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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.

Oct 28, 2023


THE ENDEARING love team of Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon are back on the big screen in “When I Met You in Tokyo” and they’re so glad that it qualified as an official entry in the Metro filmfest this Christmas Day.  

Their last film together was “Mano Po 3: My Love”, directed by Joel Lamangan in 2004, and it was also an entry in the Metro Filmfest that year. 

It won so many MMFF awards, including best picture, best actress for Ate Vi and best actor for Boyet de Leon.

“Mano Po 3” was filmed in Bangkok, Thailand. This time, their reunion movie is shot on location in Japan. 

Will history repeat itself for Vilma and Boyet in their filmfest entry this coming December?

What’s in “When I Met You in Tokyo” from a new company, JG Productions, that made Ate Vi accept the project when she has other offers from bigger film companies? The film’s producer, Redgie Magno, shed more light about this matter.

“When the project started, we got Boyet de Leon and he liked it right away,” says Redgie. 

“He was the one who recommended that we get Ate Vi. Sabi ko, maliit na kumpanya lang kami, anong laban namin doon sa big offers to her. 

"But when I called her, she said, andami ngang ibang offers sa kanya, but she chose us kasi gusto niya yung concept, yung story ng movie namin.”

“I liked it because the story is simple, about love between us ni Boyet na age appropriate for us now,” says Ate Vi. 

“Maganda ang pagkakasulat ng script and it also touched about the lives of Overseas Filipino Workers, so maraming lessons ang movie about relationships. 

"It shows that love has no boundaries and also the importance of forgiveness in love and in life. You will be able to relate with its characters, specially us ni Boyet as Joel and Azon. The movie is feel good and will make you fall in love again.”

She says she personally asked Boyet to help her in enacting her role as Azon.

“Kasi antagal na rin since we last worked together. After ‘Mano Po 3’, I became Batangas governor and he was a board member naman, so we both focused on our roles as public servants sa government.

"Ang last acting ko naman was in ‘Everything About Her’, in 2016, seven years ago pa, so i feel insecure na, kaya I asked Boyet to help motivate me and he really guided me. Both of us were very involved in creating and mounting our scenes.”

What can Ate Vi say about her fans being ecstatic that her comeback movie, “When I Met You in Tokyo”, qualified as an official entry in the coming Metro-Manila Filmfest whereas Ate Guy’s “Pieta” didn’t make it? 

“Naku, intriga lang yan,” she says.  “Ever since naman, ang mga intriga sa amin, non stop. 60 years na and no doubt we have both benefitted from it kasi we are both still here. 

"I have no doubt mapapalabas din sa sinehan ang movie ni Mareng Guy later. As for our movie, hindi naman binalak na isali ito sa filmfest when we did it. 

"Ilang beses binalak magkaroon kami ng playdate pero laging hindi natutuloy. Hanggang finally, someone suggested, isali na lang sa filmfest.

"Naku, we all prayed about it and now, our prayers were answered, napasali nga kami sa filmfest. Imagine, we were competing with 30 other entries at isa kami sa napili. We’re so blessed.”

She is turning 70 years old (she’s the youngest looking septuagenarian we know) on November 3. What is her birthday wish?  

“It’s not just for myself, it’s for the whole film industry. We all know mahina ang mga sinehan so ang wish ko, mababaan sana ang bayad sa movie tickets, kasi yung P400 now, masyadong mahal for an ordinary wage earner. 

"Kahit for three years man lang, para maibalik ang panonood ng mga tao sa sinehan. Kasi alam naman natin, andaming kalaban ngayon ng movies. 

"May streaming, may youtube, may social media na sa phone lang pinapanood, so sana, bawasan yung price ng movie tickets para maibalik ang sigla ng local film industry.”