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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vilma Santos back misty-eyed in the Big Apple

Only a few months after a hectic two-week shooting in the tri-state of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for In My Life, Star Cinema’s newest hit, Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos returned to the East Coast last Sept. 30, this time to grace the premiere of the movie in which she co-stars with her son Luis Manzano (also playing her son in the movie) and John Lloyd Cruz (as Luis’ lover).

“Filipinos from all over the east coast flocked to Rutherford, New Jersey, to watch the movie,” reported Funfare’s “beauty expert” Felix Manuel who works as a nurse at a hospital in the Big Apple. “The screening was held at the historic George W. Newman Theater famous for a chandelier twinkling with 60,000 pieces of Czechoslovakian crystal, which is the venue for the staging of opera performances such as Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and Verdi’s Rigoletto by the Hudson Opera Company.”

Felix said that people came from as far as South Carolina to meet Vilma and her co-stars. Two screenings were held on that day.

“The matinee screening at 2 p.m. was packed,” added Felix. “It was amazing because most of our kababayan were supposed to be at work. Many of them said that they took time off while others didn’t mind being absent because they didn’t want to miss the movie.”

There was a meet-and-greet with the cast after the matinee show. A hundred people were randomly chosen to have an opportunity to have their pictures taken with the stars.

“It was a rare chance to be with them,” Felix quoted Daisy Sonalan, a nurse working in New Jersey, as saying. “We made sure that we scheduled our day-off that day because the event made us feel even closer to home. I was lucky to have been chosen from thousands to attend the meet-and-greet.”

It was indeed a day filled with fun and laughter for the Filipino Community in the East Coast. Gov. Vi (who came back last Thursday, Oct. 8), director Olivia Lamasan and the whole cast were beaming with pride upon seeing the huge turnout at the theater.

“Viewers of the evening screening at 7 p.m. were already at the venue as early as 2 in the afternoon. They patiently stood in line. Engineer Danilo Pagsambugan, founder of the Maharlikang Pilipino-USA Pageant, commented that he appreciated the effort of Star Cinema and ABS-CBN in bringing the event to the East Coast. Screenings were also held in, among other US cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Said Danny, “It kept us Filipinos in the States posted on what’s happening at home. The movie connected us to home. We had a great unwinding with our favorite stars.”

The good news is that, according to Felix, the event also became a venue for our kababayan to help the victims of Typhoon Ondoy. “Many of them donated money. The cast encouraged everyone to help rebuild the lives of our kababayan back home who were affected by nature’s wrath.”

After the movie, everyone gave two-thumbs-up for the stars’ brilliant acting.

“John Lloyd drew raves for his portrayal of Luis’ gay partner. Ate Vi has always been exceptional. We expect her to win acting awards next year.”

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