Everything About Her (Videos) 3/3

Basic Information – Direction: Joyce Bernal; Cast: Angel Locsin, Xian Lim, Vilma Santos, Michael De Mesa, Noni Buencamino, Khalil Ramos, Alexa Ilacad, Robert Villar, Nor Domingo, Vangie Labalan, Niña Dolino, Devon Seron, Bart Guingona; Executive Producers: Malou N. Santos, Charo Santos-Concio; Production Company: Star Cinema; Language: Tagalog, English; Release Date: 27 January 2016; Country: Philippines; Also Known As: All of My Life

Plot Description – Powerful but ill-stricken business woman, Vivian Rabaya (Vilma Santos) navigates her complicated relationship with her caregiver, Jaica Domingo (Angel Locsin) and her estranged son, Albert Mitra (Xian Lim) in this story about acceptance, love and forgiveness. – IMDB (READ MORE)

#EverythingAboutHer, #AngelLocsin, #JoyceBernal, #VilmaSantos, #XiamLim

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Everything About Her (Videos) 2/3

Basic Information – Direction: Joyce Bernal; Cast: Angel Locsin, Xian Lim, Vilma Santos, Michael De Mesa, Noni Buencamino, Khalil Ramos, Alexa Ilacad, Robert Villar, Nor Domingo, Vangie Labalan, Niña Dolino, Devon Seron, Bart Guingona; Executive Producers: Malou N. Santos, Charo Santos-Concio; Production Company: Star Cinema; Language: Tagalog, English; Release Date: 27 January 2016; Country: Philippines; Also Known As: All of My Life

Plot Description – Powerful but ill-stricken business woman, Vivian Rabaya (Vilma Santos) navigates her complicated relationship with her caregiver, Jaica Domingo (Angel Locsin) and her estranged son, Albert Mitra (Xian Lim) in this story about acceptance, love and forgiveness. – IMDB (READ MORE)

#EverythingAboutHer, #AngelLocsin, #JoyceBernal, #VilmaSantos, #XiamLim

Everything About Her (2016)

Pag nagkakamali ba ang nanay, di mo na siya nanay? Pag binigo ka niya, nababawasan ba ang pagkananay niya? Nanay pa rin kami. Nanay niya pa rin ako.” – Vivian Rabaya

Di mo naman sinabing impakta ang potah!” – Jaica Domingo

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Basic Information – Direction: Joyce Bernal; Screenplay: Irene Villamor; Story: Mia Concio; Cast: Vilma Santos, Angel Locsin, Xian Lim, Michael De Mesa, Nonie Buencamino, Khalil Ramos, Devon Seron, Alexa Ilacad, Jana Agoncillo, Vangie Labalan, Buboy Villar, Niña Dolino, Dante Ponce, Bart Guingona, Sharmaine Buencamino; Executive Producers: Malou N. Santos, Charo Santos-Concio; Production Company: Star Cinema; Official music video of the movie ‘Everything About Her’ titled ‘Something I Need,’ performed by Piolo Pascual and Morissette, Arranged by Paulo Zarate, Mixed and Mastered by Dante Tañedo; Original Song from band, One Republic; Music Production by Jonathan Manalo; Language: Tagalog, English; Release Date: 27 January 2016; Country: Philippines; Also Known As: All of My Life

Plot Description – Powerful but ill-stricken business woman, Vivian Rabaya (Vilma Santos) navigates her complicated relationship with her caregiver, Jaica Domingo (Angel Locsin) and her estranged son, Albert Mitra (Xian Lim) in this story about acceptance, love and forgiveness. – IMDB (READ MORE)

Film Achievement – The film earned ₱15 million on its first day of release; As of February 5, 2016 the film has earned ₱100 million; The film is graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB) and is rated PG (Parental Guidance) by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (Wikipedia); All-Time U.S. and Canada Box Office – Weekend of Feb. 12, 2016 -Feb. 14, 2016 Weekend Gross #32 $245,000; Cumulative Gross for two weeks: $1,248,700 (59,474,956.65 Philippine Peso); # of Theaters: 50 (NY Times); Star Cinema’s most heartwarming movie of the season, “Everything About Her,” has already earned P208M worldwide since it opened in cinemas. Star Cinema Ad Prom director Roxy Liquigan posted the good news via his Twitter account last February 16. (Star Cinema ABS-CBN)

Film Reviews – “…Please note that there may be other services under each category that you may be aware of. We recommend that this list be a starting off point to a more comprehensive search for services. The Housing Help Resource Tool Kit’s Housing Stability section has been updated to include these news resources as well. The story is simply told thus giving it a natural flow. The direction makes the film appealing for both millennials and non-millennials alike. You are almost tempted to wish and hope the film would end ala-Ishmael Bernal or ala-Lino Brocka. But Direk Bernal is into her own generation and knows her present audiences at the palm of her hand. Some dramatic scenes actually ended up funny but the actors were so versatile you end up laughing and in tears at the same time. Indeed, the performances of both lead actors and supporting cast were so compelling you felt almost everyone in the cast deserved an acting award. The surprise actor in the cast was Xian Lim who delivered not just a focused performance but a highly stirring one. His hospital scene with Vilma Santos was a stand-out one could hear people quietly sobbing behind me. Angel Locsin has no match as a supporting actress, the part of Nonie Buencamino (as the padre de familia) has all the hallmark of a good actor and the part of Shamaine Centenera Buencamino and Vangie Labalan (no matter how brief) registered with layers of pathos. Most of all, this could be Vilma Santos’ best performance todate. The transition of her character from corporate mogul to repentant mother revealed the true artist in her. The musical scoring blended with the story but my favorite part is the household scenes with the character of Vilma Santos noting the significance of the chandelier in the living room with a movement from Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in the background. The grandness of the music matched the leading character’s grand ambition. It is also gratifying to find classical music find its way in a family drama…” – Pablo A. Tariman, Arts News Service, 6 February 2016 (READ MORE)

“…Given that she plays a character that teeters towards caricature, Santos is tasked to humanize Vivian, which she does with astounding ease. She manifests a quiet understanding of the character, depicting the role of an uncomplicated woman without the histrionics that one often sees from comediennes who are required to portray dramatic roles and the discomfort that one often observes from serious thespians who are forced to be uncharacteristically comical. Locsin provides Santos more than ample support. She is charismatic and amiable but not to the point of patronizing a character that is written to champion the diligence of the working class, or in this film’s case, the members of the nursing profession. Their scenes together are mostly golden, with the two actresses effortlessly earning chuckles or tears from their innate understanding of their characters ludicrous situations. Lim plays the angst-ridden man-child well enough. The role only requires him to brood and be emotionally impenetrable. Unfortunately, when the story requires him to be softer, he persists to play the stoic son, squandering the opportunity to maximize a role that explores various spectrums of an adult who is still haunted by his childhood. Lim is simply unable to grant his character depth beyond calculated gestures, welling eyes and fumbled lines…It is a film that does not necessarily earn its fairy tale conclusion, but its efforts in allowing its audience to bask in feel-good escapism is not completely wrong. In the end, it deserves its rainbow, even though the rains that precede it is blanketed in all the conveniences formula affords. Bernal has the sense to treat all the tropes with levity, inflicting comedy when necessary, and then toning everything down when the story steers towards seriousness. This balancing act is commendable, as it results in a film that is initially silly and whimsical, but essentially heartfelt where it counts…” – Oggs Cruz, Rappler, 29 January 2016 (READ MORE)

Larger-Than-Life Portrayals – “…Vilma Santos’ latest starrer, “Everything About Her,” is a worthy addition to her pantheon of exceptional screen portrayals. Right from the get-go, she affirms her versatility by playing a “new” character for her, a powerful and abrasive property magnate who reduces her victims to quivering masses of protoplasm….the production’s thespic crown firmly rests on Vilma’s head, due to her daringly strong character choice and ability to come up with a suitable larger-than-life portrayal, despite her slight and light physical frame. Even more compellingly, Vilma is able to dig really deep and summon up the especially strong emotions needed to make her inordinately powerful character believable—while still being able to shift naturally and depict her at her most vulnerable. Finally, “Everything About Her” is a revelatory change of pace and tone for its director, Joyce Bernal, who’s usually identified with more light-hearted and “cheeky” film fare. Her adeptness at humor leavens this film’s tragic scenes, while not diluting them—a tough directorial feat to pull off! It’s a testament to Bernal’s maturing skills that she’s able to do it—and, in the process, show us a bracingly new facet and prism to her directorial scope and oeuvre…” – Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 13 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Generous to Co-stars – “…Vilma Santos diehards will not be disappointed as Ate Vi handles her role with much understanding. At first, the character is almost caricaturish, with people she interviews shown breaking down or throwing up after talking to her. But Ate Vi knows how to humanize her Vivian with little knowing nuances here and there. Even in her heaviest dramatic scenes, she shows an intrinsic understanding of Vivian by not resorting to histrionics. Hindi na niya dinadrama pa ang mga dramang eksena, even in that scene where Angel is expecting to be fired and she just says quietly: ‘Kunin mo ang putanginang gamot ko.’ And she is so generous to her co-stars in their scenes together, allowing them to shine on their own, especially to Xian Lim in that hospital scene where he delivers a long aria of how much he hates his mother. Honestly, we were feeling uncomfortable for Xian on how he’d handle that scene of a son haunted by an unhappy childhood, but in all fairness to him, he manages to acquit himself quite well. Since this is a production of Star Cinema, you can expect a feel good happy ending. There is the obligatory fairy tale romance between the caregiver and her boss’ son. In photos, they’re even shown being wed and having a baby. Needless, as far as we’re concerned but, hey, the movie has to be very family friendly. So give escapism a chance. We’re sure Director Joyce Bernal was told to treat it all with levity. And that’s exactly what she did. If you want a more serious film about a dying woman, watch Ate Vi’s similarly themed classic film directed by the other Bernal…” – Mario Escobar Bautista, Journal, 12 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Credit to Make-up Artists – “…That is where I found out from E.R. Tagle that the movie “Everything About Her” was showing at a nearby cinema house. He was all praises for it, so I told him that any movie starring Ms Vilma Santos was worth watching. I am happy to catch a few on TV. The following day, I had to drag myself out of bed, fearlessly cross our busy street, risking life and limb to see the movie. It wasn’t the last full show; it was only 12:15 noontime, and the movie was just starting. But already we had to rise for the Philippine National Anthem. I told our “street facilitators” from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (“The joy of being useful,” Opinion, 1/29/16) that anyone who can sing our national anthem and not choke up with emotions rising from their breasts and leaving a lump in their throats do not love their country enough. They agreed with me, but I have my doubts about the last sentence—about dying for my country. Well, if push comes to shove, maybe. As expected, the movie was excellent despite a few things, but the main thing was I enjoyed the movie, was fully entertained even if more than half of it had tears rolling down my cheeks and, to top it all, I didn’t have any tissues with me. I must say, the cinematography was something to rave about; the acting was superb, the leading man was handsome as he should be, and the two leading ladies’ acting skills were flawless. Some credit must go to the makeup artist whose skilled hands transformed Ms Vilma’s character into a tough and uncompromising business person. I regretted it had to end, and I stayed for the credits to find out who performed the theme song and to give a chance for the crowd in the ladies’ room to clear…” – Shirley Wilson de las Alas, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 16 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Pinakamahusay na aktres ng bansa sa kasalukuyang panahon – “…Mahusay si Vilma Santos sa kanyang papel bilang pangunahing tauhan ng pelikula. Sino pa bang kukuwestiyon sa kanyang husay bilang aktres? Wala na. Maituturing mo siya talagang pinakamahusay na aktres ng bansa lalo na sa kasalukuyang panahon. Every inch, every scene napakahusay. Dahil sa husay ng kanyang performance, mahirap malimutan ang pelikula at maaaring siya na uli ang best actress ng 2016. Makatuturan ang pagbabalik ni Vilma sa napakatalino niyang desisyong piling-pili ang uri ng ginagawa niyang pelikula. Mas effective sa akin si Xian Lim. Mahusay! Nauunawaan niya ang role niya. Sumabay talaga siya kay Vilma Santos na generously ay sinuportahan siya. Sa lahat ng eksena nila, nilalamon ni xian si Angel ng buung-buo. Napakasinsero umarte dito ni Xian na kita mong bawat bitiw niya ng emosyon ay galing sa puso…Sa kabuuan, typical Star Cinema pa rin ang pelikula. Maganda na sana pero dahil kailangang bigyan ng resolusyon lahat sa ending, pilit na pilit; very unrealistic; pumangit lang tuloy ang dulo. Ganda na sanang sa party na nag-end ang movie habang nagsasalita si Vivian (Vilma) at may hope na tatagal pa ang buhay niya. Bakit kailangan pang ipakita thru collage photos na kinasal at naging mag-asawa sina angel at xian?! Yuck! Ok na sana kahit wala silang romantic angle tatayo ang pelikula. To beginwith, mukhang tiyahing tibo ni Xian si Angel. Pero dahil Star Cinema nga ito, kailangang babuyin ng ganun ang ending ng pelikula na sinasabi nilang pang masa, na sa tutuo lang, iniinsulto nila di lang ang masa kundi ang mga manonood na nasa matinong pag-iisip…” – Ronaldo C. Carballo, Facebook, 08 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Symbolism of the Chandelier – “…The cinematic devices and motifs the film employs to drive its narrative have given it much advantage. Particularly noteworthy is the symbolism of the chandelier that Vilma is shown to gaze at in one of the many heartfelt moments of quiet drama the film boasts of. The convulsion scene is carried out in a single take that only an actress of Vilma’s caliber could ever pull off with much aplomb. Vilma proves her comic mettle and efficacy in at least two scenes. One is the long shot of an open field with her voice heard clarifying with her staff the exact number of executive people she is about to have an exclusive meeting with. Another is the one upstairs at her residence as she confronts Angel’s character with the latter’s wrongly sent phone text referring to Vilma’s character as a creature from hell and a whore…” – Nonoy L. Lauzon, Young Critics Circle Film Desk, 08 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 – “…Indeed, the performances of both lead actors and supporting cast were so compelling you felt almost everyone in the cast deserved an acting award. The surprise actor in the cast was Xian Lim who delivered not just a focused performance but a highly stirring one. His hospital scene with Vilma Santos was a stand-out one could hear people quietly sobbing behind me. Angel Locsin has no match as a supporting actress, the part of Nonie Buencamino (as the padre de familia) has all the hallmark of a good actor and the part of Shamaine Centenera Buencamino and Vangie Labalan (no matter how brief) registered with layers of pathos. Most of all, this could be Vilma Santos’ best performance todate. The transition of her character from corporate mogul to repentant mother revealed the true artist in her. The musical scoring blended with the story but my favorite part is the household scenes with the character of Vilma Santos noting the significance of the chandelier in the living room with a movement from Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in the background. The grandness of the music matched the leading character’s grand ambition. It is also gratifying to find classical music find its way in a family drama…” – Pablo A. Tariman, Arts News Service, 06 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Iconic Maternal Roles – “…Everything About Her has good and bad parts. This can probably be said about most Star Cinema movies — as the fulfillment of formula has made these qualities distinguishable, knowing where it goes well and where it nose-dives — but with Vilma Santos and Joyce Bernal, the desire to endorse it, and make a good case for it despite its inevitable shortcomings, is strong. It is convincing at first, from the start when the characters and conflicts are established and all the way through the piling up of challenges for both female characters. But in an effort to close it with something remarkable and leave the audience with warmth, it decides to be generic and resort to platitudes that dilute the inspired moments, in turn weakening what could have been a moving depiction of female (and maternal) strength. Ate Vi gets away with the many times she repeats herself (her approach and sentiment) from her previous movies, and this showcase of recognizable maternal roles makes her iconic in this regard. But Everything About Her does not find its soul in her but in Angel Locsin, delivering what could be one of the best Star Cinema characters in years…” – Richard Bolisay, Lilok Pelikula, 08 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Uber-Bitch – “…Vilma Santos has fun with her role, and she looks terrific. We do take issue with the scenes in which her character telegraphs to the audience that she’s not as bitchy as they think she is. As one who is extremely familiar with the species, a bitch does not care whether you like her or not. In fact an uber-bitch would prefer to be loathed so that she doesn’t waste time pandering to the tender feelings of people she doesn’t give a shit about. You know what words a bitch finds irritating? “You’re nice naman pala.” “Hugot” lines do nothing for us, but there is one line in the movie we especially like. In one scene, Vivian gets nauseous and starts to throw up on her bed. Jaica grabs Vivian’s designer bag and dives across the bed to catch it. “Kunin mo na rin yung Balenciaga bag ko,” Vivian says, deadpan, “Doon ko gustong sumuka uli.” Bitch, that’s a bitch…” – Jessica Zafra, Interaksyon, 05 February 2016 (READ MORE)

The Heart of the Story – “… Speaking of Albert, Xian Lim’s character was the central source of drama in the movie. The scenes of Vivian and Jaica were mostly comedic and amusing, but it was the introduction of Albert that brought more heart to the plot. Albert’s character is what drives the conflict – with Vivian struggling to re-establish ties with her son, and how Jaica’s job seemed to get more complicated with her feelings for Albert. Xian was definitely revelatory in this film, and my initial doubts of having him as the leading man faded with my impression that he’s only good for rom-coms. Surprisingly, he had great chemistry with Vilma Santos an Angel Locsin, and he was able to add more dimension to his otherwise uptight character by being emotional when needed. This and the fact that he had similarities with the features of Vilma Santos made it hard for me to think of anybody else more perfect for the role…Vilma Santos still has her charm and her performance was nothing short of remarkable. She was able to fuse the two sides of Vivian seamlessly together – one was this terror business magnate who’d go out of her way and ride a chopper to Tagaytay just so she could fire someone personally, and the other was this loving mother who longs for the forgiveness and embrace of her son. The role allowed her to once again showcase her versatility as an actress, and the heart and dedication that she gives out to every scene transcends effortlessly to the audience…Angel’s role was what brought comic relief and lightness to the story. She no doubt demonstrated her flexibility as an actress in the film however, there were several unnecessary comical moments from her character…” – Geoffrey Ledesma, GeoffReview, 03 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Biggest revelation – “…The iconic actress (Vilma Santos) embraces her character’s flaws and fortitude with affecting clarity in a superlative portrayal that is passionate but never coercive. Her meticulous insistence on honesty guarantees that no tear is unearned—and no emotion manipulated…Angel also comes up with a focused performance that, for the most part, benefits from the film’s propulsive dramatic proceedings…Xian may not have Angel’s earnestness or Vilma’s finely calibrated bravado, but he is the movie’s biggest revelation. He figures in some of the film’s most gripping dramatic sequences—and delivers his moving moments with aplomb. It doesn’t hurt that Xian is cast in a role that fits him to a T: Albert is distant, guarded and spiteful, and is armed with an emotional axe to grind! Bernal makes clever use of those elements to thrust the heretofore phlegmatic performer outside his self-limiting comfort zone. Result: Xian’s finest portrayal to date!…” – Rito P. Asilo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 30 January 2016 (READ MORE)

Affectionate Charm – “…Whereas the film’s proceedings come across as yet another orchestration of a familiar film cliché, it strikes a chord by remaining adherent to a formula, that maybe too predictable at times, but nonetheless works because of its relatability. There is an affectionate charm in its humor and subtle comic attempts, and it massively works when injected on the film’s emotional moments. It is barely a surprise how Santos pulled off Vivian with undeniable credibility here. She delivers her character and its layers with profound depth, believability, and artistry that probaly only someone with her caliber, could do. On her character’s most heartbreaking moments, Santos delivers exactly what a woman faced with the wrath of death, while also struggling to reach out for a son she might probably don’t have enough time to spend together with, would feel and look like, an act she easily carried out with searing capacity. Locsin, on the other hand, has an equally impressive maneuver of Jaica, who on most occasions, is presented as the film’s comic effort, acting as one of the narrative’s heart and its very symbol of hope. The character is commendably pulled by Locsin with irresistible charm and affection, a capacity she maintains even on the character’s very own moments of breakdown. But the biggest commendation, perhaps, should go for Lim, who emerges here, with an unfamiliar but convincing versatility. This is probably the actor’s strongest performance yet, having gotten across with the necessary power required by his character, whose wounds and struggles are equally as deep and excruciating as his mother’s…Rating: 3.5 out of 4…” – LionhearTV, 27 January 2016 (READ MORE)

Most Effective Actress – “…The film highlights the importance of family during hard times and how these obstacles bring forth understanding and forgiveness. I find myself crying at times and relate to scenarios that, we somehow deny or refuse to accept…Vilma Santos kept her promise and profile. She remains one of the most effective actress for all season. Her execution brought tears to every single scene. Bernal successfully defined her character at the beginning of the movie. They approach Vivian as a figure in a time-honored character template in which a convenient plot mechanism allows the bitch to revisit sad chapters in her life so that we can understand that it was quite a life, indeed. But she failed to understand motherhood that her son suffered from missed opportunities being with her because of her profession. It is a fundamental truth that the responsibilities of motherhood cannot be successfully delegated. No, not to day-care centers, not to schools, not to nurseries, not to babysitters…9/10…” – Rod Magaru, Rod Magaru Show, 28 January 2016 (READ MORE)

Familial Attachment – “…Innate to Bernal as a filmmaker is her unmistakable grasp in comedy. On crucial points where comic relief might not be necessary, her cast carries out effectively—not just to call for laughter but to keep the audience drawn to these characters, their motivations as well as their individual dilemmas. It is just nice to laugh it all off and see how these characters react and clash with one another. Aside from the kinky Balenciaga scene (“Kunin mo na rin ang Balenciaga bag ko. Do’n ko gustong sumuka ulit”), notable is that one where Jaica, after getting confused with the text message from the hospital head doctor, mistakenly sends a hate text message to Vivian. “Di mo naman sinabing impakta ang potah!” is such a winning line (or at least a memorable one at that)…In spite of the predictability of the story right from the very beginning, the entire ride is memorable, granted how the story is weaved without compromise—without fear that the audience would not stay put. As it wants to stir up sadness towards its ends, it controls itself by giving into the tested formula of the outlet. True enough, it works fine on that note. There is a stinging sensation at the end of the line but happy thoughts prevail and make use of its impact. Before the last frame, Vivian cries, “But in the end, even if we die alone, we need other people.” As we hold onto her last words, there is really much to relate to in her story as there is much to believe in ourselves. Familial attachment is everything about her. And we are more than familiar with that…” – J Bestillore, Cinemabravo, 27 January 2016 (READ MORE)

Final Title – “…Everything About Her ang final title ng pelikula nina Batangas Governor Vilma Santos at Angel Locsin. Hindi natuloy ang balak ng Star Cinema na lagyan ng salitang “life” ang pamagat ng pelikula dahil sa paniniwala na masuwerte kay Vilma ang mga project na may title na “life…” – Nitz Miralles, Pilipino Star Ngayon, 07 January 2016 (READ MORE)

Theme Song – “…Ayan, may playdate na ang All of My Life movie ni Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos sa Star Cinema at kung hindi magbabago, pang-opening salvo raw ng Star Cinema ang nasabing pelikula for 2016. Mula sa hit song ni Diana Ross ang All of My Life na ang theme song ay kakantahin ni Kyla. Teka, parang si Kyla na ang favorite ng Star Cinema at ABS-CBN na kumanta ng theme songs ng kanilang movies at teleserye. Anyway, marami na ang excited sa All of My Life dahil for the first time ay magkasama ang future magbiyenan na sina Gov. Vi at Angel Locsin. Wise decision ang pagba-backout ni Luis Manzano sa movie, iwas kontrobersya dahil tiyak na uusisain sila ni Angel sa kanilang relasyon…” – Nitz Miralles, Pilipino Star Ngayon, 21 October 2015 (READ MORE)

#EverythingAboutHer, #VilmaSantos, #XiamLim, #AngelLocsin, #JoyceBernal, #SomethingINeed, #EAH, #RonaldoCCarballo

Everything About Her (Videos) 1/3

Basic Information – Direction: Joyce Bernal; Cast: Angel Locsin, Xian Lim, Vilma Santos, Michael De Mesa, Noni Buencamino, Khalil Ramos, Alexa Ilacad, Robert Villar, Nor Domingo, Vangie Labalan, Niña Dolino, Devon Seron, Bart Guingona; Executive Producers: Malou N. Santos, Charo Santos-Concio; Production Company: Star Cinema; Language: Tagalog, English; Release Date: 27 January 2016; Country: Philippines; Also Known As: All of My Life

Plot Description – Powerful but ill-stricken business woman, Vivian Rabaya (Vilma Santos) navigates her complicated relationship with her caregiver, Jaica Domingo (Angel Locsin) and her estranged son, Albert Mitra (Xian Lim) in this story about acceptance, love and forgiveness. – IMDB (READ MORE)

#EverythingAboutHer, #AngelLocsin, #JoyceBernal, #VilmaSantos, #XiamLim

Follow in her footsteps

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Although she’s still very much in demand and still on top, Vilma Santos’ supposed to be “heir to the throne” is still nowhere in sight.  Some says her throne  has been filled several times, but whoever came, faded – fast and furious. They had a taste of fame but like a flashing meteor, they fade. Some remain active but still pale in comparison to the longevity and popularity of the Star for All Seasons. They follow her footsteps, patterned their career decisions to hers.  They become popular but some gradually retired.  Those remained are the lucky ones…who learned from her experiences and  followed her footsteps…

Victoria Lorna Aluquin, better known as Lorna Tolentino, sometimes known as L.T., an abbreviation of her screen name (born December 23, 1961), is a Filipina actress, host, executive producer and widow of actor Rudy Fernandez. Together, they bore two sons named Ralph and Renz. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Like Vilma Santos, Lorna started her stellar career as child star. She gradually transformed her image from sweet innocent teens into a mature versatile actress. Like Rio Locsin and Alma Moreno, Lorna started doing minor roles in earlier Vilma Santos films. Most notably, “Batya’t palu-palo” together with another up and coming actor, the young Philip Salvador. She eventually became as famous as Vilma with hit films like “Dulce Amor,” “Moral,” “Luksong Tinik,” “Abakada Ina” and her most controversial off-beat role, Brocka’s “Maging Aking Ka Lamang.” She even wore the “Darna” customes on small screen. With a series of dramatic roles, she always end up empty handed with award nighs as both Vilma and Nora were playing tug-of-war, during their hey days. When the Vi and Guy rivalry slow-down, she was able to succeed, receiving several trophies and even recorded a grand slam best actress win like Vilma. Lorna and Vilma finally did a movie where both played lead roles, in Eddie Garcia’s record breaking, “Sinasamba Kita.” The two remained friends through the years. Lorna even guested several times on Vi’s television show in the ’90s.

Alma “Ness” Moreno (born Vanessa Moreno Lacsamana born on May 25, 1959) is a Filipina actress politician who has made her mark both as a popular movie and television personality. She was born in Cervantes, Ilocos Sur to Frank Lacsamana, from Pampanga, and Jean Moreno. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Like Lorna, Alma played bit roles in a Vilma Santos starrer, Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw. Unlike Lorna whose acting talent was evident early on even as a child star, Alma lacks the intensity. She eventually realized she needed to accept more daring roles to survive in this business, accepting roles that required her to disrobe She almost surpassed the commercial success of Vilma with starring roles in smash hits like “Mrs Eva Fonda 16,” “Bomga Star,” “Bitayin si Baby Ama,” “Nympha,” and “City After Dark.” Alma’s stiff competition during the height of her career was Lorna Tolentino and later on, a more daring star, Rio Locsin. Rio and Lorna also had a competition goin’ on when they did a much publicized film, “Step-sisters.” Meanwhile, Alma and Lorna’s competition reached its pinacle when they did Bernal’s ‘City After Dark.” Their subdued comfrontation scene in a narrow street while rain was pourin heavily was one of the most memorable scene in the film. Alma held herself, acting wise. This is not the only time that the two were connected, in real life, they share the love of one man, the late Rudy Fernandez. Alma was Rudy’s live in partner in the 70s to the half of 80s while Lorna became Rudy’s wife in the later part of 80s until his untimely death. Both actresses have children with the late action star. If Lorna portrayed Darna like Vilma while Alma portrayed Dyesebel like Vilma. Alma and Vilma did one film during the height of Alma’s career, Elwood Perez’s hit film, “Magkaribal.” Like Lorna, she also guested a few times in Vi’s television show despite the fact she also compete with Vi with her own musical variety show, Lovely Ness. It was reported in tabloid during Dolphy’s funeral, that the two tried to avoid each other (by the way, Dolphy was Alma’s ex) for some unclear reasons, some think it was politically motivated as both are now politicians.

Sharon Cuneta-Pangilinan, better known as Sharon Cuneta, is a multi-awarded Filipino singer, actress and TV host dubbed the Megastar of Philippine Entertainment, and fondly called “Mega” by fans and people from the entertainment industry. Her success in the movies (53 starring roles), television (10 shows) and recording (40 albums) make her possibly the greatest Filipino entertainer of all time. Her popularity has translated well into the field of advertising, where she is the highest paid and most effective Filipino celebrity endorser. Cuneta’s long list of endoresements run the gamut from fastfood chain to bank, from make-up line to electronics, from ice cream to tele-communication company. On November 22, 2011, following months of speculations, Sharon’s big move to TV5 was made official by signing a staggering 1 Billion contract with the Kapatid Network – the highest ever paid to a Filipino artist. She parted ways with ABS-CBN, her home network of 24 years, on a cordial note. Her daily afternoon talk show Sharon: Kasama Mo, Kapatid premiered on May 14, 2012 and has been hailed as an engaging program that aims to entertain and to inspire. The show provides the perfect platform for Sharon to be in touch with her audience, reaffirming her stature as a well-loved icon who is now more accessible to fans and viewers alike…” – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Like Alma and Lorna, Sharon Cuneta became part of Vilma Santos movie in their earlier showbiz career. This time, Sharon sings the theme song of a Vilma Santos starrer, “Langis at Tubig.” Self-confessed Vilmanian, she mentioned that she used to gawked at her idol whenever given a chance since they used to both live in a same closely gated subpision. As Sharon established herself as a huge star herself, the similarities in their career path were quite significant. Both became a singer, although Vi adminitedlly said singing wasn’t her forte, Vi recorded a string of hit albums. Both Vi and Sharon recorded their earlier albums titled “Sixteen.” Both became a bankable contract stars of Viva Films producing such record breaking films like “Bukas Luluhud Ang Mga Tala,” “Sa Hirap at Ginhawa,” and “Sana’y Wala Ng Wakas” for Sharon and “Sinasamba Kita,” “Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan” and “Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig” for Vilma to name a few. During the 1990s, both became successful star on the small screen, Vi with her award winning show, “Vilma!” for GMA 7 and Sharon’s equally hit show, “TSCS” (The Sharon Cuneta Show) for ABS CBN Channel 2. In their long filmography, both became Darna, the Filipino flying-comic supershero and also did hit films with the late, Fernando Poe Jr. Sharon was quoted on several articles that she dreaming of one day doing a film with her idol, in an article written by Rose Garcia for PEP on May 14th 2009 she said: “…Bago pa man ang Sharon-Ai-Ai movie, matagal nang pinaplano ang pelikulang pagsasamahan sana ng Megastar at ng Star For All Seasons na si Gov. Vilma Santos. But how does she feel na mas nauna pa ang movie nila ni Ai-Ai sa movie nila ni Ate Vi? “Ay, naku, ‘yan naman talaga ang dream ko!” sambit ni Sharon. “I think, all actors, all actresses, we all have dreams, e, as to who we wanna work with. And I think, it’s a common knowledge na Vilmanian ako and I was never treated in a bad way palagi. And I think, I learn a lot from her on how to be a good idol at yung pakikisama sa tao at pag-appreciate. “I think, one of my ultimate dreams is to always work with Tito Dolphy. Isa sa dream ko, natupad na. Nakasama ko na si Ai and I always told her, before pa. Yung sa amin ni Ate Vi, probably will be a drama and by next year,” balita ni Sharon…”

Maricel Soriano (born Maria Cecilia Dador Soriano on February 25, 1965), known as the Diamond Star is a critically acclaimed Filipina film and television actress. She has starred in many films covering different genres including comedy, fantasy (Inday series), horror, suspense, action, romance and drama. She has appeared in hundreds of films and has scored a number of blockbuster hits. As well as acting, Soriano is also a singer and has recorded several songs including the theme song of her movie Oh My Mama in 1981. In 1987, she performed a sold out concert at the Araneta Coliseum titled “Hello, Hello Maricel.” – Wikipedia, 23 Jul 2009 (READ MORE)

When Sharon entered the scene, she find a stiff competition from the rival of her film studio Viva, Regal’s contract star, Maricel Soriano. Soriano like Vilma started as a child star and became a confident actress, tackling mature roles that her contemporary including Sharon didn’t dare to tackle. Like, Vi, she dared the public to accept her in such memorable films like “Hinugot sa Langit” and “Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa” where she played an abortionist and “bida-contrabida” sociallite. A similar career milestone movies patterned with Vi’s “Burlesk Queen” and “Sinasamba Kita.” The two finally did a film in the mid 1980’s in Regal’s commercial film, “Yesterday, Today and Tommorow.” Unlike Sharon who became known first as a singer, Maricel, like Vi were known for her dancing abilities. She did this in her own musical variety show, titled “Maricel Live!” and later in “Maria! Maria!” where she competed for TV ratings with Vi (and Sharon) during the 1990s (Like Vi, she also did TV drama anthology). During this time, Maricel became entangled with the controversial transfer of Vi’s TV co-host, Roderick Paulate to Maricel’s show. But in due time, all were forgotten and the three remained friends to this date. This is not the only time that Vi became part of Maricel’s personal relationships, Vi’s ex, Edu Manzano also became Maricel’s husband for awhile. Both Maricel and Edu, at one point, thought their relationship will last forever. But the two separated after a few years of bliss. Now, in her senior years, Maricel attempted several comeback after years of semi-retirement. Like, Sharon, Maricel confessed her respect and admiration for Vi in several movie articles. And after several year of semi-retirement, she is now reportedly starting some projects for ABS-CBN and also have some film projects lined up.

Claudine Margaret Castelo Barretto-Santiago (born July 20, 1979), popularly known as Claudine Barretto, is an entrepreneur, product endorser, film and television actress from the Philippines. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

“…The premiere actress admitted that she has her own acting idols. She named the likes of Meryll Streep, Lolita Rodriguez, Nora Aunor, and Gina Alajar. Gov. Vilma also commended Claudine for her versatility as an actress. “Claudine is a very flexible actress. Pwede siyang gumanap na kaaawaan mo siya. Pwede ring sexy and very believable. In any roles na ginagawa mo ibinibigay mo lahat and you’re very believable. Kaya mo lahat gawin, believe me. Drama, sexy, action, comedy, you can do it. For that I commend you.” For Claudine’s exceptional talent, the Gov. Vi said she will not be surprised if Claudine becomes the next Star for All Seasons. “When we did Anak, sa mga promo for the movie, tinanong ako kung nakikita ko ba si Claudine na pwedeng maging next Vilma Santos, ang sagot ko, ‘Of course!’ You have a long way to go,” said Vilma to Claudine who became teary-eyed because of the compliment…” – Push, 14 Jul 2009 (READ MORE)

“…Ang sarap ng pakiramdam sobra, pero bilang isang Vilmanian ayokong may pumalit o sumunod sa yapak ni Ate Vi. There will never be another Vilma Santos. Nag-iisa lang siya. Ako mismo ayokong may magsabi na papalitan o ito ang susunod sa yapak ni Ate Vi unless anak niya parang ganun. Yun yung feeling ko bilang Vilmanian but I’m very honored na of course galing siyempre kay Ate Vi Star for All Seasons yun.” Claudine also said that she respects Ate Vi so much that the latter’s approval is like an award In itself. She said that she promised the Batangas governor that she’ll be the best Claudine Barretto that she can ever be and not a “replacement” for her. “Siya ang pinakamarami nang napanalunang award na grand slam, Hall of Fame award etc. ‘Pag galing kay Ate Vi na sobrang respetado sa industriya at pulitiko, grabe yung honor at privilege na napansin niya yun yung talent mo, para akong nag-grand slam sa sinabi ni Ate Vi,” Claudine shared…” – Push, 23 Jul 2009 (READ MORE)

Among the junior actresses that followed Sharon and Maricel, Claudine and Judy Anny were the most successful in terms of sustaining their popularity. Although Claudine’s career in now on its downward phase, she remained one of the most talented and was praised by Vi herself for being one of those versatile. Claudine, like Vi, started her career as a teen star with an on and off screen love partner, the late Rico Yan. Rico and Claudine was one rumoured to be engaged but his sudden death ruined this wishful dream for their die-hard fans. Prior to her teen transitions, Claudine was a regular cast in Dolphy’s TV sitcom, “Home Along da Riles.” After Yan’s death, Claudine became a serious contender for acting supremacy with several drama tele-series competing with her stiff rival Judy Ann and several drama films. She won acting recognitions with her performance in 2004’s “Milan” (where she competed for acting awards with her rival Judy Ann Santos and with veterans, Vi and Nora) and 2005’s “Dubai” and “Nasaan Ka Man” where she received several trophies and nominations. She also became a certified box office star with films, “Sukob” with Kris Aquino in 2006 and her sole movie with Vi, the blockbuster, “Anak” in 2000.

Judy Ann Santos (born Judy Anne Lumagui Santos-Agoncillo; May 11, 1978) is a Filipino film and television actress, product endorser, recording artist, and film producer. She began as a child actress and made her professional television debut in Kaming Mga Ulila (1986) before her screen debut in the film Silang Mga Sisiw Sa Lansangan (1988) where she appeared as part of the ensemble playing a supporting role. Her first leading role in a television series was in Ula, Ang Batang Gubat (1988), but she received media recognition in her breakthrough television series Mara Clara (1992). She has since spawned highly rated television series, amongst these are Esperanza (1996), Basta’t Kasama Kita (2003), Sa Piling Mo (2006) and Ysabella (2007). Santos starred in commercially successful films in the early 1990s following motion picture adaptations of Mara Clara (1996) and Esperanza (1999). She further achieved television and film success with pairings opposite Wowie de Guzman, Rico Yan and Piolo Pascual. Santos’ performance in the film Sabel (2004) received critical acclaim and earned her the Gawad Urian for Best Actress. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Claudine’s rival, Judy Ann also started as a child actress and a regular cast in several teleserye. Like Claudine she also transitioned into a teen star with her successful partner, Wowee de Guzman and later on, Piolo Pascual. Her rumoured real life relationship with Pascual was one of the most publicly dessiminated relationships in the local scene that did not resulted in happy endings, she ended up marrying a newcomer during that time, the more serious with intention to settle, Ryan Agocillio. Judy Ann with the guidance of Vilma’s former supporter Alfie Lorenzo, maintained her popularity compared to Claudine. She successfully turned her successful princess of teleserye career into a full-pledge serious actress with projects like “Magkapatid” (with Sharon Cuneta), and her more serious films “Sabel” and “Ploning.” Although many articles came that she prepared to work with Vi’s rival Nora, she recently clariffied this wasn’t the case, that she prepared to work with both.

Sarah Geronimo Sarah Asher Tua Geronimo, popularly known as Sarah Geronimo or Sarah G. is a Filipino recording artist and actress. Born and raised in Sampaloc, Manila she joined various singing and talent competitions with her father, Delfin Geronimo, as her trainer. In addition, she also joined the cast of now defunct ABS-CBN TV show, Ang TV. However, she rose to fame only after having won the Star for a Night singing competition in 2003. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Like Sharon, Sarah Geronimo’s career is similar to Vi’s rival Nora. Both became a singing contest winner. But because of her venturing into television musical variety hosting, her supporter wanted her to follow Vi’s television experience with Sarah venturing into more production numbers. Sarah’s recent success were her film projects opposite John Lyod Cruz, her recording albums and endorsements. She mentioned in several articles that it would be a dream come true to be cast in a Vilma Santos movie. She recorded the theme song of Vi’s 2009 film’s “In My Life.”

Kim Chiu (born Kimberly Sue Yap Chiu/Zhang Jinzhu; April 19, 1990), is a Filipina actress. She lived in Cebu City before she went to Manila for Pinoy Big Brother. Chiu was the first winner of Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition and is currently part of ABS-CBN’s Star Magic contract artists. She also having launched her only album entitled ‘Gwa Ai Di’ which means “I Love you” in Minnan dialect. Kim Chiu sometimes speak Hokkien at home back in Philippines. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Among the new crop of stars, Sarah’s closes rival would be Kim Chiu. Like Sarah, Kim was a product of reality show. Kim won the pinoy big brother show. She capitalized her popularity venturing into singing and also doing teleserye that Judy Ann and Claudine used to do. Kim’s first encouter with Vi was in television special where she was able to impressed Vi with her intepretation of Vi’s film role, Dolzura Cortez. After this Vi requested her to be cast in this year’s smash hit, “The Healing.” Like her predecessors, Kim also ventured in love team path, first with on and off screen love, Gerald Anderson and lately Xiam Lim. Anderson was once linked to Kim’s contemporary, Sarah Geronimo. It would be a good project if the three reprised the film, “Ikaw Ay Akin,” the Vi-Christopher de Leon-Nora Aunor film. Kim’s recent success is in small screen, co-starring with Maja Salvador in highly rating tele-serye, “Ina Kapatid Anak.”

Maja Ross Andres Salvador (born October 5, 1988) is a Filipina actress, dancer, model, and producer producer who is one of the latest in line of the showbiz clan of the Salvador family. She is currently under the management of ABS-CBN, and a member of Star Magic. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Maja Salvador, Kim’s co-star in TV’s “Ina Kapatid Anak” was onced Vi’s protege, she co-starred with Vi in 2006’s highly anticipated drama episode of “Maalaala Mo Kaya” titled “Regalo.” Her performance in this episode was highly praised and crtics even predicted that she is the one to watch. An article came that she was supposed to reprised Vi’s Burlesk Queen role but she clarified that she was too young to do a mature role. Prior to Ina Kapatid Anak, her recent success was her indie film, “Thelma” where she won a best actress trophy from the critic’s group, Gawad Urian.

Angel Locsin (born Angelica Colmenares; April 23, 1985) is a Filipina television and film actress, commercial model, film producer and fashion designer. She starred in the fantasy-themed television series Mulawin in 2004. Soon after, she starred as the superheroine Darna in the TV adaptation of the Mars Ravelo comics. When her contract expired on March 2007, Locsin did not renew her contract with GMA Network and signed an exclusive contract with ABS-CBN. Her first project under ABS-CBN was the television series Lobo. Locsin starred in her first box office movie under Star Cinema, Love Me Again, directed by Rory Quintos. In 2012, she starred in the film ÜnOfficially Yours which became her highest grossing film to date. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Angel’s recent project was the filmfest entry, “One More Try” where she played a mother of a sick boy reminiscent of Vi’s “Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan.” The two first film together was in 2004’s Regal Film “Mano Po 3: My Love.” Prior to this, Angel was one of the two actress who recently wore the Darna customes (the other one was Marian Rivera), as you’ll probably known, Vi was one of the most successful Darna in the history of this franchise. Although Angel remained popular, she lacks a clear rival that other stars has, this maybe to her advantage. Recent articles mentioned that there are plans for a second film for Vi and Angel. Writer Ethel Ramos in her colum for Malaya on July 30, Jul 2012 said: “Two Darnas to join forces…Speaking of Angel, there are talks that she might finally co-star with “Star for All Seasons” Vilma Santos, in a movie. Probably next year, right after the 2013 elections. Ate Vi (as we in showbiz fondly call her), as we all know, is running for a third term as Batangas Governor. By the time she and Angel shoot their movie, she would have won the office anew. The Ate Vi-Angel movie, we also heard, will be Star Cinema’s 20th anniversary offering next year…By the way, come to think of it, Ate Vi, like Angel, has once appeared in a “Darna” movie….”

Snooky Serna (born Maria Milagros Sumayao Serna on April 4, 1966) is a Filipina film and television actress…Being the daughter of actors Von Serna and Mila Ocampo, she started acting early in life via her 1970 landmark debut Wanted: Perfect Mother, where she immediately captured the hearts of Filipino audience as a cute, sweet and smart-talking four-year old. That same year she earned her first acting nomination from FAMAS Awards as Best Child Performer for the film My Little Angel. Trained by acclaimed director and National Artist, Lino Brocka, Snooky showed promise as dramatic actress and later proved to be a fine one. In 1972, she won her first FAMAS Award as Best Child Actress for the film ‘Sana Mahalin Mo Ako’. As a mature actress, she tackled roles which earned acting nominations from various award giving bodies. She was also in Kapag Napagod Ang Puso with Christopher de Leon and Inagaw Mo Ang Lahat Sa Akin (Harvest Home – official Philippine entry to the 1995 Oscars) but unfortunately was snubbed during awards night. Her other major films include Aabot Hanggang Sukdulan, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Hahamakin ang Lahat with Vilma Santos, the fantasy films Blusang Itim, Rosa Mistica, and Madonna: Ang Babaing Ahas. It was with Koronang Itim, that she finally won Best Lead Actress trophy. She has starred in over (80) films from 1970 to 2004…As a mature actress, she tackled roles which earned acting nominations from various award giving bodies. She was also in Kapag Napagod Ang Puso with Christopher de Leon and Inagaw Mo Ang Lahat Sa Akin (Harvest Home – official Philippine entry to the 1995 Oscars) but unfortunately was snubbed during awards night. Her other major films include Aabot Hanggang Sukdulan, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Hahamakin ang Lahat with Vilma Santos, the fantasy films Blusang Itim, Rosa Mistica, and Madonna: Ang Babaing Ahas. It was with Koronang Itim, that she finally won Best Lead Actress trophy. She has starred in over (80) films from 1970 to 2004. – Wikipedia, 23 Jul 2009 (READ MORE)

Snook Serna and Vilma Santos first film together was the 1971 musical, “The Wonderful World of Music” where they co-starred with Tony Ferrer and Boots Anson Roa, Snooky was still a child star and Vi was in a teenage love team with reel and real life sweetheart, Edgar Mortiz. Both actresses started as a child star, Vilma in Trudis Liit in 1963, where she won a FAMAS best child actress while Snooky did seven film in her debut year in 1970 and won a FAMAS best child actress for My Little Angel. Both actress’ route to fame were similar, taking mature roles, started with Vilma in Burlesk Queen (1977) and Snooky in Bata Pa Si Sabel (1981). The two did three more films, in 1986 with the box office hit, “Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow” with Maricel Soriano; in 1988, Vilma appeared in a minor role in the forgettable film, “Bukas Sisikat Din Ang Araw,” with Gabby Concepcion; and finally in 1990 with Lino Brocka’s “Hahamakin Ang Lahat (All Be Damned).” Working with her former mentor, Brocka’s “Hahamakin…” earned both Vilma and Snooky several acting nominations but it was Snooky who was lucky enough to received a PMPC Star Award for supporting actress. Like Vilma, Snooky did television projects, she did a drama anthology for ABS-CBN in 1989 and several guest drama appearances after but her most successful stints was in 1987-88 where she tried to host a musical variety show titled, “Always, Snooky.” She earned two PMPC Star Awards nomination for TV Best Musical Variety Show Host but twice loss to Vilma.

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FILM REVIEW: MANO PO 3 MY LOVE

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The Plot: Anti-crime crusader Lilia Chiong Yang (Vilma Santos) seems to have everything a woman could want and need: a husband (Jay Manalo) who pampers her; children (Patrick Garcia, Karylle, Angel Locsin) whom any parent would be proud of; and the respect & admiration of the most powerful people in the land. But just as Lilia prepares for her 25th wedding anniversary celebration, a chance encounter in Thailand with her first love Michael (Christopher De Leon) throws Lilia’s life into chaos. So begins the resumption of a relationship that threatens to unravel the delicate threads connecting Lilia to the other people in her life. “Mano Po 3” is a heartfelt tearjerker which was declared Best Picture at the 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Philippines. Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon also won well-deserved awards for Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively, in this moving film about the choices we must make for the sake of those we love. – Regal Films (READ MORE)

The Reviews: They say if you strike the third time, you’re out. Thank goodness, it’s not a strike the third time, instead, it’s a homerun hit for the third sequel of this franchise. “Mano Po 3: My Love” was as grand as the first two but with simple well-written story line. The film managed to iron out the past and present events through flashbacks and thanks to the editor (Tara Heinberger), the continuity of each scene were smooth. Mano Po 3: My Love is a life story of Chinese-Filipino anti-crime crusade, Lilia Chiong Yang. A Chinese couple who left Fujian, China in 1959, brought her here. Her mother beg this couple to bring her with them because she’s going to be put into the orphanage just because she is a girl and having so many baby girl, the Chinese government will not support them financially. Living now in the Philippines and now a young adult (Angelica Panganiban), Lilia met and fell in love with Michael (Cogie Domingo), her classmate and fellow activist. Together with Paul (Patrick Garcia), their classmate, they engaged into activism during the martial law. One night, during the curfew hours, they got into trouble and were hunted down by the military. Michael sacrificed himself and was caught. Lilia was pregnant with Michael’s child but he already left the country and so, Lilia fell to the hands of Paul.

Now, a mature Lilia (Vilma Santos), her quiet life was rattled when Michael (Christopher DeLeon) came back. They accidentally met in Thailand; Michael decided to win her back. Both were surprised to learn that Paul (Jay Manalo) deceived them by not giving all of Michael’s letters to Lilia when he left the country. With Lilia being a popular media personality, people have started talking, gossiping about Lilia’s secret affair with another man particularly in the Chinese community. It also added stress to her family and eventually they turned their back to their own mother. Finally, it all comes down to Lilia making decision on which man to choose. She finally decided to stay with her husband despite her undying love for Michael. Then the tragic end. Lilia’s anti-crime activism created her enemies. One of them tragically killed Paul. Again, her family blamed her. The end part of the film was a typical Regal tradition – that of reconciliations. Lilia’s family accepted her again and all wounds got heal. And what happened to Lilia and Michael? They remained friends as Lilia realized they are not really meant for each other.

People are saying that her scene in the car where Paul (Jay Manalo) was shot was reminiscent of her death scene in “Relasyon.” Yes, there was a touch of it but the scene in MP3 was more intense because it’s shorter and the pacing was faster. Christopher as Michael deserves his best actor award during the film festival. Finally, Lamangan managed to control Christopher’s dialogue mannerism. Christopher has the tendency to starts his line with “well….” Probably because the MP3′s script was tighter and requires him to follow strictly each lines because each lines most of the time have other meanings. For example, when the three of them finally met, Christopher said: “Isa sa mga natutunan ko nuon sa kilusan is Honesty.” Which he is actually saying to Paul that he is dishonest and deceitful; particularly for not giving to Lilia, all of his letters when he left the country during the martial law years. As Paul, Jay Manalo, despite his young look managed to convinced us with his restraint performance. I wonder if Philip Salvador would give as strong performance as Jay Manalo in this role. Jay showed us that he’s indeed one of our great actors today. Sheryl Cruz didn’t do much as Bernadette. Her performance was one dimensional, a trap for villain roles. And all can be blamed to the three writers – Roy Iglesias, Lily Monteverde and Joel Lamangan. Maybe because they concentrated their efforts to established the three main characters and so they neglected the others. Eddie Garcia and Boots Anson Roa played the usual supporting roles but Boots gave us the most memorable lines in all of the movies showed in 2004: “hindi ka puedeng magmahal sa dalawa lalake…” of course, with her Chinese accent.

Vilma also will not be far behind with her lines: “hindi ka ba sasama sa kanila Judith? Alam mo ba kung para saan ang kanilang ginawa?… sanay na akong tinatalikuran at iniiwanan yang ang storya ng buhay ko…” Vilma’s performance here was an example of how she matured and became an A1 actress. From the start to the end, she transformed herself to be the character. She became Lilia Chiong Yang. Here are the highlights: Her scene in Tagaytay Highland: Her breakfast scene with her family, where all except for one, left her; The scene where she and Paul finally met Michael in a restaurant was full of irony and sarcasm; The scene where Bernadette and three other relatives one of them was Boots Anson Roa confronted Lilia. Like a true fighter and speaking in Mandarin, she told them, she’ll be back in five minutes and if they’re all still in her office they will see the worst of her; The scene where Lilia and Paul were in a middle of an argument and suddenly they calmed themselves down because their dressmakers arrived (to measure their sizes for the clothes their going to wear on their wedding anniversary) was poignant and funny at the same time; Then Paul’s death scene that followed the hospital scene. All in all, a controlled, restraint, riveting performance. How can someone not noticed? If I will evaluate “Mano Po 3: My Love”, I will give the film an A for its excellent production and magnificent performances…” – RV (READ MORE)

“The performances of Christopher De Leon and Vilma Santos are great. It’s a great movie, the director made a good job. The flow of events and the pace of the story are nicely plotted. You won’t feel unease when Michael Lim (Christopher) come back to Lilia Chiong (Vilma) and interfered with her “happy” married life. Compare to the passed 2 Mano Po movies, Mano Po 3 doesn’t have enough Chinese tales, it can stand alone as a pure love story movie without involvement of Chinese culture. In my personal opinion, if Christopher De Leon character was a pure Filipino, and if the reason why he was separated from Vilma was due to rejection from Vilma’s Chinese parents, and Vilma was arranged-marriage “kai-siaw” to Paul (Jay Manalo), then this would be a better Chinese foundation as the background for Christopher and Vilma to met after 25 years. It might not be a happy ending, but it was a rational ending given the circumstances of the events. This movie will definitely make you cry in the end.” – IMDB (READ MORE)

“…Vilma Santos did a great job and really deserved her best actress honour at the MMFF. Certainly her efforts overshadowed those of here co-stars, Christopher De Leon and Jay Manalo. It’s a shame really that her duties in Lipa are keeping her from other movies. Eddie Garcia, I thought could have done a better job in delivering his lines. I realize that he is playing a character that was not that fluent in Filipino but some of his words were just garbled and found it hard to understand. My only gripe maybe in the casting of Jay Manalo as the husband of Lilia. In the story Manalo is portrayed as the same age as De Leon and Santos which frankly I find hard to believe since Manalo looks many years younger. In terms of production, I thought Regal Films did a good job in setting an overall atmosphere by bringing in good costumes and props. It was also nice to see them speaking in Chinese so as to make the situations more authentic and believable.” – IMDB (READ MORE)

“…actors Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon portray roles that they have exceptionally portrayed before in their lustrous 40 years in Philippine show business. To even think of casting these superb actors in roles that are at least 15 years their junior, that defies their age, is indeed insulting to the intelligence of the Filipino viewers. But hey! Nobody’s complaining! Right? In fact, they both won the Best Actors awards in the said film fest! Sad, sad, sad…” – IMDB (READ MORE)

“…This is about Lilia Chiong-Yang (Vilma Santos) a Chinese-Filipino woman. She was torn from her first and only love, and ended up marrying the person she didn’t want (Jay Manalo). One faithful day, she met up with her old love Michael (Christopher De Leon) and things began to get rocky then. He wanted her to choose between her family and the only man she truly loved. The good thing about this movie is she made a decision in the end. For me, this third and last installment was the best among the rest. The movie made me laugh, cry, angry, sad and everything else. That’s really rare the Philippines’ movie industry now. Vilma Santos did a wondrous job in portraying her role. After her 2-year absence in the movie industry, she still had the touch. The only thing i didn’t like about the movie was Jay Manalo. He really was too young to be Vilma’s husband in the movie. They were supposed to be the same age though, but remarkably he did a very good job playing his role as well. How can we not forget Boyet? He was marvelous! Without him, this movie wouldn’t be the best one yet. People say this is such an ordinary love story, but in my eyes, this is the best Filipino movie ever made in my time…” – IMDB (READ MORE)

“…Mano Po III is definitely a showcase for Philippine cinema. It is basically a love story, but without any melodrama. Kudos for Joel Lamangan who brings out much emotion without ranting and violent tears that other filmmakers find so necessary to tell a story. Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos are both subdued but effective in their portrayal of restrained lovers. One particular scene with Christopher, Vilma and Jay is a highlight of the film. It is a scene where the three are having a seemingly innocent conversation about business but with underlying dialogues about love and betrayal. The screenplay written by Roy Iglesias is exceptional, witty and effective. The credible acting would not be possible without such a script. In all, Mano Po is a must-see this filmfest. It was sold out the first time I tried to see it, but it was worth the wait.” – ABS-CBN (READ MORE)

“For the purported final entry in an envisioned trilogy. Regal matriarch Lily Monteverde has pulled out all the stops. The story is centered squarely on Mayor Vi and Boyet, whose cozy chemistry still crackles with a romantic thrill even after 24 movies together.” – Andrew Paredes, Manila Standard (READ MORE)

““As a love story, it is romantic as romantic can be – passionate even. And you really have to give it to the durable love team of Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon to be able to pull off a material like Mano Po 3 and give the kilig effect of expected by most viewers and fans of love stories. It is handsomely-mounted, glossy and very entertaining. Its production values are far more superior compared to other local movies.” – Butch Francisco, Philippine Star (READ MORE)

“Kahanga-hanga ang ipankitang pagpapahalaga ng pelikula sa pamilya at pagaasawa.” – CINEMA (Catholic Initiative For Enlightened Movie Appreciation) (READ MORE)

A week before Christmas, the Star for All Seasons, Vilma Santos, shared with us her thoughts on son Luis and her first film in three years, “Mano Po 3.” She is thankful for the support of her family. When “Mano Po 3” was offered to her, Vilma sought the advice of husband Ralph and son Luis. They need the script, and exchanged views on scenes that they found objectionable. In everything she does, communication lines with son are open.

Fullfiling task: For, Vilma, raising her sons Luis and Ryan is a most fulfilling tasks. “My parents taught me to be God-fearing, respectful, responsible and law-abiding. Luis has never given me headaches. I am very liberal, but once you betray my trust, mag-ingat ka! Scorpio trait ito. Luis knows that, at binusog ko siya sa pangaral. I always tell him that he is old enough to differentiate right from wrong, so he should never do something that he’d regret later on,” she says.

No secrets: Although Luis has his own condo, he stays with Vi most of the time. There are no secrets between mother and son – – according to Vi, Luis tells her everything! On a few occassions, he’d introduce a girl to Vilma, and she’d know instantly if she was special to him or not. Vilma observes that Luis is more focused now. He dreams of owning his own restaurant-bar. And she’s surprised at how thrifty Luis has become – a trait that the actress also possesses. The Lipa City Mayor ends the year with her filmfest entry, “Mano Po 3.” In this last compilation of Tsinoy tales, Vilma is cast as a crusader, a mother of three children and supportive wife to Paul Yang, her devoted husband of 23 years. Then, her first love, Michael Lim (now a widower) resurfaces, and she finds herself in love again.

Three reasons Vilma cited three reasons why she accepted “Mano Po 3:” It gave her the opportunity to work with Christopher de Leon again; she couldn’t say no to Mother Lily, who has produced some of Vilma’s unforgettable movies (“Sister Stella L.,” “Broken Marriage,” and “Relasyon”), and the film’s interesting story centers on a fmily collapses due to infidelity. – Remy Umerez, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Dec 25 2004 (READ MORE)

Short and sweet. – Make that short and sedate. The awards ceremony for the 30th Metro Manila film Festival, now called MMFF Philippines, on Wednesday night was over in three hours, where it used to take twice as long. It was also less colorful than last year’s edition and the one before that, which more spontaneous action – a flea market and an auction of movie memorabilia – happening right outside the venue, the Aliw Theatre at the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex. Even the “Stars of teh Night,” Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon, wore back and grey. A series of technical problems early on in the show was the closest that the evening got to be “eventful.” There were no walkouts, no brickbats, no exposed breasts. In short, the proceedings were orderly and the sexy starlets behaved. Juliana Palermo – she who flaunted her assets without breast-beating at a previous showbiz events – was in a cover all debutante-pink gown that was almost puritan acceptance speech – for her MAQ Films’ “Mano Po 3” as Best Picture – was met with no more than polite applause. “I’ve not been making money from producing,” Monteverde said, “but I continue to make movies because I love the industry.” Four of the eight festival entries were reportedly made by her companies.

FPJ in the house Perhaps the fact that the program had been dedicated to the memory of Fernando Poe Jr. contributed to the somber atmosphere. Elizabeth Poe received the posthumous “Idolo ng Masa” award for “Da King” of Philippine Movies, who died earlier this month. “I call on the people to not abadon his dream,” Elizabeth said, “to continue to fight.” Apparently touched, the audience took a few seconds before applauding. Director Joel Lamangan’s fiery acceptance of the Best Picture award alongside Monteverde – in which he ranted against taxes and government’s “neglect” of the industry – failed to rouse as much enthusiasm in his listeners. Producer and festival committee member Espiridion Laxa received a lifetime achievement award. He dedicated it to Vilma Santos and FPJ…”and to Erap (former President Joseph Estrada).” “Da King” starred in the first seven films that Laxa made under Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions. Santos, who was also named Best Actress for “Mano Po 3,” led the standing ovation for Laxa. The Vilmanians in the hall must have thought their idol was getting another award, as they led the screaming in return.

No teleprompter Cesar Montano, winner of the Best Director trophy for his CM Films’ “Panaghoy sa Suba,” won the women’s hearts, too. He was the perfect gentleman and escort to his wife Sunshine Cruz, who needed help with her petticoat as they went up and down the stage to receive awards for absent cast and crew members. The banter among the three emcees – Judy Ann Santos, Jomari Yllana and Marvin Agustin – was light and breezy, although they had to do without teleprompers. This means they read from cue cards, which kept them from maintaining precious eye contact with the audience. Young screen love teams Angel Locsin and Richard Guttierez, stars fo the TV hit series “Mulawin,” and Mark Bautista and Sarah Geronimo, stars of “Lastikman,” turned heads, as did reel-and real-life partners Mark Herras and Jennylyn Mercado, who were inseparable.

7 awards each “Mano Po 3” and “Panaghoy sa Suba” each won seven awards. Veteran stage and movie actor Cris Vertido bagged the Best Screenplay trophy for “Panaghoy.” He was happy, and it showed. “I’ve been acting for 40 years and never won anything,” he said. “I write my first screenplay and I get this.” Santos and de Leon won acting awards for their roles in “Mano Po 3.” MAQ Films got the Best Float trophy. De Leon would admit later that he considered Montano, as his stiffest rival for the award. “I thought it would be him (the winner),” De Leon said.

“A” rating Rebecca Lusterio, also of “Panaghoy,” was cited as Best Supporting Actress. The Cinema Evaluation Board, in giving the movie an “A” rating, earlier singled out the teenage performer as “silent and powerful, full of conviction and charm.” Other winners were Dennis Trillo, Best Supporting Actor for “Aishite Imasu 1941”; Ella Guevarra, Best Child Performer for “Sigaw”; Manny Dayrit, Best Editing, “Sigaw,” Best Sound Recording, “Sigaw”; Best Musical Score, “Panaghoy”; and Best Visual; Effects, Roadrunner Network Inc., for “Lastikman.” – Marinel R. Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer, Dec 31, 2004 (READ MORE)

Joel Lamangan’s Mano Po, My Love dominated the Metro Manila Film Festival awards Wedenesday evening when it won all the top awards – Best Picture, Best Actor (Christopher de Leon), Best Actress (Vilma Santos) and Best Director (Lamangan). In the Philippine movie industry, the term Best Picture actually means the least bad movie of the crop. By that measure, Mano Po 3 perhaps does deserve the award. At least Mano Po 3 is slickly and tastefully produced. It boasts of a prestigious cast and tries to address a few pressing issues that affect the Chinese community in the Philippines. All the looks good on paper and the movie does look good most of the time but the resulting movie, like its two predecessors, falls short on expectations. The Mano Po series was designed to present the travails of today’s Chinese. Most of the problems they face today are rooted from old traditions that originate from the great land they had come from. In the third movie, Vilma Santos plays Lilia Chiong Yang, a successful real-estate developer who does some important civic work on her free time. She helps the police capture kidnap gangs although it’s never explained how she assists them. She’s only shown accepting awards of grattitude for her courageous fight against crime.

Lilia’s perfect life is shattered when she bumps into the real love of her life, Michael Lim (Christopher de Leon). They went to school together but being an activist, he was compelled to flee the country to avoid being persecuted by the Marcos regime. Not long after Lilia marries Michael’s best friend, Paul yang (Jay Manalo). Of course, a flame is reignited when they meet again and plans for the 25th wedding anniversary of Lilia and Paul are shattered. Such soapy contretemps are old hat and it has nothing relevant to say about the Chinese. Consequently, the Chinese connection feels tacked on – the audience is sporadically reminded of Lilia’s heritage through elaborate scenes (the birth of Lilia in a small village in China) and some colorful costumes and Chinese dragon parades. Frankly, you’ll learn more about Chinese tradition from Mark Meily’s classic film Crying Ladies (2003). Likewise, the film’s social commentary is contrived and rings false, what with the stilted, elementary dialogue the actors have to deliver. Without the Chinese trappings, Mano Po 3: My Love is a typical Vilma Santos movie designed to highlight all the wonderful elements that make her a star for all seasons.

Again, she sobs, laughs and acts pensive in that distinctive fashion Santos is famous for in one sudsy scene after another. Yet even as an emblematic Vilma Santos movie, Mano Po 3 is below par. The Star was better in other films that had better material. In this movie, screenwriter Roy Iglesias and director Joel Lamangan shamelessly force the star to imitate Meryl Streep in a scene stolen from Clint Eastwood’s Bridges of Madison County (1995). And like the two first installments, Mano Po 3 features some strange casting. Jay Manalo is supposed to be a contemporary of de Leon and Santos but when you see them together, Manalo looks more like their son than a classmate. Lamangan’s storytelling is fluid and deliberate but being deliberate can be deadly when almost every scene is all talk. Talk is fine if the words are inspiring but when the lines are pallid and of the telenovela variety, we’s just rather stick to the Korean soap they show on TV. While actors deliver modulated performances, this writer feels that Christopher de Leon’s role is too small to warrant a best actor nomination and award. I think he should have listed in the supporting category but I’m opening a can of worms here. Let’s just be thankful that this is the last Mano Po movie to be ever made. (Star rating: one star 1/2 out of four) – Dennis Ladaw, The Manila Times, Feb 28, 2005 (READ MORE)

Filmography: Mano Po III: My Love (2004)

“Aalis ka rin ba, Judith? Naiintindihan mo ba kung para saan yung ginawa nila?…sanay akong tinatalikuran at iniiwanan. Alam mo bang yan ang istorya ng buhay ko.” – Lilia Chiong Yang

“Pinuntahan n’yo ba ako rito para awayin?…silang dalawa,,,mahal ko silang dalawa, bago ko pa man naging boyfriend si Michael, naging asawa si Paul, magkakasama na kami, kaya mahal ko silang dalawa, mahirap bang intindihin ‘yon?…walang batas na nagsasabing bawal magmahal ng dalawa….” – Lilia Chiong Yang

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Basic Information: Directed: Joel Lamangan; Story: Lily Monteverde, Roselle Monteverde-Teo, Roy Iglesias, Joel Lamangan; Screenplay: Roy C. Iglesias; Cast: Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon, Jay Manalo, Boots Anson-Roa, Carlo Aquino, Amy Austria, Sheryl Cruz, Eddie Garcia, Jean Garcia, Patrick Garcia, Karylle, Angel Locsin, Angelica Panganiban, Allan Paule, Cherry Pie Picache, John Prats, Dennis Trillo, Gardo Versoza; Executive producer: Charo Santos-Concio, Malou N. Santos; Original Music: Jesse Lucas; Cinematography: Rolly Manuel; Film Editing: Tara Heinberger; Production Design: Rodell Cruz; Sound: Albert Michael Idioma; Theme Songs: “Pagbigyan Ang Puso Ko” composed by Ito Rapadas, sung by Karylle and Jerome John Hughes and produced by Bella Tan’s Universal Records, music video was directed by Jeffrey Tan

Plot Description: Anti-crime crusader Lilia Chiong Yang (MISS VILMA SANTOS) seems to have everything a woman could want and need: a husband (JAY MANALO) who pampers her; children (PATRICK GARCIA, KARYLLE, ANGEL LOCSIN) whom any parent would be proud of; and the respect & admiration of the most powerful people in the land. But just as Lilia prepares for her 25th wedding anniversary celebration, a chance encounter in Thailand with her first love Michael (CHRISTOPHER DE LEON) throws Lilia’s life into chaos. So begins the resumption of a relationship that threatens to unravel the delicate threads connecting Lilia to the other people in her life. “Mano Po 3” is a heartfelt tearjerker which was declared Best Picture at the 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Philippines. Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon also won well-deserved awards for Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively, in this moving film about the choices we must make for the sake of those we love. Also starring: Karylle, Angel Locsin, Patrick Garcia, Angelica Panganiban, Carlo Aquino, John Prats & Dennis Trillo – Regal Films

Film Achievement:  2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Picture – Mac Productions; 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Actress – Vilma Santos; 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Actor – Christopher de Leon; 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Story – Lily Monteverde, Roselle Monteverde-Teo, Roy Iglesias, Joel Lamangan; 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Production Design – Rodell Cruz; 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Original Theme Song – Ito Rapadas; 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Festival Parade Float – Mac Productions; 2004 STAR Best Actress – Vilma Santos; 2004 STAR Best Supporting Actor – Jay Manalo; 2004 STAR Best Theme Song – Ito Rapadas; 2004 FAMAS Best Musical Score – Jesse Lucas; 2004 Philippine Official Entry – 2005 8th Shanghai International Film Festival; 2004 Gawad Suri Best Picture – MAQ Productions; 2004 Gawad Suri Best Actress – Vilma Santos; 2004 Gawad Suri Best Director – Joel Lamangan

Other Film Achievements: 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival, Male Star of the Night – Christopher de Leon; 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival, Female Star of the Night – Vilma Santos; 2004 FAP Best Actor nomination – Christopher De Leon; 2004 FAP Best Actress nomination – Vilma Santos; 2004 FAP Best Screenplay nomination – Roy C. Iglesias; 2004 FAP Best Supporting Actor nomination – Eddie Garcia; 2004 URIAN Best Actress nomination – Vilma Santos; 2004

Film Reviews: They say if you strike the third time, you’re out. Thank goodness, it’s not a strike the third time, instead, it’s a homerun hit for the third sequel of this franchise. “Mano Po 3: My Love” was as grand as the first two but with simple well-written story line. The film managed to iron out the past and present events through flashbacks and thanks to the editor (Tara Heinberger), the continuity of each scene were smooth. Mano Po 3: My Love is a life story of Chinese-Filipino anti-crime crusade, Lilia Chiong Yang. A Chinese couple who left Fujian, China in 1959, brought her here. Her mother beg this couple to bring her with them because she’s going to be put into the orphanage just because she is a girl and having so many baby girl, the Chinese government will not support them financially. Living now in the Philippines and now a young adult (Angelica Panganiban), Lilia met and fell in love with Michael (Cogie Domingo), her classmate and fellow activist. Together with Paul (Patrick Garcia), their classmate, they engaged into activism during the martial law. One night, during the curfew hours, they got into trouble and were hunted down by the military. Michael sacrificed himself and was caught. Lilia was pregnant with Michael’s child but he already left the country and so, Lilia fell to the hands of Paul.

Now, a mature Lilia (Vilma Santos), her quiet life was rattled when Michael (Christopher DeLeon) came back. They accidentally met in Thailand; Michael decided to win her back. Both were surprised to learn that Paul (Jay Manalo) deceived them by not giving all of Michael’s letters to Lilia when he left the country. With Lilia being a popular media personality, people have started talking, gossiping about Lilia’s secret affair with another man particularly in the Chinese community. It also added stress to her family and eventually they turned their back to their own mother. Finally, it all comes down to Lilia making decision on which man to choose. She finally decided to stay with her husband despite her undying love for Michael. Then the tragic end. Lilia’s anti-crime activism created her enemies. One of them tragically killed Paul. Again, her family blamed her. The end part of the film was a typical Regal tradition – that of reconciliations. Lilia’s family accepted her again and all wounds got heal. And what happened to Lilia and Michael? They remained friends as Lilia realized they are not really meant for each other.

People are saying that her scene in the car where Paul (Jay Manalo) was shot was reminiscent of her death scene in “Relasyon.” Yes, there was a touch of it but the scene in MP3 was more intense because it’s shorter and the pacing was faster. Christopher as Michael deserves his best actor award during the film festival. Finally, Lamangan managed to control Christopher’s dialogue mannerism. Christopher has the tendency to starts his line with “well….” Probably because the MP3’s script was tighter and requires him to follow strictly each lines because each lines most of the time have other meanings. For example, when the three of them finally met, Christopher said: “Isa sa mga natutunan ko nuon sa kilusan is Honesty.” Which he is actually saying to Paul that he is dishonest and deceitful; particularly for not giving to Lilia, all of his letters when he left the country during the martial law years. As Paul, Jay Manalo, despite his young look managed to convinced us with his restraint performance. I wonder if Philip Salvador would give as strong performance as Jay Manalo in this role. Jay showed us that he’s indeed one of our great actors today. Sheryl Cruz didn’t do much as Bernadette. Her performance was one dimensional, a trap for villain roles. And all can be blamed to the three writers – Roy Iglesias, Lily Monteverde and Joel Lamangan. Maybe because they concentrated their efforts to established the three main characters and so they neglected the others. Eddie Garcia and Boots Anson Roa played the usual supporting roles but Boots gave us the most memorable lines in all of the movies showed in 2004: “hindi ka puedeng magmahal sa dalawa lalake…” of course, with her Chinese accent.

Vilma also will not be far behind with her lines: “hindi ka ba sasama sa kanila Judith? Alam mo ba kung para saan ang kanilang ginawa?… sanay na akong tinatalikuran at iniiwanan yang ang storya ng buhay ko…” Vilma’s performance here was an example of how she matured and became an A1 actress. From the start to the end, she transformed herself to be the character. She became Lilia Chiong Yang.  Here are the highlights…

Her scene in Tagaytay Highland.

Her breakfast scene with her family, where all except for one, left her.

The scene where she and Paul finally met Michael in a restaurant was full of irony and sarcasm.

The scene where Bernadette and three other relatives one of them was Boots Anson Roa confronted Lilia. Like a true fighter and speaking in Mandarin, she told them, she’ll be back in five minutes and if they’re all still in her office they will see the worst of her.

The scene where Lilia and Paul were in a middle of an argument and suddenly they calmed themselves down because their dressmakers arrived (to measure their sizes for the clothes their going to wear on their wedding anniversary) was poignant and funny at the same time.

Then Paul’s death scene that followed the hospital scene.

All in all, a controlled, restraint, riveting performance. How can someone not noticed? If I will evaluate “Mano Po 3: My Love”, I will give the film an A for its excellent production and magnificent performances.

Vilma versus Nora – In seeing both films, Vilma gave a far more superior performance than Nora Aunor’s “Naglalayag.” Again, how can anyone not noticed? I mean, it could probably be blamed to their directors. Lamangan able to come up with a far more superior script and direction than De Los Reyes. Vilma’s role composed of so many highlights that are so hard to pick which one is the best compare to one from Nora’s film. Funny both Vilma and Nora’s film has some similarities. Both have a scene were they both accepted an award and they have to do speeches in front of adoring audiences. Another similarities, the two characters have to dealt with the gossiping and the bad publicity that their personal lives creates affecting their respective communities. Although in Naglalayag, Nora’s character wasn’t fully established as how’s her overall standing/status in the community. Now the difference, Vilma’s crisped delivery of lines came as natural, even when she talks in Tagalog, English or Cantonese/ Mandarin but Nora’s delivery of lines were as awkward as a kid trying to learn how to speak English for the first time. Her tendency to make “SSSS” sound in every English word she has on her lines were very distracting to audience and at times laughable. Her clothes are dated too, for a rich judge, one may wonder if she’s just a thrifty judge or just don’t know how to dress up, the opposite can be said with Vilma, her pink/orangey gown on the death scene was elegant. Admittedly, both Vilma and Nora have no fear of showing their age. There was a scene in both movies where they didn’t wear any make up and their faces showed their real ages. Overall, Nora’s performance lacks control and finesse while Vilma’s performance excels in restraints and effectiveness. Nora’s not credible as Dorinda, the judge while Vilma became Lilia Chiong Yang, the anti-crime crusade activist and businesswoman. – RV

Other Reviews: The performances of Christopher De Leon and Vilma Santos are great. It’s a great movie, the director made a good job. The flow of events and the pace of the story are nicely plotted. You won’t feel unease when Michael Lim (Christopher) come back to Lilia Chiong (Vilma) and interfered with her “happy” married life. Compare to the passed 2 Mano Po movies, Mano Po 3 doesn’t have enough Chinese tales, it can stand alone as a pure love story movie without involvement of Chinese culture. In my personal opinion, if Christopher De Leon character was a pure Filipino, and if the reason why he was separated from Vilma was due to rejection from Vilma’s Chinese parents, and Vilma was arranged-marriage “kai-siaw” to Paul (Jay Manalo), then this would be a better Chinese foundation as the background for Christopher and Vilma to met after 25 years. It might not be a happy ending, but it was a rational ending given the circumstances of the events. This movie will definitely make you cry in the end. – IMDB

Some people were pointing out that there was nothing new shown in this movie that was not already shown in previous films. However since this is the first Mano Po movie I have watched I actually found the screenplay satisfactory. Nothing great but nonetheless it was ample. One thing that I found refreshing was the fact that this film was less of a mellow dramatic soap opera type of drama, which is prevalent in Philippine movies. Yes there are no shouting and slapping matches in this one. There were some sub-plots, which seemed unnecessary such as the story of the children of Lilia. In terms of performances, I thought that the lead actors did a splendid job in acting out their roles. Vilma Santos did a great job and really deserved her best actress honour at the MMFF. Certainly her efforts overshadowed those of here co-stars, Christopher De Leon and Jay Manalo. It’s a shame really that her duties in Lipa are keeping her from other movies. Eddie Garcia, I thought could have done a better job in delivering his lines. I realize that he is playing a character that was not that fluent in Filipino but some of his words were just garbled and found it hard to understand. My only gripe maybe in the casting of Jay Manalo as the husband of Lilia. In the story Manalo is portrayed as the same age as De Leon and Santos which frankly I find hard to believe since Manalo looks many years younger. In terms of production, I thought Regal Films did a good job in setting an overall atmosphere by bringing in good costumes and props. It was also nice to see them speaking in Chinese so as to make the situations more authentic and believable. – IMDB

It is indeed a sad day in Philippine cinema when this movie, mano po 3 (which is an installment in a series of stories, totally unconnected with each other, about filipino-Chinese in the Philippines), won in the Metro Manila Film Festival. It is as if the film festival has turned into an award giving that celebrates mediocrity. What ever happened to the high standards that the film fest clung to in the past? Indeed, it is sad to see GERIATRIC actors Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon portray roles that they have exceptionally portrayed before in their lustrous 40 years in Philippine show business. To even think of casting these superb actors in roles that are at least 15 years their junior, that defies their age, is indeed insulting to the intelligence of the Filipino viewers. But hey! Nobody’s complaining! Right? In fact, they both won the Best Actors awards in the said film fest! Sad, sad, sad… (Trivia: It seems that Vilma Santos cannot appear in any movie without clinging to a white hankie, see for yourself!) Question: Is there a dearth of good Filipino actors? Why can’t the director, Joel Lamangan, cast actors that befit the role… I used to admire Mr. Lamangan but after seeing this movie, I don’t know anymore…And the movie is just a futile exercise in method acting, and is just full of empty rhetorics. I’m sure the Chinese community in the Philippines were scandalized by this shallow portrayal of their values, of their identity and of their personalities! I mourn for Philippine cinema! I’m sure Lino Brocka must be turning in his grave now for the sad state of the movies in the Philippines. – IMDB – Matthew Ashley from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

“Mano Po 3: My Love” is far better off than the previous Mano Po movies. If the other to MP movies talked about family and home, this 3rd franchise talks about the most universal language of all: Love. This is about Lilia Chiong-Yang (Vilma Santos) a Chinese-Filipino woman. She was torn from her first and only love, and ended up marrying the person she didn’t want (Jay Manalo). One faithful day, she met up with her old love Michael (Christopher De Leon) and things began to get rocky then. He wanted her to choose between her family and the only man she truly loved. The good thing about this movie is she made a decision in the end. For me, this third and last installment was the best among the rest. The movie made me laugh, cry, angry, sad and everything else. That’s really rare the Philippines’ movie industry now. Vilma Santos did a wondrous job in portraying her role. After her 2-year absence in the movie industry, she still had the touch. The only thing i didn’t like about the movie was Jay Manalo. He really was too young to be Vilma’s husband in the movie. They were supposed to be the same age though, but remarkably he did a very good job playing his role as well. How can we not forget Boyet? He was marvelous! Without him, this movie wouldn’t be the best one yet. People say this is such an ordinary love story, but in my eyes, this is the best Filipino movie ever made in my time. Teenagers like me and adults could easily understand the plot. I’m not surprised why when I tried to watch the movie, it was sold out. It’s THAT good. – IMDB

The measure of a good movie is if it can transport you to another world or another time and make you forget na hindi pala totoo ang nakikita mo on screen. Dahil sa magagaling at pinagkaka-gastusan na pelikula abroad, we have higher standards each year, even for our own Metro Manila Film Festival. Mano Po III, My Love is one of the entries of Regal Entertainment. Regal’s matriarch Lily Monteverde says the film outfit really spent for this movie kasi last na ito sa Mano Po series.

It is a love story that spans generations. Lilia Chiong (Vilma Santos) is born in China to a poor family. Ipinanganak siya sa isang family na marami ng anak na babae, something that was considered a curse in China at that time. Her mother gave her away to spare her life, and she ended up with a couple who brought her and raised her in the Philippines. The young Lilia (played by Angelica Panganiban) has a childhood sweetheart Michael Lim (the young one is played by Carlo Aquino). The two are inseperable and vow eternal love against the wishes of their loved ones. Their best friend Paul Yang (John Prats) helps them through troubled times. During Martial Law, the three friends are in danger of being caught by the military and Michael sacrifices himself for his friends. Michael leaves the country and is never heard from again. Since Lilia is carrying his child, Paul marries her and cares for their eldest (Patrick Garcia) as his own.

In present-day Philippines, Lilia is a prominent anti-crime advocate. Her life in endangered when she pinpoints police officers involved in crime. Meanwhile, on a business trip in Thailand, Lilia meets up with Michael after many years. In their reminiscing they discover that Michael had been writing Lilia for a long time but Paul (older version played by Jay Manalo), out of love for Lilia, hid his letters from her. Since Paul’s wife had since died, Lilia is now struggling about whether she should leave her faithful (yet deceptive) husband of 25 years. In the meantime, she is losing her family with the rumors going around about her and Michael. The best part about this film is the decision Lilia makes in the end so I will not spoil that for you.

The film is shot in the Philippines, China and Thailand and all its sets are remarkably authentic. The bluish hue in the shots in old-time China give it a sad feeling of poverty and hardship. The bright colors and amazing scenery of Thailand give the sense of excitement and anticipation. Parts of the film were also taken in tagaytay Highlands, a perfect site for Michael to profess his love for Lilia. Also notable are the shots of traditional Chinese theater performances and festivities like the dragon dance. Karylle, who plays Lilia’s daughter, does a song and dance number with traditional Chinese dress.

Authentically Chinese –I noted that there were some Filipino-Chinese members of the audience who were delighted at some phrases used in their language. I was amazed at how convincingly the cast spoke although I’m no expert. What is truly portrayed is the Chinese love for family and respect for tradition. The role of Eddie Garcia, who plays Lilia’s devoted adoptive father, is one of the most touching in the film. Though not her biological father, the Chiong patriarch is loving, faithful and understanding of his daughter to the very end.

Undying love – Mano Po III is definitely a showcase for Philippine cinema. It is basically a love story, but without any melodrama. Kudos for Joel Lamangan who brings out much emotion without ranting and violent tears that other filmmakers find so necessary to tell a story. Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos are both subdued but effective in their portrayal of restrained lovers. One particular scene with Christopher, Vilma and Jay is a highlight of the film. It is a scene where the three are having a seemingly innocent conversation about business but with underlying dialogues about love and betrayal. The screenplay written by Roy Iglesias is exceptional, witty and effective. The credible acting would not be possible without such a script. In all, Mano Po is a must-see this filmfest. It was sold out the first time I tried to see it, but it was worth the wait. – ABS-CBN

“For the purported final entry in an envisioned trilogy. Regal matriarch Lily Monteverde has pulled out all the stops. The story is centered squarely on Mayor Vi and Boyet, whose cozy chemistry still crackles with a romantic thrill even after 24 movies together.” – Andrew Paredes, Manila Standard

“As a love story, it is romantic as romantic can be – passionate even. And you really have to give it to the durable love team of Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon to be able to pull off a material like Mano Po 3 and give the kilig effect of expected by most viewers and fans of love stories. It is handsomely-mounted, glossy and very entertaining. Its production values are far more superior compared to other local movies.” – Butch Francisco, Philippine Star

“Kahanga-hanga ang ipankitang pagpapahalaga ng pelikula sa pamilya at pagaasawa.” – CINEMA  (Catholic Initiative for Enlightened Movie Appreciation)

MAQ Productions’ “Mano Po 3: My Love,” starring the legendary screen pairing of Mayor Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon, began principal photography last week. The energy of the cast and crew was electric, everyone knows that there is something unique and special about the project. Directed by Joel Lamangan from a screenplay by Roy Iglesias, “MP3” will be the last in executive producer Lily Yu Monteverde’s anthology of dramatic, culturally-enriching films about the experiences of Chinese-Filipinos of Chinoys in the Philippines. “Mano Po 3” also stars the most popular artists of film and television, including Boots Anson-Roa, Sheryl Cruz, Jay Manalo, Carlo Aquino, John Prats, Angelica Panganiban, Angel Locsin, Dennis Trillo, Karylle, Patrick Garcia, and Eddie Garcia.

The main cast members recently returned from an exhausting but creatively rewarding pictorial in Beijing, China to shoot publicity stills and scenes to be used in the movie. The photogenic actors were filmed in distinctly Chinese environs such as Wangfujiang Street, the Summer Palace, Ming�s Tomb and the Great Wall of China. MAQ is proud to share these exclusive photographs with this publication. The beautiful photos were taken by award-winning lensman Raymond Isaac under the creative supervision of Jun Poblador. Ace photographers Richard Chen and Jay Alonzo shot second unit stills. The general public will also have a chance to see the best photographs from the film in the special “Mano Po 3” exhibit which will coincide with the film’s release this Christmas.

Currently, the inspired cast & crew are working non-stop to bring Mother Lily’s unique vision to the screen in time for the Metro Manila Film Festival, and she’s sparing no expense to bring her most personal project to the screen. In between shooting, the stars are learning how to speak Fookien and Mandarin Chinese from linguist Jubilee Ong. In terms of the sets, an authentic Chinese village is being erected at a cost of over three million pesos. Conceived and executed by award-winning production designer Rodell Cruz, the expensive set will be seen in the film’s opening scenes. “I’m going all out with “Mano Po 3,” declares Mother Lily. “The moviegoers deserve the best movie we can give them, and if that means spending more money, so be it.” The script for “Mano Po 3: My Love” was ranked first among all scripts submitted to the Metro Manila Film Festival Philippines (MMFFP) Committee. – “MP3: A vision becoming a reality”- Manila Bulletin

“Mother (Lily) and I haven’t even discussed money matters yet!” That, according to Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos, is the truth (and nothing but?) about her and the Regal Matriarch. You see, a minor issue cropped up about Vilma’s talent fee for Mano Po 3, intended by Regal Films for the Metro Manila Filmfest in December. Was Vilma really asking for P7 million (later reduced to P4 million)? That was the ticklish P7-million question. “As I was saying,” Vilma said during a phone chat with Funfare (she was in Lipa City busy with the preparations for the celebration of the city’s 57th foundation this week), “ang usapan namin ni Mother ay hindi pa umaabot sa talent fee ko. So far, we’ve been discussing only the script.” But Vilma admitted that she “got hurt” when the matter about her talent fee leaked to the press. “What I know is that I gave a copy of my Star Cinema contract to Regal so more or less they’d know,” said Vilma. “Everything was supposed to be confidential. I don’t know kung paano nakarating sa press.” Vilma added that she was touched when Mother Lily called her up to say she felt sorry for the incident. “How nice of her,” said Vilma. All’s well that ends well.

“The project goes on,” assured Vilma who will play the matriarch (similar to those played by Boots Anson-Roa and Susan Roces in Mano Po parts 1 and 2 respectively) of a Chinese clan, with Judy Ann Santos as one of her children. “May konting inaayos na lang sa script. I have to do the movie because it’s my commitment to Mother. Si Mother pa!” Cameras are expected to, hopefully, start grinding for Mano Po 3 first week of September and principal photography will, hopefully, be finished in time for the Metro Filmfest. “We’re again going to shoot some scenes in Shanghai,” said Mother Lily, “just like we did for Mano Po 1 and 2. Ate Vi will be in those scenes.” Last seen in Star Cinema’s Dekada ’70 (shown at the 2001 Metro Filmfest), Vilma has been begging off from doing movies because of her pressing obligations as Lipa City mayor. But Mano Po 3 is too good a project to let pass. “Besides,” said Vilma, “commitment ko kay Mother, e!” – Ricardo F. Lo, Philippine Star,  August 10, 2004

Joel Lamangan’s Mano Po, My Love dominated the Metro Manila Film Festival awards Wedenesday evening when it won all the top awards – Best Picture, Best Actor (Christopher de Leon), Best Actress (Vilma Santos) and Best Director (Lamangan). In the Philippine movie industry, the term Best Picture actually means the least bad movie of the crop. By that measure, Mano Po 3 perhaps does deserve the award. At least Mano Po 3 is slickly and tastefully produced. It boasts of a prestigious cast and tries to address a few pressing issues that affect the Chinese community in the Philippines. All the looks good on paper and the movie does look good most of the time but the resulting movie, like its two predecessors, falls short on expectations….Without the Chinese trappings, Mano Po 3: My Love is a typical Vilma Santos movie designed to highlight all the wonderful elements that make her a star for all seasons. Again, she sobs, laughs and acts pensive in that distinctive fashion Santos is famous for in one sudsy scene after another. Yet even as an emblematic Vilma Santos movie, Mano Po 3 is below par. The Star was better in other films that had better material. In this movie, screenwriter Roy Iglesias and director Joel Lamangan shamelessly force the star to imitate Meryl Streep in a scene stolen from Clint Eastwood’s Bridges of Madison County (1995). And like the two first installments, Mano Po 3 features some strange casting. Jay Manalo is supposed to be a contemporary of de Leon and Santos but when you see them together, Manalo looks more like their son than a classmate. Lamangan’s storytelling is fluid and deliberate but being deliberate can be deadly when almost every scene is all talk. Talk is fine if the words are inspiring but when the lines are pallid and of the telenovela variety, we’s just rather stick to the Korean soap they show on TV. While actors deliver modulated performances, this writer feels that Christopher de Leon’s role is too small to warrant a best actor nomination and award. I think he should have listed in the supporting category but I’m opening a can of worms here. Let’s just be thankful that this is the last Mano Po movie to be ever made. (Star rating: one star 1/2 out of four) – Dennis Ladaw, The Manila Times, Feb 28, 2005 (READ MORE)

“…Lamangan seems to be fond of this. In Mano Po 3, the teary scene in the car where Vilma Santos must eventually make her choice between Jay Manalo and Christopher de Leon, is an unabashed copying of a similar scene in The Bridges of Madison Country, where Meryl Streep must also make her choice between her husband and Clint Eastwood. Needless to say, Eastwood’s film has more resonance…” – Ian Rosales Casocot, Eating The Sun, blog, Nov 2005 (READ MORE)