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Revealing the PHANTOM THREAD

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

Deep Kiss, you are my Alma.

Written by

Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

Reynolds (Daniel Day Lewis): Why do I feel as if I’ve been looking for you for a very long time? Alma (Vicky Krieps): And now you’ve found me.

CUT TO an interview Alma (Vicky Krieps): I never really liked myself. I thought my shoulders were too wide, my neck was skinny like a bird and I had no breasts. I thought my hips were larger than needed, my arms strong. But in his work I become perfect and I feel just right. Maybe that’s how all women feel in his clothes.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

PHANTOM THREAD was able to fool me more than once. As I started watching I had the distinct impression, it was a biopic of some sort, a docudrama on a real life legendary designer from the 1950s whose clients include royalty and Hollywood stars. After some cursory research, it was astonishing that it was all a work of fiction from the fertile mind of writer director Paul Thomas Anderson. It truly is from Anderson’s seed of genius that the film has sprung forth and inspired others. The recent awards season bears this out.

Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

PHANTOM THREAD won an Oscar for Best Costume Design (Mark Bridges) andNominated in 6 Oscar categories: Best Actor (Daniel Day Lewis), Best Supporting Actress (Lesley Manville), Best Original Score (Johnny Greenwood), Best Direction (Paul Thomas Anderson) and Best Picture.

Both the Golden Globes and BAFTA also nominated Lewis for Best Actor. If it weren’t for Gary Oldman’s masterful performance in THE DARKEST HOUR, Lewis may have earned a fourth Oscar for this film.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

BAFTA also awarded Mark Bridges Best Costume. Critic’s Associations and technical guilds in the United States and U.K. have either nominated or given awards to PHANTOM THREAD. The Boston Society of Film Critics for example has given it the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Score.

Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Paul Thomas Anderson – PTA

Not only is Paul Thomas Anderson (PTA for short) credited as Writer, Director, he’s also Director of Photography / Cinematographer and Producer. On the youtube video of test shots he talks about the classic lenses from the era that he wanted to use to recreate that 50s look. Among them are classic lenses 85mm Jena 2.8, 55mm Nikon 2.8 before finally settling on the 50mm Jena 2.8 from Zeiss.

Writer Director Producer Paul Thomas Anderson; Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

He was also very particular about the film stock they used and tested quite a few along with different lenses to get the exact look and feel they wanted. I wondered if it was possible to shoot it digitally and recreate the look he desired in post, as a more cost effective solution. But he may have wanted ‘the look’ in camera as they say. And it is difficult to question success.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

He did however admit his reliance on his cameramen and gaffers because of his lack of technical knowledge. Hence, Colin Anderson was nominated for the Camera Operator of the Year Award from the Society of Camera Operators.

PTA was already critically acclaimed for BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997), PUNCH DRUNK LOVE- with Adam Sandler (2002) and INHERENT VICE (2014). But it was his work THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007) that gave him the most Oscar nominations and a Best Actor win for Daniel.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Director Paul Thomas Anderson. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Maya Rudolph & Other Inspirations

Anderson has a long time relationship with SNL legend Maya Rudolph, going 17 years with four kids. One of the tender moments when Paul had flu and Maya was nursing him back to health. She gave him a facial expression that made him realize that she ‘had not looked at him with such tenderness and love in a long time’.

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Another flash of inspiration is from friend and musical director Jonny Greenwood who complained of how long he took to get dressed: ‘You’re like Beau Brummel!’ Brummel was a fashion icon in the 19th century, ‘(who) claimed that he took five hours a day to dress and recommended that boots be polished with champagne. This preoccupation with dress, coupled with a nonchalant display of wit, was referred to as dandyism.’ [From https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Beau_Brummell] Cristobal Balenciaga and his ‘monastic life’ was also an inspiration for the main character.

Prior to PTA’s relationship with Rudolph, his previous long-term lover was Fiona Apple. He continues to direct music videos for Fiona and RADIOHEAD, of which Johnny Greenwood is a member.

2nd from left Johnny Greenwood of RADIOHEAD composed the haunting soundtrack for PHANTOM THREAD.

Reynolds

Anderson was able to create a character that was very much believable and at the same time delve into that personal fantasy or make believe, that makes a person a central figure of a story. So he seemed like a real person, in this magnificently crafted film. The central character is himself a brilliant mind with a host of quirks that no writer or director could imagine. For example he’s rail thin but has a voracious appetite. And has extremely specific preferences or requirements to how his food is prepared.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

Daniel Day Lewis was able to shape the role in more ways than just his performance. PTA credits him as co writer. The first name Reynolds is from the youth of Day-Lewis. Reynolds Stone is a renowned wood engraver in the U.K. who influenced him. “Reynolds Stone was quite an important figure in the life of my family. He was probably the greatest living wood engraver in this country, in his lifetime. We spent some Christmases in his house in Dorset as a child. The Stone family were figures in our lives.” The last name Woodcock arose from Daniel’s joke to Anderson who broke down laughing. That assured the fact it was going to be used. From: youtube vid: Cast Q & A.

Title uses font designed by renowned English wood engraver Reynolds Stone. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

Research and Casting

Day Lewis again tirelessly researched his role. He consulted with the curator of fashion and textiles at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and apprenticed under Marc Happel, head of the costume department at the New York City Ballet.

House of Woodcock staff were either dressmakers or costume designers in real life. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s Historic Clothing Archive also yielded some fortunate encounters. When Anderson and Costume Designer Mark Bridges were there they bumped into retired dressmakers Joan Brown and Sue Clark. They were given the roles of Biddy and Nana respectively. The seamstresses roles were also given to ‘Amber Brabant and Geneva Corlett are professional film costumers. Georgia Kemball is a textile designer’. From: [official imdb page]

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma).Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.Photo from Official facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Alma

PHANTOM THREAD is the film that people will look back on as the breakthrough role for Vicky Krieps (Alma). This is when the world was introduced to the talent and magnetism of a young actress from Luxembourg. She has the perfect cover of innocence and weakness when she is anything but. Underneath that childlike smile hides a mentally strong and willful woman who changes Reynolds life.

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

Before meeting Alma, Reynolds would easily charm young ladies; sweep them off their feet. But it was only a question of when he’d tire of and eventually replace them. She’s a combination of tenderness and strength that Reynolds never encountered before.

Krieps’ natural Luxembourg accent was perfect for the role, “She was always an immigrant. Let her accent do the work. You just need to get the sense she was from somewhere different, preferably Eastern Europe,” said Anderson.

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

She has been cast in THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB with Sylvia Hoeks the latest sequel from THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO franchise. Vicky is also currently shooting LYREBIRD a drama with Guy Pearce.

Lesley Manville

Lesley Manville on the other hand has been around the block: MALEFICENT (2014) ANOTHER YEAR (2010). Nominated as Best Supporting actress at the Oscars and BAFTA. But also won the trophy from AARP, London Critic’s Circle Film Awards and International Cinephile Society Awards: PHANTOM THREAD (2017 Best Supporting Actress) and ANOTHER YEAR (2011 Best Actress).

Lesley Manville (Cyril); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

She won the 2014 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress for her performance as Helene Alving in Richard Eyre’s revival of GHOSTS. She was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to Drama.

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Manville has recently been cast in DALI LAND, NORMAL PEOPLE and the much-anticipated sequel MALEFICENT 2 with Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

In an interview with People TV, Lesley had a great insight about this film, “Even if I hadn’t been cast its up there in one of my favorite films of all time. Its really wonderful the way it puts the microscope in what we want to sort out; how to be yourself, how to love, how to be a full and proper person, for some of us in the creative industry, how to marry that with creativity.” Gary Oldman, this year’s Best Actor winner, is incidentally Manville’s ex-husband and had her only child with him: Alfie Oldman. She now has 2 grandchildren Matilda and Ozzy.

Lesley Manville (Cyril); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Cyril

Lesley plays Reynolds’ ever-present sibling Cyril. She is the agent / manager / second in command in the House of Woodcock. He affectionately calls her ‘My Old So and So’. Usually she knows what he needs and wants before he asks for it. In front of clients, she’d never question him. But in private she would never take sh** from him. It’s true as stated in other reviews, while Reynolds is the creative genius it’s these two women who truly rules his life.

Lesley Manville clip

Film influences

As brilliant as Anderson is, he was very modest in acknowledging his influences in terms of movies, “Stolen, that would be the word for it. We watched PASSIONATE FRIENDS (1949) six times; we keep coming back to it over and over again. I don’t know why no one’s talking about it. The other one is I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING (1945) a great Powell – Pressburger movie. A lot of the Powell Pressburger movies including the RED SHOES. BRIEF ENCOUNTER, I watched again as a refresher. REBECCA, VERTIGO and SUSPICION with John Fontaine.“

Center: Vinyl cover of official soundtrack album by Johnny Greenwood of RADIOHEAD. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Because of the era, the film has been compared to Alfred Hitchcock who directed VERTIGO. The story / romance also parallels with PASSIONATE FRIENDS, I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING even with the setting (U.K.). Writing and directing duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger used color and music effectively to tell their stories. THE RED SHOES also from Powell Pressburger was a required viewing for DLSU Communication Arts majors (a long while ago) under Dr. Mike Rapatan.

On PHANTOM THREAD’s last shooting day April 26, 2017, was the same date that director Jonathan Demme (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, PHILADELPHIA) passed away. Anderson considers Demme a friend and mentor and has dedicated the film to him.

What is the Phantom Thread?

This was one of the moments in the film that convinced me that Reynolds was a real person, made him more human. He creates secret pockets in the linings of his jacket, or clothes in general that contain mementos, that are important to him. He keeps a lock of his mother’s hair in one because she taught him to sew and make dresses – his craft. Sometimes it’s a label with the name of a loved one. Only he knows its there. That’s how he literally keeps the people who matter close to his heart.

Alma: Reynolds has made my dreams come true. And I have given him what he desires most in return.

Dr. Robert Hardy (Brian Gleeson): And what’s that?

Alma: Every piece of me.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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Mark Bridges won an Oscar and BAFTA award for Best Costume. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

flickr:

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Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Mark Bridges won an Oscar and BAFTA award for Best Costume. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

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seated center from left: Costume designer Mark Bridges, Director Paul Thomas Anderson and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma).Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.Photo from Official facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

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Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Lesley Manville (Cyril); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

flickr:

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Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

from left: Lesley Manville (Cyril), Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) andVicky Krieps (Alma).Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

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House of Woodcock staff were either dressmakers or costume designers in real life. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

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Lesley Manville (Cyril); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

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Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

WordPress:

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Pope Francis Inspires at 50th Neo Catechumenate

Pope Francis waves to the Philippine contingent, an arms length away from his passing vehicle. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Written and photographed

By Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

“Mission is giving what we have received. Mission is fulfilling God’s mandate, which we have listened to and on which I would like to reflect with you: ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations’ (Mt 28: 19). Go. The mission demands that we leave. But in life, there is a strong temptation to remain, not to take risks, to be content with having the situation under control. It is easier to stay at home, surrounded by those who love us, but it is not Jesus’ way.”

There was unity and camaraderie in one faith between people coming from 135 countries. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

Pope Francis gave this inspiring exhortation on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Neo Catechumenal Way, May 5, 2018, University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, a large grassy field at the suburbs of Rome, Italy.

Pope Francis waves to thousands of pilgrims from his passing vehicle. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

150,000 people attended the event from 135 countries. Every nation from Sri Lanka, South Africa, to Fiji, Guam, to Croatia and the Philippines, many others were represented. The Philippine contingent numbered at least 400.

Paco / St. Peter Parish group carries the Philippine flag. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

The Holy Father continues, “He sends us out: “Go”. He does not use half measures. He does not authorize reduced transfers or reimbursed trips, but he says to His disciples, to all his disciples one word only: “Go!”. Go: a powerful call that resonates in every corner of Christian life; a clear invitation always to be outbound, pilgrims in the world in the search for the brother who still does not know the joy of God’s love.”

For the full transcript of Pope Francis’ message click on this link.

There was unity and camaraderie in one faith between people coming from 135 countries. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary happened at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Neo Catechumenate defined

The Neocatechumenal Way, also known as the Neocatechumenate, NCW or, colloquially, The Way, is a charism within the Catholic Church dedicated to Christian formation. It was formed in Madrid in 1964 by Kiko Argüello and Carmen Hernández.

Taking its inspiration from the catechumenate of the early Catholic Church by which converts from paganism were prepared for baptism, it provides post-baptismal formation to adults who are already members of the Church or to those far from the Church who have been attracted by the testimony of Christian life of love and unity in the communities (cf. Jn 13:35; 17:21), as proposed in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). From the official wiki site: Neo Catechumenal Way.

There was unity and camaraderie in one faith between people coming from 135 countries. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

The growth and popularity of the movement is owed to the intention of bringing Christ ‘to the people’ or helping them see the Lord in their lives. The Pope’s message above is a reflection of the teaching and missionary aspect of the movement. From the very beginning, the Way attracts a broad range of people from all walks of life. As it does not discriminate, often spreading the word to those who are marginalized by society.

Pope Francis shakes the hand of Kiko Arguello. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

Beginnings

Dr. Rolly Cua, is a Filipino Neo Catechist who has been in The Way for 39 years. In an interview he relates the roots of the movement from its founders: Kiko Arguello, Carmen Hernandez and later on Fr. Mario Pezzi, “Kiko and Carmen are Spanish, they started in Madrid and Fr. Mario is Italian. He is a Combonian priest who has been given to the Neo to help out in this team. Kiko is a painter and is an artist who is rich they have means. Yet there was something lacking in his life. So he started to read Charles De Foucauld, St Therese of Lesieux. He turned away from his money, he got his guitar, his bible and he lived in the shantytowns in Palomeras, Altas in Madrid. (1963)”

Neo initiators in the early days from left: Kiko Arguello, Carmen Hernandez and Fr. Mario Pezzi.

The 1960s was a time of change in the Catholic Church and the Vatican II in 1964 sought to make, the mass more relevant to the people and the times. Prior to this the mass was held in Latin. Kiko Arguello in a sense was already doing the practical application of what the church had already wanted in theory.

A painting by Kiko Arguello was used a giant backdrop. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

He added, “They started to look for something that’s more alive, more relevant to the people. And what they did theoretically, Kiko was already doing in practice. He was in the shantytowns and he was living with people who were sinners. The prostitute of the town, everyone knows she’s a prostitute; the drug addicts were there, the robbers. He just lived with them.”

Fr. Paolo Benetton conceptualized a highly successful pilgrimage tour and guided a group of 90 from various parishes in the Philippines. Valle Caffarella, Rome Italy, May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Living with the Poor

From Kiko Arguello’s own words, “When a person lives among the poor either they lose faith and becomes a guerilla warrior ‘Che Guevara’ style, or they go quietly in front of Christ and is sanctified. I am grateful to the Lord for the mercy he has had on me. There I saw Christ crucified and so when I returned from Africa I met Carmen’s sister, and I thought it was necessary to go to the social ‘catacombs’ and preach the gospel to these people, help them, give them a word of consolation. And so we formed a group that was dedicated to homosexuals, prostitutes and other undesirables.”

Initiator Carmen Hernandez who passed away in 2016 was honored during the event. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

“Carmen’s sister was part of an association, called ‘Villa Teresiata’, which was dedicated to recovering prostitutes. They went to prostitutes’ homes and offered them to those that wanted a job. This was very good work. In the end I realized that in that group they did everything more as a ‘hobby’. I told Carmen’s sister: ‘I am going to live with the poor’. Charles de Foucauld gave me the formula; to live in silence, as Jesus of Nazareth, at the foot of Jesus Christ in the midst of all those people. I met a Social Worker that showed me an area of Palomeras Altas with a wooden shack, a refuge for dogs. I was told, ‘Go there and don’t worry’.

Black and white photo of shantytown in Rome circa 1960s where Kiko Arguello first preached The Way. Valle Caffarella, Rome Italy, May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

There everything sort of began. I wanted to live in the shack as Charles de Foucald; in contemplation as one in front of the Eucharist, at the foot of the only real presence of Christ. I wanted to be at the foot of Christ crucified, in the midst of the poorest and most miserable people.”

Source: History of the Neo Catechumenal Way.

Kiko Arguello; The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

Who is God For You?

Dr Cua continued, “Carmen on the other hand is the brain she finished chemistry and she was organizing people to do missionary work in Bulgaria, India. Then she heard about Kiko. So she attended and she saw Kiko with all these outcasts. She was so shocked that they were celebrating. They would break a word from the bible and he would ask what does this word tell you? What does this mean for you? Or who is God for you?”

Carmen began to change how she thought of what a Christian community is, “Being the criminals, they would say he is nobody for me. They’re very, very honest. In front of their sins they cannot keep a façade. When Carmen saw this she was shocked because she was thinking a Christian community should be holy people, priests and people who have studied. But she saw in the community of Kiko something tangible, something real. And the scum of the earth who touched her heart also. I’m already tearful.”

Dr. Rolly Cua shows black and white photo of shantytown in Rome circa 1960s where Kiko Arguello first preached The Way. Valle Caffarella, Rome Italy, May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Madrid to Rome and the World

From Spain both Kiko and Carmen brought the Neo Catechumenal Way to the slums of Rome. Today the former slum area has been converted to a lush green park called Valle Della Caffarella. They were rejected from that area but Kiko was persistent because he received a vision from the Virgin Mary in Madrid. This vision is translated into a painting by Kiko, which has become an iconic presence during the Neo’s Eucharistic celebrations.

Kiko Arguello’s painting of the Holy Mother is seen in every celebration of the Neo. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

What used to be a shantytown is now a lush green park called Valle Della Caffarella in Rome, May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Humility, Simplicity and Praise

Kiko believed that growth depended on having a consistent, group of people to walk the way. Dr Cua goes on, “People have to form small communities who will live in humility, simplicity and praise. That’s how Neo Catechumenate stages are done. Humility first, simplicity and praise. With that rejection they went to San Francesca Cabrini, then Canadian martyrs and the Nativity. Those were the 3 first communities in Rome. Its equal to Mary the Queen, Lourdes and St Francis in Manila. This is what happened in the very start.”

Our group was 90 people strong from the Parishes of Mary The Queen, Binondo, Paco, Cavite City, Rosario, Indang. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

50th Year Milestone

And in 1968 the Roman Catholic Church officially recognized the Neo Catechumenal Way and this was the year that marks the 50th anniversary today in 2018.

There was unity and camaraderie in one faith between people coming from 135 countries. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

The decades have seen tremendous growth from that time, “These were the seeds. Now we have everything in bloom. Now we have all the 5 continents, anywhere you go you can ask about the Neo Cathechumenate. Of course there are difficulties. Our celebrations are a little long, there’s sharing of the people because the people are participative. This is the basic story, when they went to Rome they met Fr. Mario to join this team.”

from left: Pope John Pail II with Neo Catechumenate Initiators Kiko Arguello, Fr. Mario Pezzi and seated Carmen Hernandez

Carmen Hernandez passed away at age 85 (July 19, 2016) she was replaced by Maria Ascensión Romero on February 2017. Romero was an itinerant missionary for years in Saint Petersburg, From: Neo’s Kiko Arguello Announces Replacement for Carmen Hernandez.

from left: Ascensión Romero, Kiko Arguello and Fr. Mario Pezzi. Photo from: https://www.romereports.com/en/2018/02/13/woman-completes-team-that-coordinates-neocatechumenal-way/

Parish Based

For people interested to experience The Way, it is important to know that it is parish based. Go to the Parish near your home or you are actively participating in (wherever this may be). Find out when the Neo Catechists are ‘announcing’ to start a community or program.

People from different countries and languages danced together. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Rolly explains “No attendance being checked, no money being asked, you start the Cathechesis 15 nights, ending with a short retreat one and a half days. After that you can start, if you want to walk if you realize what God is asking you in your life, it can help. Of course the Neo Cathechumenate is not the only way. There are many other groups also which are formative. The Fuocolare are formative. The others are more service oriented but there are groups which are formative. Somebody looking for their faith should look for a formative group that fits them.”

Pope Francis; The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

Pope Francis: “Go!”

From Kiko’s question ‘Who is God for you?’ lies the strength of the Neo as well. People’s real life sharing can be the most powerful message and reflection that becomes relevant to everyone who hears it. No wonder The Way has spread around the world easily. Pope Francis recognizes this in his message during the anniversary,

Pope Francis; The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

“Here lies the strength of proclamation, so that the world may believe. What counts is not convincing arguments, but the life that attracts; not the ability to impose oneself, but the courage to serve. And you have in your ‘DNA’ this vocation to proclaim, living as a family, following the example of the Holy Family: in humility, simplicity, and praise. You bring this family atmosphere into so many desolate and unconcerned places. Let yourselves be recognized as the friends of Jesus. Call everyone your friends and be friends to all.

‘Go and make disciples of all peoples’. And when Jesus says everyone, He seems to want to emphasize that in His heart there is room for every people. Nobody is excluded.”

Pope Francis; The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

Epilogue: The Neo meeting with the Pope and our pilgrimage in general was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I would like to thank the people who made it possible. Thelma Gecolea for your encouragement and support, My brother George and his wife Hazel who sent us a stroller that was used and appreciated by my father, eldest brother Timmy and wife Joy, (both my brothers) who provided financial support to me and my parents.

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to everyone in our travel group, all of whom assisted my parents and me during the trip. I thank everyone for their patience when we walked slowly (in the aisles) or occupied the public C.R. too long and so many other unintended inconveniences.

Apart from everyone’s patience and assistance I’d also like to thank especially Dr. Rolly Cua, Allen King, Ghita, Brother Froilan. Thank you for making this trip easier for our family. Most of all thank you to Fr. Paolo Benetton for making the trip cost efficient and yet so spiritually impactful with so many destinations along with your insights. Hopefully you don’t have too many nightmares of Pinoys demanding C.R. in every stop. Salamat po! Grazie Mille!—Jude Bautista

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Ascensión Romero; The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

Philippine flag; The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Fr Paolo with the Cavite group from the Philippines. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Pope Francis waves to the Philippine contingent, an arms length away from his passing vehicle. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

There was unity and camaraderie in one faith between people coming from 135 countries. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

Members of the Italian Neo Catechumenate (in Rome) welcomed Filipino Neo members with open arms and cake! Viale Manlio Germozzi, Rome, May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Fr Mario Pezzi; The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

Initiator Carmen Hernandez who passed away in 2016 was honored during the event. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event.

People from different countries and languages danced together. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

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Pope Francis; The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

There was unity and camaraderie in one faith between people coming from 135 countries. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

Philippine flag; The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Fr. Paolo Benetton conceptualized a highly successful pilgrimage tour and guided a group of 90 from various parishes in the Philippines. Valle Caffarella, Rome Italy, May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

There was unity and camaraderie in one faith between people coming from 135 countries. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

What used to be a shantytown is now a lush green park called Valle Della Caffarella in Rome, May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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There was unity and camaraderie in one faith between people coming from 135 countries. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

Pope Francis waves to the Philippine contingent, an arms length away from his passing vehicle. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

There was unity and camaraderie in one faith between people coming from 135 countries. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

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There was unity and camaraderie in one faith between people coming from 135 countries. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

Pope Francis shakes the hand of Fr Mario Pezzi. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

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Pope Francis; The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

There was unity and camaraderie in one faith between people coming from 135 countries. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

150,000 people from 135 countries attended the celebration. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Fr. Richard and Fr. Paolo with the St. Peter group from the Philippines. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

There was unity and camaraderie in one faith between people coming from 135 countries. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

Guitarists from different countries sing the same songs. In this case it was in Spanish. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Sri Lankan flag; The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

There was unity and camaraderie in one faith between people coming from 135 countries. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

Neo co founder Kiko Arguello is not only a painter but also a musician, composer and arranger who expanded his compositions for the guitar to whole orchestras. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So

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Pope Francis; The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo from official Vatican Youtube video of event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX_hSTbC0So


Warmth Brings Blossoms

Warmth Brings Blossoms

By Jude Bautista

The long dark winter has

frozen my heart

The endless grey has

blinded my eyes

The ceaseless wind has

dulled my mind

Where is hope when I

need it most?

Photo from:
Winter is Coming – Game of Thrones (Season 1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy_4WOQidjI

A sliver of sun breaks through

the clouds

She slowly makes herself felt

through the bleakness

Photo from:
Winter is Coming – Game of Thrones (Season 1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy_4WOQidjI

When you see her there’s an

undeniable joy

Photo from:
Guizhou China: this is the most beautiful cherry blossom landscape in the world
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVaoUPZgYBk

Warmth brings the blossoms

early

Colors bursts forth, she is here

I am alive again

Photo from:
Guizhou China: this is the most beautiful cherry blossom landscape in the world
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVaoUPZgYBk

Photo from:
Guizhou China: this is the most beautiful cherry blossom landscape in the world
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVaoUPZgYBk


Federico Lizo’s Legacy

Siblings from left: Beth Javier, Ami Apostol, PD Lizo and Erlinda Bautista. Phil Columbian Association Manila, January 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Written and photographed

By Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

Federico Lizo, passed away the same day as astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking, March 14, 2018 at also the same age: 76. While not exactly as renowned as Hawking, most people who knew him affectionately call Federico as Tito P.D. or Tito Pids. He died of cardiac arrest from cancer of the prostate and other complications.

Surrounded by his loving family, he held on to life for more than a day so the date of his passing would not coincide with the birthday of granddaughter Andrea who was born March 13. With him in his last moments, loving wife Rose Lizo, children: Vincent, Christopher, Lisette, Rudymark and grandson Sean.

Lizo Clan surrounds PD; Phil Columbian Association Manila, January 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Although he lived most of his life in Camella Homes Bicutan, he never forgot his original hometown. Born from humble circumstances in San Pascual, Burias an island just north of Masbate in October 27, 1941. He’s a math whiz and a lover of crosswords… in Filipino. No one would ever consider him wealthy but still managed to help his town mates in whatever way that he could.

Tres Marias bgy Dapdap, Burias Island-May 17, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

Burias’ Needs

When a typhoon struck, several times, damaging the church, he asked for donations from family and friends to repair and sponsor, beams, pews and other portions. The gate interestingly enough was his contribution. He involved his sisters Erlinda, Elizabeth and Ami and her husband George Apostol for this effort. Less than a few years later together with the help of many other contributors, they were able to rebuild a new church that is now able to withstand the elements. They have also expanded this by helping construct other structures the parish needs.

St Isidore Parish, Claveria, Burias Island, meeting Rev. Fr. Pablito D. Bendibil Jr., right: the convent in the parish is being constructed and will soon be finished; Claveria, Burias-May 18, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

From his involvement, teachers from the local school also tapped his help in providing an artesian well. Although they did not ask for it he also donated books and school supplies. After fulfilling this need, he also helped pay for the tuition of worthy scholars. To this end his children have also sponsored their own scholars.

from right: PLDT Chairman Manny V Pangilinan, Rose Lizo, MPTC Sr. VP CFO and Treasurer Christopher Lizo, Maynilad Water Services Pres. Ramoncito Fernandez, MPTC Pres. Rodrigo Franco, QBO Innovation Hub Pres. Butch Meily and Mike Hurley. Chapel 1- Heritage Park, Taguig, March 14, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Then it was the hospital (in the person of Armi Gomez Rubia) that came to him requesting a widescreen, high definition TV. This was for patients to watch videos and shows they wouldn’t otherwise see during their stay. The TV was so large they had difficulty transporting and installing it, but provided so much joy to patients and hard working staff.

from right: Armi Gomez Rubia, Teli Gomez, Erlinda Bautista, Nanette Montenegro, Beth Javier, Rose Lizo and Annie Puyo; Claveria, Burias-May 18, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

Son Chris would offer all expense paid trips abroad, U.S., Hong Kong etc. PD would counter that he preferred the ticket and budget be monetized so he could go to Burias instead and help more people. PD ended up not going out of the country at all because of his one-track mind.

from left: Rose Lizo, PLDT Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, Erlinda Bautista, Joe Bautista and Ami Apostol. Chapel 1- Heritage Park, Taguig, March 14, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Mayon Volcano can be seen from the port of Claveria, Burias-May 18-19, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

His acts of generosity have not all been known. There are a number of relatives and friends he would consistently send money to because of their recurring illness. One of them Rudy Amado has now recovered. These are just some of the acts of kindness recalled by Johnito Agdon, who was his right hand man and caretaker of his home in Burias. Johnito considered PD as a second father.

Erlinda Bautista and PD Lizo continue their mother Vita’s legacy of caring for her town mates; Claveria, Burias-May 18, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

Rose in his Life

PD had a generous spirit throughout from his youth to his senior years. If he had one fault, it would be his grumpiness that manifested in later years, like most people who grow to a ripe old age. Through the most difficult and the happiest moments of it all is his faithful and loving wife of 49 years: Rose Lizo. Friends and family would come to know her as Tita Rose or Tita Set. Sometimes when he would have difficulty walking or not have enough appetite to eat she would be by his side patiently feeding him and taking care of him.

from left: PD Lizo, Chris, Rose, Lisette and Vincent.

Rose may have been the bigger influence on her children as an epitome of a modern woman. She worked as office manager for Textile Engineering while at the same time cooking, cleaning and caring for her family. She was a very early example of honesty, integrity, discipline and hard work that would bear fruit in all of her children. As the couple settled in Camella Homes, Bicutan, she became very active in the Mary Immaculate Parish of Levi Town. Rose volunteered her time and effort for several organizations: Lector and Commentator Society, Legion of Mary and Mater Dei Choir.

Rose Lizo with the Mary Help of Christian Legionnaires. Chapel 1- Heritage Park, Taguig, March 15, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Imperial and Monetnegro Clan; Phil Columbian Association Manila, January 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

from right: Lola Vita, Rose, Lisette and PD.

Family

There was no mystery why PD felt a strong need to help the less fortunate. His mother Manuela Gomez Lizo often went back to the island bringing clothes, sometimes cash for the less fortunate. She was known as Manay Vita and would sometimes even give the clothes from her own back.

NLEX star Kiefer Ravena and Lisette Lizo. Chapel 1- Heritage Park, Taguig, March 15, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

PD’s children however are a source of pride and have actually been his support for the financial assistance that he has provided for his kababayan. Eldest son Vincent Troy Lizo has become Business Director at Energizer Holdings, second son Christopher Daniel Lizo is Metro Pacific Tollways Corp (MPTC) Senior VP Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, only daughter Lisette Lizo is an Associate Delivery Project Executive for IBM Philippines, youngest son Rudymark is a businessman.

NLEX Road Warriors from left: Kiefer Ravena, MPTC Sr. VP CFO and Treasurer Christopher Lizo, Emman Monfort, Cyrus Baguio, Jansen Rios, Juami Tiongson and Raul Soyud. Chapel 1- Heritage Park, Taguig, March 15, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Apart from having scholars from Burias whose tuitions they support, they’ve committed themselves to an even bigger project that they recently promised him. They will establish a school named after their father Federico G. Lizo in Burias island.

Kids are thankful for their school supplies and candy; Claveria, Burias-May 18, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

Sports

One of PD’s obsessions is sports in general. He played a mean game of table tennis but never anything serious, as in amateur or school competition. PD was more the quintessential sports fan. He benefitted the most with the explosion of cable television. There was nothing he wouldn’t watch, I remember he had the patience to try and figure out the scoring system of cricket and rugby. There are two sports however that are most dear to his heart: tennis and basketball.

from right: Proud dad Vincent Lizo with Julia and Jalen. From facebook post.

PD’s love for basketball is something that has rubbed off on his children. Vincent had a distinguished amateur basketball career as multiple MVP awardee in the PICAA (Philippine Integrated Chinese Athletic Association), played in the PBL and was also part of the Team B in De La Salle University. He is still active in hoops, playing in the alumni league. Vince’s son Jalen has recently qualified for the Manta Ray international Swimming Competition held in Hong Kong in the 15-18 age category.

Grandson Jalen Lizo has qualified for Manta Rays Hong Kong Swimming competition in the 15-18 year old age category. Facebook post.

NLEX Road Warriors

PD’s second eldest sonChristopher Lizo, apart from being MPTC Senior VP is also the team manager of NLEX Road Warriors. Chris has been with the team years before helping guide their 6-peat championship in the D-League. You can imagine PD’s pride grow even bigger when the team made its PBA debut in 2014. It hasn’t been easy but NLEX finally has a chance to get to the finals this conference.

NLEX Road Warriors standing in bg from left: Kenneth Ighalo, Jansen Rios, Kiefer Ravena, Juami Tiongson, Emman Monfort and Raul Soyud with Rose Lizo in white. Chapel 1- Heritage Park, Taguig, March 15, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

To do that they have to go through a semi final series against the tough Magnolia Hotshots. If they do make it and finally win their first PBA championship PD will be smiling in heaven. And even if they don’t, in the greater scheme of things he knows his hometown of Burias is in good and capable hands of his children.

Mangroves in barangay Canomay, Claveria, Burias Island, May 18, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

Legacy

George Apostol, a successful businessman in his own right is PD’s brother in-law, husband of Ami. George offers an insight into why PD was so mindful of others. It is a view that is relevant, as he himself has helped his kababayan in Calbayog, Samar. He believes that the desire to help is a way to acknowledge the life changing blessings that God has given them. So whatever form of help they provide is just a way to thank the Lord and give back to the community. “I can relate to his generosity. Di naman masabi na mayaman kami pero na lampasan namin. It’s only natural maging generous ka balikan mo. Kung walang ginawa sa atin ang nasa taas maaring nandoon pa rin tayo. We were like them before. Siya sa Burias, ako sa Samar diba? Yon yung binabalikan ko, binibigyan ko. Siya yon din binabalikan niya sa Burias. Natural reaction yon ng pagpapasalamat. I do not know if generosity is the right word for that sukli lang, giving back lang. Once nilagay mo ko rito salamat ako mag-aabot.”

Standing from left: George Apostol, Rose Lizo and Joe Bautista Seated from left: Beth Javier, Ami Apostol, PD Lizo and Erlinda Bautista. Phil Columbian Association Manila, January 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

For George this is apart from PD’s true legacy, “Normal na tanong ng tao, ano kaya iniwan na legacy ni PD? Definitely it cannot be wealth, it cannot be power, it cannot be fame. The only legacy he will be leaving behind will be his family. How his family will behave and react will be a reflection of his own character. Yon yung siya. Kung anak mo bum, kung anak mo drug addicts, that is a reflection. Kung pamilya mo maging productive Christian citizens of the world, that is a reflection on you, meron kang ginawa diyan kahit papano. Yan ang legacy.”

NLEX Road Warriors Coaching Staff with the Lizo family. Chapel 1- Heritage Park, Taguig, March 15, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

standing from left: Dr Ollie Alix, Carlo Serapio, seated from left: Dr. Jenneylyn Javier-Alix, Beth Javier, Nate Serapio and Leah Serapio. Phil Columbian Association Manila, January 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

The family would like to thank all relatives and friends who have expressed their love and offered many prayers.

They would also like to thank:

Dr. Ollie Alix and Dr. Jennelyn Javier Alix for their invaluable medical advice and support.

-&-

Fr. John Paulo (Pipo) Bautista, Parish Priest and Fr. Dick Eslopor for the spiritual guidance.

-&-

Lector and Commentator’s Society

top left Linda Bautista with Sister Peñafrancia Misa of the Holy Face of Jesus; Claveria, Burias-May 18, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

Junior Legionaries Youth

-&-

Mater Dei Choir

Choirmaster Bernie De Leon

-&-

Mary Immaculate Parish Levi Town

from left: Jun Montenegro, Annie Puyo, Rose Lizo, TeliGomez, Rev. Fr. Pablito D. Bendibil Jr., Erlinda Bautista, Nanette Montenegro, Beth Javier and Goody Montenegro; Claveria, Burias-May 18, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

Mangroves in barangay Canomay, Claveria, Burias Island, May 18, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Apostol Clan; Phil Columbian Association Manila, January 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

from right: MPTC Sr. VP CFO and Treasurer Christopher Lizo, PLDT Chairman Manny V Pangilinan and Magnolia Hotshots Asst. Coach Juno Sauler. Chapel 1- Heritage Park, Taguig, March 14, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Rudymark Lizo with daughter Leeann and wife Cheryl. From instagram post.

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We had a sumptuous lunch while floating on the sandbar; barangay Balete, Claveria, Burias Island, May 18, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

Erlinda Bautista and PD Lizo continue their mother Vita’s legacy of caring for her town mates; Claveria, Burias-May 18, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

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PD surrounded by family; Phil Columbian Association Manila, January 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Tree grows in middle of sea; barangay Balete, Claveria, Burias Island, May 18, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

Kids are thankful for their school supplies and candy; Claveria, Burias-May 18, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Center in red is Lola Vita Gomez Lizo

from left: Lisette Lizo with son Basty, Maoie Lizo with daughter Julia. Phil Columbian Association Manila, January 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Malapinggan coast, Burias Island-May 19, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Bautista Clan; Phil Columbian Association Manila, January 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Erlinda Bautista and PD Lizo continue their mother Vita’s legacy of caring for her town mates; Claveria, Burias-May 18, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

Mayon Volcano can be seen from the port of Claveria, Burias-May 18-19, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Rose Lizo and Sean Panaligan; Malapinggan beach, Burias Island-May 19, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

Kids are thankful for their school supplies and candy; Claveria, Burias-May 18, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

PD Lizo tries to irritate Linda Bautista & Rose Lizo crossing the waters to Burias Island from the port of Pio Duran- May 17, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Kids are thankful for their school supplies and candy; Claveria, Burias-May 18, 2015. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Everything GOÛT DE FRANCE

Amb. Nicolas Galey toasts from far left: Chef Justin Baradas of RESTAURANT 101, (partially hidden) Chef Marc Aubry of SAGANA EPICERIE AND BISTRO, Michael Aspiras of LE PETIT SOUFFLÉ, (partially hidden) Exec. Chef Gilles Geneaux of LA MÉRE POULARD MANILA, Chef Jessie Sincioco of CHEF JESSIE ROCKWELL CLUB, Ducasse Education Phil. Exec Chef Marc Chalopin, Head Chef Clément Damotte of LA MÉRE POULARD MANILA, Chef Julien Cossé of SPIRAL MANILA Sofitel Philippine Plaza, (behind Amb) Chef Jonathan Bouthiaux of SAMIRA and Head Chef Pierre Cornellis of VATEL RESTAURANT MANILA. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

Written and photographed

By Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

Legendary Chef and international food magnate Alain Ducasse conceived of a simultaneous dinner around the world highlighting French culinary technique with (preferably) local ingredients. This singular night, on March 21, 2018 is called Goût de France or Good France. Now on its 4th edition, it was originally launched in 2015 by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by celebrated French chef Ducasse.

18 chefs from the Philippines have been selected to join 3,000 others to join the 4th edition of de France / Good France – the biggest dinner in the world to celebrate French gastronomy.

Goût de France is an annual event organized by French diplomatic missions in their host countries. This is a tribute to the excellence of French cuisine and its capacity to innovate and unite people around the common values of sharing and enjoyment in an environmentally friendly and healthy way.

36 hours braised beef cheeks with paprika, short jus & wild mushroom and fricasse roasted by Chef Julien Cossé of SPIRAL MANILA Sofitel Philippine Plaza. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

The concept is inspired by Auguste Escoffier’s “Epicurean Dinners”: to serve the same menu, on the same day, in several cities, for as many guests as possible.

Center in a suit: French Amb. Nicolas Galey with participating Chefs. Contributed photo

An international committee of chefs led by Alain Ducasse has selected chefs from all over the world, including the Philippines, to cook a French dinner to be served in their respective establishments on March 21, 2018.

Photo from the documentary THE QUEST OF ALAIN DUCASSE directed by Gilles de Maistre.

These proposed menus must follow the sequence of a traditional French meal (aperitif with finger food, starter, 1 or 2 main courses, cheese platter, and dessert), accompanied by French wines and spirits. Chefs are also encouraged to use local ingredients.

from left: Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila PR Director Yasmine Hidalgo, Chef Jessie Sincioco of CHEF JESSIE ROCKWELL CLUB and Chef Julien Cossé of SPIRAL MANILA Sofitel Philippine Plaza. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

Ambassador Nicolas Galey

French Amb. Nicolas Galey, in his speech, talked about the significance of the event, “French cuisine is listed among UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage and as such, it belongs to everybody, and we want to give as many people as possible in the Philippines the chance to taste and enjoy it.”

Amb. Nicolas Galey; GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

He also dispelled the misconception of Filipinos that French cuisine is intimidating and expensive, “Daily food can be easy to make, simple, light, affordable but tasty, varied and surprising. That is why the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs partnered with one of the most famous French chefs, Alain Ducasse, to organize Goût de France. We invite chefs all over the world to prepare a typical French dinner accompanied with wines and spirits. The menu is reviewed and approved by a selection committee presided by Alain Ducasse, to be served on the same day, on March 21.”

This year is one of growth, “We are happy that 18 chefs are participating in the Philippines, 3 times more than when we started in 2015. This means that more people will have the chance to experience this Epicurean dinner this year, whether in French cafés, bistros, fine dining restaurants, hotels in Metro Manila, and also in Tagaytay, Cebu, or Mindanao (Bukidnon).”

Beetroot Tartare with Goat Cheese and Caramelized onions / Curried Prawns with Tomatoes, Avocado and Jicama by Chef Miko Calo of ELBERT’S STEAK ROOM. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

A special night however, is reserved for the official French residence, “At the same time, I will be hosting an official dinner at the French Residence to be prepared by a young Filipina chef I have recently discovered who had trained in Paris under one of the most prestigious French chefs, Joël Robuchon: Chef Camille “Miko” Calo. Because a good meal is a feast of the senses which can be complemented by music, our invitees will be entertained by a guest artist, fashion designer and singer who has been performing in Paris for Fête de la Musique: Ms. Kate Torralba, whom I thank very much to be part of an event where Philippine and French talents will meet for the enjoyment of our guests.”

from left: Exec. Chef Gilles Geneaux of LA MÉRE POULARD MANILA, Chef Miko Calo of ELBERT’S STEAK ROOM and Head Chef Clément Damotte of LA MÉRE POULARD MANILA. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

Alain Ducasse

Amb. Galey’s insight of making French cuisine more accessible to more people echoes the thinking of Chef Alain Ducasse himself. Ducasse is only one of 2 chefs who have earned at least 21 Michelin stars—the other is Joel Robuchon (with 31). He is a larger than life figure with a recent documentary film on his successes entitled THE QUEST OF ALAIN DUCASSE directed and produced by Gilles De Maistre.

The Quest of Alain Ducasse Trailer

Quoting the review by Variety.com on the documentary: “Regarded as an innovator for having transformed the French haute cuisine dining experience into honest and simple food where the diner’s pleasure is paramount, the 61-year old Ducasse now manages an empire that includes 24 restaurants in eight countries, run with 1,400 partners representing more than 40 different nationalities. The peripatetic Frenchman with Monégasque citizenship visits his establishments every three months, tastes what’s cooking and urges his staff to surpass themselves. Whether luxury dining spot or bistro, his restaurants are all about locally sourced, high-quality ingredients, prepared according to the seasons.”

Ducasse meets a student of Ducasse Education Philippines, which partnered with the Tuloy Foundation to create the ‘youth with a future’ program. Photo from the documentary THE QUEST OF ALAIN DUCASSE directed by Gilles de Maistre.

French President Francois Hollande and Prince Albert II of Monaco are among the figures who make an appearance in the prestigious docu. Ducasse’ quest to share his knowledge and educate has a Philippine connection, “Another of the many ways Ducasse makes a contribution to sustainability is through his culinary training program in Manilla. There, Ducasse Education Philippines partners with the Tuloy Foundation to create the ‘youth with a future’ program, providing scholarships for young people to attend the training program. He attends a graduation ceremony and tells the students he hopes they’ll become chefs in one of his restaurant kitchens.” ——From Berlin Film Review: The Quest By Alain Ducasse written by Alissa Simon for Variety.com

Salmon Mi-cuit, warm potato salad, herb emulsion by Chef Justin Baradas of RESTAURANT 101- Enderun Colleges. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

Ducasse Education Philippines

Ducasse Education Philippines is currently based in Enderun College. Restaurant 101 is the application restaurant of the college. 101’s seasonal menus are conceived by Enderun’s world-renowned culinary faculty to showcase the techniques of traditional French cuisine, the bold flavors of the Asian market and a commitment to innovating with fresh, sustainable local ingredients. The student wait staff, work under the watchful eyes of the College’s food and beverage faculty.

2nd from right: Amb. Nicolas Galey, from right: French Audio Visual Attaché Martin Makalintal, Ducasse Education Phil. Exec Chef Marc Chalopin and Chef Martin Kaspar of L’ENTRECOTE. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

Ducasse Education Philippines Executive Chef Marc Chalopin also plays a pivotal role in Goût de France as the lead person in reviewing the menus submitted by the participating chefs.

Hard work and Discipline

In his speech Chalopin was proud of the many graduates they produced. One of them is Justin Baradas who through the Ducasse Institute internship program completed his internship at Le Jules Verne, a Michellin-starred restaurant in the Eiffel Tower, Paris. He also worked at various restaurants in the metro namely Top of the Citti by Chef Jessie and Mecha Uma. Chef Baradas has won several culinary awards, the most recent being the Philippine Culinary Cup in 2013. At only 24 years old, he is living up to his name as the first Filipino Chef de Cuisine at Restaurant 101.

2nd from right: Amb. Nicolas Galey, from left: Ducasse Education Phil. Exec Chef Marc Chalopin, Prof. Suzanne Caguioa and Chef Justin Baradas of RESTAURANT 101. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

Baradas is also one of the 18 Chefs who are part of Goût de France. He gave us an unforgettable experience with the lunch he prepared at Restaurant 101.

Chalopin believes that graduates’ success is achieved through the training they have imparted, hard work and discipline, “Aside from him I remember many students who were able to transform themselves into successful chefs, culinarians and businessmen after their exposure to French discipline in the kitchen. I have never done this job alone. Everything we have accomplished is the result of the cooperation of both France and the Philippines. I look forward for more cooperation and success.”

Amb. Nicolas Galey toasts Chef Kevin Endaya of LEMURIA and Chef Miko Calo of ELBERT’S STEAK ROOM. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

18 Chefs and Establishments participating in Goût de France

  • Michel Herbert (Le Bistro d’Agathe, Makati City)
  • Jessie Sincioco (Chef Jessie Rockwell Club, Makati City)
  • Katrina Kuhn-Alcantara (CDP Global Table, Makati City)
  • David Olyver Virrey (Eiffel Kubo, Bukidnon)
  • Victor Magasaysay (Elbert’s Steak Room, Makati City)
  • Martin Kaspar (L’Entrecôte, Taguig)
  • Joshua Mara (Gourmet Bar – Novotel Manila Araneta Center, Quezon City)
  • Kevin Endaya (Lemuria, Quezon City)
  • Robert Lilja (Maria Luisa’s Garden Room, Makati City)
  • Clément Damotte (La Mère Poulard Manila, Taguig)
  • Dino Ferrari (Paris Délice, Makati City)
  • Michael Aspiras (Le Petit Soufflé, Makati City)
  • Justin Baradas (Restaurant 101, Taguig)
  • Marc Aubry (Sagana Epicerie and Bistro, Taguig)
  • Jonathan Bouthiaux (Samira, Tagaytay City)
  • Julien Cossé (Spiral Manila – Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, Pasay City)
  • Pierre Cornelis (Vatel Restaurant Manila)
  • Richard Amado (La Vie Parisienne, Cebu City)

Center: Amb. Nicolas Galey, from left: Head Chef Clément Damotte of LA MÉRE POULARD MANILA, Chef Julien Cossé of SPIRAL MANILA Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Chef Jonathan Bouthiaux of SAMIRA, Head Chef Pierre Cornellis of VATEL RESTAURANT MANILA and French Audio Visual Attaché Martin Makalintal. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Adlai (Job’s Tears) Risotto with wild mushrooms, topped with pan seared flounder and beurre blanc / Organic Pamora farm chicken braised in red win with shimeji mushrooms, Etag (cured smoked pork from the mountain province) and shallots paired with silky potato puree—by Chef Kevin Endaya of LEMURIA. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

from right: Amb. Nicolas Galey with Chef Kevin Endaya of LEMURIA. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

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From right: VATEL Sous chefs- Gabriel Garcia, Lyle Abulan, Head Chef Pierre Cornellis of VATEL RESTAURANT MANILA, Chef Jessie Sincioco of CHEF JESSIE ROCKWELL CLUB and Chef Martin Kaspar of L’ENTRECOTE. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

Peppered U.S. Black Angus Beef Tenderloin in Creamy Cognac Pepper Sauce by Chef Jessie Sincioco of CHEF JESSIE ROCKWELL CLUB. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Amb. Nicolas Galey samples the food of Chef Jessie Sincioco of CHEF JESSIE ROCKWELL CLUB. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

French sisig with foie gras by Chef Justin Baradas of RESTAURANT 101. Contributed photo

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Terrine by Head Chef Clément Damotte of LA MÉRE POULARD MANILA. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

2nd from right: Amb. Nicolas Galey, from right: Head Chef Clément Damotte and Exec. Chef Gilles Geneaux of LA MÉRE POULARD MANILA. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Food bloggers: Raina Cheng of konyoqueen.com and Harvard Uy of alwayshungry.ph . GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

Roasted Shoulder of Lamb, Pressed Vegetable Terrine, garlic cream by Chef Justin Baradas of RESTAURANT 101- Enderun Colleges. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

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from left: Head Chef Pierre Cornellis of VATEL RESTAURANT MANILA, Ducasse Education Phil. Exec Chef Marc Chalopin, CSB Prof. Marie Castro, VATEL Sous chefs- Gabriel Garcia and Lyle Abulan. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

Foie Gras with Forest Mushroom in Filo, Golden Calvados Apple, Port Wine jus by Chef Martin Kaspar of L’ENTRECOTE. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Amb. Nicolas Galey chats with Chef Martin Kaspar of L’ENTRECOTE. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

Amuse Bouche – Blue cheese broccoli cornet by Chef Joshua Mara of Gourmet Bar by NOVOTEL. Contributed photo

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Bit Livarot and Leeks Tartlets by Chef Marc Aubry of SAGANA EPICERIE AND BISTRO. Contributed photo

from left: Head Chef Clément Damotte and Exec. Chef Gilles Geneaux of LA MÉRE POULARD MANILA, far right in red tie: French Cultural Counselor Yves Soberman. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Fresh mango feuilleté with Don Papa rum cream by Chef Marc Aubry of SAGANA EPICERIE AND BISTRO. Contributed photo

Ducasse meets a student of Ducasse Education Philippines, which partnered with the Tuloy Foundation to create the ‘youth with a future’ program. Photo from the documentary THE QUEST OF ALAIN DUCASSE directed by Gilles de Maistre.

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Modern Tiramisu of RESTAURANT 101- Enderun Colleges. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

3rd from right: Amb. Nicolas Galey, from right: Chef Kevin Endaya of LEMURIA, Chef Julien Cossé of SPIRAL MANILA Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Chef Jonathan Bouthiaux of SAMIRA, Head Chef Clément Damotte of LA MÉRE POULARD MANILA, Chef Martin Kaspar of L’ENTRECOTE, Chef Marc Aubry of SAGANA EPICERIE AND BISTRO, Chef Jessie Sincioco of CHEF JESSIE ROCKWELL CLUB and Exec. Chef Gilles Geneaux of LA MÉRE POULARD MANILA. GOÛT DE FRANCE launch, March 6, 2018 Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Seared Scallops: Seared Scallop, Green asparagus, beetroot, Brittany sauce , Black caviar by Chef Jonathan Bouthiaux of SAMIRA. Contributed Photo.

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Chinese Otaku in OUR SHINING DAYS

from left: Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute), Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer) and Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018

Delicate, your voice is my music.

Written by

Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

Chen Jing (Xu Lu) pauses by the dreaded door of dorm room 502 and sees the sign: HUMANS STAY OUT. She knocks on the door and introduces herself, no one answers. A string curtain made of pink stars and plastic beads rattle to announce her presence. On a top bunk bed, someone whose face is hidden under a blue hoodie glares at her and immediately texts on her smartphone “Don’t speak to me!” and shows the screen. Chen tries to explain why she’s there. Just then she sees two girls hunched over two laptops playing a game. One has blonde hair the other blue. One of them says, “That’s Sakura, she doesn’t speak. I’m Bei bei and this is Tata.” Chen tries to explain her need to form a band. A hand from a dark curtain grabs Chen’s flyer and a threatening voice, “Do you want to exit through the door or the window?”

Li Nuo as Sakura – instrument Er-hu (two stringed fiddle); Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

You can watch OUR SHINING DAYS and many other award winning Chinese films for free on a first come first served basis. OUR SHINING DAYS is part of the Spring Film Festival organized by the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies from February 13-18, 2018 at the Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

Apart from the film festival there are a number of activities celebrating Chinese New Year that are open to the public and are free (also on a first come first served basis). This year the Chinese Painting Exhibit is at the Grand Atrium. On February 25, the Philippine Ling Nam Athletic Federation will hold an exciting and elaborate lion dance exhibition in the same venue. The Oodles of Noodles food fest will run from February 16 – 28, featuring special noodle dishes with special discounts from participating restaurants.

from right: FDCP Festival Dev. Lead Officer Jo Andrew Torlao, Dr. Rosita Leong, Ricardo Dy Leong co founders of the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies, ADMU Pres. Fr. Jett Villarin, Shangri La Plaza EVP & Gen Mgr Lala Fojas Ricardo Leong Center Board Member Myrna Yao and Flexo Manufacturing Director Pet Bautista. Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

OUR SHINING DAYS celebrates Chinese traditional music injected with young cosplay inventiveness. Lesser-known aspects of ancient Chinese history, culture and traditional music are highlighted, while the struggles of this generation are dealt with. This gives viewers the best of both worlds. It’s for anyone or any group who has felt the need for acceptance.

300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

PRINCESS JELLYFISH influence

OUR SHINING DAYS is an unlikely combination of the Japanese hit movie PRINCESS JELLYFISH and AMERCAN PIE, PITCH PERFECT with shades of GLEE. PRINCESS JELLYFISH is a successful Japanese manga (comic serial) that was so popular it was turned into an animated series that was then turned into a feature film. Its about a group of reclusive women trying to save the house they live in. They fall into a broad category called Otaku roughly translated to nerd or geek. What used to be a derogatory term is now more acceptable.

In China, at least according to this movie, they use the acronym ACG: Anime, Comics and games. These are some of the interests that are related to Otaku, but can be wider, interests can be photography, cars, hence the term, movie geek etc. The movie itself is live action and is combined with animated portions just like PRINCESS JELLYFISH. The connection with AMERICAN PIE is the term ‘band geek’ while the competitive side of music is from PITCH PERFECT or GLEE.

3rd and 4th from left: Shang Plaza Mall GM & EVP Lala Fojas and Ricardo Leong Center Spring Film Festival Director Jubilee Ong with Chinese Opera – Kaoka performers from Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students during the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Kim Chiu and Enchong Dee

The main character here is Chen Jing played by Xu Lu. She looks like a nerdy version of Filipina actress Kim Chiu on a consistently bad hair day (at least for this role). There are a number of Filipino actors of Chinese descent like Kim Chiu and Enchong Dee who are very popular. I’ve compared a number of Chinese mainland actresses to Kim Chiu because she has those almond eyes, soft jawline, dainty lips that are attractive Asian features.

Kim Chiu and Enchong Dee are popular Filipino Stars of Chinese descent. Photos from: https://www.facebook.com/KimChiufnpage/ and https://www.facebook.com/DeeEnchong/

The Goal

Chen Jing falls for Wang Wen (Luo Mingjie) a classical piano prodigy, the star of the Zhong Xian Music Academy who already draws fans through concerts as a junior. Chen Jing excitedly volunteered as his page-turner (one who turns the pages for the sheet music during performance).

from right: Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer) and Luo Mingjie as Wang Wen. Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

After the concert was over she tells him how she truly feels. “I like you. I play the Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer).” A visibly irritated Wang Wen replies, “I have no time for anything else other than my music. The Yang-qin, what is that??? Is that even a real instrument?”

Luo Mingjie as Wang Wen; Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

So Chen Jing together with best pal, the klutzy, Li You (Peng Yuchang), set out to show her prowess in the instrument Wang knows nothing about. The goal is to make him fall in love with her through her music. To do this they need a band of several traditional Chinese instruments to back her up. The problem is their genré is no longer as popular. The only remaining students left to recruit are a group of reclusive freshmen who are into ACG and are considered Otaku.

from left: Li Nuo as Sakura – instrument Er-hu (two stringed fiddle), Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges), Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute),
Peng Yuchang as Li You – (drums), Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute) and Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Instruments

The musical instruments are part and parcel of who they are and why they play them.   The leader of the newly formed traditional Chinese music band called 2.5 Dimension is Xiao Mai acted by Liu Yongxi who is tall, cropped hair, wearing dark robes.

Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Her instrument: the Gu Zheng, is the Chinese zither with movable bridges, and is plucked using fingers. The Gu Zheng has also figured prominently in KUNG FU HUSTLE. It was used by one of the assassins to fire invisible blades and needles while he played it.

A Lucky Pagoda was constructed at the ground floor of Shang Plaza Mall, where you can read your Chinese Horoscope prospects in this year of the Dog at the foot of the tower. Photo by Jude Bautista

Lead star Xu Lu as Chen Jing uses the Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer), which is also a stringed instrument but is struck with two sticks made of bamboo. The sound is in between a piano and a harp.

Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Indication of changing times

The storyline of the movie is also a good indication of how things are changing in China. For the longest time there has always been a strong anti-Japanese sentiment there because of atrocities committed during the Second World War. As late as 2005 when Hollywood produced MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA with Chinese superstar Zhang Zhi Yi, it was met with an uproar of protests and criticism. The public then didn’t want to see a Chinese actress portray a Japanese geisha.

from left: ADMU VP for Univ.& Global Relations Fr. Joey Cruz, ADMU Pres. Fr. Jett Villarin, Ricardo Dy Leong, Dr. Rosita Leong co founders of the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies, Xavier School Pres. Fr. Aristotle Dy. Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

These days there’s a strong following for Japanese animation, comics and games or Otaku culture among the Chinese youth. The freshmen attended an ACG Convention showing their popularity.

Legitimacy

The theme of legitimacy and acceptance is one that keeps cropping up. The norm in their school is to gain high enough grades and proficiency in their instrument that they qualify for scholarships abroad like Juliard and so on. This works for classical instruments like the piano, violin, cello etc.

While those in the program strictly concentrating on Chinese traditional instruments don’t have that ‘future’ or possibility of progressing abroad. So the classical music majors look down on students like Chen. That’s why there’s this ongoing war between the students of the two programs. In a way traditional Chinese music is fighting for its own legitimacy, as a dying art. (If the story of the movie is to be believed)

from left: Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute) and Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

The ACG freshmen on the other hand are into cosplay and are reclusive group who have their own need for acceptance. As students they walk around with weird hair and costumes. People around them pressure them to conform. This is the overall theme of the movie that just because something is different or doesn’t conform, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be accepted.

from left: Li Nuo as Sakura – instrument Er-hu (two stringed fiddle), Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute), Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges) and Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

History and Culture

They are rejected because of the way they look and their devotion to this lost ancient art of music. But for them the mastery of the instruments is not an end in itself. They immerse themselves in ancient history together with poetry and literature along with the music. For example, “The Chinese Zither or guqin often referred to as the instrument of sages for the purpose of enriching the heart and elevating human spirit. Confucius (around 600 BC) was a master of this instrument.” From: http://www.philmultic.com/home/instruments/

Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Maybe in the real world, the youth of today will see how invaluable history and culture is not just in China but in all nations.

Flowers blossom on Mount Nanshan. Moss grows on the fence.

Flowers blossom across the mountains every spring.

The grass on the faraway plains, catkins dance in the wind.

The grass grows on the path every year.

I’ve finally waited for spring to arrive when the grass are green.

I’ve finally waited for the red flower to blossom.

With the flowering of your beauty the river of years flow past.

—From the Chinese traditional song: The Grassy Path, adapted from

“Romantic Dream In A Garden” in Peony Pavilion.

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300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Painting by Pablo Ong Jr on Fan entitled Flowers In Bloom. A Chinese Painting Exhibit at the Grand Atrium of Shang Plaza Mall will run from Feb 13-18, 2018. Organized by the Ateneo Confucius Institute, the exhibit will culminate with a free Chinese Painting Workshop – Specifically on Jeans (Feb 18).

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Eason Chan as Inspection Director; Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Chinese Opera – Kaoka performance by Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students enlivened the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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(Feb 16)- Special mall wide Dragon Dance walkthrough, (Feb 25) 2pm there will be a cultural show entitled Philippine Ling Nam Dragon and Lion Exhibition at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute) and Peng Yuchang as Li You – (drums). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Luo Mingjie as Wang Wen; Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Chinese Opera – Kaoka performance by Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students enlivened the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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from left: Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute), Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute), Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges), Peng Yuchang as Li You – (drums)Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer) and Li Nuo as Sakura – instrument Er-hu (two stringed fiddle). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Luo Mingjie as Wang Wen; Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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from left: Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute), Li Nuo as Sakura instrument Er-hu (two stringed fiddle), Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges) and Han Zhongyu as Tata instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

(Feb 16)- Special mall wide Dragon Dance walkthrough, (Feb 25) 2pm there will be a cultural show entitled Philippine Ling Nam Dragon and Lion Exhibition at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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center: Peng Yuchang as Li You – (drums); Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Millennial China in Intriguing Musical

Lang Yueting (Kat); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Amoré, she reminds me of you.

Written by

Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

“She is mysterious and beautiful. That’s why I’ll believe her.” For some inexplicable reason Lee Xiao (Wang Ziyi) was drawn to Kat (Lang Yueting). Maybe it was her looks but more than that she seemed to have a depth of character, intelligence, sophistication and deliberate modesty that was rare. So Lee could not help but fall for her.

Lang Yueting (Kat) and Wang Ziyi (Lee Xiang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

In a place where everyone has his or her own agenda, believing her is a declaration of love. Theirs is a budding office romance that can be considered innocent compared to long-standing and scandalous affairs of their bosses and coworkers.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping) and Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

You can watch Chow Yun Fat in THE OFFICE and many other award winning Chinese films for free on a first come first served basis. THE OFFICE is part of the Spring Film Festival organized by the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies from February 13-18, 2018 at the Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

Ricardo Dy Leong and Dr. Rosita Leong, co founders of the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Apart from the film festival there are a host of activities celebrating Chinese New Year that are open to the public and are free (also on a first come first served basis). This year the Chinese Painting Exhibit (opening on Feb 13) at the Grand Atrium will also have a painting workshop on jeans (Feb 18). For the schedule, details and other activities scroll down to the end of this article, below.

from right: Dr. Rosita Leong, Ricardo Dy Leong co founders of the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies, ADMU Pres. Fr. Jett Villarin, Shangri La Plaza EVP & Gen Mgr Lala Fojas and Flexo Manufacturing Director Pet Bautista. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Despite having the same title, THE OFFICE (Chinese film) has nothing to do with the successful TV comedy from the U.K. created and starred in by Ricky Gervais and subsequent U.S. version with Steve Carell. It couldn’t be more different.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

This intriguing movie is the complete anti-thesis of how people perceive China’s economic landscape. Vicious, inner corporate politics, insider trading, financial manipulation, sexual intrigue it all sounds like a Wall Street storyline but that’s what THE OFFICE is about. Even if it is set in the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, the seemingly unfettered, free market where a large corporation’s greed and power is unregulated can be shocking coming from what is still supposed to be under the auspices of China’s Socialist (some say Communist) state.

The story redefines what we think of as a ‘Chinese movie’. Fascinating doesn’t begin to describe it. The futuristic sets, lighting can give BLADE RUNNER 2 a run for its money.

Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Based On

As if the story isn’t unique enough, coming from a supposed Socialist state in China, it is of all things, a musical. Based on a stage show written by Sylvia Chang, entitled DESIGN FOR LIVING. The musical approach is a novelty in Chinese cinema and is actually a worthwhile effort. They achieved the right balance between spoken dialogue interspersed with only the occasional musical portion. Some of them though are spectacular complete with elaborate dance sequences, reminiscent of the success in LA LA LAND.

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

What sets this apart, however, is the story and production design along with the performances. 2 Best Art Direction trophies to William Chau and Alfred Yau validated this from the 52nd Golden Horse Awards and Hong Kong Film Awards. The unique musicality was also recognized with Best Original Film Score for Lo Tayu and Keith Chan Fai-young from the Hong Kong Film Awards.—according to official wikiwand page.

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Cut Out Walls and Trains

Hundreds of strip lights are suspended on a ceiling of a wide impressive lobby that leads to elevators of the palatial Jones & Sunn Headquarters. Rooms, even apartments can sometimes be sliced right in the middle as if the walls were cut out. In other instances the walls are made of glass.

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

This is a style most often used in theater, so live audiences can witness performances within those rooms built on stage. Here it also seems to be a statement that private conversations or affairs will all be revealed or known. Taking it further, even trains are given this cut out or see through treatment, while functioning on rails. The technical achievement for production design is mind-boggling.

They constructed a functioning see through MTR. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

In the center of the CEO’s and other top execs offices is a giant clock that shows its gears, moving and the whole thing rotates. It may be another physical metaphor of the organization as it inevitably reveals its inner workings.

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Filipino Brand Makes It

For a smaller detail, in the bar scene where the employees relax, the beer of choice in China these days is San Miguel Beer Light specifically. As the world is flooded by cheap Chinese imports its nice to see at least one Filipino brand making it into this prominent film. Perhaps in the next blockbuster it could be Tanduay Rhum, which took home BRAND OF THE YEAR honors 3 years in a row for the Philippines.

300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

Who Really Wears The Pants

Chow Yun Fat as tycoon Ho Chung Ping is the most recognizable name in the cast, internationally that is. His character is chairman of the trading company, but it was his wife’s family who built it. Ho married into his fortune. While he attends to his wife in the hospital, he leaves the operations to CEO Winnie Chang played by Sylvia Chang Ai-Chia. She adapted her stage script for the screen while director Johnnie To helmed the movie version.

from left: Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping) and Director Johnnie To. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Sylvia is the long time actress, screenwriter and filmmaker who initially produced and starred in DESIGN FOR LIVING on which THE OFFICE is based on. The play became a huge hit when it first ran in 2009 and was able to expand its tour from the originally planned Beijing and Shanghai to all across China— according to New York Times article: A Filmmaker Finds Her Play Is the Thing.

Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Notable Performances

Almost tailor made for this movie is Canto pop superstar Eason Chan. His role as David Wang is a successful executive who uses his charms to seduce women to get ahead. Eason also appears in the movie OUR SHINING DAYS in Spring Film fest which you can also watch for free. OUR SHINIG DAYS is about Otaku culture, animation and comics in China.

Eason Chan (David Wang) and Tang Wei (Sophie); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Original intent

It was also Sylvia’s vision to change THE OFFICE into a musical once set to screen. She has directed over 10 movies and written and starred in many more. As an actress she has the record for most nominations for Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards and won twice. Her performance here is that of a powerful woman willing to do anything to succeed. She wasn’t however, able to impart as much of the traditional Chinese values that was her original intent for the play.

from right: Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang), Eason Chan (David Wang) and Tang Wei (Sophie). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

New Face of China

For me what was more apparent was the ‘greed is good’ mantra made famous by Gordon Gecko played by Michael Douglas in the 1987 film WALLSTREET. As an outsider looking in seeing this portrayal of a Chinese company can be shocking. There is always the perception that large Chinese corporations were if not controlled by the government closely worked with them. This is a complete and utter departure from that. In both movies, they fall victim to the stock market as well in the case of THE OFFICE – the banking crisis following the fall of the Lehman Brothers. What Sylvia Chang was able to show here, instead more accurately, is the new face of China for the millennium.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping) and Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Lang Yueting (Kat) and Wang Ziyi (Lee Xiang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Scheduled activities for Chinese New Year:

Also starting on February 13, is the Chinese Painting Exhibit at the Grand Atrium, which features outstanding works by students and masters of the Ateneo Confucius Institute. The exhibition runs until February 18, culminating with a Chinese Painting Workshop (Paint Your Jeans) on February 18, 2 pm at the Grand Atrium open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

Painting by Pablo Ong Jr on Fan entitled Mother and Child. A Chinese Painting Exhibit at the Grand Atrium of Shang Plaza Mall will run from Feb 13-18, 2018. Organized by the Ateneo Confucius Institute, the exhibit will culminate with a free Chinese Painting Workshop – Specifically on Jeans (Feb 18).

On New Year’s Day, February 16, a special mall-wide Chinese Dragon and Lion Mall Walkthrough takes place at 12 noon. On February 17, 2 pm at the Grand Atrium, visitors of the Shang will be treated to a Chinese Music Concert by the Ateneo Ricardo Leong Center that showcases different aspects of authentic Chinese culture, with a lineup that includes a performance by the Philippine York Lin School Chorale, an Er Hu exhibition, a musical performance by a local Chinese orchestra, a wushu exhibition by the Philippine York Lin School Wushu Group and an inspiring musical performance by Mr. Albert Cedric Tan, a talented pianist who has flourished despite being born blind and struggling with ADHD and autism.

Chinese Opera – Kaoka performance by Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students enlivened the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Another special cultural show, the Philippine Ling Nam Dragon and Lion Exhibition will be held on February 25 at 2 pm by the Philippine Ling Nam Athletic Federation, an organization founded in 1956 dedicated to Chinese martial arts, as well as the traditional lion and dragon dance. Young members of the group will be showcasing their talents in a medley of dance, wushu, and drum performances at the Grand Atrium.

(Feb 16)- Special mall wide Dragon Dance walkthrough, (Feb 25) 2pm there will be a cultural show entitled Philippine Ling Nam Dragon and Lion Exhibition at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

More exciting events will be happening throughout the month in celebration of Chinese New Year, Shang will light up the sky with a fireworks display on February 15, 9 pm at the Streetscape, the Flavors of China market on from February 8 to 18 at the Food Forum, consultations for a lucky year with Master Charlie Chao on February 16 and 17, 4 PM to 8 PM at Luxury Lane and Mysterium Manila on February 16 to 18 at the Level 4, Open Café. The Oodles of Noodles food fest will run from February 16 – 28, featuring special noodle dishes with special discounts from participating restaurants.

A Lucky Pagoda was constructed at the ground floor of Shang Plaza Mall, where you can read your Chinese Horoscope prospects in this year of the Dog at the foot of the tower. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Lang Yueting (Kat) and Wang Ziyi (Lee Xiang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping) and Lang Yueting (Kat); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

Lang Yueting (Kat); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Eason Chan (David Wang) and Tang Wei (Sophie); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Center: Shang Plaza Mall GM & EVP Lala Fojas with Chinese Opera – Kaoka performers from Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students during the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Eason Chan (David Wang) and Tang Wei (Sophie); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Tien Hsin (Karling); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Wang Ziyi (Lee Xiang); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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(Feb 16)- Special mall wide Dragon Dance walkthrough, (Feb 25) 2pm there will be a cultural show entitled Philippine Ling Nam Dragon and Lion Exhibition at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

Eason Chan (David Wang) and Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Eason Chan (David Wang); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Wang Ziyi (Lee Xiang); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Chinese Opera – Kaoka performance by Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students enlivened the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/14686025@N00/

http://judebautista.tumblr.com/

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping) and Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

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