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Timeless beauties in ‘Moonlight Over Baler’

Two beautiful actresses, one represents an older generation of beauties in the celluloid and the other a contemporary swan in both the big and small screens, share stellar billing in what is probably the most romantic film this Valentine season.

Elizabeth Oropesa and Sophie Albert – two of the most beautiful women in Philippine show business today – star in the romantic film, Moonlight Over Baler, a pre-Valentine presentation produced by T-Rex Entertainment and directed by Gil Portes from a Palanca-winning screenplay by Enrique “Eric” Ramos.

Moonlight Over Baler opens in theaters nationwide on Feb. 8.

It tells the story of Fidela, a retired schoolteacher who encounters a young Japanese photojournalist who is surprisingly a doppelganger of Nestor, her boyfriend in the 1940s who was killed during the Japanese-American war in the Philippines.

“Moonlight Over Baler” is a timeless love story encompassing two important events in the Philippines. It stars Elizabeth Oropesa, Ellen Adarna, Vin Abrenica and Sophie Albert.
The Japanese photojournalist, Kenji, is covering the events in Metro Manila in February 1986, known popularly as the Edsa Revolution. His arrival in Baler, Fidela’s hometown, triggers bittersweet memories in the former teacher. It even disrupts Fidela’s life as well as the community’s.

Moonlight Over Baler is a romantic comedy-drama about a broken promise, a timeless love and the song that could warm even the coldest of hearts. Portraying the young and senior versions of Fidela are young actress Sophie Albert and seasoned award-winning actress Elizabeth Oropesa, respectively. 

In the 1940s segment of the film, Sophie plays Fidela, in love with USAFFE soldier Nestor, played by Vin Abrenica. She says ‘yes’ when he asks her to marry hi. Unfortunately, two weeks before their wedding, World War II breaks out and Nestor disappears. Fast forward to the 1980s, Fidela has grown elder and in this segment of the film,  Elizabeth or “La Oro” as she is fondly called, now plays Fidela whose hope that Nest could be alive is awakened when she sees the charming but mysterious Kenji.

Elizabeth was cast as Fidela first. The production team met certain challenges in casting the young Fideal since not many of today’s young female stars could pass for Elizabeth’s young version. 

Sophie Albert was tapped as she is about the same height as Elizabeth. Writer Eric had seen her work in the youth-oriented Cinemalaya film, #Y and vouched for her talent to director Gil Portes. Eric’s recommendation was spot-on as Sophie delivered an inspired performance.

 Senior actress Elizabeth Oropesa in a scene from the romantic movie helmed by Gil Portes
Moonlight Over Baler marks the major return of La Oro to the big screen. Not many seasoned actresses get to play leading roles in films nowadays. But as Elizabeth’s excellent characterization of Fidela eloquently demonstrates, she still strikes gold and truly deserves  the “La Oro” moniker. 

Incidentally, the classic war film Apocalypse Now by director Francis Ford Copolla is mentioned in Moonlight Over Baler and is duly cited as having started the surfing culture in the famed town. Elizabeth was originally cast to play Marlon Brando’s wife in that film but the unconventional American actor reportedly found her too pretty for the role, which landed eventually on Gigi Dueñas’ lap.

The showbiz industry can be very fleeting; the careers of a number of stars simply come and go. But the fine talent and awesome inner and outer beauty the likes of Sophie Albert’s and Elizabeth “La Oro” Oropesa’s are definitely here to stay.

Topics: Moonlight Over Baler , Elizabeth Oropesa , Sophie Heart , Gil Portes , Enrique "Eric" Ramos , Vin Abrenica
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