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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.

May 12, 2023



     JOSHUA GARCIA as Galo with ANGIE FERRO and the two child stars who play Nico and Jezel,          Ynigo Delen and Jewel Phiona Raymundo, who are both very good in the movie

     TAKEN AT GATEWAY presscon with Roselle Monteverde, Direk Chito Rono & Melissa Mendez

JOSHUA GARCIA used to be identified as part of his love team with Julia Barretto after they did several hit movies together. 

But now, he officially goes solo in Regal Entertainment’s “Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan”, which will be shown starting May 18 on Amazon Prime Video.

Roselle Monteverde hosted a special press screening at Gateway and all those we saw it are unanimous in saying that Joshua gives a solid, sterling performance in the lead role. 

He plays Galo, a student who lives with an aunt and uncle (Melissa Mendez and Ricky Davao) in Manila. They treat him like their houseboy.

When his dad in their province died, Galo goes home to his grandmother’s very old house in a remote island. 

His grandma is Mama Susan (Angie Ferro), who seems very strange and mysterious, mouthing lines about how man destroyed the environment and talking about the impending doom when the apocalypse comes. 

Joshua is in 100 percent of all the movie’s scenes and Director Chito Rono elicits an amazing performance from him, making him really perfect in his role as the bewitched and bewildered young hero. 

But of course, he is so flattered with all the congratulatory greetings he got after the screening.

“This is my first solo movie, also my first project with Regal Entertainment and my first movie with Director Chito Rono,” he says at the Q&A that followed. 

“I am so happy, honored and grateful that I was given the opportunity to work with them. 

"It’s a great experience that I will never forget. Masaya talaga ako and this is one for the books!”

He’s also thankful to get to work with 85-year old veteran actress Angie Ferro who plays Mama Susan. 

“She was so supportive, inalalayan niya ako in our scenes together. Ang hahaba ng lines niya but she still finds the time to help and guide me. 

"Bilib ako kasi, at her age, kahit two pages ang haba ng lines niya, name-memorize niya at nade-deliver niya nang walang buckle ha. 

"It’s just amazing and I’m happy that I was given the chance na makatrabaho ko siya.”  

The movie was completed two years ago but was not shown because of the pandemic. 

Now, instead of releasing it in theaters, Roselle Monteverde has decided to sell ito a streaming channel since most of the local films shown in cinemas failed miserable at the box office. 

Just like the entries in the Summer Metro Manila Filmfest which indicated that people are not really ready yet to return to watch films in actual moviehouses.

Joshua says he’s really excited to have the film shown to local audiences. 

“We shot this on location in Pampanga and Quezon and I want to thank all my co-stars and the Regal staff and crew kasi hindi biro ang pinagdaanan namin while shooting it. 

"I’m really glad people can now watch it on Prime Video at mapapanood na nila kung ano ang pinaghirapan namin.”

How will he describe his life during the pandemic? 

“Just like the rest of us, nahirapan din ako kasi walang work. But I think I became more mature since 2020 nang mag-lockdown. 

"I was given time to pause and think. It’s a time for personal growth and I have realized so many things. 

"I now adopt a simpler lifestyle. Unlike before na masyado akong involved sa fancy cars and motorcyles. 

"Binenta ko ng lahat kasi ang bigat dalhin. Now, I value more and care for the people I love who I know also really care for me.”

Now that he’s no longer just part of a love team, he also looks forward to taking on more challenging roles. 

“At least, tapos na ako sa mga romcom. Gusto ko to do more demanding projects that will help me to grow more in my craft as an actor.”