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(Photo from Rappler)


Expect a bigger crowd in this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival.


This as the MMFF executive committee headed by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera announced the first four participants in the filmfest with box office stars Vice Ganda, Coco Martin and Vic Sotto leading the casts.


In making the announcement,  Lumbera said: "So, ang apat na pelikula, inaasahan na doon sa apat na iyon, magiging matagumpay ang festival sa pag-akit sa manonood."


The announcement was made at the MMDA Head Office on EDSA and Orense St., Guadalupe, Makati City, adding the additional four official entries will be announced by September.


The first four official film is led by Vice Ganda's "Fantastica: The Princess, The Prince, and The Perya" of the Star Cinema and Viva Films which also stars Maris Racal, Loisa Andalio, and Maymay Entrata. 


The Vice Ganda  will be directed by Barry Gonzalez, whose previous works include "Fangirl Fanboy." 


The other entries are: Coco Martin and Vic Sotto's action comedy "Popo En Jack: The Puliscredibles” under the ” (CCM, MZET and APT Entertainment; Anne Curtis' solo effort with director Yam Laranas, "Aurora" of Viva Films; and the "Girl in the Orange Dress," a Quantum Films production starring Kim Chiu, Jessy Mendiola, Jericho Rosales, Tom Rodriguez, Kit Thompson and Sam Milby. 


Actress and TV host Anne Curtis said she was ecstatic over the selection of "Aurora," as one of the official entries in this year's Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). 


The "It's Showtime" shared a teaser poster for the movie which shows her standing on the rocks of a sea shore. 


Details about her newest flick remain scarce, although it was already announced that it will be directed by Yam Laranas, who has worked as cinematographer in several horror movies, reported her mother studio ABS-CBN. 


It is a Viva Films production, and Curtis' third movie this year following the positively reviewed "Sid & Aya: Not A Love Story" and the forthcoming "Buy Bust," scheduled for August. 


Selection Committee headed by  Lumbera said that out of 24 scripts, the first four entries were picked based on the following criteria: 40% artistic excellence; 40% commercial appeal; 10% promotion of Filipino cultural and historical values, and 10% global appeal.


“Our selection committee had a difficult time making our choices given the quality of the films. We have to thank them for their exhaustive and thorough deliberation, for their passion and dedication to make this festival successful,” said Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and MMFF overall chairman Danilo.


“We hope this year’s festival will serve as an instrument for an important change not only for the Filipino cinema, but also for the whole country,” he added.


The next phase for the Full Length Feature category will be the finished film submission. The films with the duly accomplished application forms and complete requirements can be submitted to the MMFF Secretariat until Sept. 21.


The remaining four official entries shall be selected from all submitted finished films to complete the eight official entries to the 2018 MMFF.


The deadline of submission for the Short Film category is on Aug. 31.


Noel Ferrer, MMFF spokeperson, encourages students to enter works to the category.


 Interviewed later by media and the (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Lumbera bared his personal choices among the four initial films.


 “Unang-una, para sa akin yung Aurora at saka yung Girl In The Orange Dress ang pinakamahusay sa puntong nakatutuwa ang takbo ng naratibo at saka may makabuluhang nilalaman ang script,” Lumbera said.


What about the entries of Vice Ganda, Vic Sotto and Coco Martin?


“Siyempre, si Vice Ganda ay garantisado nang makakaakit sa maraming manonood, ganun din sina Vic Sotto,” the national artist said.


“So, ang apat na pelikula, inaasahan na doon sa apat na iyon, magiging matagumpay ang festival sa pag-akit sa manonood,” he added.


Lumbera admitted it was very had to make the selection of the official entries.


“Iyon, ang pagtiyak sa iyong sarili bilang member ng Selection Committee na itong script na ito ay makabuluhan, maganda ang pagkakasulat, at maasahang hahakot ng mga manonood,” he said.


Lumbera said the selection committee went over the scripts at least for one month of at least 20 possible entries. “Yes. Bale one script a day,” he said.

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(Photo from Instagram | @jolo_revilla)


Now, it can be told. Actress Jodi Sta. Maria and actor Cavite Vice Governor Jolo Revilla have parted ways.


Jolo, son of former Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. and Bacoor City Mayor Lani Mercado, himself  confirmed his breakup with the comely actress after several years of relationship.


The confirmation came months after reports that they were headed to Splitsville.


Jolo, however, has been mum about her decision not to talk to him, saying he respects her.


Jolo has also been silent on the real cause of their breakup. The actor simply said, “All I can say is Jodi brought out the best in me. She made me a more responsible person. Mahal ko ‘yun!” according to an ABS-CBN report.


Despite the breakup, the actor politician said he remains hopeful on life, saying his heart is no longer bruised.


 “I take it one step at a time. I’ll focus on myself this time. Naniniwala ako na si Lord na ang bahala kung saan kami humantong,” he was quoted as saying by their home studio.


Jolo nonetheless said he was thankful to Jodi for being a great help in raising his son, Gabriel, who is now 13. The boy is his love child with former girlfriend Grace Adriano, daughter of former actress Rosanna Roces.


“Malaking naitulong sa akin ni Jodi sa pagpapalaki ko sa anak ko. She is a disciplinarian. My son, I think, is inclined towards showbiz. Hindi ako magtataka. On both sides, showbiz is in his blood,” he was quoted as saying by ABS-CBN.


Jodi, who was previously married to Panfilo “Pampi” Lacson Jr., son of Sen. Panfilo Lacson, and Jolo first revealed their relationship in 2012. They broke up four years later, but had apparently reconciled. 


The couple had sparked marriage suggestions when Jolo once called Sta. Maria his wife in an Instagram post. He previously said of marrying the Kapamilya star: "All I can say is the right time will come, darating tayo diyan at may mga hinihintay na lang tayo." 


Rumors about their break-up shifted to high gear when fans pointed out that Jolo's birthday greeting to Jodi sounded "respectful" and less "romantic," compared to his past posts about the actress, whom he usually referred to as "asawa" — a term of endearment now missing.


Jodi also reportedly missed Jolo's recent graduation ceremony, and Jolo was not seen publicly, or on social media posts, as having spent Jodi's birthday with her, according to the network. 


Jolo graduated recently from the Lyceum of the Philippines with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies. He said he plans to take up a short course at the Harvard University in Boston.


“On September, I’m flying to Boston to take a short course, sa Harvard naman, sa School of Government, ’yung Leadership for the 21st Century,” he said.


“Short course lang naman, dahil sa palagay ko, hindi naman puwedeng… kailangang armasan ko rin ’yung sarili ko,” Jolo said.


He clarified taking up the Harvard course was not a preparation to running for higher office.


“I just want to take it one step at a time. I’m not planning to run with higher position. I’m only 30 years old. Pero that time will come for me,” he said


“I’m doing this for myself, not for anyone, not for… I mean, kasi siyempre, gumagawa tayo ng mga ordinance at saka resolution as a vice governor, I’m the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Cavite.


“Kumbaga, dapat lang naman talaga na nag-aaral kami at patuloy na nag-aaral dahil ginagawa namin ito para sa taong bayan. So, it is a must.

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CUNETA FOR MAYOR. Actress-singer Sharon Cuneta accompanies her brother Cesar Joseph Cuneta at the Pasay City Comelec office as he reactivates his registration as a voter. Cesar, a pilot, wants to continue the legacy of their late father Mayor Pablo Cuneta by running for mayor in 2019 under the Duterte coalition.  


PASAY CITY — A brother of actress-singer Sharon Cuneta is running for mayor of Pasay in the 2019 elections.


Cesar Joseph "Chet" Cuneta, 57, a commercial pilot, said he wants to continue the legacy of his late father, Mayor Pablo Cuneta, who held the post for 41 years starting when he was just a calesa driver.


Sharon disclosed Cesar's plans on Instagram, adding she will be behind her brother and will campaign for him.


Cesar, accompanied by Sharon, went to the local Commission on Elections office, and had his registration as a voter re-activated.


 Sharon revealed Cesar will run for mayor under the coalition supporting President Rodrigo Duterte.


Cesar is expected to be pitted against the Calixto clan, once an ally of the late Mayor Cuneta headed by the late Mayor Eduardo Calixto. At present, Mayor Antonio Calixto is the city executive while sister Emi Calixto-Rubiano is a congresswoman of the city.


"Kung mamarapatin niyo pong iboto ang kapatid ko ngayong eleksyon, talaga pong I shall be there behind him. Tsaka asahan niyo po ang kinikita ng gobyerno mapupunta sa tao ng Pasay, sa taumbayan," the actress said.


The actress was earlier seen dining with President Duterte and Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go in Malacañang Palace.


The President earlier said that he is grateful for the "many things" Cuneta has done for him and his family. He said his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, is an avid fan of the megastar.


The singer-actress posted the photo of her and Cesar at the local Commission on Elections office, where her brother enlisted as a voter in Pasay, as voter registration for the 2019 polls resumed and will last until Sept. 29.


“It took us many, many heart-to-heart talks throughout some time to finally come to this decision. And we made sure that when we came to it, it was with all our hearts and souls,” Sharon wrote on Instagram.


“Only with the spirit to serve honestly and with our father Pablo’s legacy in mind,” added the performer, who is married to Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, the president of the opposition Liberal Party.


Pangilinan said he respected Cesar's decision to run for mayor under the Duterte coalition.


Sharon  said her brother is giving up “32 years of his career as a hardworking pilot to serve the people of Pasay City” and she will be “110% behind him.”


“He will make sure that all of Pasay’s earnings will go toward making the city progressive and will be for the benefit of the people. I myself will be by his side,” Sharon said. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

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Yes, matinee idol John Lloyd Cruz may soon be busy again in showbusiness.


This after rumoured “wife” Ellen Adarna has reportedly given birth to healthy baby boy in Cebu, although the couple has not made any official confirmation on this.


At the same time, the couple’s mother studio, the top network ABS-CBN, has denied reports it has rejected the return of John Lloyd in the network.


John Lloyd took a break in October last year, and since then, his name has become a hot topic among tabloid writers and netizens on social media.


ABS-CBN has released its official statement on the actor’s showbiz comeback after reports came out that the network allegedly turned its back on him.


In a statement sent to MS Entertainment by Kane Errol Choa, ABS-CBN Head for Integrated Corporate Communications, the executive belied any incident that happened regarding Lloydie’s showbiz return, the network itself reported on its website.


“There is no truth to reports that John Lloyd Cruz approached ABS-CBN to request that he return to work, and that the network turned him down,” Choa’s statement said.


But Choa clarified that John Lloyd was still on an indefinite leave from the network.


“John Lloyd is still on an indefinite leave to attend to personal matters,” she stated.


“ ABS-CBN values its strong relationship with John Lloyd built through the years. ABS-CBN’s doors are always open to John Lloyd, and he will always be a Kapamilya,” the statement ended.

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