Spontaneous Saturday + no. 165 Philippine premiere of MNL 143

As much as possible, I get in touch with my high school friends. During the first few months after graduation, we were really tight. Reunions got as much as 30 attendees and we made college seem like an extension of high school. But no matter how much we wanted to stick together, we needed to face different paths and some became too busy to attend meet ups. During the past few months, I have been one of those who were busy. With college graduation and review for the licensure examination, this was the longest that I haven’t seen them.

Last saturday, after months, I met up with Cza and Katie at UST. The others had their hands full with school so they were not able to come. The first plan was to watch The Amazing Spider-Man (have been itching to see the film ever since I found out that there will be another Spidey movie) and then sleep over at Cza’s place. On our way to SM San Lazaro, Katie commented that Maki, another high school friend, was going to UP Diliman to watch an indie film. Cza liked the prospect of watching an indie film justifying that we can always watch Spiday while the latter, we cannot. Without any idea if there are still available tickets or what the title was, we went to UP.

SONY DSCThe film was MNL 143 by Emerson Reyes. The posters did not offer anything except that it’s a love story. It did not even mention who played the characters. Good thing we arrived early because we were second in line for buying tickets. Most, including Maki, reserved theirs in advance. I have heard of the film somewhere I cannot remember but I was still amazed at the huge turnout of people. Most of them, I guess, were UP students frequenting the Film Center every time a new movie is shown. I later learned that it was the Philippine Premiere of the film after being showcased in a festival abroad.

SONY DSCWhen the gates opened, I was glad that the room was air conditioned and the seats were comfortable. Also, the place was enormous! Imagining from outside the theater, it looked small and I thought all the people could not fit in but we did.

Before the start of the film, there were speeches by film producers and the cast was presented. At first, I was curious why the director and producers kept saying the movie pushed through against all odds. A little “Googling” and I found out that it was disqualified as an entry to the 8th Cinemalaya Film Festival because the director continued to cast Alan Paule and Joy Viado for the lead roles even after the Cinemalaya Committee advised him not to because they thought the chosen actors were “not suitable for the material”. Emerson Reyes then pursued shooting the film independently.

MNL 143 is the story of an OFW who came back to the country to be an Fx driver hoping that his long lost love will become a passenger. I must say the film was wonderful. And the Paule-Viado team up that was questioned by other people is one of the things that made the film work. If ever the movie will be distributed and shown nationwide, I urge you to watch. It made us cry, laugh, and giggle like a high school girl because of “kilig”. I’ll always remember the film whenever I see an Fx. A good review can be found here and the trailer here.

SONY DSCAfter the film, there was a press conference but we did not stay long because it was getting late and we wanted to have dinner at Chocolate Kiss in Bahay ng Alumni, just across the theater. When we went out, the lobby was filled with smoke and almost everyone was holding a cigar. I am not a fan of smoking hence, the face while Katie was still ecstatic from the film. And did I mention that I really want to get my hands on the official soundtrack?

page20We were happy that Choc Kiss was still open though the waiters told us that they’re having last calls. Katie had this apple salad which she loved and I hated. I am not yet exotic enough to grasp the beauty in mixing fruits with meat. Protein for me should be eaten bare and pure, without any other food groups (except carbs) to cloud the taste.

SONY DSCI had Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and I ordered extra rice because I thought the mashed potatoes will be “side dish” portion. Boy, I was wrong. It was enormous I was only able to finish half. And the picture was bad because my tummy was making funny grumbles I couldn’t wait for the compulsory picture-before-first-bite.

SONY DSCFor dessert, we had two orders of Chocolate Kiss Suite. Dayap was sold out, we just had Orange Chiffon Cake, Prune cake, Quezo Chiffon Cake and Kahlua Butter cake. They were all good I cannot choose what I liked best. We were only able to finish one order so we decided to bring home the other set to Nicky as pasalubong since we will be staying at his house in Fairview.

SONY DSCSince we were one of the last customers, the waiters were already packing up and when we asked one of them to take our picture, he jokingly called every other staff for a photo op, maybe a way to de-stress after a long day of work. In the end, only these three remained because the others were shy. It was fun laughing with them. We even have a picture taken with each one but I am not posting those due to memory constraints.

SONY DSCUnfamiliar roads make me uncomfortable. I was tight during the whole duration of our trip from UP Diliman to Fairview. Thank God nothing untoward happened. The night was fun. We talked and laughed and played and watched Battle Royale because Nicky and Cza were curious.

I missed them big time.

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