‘Thy Womb’ Venice diaries

Nora Aunor, Lovi Poe, Mercedes Cabral explore old city in five-day whirl


DIRECTOR Brillante Mendoza with actress Mercedes Cabral (in a gown by Mitch Desunia) during the closing ceremony. Photo by HF Yambao

Venice was a whirl of photo shoots, interviews and red-carpet excitement for the three Filipino actresses—Nora Aunor, Lovi Poe and Mercedes Cabral—who accompanied director Brillante Mendoza for the recent premiere of their film, “Thy Womb,” at the world’s oldest film festival.

“Surreal” was how Cabral described the experience. “It was as if I was dreaming. I couldn’t believe I was walking on the red carpet in Venice.” Poe recalled being “nervous.”

The Filipinos felt especially proud seeing the Filipino flag fluttering in the wind as they walked to the cinema, where the movie was to be screened, related Boy Palma, Aunor’s manager.

Since they couldn’t travel with a team of stylists, Aunor and Cabral had done their own hair and makeup for the event. “I tried my best to look glamorous,” Aunor told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

As luck would have it, Poe’s makeup artist, Paolo Maranan, and hair stylist, John Valle, were touring Europe at the time. “I asked if they could pass by Venice to help me get dolled up,” the young star said.

Pressed for time

LOVI Poe plays with pigeons at the San Marco Piazza. Photo from Lovi Poe’s Twitter

Poe donned a black gown (by Cary Santiago) for the red carpet at the premiere. Cabral wore Cebu-based designer Harvey Cenit’s sexy cream gown.

“For the awards ceremony on September 8,” said Cabral, “I wore Mitch Desunia’s black gown.” At the awards show, the Filipinos didn’t get to march down the red carpet because they had been pressed for time. Aunor was escorted by friend John Rendez.

In spite of the hectic pace, Poe found the five-day whirlwind Venice trip “exciting.”

The actresses got to sample various restaurants in the city as guests of producer Melvin Mangada and Philippine Ambassador to Italy Virgilio Reyes Jr., who flew in from Rome.

“We got to extend our stay by only a day,” Aunor said.

Though she didn’t get to ride a gondola, Aunor made sure to pose for a snapshot by the world-famous Grand Canal—playfully emoting like she did in a dramatic scene from the movie shot in Tawi-Tawi.

SUPERSTAR turns wistful at the Grand Canal. Photo by HF Yambao

“Acting lang,” Aunor quipped, giggling.

Cabral and Poe squeezed in a quick tour of the old city.


On her own, Poe went shopping and museum-hopping. After a tiring day playing with pigeons at San Marco Piazza, she had coffee at Florian Cafe. “I was very proud of myself, having explored the city on my own,” she said.

“I am thankful to Direk Brillante for taking me to Venice,” said Cabral. “I got to go around…it’s really one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

On her last night in the city, Cabral met with Europe-based actress Bianca Zialcita (daughter of actress Evelyn Vargas) and some other friends. They had wine and pizza for dinner.

Best night

LUNCH at the Trattoria da Romano (from left): Cabral, Melvin Mangada, Poe, Mendoza, Larry Castillo, Nora Aunor and Boy Palma. Photo from Melvin Mangada’s Twitter

Cabral recalled: “We had a picnic in the middle of San Marco Piazza. Then we tried to ride the gondolas for a few snapshots, making sure we wouldn’t be spotted by the polizia because it was already late and riding the boats was no longer allowed. It was one of the best nights of my life.”

“It was an honor to travel with Nora and spend time with her,” Poe said. “I’ve heard so many stories about her and I am just glad to get this rare chance.”

Cabral added: “For me, it’s a big deal that I was able to join the superstar (as Aunor is called by fans) in representing our country. Tita Nora is down-to-earth. Lovi is sweet, too. Everyone was fun to travel with.”

Being a stranger in a foreign country could be “lonesome,” Poe admitted, but “Filipino camaraderie made the trip enjoyable and memorable.”

Next stop

Next stop for “Thy Womb” are the Goa (India) and Dubai fests, said Mendoza. “Thy Womb” and another Mendoza film, “Captive,” are nominees at the Asia-Pacific Screen Awards to be held in Brisbane, Australia, in November.

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  • andresa igbac

    Classic yong pic ni Ate Guy sa Grand Canal. Artistang-artista through and through! Luv it!

  • selinaKyle2012

    it’s good to know they had a good time together. congrats team thy womb. mabuhay pilipinas

  • Yoly Ejanda

    Kung ano ang gutom at hikahos nainabot ng mga Noranians nuong mga panahon na nagdaan, siya namang busog nila ngayon. Maraming salamat Nora at higit sa lahat sa mga taong nagtiwala parin sakanya. 

    • selinaKyle2012

      wow ang tindi mo Yoly Ejanda. Anong pinagsasabi mong gutom at hikahos ng mga Noranians? Baka gusto mong sampalin ka ng pera ng mga mayayamang Noranians? Baka ikaw ang patay gutom? Bastos ang pananalita mo. Vilmanian ka nga

      • c

        selina, bat ka galit agad? di ba ang meaning ni yoly ay dati nga absent kasi si guy sa pinas, magulo ang buhay, walang films. ngayon namamayagpag sya. a total reversal of fortune, which her fans have long been waiting for.

    • selinaKyle2012

      Bakit ba nandito na naman ang mga Vilmanians na ito? Palibhasa walang pumapansin sa hysterical na governor na yan na nandadaya ng awards? Sana naman yung mga comments na tulad ng kay Yoly Ejanda na mukhang hindi tao, binubura

  • Echuserang_Froglet

    mabuhay ang mga vilmanians. kami lang ang may class at sikat noh!!!!

    • Ferdie Uy

      Bagay sa iuo ang name mo, “ECHUSERANG FROGLET” talaga. Sana, dinagdagan mo ng “INGGITERA”.

    • adscity_info

      Echusera ka! Katulad ka ng latest movie ni Vilma na The Healing – walang kwenta!

  • c

    froglet, nagpapapansin ka na naman. this is supposed to be a happy and positive article. can’t you be positive for a change for people who worked hard and reaping benefits for it? am sure kahit ikaw, ano man work mo, you’d also want to get a pat on the back once in a while.

  • Marc

    wala kasing article na sosyal ang mga vilmanians kaya pakalat kalat na mga BASURA kung saan saang site ni ATE GUY at naghahasik ng mga mababahong amoy nila! kadiri talaga ang mga vilmanians… mana sa idolo nilang kadiri…

  • akimaxx

    Noranians at Vilmanians, tapos na po sa panahon ng ating kasaysayan ang sakit na IDOLATRY. Panahon ngayon na gumawa ng pelikula na makabuluhan, pelikula na makikilala ang Pilipinas sa arte ng Cinema. Ewan ko kung makagagawa pa si Vilma ng isang obra dahil ang kanyang konsentrasyon at panahon ay nakatuon sa pulitika. Iba na ang kanyang mundo ngayon, tingnan at pamahalaan ang Batangas.

    Ang tunay na artista ay dapat nakalaan ang buong puso at isipan sa pelikula, ganyan ngayon ang paggawa ng tunay na obra.Tapos na ang mga artistang lumalagare, dumarating ng huli sa takdang oras at hindi propesyonal..

    Malaki ang nabago ng Indie Films sa kasaysayan natin. Dahil iba na ang hinahanap ng ating manuod na karamihan ay kabataan. Nababago na rin ang pamamaraan ng ating ‘filmmakers’ na humanap ng mga bagong tema at estorya. Mga pelikula na pang buong mundo.

    Pagbati kay Direktor Brillante Mendoza sa mga hakbang na kanyang tinatahak. Isang hakbang na lamang direk, malapit na tayo. Sa mga artistang kasama sa Venice, ang sarap ng pakiramdam na ibang lahi ang pumapalakpak sa inyong ganda at pagganap, di ba?

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