When you first encounter director Perry Escaño, the auteur behind the motion picture, Ang Sikreto ng Piso, immediately, he strikes you as mild-mannered, especially of the way he speaks because of his Ilonggo roots.
My friendship with the director began in what used to be our playground, in Gantimpala Theater. He was a summer musical theater workshopper and I was the resident publicist then.
By some divine gravitational push and pull, we became not just acquaintances, we became friends and did the getting-to-know-you stuff – dinners, coffee and lots of conversation, watched movies, shared heartaches and triumphs.
Some of the projects that we were part of, the first mounting of the Singkwento International Film Festival Manila Philippines, he made me the gala night master of ceremony.
During the first TOFarm Film Festival, he became its Marketing Head, he hired me as its publicist. In between all these activities, he had his fair share of appearances on television and other films and because of erratic, if not full schedules, there were times that communication and seeing each other was impossible. What is surprising though, starting where we left off comes naturally, as if there was no time gap that happened; we do have a bond stronger than love and friendship.
His first full-length feature, Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa became one of the films chosen in Cinemalaya, had its cinema screening, school, and provincial tours. Now, his second film Ang Sikreto ng Piso, makes his full of pride.
He begins, “I am very happy with the outcome of Ang Sikreto. Doing a comedy movie is not a walk in the park. All the cast members must have rapport. Dapat rin may timing. I want the comical situations to come out as natural as possible, hindi fake, hindi pilit.”
Escaño carries on, “Yung comedy dito, yung wholesome na comedy. You will laugh because the situations are funny and not because may bastusan, may binabatukan or may mga brown or green jokes. It will make you laugh because the scenes are relatable, you have experienced similar situations. And all of Pinoys, we always put a lot of laughter and humor sa mgaevery day experiences and realities that we face.”
How is it like working with Gelli de Belen and Ariel Rivera? Escaño answers swiftly, “It is a dream come true. I admire their body of work. Gelli is well known as a versatile actress.Mahusay na sa drama. Mas mahusay sa comedy. Ariel, is one of the few singers na marunong talagang umarte. I feel proud that they liked the story that is why they agreed to be in Ang Sikreto ng Piso.”
The film is a family-oriented comedy inspired by actual events on the smuggling of the Philippine peso coin in 2006.
Rivera portrays Ronnie, an honest man who has to make sacrifices to save up for the future of his wife and only daughter. He is forced to accept an odd job that promises higher income–one that requires him to gather as many one-peso coins as he could. It is only a matter of time when he discovers why these coins are being smuggled abroad.
Aside from the Riveras, other cast members are Bea Binene, Lou Veloso, Angelica Ulip, Long Mejia, Joyce Peñas Pilarsky, Nico Nicolas, Ricky Rivero, Beverly Salviejo, Wacky Kiray, Paul Sy, Gary Lim, Raphael Gobes, Gomz Burza, Micah Musa, Kim llono, Ambelicious, Abel Napuran and Ernie Garcia.
Director Escaño promises, “Ang Sikreto ng Piso is worth everyone’s while. It will give you a good laugh. It reinforces the love for family and friends. It shows to us that hope and love are constants in our lives and struggles are conquered for as long as you believe in them.”
So, will he do a love story as his next film project? “Yes, I will. Gusto ko naman talaga iba-ibang genre. Kung love story, may kwento na ako.”
He teases, “The Proposal siguro. Parang love story natin.” Laugh out loud reaction from both of us as we conclude our conversation,