Mga Kalapati sa Amsterdam

“Okey din naman pala itong utol kong si Ethel Ramos. You see, she went with Vilma Santos to Amsterdam and like a good sister…she sent me these exclusive pictorials of Vilma Santos and that of up-and-coming actor Mark Gil. Mark, as you have probably heard went ahead of Vi to Amsterdam. So, Mark was able to see the rounds of Amsterdam even before Vi came. So impressed was Mark that he almost memorized the favorite spots he went to and volunteered to become Vi’s guide. Sa Damsquare unang ipinasyal ni Mark si Vi. Sa lugar na ito raw malimit na nagpapasyal ang mga tagaroon. Karaniwan na, doon sila nag-papalipas ng maghapon, nakaupo sa mga upuang sadyang ginawa para sa mga turista at kundi nagpapahangin ay nagpapainit kaya. Sa Damsquare ay makikita ang pagkarami-raming kalapati. Kung gusto mong pagkalumpunan ka ng mga kalapati na pagkaaamo, pakainin mo lang sila at pagkakaguluhan ka ng mga ito. Maraming nagtitinda ng mga pagkain ng kapati sa Damsquare. Iyon ang tagpong malimit nating makita sa mga pelikulang English. May eksenang ganito si Vi na mapapanuod natin sa “Miss X” na ginawa nila in its entirety in Amsterdam. “Nakakatuwa si Vi habang pinanonood mo siyang nakikipaglaro sa mga kalapati…”

Hindi Nakaporma – “She was bubbling with joy,” puna ni Mark, who obviously was smittened yata with Vi’s charm. Kaya lang, ang balita namin, tipo raw na hindi nakaporma si Mark kay Vi dahil sa isang Dutchman na laging nakadikit sa aktres. Kamukha raw ni Ramil Rodriguez ang “suitor”na ito ni Vi at talaga raw matinding-matindi ang tama sa ating dalaga. Makikita ninyo sa movie ang Dutchman na ito dahil kasama rin siya sa cast ng “Miss X.” At mukhang seryoso raw ang Dutchman na ito dahil may nagbulong sa amin, malamang na pumunta siya rito sa ating bansa para totohanin na ang kanyang panliligaw. Kapag nangyari ito, masaya siguro. By the way, back to Damsquare, naroon din daw pala ang palace ni Doña Juliana, ang reyna ng Amsterdam, pero hindi siya doon nakatira. Minsan isang buwan lang kung buksan ang palasyo at itoý kung may cabinet conference. Si Doña Juliana ay anak ng first queen ng Amsterdam na si Doña Wilhelmina. Sa Soastdijk (pronounced as Susdak) siya nakatira. Isang lugar din ito sa Netherlands. Ipinasyal din ni Mark si Vi sa Red Light District. Dito kinunan ang malaking bahagi ng “Miss X.” Dito nga makikita ang much talked about na mga babaing naka-display sa eskaparate at for hire for a 15-minute pleasure…” – Article by Chit A. Ramos, Photos: Bing Cruz, first published at Jingle Extra Hot Magazine, 26 November 1979, Posted by James DR, Pelikula (READ MORE)

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Remembering Mark Gil

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Bing Pimentel – “…We were supposed to be kissing while watching a very violent scene from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange…I was stiff, naturally, because Mark was practically a stranger and it was my first day on the set of my first movie…I didn’t think much of him because I was dating another actor that time, (Roel Vergel de Dios)…After 28 takes, the director yelled ‘Pack up! Mag-date muna kayo!’ (Go out on a date first!)…” – Bayani San Diego Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer, 25 September 2014 (READ MORE)

Enchanted Family – “…On a more personal note, we got to know Mark earlier than most because, in the ’70s, we tapped his beautiful and gifted mother, Rosemarie Gil, as one of the hosts (along with Pete Roa, Gigi Lacson and Bey Vito) of the pioneering TV magazine show, “Sanlinggo,” that we scripted and directed for PTV 4. Rosemarie would sometimes bring her children to our taping and shooting sessions, so we first saw Mark, Cherie and Michael as lovely and spirited kids, and we found the entire family, including dad Eddie Mesa (a fine singer and actor in his own right) absolutely enchanting. That early, we simply knew that all of the Eigenmann kids would also become exceptional performers and stars. —What we didn’t know was that their thespic genes would “power” another generation of dynamic players, including Mark’s son, Sid Lucero, who was named after the character he played in “Batch ’81,” and Andi Eigenmann…” – Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 06 September 2014 (READ MORE)

Still Friends – “…THE movie Miss X, filmed and released in the ’80s, will forever be memorable to Mark Gil. Then still very young and raw as far as acting is concerned, Direk Gil Portes tapped Mark to play Governor Vi’s leading man. Miss X had Governor Vi playing the title role. It was filmed entirely in Amsterdam, the official capital of the Netherlands. The entire cast, crew and staff, headed, of course, by Direk Gil, stayed in Amsterdam for about a month. As expected, the film was a blockbuster when it was shown. Henceforth, Mark admitted, life was never the same for him after the film. That he has a lot to thank Governor Vi is a given. Kaya for Mark, ang chance na makatrabaho uli si Gov. Vi is something to be grateful about. “Kasi she has not changed,” aniya. “Kung ano’ng pag-uugali niya when we were in Amsterdam together at pareho pa kaming bata noon, ganu’n pa rin siya ngayon. “Considering all the achievements na kanyang natamo, ’di lang bilang artista kundi bilang public official din, I am glad she still takes to me as a friend,” pahayag ni Mark. Doing The Healing with Gov. Vi is another challenge for the actor….” – Nel Alejandrino, Journal, July 11, 2012

Days in Amsterdam – “…Where to now?” I heard my mommy ask Gil when all the proper and necessary introductions were conducted. “Since it is a Sunday,” Gil suggests, “Why don’t we hear mass at the church of the Bigginhoff?” The church is situated in a strategic area, along several residential houses, and it is one of the only two Catholic churches in Amsterdam. Since between the two churches, it is the Bigginhoff which celebrates one mass in English, it is where most Filipinos attend their Sunday mass. The front yard of the church, after the mass, serves as a melting pot of sorts for most Filipinos. It si here where they renew acquaintances, exchange tete-a-tete, or get the latest tsismis about a fellow Filipinos. It is in this area where my group and I chanced upon Eddie Gutierrez, who was on the last leg of his European tour. Eddie works as a promotional salesman for Belcraft International, a firm which has its main office in Canada and which specializes in household wares….Happily for all of us, nothing untoward happened since then. We managed to even finish shooting the entire movie ahead of schedule. Now that I am back home, things which I should have done and which I shouldn’t keep rushing back into my mind. Truly, my days in Amsterdam continue to evoke memories for me, both pleasant and otherwise. For example, how can I forget the group who made up Miss X? They were such a happy lot that I would love working with them again. Gil, my director, despite himself, is a dear. I love the guy, since I know he loves me, too. Mark G., my leading man, will forever hold a special place in my heart. He proved so sweet, so pleasant to work with, so much so, I pray he will succeed. And my Ductch leading man, Max van Os, he did make my last days in Amsterdam memorable. I will always take him as one of the most warm-heated persons I’ve ever met in my whole life. My memories of Amsterdam will never be complete without me mentioning the kindness and generosity of the Filipinos residing there. The way they welcomed and treated us in their respective homes truly amazed me. I love them all and will cherish their memories for a long, long time…” – Ethelwolda A. Ramos, Expressweek December 20, 1979 (READ MORE)

Generous Actor – “…If there is one thing that Mark Gil should be remembered for, it is his generosity. His career is marked by performances wherein he is required to work with others, whether it is a director with a distinctly unique vision or filmmaking style, or an ensemble of actors with varying ranges. In all his works, it never appeared that he was occupying much of the limelight. He was simply not there for himself. He was there for the film. Even Sid Lucero, the name that jumpstarted his career, he generously lent to his son, Timothy Eigenmann. Perhaps this is the reason why Mark Gil is such a great actor. He just had so much to give, but too little time to keep giving…Even up to the end, he was preparing for projects, for various filmmakers, for himself. There were simply no boundaries, not even the pain he was suffering because of the illness he had kept a secret, when it comes to his craft…” – Oggs Cruz, Rappler, 02 Sep 2014 (READ MORE)

Nora Aunor on Mark Gil – “…I got to work with Mark in ‘Rock ’n’ Roll’ (1981) and then in ‘Babae’ (1997). He was one of the best. I would get nervous in our scenes together. I last saw him at the thanksgiving party of Direk Maryo J. de los Reyes last year. We talked about making a movie together again. Sayang it didn’t push through. He still had so much to give to the movie industry…” – Bayani San Diego Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer, 08 Sep 2014 (READ MORE)

Raphael Joseph De Mesa Eigenmann (born September 25, 1961), better known as Mark Gil, is a Filipino actor. He is the son of actors Eddie Mesa and Rosemarie Gil, brother of actors Michael de Mesa and Cherie Gil. He is fourth Filipino, fourth Spanish, and half Swiss German American descent. He is the father of singer/actor Gabby Eigenmann and Ira Eigenmann from actress Irene Celebre. He is also the father of Tim “Sid Lucero” Eigenmann and Maxene “Max” Eigenmann from actress Bing Pimentel, and of Andi Eigenmann from another actress, Jaclyn Jose. He has been married for 18 yrs to Maricar Jacinto-Eigenmann. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Related Reading:

Miss X (Videos)

Basic Information: Filipina prostitute living in red district of Amsterdam. Directed by Gil Portes, written by Ricardo Lee and Cast: Vilma Santos, Mark Gil. The film’s theme song. “Dito Ba?” was composed by George Canseco and performed by Kuh Ledesma. The film won the 1980 FAMAS Best Musical Score for George Canseco.

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Mark Gil in The Healing – July 25 2012

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Days in Amsterdam – “…“Where to now?” I heard my mommy ask Gil when all the proper and necessary introductions were conducted. “Since it is a Sunday,” Gil suggests, “Why don’t we hear mass at the church of the Bigginhoff?” The church is situated in a strategic area, along several residential houses, and it is one of the only two Catholic churches in Amsterdam. Since between the two churches, it is the Bigginhoff which celebrates one mass in English, it is where most Filipinos attend their Sunday mass. The front yard of the church, after the mass, serves as a melting pot of sorts for most Filipinos. It si here where they renew acquaintances, exchange tete-a-tete, or get the latest tsismis about a fellow Filipinos. It is in this area where my group and I chanced upon Eddie Gutierrez, who was on the last leg of his European tour. Eddie works as a promotional salesman for Belcraft International, a firm which has its main office in Canada and which specializes in household wares….Happily for all of us, nothing untoward happened since then. We managed to even finish shooting the entire movie ahead of schedule. Now that I am back home, things which I should have done and which I shouldn’t keep rushing back into my mind. Truly, my days in Amsterdam continue to evoke memories for me, both pleasant and otherwise. For example, how can I forget the group who made up Miss X? They were such a happy lot that I would love working with them again. Gil, my director, despite himself, is a dear. I love the guy, since I know he loves me, too. Mark G., my leading man, will forever hold a special place in my heart. He proved so sweet, so pleasant to work with, so much so, I pray he will succeed. And my Ductch leading man, Max van Os, he did make my last days in Amsterdam memorable. I will always take him as one of the most warm-heated persons I’ve ever met in my whole life. My memories of Amsterdam will never be complete without me mentioning the kindness and generosity of the Filipinos residing there. The way they welcomed and treated us in their respective homes truly amazed me. I love them all and will cherish their memories for a long, long time…” – Ethelwolda A. Ramos, Expressweek December 20, 1979 (READ MORE)

Raphael Joseph De Mesa Eigenmann (born September 25, 1961), better known as Mark Gil, is a Filipino actor. He is the son of actors Eddie Mesa and Rosemarie Gil, brother of actors Michael de Mesa and Cherie Gil. He is fourth Filipino, fourth Spanish, and half Swiss German American descent. He is the father of singer/actor Gabby Eigenmann and Ira Eigenmann from actress Irene Celebre. He is also the father of Tim “Sid Lucero” Eigenmann and Maxene “Max” Eigenmann from actress Bing Pimentel, and of Andi Eigenmann from another actress, Jaclyn Jose. He has been married for 18 yrs to Maricar Jacinto-Eigenmann. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Mark Gil and Vilma Santos

Still Friends – “…THE movie Miss X, filmed and released in the ’80s, will forever be memorable to Mark Gil. Then still very young and raw as far as acting is concerned, Direk Gil Portes tapped Mark to play Governor Vi’s leading man. Miss X had Governor Vi playing the title role. It was filmed entirely in Amsterdam, the official capital of the Netherlands. The entire cast, crew and staff, headed, of course, by Direk Gil, stayed in Amsterdam for about a month. As expected, the film was a blockbuster when it was shown. Henceforth, Mark admitted, life was never the same for him after the film. That he has a lot to thank Governor Vi is a given. Kaya for Mark, ang chance na makatrabaho uli si Gov. Vi is something to be grateful about. “Kasi she has not changed,” aniya. “Kung ano’ng pag-uugali niya when we were in Amsterdam together at pareho pa kaming bata noon, ganu’n pa rin siya ngayon. “Considering all the achievements na kanyang natamo, ’di lang bilang artista kundi bilang public official din, I am glad she still takes to me as a friend,” pahayag ni Mark. Doing The Healing with Gov. Vi is another challenge for the actor….” – Nel Alejandrino, Journal, July 11, 2012

The Healing (2012) – “…The Healing. A Star Cinema horror film under the direction of Chito S. Roño starring Vilma Santos, Kim Chiu, Janice de Belen, Pokwang, Mark Gil, Martin del Rosario, Cris Villanueva, Daria Ramirez, Maria Isabel Lopez, Ces Quesada, Cogie Domingo, Angelu de Leon, Ryan Eigenmann, and Jomari Yllana with a tentative nationwide theatrical release of May 2012…” – Chris A. (READ MORE)

Miss X (1980) – “…Did you know that as early as the ’80s, nagsusulat na ang award-winning scriptwriter na si Ricky Lee tungkol sa plight ng ating mga OFW (overseas Filipino workers)? He started with “Miss X,” filmed in Amsterdam in The Netherlands with now Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos in the title role. For an entire month, namalagi sa Amsterdam si Ricky kasama ang cast and crew ng pelikula. Naging simula ang Miss X ng ilang collaboration sa pagitan nila ng equally award-winning director na si Gil Portes. Ang next movie together nila ni direk Gil was “Carnival In Rio”, which was filmed naman in Rio de Janeiro. Alma Moreno, who was at the height of her popularity as a bold star then, played the lead role. Then came “Merika,” na isinapelikula naman sa New Jersey and New York with Nora Aunor playing the lead role. “Because of that movie,” ani Ricky, “I was able to explore New York, the city of my dream. After my travels to all these places, I wrote (direk) Gil a letter, thanking him for the rare chance he gave na marating ang mga lugar na ito na ’di ko Inakalang mararating ko,” pahayag ni Ricky. For Anak, which was filmed in Hong Kong, Ricky had the chance na makatrabaho muli si Vilma sa ibang bansa muli. This time, na-renew, wika nga, ang kanilang bonding. Ricky remembered that because Anak was a blockbuster, binigyan ng Star Cinema ng malaking bonus si Ate Vi. Nagulat daw siya when one day, he received a P40,000 check from the actress. Contribution daw ang pera ni Ate Vi sa isinagawa niyang workshop for aspiring scriptwriters…” – Nel A, The People’s Tonight, Aug 31 2005 (READ MORE)

Ang Galing-Galing Mo Mrs. Jones (1980) – “…Ang Galing Galing Mo Mrs. Jones (August 29, 1980) ng HPS Film Productions ang nagtampok kina Vi, Al Tantay, Mark Gil, Richard Romualdez, Anna Gonzales, Vic Silayan, Josephine Manuel, Anita Linda, Rodolfo Boy Garcia, Tintoy at Pepot sa panulat ni Toto Belano, iskrip ni Ruben Rustia at direksiyon ni Cirio H. Santiago…” – Alfonso Valencia (READ MORE)

Related Reading:

The Healing (2012)

“…Gagawin ko po lahat kahit ano, gumaling lang po ako…” – Cookie (Kim Chiu)

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Basic Information: Direction: Chito Roño; Cast: Vilma Santos, Kim Chiu, Pokwang, Mark Gil, Martin del Rosario, Allan Paule, Cris Villanueva, Daria Ramirez, Ces Quesada, Ynez Veneracion, Simon Ibarra, Abi Bautista, Joel Torre, Chinggay Alonso, Mon Confiado, Carmi Martin; Production Co.: Star Cinema; Release Date: July 25 2012

Plot Description: “…Stories about the Filipino tradition of going to faith healers for guidance and treatment of ailments have not yet been tackled in-depth in movies. And in our film, the viewers will not just be horrified, they’ll somehow be challenged to think as to how faith healing has already been part of our culture…” – ABS-CBN News (READ MORE)

Film Achievement: 9th USTv Students’ Choice Awards – Best Local Full-Length Film – Star Cinema/ABS-CBN Film Productions; PMPC Star Awards 2012: 11 Nominations – Movie of the Year – Star Cinema; Movie Director of the Year – Chito Roño; Movie Actress of the Year – Vilma Santos; Movie Supporting Actress of the Year – Kim Chiu; Child Performer of the Year – Abby Bautista; Movie Screenwriter of the Year – Roy Iglesias; Movie Cinematographer of the Year – Charlie Peralta; Movie Production Designer of the Year – Erick Torralba, Richard Somes, Fritz Silorio; Movie Musical Scorer of the Year – Jerrold Tarog; Movie Editor of the Year – Jerrold Tarog; Movie Sound Engineer of the Year – Mike Idioma

Netizens’ Choice Awards – Favorite Movie of the Year (Star Cinema); Favorite Movie Actress of the Year – Kim Chiu; Vilma Santos’ 50th Anniversary Movie; The Cinema Evaluation Board of the Philippines gave this film a “Graded A” and MTRCB rated this film Rated-13 (censored version) and Rated-18 (director’s cut); Ranked 3rd on the Highest-grossing Local movies of 2012, earning 2.06M US$ (85.96M PH); Star Cinema is very happy with the box-office result of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos’ (photo) latest movie, The Healing, which has grossed more than P130M so far (and counting!).

100-million mark – Heavy rains may have flooded Luzon but that didn’t hinder to the success of Chito Rono’s most recent masterpiece “The Healing“. While expected to reach the 100-million mark, The Healing as of it’s 3rd week has grossed P85.96 million in ticket sales. The Healing actually started with an awesome 7-day gross at P80 million as reported by Star Cinema and P74.39 according to Box Office Mojo Philippines. That’s only a 6-million difference, but let’s say we consider P80 million as the first week gross of The Healing. After riding that week of wave of success, The Healing began to see a decrease in the box office earnings which may be caused by the storm that entered the country about two weeks ago (while the film was on it’s second week). And with Star Cinema’s The Reunion coming into theaters this week! I’m not sure if The Healing can still make it to the 100-million mark. Two other factors are Disney’s Brave (with 55-Million 2 weeks gross) and Philippines’ most awaited Hollywood movie event “The Bourne Legacy” which raked P110-million on its first week. Additionally, MTRCB’s two film rating cuts for The Healing (R13) and The Healing R18 might have affected their earnings. Like seriously! The malls where I went to watch The Healing are so damn strict that they looked for any identification/certification that I’m 18. Going back, the movie was given a grade “A” by the Cinema Evaluation Board and was well-received by moviegoers and even the country’s top critics. “The Healing” is starring Vilma Santos, Kim Chiu, Janice de Belen, Mark Gil, Martin del Rosario, Jhong Hilario, Allan Paule, Cris Villanueva, Daria Ramirez, Ces Quesada, Ynez Veneracion, Simon Ibarra, Abby Bautista, Joel Torre, Chinggoy Alonso, Mon Confiado, Carmi Martin and Pokwang. The Healing is still on its 4th week! – Mark Glenn Cabrera (READ MORE)

‘This one’s really made for Ate Vi’ – “…Horror is one of those genres na hindi talaga siya kumukupas. Once it’s done well, everybody loves to watch horror movies. Kahit na ako. masaya siya eh. Lalo na pag may matatakutin kang kaibigan, ang sarap (laughs). It’s an experience na like no other. It’s like comedy where tawa kayo ng tawa. Kasi kapag iiyak ka, medyo nahihiya ka pa. pero this one’s really made for Ate Vi. Talagang role tailor made for her. Matagal na niyang hiningi ito,” he shares during The Healing’s bloggers conference held last July 23 at the ABS-CBN compound. Direk Chito says he and Vilma had talked about making a movie together as early as three years ago. After doing movies like Bata, bata Pano Ka Ginawa? and Dekada 70, The Healing is their reunion movie after almost ten years. He adds the multi-awarded actress has already proven her worth after 50 years in showbiz. “This is our fourth movie. I’ve always said na nakita ko na ang galing ng isang Vilma Santos sa ilang dekada, sa ang daming great movies na nagawa. Parang she’s one of those people na kailangan pa ba niya i-prove ulit? Yung parang I know she now always demands for something na medyo mas substantial. Huwag naman yung mediocre. Sabi ko the concept of the movie is bagay na sa stature niya. We’ve seen her do a lot of great scenes in most of her movies. The famous monologue scenes, the famous long takes. Ate Vi yan pag sinabi mong three pages na monologue, automatic na yan sa showbiz. Bihira na lang sa industriya yung kaya gawin yan. I’m very happy na pumayag si Ate Vi na ensemble ang pelikula…” – Push, 25 Jul 2009 (READ MORE)

Film Review: “…Director Chito S. Roño is a veteran in doing horror movies. In 2004, he helmed the box-office hit Feng Shui, an answer to the Asian horror movie phenomenon. The Healing, on the other hand, can be considered an answer to Hollywood’s torture-and-gore horror movie phenomenon. It may be the first local horror film to do so, and thus it is refreshing to watch. There is no shortage of shocking gore in The Healing. There are lots and lots of blood; horror movie fans will not be disappointed. The movie is also made more fun by moments of fan service, that recalls several niches of pop culture that seem to be taboo in Philippine mainstream cinema. There’s a small child wielding a ninja weapon killing groups of monks, before jumping to her death. There’s a beheading using a giant knife. There are many more.

The story also offers something new, away from familiar themes like haunted houses and vengeful ex-girlfriends. It exploits the Filipino tradition of faith healing, and the consequences of tapping this alternative form of therapy. What’s most admirable is the fact that The Healing’s actors went to great lengths to provide credence to the story. Vilma Santos, for instance, gets stabbed multiple times that you’d wonder how she can take these intense physical scenes at her age. Kim Chiu should also be praised for her handling of her character, Cookie. Her early scenes when she needs to act sick are believable and downright affecting. In summary, The Healing is suited for Pinoy horror fans. It is fun as it is shocking, and non-squeamish viewers should have no problem having a good time…” – Mark Angelo Ching, PEP, July 30, 2012 (READ MORE)

“…Santos’ spine-tingler is far from original, but as it tweaks the narrative conceit that has made “Final Destination” a box-office-busting film franchise, the movie finds innovative ways to establish an atmosphere of impending doom that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats: You feel that something gruesome is about to transpire, you just don’t know how it will play out—or when! The Star for All Seasons decided to make the film because she wanted to add something “new” to her formidable oeuvre—and, with “The Healing,” Santos accomplishes exactly that. The role doesn’t require her to do much except run in circles or look worried or scared. But, she displays flashes of dramatic brilliance when she is hounded by guilt, a motivation that presents her with forks in the road that just might lead to the resolution of the horrifying story’s main conflict. More than anything, it’s a treat to see the durable actress on the big screen again. The horror-thriller genre she dabbles in effectively introduces her to a younger (and wider) viewing demographic that derives pleasure from getting scared out of its wits….” – Rito P. Asilo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 28, 2012 (READ MORE)

“…The reason I like Chito Rono’s horror movies, and the reason I see most of them in the theatre, is because suspense-horror is a completely original genre, completely divorced from the hang-ups and expectations of movies that involve real people doing somewhat credible things. I remember when Chito Rono did a suspense project DAHAS, topbilled by Maricel Soriano and Richard Gomez. It was one of a kind. Very engaging just like the Healing. Kim Chiu, among other characters has lesser exposure here but a huge revelation. She epitomizes the typical Asian character on every horror films we watched. Her make-up was perfect and she looks so fresh on the movie. Pokwang, Janice and Martin Del Rosario did a great job as support role. Their characters are very important and happy to see Janice De Belen again on the big screen. Pokwang gave a little taste of comic on her dialogues, which gave everyone to catch their breath in preparation to next scene. Martin Del Rosario is a real charmer. Again the focus of the film is the story, its suspense package and for Vilma Santos, which they succeeded. I suggest everyone should watch the uncut version, brave the director’s cut as there seems to be obvious reason why some of the scenes are not included on R13. DISLIKE: There’s one thing I don’t like, they are trying to blur some of Vilma Santos physical feature. That looks very obvious on the big screen. But you will love the color coding (that’s for you to find out). Star Cinema gave another reason for everyone to go back to movie houses and appreciate local films. It’s another excellent film of 2012…The Movie is in honor of Vilma’s 50th anniversary, Star Cinema gathered an all-star highly acclaimed powerhouse cast composed of Kim, Janice de Belen, Mark Gil, Martin del Rosario, Allan Paule, Cris Villanueva, Daria Ramirez, Ces Quesada, Ynez Veneracion, Simon Ibarra, Abi Bautista, Joel Torre, Chinggoy Alonso, Mon Confiado, Carmi Martin and Pokwang. I am giving THE HEALING 10 out of 10…” – Rod Magaru (READ MORE)

“…Vilma is subjected to a lot of stressful scenes in the movie as she fights for dear life. We have to suspend our disbelief a bit in the scenes where she gets violently mauled, stabbed, hit by a chair, repeatedly hurled down into the floor, but it did elicit a lot of deafening screams from the theatre crowd. Some of her fans feel she should have just done another drama but we can understand her desire to flex her wings and do a vehicle of this sort. When we saw the movie, a lot of viewers were young people who enjoy watching scary films like this. With this, Ate Vi has successfully reached out to a new demographic, with the help of a young star like Kim Chiu, who in all fairness, also does well in her dual roles. For us, it’s a very wise decision indeed. And Chito Roño shows here to younger horror directors like Topel Lee, Richard Somes and Jerrold Tarog (Tarog did a fine job of scoring and editing the movie) that he remains to be the master of the genre who can be even playful with the orchestrated color scheme of the costumes worn by his characters in the movie…” – Mario Bautista, Malaya, Aug 6 2012 (READ MORE)

“…Roño elevated gore in this horror. From a decapitation scene in the middle of the street to a massacre inside a temple, the director inspired the MTRCB to give the film dual versions: The director’s cut rated R-18 and a trimmed R-13 that allows the fans of Kim Chiu into the cinemas. While the spooks work (including a stroke of brilliance of a popped, moving left eye when the victim becomes possessed), acting was also solid in “The Healing.” Vilma, who owns most of the frames, is convincing whether consoling her friends, guilt-ridden, confused, terrified. She’s even perfect as the ex-wife who, despite the fact that she was the one left behind for a new family, remained careful and concerned when dealing with her son and the daughter of her ex-husband because she always consider how her ex and his new wife would feel. Supporting performances are as engaging. Kim Chiu, whose Cookie is also healed but scheduled to die if Seth fails to stop the terrifying chain, traded convincing scenes with the actress/politician. Robert Arevalo and Allan Paule (Greta’s husband) offered moments of laughter and chances to exhale from the jolts and gore. Joel Torre and Jhong Hilario stole bits of the thunder in their moments leading to the climax…” – Kaye Villagomez, Manila Bulletin, Aug 07 2012 (READ MORE)

“…Vilma Santos is an icon and it is cool that she is accessible to a new generation of movie-goers. Ate Vi, this time without the benefit of long monologues or cinematic crying, proves her virtuosity as an actor in a horror movie, a genre she’s not really known for. But the good governor is indisputable as the leading lady within a great ensemble cast, including Joel Torre, Alan Paule, Janice de Belen, Cris Villanueva, Kim Chiu, and Pokwang among others. Look closely and you’ll find her photographed lovingly (by cinematographer Charlie Peralta) in almost soft-focus -is that what they call a two stocking shot? -running around in her platform mules and designer handbags. She’s awesome at looking surprised and seemed suitably spooked when a black crow flies in her face. (I will not mention any plot spoilers because the story is way too convoluted to summarize here, but I will say that yes, there is an ugly black bird in this movie)…” – Ria Limjap, Spot.ph, Aug 03 2012 (READ MORE)

To Rono’s credit, each “death scene” would top the last one as far as gore and blood are concerned. The cast did well, too. Vilma Santos is Vilma Santos. She will always be bigger than her roles. This is not to say that she did not perform well; she did. But, watching her, you see Vilma more than Seth – too strong to ignore. Kim Chiu appeared in very few scenes despite her second billing. As with her performances on TV, she would have done better if she injected more energy into her role. I did not know Martin del Rosario before this movie, but he delivered very well in his crucial role as Jed. I’m not really sure why Ynez Veneracion had to show her right boob in a scene – maybe for old times’ sake. Several camera angles used by Mr. Rono were very well-planned and executed, maximizing the tension onscreen. Like other productions (movies and theater plays) I watch nowadays, there was color coordination in the outfits/costumes of the characters onscreen. In “The Healing,” though, I did not quite get why a certain color was chosen to be the “theme” of a scene. It was too obvious, that when a scene’s color scheme continued into an unrelated scene, it became distracting. Many common scare tactics and music were employed in the film. Thankfully, there was no Sadako-like creature in this one (if you still don’t know who Sadako is, Google “The Ring” Japanese version — or search on YouTube). Overall, “The Healing” is okay. It is similar to other horror films in the way the friends of the lead female character are dying around her and it is up to her to break the curse. If it was Kris Aquino who played Seth instead of Vilma Santos, the movie would just be “Feng Shui” all over again…” – Fred Hawson, Rappler, Aug 12 2012 (READ MORE)

“…The movie has a cohesive plot. The editing is brisk. The story telling is to the point. The jolts, the surprises, the building tension as the plot thickens makes you squirm from your seat. You can’t take your eyes off the screen so as not to miss the details, the foreshadowing, the conflict resolution. From the impressive opening credits, to the alternate theme colors of blue, red, yellow & white, you know the movie is special. The ensemble acting reminds you of such sleuth movies as Murder on the Orient Express & Death on the Nile, where Rono is able to flesh out the best from each actor or actress, no matter how small the role is, whether in a group or singly . I particularly like Janice De Belen, Pokwang, Robert Arevalo (in a groovy role that Sildenafil users could relate to), Kim Chiu, Joel Torre & Martin Del Rosario. Vilma Santos is in almost every frame. It is a most restrained performance, akin to her Urian winning Amanda Bartolome character in Dekada 70 where she has mastered “doing less is more.” As the key figure or the cause of the sad fate of her friends, Vilma is able to effectively use her eyes to show fear, guilt, sadness, even remorse. Her best scenes are when she tells her son Martin to not leave Kim from his sight, while calling from a cell phone, her confrontation scene with Kim in a car while Martin is driving the van & her hair raising, thrilling confrontation scene with Kim, the evil twin…” – Mar Garces (READ MORE)

“…The Healing spends a great deal of time needlessly attempting to make sense of the plentiful contrivances it filled its plot with. Simplicity is not one of Roño’s priorities. The film indulges in so many points that require tiring explanations and expositions, some of which seem too farfetched to be believed or to be appreciated. While the genre relies heavily on the supernatural and the unexplainable, Roño’s story seems too all over the place, forcing everything to cohere seamlessly like a completed jigsaw puzzle. Unfortunately, the film’s insistence on forcing the details mostly backfires, creating a story that meanders a little bit too much. The key to good horror is not necessarily what is overtly shown and depicted but the quality and the extent of what is left to the imagination. Roño invests a lot in The Healing’s visual design. Practical effects are abandoned for computer-generated effects, allowing grislier and more deranged sequences to exist with absolute ease. Instead of heightening the tension, the computer-generated effects only deflates it, inviting humor with how closer it resembles cartoons than macabre realism instead of fear. The acting is also unnecessarily pronounced and hysterical, despite the characters’ unnatural reaction to impending amorality and death. There is just too little left for the audience. The film is just frustratingly cluttered, serving details and elements, motivations and reactions, all of which do not necessarily fit the material they are forced to support. The Healing is commendable only for the fact that it attempted to stray from the inanities of uninspired horror cinema that has occupied Philippine cinema for far too long. It bears ideas and an execution of such ideas that evince an ambition and effort to break away from tired conventions. Sadly, everything ends up in forgettable confusion…” – Oggs Cruz (READ MORE)

“…The film is, by turn, violent and the sexy episode given clinical treatment. The breast of Ynez Veneracion (as Greta) is fondled matter-of-factly to show that the cancerous lumps are no longer there. The series of death – suicide and murder, keep the moviegoers on the edge, screaming here and there and up to the very end when the ‘sanib’ victim Kim Chiu (as Cookie) opens her eyes. Rono has a perfect acting ensemble to make this film credible and engaging. Even with the limited exposure and dialogue that she had, Daria Ramirez was great acting personified in The Healing. Pokwang (as Alma) was another revelation. Here, Rono doesn’t allow her to take another crack at her comic talents and emerges a natural performer. Everyone has defining moments in this film from Kim Chiu (as Cookie), Janice de Belen (as Cita), Robert Arevalo (as Odong), Martin del Rosario (as Jed), Mark Gil (as Val), Carmi Martin, Cris Villanueva (as Ding), Allan Paule (as Ruben), Ces Quesada (as Chona), Chinggoy Alonzo and Simon Ibarra (as Rex), among others. Joel Torre -as the healer’s brother- turns in another winning performance. This is my first horror film with Vilma Santos in it and I must say that she acquitted herself very well. Her subtle acting in The Healing was reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark. I think she should do more horror film with Rono. Like it or not, The Healing is my Horror Film of the Year…” – Pablo A. Tariman (READ MORE)

“…The cast delivers a believable performance in The Healing. For a horror film, it sure has some good humor on it. The humor usually comes from Seth’s (Vilma Santos) father Mang Odong (Robert Arevalo). But never forget that this is a horror film, you when you least expect it the film delivers this sucker punch jump scare. The Healing has a good number of jump scares which you can either love or hate. I personally prefer the more psychological and creeping form of scare when it comes to horror films. Don’t get me wrong, The Healing has these creepy elements as well. The scares in the Healing are okay which have been generally enhanced by CG-effects…Star Cinema’s The Healing is a good horror film which has some pretty suspenseful and creepy moments…The Healing is worth the time, money, and effort. The film is more of a suspense than a horror in the latter part of the film which is not bad which doesn’t diminish how the story progressed. Pinoy Movie Blogger gives The Healing (2012) an 8 out of 10 (4/10) film review rating…” – Chris A., Pinoy Movie Blogger (READ MORE)

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26 Days in Amsterdam

There was both sunshine and a little rain when the KLM 747 flight which took us from Manila to Amsterdam finally landed at the Amsterdam Schipol airport. The air terminal was huge, but bigger was the crowd, mostly Filipinos residing in Amsterdam, who welcomed us. Although there were happy smiles in their faces, I eagerly looked around for familiar faces. Sure enough, Gil Portes, my Miss X director, and Mark Gil, my leading man, were there. Both waved happily at me. I waved back at them.

“Where to now?” I heard my mommy ask Gil when all the proper and necessary introductions were conducted. “Since it is a Sunday,” Gil suggests, “Why don’t we hear mass at the church of the Bigginhoff?” The church is situated in a strategic area, along several residential houses, and it is one of the only two Catholic churches in Amsterdam. Since between the two churches, it is the Bigginhoff which celebrates one mass in English, it is where most Filipinos attend their Sunday mass. The front yard of the church, after the mass, serves as a melting pot of sorts for most Filipinos. It si here where they renew acquaintances, exchange tete-a-tete, or get the latest tsismis about a fellow Filipinos. It is in this area where my group and I chanced upon Eddie Gutierrez, who was on the last leg of his European tour. Eddie works as a promotional salesman for Belcraft International, a firm which has its main office in Canada and which specializes in household wares.

We had a hearty meal at the Aide residence (the man of the house, Albert, is a jolly fellow; we all think he would do well as a comedian. Gil and his group stayed with him and his wife, Mila, and their only daughter, four year old Rachel) with the newly assigned utility girl for the production, Batangas beauty, Rose Perez, and her assistant, Arthur Dotollo, serving us their own concoction of Filipino dishes. Actually, it was because of Rose and Arthur and, of course, my mommy why we never missed a serving of whatever Filipino food that catches our fancy.

In any case, you would think that because of the seemingly endless 20-hour flight we went through, I would choose to have a long nap after meal. No, I didn’t. Instead, right after we had unpacked our luggage at the house assigned to us (located at 24 Vanhouweningestraat and owned by Chit Mallo), I asked Gil and Mark to accompany me in making rounds of Amsterdam. Since they’d come ahead of me; they mush know the place like hell, I even kidded them.

“But Vi, stores in Amsterdam are closed on Sundays, ” Gil warned me. Apparently, he thought I wanted to go on a shopping spree, as is the usual case among woman travelers. “But Gil,” I reasoned, “at least, give me the chance to get the “feel” of Amsterdam before we start shooting tomorrow morning.” Indeed, I wanted, in particular, to ge the ambiance of the popular “red light” district before we finally explore the area for the much-needed highlights in Miss X.

As expected, touring the entire Red Light district, watching the girls do their “thing” inside their display windows and accommodating a customer for a 15-.minute moment of pleasure was a truly marvelous experience. But mind you, the girls have class, and with a capital C, no less.

There is no age limit among the participants, I noticed. Thus, there are girls on display who appeared even much younger than my sister Winnie (and she is 17), while a few looked old enough to be grandmothers. But most of the girls are about 18 and above. Sila rin and pinuputakti ng mga marino. Where their dressing habits are concerned, there seems no particular requirements. So, you see them clad in different attires, but mostly the attires enhance the girls’ ’exiness. But they are quite expensive attires. There are a few, though, who take to wearing just a panty and a bra. Me, when my turn came to be “one among them,” I chose to wear a fiorrucci one-piece bathing suit, Ano, patatalbog?

Inside their “cubicle,” actually the size of an ordinary excaparate which can house one mannequin, the girls can pose any way they want. Hence, you find someone sitting atop a table reading a book or a magazine. Or, there is one in a reclining position and she usually has for company her dog. Yes, kahit sa pagdi-display sa sarili, kanya kanya silang patalbugan. But one thing apparent in all these cubicles is the small red bulb, placed at an angle where it would help enhance the occupant’s prominent features.

Let me tell ou about the “room” where the girls usually take their customers, granting that they have agreed on the price. It is a small and compact room, no different from the smaller room in two-bedroom apartments. There is a double bed on one side, and across it are two toilet bowls, one for the male customer and the other for the lady occupant.

There is a small bar along the doorway and on display are bottles of wine of different sizes and brands. Funny, but we had no chance to ask whether a customer pays more for a gulp or two of any of the brands. But one thing about the room, it si spotlessly clean. And guess what, only a red lamp lights the room.

It is said that each girl in the escaparate, even on what is known as the lean season, gets as much as 300 to 400 guilders a day. Which is big moola, if you ask me. No wonder, when Gil and Danny Datu, acting producer of Miss X in Amsterdam, talked to the girls for a short appearance in the flick, they had a hard time convincing them. But it is of course, going ahead of the story.

The weather suddenly became extremely bad when we had our first day of shooting. Since I promised to be thoroughly authentic even with my costumes in this particular movie, I had mommy shop for me new jackets, gloves, shoes and some other paraphernalia. The amount she spent was a big dent in our pockets, considering the fact that we were spending in pesos but buying in guilders (a guilder is equivalent to four bucks, Philippine money). But what is an extra amount compared to what my wardrobe would contribute to the credibility of the flick?

Really, if not for an unpleasant incident, which involved the loss of our cameraman, Mang Bert Bitong, Nagra, the Polaroid camera which Miss X assistant director, Roger Vivero used for continuity purposes, and Mark’s newly bought pair of boots, we actually had encountered no problem in the shooting.

More of less, here’s how the robbery incident happened. Since the scene which to be shot would see Mark walking along an area where disco clubs and nightclubs abound, Albert, who acted as both our driver and tour guide, parked the utility van, which the entire group used for the shooting at a place close by.

Obviously, Albert has had no experience of being burglarized in all of his six years in Amsterdam. Thus, when they discovered what happened, he was so surprised, it took a while before he managed to brace himself. Then, he said, “Don’t you worry, magtatanong ako kung paano mababai iyon.”

“No need to worry really,” say someone who overheard Albert, “somebody will call you tomorrow morning.” True enough, Albert got an early call from the supposed leader of the group and he demanded the amount of 600 guilders for the return of the nagra. Poor us, we had no choice but to accede to the demand.

Happily for all of us, nothing untoward happened since then. We managed to even finish shooting the entire movie ahead of schedule.

Now that I am back home, things which I should have done and which I shouldn’t keep rushing back into my mind. Truly, my days in Amsterdam continue to evoke memories for me, both pleasant and otherwise. For example, how can I forget the group who made up Miss X? They were such a happy lot that I would love working with them again. Gil, my director, despite himself, is a dear. I love the guy, since I know he loves me, too.

Mark G., my leading man, will forever hold a special place in my heart. He proved so sweet, so pleasant to work with, so much so, I pray he will succeed. And my Ductch leading man, Max van Os, he did make my last days in Amsterdam memorable. I will always take him as one of the most warm-heated persons I’ve ever met in my whole life.

My memories of Amsterdam will never be complete without me mentioning the kindness and generosity of the Filipinos residing there. The way they welcomed and treated us in their respective homes truly amazed me. I love them all and will cherish their memories for a long, long time. – “26 Days in Amsterdam” by Vilma Santos as told to Ethelwolda A. Ramos, Photographed by Bing Cruz, Expressweek December 20, 1979 Source: Pelikula At Iba Pa

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