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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 22, 2023



THE METRO MANILA FILMFEST starts on Christmas Day and this is an exceptional treat for Filipino film lovers as there are ten entries to choose from. To help you choose, here’s a primer about the entries: 

“A FAMILY OF TWO” - We’ve seen this and we highly recommend it. Rated G for general patronage, it’s truly a feel good family movie about the sweet relationship between a widowed mother (Sharon Cuneta) and her only son (Alden Richards). No big problems, no melodramas, just seamless storytelling that is so well acted by the two leads, supported by Jackielou Blanco and Tonton Gutierrez.

“PENDUKO” - The only other G rated movie. A fantasy-action flick that’s a reboot of a 1950s komiks novel that’s been made four times before. This new version stars Matteo Guidicelli as the reluctant superhero, supported by Albert Martinez, Kylie Versoza and Arron Villaflor.

‘FIREFLY’ - This is PG (parental guidance) but even kids can watch it. The story of a boy (Euwenn Mikaell) who believes in a fairy tale about fireflies as told by his mom (Alessandra de Rossi) and later looks for the island of fireflies in the story as assisted by Miguel Tanfelix, Ysabel Ortega, Cherry Pie Picache, Epi Quizon and Yayo Aguila. With Dingdong Dantes as the narrator.

‘GOMBURZA’ - The only historical film entry, it’s a well produced movie about the story of martyred priests Fr. Jose Burgos (Cedrick Juan), Fr. Mariano Gomez (Dante Rivero) and Fr. Jacinto Zamora (Enchong Dee) who were sentence to die by garrote for alleged sedition in 1872.

‘WHEN I MET YOU IN TOKYO’ - This is an event movie for Vilmanians as it’s the comeback on the big screen of their beloved Ate Vi after nearly a decade, with perennial partner Christopher de Leon in a heartwarming love story shot on location in the land of Cherry Blossoms, supported by the young love team of Cassy Legaspi and Darren. 

‘BECKY AND BADETTE’ - A colorful comedy starring two of our best comedians today, Eugene Domingo and Pokwang, playing best friends from high school with a crush on the same guy, Romnick Sarmenta, and with Agot Isidro as their nemesis. Folks think they’re having a lesbian relationship and they ride on the chismis. 

‘KAMPON’ - A horror-drama about a childless couple (Derek Ramsay and Beauty Gonzalez) who find an orphan girl (Erin Espiritu) on their doorstep one rainy night. The girl turns out to possess sinister, deadly powers that will change their lives forever. Erin Espiritu is a stand out as the creepy girl from hell. Rated R 13.

‘MALLARI’ - Also Rated R13, it’s said to be the true story of the country’s first serial killer, Fr. Severino Mallari (Piolo Pascual) and his descent into madness. Set during the Spanish regime, the murderous priest allegedly killed more than 50 people. Supported by Janella Salvador, Gloria Diaz, JC Santos, Elisse Joson and Raffy Tejada.

‘BROKEN HEARTS TRIP’ - An LGBT comedy about gay people who join a reality show to help move on from their sad love stories by visiting various tourist places in the country. The host is Christian Bables, with Jaclyn Jose and Tart Carlos as the judges. The gay contestants are Andoy Ranay, Teejay Marquez, Petite, Iyah Mina and Marvin Yap. 

‘REWIND’ - A romantic-drama starring well loved reel and real life couple Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera, supported by Coney Reyes, Sue Ramirez, Joross Gamboa, Ina Feleo, Ariel Ureta, Pepe Herrera and Lito Pimentel. The story is about a married couple who’s relationship is on the rocks. If you’ve seen the 2004 movie “If Only” starring Jennifer Love Hewitt and Paul Nicholls, that is exactly how the story goes, told with fantasy and magic realism kuno kuno.

HAPPY filmfest viewing, everyone! And wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!