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Father’s Day Milestones 2018

Nativity of Christ by Francesco Mancini behind the main altar of Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica of St Mary the Major), Rome, May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Written by

Jude Bautista

This year’s Father’s Day Celebration, June 17, 2018, coincided with several milestones for the Bautista clan. My father Jose C. Bautista can be proud of completing a lifelong dream: seeing the Pope during the Neo Cathechumenal Way’s 50th Year Celebration last May 5th,in Rome, Italy.

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- click on photo for full story

During the same trip he was able to complete a brutal schedule from May 1-12. We visited about 3 churches / landmarks daily and averaged 3-4 kilometers of walking per day.

from left: Junee Ibaviosa, Joe and Linda Bautista, in front of St John Lateran, Rome. May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

This is no small feat for an 86 year old my mom Linda on the other hand is 79. Consider Meghan Markle’s dad in his late 60s couldn’t make it to the Royal Wedding due to health reasons. So we’re all really proud of Joe and Linda grateful our prayers were answered for safety and health through out the trip.

We are all ever grateful to my brothers Timothy, Donald and George who sent financial support that made this trip possible.

JY and Linnell Bautista with son Theo. From fb

First Great Grandchild

By the end of the same month of our trip (May 29, Theo Daniel De Villa Bautista was born to JY and Linnell Bautista, Joe’s first great grandchild. This also makes my brother Timothy and his wife Joy Bautista proud grandparents. Jay and Linnell got married last March 2, 2017. Linnell gave birth naturally at Mount Sinai West Hospital in New York to a strong bouncing baby boy 7lbs and 3oz strong. Mom Linnell was walking about just days after delivery.

Theo Daniel De Villa Bautista born May 29, 2018. 7lbs and 3oz – from fb

First time and proud grandfather Tim treated his father Joe to a Father’s Day celebration, June 17, 2018 at a Japanese Restaurant. Long time family friend Ramon Castañeda, who was there with us, is also a New Yorker.

seated from left: Erlinda Bautista, Joe Bautista, eldest son Tim Bautista, standing: Joy Bautista and Ramon Castañeda. Pasig, June 17, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Tanduay Limited Edition

Since I was on a tight budget, I had to think hard of what I wanted to give my dad. I happened to see Tanduay’s Superior Blended Rum Limited Edition, which was issued 2017 in celebration of the Year of the Rooster. I was also relieved to know it was only P280. That’s tremendous value, so I thought of buying that. But didn’t buy it on the spot thinking I just lived nearby.

Tanduay Superior Blended Rum Limited Edition is a great gift idea with its smooth taste and elegant packaging. Photo by Jude Bautista

3 days before Father’s Day I went back to buy it and found out every single bottle had been sold out! I was in panic mode going through several liquor outlets and supermarkets but eventually found last 3 bottles in another supermarket. So if you do seethe Tanduay Limited Edition on a shelf, do yourself a favor and buy one.  Special occasion or not, its a perfect gift or treat for yourself. If you can’t find Limited Edition just go for the Tanduay Superior 12 Years, which is also tremendous value.

Noel Bautista with wife Rachel Hazel. From fb.

Noel

He may not know this but my third brother Noel is actually one of my idols as a father. (As I have yet to be blessed with a child of my own) In the late 80s, throughout the 90s I remember being a little bit taken aback at how devoted he was as hands on father. He was able to change diapers of eldest son Nigel, feed him, put him to sleep and generally care for him. Even with his later kids Nicole and Brent.

The Holy Family in the main altar, Parish of San Giuseppe in Trevizo, Northern Italy, May 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Noel may not have been the wealthiest or the most financially successful among my brothers but definitely he was the most caring. That affection and care he gave them wasn’t something they could remember because they were babies or toddlers. I’ve never personally seen any other dad care for his children the way that he did.

Nigel Bautista, the last time we saw each other was at least 5 years ago. Hotel Fiore, Fiuggi, Italy, May 10, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Nigel

Fast forward to our trip in Italy this May. Noel’s eldest son: Nigel Paolo Emmanuel Bautista, Nigel for short is now working for Arcadia Group, the conglomerate that runs giant clothing brands TOPSHOP, TOPMAN, BURTON, OUTFIT, DOROTHY PERKINS and many more. Nigel works in their main office in London as a Software Specialist evaluating the company’s apps for phones and devices.

from left: Erlinda Bautista, Nigel Bautista, Joe C. Bautista and Beth Javier.Hotel Fiore, Fiuggi, Italy, May 10, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

While we were in our last few days in Italy, Nigel decided to join us. He had a brief weekend trip to Paris then flew in to Rome. We had not seen each other for 5 years or so. I was thinking of how proud Noel must be of Nigel having grown and achieved so much at a young age.

Brent

Just a few days ago June 25, Noel’s youngest son Elijah Brent surprised us with a visit here in Manila coming all the way from Wellington, New Zealand. He is currently working as a staff of NZ’s Member of Parliament Priyanca Radhakrishnan. Brent shares with us that he is able to relate to Prianka as an Asian who spent some growing years abroad but has studied University in NZ and now lives there too. Some of Prianka’s advocacies include ‘immigrant rights and women’s right women survivors of domestic violence, and migrant workers who have been exploited’. From Labour Profile.

Joe with grandson Brent; Paco, Manila, June 25, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Brent is also working as tutor at Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Victoria University and is also taking up a Master’s Degree in International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington. He hopes to work in the diplomatic field in the future. Brent shares his father’s and grandfather’s good looks too. He is in town on a holiday to Coron, Palawan.

from left: Joe, grandson Brent and Erlinda. Brent visited from Wellington, NZ. Paco, Manila, June 25, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

To this day Noel remains to be the biggest fan of his kids. Even when they are grown up and have their own lives he still posts their pics and praises them on facebook. He lovingly refers to his daughter Nicole as Ganda (Beautiful in Filipino) and Brent as Bunso (Youngest child).

seated from left: Proud dad Noel, Rachel, Brent, standing: Nicole. From fb

From Noel’s fb  birthday greeting to Brent:

‘NOTE TO MY 30-YEAR OLD SELF. Hate to break it to you Noel, but you’re gonna drink too much, eat too much, and be a lazy bastard the rest of your life. Any potential you showed your 20s, so far you will waste. To make it worse, at this point you won’t do much about it. Your saving grace? You’ll have great kids, not the least of which is this guy Elijah Brent, who’ll be true to the promise, outdo himself in school, work and in life. SO FAR, SO GOOD. Thanks for making your old man look good, anak. Happy 23rd birthday, we love you to bits!

The Pieta by Michaelangelo was even more moving in person, inside St. Peter’s Basilica, May 3, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

St Joseph

My dad’s patron saint as his namesake is St. Joseph who is self sacrificing, humble father happy to let his son, Jesus and wife Mary take center stage. That’s whySt. Joseph is the epitome of fatherhood. No wonder Joe shares the same attributes; he always lets my mom, his children, grandchildren get a lot of attention. But throughout our lives he’s been there supporting us consistently, quietly.

St Joseph with the child Jesus in the Parish of San Giuseppe in Trevizo, Northern Italy, May 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Fr Paolo Benetton, the brilliant mind and organizer behind our successful trip, brought us to his hometown of Trevizo, Norhern Italy. He showed us the Church a corner away from the house he grew up in, incidentally Parocchia Di San Giuseppe – Parish of St Joseph. He introduced us to his dad who waved at us and smiled warmly but preferred not to address the Filipino crowd.

Fr Paolo translates for mom Rafaella who charms the Pinoy visitors. Parish of San Giuseppe in Trevizo, Northern Italy, May 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Fr. Paolo’s mom on the other hand gamely engaged the visitors speaking in Italian while his son translated, “I can never forget getting a call from his first communion teacher ‘your son is so naughty I don’t think I can teach him anymore.” Getting howls of laughter from us– as Paolo became a priest. When we were leaving their home I wasn’t surprised to see the mailbox: Rafaella is the name of his mother, Giuseppe the name of his father (the Italian version of Joseph).

from left: Fr. Paolo, dad Giuseppe and mom Rafaella in their lush and green yard. Trevizo, Northern Italy, May 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Elegant Label

Going back to my gift there’s a nugget of wisdom at the back of the elegant label of the Tanduay Limited Edition,

“…Chinese New Year is considered to be the most important festival for the Filipino Chinese Community in the Philippines and is celebrated in hope of attracting prosperity, closer family ties and peace.”

Although it is way past Chinese New Year, we managed to have some measure of prosperity, closer family ties and peace from our Father’s Day Milestones.

Tanduay Superior Blended Rum Limited Edition is a great gift idea with its smooth taste and elegant packaging. Photo by Jude Bautista

Joe Bautista; this was outside the catacombs of San Sebastian, fringes of Rome, May 4, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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from left: Allen, Irene and Angela King at the Colosseum (Circo Massimo), Rome, May 3, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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

Noel recently visited brother George in Auckland NZ, coming from Wellington. From fb

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Theo Daniel De Villa Bautista born May 29, 2018. 7lbs and 3oz – from fb

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Angels aloft St John Lateran; May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Clockwise from left: Grant; Mahal; J.j. Claus, Ganda; and Bunso. Missed you Panganay Nigel. — with Grant Randell, J.j. Claus Alamani, Nicole Bautista and Elijah Brent Bautista at Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay. From fb post

A waterfall on our way to Northern Italy, May 6, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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from left: Dr. Glo Chua, Beth Javier and Leng Leng Ibaviosa. Viale Manlio Germozzi, Rome, May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

This ancient façade is beside St John Lateran in Rome.May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Fr Richard Garrido; Asst Chaplain of Cardinal Santos Medical Center was honored to say his first official mass in Rome during the trip. Photo by Jude Bautista

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The St. Peter / Paco Neo Group; this was outside the catacombs of San Sebastian, fringes of Rome, May 4, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Brent has tattoos, on his left wrist is Filipinas in the ancient script Baybayin. June 25, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Linda with grandson Brent; Paco, Manila, June 25, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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From left: Erlinda Bautista, Joe Bautista, Allen and Irene King. Santa Croce Gerusalemme (Hoy Cross in Jerusalem), May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

The Italian countryside in Northern Italy, May 6, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

from left: Erlinda Bautista, Nigel Bautista, Joe C. Bautista and Beth Javier.Hotel Fiore, Fiuggi, Italy, May 10, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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‘The altarpiece in mosaic was made in 1722, reproducing a design by the painter from the Marches, Carlo Maratta, which dates to 1696-1698. It represents the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, in the River Jordan’- St. Peter’s Basilica, May 3, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

from left: Roly Cua, Erlinda Bautista and Joe Bautista, behind them The Pieta inside St. Peter’s Basilica, May 3, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Even if it was drizzling there were thousands still visiting St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, May 3, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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from left: Jude Bautista, Erlinda Bautista, Nigel Bautista, Joe C. Bautista and Beth Javier.Hotel Fiore, Fiuggi, Italy, May 10, 2018. Photo by Roly Cua

The Italian countryside in Northern Italy, May 6, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Noel Bautista with wife Rachel Hazel. From fb.

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Tanduay Superior Blended Rum Limited Edition is a great gift idea with its smooth taste and elegant packaging. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Where Gladiators and Christians gave their lives for entertainment: The Colosseum in Rome,May 3, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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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.

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

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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

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Mater Dei Choir

Choirmaster Bernie De Leon

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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.

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

http://judebautista.tumblr.com/

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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Youthful Romance in BP’s Don Quixote

Joseph Gatti (Basilio) and Candice Adea (Kitri); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Our love is forever young

Written and photographed

by Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

Don Quixote is one of the most loved and recognized novels the world over for its emphasis on the values of chivalry, fantasy and imagination. Ballet Philippines’ version however, also highlights its youthful and romantic angle. DON QUIXOTE starring two international guests artists in Joseph Gatti (Basilio) and Candice Adea (Kitri) will run from February 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.

Jojo Mamangun (Don Quixote) ; Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Joseph Gatti is a gold medalist in the first World Ballet Competition in his native Orlando Florida, 2007. He also earned bronze in the International Ballet Competition and Silver in Seoul International Ballet Competition both in 2006.

Joseph Gatti (Basilio) and Candice Adea (Kitri); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Former BP dancer and now resident guest artist Candice Adea has herself won big prizes abroad. She garnered First Prize at the 7th Helsinki International Ballet Competition and a silver medal at the 2010 USA Ballet Competition. She was also recognized with the Maris Liepa Award for Outstanding Artistry at the Boston International Ballet Competition.

Gatti and Adea will be in the lead romantic roles in the opening and succeeding night. BP stars Victor Maguad, Monica Gana and Ian Ocampo will be taking over on other play dates.

BP Publicity Head Rhea Bautista and BP Associate Artistic Dir and Ballet Master Adam Sage. Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Millennials will find this version of DON QUIXOTE as relatable. Anyone who has had a ‘bad date’ or a relationship their parents disapprove of will see themselves in Kitri according to Regisseur / restager Adam Sage. “Don Q is good because the storyline is simple to follow. There’s comedy, there’s love, there’s fiesta time. For those of you who have husbands or partners that have not been to the ballet this is a good one because its not long and drawn out. You don’t have to concentrate that hard to figure out what’s happening,” said Sage.

Sage summarizes the plot, “It starts out with Don Quixote, a knight who is out find his lady the love of his life, Dulcinea. He heads out into the village with his squire Sancho Panza, a short little dumpy fellow who takes care of him. In the town in Barcelona there’s an innkeeper whose daughter Kitri is feisty kid of the village. She’s in love with Basilio who is a poor guy, doesn’t make much money. The father as typical in most places in the world is not very happy about the fact his daughter is in love with someone who has no money and no future.”

BP’s History with Don Q

DON QUIXOTE has a long history with the company having some of the most prestigious guest dancers from around the world. BP Pres. Marge Moreno explains, “We started staging the grand pas de dieux in 1973 and mounted our first full-length version of it in 1981. With (Choreographer) Luminita Dumitrescu, staging the ballet. Many international stars have performed the Don Q with Ballet Philippines: Muñeca Aponte, ABT (American Ballet Theater’s) Martine Van Hammel, Patrick Bissel and Wes Chapman. San Francisco Ballet’s Joan Boada and Houston Ballet’s Connor Walsh.”

BP Pres. Margie Moran; Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Some of the most recognizable names have performed in DON QUIXOTE for BP, “Filipino ballerinas Lisa Macuja, Anna Villadolid, Cecille Sicangco, Toni Lopez Gonzalez, Esther Rimpos, Melissa Cuachon, Wendy Panganiban, Carissa Adea, Katherin Trofeo, Brandon Miranda, Nonoy Froilan and JM Cordero. And of course one of the greatest ballerinas of all time Natalia Makarova performed Don Quixote Grand Pas De Diuex with Patrick Bissel for Ballet Philippines in 1979.”

Denise Parungao (Mercedes); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

BP’s new generation of talented dancers have now taken on the iconic roles, “This year 2018 is a special show we have today’s brightest stars in Philippine dance: Candice Adea, Jemima Reyes, Monica Gana, Victor Maguad, Ian Ocampo, as well as amazing Joseph Gatti coming from the USA. Don Quixote is truly a big happy fiesta celebrating life, love and dance.”

Center row: BP Pres. Margie Moran and BP Associate Artistic Dir and Ballet Master Adam Sage together with the exceptional dancers of Ballet Philippines, one of the most celebrated and prestigious dance company in the country. Photo by Jude Bautista

From Spain to the World

Although originating from Spain, Don Quixote has taken on universality. Spanish First Secretary Guillermo Escribano said, “We at the Spanish embassy are really delighted supporting the CCP, supporting Ballet Philippines. This is a collaboration that existed a few years ago. We would like to stress that we are celebrating a fiesta of arts, culture. Its not just only Spanish or Filipino its international, universal. Cervantes wrote Don Quixote more than 400 years ago. We celebrated in 2016 the 400th anniversary and inauguration of the novel. We are talking of a key figure in literature and arts. Every time Don Quixote has been reinterpreted in dance and ballet, there are new things that appear.”

Spanish Emb. First Secretary of Cultural Affairs Guillermo Escribano. Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Adam Sage: Full Circle

For Adam Sage, Don Q has a strong personal significance. He was a member of Ballet Philippines from 1981-1983. He was a young tall 19 year old, the first foreigner member of Ballet Philippines. He returned to BP last year as Associate Artistic Director and Ballet Master.

from left: Ronelson Yadao (Espada) and Ian Ocampo (Basilio); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Sage said, “This was not only coming home but full circle. This was my first professional job here it was in 1981. It was the first full-length ballet I did for Ballet Philippines was Don Quixote. I was nervous of Don Quixote in that version with Martine Van Hammel and Patrick Bissel of (ABT). That was our first full length so it was very educational.”

Jemima Reyes (Kitri); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Since his BP stint Sage has become a sought after teacher and coach. He has guided dancers that have competed in the first Beijing International Ballet Competition and the prestigious Lausanne International Ballet Competition in Switzerland. He also served as juror for the American Ballet Competition in Miami Florida for 2007 and 2008.

Joseph Gatti (Basilio) and Candice Adea (Kitri); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Pinoy’s Natural Instinct for Dance

Because of his long experience internationally and in the Philippines he has gained some insight on how and why Filipinos can excel in ballet and dance, “The thing I found interesting then and now is that there’s an innate quality in every child I’ve seen in terms of musicality and movement. It’s part of the culture here. You can grab almost any child and say sing this song and they can sing it. They learn the words they listen to the radio. Dance is a very big part of your culture. From the time they’re young there are certain dances that you learn. There are certain national songs that you know. And we don’t have this in the States. It’s not the same. So that creates a different kind of dancer one that has a more natural instinct to movement and musicality.”

Denise Parungao (Mercedes) and Ronelson Yadao (Espada); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Casts Individuality

When asked how this version would be different from the previous ones Sage clarified that the dancers themselves create that personality for each performance. “The biggest thing would be the dancer, the individual, each person who does Kitri or Basilio or Giselle or Odette brings something of themselves. They have their own flavor their own mark to it. The dancers that are performing in the leads are all very different for their own character space.”

Monica Gana (Kitri); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Sage describes the variations in the performances of the cast members, “Monica (Gana) as you can tell is a happy sunny person. So she brings a lighter sense to it. Jemima (Reyes) is a little more of a kitten. She’s got a little more bite to her. Candice plays both sides of that very well. She can give you the sunny side and she can give you the kitten side. Candice has done this role before. So I’m sure this is a different experience. Each person in each role brings something different to it as well. For Basilio, they’re all very different. Ian (Ocampo) is boyish, a boy next door kind of look and type of character. Victor is also boyish but in a different way, a little bit more impish. Makulit is a good word. (after hearing it from BP Publicity Head Rhea Bautista) There’s no English word for that.”

Jemima Reyes (Kitri); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Center row: BP Pres. Margie Moran and BP Associate Artistic Dir and Ballet Master Adam Sage together with the exceptional dancers of Ballet Philippines, one of the most celebrated and prestigious dance company in the country. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Denise Parungao (Mercedes); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Denise Parungao (Mercedes) and Ronelson Yadao (Espada); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

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from left: Cherry Bong Edralin, Mars Callo and Amadis Ma. Guerrero. Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Victor Maguad (Basilio); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Joseph Gatti (Basilio); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Candice Adea (Kitri); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Victor Maguad (Basilio); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Ronelson Yadao (Espada); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Candice Adea (Kitri); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Joseph Gatti (Basilio); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Monica Gana (Kitri); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Joseph Gatti (Basilio) and Candice Adea (Kitri); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Joseph Gatti (Basilio) and Candice Adea (Kitri); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

Candice Adea (Kitri); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Monica Gana (Kitri); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Joseph Gatti (Basilio) and Candice Adea (Kitri); Catch BP’s Don Quixote running from Feb 9-18, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Photo by Jude Bautista

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SIARGAO, LARAWAN Dominate MMFF Awards

SIARGAO team from left: Social Media Mgr Patti Lapus, Screenwriter Anjeli Pessumal, Suzette Ranillo (Diego’s Mom), Director / Producer Paul Soriano, Jasmine Curits Smith (Abi) and Producer/ Editor Mark Victor. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Written and photographed

By Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

Jericho Rosales, Erich Gonzales, Jasmine Curtis starrer about a rock star escaping his conflicts by going to his hometown of SIARGAO and a movie musical with a combination of the roaring 20’s and operettas about pre war Manila in ANG LARAWAN with Joanna Ampil, Rachel Alejandro, Celeste Legaspi reaped a majority of the awards in the Metro Manila Film Festival’s Gabi Ng Parangal at the KIA Theater last December 27, 2017.

LARAWAN cast from left: Exec. Producer Girlie Rodis, Dulce (Doña Upeng), Menchu Lauchengco Yulo (Pepang), Celeste Legaspi (Doña Loleng), Joanna Ampil (Candida), Rachel Alejandro (Paula), The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

SIARGAO had a total of 8 while ANG LARAWAN had 5 awards. Both ALL OF YOU and ANG PANDAY had 4 awards, followed by DEADMA WALKING with 2.

SIARGAO with 8 Awards – 2nd Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Jasmine Curtis Smith), Best Director (Paul Soriano), Best Cinematography (Odyssey Flores and team), Best Sound (Jason Conanan, Mark Locsin, Mikko Quizon, Kathrine Ariane Salinas), Best Editor (Mark Victor), Best Looking Couple of the Night (Erich Gonzales) and Best Original Theme Song (ALON by Hale)

Best Looking Couple of the Night: Erich Gonzales (SIARGAO) and Derek Ramsay (ALL OF YOU). The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

ANG LARAWAN with 5 awards – Best Actress (Joanna Ampil), Best Picture, Special Jury Prize to Nick Joaquin for Portrait of a Filipino, Gatpuno Villegas Cultural Award, Best Production Design (Gino Gonzales)

ALL OF YOU with 4 awards – Best Actor (Derek Ramsay), 3rd Best Picture, Best Screenplay (Dan Villegas, Paul Sta. Ana, Carl Chavez and Melissa Mae Chua), Best Looking Couple of the Night (Derek Ramsay)

standing from left: Win Gonzales (Short Film People’s Choice – NOEL), SIARGAO Team: Screenwriter Anjeli Pessumal, Supervising Prod RC Delos Reyes, Suzette Ranillo, Paul Soriano (Best Director), Jasmine Curtis Smith (Best Supporting Actress), Derek Ramsay (Best Actor- ALL OF YOU), LARAWAN Team: Dulce, Menchu Lauchengco Yulo, Joanna Ampil (Best Actress), Rachel Alejandro, Celeste Legaspi, MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim, ?, LARAWAN Exec Prod. Girlie Rodis and Producer Alemberg Ang. Bottom Row from left: SIARGAO’s Patti Lapus, ALL OF YOU Screenwriter Carl Chavez (Best Screenplay), Dan Vilegas (3rd Best Film) and Edgar Allan Cruz (Best Supporting Actor- DEADMA WALKING). The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

ANG PANDAY with 4 awards – Children’s Choice, Best Visual Effects (John David Hukom, Blackburst Team), Special Jury Award- Rodel Nacianceno a.k.a Coco Martin and Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award

DEADMA WALKING with 2 awards – Best Supporting Actor (Edgar Allan Guzman) and Best Float.

Gaga for LARAWAN from left: Aicelle Santos (Violet), Bernardo Bernardo (Don Alvaro), Publicist Toots Tolentino and Cris Villonco (Susan). The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

This year there was a very clear delineation between more popular commercial films and more creative material. This is a marked improvement unlike previous years when even the box office top grossers were the ones given the awards with their earnings as basis. So there didn’t seem to be space for themes and movies that enlighten and educate the movie going public’s palate.

Organizers MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim, MMDA GM & MMFF Exec Committee Chairman Tim Orbos made the right decision by putting National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera as head of the screening committee for the MMFF entries. Lumbera is very well respected in the realm of Filipino film criticism as one of the founding members of the Manunuri Ng Pelikulang Pilipino.

from right: National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim and MMDA GM & MMFF Exec Committee Chairman Tim Orbos The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Lumbera was given an award of recognition in the middle of the ceremonies. And in his speech he essentially admonished the movie going public to patronize the award winning films and not just the more popular commercial comedies, action flicks that Filipinos flock to.

LARAWAN Cast Paulo Avelino (Tony Javier) and Rachel Alejandro (Paula). The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

The irony is that a film like LARAWAN is actually incredibly entertaining; the award for Musical Direction – Ryan Cayabyab is testament to this. More popularly known as Ryan C, who is probably one of the most celebrated composers, musical directors of our time. In Japan where LARAWAN premiered in the Tokyo International Film Festival, they garnered the audience choice award.

LARAWAN Cast from left: Best Musical Director winner Ryan Cayabyab, Nanette Inventor (Doña Irene), Director Loy Arceñas and National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes. The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

IF only our kababayan would open their hearts and minds to the creative triumph that is LARAWAN, they will realize how rich our own Filipino culture and history while being moved and yes entertained. From the trailer Zsa Zsa Padilla, Nanette Inventor and Dulce are all in a hilarious mambo line, which should definitely be enough of a draw.

Jasmine Curtis Smith of SIARGAO earned Best Supporting Actress nod. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

SIARGAO on the other hand is a movie that highlights the scenic beauty of what is considered to be the surfing capital of the Philippines. There’s a chance at a new relationship for both Diego (Jericho Rosales) and Laura (Erich Gonzales) who meet on the plane. While an old flame in Abi (Jasmine Curtis Smith) still has feelings for Diego. We see a lot of the local culture, at the same time young characters who show a lot of their lives on line.

Nowhere is the gap between quality of films and quantity of audiences more apparent than in SIARGAO director Paul Soriano’s speech. He gave a glowing endorsement to their competitor, which is practically unheard of in the MMFF.

Nar Cabico sang ALL OF YOU theme with Raflesia Bravo, Phi Palmos and Joshua Cabilados. The talented performers can be seen in HIMALA THE MUSICAL this Feb 2018 with LARAWAN cast member Aicelle Santos as lead star for Sandbox Collective. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Soriano credited his cast and producer Mark Victor. But he made note of the underwater cinematography of Gaps Abuero and Max Abasolo as well as Odyssey Flores who employed drones to get picturesque aerial shots of Surigao Del Norte.

Paul Soriano of SIARGAO won Best Director; The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Paul Soriano in his speech continued, “Yesterday a film touched my heart. I know what they’re going through. You guys, I watched it yesterday in a full house in Rockwell. I know what it is you’re going through. I hope you get the opportunity to see such a beautiful film; Against the World. That’s kinda what we do. It just really hit me. To the team ANG LARAWAN I share this with you guys.”

Days before Soriano caused a stir on line when he lamented publicly when cinemas decided to pull out LARAWAN and other entries early in the MMFF run.

LARAWAN’s young ladies from left: Menchu Lauchengco Yulo (Pepang), Cris Villonco (Susan), Cara Manglapus (Patsy) and Aicelle Santos (Violet). The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

LARAWAN Producer Alemberg Ang, in an interview, clarified that there was coordination with cinema owners and management who requested to prioritize the more popular family oriented films in the opening MMFF weekend (December 23 to Christmas). This is to maximize the greater portion of the movie going public who went with kids and their families.

LARAWAN cast Best Actress Joanna Ampil (Candida) and Producer Alemberg Ang . The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

And immediately after that show titles like ANG LARAWAN, DEADMA WALKING, SIARGAO and ALL OF YOU, especially now after awards night. Alem has confirmed that LARAWAN and the others have now been released to even more theaters around the metro. Please check listings on newspapers and online to find out which cinemas are running the awardees.

Shang Cineplex is already running LARAWAN, SIARGAO and DEADMA WALKING.

Click on link for full schedule.

TANDUAY, one of the BEST and most awarded brands in the country, is also a long time supporter of the MMFF and Philippine cinema.

Of the glowing endorsement from Paul Soriano in his acceptance speech Alem added, “Paul already posted on facebook and tweeted tagging all of us in twitter and fb. I’ve worked with him on TRANSIT. He’s really such a gentleman. He’s such a sincere person, such a great guy. And I guess the concept of Contra Mundum of art versus commercialism (translates to Defy the World). Which is what (MMDA Chairman) General Danilo Lim mentioned in his speech. That really blew us away. It’s our battle cry and continually we’re living it. Even all my indie films its like that. So right now we have a very good product and we’re glad people are responding.”

LARAWAN Cast standing from left: Producer Alemberg Ang, Musical Dir. Ryan Cayabyab, Bernardo Bernardo (Don Alvaro), Director Loy Arceñas, Rayver Cruz (Charlie Dacanay), Mid row seated from left: Executive Producer Girlie Rodis, Celeste Legaspi (Doña Loleng), Nanette Inventor (Doña Irene), Dulce (Doña Upeng), Menchu Lauchengco Yulo (Pepang), Cara Manglapus (Patsy), Bottom row from left: Aicelle Santos (Violet), Rachel Alejandro (Paula), Paulo Avelino (Tony Javier) and Cris Villonco (Susan). The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Full MMFF 2017 Awards list

Best Actress

Joanna Ampil – ANG LARAWAN

Best Actress Joanna Ampil (Candida)- LARAWAN; The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Actor

Derek Ramsay – ALL OF YOU

Tanduay endorser Derek Ramsay (ALL OF YOU) won Best Actor. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Picture

ANG LARAWAN

LARAWAN sings acceptance speech from left: Producer Girlie Rodis, Joanna Ampil (Candida), Rachel Alejandro (Paula), Celeste Legaspi (Doña Loleng), Dulce (Doña Upeng) and Menchu Lauchengco Yulo (Pepang). The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

2nd Best Picture

SIARGAO

SIARGAO team from right: Jericho Rosales (Diego), Director / Producer Paul Soriano, Jasmine Curits Smith (Abi), Producer/ Editor Mark Victor, Supervising Producer RC Delos Reyes and Suzette Ranillo (Diego’s Mom), The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

3rd Best Picture

ALL OF YOU

ALL OF YOU team from right: Producer Atty Joji Alonzo, director Dan Villegas; The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

LARAWAN Cast from left: Bernardo Bernardo (Don Alvaro), Aicelle Santos (Violet), Paulo Avelino (Tony Javier) and Rachel Alejandro (Paula). The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Special Jury Prize (tie)

ANG LARAWAN posthumously to Nick Joaquin

ANG PANDAY – Rodel Nacianceno

PANDAY’s Jake Cuenca; The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

People’s Choice Award

GANDARRAPIDDO: THE REVENGER SQUAD

Best Supporting Actress

Jasmine Curtis Smith – SIARGAO

Jasmine Curtis Smith of SIARGAO earned Best Supporting Actress nod. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Supporting Actor

Edgar Allan Guzman – DEADMA WALKING

Edgar Allan Cruz is Best Supporting Actor-DEADMA WALKING. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

TANDUAY, one of the BEST and most awarded brands in the country, is also a long time supporter of the MMFF and Philippine cinema.

Gatpuno Villegas Cultural Award

ANG LARAWAN

LARAWAN Cast Rayver Cruz (Charlie Dacanay) and Cara Manglapus (Patsy). The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Director

Paul Soriano – SIARGAO

Paul Soriano of SIARGAO won Best Director; The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Child Performer

Baeby Baste

Baeby Baste (Sebastian Benedict Granfon Arumpac) won Best Child Performer (MEANT TO BEH). He also charmed audiences by giving his acceptance speech completely in Cebuano. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Children’s Choice

ANG PANDAY

Best Screenplay

Dan Villegas, Paul Sta. Ana, Carl Chavez and Melissa Mae Chua- ALL OF YOU

ALL OF YOU team from left: Director Dan Villegas, Atty Joji Alonzo and Screenwriter Carl Chavez show their 3rd Best Picture, Best Screenplay (Dan Villegas, Paul Sta. Ana, Carl Chavez and Melissa Mae Chua) awards. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Cinematography

Odyssey Flores, Gaps Abuero and Max Abasolo– SIARGAO

Best Sound

Jason Conanan, Mark Locsin, Mikko Quizon, Kathrine Ariane Salinas – SIARGAO

Best Editor

Mark Victor – SIARGAO

Producer / Editor Mark Victor picks up Best Editing award for SIARGAO. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Looking Couple of the Night

Erich Gonzales – SIARGAO

Derek Ramsay – ALL OF YOU

Best Looking Couple of the Night: Erich Gonzales (SIARGAO) and Derek Ramsay (ALL OF YOU). The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Production Design

Gino Gonzales – ANG LARAWAN

LARAWAN cast from left: Dulce (Doña Upeng), Menchu Lauchengco Yulo (Pepang), Celeste Legaspi (Doña Loleng), Exec. Producer Girlie Rodis, Joanna Ampil (Candida), Rachel Alejandro (Paula). The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Visual Effects

John David Hukom, Blackburst Team – ANG PANDAY

David Hukom and Blackburst Team took home Best Visual Effects award for PANDAY. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Original Theme Song

Alon by Hale – SIARGAO

Best Musical Score

Ryan Cayabyab – ANG LARAWAN

LARAWAN Cast from left: Celeste Legaspi (Doña Loleng), Director Loy Arceñas, Musical Director Ryan Cayabyab and Bernardo Bernardo (Don Alvaro). The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Short Film People’s Choice Award

NOEL

Short Film People’s Choice winner NOEL by Win Gonzales of Go motion productions. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Short Film Best Picture

ANONG NANGYARI KAY NICANOR DANTE?

Short Film Best Picture winner ANONG NANGYARI KAY NICANOR DANTE? by Brian Spencer Reyes of EMJEI Films and Photographs. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Float

DEADMA WALKING

DEADMA WALKING co stars from left: Edgar Allan Cruz and Joross Gamboa. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

TANDUAY, one of the BEST and most awarded brands in the country, is also a long time supporter of the MMFF and Philippine cinema.

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Baeby Baste (Sebastian Benedict Granfon Arumpac) won Best Child Performer (MEANT TO BEH). He also charmed audiences by giving his acceptance speech completely in Cebuano. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

LARAWAN cast from left: Best Actress Joanna Ampil (Candida), Celeste Legaspi (Doña Loleng) and Rachel Alejandro (Paula). The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Presenters Lance Raymudo and Regine Tolentino. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

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DEADMA WALKING co stars from left: Edgar Allan Cruz and Joross Gamboa. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Nar Cabico (center) sang ALL OF YOU theme with Raflesia Bravo, Phi Palmos and Joshua Cabilados. The talented performers can be seen in HIMALA THE MUSICAL this Feb 2018 with LARAWAN cast member Aicelle Santos as lead star for Sandbox Collective. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

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TANDUAY, one of the BEST and most awarded brands in the country, is also a long time supporter of the MMFF and Philippine cinema.

LARAWAN cast from left: Celeste Legaspi (Doña Loleng), Rachel Alejandro (Paula), Joanna Ampil (Candida), Menchu Lauchengco Yulo (Pepang) and Producer Alemberg Ang. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

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standing from left: Jasmine Curtis Smith (Best Supporting Actress-SIARGAO), Derek Ramsay (Best Actor- ALL OF YOU), LARAWAN Team: Dulce, Menchu Lauchengco Yulo, Joanna Ampil (Best Actress), Rachel Alejandro, Celeste Legaspi, MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim, Bottom Row from left: ALL OF YOU Screenwriter Carl Chavez (Best Screenplay), Dan Vilegas (3rd Best Film) and Edgar Allan Cruz (Best Supporting Actor-DEADMA WALKING). The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

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