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Former Smokey Mountain singer directs horror film

If you were born before the nightmarish traffic on Edsa, you’d probably remember the singing group Smokey Mountain and by now its popular members Geneva Cruz, Anna Fegi, and Jeffrey Hidalgo.

Well, Cruz and Fegi are very much active in the music arena performing here and there and Hidalgo had graduated from college and is now a full-fledged TV and movie director. Can you believe this once little boy singing his heart out along with other members the hit tune, “Kailan” is now behind the camera and calling the shots for a movie? His latest opus, not as a singer but as a director, is the film that closed this year’s Cinemalaya Film Festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Silong with Pascual and Ramos is a thriller with a touch of romance

 “Wow, I couldn’t believe the film would be invited to the festival,” says Hidalgo. “I was told the search committee of the filmfest was looking for something different, and they said Silong fitted the kind of film they were looking for. They said it was different from the other genres of films submitted to them in the previous years.”

Now, Silong is getting a commercial release, thanks to Star Cinema. It begins its run today in about a hundred theaters nationwide.

Piolo Pascual enjoys acting in indie movies; Rhian Ramos stars in a film directed by Hidalgo

Why did Star Cinema pick the movie up for a wide release? Why not when it stars ABS-CBN’s prized talent Piolo Pascual. This is the first indie film of Papa P (Pascual term of endearment) since the hit studio film The Breakup List with Sarah Geronimo.

In this film, Pascual has a new leading lady and she’s not a fellow Kapamilya but from the other network. Rhian Ramos, Hidalgo says, is his first choice after watching her in My Kontrabida Girl (2012) with Aljur Abrenica.

The boy who sang with the Smokey Mountain is now a movie director; Jeffrey Hidalgo (second from left) as a kid was a member of Smokey Mountain

“She was really funny in that movie and very good. I said to myself she could pull the part in Silong very well,” says Hidalgo.

Ramos, meanwhile, was clueless that she would be starring with Piolo Pascual who was cast ahead of her. When she was offered the part she already knew she’d be working with Pascual.

“Strangely, I like the story of the film and as I read the script I really got very interested because of the twists and turns of both the plot and the characters,” she explains.

Twisted charactes and plot mark the film Silong;  In Silong, Pascual plays a doctor

Pascual echoed Ramos saying, “My character in the film, like the character Rhian plays, has many secrets in the past and they both try to nurture each other. In the course of the story they fall prey to their feelings of seeking comfort and safety in each other’s company.”

Silong wasn’t meant to bring the stars of two rival networks together, says Hidalgo. “I just thought that Rhian would be the perfect actress to play the role of Valerie, an abused wife whom Miguel Castro (Pascual) finds badly beaten up on a deserted country road on his way home.”

Hidalgo himself directs shows for the Kapuso network and says, joking of course, “I have yet to get an offer from ABS-CBN.”

The movie has gone on special screenings after its Cinemalaya engagement, but today marks its commercial run.

Hidalgo begs us, “Please watch the film and you’ll know why Cinemalaya chose it as its closing film.

Guji Lorenzana also plays an important role in the film. “I am the best friend of Miguel,” he says not wanting to reveal much about the film.


A sensual adventure with Andrea Torres

What’s it like to go on an intimate getaway with GMA Artist Center star Andrea Torres? It will be revealed in the latest photo book entitled Andrea: Road Trip featuring the sultry actress.

 Andrea Torres poses in a variety of ways for a photo book

 Andrea: Road Trip is a gravure photo book that takes readers on a sensual adventure with the dusky beauty, who made waves when she first appeared on the cover of FHM Philippines’ December 2014 issue and eventually shot to the second spot in this year’s FHM 100 Sexiest Women in the World list.

Photographed by master lensman Jay Tablante, Andrea: Road Trip sees Andrea posing seductively on various locations of a secret hideaway—letting readers imagine just what a trip with her would be like. 

Cover photo of Andrea: Road Trip

It will be soon available at all leading bookstores and magazine stands nationwide. 

Catch Andrea as she signs copies of Andrea: Road Trip at the Manila International Book Fair, SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 19.

Meanwhile, Andrea is currently in GMA Network’s longest-running gag show Bubble Gang. Her first international project with Mikael Daez will be shown in Philippines soon.


‘Forever is not easy to achieve’ –Chiz

When Senator Chiz Escudero answered the question, if he believed in the idea of forever, asked by a student at Colegio de Dagupan in on Sept. 10, it was noticeable that he has something that reminded him of a previous relationship.

 “Of course my answer is ‘yes,’ I’d be in a perilous situation if I’d say otherwise and Heart would learn I said that,” the senator answered the student.

Chiz Escudero hopes he and Heart would be "forever"

Added Chiz, “I believe in ‘forever’ but one has to work hard for it.”

 “I belive in wagas, forever, right? It’s easy to say wagas, but as an advice, it’s not easy to achieve forever,” Heart’s husband furthered.

 Sometimes it is hard, at other times you face challenges that you must hurdle, but what is important is to hold on tight to each other’s belief that you can have forever,” added the senator.

 If you recall, Heart’s parents had a difficult time accepting Chiz as their daughter’s boyfriend and eventually husband. More recently, Chiz and the Ongpaucos have agreed amicably.

In fact, Chiz is planning to hold a first anniversary of his and Heart’s wedding, some kind of renewal of vows with hear parents on Feb. 15.

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