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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 12, 2023



MATTEO GUIDICELLI says playing the title role of “Penduko”, Viva’s entry in the coming Metro-Manila Filmfest, is his most challenging role to date. 

“It’s a very big responsibility to play an iconic role that has been played by several actors before,” he says. 

“Pedro Penduko started as komiks hero and has been done on screen several times, so he’s a household name.”

We tell him that of the actors who played Pedro Penduko before, he is the most buff and judging from the action scenes we saw him doing in the film, he looks like he’s also the most physically fit. 

He’s really fated to do the role as it was first offered to James Reid who has chosen to stop acting.

“I’m glad the movie fell on my lap,” he says. 

“I really trained hard for the action scenes but it took four years to make this movie as we started it before the pandemic pa and it has to be put on hold.

"I also watched the previous versions and ours is completely different. It's been updated to appeal to the young generations of millennials and gezn viewers. Now, we’re all glad that it’s finally complete.

"We are so proud of our what we have come up with and eager to show it to the public as Viva really left no stone unturned to make sure it will please audiences of all ages and make it perfect viewing for the holiday season.”

In the story, Pedro is an ordinary everyman, a probinsyano but it turns out he has mystical powers which he got from his dad, John Arcilla as Apo Tisot, and their ancestors. He leaves their province to go into the big city where he does odd jobs to make ends meet.

Albert Martinez as Master Gaston sees his potential and makes him join a secret organization called Hatinggabi where he can hone his supernatural skills as a healing or albularyo agent. He’d later be facing a lot of adventures as he learns how to use his powers to fight evil. 

Mateo says he can relate with Pedro as he is also a probinsyano from Cebu. 

“Like Pedro, I left my home in the province and I went to Manila, the big city, and landed in showbiz. 

"But with Pedro, he discovers his powers and the truth in the saying that with great power comes great responsibility. 

"I hope I succeed in giving the character of Pedro Penduko the justice that it deserves as movies also have a big responsibility to uplift our audience and ‘Penduko’ will help them realize the richness of our culture and traditions.”

He can’t wait for his wife Sarah Geronimo to see his movie.

“I told her that on Christmas Day, manonood kami lahat with my family.

"I’m so proud of our movie as we really worked hard to make it very entertaining, specially our director Jason Paul Laxamana who has a good vision and is really hands on in every aspect of the movie.”

Mateo is also thankful Viva has given him a powerhouse cast to support him as Pedro Penduko. 

Aside from John Arcilla and Albert Martinez, the cast includes Kylie Versoza as Liway, his love interest; Phoebe Walker as Wendy, the recruiter who gets him to work for Hatinggabi and acts as matchmaker for him and Liway; Aaron Villaflor as a classmate who bullies Pedro, 

and playing Mateo’s assorted friends and foes are Andrea del Rosario, TJ Valderrama, JC Tiuseco, Migo Valid, Martin Venegas, Rabin Angeles, Joe Vargas, Andrea Barbiera, Kurt de los Reyes, Tyro Daylusan and Rolando Inocencio.