Being Christian for a Day
[Thank You to: PDI Entertainment Editor Emmie Velarde and Music Editor Pocholo Concepcion -For publishing my behind the scenes story on Christian today August 5, 2011 in Phil Daily Inquirer. Please get your copy now while you can. I tried to buy extra copies so I have a pristine copy (apart from our subscription) that I can shoot to reproduce for my blog. And to my surprise it took me two news stands to get another copy because they were all out of them. I think it’s indicative of the popularity of PDI as the no.1 selling broadsheet.]
Written and photographed
By Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista
Christian Bautista was scheduled to fly in from Singapore to Manila in a very tight schedule. The premiere of “A Special Symphony” here was crucial as it was his first lead role in a film, which happens to be an Indonesian production. To do that he had to be pulled away from “Kitchen Musical” a TV musical produced in Singapore with Karylle, Art Acuña and several other Pinoys in the cast. The show will be aired to several networks across Asia, AXN being one of them.
As official photographer, I was privileged to be with Christian for more than 12 hours covering the media and mall tour which included Jam 88.3, Love Radio 90.7 and ‘The Buzz.’ The day was an intimate look at the life of a talented, heralded singer and successful acting career in film. In an industry where looks, fame, money are all the gauges of one’s worth he sets himself apart as a man of conviction. And as the pictures will convey, he does this with action and not mindless sound bytes that a lot of other artists spew out.
9:00 AM On the dot a huge van / bus called Black Fleet pulls in front of the Strata 2000 building at Ortigas Center. I join them for the morning interview with DJ Miggs of Jam 88.3. Along with Christian is Maribeth, who plays his aunt in the movie. Maribeth is said to be the most famous Pinay in Indonesia, having countless hit songs there. Nation Film’s Managing Director Delon Tio serves as producer. He brought his mother and two sisters as a support group and to tourManilafor the first time as well. The interview with Miggs was informative and jovial, it will be the first of many for the day.
10:00 AM On the way to the Aliw Theater, Christian served as tourist guide to the Indonesian guests. “On the left is the Cultural Center of the Philippines, home of the recently concluded Cinemalaya film fest.” Inside he points out the city’s location on a map in the lobby. As soon as he sees Morly Alinio of DZRH, he gives him a bear hug. He was interviewed for several stations like Love Radio 90.7 also by Chris Tsuper and Mrs. Kumpletos Recados for RHTV. At no time did his energy level and enthusiasm go down answering the same questions about the film and sometimes his personal life.
2:30 PM At this point we were on our second mall appearance at SM North EDSA. In front of the stage were the kids of World Vision and the Autism Society of the Phil. These are the two organizations that Christian supports. In the film he is a musician who becomes a teacher of special children. Maribeth sang an emotional “Imagine” by John Lennon, which was one of the songs performed by the students in the movie. When Christian took the mic however, the music that came on was not a minus one but had his voice. He immediately stopped and said the music was wrong, but instead of getting mad he made a joke of the situation. “Tulungan niyo ko, take 2 tayo. Kungyari di pa nangyayari ‘to babalik ako.” He said it smiling in a very light manner which made the kids and audience laugh.
Other famous TV hosts immediately castigate the production on the air / stage for errors in script or anything that goes wrong. Christian used it to make people laugh. And he also could’ve lip synched and rested his voice, knowing he had other venues to perform and tour but he didn’t. He gave them all that he had. He co-wrote the song “I’m Already King” for the film which is also part of his CD “OPM Love Songs.” When he went on stage the fist thing he did was go down to his fans to the farthest ends. When he got to the front he hugged the kids that were there. The song is about finding fulfillment in helping and teaching the kids that he met as teacher.
4:40 PM We were inside ABS CBN studios waiting for Christian’s turn at The Buzz. Eugene Domingo was on before him and was in the hot seat with Boy Abunda. The interview was going great until she was asked which network was the best, since she also has projects with TV5 and GMA. That was when she opted to walk out. Such is the grilling that people are subjected to in the show. The lovely Charlene Gonzalez-Muhlach interviewed Christian and asked him about his mom’s bout with cancer. Christian was able to relate that his mom was able to recover from it and she encouraged him to accept the casting in SG. Charlene also asked him about Rachelle Ann Go’s recent break up with John Prats and if he was getting back together with her. He responded by saying that they were both his friends but did not discount the possibility of them getting back together in the future.
6:00 PM As the vehicle was nearing Robinson’s Galleria the venue for the premiere, everyone in the group was tired and hungry. Christian however, informed the organizers that he was attending church services at Victory Christian Fellowship. Speaking for myself and the rest of the crew, we were all just looking for the next meal or just a brief respite before the chaos of the premiere. For Christian his faith isn’t just something that he talks about but truly lives.
8:30 PM I was getting concerned. The cinema lobby was filled with TV reporters, photographers, movie reviewers and still Christian was no where in sight. Going to church it seemed was more important to Christian than getting to his own premiere on time. Celebrities like Cristalle Henares, KC Concepcion, Miriam Quiambao, Mark Bautista were already there. Socoro Ramos was also in attendance. Then Christian got there just in time to welcome the Indonesian Ambassador Kristiarto Legowo and his wife Caecilia. The whirl of TV cameras, flashes and hundreds of fans eventually gets into the theater.
11:00 PM The crowd erupts to an applause when the credits roll. Martin Nievera walks out of the theater pleased and smiling. After the audience has somewhat thinned out one important person congratulates Christian after the screening. Rachelle Ann Go avoided the hordes of media before the screening and sneaked in unnoticed.
I catch the two exchanging pleasantries as only two people who have known each other for a long time can. Christian’s brother Joshua and mother Jo are just as happy to see Rachelle again. Going out fans sing the lyrics to the theme, “No one can take my faith away…flying to the sky, higher and higher, I’m already king, I’ve reached my desire…Cause I’m with you.”