was successfully ambushed. A week later an enraged Japs dispatched another column of troops under Major Kumatsu to avenge their defeat by the “bandits.” The same fate befell this force; Major Kumatsu, his two junior officers, and their men rre killed in the well made ambush…

      Malagantz can you email me about yourself and more stories you can relate about Lt. Felisciano Madamba at lampaso31@yahoo.com or private message me at Facebook. I’ll be posting outtakes of video interviews from my documentary video Forsaken Heroes (Their Unfinished Battle) of guerilla fighters and bolo men from Abra, La Trinidad, Benguet and Fil-Veterans who emigrated to San Francisco-bay area.

      Posted by Lee | July 2, 2012, 1:45 pm
  5. The WWII veteran born in Bangued was DR. LUIS F. BERSAMIN, Bataan Death March survivor who became the 1st Governor of Abra after WW II. He was inducted to the Phil. Medical Corp. as a Captain having a degree in Medicine, probably at the US Army Fort Stotsenburg, close to Manila.

    Nonethe less all four Bersamin, Tuason, Tejero and Trinidad were born in Bangued and survived the Bataaan Death March and the Japanese Prison at Camp Odennel, Capas, Pampamga Province. about 66 Km from Mariveles, Bataan Province.

    Several months after the Prison Camp was filled, the Japanese Government allowed civilians
    outside the prison camp to bring in food, medicinces for the prisonners.

    That’s the time mother Juana and I (at age 10) begun our weekly trips to Capas, and brought food and medicines for brother ISIS, after knowing he was alive through his cousin Capt. Bersamin, being a phisician, he was able to see-communicate with civilians outside the Prison Camp.

    To be continued:..

    Posted by Leo Tuason, MD. | July 6, 2012, 9:51 am
  6. We have similar stories of civilians searching and bringing food and medicine hoping to locate their relatives from our upcoming documentary Cordillera: Myth Music Magic. (WW II segment)

    Calling more kakailian to post veterans stories here. How about the story of the 21 Martyrs?

    Posted by Lee Torrijos | July 9, 2012, 10:37 am
  7. hello sir am quite interested with the documentary you are making i have been researching too regarding the world war since the ancestral home of the damians got bombed during those times,my dad was then eight when it happened.

    Posted by casamata | July 24, 2012, 5:37 pm
  8. Can anyone from Pidigan tell us about the Saponok?
    There was also a song written about it.

    Posted by Lee Torrijos | September 12, 2012, 8:08 pm

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