They make it look so easy!
We were on coordination duty last week for the taping of Maalaala Mo Kaya, the longest-running and multi-awarded drama anthology in the Philippines. In October, the show will be celebrating its 20th Year Anniversary and the four stories chosen for this event are being filmed outside of Manila (Europe, North America, Luzon and Mindanao).
For the Mindanao segment, it is the story of HAPPY FEET, the brothers duo from Libona, Bukidnon, family name MATA, who learned how to tap dance by just watching the penguins on the Disney movie “Happy Feet” and went on to place First Runner-Up at the Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2 Finals last July. Set with the Mt. Kitanglad Range as the backdrop, it is a heartwarming story of family, hardship, pride and diligence and one that Bukidnons can certainly relate to.
We were recommended by Elfren Vibar, a good friend who was the Production Designer of the movie project “Love Me Again” (filmed in Impasugong, Bukidnon in 2008). Though much of what we did then (pre-production) was similar to what was asked of us this time, our experience during the three taping days (August 29-31) was totally different.
For one thing, we never knew where we would be at any time of the day. The director (Direk Dado Lumibao) wanted to shoot as many locations as possible because of the limited time. Hence, coordinating the meals was tricky in itself and for once, I was thankful for my unlimited postpaid cellphone plan.
Second, we didn’t expect to be running on back-up batteries (with only a couple of hours sleep) for a full 72 hours. Pull-out time was 5:00 am and pack-up time was 12:00 am, daily. What amazed me was the energy and enthusiasm of the staff, cast and crew. In fact, after the initial shock of the first day, Ed and I were quickly absorbed in the constant and necessary movements of making a movie. There was no time to think of rest, or of sleep for that matter, until things would slow down after sunset.
Third, and I’m still reeling from the wonder of this, the production team (headed by Ms. Lindsay Dizon and Direk Dado) made everything look so easy! Given our not-so-finesse introduction with the movie industry in 2008 (filming lasted 34 days and still was incomplete at final pack-up), I made a dour prediction that we wouldn’t be able to get this project done within only three days. But I was wrong. It was, and the main reason (that I saw) it did was because the team members stood by each other. Yes, they had their spats and disagreements, and maybe some of the talents couldn’t memorize their lines well enough, but because the team was so positive and encouraging, everyone came away with a good sense of completion and fulfillment.
Don’t forget: Watch the story of HAPPY FEET on Maalaala Mo Kaya.
When: October 8, 2011 (Saturday)
Cast: John Prats (as Ramonito Mata), Nash Aguas (as Lordito Mata), Ariel Rivera (as their father), and Isay Alvarez (as their mother).
Directed by: Dado Lumibao, ABS-CBN