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Singer turns sexy in Elwood Perez’s ‘Esoterika: Maynila’

People say singer Ronnie Liang may be good looking but lacks that oomph to make it big as a movie star.

Challenged by hearing the same comment over and over again, he agreed to play the lead role in maverick filmmaker Elwood Perez’s Esoterica: Maynila, the second in a  semi-autobiographic trilogy, the first one being the highly esoteric Otso, about a filmmakers’ journey and discovery of his world and the people around him.

Perez, Liang and Tiri with the Famas trophy for the film as Critics Choice

Liang, at first, was hesitant to accept the role as it would require interplay with some of his fellow players most of which are trannies (transsexuals), but after much thought accepted it and the challenge, anyway.

In a conversation prior to the release of the film, he admitted he doesn’t have much experience with women, much less with individuals of the same gender. But Perez  put him in the scenes with his co-players and pulled them off successfully.

Ronnie Liang plays a graphic novelist in Esoterika: Maynila

“I thank direk  Elwood for giving me the right motivations so I could execute the required scenes with fellow players,” he says, adding, “Yes, this is a sexy movie.”

Following the buzz of its highly successful World Premiere at Cine Moko in the 39th Hong Kong International Film Festival in March and SRO Sneak Peek that opened the 10th Cinema One Originals Film Festival at Trinoma some months earlier, the award-winning Esoterika:Maynila is screening until Sept. 29 at the Shangri-La Cineplex.

Perez can’t be less happier for this development as he wishes to complete the trilogy. In fact he is now at work on third that he calls Vaya Con Dios which stars Amalia Fuentes in her big-screen comeback.

Esoterika: Maynila director Elwood Perez

Liang is also ecstatic that after a long time, his admirers and those who say he has no sex appeal will now be able to watch Estorika: Maynila. “I don’t know what they’d think after watching the film.”

Produced by T.rex Productions in cooperation with the Film Development Council of the Philippines, Esoterika:Maynila(known outside of the Philippines as Esoterica:Manila) feautres a multi-lingual cast of cross-cultural persuasions apart from Liang. Perez directed the film from the screenplay written by awardee, eminent critic and book author, Jessica Zafra. Rex A. Tiri is executive producer.

The limited screening marks the first time Esoterika: Maynila will be viewed by the public following its successful premiere in Hong Kong. In August, it had a successful gala screening at the 11th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Esoterika: Maynila producer Rex A. Tiri

Esoterika, described by a reviewer as a wild, fascinatingly profound joy ride around Manila, has fetched glowing reviews from critics everywhere.

Joel David, professor at Inha University and founding director of UP Film Institute, writes, ‘First with Otso and now with Esoterika: Maynila, Elwood Perez has demonstrated what was previously considered impossible: That a Filipino filmmaker can become even more creative and vital as an elderly citizen. Finally, a model of reflexive audience-friendly productivity that an entire generation of indie-digital practitioners can aspire toward.” Nicolas B. Pichay, top playwright, Palanca Hall of Fame and National Book awardee, says, ‘In Esoterika: Maynila, Elwood Perez continues the cinematic tradition of paying homage to a city. Part diary, part fantasy, the movie evokes campy-kitschy-surreal Manila. Briny and existential, this movie shares a cinematic place alongside Bernal’s Manila By Night and Brocka’s Maynila: Sa Kuko ng Liwanag.

Raya Martin, filmmaker of global renown, writes: ‘A hedonistic adventure in the rollercoaster that is our  society, Esoterika is the poignant journal  of a master in Philippine  cinema.’

Perez says, “In a voyage of self discovery, the protagonist---alternately ingenious and ingenuous---plunges into the territory of the exalted, the charmed and the bizarre, swimming through the uncharted waters of the unique Filipino experience, emerging from it all as an authentic Manileño, imbued with  the thought that tolerance is sophistication.”

Esoterika: Maynila has been picked by the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences as the 62nd FAMAS Film Critics’ Choice Award in ceremonies held at Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila.

The film has also been invited to open the 22nd Filipino Arts and Cinema International Film Festival (FACINE) in San Francisco, California in October. Its director Elwood Perez will also be presented a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the growth and development of the Filipino motion picture industry.


Maricel looking forward to 2016

Diamond Star Maricel Soriano was recently honored at the 63rd FAMAS Awards as one of the six Iconic Movie Queens Of Philippine Cinema. She shared the special citation with Gloria Romero, Susan Roces, Dawn Zulueta, Sarah Geronimo, and Nora Aunor.

In the course of her illustrious career as one of the most versatile and accomplished actresses in the history of the Philippine entertainment industry, Maricel has starred in over 100 films and was recognized numerous times as both a box-office queen and one of the best actresses in the industry.

Maricel Soriano, Famas icon honoree, is vocal about her choices for the 2016 elections

Maricel received her first FAMAS Best Supporting Actress award in 1984 for her outstanding performance in the classic tearjerker Saan Darating Ang Umaga and went winning three more awards as Best Actress in such films as Babaeng Hampaslupa (1989), Dahas (1996), and Nasaan Ang Puso (1998).

During the ceremony, award-winning actress couldn’t help but feel grateful for the recognition that she received. “Words cannot express the happiness I feel,” says Maricel. “I feel so blessed and humbled to be given the honor to stand beside such great actresses. This award inspires me to continue to do more films in the future.”

Maricel also mentioned that she is celebrating her 45th year in the industry in 2016. “Akalain ninyo na tatagal ako ng ganito? Talagang malaking blessing ito galing kay Papa God. Madami pa akong exciting na mga plans sa mga darating na taon, lalo na sa 2016.

Mar Roxas is Maricel's choice

In the topic of great things to come in 2016, Maricel, who was one of the big stars who supported Korina Sanchez-Roxas’ successful KeriBeks gay congress last August, was asked which Presidential candidate she will support in the upcoming national elections.

 “Of course si Mar,” reveals Maricel. “Bakit si Mar? Eh gusto ko eh! Bakit mas marunong pa kayo sa akin? Hahahaha. Pero seriously, naniniwala ako sa kanya at sa kanyang kakayahan.”

Maricel says that she had the opportunity to know Mar Roxas personally and that she was able to talk to him in several occasions. “Hindi siya magnanakaw at hindi siya maramot. Naunawaan ni Mar ang sitwasyon ng iba’t-ibang mga tao. Siguradong magkakaroon ng maraming disente at maayos na trabaho ang mga tao. Ang mga call center na lang. Madami ang nagka-trabaho dahil dito at alam nating malaki ang role ni Mar kung bakit maunlad ang mga call center sa atin.”

She also revealed that she is very impressed with Mar’s credentials. “Cartwheel at tumbling ako sa dami ng mga nagawa ni Mar. Ako nga, madami ang humahamak sa akin dahil hindi ako nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral pero sa kabila ng aking kahirapan, ay nabuhay ko ang mga kapatid at mga anak ko. Eh achievement ko lang yan ha, weh paano pa yung mga nagawa ni Mar? Nakakaloka talaga siya,” says Maricel in conclusion.


SkyCable answers GMA Network

In reference to GMA Network’s new complaint on latest reports of signal disruption during the “Kalye-Serye” segment of Eat Bulaga, SKY Cable Corporation reiterates that it did not experience any network problem that could have resulted in the loss of GMA 7’s signal only, similar to earlier reports covering July to August 2015 period. 

If there were incidents of signal loss affecting certain portions of the network in the areas and period referred to, these affected other channels as well, not just GMA 7.   

Says SkyCable, “We have already mentioned this in our September 18, 2015 letter to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and GMA 7 in response to the latter’s previous complaint filed last August 25, 2015. We will, however, continue to cooperate with the NTC should they see the need to further investigate this matter.

“Once again, we take strong exception to GMA’s claim that the signal interruption is confined only to their network since there is no basis for this insinuation.  SKY Cable Corporation commits to continue providing the best service our valued subscribers deserve, regardless of the channel or program they choose to watch.”

So, there you are AlDub fans.  

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