To many millennials, the name Chiquito does not ring a bell and certainly, the screen name of Papang Augusto Pangan, Jr., does not belong to their list of people they need to know.
However, for the baby boomers and Gen Xers, the name is a legend — the next great comedian after Comedy King Dolphy. Many believe that he was Mang Dolphy’s rival in terms of comedy, timing, and giving their audiences bellyaches because of their manner of tickling the funny bones of their captive audiences.
One of the most iconic screen characters made by the late great Chiquito was Mang Kepweng, a faith healer with a heart of gold. He first hit the silver screens in the late ‘70s, and yes, it was box office gold. A sequel to it billed Mang Kepweng and Son happened in the early ‘80s with Papang (term of endearment for the comedian) with the young Ian Veneracion as his son. And as expected, it was another box-office winner.
And it seems, this tradition of it becoming a box-office sensation continues when it came back with Mang Kepweng Returns and now, its most awesome comeback transpires this Christmas Day with Mang Kepweng: Ang Lihim ng Bandanang Itim, an official entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) 2020.
Directed by Topel Lee, the new film is a collaboration project between Cineko Productions and Star Cinema.
Its powerhouse cast includes Fumiya Sankai, Yamyam Gucong, Lotlot de Leon, Margo Midwinter, Alora Sasam, Rubi Rubi, Chad Kinis, Petite, Caloy Alde, Nikko Natividad, Lou Veloso, Mariko Ledesma, Kaladkaren, Patricia Roxas, Ritz Azul, Ion Perez, Ryan Bang, Benjie Paras, Barbie Imperial and the Philippines’ National Actress, Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Jaclyn Jose.
Headlining the film is Vhong Navarro taking this new journey and challenge.
“It’s a great honor for me to do the second installment of the Mang Kepweng franchise,” director Lee begins. “You know as a young boy, I had the opportunity to watch the Chiquito classics, yung una and the second version. I will not deny that I am a fan of Papang Chiquito, his talent, and ibang klase rin talaga ang brand at style of comedy niya.”
“This time, we have expanded the Mang Kepweng universe. We added more Pinoy mythical creatures in it, may manananggal, sirena, and other elementals na part of our Pinoy folklores. And I think what makes it more appealing now is because, Vhong’s Mang Kepweng here, will eat his humble pie kasi nga, parang naging superstar faith healer siya and somehow the popularity he has consumed him. The adventure he embarked on will test his character,” the director carries on.
Vhong is proud of this new movie because they worked in a collaborative environment.
“I was not only an actor here, director Topel and I collaborated in the film. Ang sarap sa feeling na may artistic and creative inputs ka sa pelikulang ginagawa mo, and that yung director mo, eh kasing passionate mo to make the movie more fun and mas maging enjoyable viewing experience para sa lahat,” says Vhong.
“I hope, si Papang Chiquito, masaya siya na we are continuing his comedic legacy and sana hindi namin siya ma-disappoint,” ends the actor.
Mang Kepweng: Ang Lihim ng Bandanang Itim streams on http://upstream.ph beginning on Dec. 25. Using your GMovies account, tickets can be purchased as early as now on the site for only P250.00 each.