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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.

Jul 30, 2018

Here's Hoping Director Chito Roño's Second Passion Project Filmed In His Native Biri Island, 'Signal Rock', Will Get More Viewers Than His Little Seen 'Badil'

DIRECTOR CHITO RONO made a passion project in 2013, “Badil”, set in Biri Island, Samar. It was not distributed well and was hardly seen by anyone, when in truth, is one of the best films made that year. Now, he has made another movie near his heart, “Signal Rock”, also set in Biri Island. “With ‘Badil’, wala kaming distributor and I just relied on the FDCP (Film Development Council of the Phil.),” he says. “This time, I’ve learned my lesson and I asked the helped of Mother Lily and Regal to distributor ‘Signal Rock’ for me. ‘Badil’ is about politics, dahil diyan ako lumaki, and it shows how people can easily be corrupted by money. ‘Signal Rock’ is originally titled ‘Bagtik’, which refers to people who are left behind by their loved to work or live abroad. Malapit ito sa puso kasi mahal ko ang mga taga-Biri and most of them are my friends.”

He says “Signal Rock” is far from anything he has done before. “It’s not your usual genre movie. Matagal ko nang binubuo ang story nito and for a while, bibigay ko na sana sa TV kaya lang, sayang naman kung magiging isang episode lang ito sa MMK. Very Pinoy ang story kasi it’s about Pinoys in the provinces who believe their lives will improve if they marry someone wealthier. The story is set in the 90s when people in Biri can contact their loved ones abroad through cellphone only when they’re on top of Signal Rock kasi sa ibaba ng island, walang signal at all.”

How did he get Christian Bables to play the lead role of Intoy? “Lahat ng artista rito, nag-audition. Si Christian, initially, parang hindi bagay sa role kasi ang puti-puti niya, but I could see yung sincerity and intensity niya as an actor. He also has his own charm na important for the role kasi he’s well liked that mabait siya sa family niya. So pinaitim na lang namin siya rito para magmukha siyang island boy. Lahat ng artista rito, kailangang makita yung character na gagampanan nila sa kanila and we have a good cast, dahil lahat sila, nag-blend with the island.”

“Signal Rock” will be shown as an entry in the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino which will be shown in theaters nationwide from August 15 to 21.