A thunderous applause and a loud scream of “Yes” filled the small function room of Relish on Limbaga St. in Quezon City last Monday during a lunch do with Martin del Rosario, Jun Lana and Perci Intalan who came a little bit later from the nearby office of the MTRCB. He was there to appeal an R-16 classification for Born Beautiful after the censors board slapped it with an R-18 classification limiting the number of screens that can show the movie.
But before Intalan arrived at the restaurant, he tweeted his business and life partner Lana that MTRCB gave the film the R-16 stamp, in effect making the film a double-rated one with the R-18 version still in place and can be screened in cinemas as well as the R-16 version that can be screened in screens belonging to the SM Cinema circuit.
The small hall broke into a loud cheer when Intalan, sweaty with rumpled hair, arrived. “Congratulations!” everyone remarked.
For Intalan, the director, and Lana, the writer and the director of Die Beautiful, upon which Born Beautiful is created as a sequel, the R-16 classification is a triumph for the film to reach out to a wider audience.
“I just agreed to bleep additional words the reviewers deemed offensive to the audience. There was no need to edit or cut from the R-18 stamped version,” he announced.
Del Rosario who plays Barbs (played originally in Die Beautiful by a relatively unknown actor then, Christian Bables) was visibly delighted with the MTRCB’s decision. He said, “I am glad because we (the film) can be screened in more theaters and it should have a bigger number of viewers.” The film opened on Wednesday in more than a hundred and fifty screens across the archipelago. And it’s the only Filipino film that opened in the traditional Wednesday opening of new titles.
Barbs is Trisha (Paolo Ballesteros)’s best friend in Die Beautiful.
Earlier, before Intalan broke the news, I asked Del Rosario how he felt about his role in the film. “There was a bit of awkwardness at first, but going along, I liked playing the role as I am able to explore the inner aspects of myself as an actor. I know that all men have female aspects in them, so I tried to reach out to that. I believe that even women have male aspects in them, too.”
It’s a cutting-edge role for Del Rosario, for even if he had played gay roles in previous films and TV shows, the Barbs character in Born Beautiful has led him further in the portraiture of a gay person. Here he is dared by the screenplay and director to go even more daring – having passionate physical contacts with fellow male actors. Did that bother him? “Initially, I was having second thoughts, but it occurred to me that I am an actor and that I am supposed to deliver the things as written or required by the director. Good thing, I am no stranger to either director Jun Lana or director Perci Intalan, and I just had to trust them because I know that what they’d ask me is for the good of the film.”
How about your parents? Were they squeamish with the idea that you would be physical intimate with a fellow male actor? “Oh my parents, especially my father, were very encouraging! He was even giving me tips on how I could do better in those scenes!” he chuckled.
With the favorable reviews the film has been getting since its “uncensored” version was screened to a varied but mostly curious film aficionados, what does Del Rosario anticipate it will do to his career as an actor?
“I hope I could play more challenging (that’s the common word used by actors these days) roles, but not necessarily gay in films and TV dramas in the future,” he said perfunctorily.
“How about a lead role in a primetime teleserye on GMA7?” I asked.
The actor simply looked at the ceiling of the restaurant and made me wonder what was in his mind. He’s a certified good actor with good looks. He may not be as tall and hunky like the other leading me the network continually casts in its drama series on primetime, but this actor is a director’s actor…someone that delivers the goods.
Proof is, Born Beautiful, may not be as beautiful a film, if it weren’t for Del Rosario as Barbs. Even directors Lana and Intalan concedes that the actor has greater talent than what his good looks can offer.
And Del Rosario feels good he’s got the looks and also the talent to be cast in Born Beautiful!
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Philippine bobsled teams in Canadian championship
The Philippine National Bobsled Luge and Skeleton Association (PNBLSA), Inc. is fielding two, two-man bobsled teams in the upcoming Alberta Cup Provincial Championship, at the end of February, according to PNBLSA President and CEO Thelmo Cunanan, Jr..
The PNBLSA bobsledders are members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), official partner-organization of the PNBLSA. The two bodies signed an MOU in September 2018 to develop bobsled.
The PCG supplies the PNBLSA with athletes for the latter’s local and overseas training programs. At the Alberta Cup, organized by the Alberta Bobsleigh Association (ABA), the Filipino bobsledders will race against some of the best North American and international teams.
The PNBLSA is entering into a strategic partnership with the ABA, for the training of Filipino bobsledders, with the objective of making Calgary the team’s permanent home base. Last winter, two athletes of the PNBLSA trained in Innsbruck, Austria for four months and competed in bobsled derbies at the Europa Cup (as guest racers) and Tirol Cup, among others.
Explaining the move to Calgary, Consul Cunanan underscored the excellence of Canada’s winter sports program, the familiarity of the medium of instruction (English), and the support of the ABA and the Filipino-Canadian community.
“We are very excited to make Calgary our team’s new home as we admire Canadian bobsledders and their instructors who have greatly distinguished themselves. We also feel that the operating environment in Canada and the support of the ABA and the local Filipino community are ideal for the advancement of our team and our long-term objectives,” he said.
The ultimate goal of the team is to qualify for the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.
The principal sponsor of Philippine Bobsled Team Calgary 2019 is San Miguel Corporation. For more info: 09228425665/09175286295.
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