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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 29, 2011

Tom Rodriguez got possessed while visiting Juan Luna Shrine in Laoag City

WE HAD FUN VISITING the set of “Temptation Island” in Ilocos Norte. We flew there with stars Marian Rivera, Heart Evangelista, Solenn Heussaff, Rufa Mae Quinto, John Lapus, Aljur Abrenica, Tom Rodriguez and Mikael Daez for the resumption of their shoot last Tuesday, along with Roselle Monteverde-Teo, Writer-Director Chris Martinez, Popoy Caritativo (Marian’s amiable manager), and five other press people. Lovi Poe was not with our group but there’s a separate story about that later. We left Manila at 10 AM and landed at the Laoag International Airport at 11 AM. We saw Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos there and she said she’s hosting a special dinner for our group that night. We stayed at the plush La Playa Tropical Hotel Resort in Currimao with its fabulous infinity pool fronting the beach. We were in one room with Jun Nardo and Allan Diones of Abante and really had a blast with them during our two nights there.

The first night, after the Imee dinner held at the Juan Luna Shrine (an old house where the great painter and also his brother Antonio were born), became unforgettable because the cast toured the various rooms inside the house and something happened to Tom Rodriguez. When he came down, he was suddenly sweating profusely. The beads of sweat are really forming on his forehead and streaming down his cheeks. He felt so cold and complained that something unexplainably wrong happened to him. “Na-possessed si Tom,” was what some people quickly concluded. It was decided that we return to the hotel quick, but Gov. Imee brought along a faithhealer and with the use of some herbs, whatever entity that got hold of Tom was driven away and he was soon smiling again like nothing happened to him.

The last night was also very memorable as Roselle, along with Popoy, GMA Films’ Joey Abacan and Eileen of GMA Marketing joined us for a night of drinking and karaoke. Everyone had fun singing and dancing until way past midnight. We only retired as we had to wake up early the next morning for our flight back to Manila.

The main set was on the fantastic sand dunes of Paoay that was also used by the late Director Joey Gosiengfiao for the original film made in 1981. It was also where the late FPJ shot a lot of his films like “Dugo sa Buhangin” and the “Panday” series, also the classic Nora Aunor film, “Himala”. We all had to ride on special jeeps to get to the set that was in the middle of the sand dunes that extend for 9 kms. It was so bumpy our head keep on hitting the ceiling. The heat in the middle of the desert-like surroundings was unbearable, but all the stars are good sports as they don’t complain at all even if they had to endure several hours of being baked under the scorching heat of the summer sun during takes. Us lesser mortals not needed on cam just stayed under the tents to keep ourselves from getting sunburned. We got to interview all of the stars in between takes and they all said they’re enjoying making the movie as they’re having great bonding with each other while working on location in Ilocos.

Direk Chris says his version of the film will be a total tribute to Joey Gosiengfiao not only because the names of the female characters in the remake are culled from past films of Joey like “Rape of Virginia P”, “Secrets of Pura”, “Diary of Cristina Gaston”, “Nights of Serafina” and “Nympha”, but also he is borrowing some of Joey’s wittiest lines in many of his films and using them anew in “Temptation Island”.

“The film is a cult classic to yuppies and advertising people for being so campy and larger than life,” he says. “We first remade it as a play in CCP. Mother Lily went to see it and was impressed as all nights were sold out affairs. Puno talaga, so she thought of doing this film remake. I remain faithful to the original, but also had to make changes here and there to update it for today’s generation of viewers.”