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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Aug 1, 2016

Mother Lily Ecstatic To Get Piolo Pascual To Work With Regal Again In 'Once In A Lifetime, Northern Lights'

PIOLO PASCUAL signs up with Mother Lily Monteverde to do a movie for Regal, “Once in a Lifetime”. Mother Lily says working with Piolo anew is a dream come true for her. “The first time he worked with us was in 2002 in ‘I Think I’m in Love’ with Joyce Jimenez. Since then, I’ve been trying to get him and praying na gumawa siya uli sa Regal. And now, nagkatotoo na. Thank you for coming back to Regal, Papa P.”

“Masayang-masaya talaga ako to be back with Regal,” says Piolo. “I’ve always wanted to work with Mother Lily again and I’m overwhelmed to be here now.”

In the story, Piolo plays Charlie, who moved to Alaska with his mom and dad, Sandy Andolong and Tirso Cruz III, as a young man. When he left Manila, his girlfriend, Maricar Reyes, is already pregnant. He promised to return for her, and he did, but when he got back to Manila, she’s already with another man and he was heartbroken. He went back to Alaska and became a playboy who entices women to go out on dates with him by showing them the fabulous Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights, which is why the full title of the movie is “Once in a Lifetime, Northern Lights”.

After eight years, he got a word from Maricar saying that she is dying and she is sending their son, Junior (Raiko Matteo), to him in the U.S. to live with him. Since the boy is traveling alone, he is entrusted to another passenger who’s also going to Alaska to look for her long lost mother, a student named Angel (Yen Santos). Through Raiko, Piolo meets Yen and he asks her to stay in their house for a while as they’re renting out a room. In the process, something beautiful will develop between Piolo and Yen, with Raiko serving as the link between them.

The short teaser trailer made by Direk Dondon has this as blurb about the characters: “A woman who wants to let go of the past, a man who thought he has moved on, and a boy who wants nothing but to start anew.”

So how did the project come about? “Direk Dondon presented the story to us and we liked it,” says Mother Lily. “He said he’ll be the one to talk to Piolo.”

“Direk Dondon pitched it to me,” says Piolo. “Saying he has a concept na si Mother Lily nga ang partner niya. Nagustuhan ko ang story, with the element between a father and son na napagdaanan ko rin in real life, so I agreed to do it, but co-produced with Star Cinema and my own company, Spring Films.”

How was a newcomer like Yen Santos chosen as his leading lady? “When the project was pitched to me, si Yen na talaga ang bidang babae. Ewan ko, may relasyon yata sila ni Direk Dondon after ‘All of Me’. Joke! Okay naman sa akin. I have full in trust in both of them.”

How does Yen feel about this? “It’s so surreal. And I want to thank Direk Dondon for his trust in me. Every new actress dreams of being paired with Papa P and I really can’t believe I will be given that opportunity this early. Na-star struck nga ako nung look test namin. Kinikilig ako sa tabi niya.”

Piolo will leave on August 13 for New Zealand for their location shoot, along with Director Dondon Santos, supervising producer Manny Valera and the cinematographer. The rest of the cast and crew will follow later, led by Yen, Raiko and comedian Jerald Napoles who plays Papa P’s best friend in the tuna cannery where they both work. They will be shooting in Queenstown, one hour by plane from Auckland, New Zealand. It will stand for Alaska. They can’t shoot in Alaska now as it’s summer there and they want to show very snowy conditions in the movie, which is available in NZ since it’s winter there at the moment.

Piolo is one of our stars who gets the most bashing in social media, but he remains cool about it, just like when some vicious haters tried to suggest something malicious about his photo with his son Inigo sleeping on his chest.

“I’m used to it,” he says. “It seems to be the norm now, e. Nakakapikon but you know the saying, ang pikon, talo. Sa tagal ko rito, papatol pa ba ako? So you just take the higher road and choose your battles. My son and I didn’t see each other for two months as I studied in London then went to the U.S. Kung ganun kami ka-affectionate sa isa’t isa, di mainggit na lang sila, di ba?”