Today is the grand opening day of Regal Entertainment Inc.’s beloved film franchise Mano Po, the seventh installment since the original premiered at the 2002 Metro Manila Festival.
Titled Mano Po 7 Chinoy, the family drama showing the realities of life for Filipino-Chinese clans in the country promises to be a star-studded treat for moviegoers.
Mano Po is officially the country’s biggest film franchise in drama. Its sequels have featured some of Philippine show business biggest and brightest stars, like Susan Roces, Vilma Santos, Sharon Cuneta, Lorna Tolentino, Maricel Soriano, and Zsa Zsa Padilla among others.
The mother and daughter team of Lily and Roselle Monteverde decided to produce the new edition in the highly successful film franchise because of its timely plot and insistent public clamor.
This time, Chinoy actor Richard Yap gets his biggest break in a family drama, and according to those who watched the premiere on December 9, is a revelation especially in his heavy scenes.
Yap plays a business tycoon who is overly protective and strict with his wife (played by Jean Garcia) and four children (Enchong Dee, Janella Salvador and Jana Agoncillo). Often misunderstood, he struggles to show his brood that behind his steely demeanor is a devoted and loving husband and father.
Garcia’s character is neglected due to her husband’s focus in business. Dee is the troublesome son who rebels over their father’s absence from the family. Salvador is the daughter whom her father sends to music school against her wishes.
Also part of the cast are Mario Mortel who is partnered with Salvador; Jake Cuenca as Garcia’s secret lover; Jessy Mendiola as Dee’s girlfriend, whom he meets at a drug rehabilitation center; and Kean Cipriano who is Salvador’s music professor who develops feelings for his student.
Shot mostly in Taiwan, Mano Po 7 is described as the franchise “millennial edition” as it shows very timely and relevant plots throughout the movie.
Moreover, besides tackling issues like conflicts in a Chinese-Filipino marriage, the movie also shows different Chinese traditions never-before seen in previous installments.
The film is the first mainstream foray of young independent film direcdtor Ian Lorenos, who is behind LJ Reyes’ The Leaving, for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Award, and Alagwa, which gave Jericho Rosales a Gawad Urian Best Actor Trophy.
On Sunday, the cast held its own Parade of Stars, very aptly in Bindondo, Manila, thrilling long-time fans of the film franchise as well as young spectators who are also looking forward to their first Mano Po experience.
Mother Lily, who did not hide her disappointment over the Metro Manila Film Festival snub for Mano Po 7 is now in good spirits especially with the success of the movie’s premiere and parade over the weekend.
“For many Filipinos, Christmas is not complete without Mano Po, and I know they’ve been waiting for its return to the big screen for a few years now. So I say, let Christmas begin!” she chimed.