Making Pinoy San Pedro relevant | Inquirer Entertainment

Making Pinoy San Pedro relevant

That this indie movie made it to the MMFF is nothing short of miraculous
/ 08:33 PM January 02, 2014

Against all odds, the indie film “Pedro Calungsod, Batang Martir” made it to the 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival. When director Francis O. Villacorta heard that his movie was in the magic circle of eight entries, he was speechless.

“I just prayed and thanked God for the opportunity,” he said.


Now, the film faces even bigger challenges as it competes with blockbusters.



“We try not to worry about the box-office results,” said Villacorta. “But I’d like it to make money for the producers.”

Lead star Rocco Nacino, who plays the Filipino saint, is undaunted. “I just want its lessons to reach the youth,” Nacino told the Inquirer. “Direk Francis and I want more Filipinos to know the real Pedro Calungsod.”

Rocco Nacino (left) with Johan Santos in “Pedro Calungsod.”

The film got a stamp of approval from the Catholic Education Association of the Philippines, Department of Education and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ Youth Commission and Media Office, according to Villacorta.

“It is important for young people to know that even if they feel ordinary, they can achieve their true purpose. Their lives can have meaning if they share what they have with others—like San Pedro did,” Villacorta stressed.

Since he didn’t want it to be perceived as a staid costume drama, the director inserted a lot of action scenes into the narrative, chronicling Pedro’s years in the Marianas. “I focused on his growing up years in the San Diego Mission, led by Spanish priest Diego San Vitores, who was executed in Guam with the young Filipino,” he explained.


Simple teenager

Calungsod, who was martyred in 1672, was canonized in October 2012.

Nacino saw the saint as “a simple teenager with a staunch desire to help others, and an even more intense love for God.”

Villacorta was initially apprehensive about working with a TV actor juggling several shows. Nacino was busy with two GMA 7 projects at the time of the shoot. “Plus, on weekends, I dance in ‘Sunday All Stars,’” Nacino said.

Villacorta was hugely surprised. “Rocco immersed himself in the role. He asked a lot of questions,” he said.

Nacino studied Visayan, Latin and Spanish for the film as well. Visayan proved the toughest. “I couldn’t deliver the Visayan lines properly,” he admitted. “I was so frustrated, I broke down.”

Nacino almost drowned in the waters off Batangas while shooting the finale, he recalled: “I didn’t tell Direk Francis that I was having difficulty. The diver came with the oxygen tank in the nick of time.”

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Five days away from the end of the festival, the actor continues to devote time and effort to the project. “My schedule’s quite hectic,” he said, “but I am supporting this film 100 percent. My entire family is promoting it.”

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TAGS: CBCP, MMFF, Movies, Pedro Calungsod, Philippines, Rocco Nacino, Showbiz

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