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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.

Dec 11, 2020



ALFRED VARGAS is now the congressman of the 5th district of Quezon City, but his first love is acting, so he returns to making films every now and then. 

He just produced and starred in “Tagpuan”, an official Metro Manila Filmfest entry. It had a special press preview and he was congratulated by the press people who attended the affair for his fine performance in the lead role. 

“Tagpuan” is a romantic drama written by Ricky Lee and directed by MacArthur Alejandre, filmed on location in New York and Hongkong. 

Alfred plays the central character in the story, Allan, a man who is separated from his wife Agnes, played by Iza Calzado, and finds new romance in a carefree young woman in Hongkong, Tanya, played by Shaina Magdayao. 

Then he meets Iza again in New York and his feelings for her are ignited once again, making him face a very serious dilemma. 

“A lot of people can relate with Allan,” says Alfred. “As a businessman, he’s very successful. But emotionally, he’s conflicted, he’s confused. People like him are always very busy, but they ne­ver seem to finish anything. The truth is it’s because they are in search of meaning in the relationships they have.”

The fact that the film was shot on location abroad escalated its budget but Alfred bankrolled it willingly. 

“You will not see in ‘Tagpuan’ the usual places that you’ve been to before in Hong Kong and New York. Ibang side of those two big and colorful cities ang ipinakita namin dito.”

He’s lucky to have love scenes with both Iza and Shaina. “It’s a must to show the sexual interactions among the characters because the film is all about Allan trying to find himself. 

"In order for him to do that, it’s not enough that he knows what his heart and mind want, he has to know how his body reacts, too.  Magkaiba ang treatment ng love scenes to the two actresses I interact with.  

"The one I had with Shaina as Tanya is more liberating. It serves as a means of catharsis for my character. It was all about being free and uninhibited. 

"Yung kay Iza as Agnes, my estranged wife, was more like reconciliation for them. It was like Allan finds himself again after being lost for a long time and it felt like nothing has changed between them after all the years of their being apart.”

He says the scenes shot in Hongkong were made at the height of the protest rallies there.  

“As the film’s producer, I was worried about it, but we never felt we were in danger during the five days that we were shooting the film there because our contacts did very good coordination of all our shoots so we’re all safe.”

They could have shot the supposed interior scenes in Hongkong and New York right here in Manila and it would have been cheaper and easier. “But we didn’t want to cheat. Everything you see in the film is authentic and it brought out the heart and soul of the story and also the characters.”

He feels blessed working with two very talented actresses. 

“Maraming gugulatin si Shaina rito. She’s a revelation as she transforms into her character, Tanya, na ibang-iba sa totoong siya. She’s stunning to watch at nadadala niya ako sa eksena. 

"Grabe ang commitment niya sa role and she has no reluctance doing the sexy scenes. Game na game siya to do what the script requires her to do. Kay Iza, it’s such a breeze as we’ve worked before in some teleseryes, so gamay na gamay na namin ang isa’t isa. Tinginan lang, alam na namin how to execute the scene because of our good rapport with each other.”

“Tagpuan” opens on Christmas Day by live streaming via Upstream.ph that is so easy to download.