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The Philippine culture is very rich in folklores and legends that narrate the beginning of most elements and how it will end if abused. Most of the stories impart morals and principles to the people especially to the youth. Mulat: Ang Hindi Sinukuan Sa Arayat,  which is based on a Filipino folklore, Mariang Sinukuan, now wants to convey a message on how mining and its valuable currency can escalate to a more repressing issue that may lead to environmental and cultural degradation. Synopsis follows below:

In a small community in the mountain of Arayat, there lived a girl named Liway who is always out to find new things around her especially in the forest, she considers it her home whereas her ancestors were also domiciled. One day, the guardian or diwata of the mountain who always admire her passion for adventure and love for nature, Mariang Sinukuan, revealed her powers before her eyes. Suddenly a repressive corporation desired to abuse their healthy land for their own greedy purposes.

How will Liway and her community defend their land?

The director giving instructions

Mulat: And Hindi Sinukuan sa Arayat is a dance theatre thesis production of Justin Ray Salvatierra Diolazo that revolves around the journey and battle of Liway and her indigenous community as they try to defend their beloved land from the destructive  hands of the environmental exploiters who are hungry for wealth and domination. It also entails a deeper and wider view on the power relations of nature, the army, the community, and the youth.

The choreographers are Justin Ray Diolazo, Neil John Cagan and Jay Anthony Mangao while the performers are Justin Ray Diolazo, Neil John Cagan and Jay Anthony Mangao. Justin Ray Salvatierra Diolazo also directed and produced the performance. 

             Performances will be at the Black Box, Sixth floor, School of Design and Arts Campus, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. Show dates will be from Friday, July 28, 2017 at 7 PM to Saturday, July 29, 2017 at 1 PM and 7 PM. Tickets are priced at PHP 150.00 each and can be purchased by contacting Patricia Bautista at 0917 842 5013 and Francesca Bernardo at 0917 665 6339.

              For more updates and inquiries, you may visit us the show's Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/Mulat-Ang-Hindi-Sinukuan-Sa-Arayat-1372391389517869/

Thanksgiving dance for Sinukuan

Mulat, A Dance About Mariang Sinukuan Goes Onstage This July 28 and 29

he ideal scenario when an OFW father, who has slaved away for 33 years on a boat, comes homes to his family, is that they will greet him with hugs and kisses. This is not the case for What Home Feels Like, which gives us a bittersweet dose of how distance can be a contributing factor in making Antonio (Bembol Roco), the protagonist, a shunned individual instead of being given a hero’s welcome. After all, his hard work has given his family a comfortable life, a spacious house, and even farm lots for investment.The film is written and directed by 25-year old newcomer Joseph Abello, who wrings out the story from his own experience.

Right off the bat, the film gives us an undercurrent of distancing as Antonio’s twin children, Julius (Rex Lantano) and Alison (Bianca Libinting), do not make an effort to match their father’s enthusiasm in trying to bond with them. Their replies are sparse and they cannot, or rather, would not look their father in the eye. Eager to nurture, Antonio instead turns to growing various vegetation in his newly-acquired plot of land as well as petting his white kitten.

On the other hand, his wife Jenny (Irma Adlawan) is a highschool teacher considering early retirement because of what she deems as a problematic K-12 system and lack of opportunities in the vicinity. Gentle most of the time, like many women, when she wants to make a point, her words hang heavy with the dagger of impunity, especially when she notices her husband’s priority in material rather than emotional investment, which doesn’t help the domestic situation get any better.

Aside from the impeccable ensemble acting by both veterans and neophytes, the film also manages to strengthen its straightforward narrative with strong visual poetry, particularly the clever use of chiaroscuro to allude to Antonio’s “being in the dark” regarding what is really happening in his household that are only communicated to him by glances and gestures, aside from one short scene where he actually hears Alison talking to Jenny directly about what she feels about his presence. There’s also this glaring contrast of how the family receives them between Antonio’s arrival in the beginning and the arrival of his two OFW sons towards the middle of the film, the latter having been shot from the top using a wide angle to highlight it even further. The cinematography of Ronald Rebutica is very nuanced and communicates poignancy very well.

Another element that made the film compact is that it just focused on Antonio’s perspective instead of peppering the film with unnecessary subplots like most mainstream drama films. It also revealed an unlikeable trait of Antonio, providing ample information as to why there’s trouble at his work, but leaving room for the audience to guess whether he had it in him all along or it’s the subliminal pressure from all the years of toil and loneliness weighing down on him.

What Home Feels Like reminds us how communication is important to sustain a relationship  not just within the family, but also in a community. It’s a story that’s not entirely new, since the theme of estrangement from absentee family members have populated mainstream film, TV, and even theater since the the 90s. What is new however is the approach of the film which shows us how communication breakdown can be remedied with the use of modern technology and a healthy compromise.

FILM REVIEW: What Home Feels Like

Last June 30, the 12 official finalists were announced from the pool of almost 50 submissions. The members of the PPP Selection Commitee were Manet Dayrit (video editor), Oggs Cruz (film critic), Ricky Lee (screenwriter), Erik Matti (director), Jose Javier Reyes (director), Iza Calzado (actress), and Lee Briones (cinematographer). 

The films encompass different genres and the festival will run from August 16-22 in cinemas nationwide. Here are the official finalists:

Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B (The IdeaFirst Company)

Genre: Dark Romance
Director: Prime Cruz

Starring Ryza Cenon, Martin del Rosario, and Vangie Labalan

Jewel is a mysterious woman who lives alone in the city. She has a secret which has led her to settle into a lonely existence. That is, until she meets Nico, a broken-hearted, down-and-out guy who also feels unlovable like she does. Jewel is torn between wanting to love him and wanting to save him from herself. 

AWOL (Skylight)

Genre: Action-Thriller
Director: Enzo Williams

Starring Gerald Anderson

Lt. Abel Ibarra, team leader of 'Musang', an elite sniper group under the Philippine Army's Scout Ranger division, wants out of the battlefield to spend more time raising his young and only daughter, Bea. After the success of his last mission against a notorious Moro terrorist group in Mindanao, Abel is finally pulled out of operations and is transferred to base camp to mentor young sniper cadets. 

Bar Boys (Tropic Frills, Inc.)

Genre: Comedy/Drama
Director: Kip Oebanda

Starring Carlo Aquino, Rocco Nacino, Enzo Pineda, Kean Cipriano, Odette Khan, and Mike Liwag

Four best friends enter law school and are forced to make sacrifices along the way. The sacrifice sleep, love, family, and even their principles to succeed. However, the dog-eat-dog nature of the institution ultimately forces them to sacrifice each other.

Birdshot (TBA Studios)

Genre: Coming of age thriller
Director: Mkhail Red

Starring John Arcilla, Ku Aquino, Arnold Reyes, and Mary Joy Apostol

The film tells the story of a young Filipina farm girl who wanders into the boundaries of a Philippine reservation forest. Deep within the reservation, she mistakenly shoots and kills a critically endangered Philippine eagle.

Hamog (CPI/Cinema One)

Genre: Drama
Director: Ralston Jover

Starring Zaijan Jaranilla, Teri Malvar, Sam Quintania, Bor Lentejas, and Mike Liwag

A child's play at the end of innocence, heading towards a journey at the beginning of life. It showcases 4 street children called "batang hamog" who gets dragged into consecutive and unexpected events in their daily routine of crime and survival in the busy street.

Paglipay (Universal Harvester Inc.)

Genre: Romance
Director: Zig Madamba Dulay

Starring Garry Cabalic and Anna Luna

In order to fulfill his arranged marriage with a felow Aeta, Atan crosses the mountain river going to town to earn money for the bandi (bride price). As he adapts himself to the modern way of life, he meets a city girl who would make his life turn around. Atan faces cross-cultural modifications amid changes in the mountain brought about by immense modernity.

Patay Na si Hesus (T-Rex Entertainment Production)

Genre: Comedy/Satire
Director: Victor Villanueva

When Iyay (Jaclyn Jose, Cannes 2016 Best Actress) learns that Hesus, her estranged husband, has died, she gathers her children and tells them that they are going on a trip - an inter-island road trip smack in the middle of the Philippines, to be exact. Her children, together with their set of eccentricities, reluctantly journey with her in her extra-mini minivan.

Pauwi Na (Universal Harvester Inc.)

Genre: Romance/Drama
Director: Paolo Villaluna

Starring Bembol Roco, Cherry Pie Picache, Meryll Soriano, Jerald Napoles, Jesus Mendoza, and Chai Fonacier

This is the story of a family on a journey from poverty in the city to an imagined paradise in the countryside. Broke, desperate, and with a little more than the clothes on their backs, the family decided to pedal their way thousands of miles in a tragicomic exodus to the green fields of the province.

Salvage (CPI/Cinema One/Frontrow Entertainment)

Genre: Horror
Director: Sherad Sanchez

Starring Jessy Mendiola, JC De Vera, Joel Saracho, Karl Medina, and Barbie Capacio

A news crew is given an unwanted assignement of covering news in rebel-ridden Mindanao where there have been rumors of aswang killings. Following a lead that brings them to the remote barrio where the serial deaths began, a group of armed men in military uniform attempts to abduct the cynical team. As they escape towards the forest, they go through a macabre journey where they encounter the convoluted definition of what it means to be salvaged.

Star na si Van Damme Stallone (Unitel x Straight Shooters)

Genre: Family
Director: Randolph Longjas

Starring Candy Pangilinan, Paolo Pingol, Jadford Dilaco, Sarah Brakensiek, Ebong Joson, Acey Aguilar, and Erlinda Villalobos

Based on real-life characters and events, this tale is about Nadia, a single mom from Bocaue, Bulacan, who goes through the trials and tribulations of raising Vanvan, a child with Down Syndrome.

Triptiko (Michelena Brothers Production)

Genre: Suspense/Comedy/Drama
Director: Miguel Franco Michelena

Starring Albie Casiño, Joseph Marco, Kean Cipriano, and Kylie Padilla

A yuppie who "just got lucky" is struck by a string of unlucky circumstances; a male model's life is upended because of evil boils appearing on his body; a folk singer's romantic ideal's are put to the test as his beloved slowly changes into something he does not understand.

100 Tula Para Kay Stella (Viva Communications, Inc.)

Genre: Romance/Drama
Director: Jason Paul Laxamana

Starring Bela Padilla and JC Santos

Throughout his four years in college, Fidel, a stuttering student, tries to finish 100 poems dedicated to Stella, an aspiring but frustrated rock star, to win her heart.

Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2017 Films in a Nutshell

Maynard Manansala (left) and U.Z. Eliserio (right)

One of the most exciting entries for this year's edition of The Virgin Labfest with the theme Wagas is Hindi Ako si Darna of Set B which was a collaboration between the two writers. Andoy Ranay directs and the one-act play stars Tetchie Agbayani in the titular role with John Lapus as Valentina.

Describe your what your work is about in up to three sentences.

MM: Ang entry namin ni U Eliserio sa Virgin Labfest sa taong ito ay produkto ng espekulasyon sa buhay ng isang superhero. Paano, halimbawa, kung mayroon din siyang limitasyon gaya ng karaniwang tao. Sa huli, nagiging pagmumuni ito sa tunay na esensiya ng pagiging superhero.

UE: Ang aking mga dula ay kolaborasyon. Kolaborasyon sa ko-awtor kong si Maynard Manansala. Kolaborasyon din ang nagaganap sa teatro, pagkikipagdiyalogo sa direktor at mga aktor para makapagtanghal ng dulang magugustuhan ng manonood.

Aside from writing, what else do you do?

MM: Maliban sa pagsulat, tinatapos ko rin ang aking PhD.

UE: Ako ay nagtuturo ng popular na kultura sa Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas sa UP Diliman.

Who are the top three writers you look up to?

MM: Rody Vera, Luna Sicat, and J. Neil C. Garcia

UE: Sina Rommel Rodriguez, Jun Cruz Reyes, at Chuckberry Pascual.

How do you think your growing up years influenced you as a writer?

MM: Nagsimula ang fascination sa teatro noong grade school na nakakapanood ako ng mga dula ng PETA sa Dulaang Rajah Sulayman, Fort Santiago.

UE: Mahilig ako sa mga magazin tulad ng InQuest Gamer at Cracked (hindi cracked.com), na puro g*guhan ang nilalaman.

What do you think can be done so that Philippine theater will have more plays in Filipino
rather than in English?

MM: Isang magandang venue ang VLF. Kahit na bukas din ang festival sa English entries, mostly in Filipino ang mga naitatanghal dito. Kung magkakaroon pa sana ng ibang festival na gaya nito, o venue, gaano man kalaki o kaliit. Makakatulong din na magkakaroon ng conscious effort ang mga theater company na gumawa ng mga dulang Filipino, orihinal man, salin o adaptasyon. Masigasig ang Sipat Lawin, at promising ang Sugid Productions nina Andoy Ranay na may commitment na gumawa ng advocacy plays in Filipino.

UE: Wag nang manood ng dulang nakasulat sa Ingles na hindi naman Filipino ang gumawa, pwera na lang iyong salin sa Ingles na walang salin sa Filipino.

What's the first material you've ever written?

MM: Personal essay. Pero kung dulang naitanghal, isang dulang naisulat ko para sa isang simbahan.

UE: Kung dulang naitanghal, Karitas at Damaso. Kung dula nakasulat lang, Si Nigang. Kung kahit anong teksto basta nalathala, "Toilet Reading" (maikling kwento).

What inspired you to become a writer?

MM: Ang mahuhusay kong guro ng literature noong high school, sa English man o Filipino.

UE: Mahilig akong magbasa at anti-social ako noong mas bata.

What made you join VLF?

MM: Sa simula, nahila lang ng kaibigan. Pagtagal, naa-appreciate ko as a writer ang proseso ng kolaborasyon.

UE: Guro ko noon si Rene Villanueva at naging miyembro din ako ng Writers Bloc nina Rody Vera. Nababanggit nilang madalas na ang VLF ay mahusay na daluyan para sa mga bagitong mandudula.

How was the casting process?

MM: Mas desisyon ni direk Andoy ang casting.

UE: Pinangungunahan ng hinahangaan kong si Tetchie Agbayani ang aming dula. Si Andoy Ranay na aming direktor ay may bisyon para sa mga aarte sa dula at siyang nag-recruit ng mga aktor.

What do you do when you get writer's block?

MM: Gumagawa muna ako ng ibang bagay, para magkaroon lang ng diversion.

UE: Gumagamit ako ng prompts tulad ng matatagpuan sa tvtropes.org.

The remaining shows for Set B are on July 8 and 13 (3pm) as well as later July 7, then 12, and 16 (8pm). The venue is at the CCP Little Theater. You can get your tickets at the CCP Box Office or call Ticketworld at 891-9999.

VLF 13 in Focus: U Eliserio and Maynard Manansala Talk About Darna and More


“Bawat pelikula or endeavor of exercising your profession is a great opportunity na mashare mo kung anong meron ka, whether journalism yan, pagduduktor, o kung anupaman.”

Universal Harvester Inc. (UHI) lights up the silver screen with six new and original films to mark the second edition of the TOFARM Film Festival.

The six official entries were chosen from more than a hundred scripts submitted to the screening committee. Shortlisting the entries alone was no easy task as the numbers of the entrants rose to 113 from 76 submitted last year.

The six films included in this year’s TOFARM Film Festival are Topel Lee’s “Baklad,” the coming of age story of a fish pen boy seeking to follow his dream; Tarrah Illenbergers “Hightide”, a film inspired by actual events happening in the country as a result of climate change; Jason Paul Laxamana’s “Instalado”, a film in the science fiction genre set in a farming village a few years into the future; Vic Acedillo’s “Kamunggay”, which tells of how an old man came to know himself more as well as the people around him because of a small vegetable patch; Byron Bryant’s “Sinandomeng”, a heartwarming comedy about a strong-willed woman who took farming into her own hands to save her property; and Joseph Abello’s “What Home Feels Like,” a story of a seaman who struggled with his estrangement from his family after several years of absence.

With different genres and engaging storyline, the six films are expected to cater to different age groups and highlight the farming in the country.

One of the notable achievements of the festival is that for the first time, an Aeta in the person of Garry Cabalic was nominated in the Best Actor Category for this year’s Gawad Urian. His role in “Paglipay” directed by Zig Dulay won him the Best Actor award from last year together with Bembol Roco from “Pauwi Na”. The latter film garnered an Urinan nomination for Paolo Villaluna in the Best Director category.

“The TOFARM Film Festival is primarily a tribute to the hardworking farmers,” states UHI Executive Vice President and TOFARM Chief Advocate Dr. Milagros O. How. “It’s our way to celebrate their lives in an unconventional yet artistic way.”

TOFARM Film Festival will have its theatrical run from July 12 to 18, while the highly anticipated awards night is slated on July 16.

TOFARM Film Festival 2017 is supported by Landbank, SM Cinemas, Gateway, Greenbelt, FDCP Cinematheque, UP Cinema, Net 25, Pinas FM 95.5, and Universal Harvester, Inc.


In 2011, Perry Escaño wrote the screenplay for Ang Sikreto ng Piso and it eventually became a semifinalist in a local film festival. The film is based on a true story about coin smuggling involving the Philippine peso in 2006 because of its nickel and copper content. The writer-director said that the coins can be sold as much as $20 for a kilo. He also said that this comedy film is inspired by what happened to his friend who gathered loads of one-peso coins.

In 2017, he found the perfect producer to bring his film to life, Joyce Pilarsky, who's a beauty queen and fashion designer introduced by Ernie Garcia, his actor from his film Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa which is an official entry in the 13th Cinemalaya Film Festival. He eventually decided to make Ernie his supervising producer and like the aforementioned film, this new work of his will also have Alfred Vargas as its lead actor.

"Maganda yung working relationship namin ni Alfred. Very professional siya sa set. Kapag dinirek mo, nagfafollow siya ng instructions," said Perry regarding his casting decision. The actor politician will play Ronnie Biglang-Awa, who is a kind man and loving father with a frugal way of living. His worries about his son Taballero's future lead to his entanglement with a Chinese businessman. 

Judy Ann Santos being eyed for second lead as Juana Biglang-Awa, Pablo's wife who wants to use her cunning so she can help her husband make ends meet. As per the film staff, the script is currently with her and she likes the title of the film.

Major roles in the film are currently being offered to the following: multi-talented ace comedian Joey Marquez, the still debonair and handsome Wendell Ramos, the cute child actor and Downy commercial model Yuan Francisco, TV comedian Long Mejia, and veteran actress-singer Beverly Salviejo. Already confirmed as cast members are Paul Sy, Andoy Ranay, and Ernie Garcia, who've been doing both stage and TV work aside from film for a quarter of a century.

The production is also looking to cast McCoy de Leon as Alfred's younger brother in the story and Elisse Joson as Joey De Leon's obedient daughter. Joanna Marie Tan, Akihiro Blanco, Garry Lim, and Dexter Doria are also set to play vital roles in the film.

Produced by MPJ Entertainment Productions and JPP Entertainment (Joyce Pilar Pilarsky), cameras are set to roll this July.

McLisse and Juday, In Negotiation for Major Roles in Ang Sikreto ng Piso

Photography by JR Sala II

In 2000, the late Rudy Lantano, an innovative scientist, invented three things, and they dwelt among us. These were alcodiesel, the algas (alternative alcohol gas blend) and the super bunker formula L.

Fast forward to 17 years a later, his grandson, Rex Lantano, finally got his break as an actor after almost giving up. A graduating student of mass communications at FEU, he started acting when he was just 14 years old, playing a semi-regular yet inconspicuous roles in various teleseryes like Princess and I (2012). He even played a bit part as a cellphone thief in Ekstra (2013). Of course, he did not imagine that 4 years later, the wheel would turn for him.

Since his family is quite well-to-do and he has a natural business acumen, he put up a mini-restobar in Las Piñas at an age where most millennials like him indulge in partying fueled by the “yolo mindset”. He did this at the time when he felt that he couldn’t do anymore since he usually gets just bit parts even after taking up acting workshops. However, he just can’t get rid of the acting bug and he decided to try his luck once more. Soon, he met Shandii Bacolod of MSB Talent Management who saw his potential and signed him up.

Photo from Rex Lantano

Prior to bagging the role of Julius Concepcion in What Home Feels Like, a Tofarm Film Festival 2017 official entry, he did short films with DLS-Lipa (for which he bagged the Best Actor award at the Cinemapua 2017 awards where the film Siphayo was entered) and his alma mater. He was Ariston de Jesus of the TV mini-series Katipunan (2013) and was also part of Goldilock’s viral ad #Kiliglamig which aired around March.

Like his character in the film, he’s used to not having a father figure. His defines home as, “Yung peaceful ka…yung makakatulog ka…yung panatag ang loob mo at masaya ka.” He makes sure to really prepare prior to his take so it would be “take one” as much as possible since he doesn’t like being the cause of delay.

He shared the two best lessons he has learned in show business so far. Number one is, “Maghintay ng tamang timing. Kapag hindi mo pa talaga kaya, wag ipilit.” And, “Maging seryoso sap ag-arte, wag lang isipin na laro-laro, na gusting magkapera at sumikat. Maraming kumpetensya ngayon.”

Photo from the store's FB page

Even though he has something more to look forward to in his career, he did put up a business again last year that’s easier to manage: Mang Tuhog BBQ House in Las Piñas. Wherever his perseverance may take him, he wants to dedicate his triumphs, both big and small, to his grandparents, since they’re the ones who were very supportive of him.

Who would imagine that Rudy Lantano, an alternative fuel inventor, would eventually be the fuel to keep his grandson Rex Lantano’s fire burning?

Photo from Pinoy Achievers Blog

Photo from Shandii Bacolod

What Being Rex Lantano Feels Like

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