‘Parade of Stars’ opens 40th Metro Manila Film Festival
MANILA, Philippines— The 2014 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) kicked off Tuesday afternoon with the annual “Parade of Stars” drawing thousands of spectators in Manila.
Not even the oppressive afternoon heat could deter fans from staying out on the streets to catch a glimpse and take photos of their favorite movie stars atop fancy floats during the parade that opened the annual film festival.
This year’s 40th MMFF edition has eight official entries including historical drama “Bonifacio: ‘Ang Unang Pangulo,’” romance-comedy “English Only Please,” action-fantasy “Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles 2,” action film “Magnum Muslim .357,” comedy films “My Big Bossing’s Adventures” and “Praybeyt Benjamin 2,” and horror films “Feng Shui 2” and “Shake, Rattle & Roll XV.”
At around 1:30 p.m., Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Francis Tolentino formally opened the parade, which started at Bradco Avenue in Parañaque City and ended at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park, Manila, where the event’s culminating program was held.
Tolentino said more than 500 MMDA personnel were deployed along the parade’s 7-km route to regulate traffic, especially on Roxas Boulevard’s southbound lane, where the floats spent the most time.
Fans, who arrived with umbrellas and cameras, cheered and shrieked as the stars—smiles plastered on their faces and hands tirelessly waving—rode past them.
Not a few got up on concrete barricades for a better view, while some made a dash and scrambled for candies, posters and T-shirts and other goodies being tossed every which way by promoters of the entries.
One of the most elaborately designed floats was that of the historical biopic “Bonifacio”—building ruins adorned with murals depicting key battles and moments in Andres Bonifacio’s life. From atop the float, Robin Padilla, who plays the title role, raised his fist and waved at his adoring fans, who chanted, “Idol, idol!”
With him on the float were his costars, brother Rommel Padilla, leading lady Vina Morales and TV5 talent Jasmine Curtis-Smith, who were all dressed in 19th century garb of Filipinos during the Spanish era. The most awaited cast member, however, was teen star Daniel Padilla, who had the people—teenage girls, especially—jumping and crowding around the float.
The cast of the comedy-adventure “My Big Bossing”—led by “Bossing” himself, Vic Sotto—rode a golden vessel decked with picture frames, columns, pink flowers and an orange mermaid’s tail at the back. It also spewed blue and pink confetti and blared the movie’s theme song as it rolled along.
Child stars Ryzza Mae Dizon and Alonzo Muhlach, son of actor Niño Muhlach, regaled fans with cutesy dance steps. Also on the float were Pauleen Luna, Nikki Gil, Isabelle de Leon and Ruby Rodriguez.
The long-running horror franchise “Shake Rattle and Roll XV” had a float designed like a crashed airplane. On it were the movie’s lead stars, including Matteo Guidicelli, Erich Gonzales, Khalil Ramos, Jason Francisco and Daniel Matsunaga, who tossed posters of the film to the crowd.
In front of the float of the horror flick “Feng Shui 2” was a huge replica of the cursed bagua, whose mirror in the center shows lead stars Kris Aquino and Coco Martin, who weren’t there at the beginning of the parade. Not a few fans complained. The two actors joined the festivities later.
“The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin’s” float was simple but brightly colored, with poinsettias, cutouts of trees and photos of the cast that includes Richard Yap, Tom Rodriguez and Vandolph.
The comedy film’s lead actor, Vice Ganda, who reportedly had an engagement at Malacañang, was expected to mount the float midway into the parade.
Another parade standout was the float of “Muslim Magnum .357,” which resembled a mosque. It was festooned with a kulintang and had intricate sarimanok designs on the sides. Musicians and dancers joined leads Jeorge “ER” Estregan and Sam Pinto on the float.
What the float of “English Only, Please” lacked in pizazz it made up for with a dose of humor. The float of the rom-com, about an English-Filipino teacher who gets hired by a New Yorker, was a huge tissue box with a bleeding nose at the back. Actor Derek Ramsay and Jennylyn Mercado led the cast in waving to the fans.
The float of “Kubot” float was a motley collection of junkyard items such as old bicycle tires, steel drums, spinning cogwheels and old signboards. Like some big names, Dingdong Dantes wasn’t on the action-horror film’s float at the start of the parade. But he made it later and joined Isabelle Daza, KC Montero, Julie Ann San Jose and Abra on the float.
While the MMFF regulars and crowd-drawers—Sotto, Padilla and Estregan—were there, the fans were just as delighted to catch glimpses of parade first-timers eager to take part in the star-studded show biz affair.
Guidicelli, who was in the “Flight 666” episode of “Shake,” said he was looking forward to the whole experience. “It’s such an honor to be part of Philippine cinema history—it makes me feel like a true Filipino artist,” he said.
Guidicelli’s director, filmmaker and former TV5 executive Perci Intalan, was likewise uncertain about what to expect. “I’m a newbie!” he said. “We have a big cast; I haven’t actually seen everyone together. I hope to see the stars not just of our movie [but] of the other entries, too.”
For “My Big Bossing” cast member Gil, sharing the float with a veteran like Sotto was an honor. And the singer-actress fulfilled one of her childhood dreams to boot.
“To see throngs of people patiently waiting for hours just to see their favorite celebrities is one of the things that validate one’s worth as an actress,” Gil said, adding that participating in the parade was a dream come true. “This tradition is a battle cry of sorts of the local film industry.”
Budding actress Daza, daughter of beauty queen Gloria Diaz, said she was thrilled to see all the fans and celebs. “It’s my first time to be in this momentous occasion for Philippine Cinema,” she said.
Curtis-Smith made sure not to miss the parade so she could spend more time with her costars. “It’s probably going to be our last day together with the movie team,” she said. “I’m also excited to be sharing this event with people who have been passionate about their craft.”
Ramsay, who top-bills “English Only, Please,” was on his second outing. That didn’t stop him, though, from enjoying the event as if it was his first time. He said he had always been a staunch supporter of the festival “because it’s a great showcase of talent.”
“I just want to get up that float and feel the energy from the crowd; everyone’s smiling and waving at us. It’s great,” Ramsay said. “I’m prepared for whatever kind of weather. If it rains, I’m not going to hide. As long as the people are there, we’ll be there.”
The 2013 MMFF, according to the MMDA, grossed a record P1 billion despite a number of cinemas closing down in areas devastated by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan). Tolentino is hopeful that this year’s box-office figures will surpass that of 2013’s.
“We have a roster of good quality films this year. I do hope that more people will go and support the festival,” he said.
All entries at the MMFF this year will be shown during the festival period, from December 25 until January 7.
Originally posted at 9:12 pm | Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.