“It’s a very short event,” with that assurance issued by our editor, my hesitation vanished and off I went to the SM Megamall to be an official observer for the FAP Website.
Slated on that Friday, August 29, was the announcement of the nominees for the 26th Luna Awards. The venue was the lobby of Cinema 10 of SM Megamall theaters and the appointed time was 6:00 pm.
Being a Friday and a payday, parking at the Megamall was near impossible so I opted to park at the nearby Podium. Success. Rain from the threatening dark clouds did not materialize so I had a good long walk to the venue and passed the checkpoint with a breeze. Success again.
My built-in orienteering skills told me that there are 12 theaters in Megamall and it was partitioned in 2 lobbies – first lobby for theaters 1 to 6 and the second lobby for theaters 7 to 12. Success. That was the word proclaimed by the tarp in second lobby, the supposed venue. It was actually a job fair codenamed success and not a showbiz affair. Failure. Before I could apply for any job fitted for a senior citizen, Victor, the Film Academy’s utility man texted me on my antiquated cellphone. “Sir d2 kami sa cinema 3.”
With an alibi that I was late because I was just sight-seeing, I wended my way inside the cordoned area as Victor and our editor Joe Carreon were both waving at me as if it was my first time to set foot in Megamall. The receptionist said that I need not sign the registry since I am from the Film Academy. That affair was for the Film Academy and the registrants were the invited media reporters from the press and television.
I checked the FAP camera that Victor brought along. Failure. The plastic mount did not fit the tripod base. “Maganit po yung tripod natin kaya nanghiram ako ng ibang tripod,” Victor reasoned out. And he had just bought the plastic mount which was bigger than the tripod base by a few millimeters. And before I could think of a nicer word to reprimand Victor, the peso saved his neck. Victor scraped the sides of the plastic mount with the rim of his peso coin and in a few minutes the camera was already resting fitfully on the tripod while the invited media people were coming in one by one.
Victor Nota with FAP’s miniature camera
And since our camera was the smallest in the field, it was only fair that we place it by the side of the stage and leave the choice area to the huge cameras of the tv networks. Upon my instruction, Victor took some test shots of the environs. Of course, I had to sit beside Lhar Santiago of GMA-7 so Victor could ascertain if the camera was working perfectly. For his vengeance, Victor requested me to take a photo of him beside Lhar. By the way, that’s Lhar with an h. The mini-pictorial was a success.
Victor with GMA-7’s Lhar Santiago, at the background is an unnamed showbiz reporter
As I was inspecting the decorations on the stage, I noticed a table at the side where a staff was arranging a styro of food and plastic glasses of iced tea. Before I could confirm my suspicion that dinner was complimentary, our editor was already by the table validating my suspicion. When no one stopped him, our editor motioned for Victor and I to get our food. Another success.
After the test shots were evaluated and the food was digested we were ready for the job. Victor would be handling the video camera while I would be using my digital camera and our editor would be taking down notes of the names of the personalities that would appear on the stage. It was nearing 7:00 pm but the affair hadn’t started yet. And our editor said that there was a sudden change of schedule – a delay of one hour.
Everyone was quiet when the host held the microphone and announced the start of the short event. “Ako po si Leila Chikadora,” the host said in introducing herself to the wondering crowd. In fairness, Leila is a known DJ in an FM radio station. And after a short backgrounder of what the affair was all about, the host introduced the personalities headed by Candy Pangilinan, Jason Abalos and the Film Academy’s Leo Martinez. I was sort of mesmerized by Leila Chikadora that I forgot my role – I had to be on the other side with my digital camera.
Regaining my composure and taking my proper orbit in the universe, Candy was already approaching the stage. For the second time, I was mesmerized not only by the expensive fragrance that Candy was wearing but also by her profile which exuded a touch of class. And then Jason Abalos was there and, of course, the FAP Director General Leo Martinez whose facial contour, shape and texture I had already mastered.
Shots after shots, my hand never wavered and it seemed that I was still asking for more when Leila Chikadora called in Leo Martinez for the closing remarks. It was really so short an event and fortunately everything was preserved in the video camera.
Right after Leo Martinez had issued the closure, the well-behaved media people threw their caution into the wind and scrambled for the vantage position in front of Candy Pangilinan. So my hunch was right that Candy was the star of the evening. And not to be boxed out of the action, I had to crawl my way underneath one of the big cameras that were pointed at Candy. Success. I caught Candy with the video function of my small digital camera.
Candy Pangilinan being interviewed by the media
After satiating my camera with Candy’s video, I noticed that Leo Martinez was being interviewed by another reporter with a big camera that bandied a powerful klieg lamp. Our Director General was explaining about the process of the Luna Awards, from the citers to the nominators to the voters. That the Luna Awards is a peer award. That the Luna Awards is bereft of shenanigans unlike the other.
In the corner of my eye, there was Jason Abalos going to the exit of the cordoned area. And like the other media people, I was not also interested in him so I just stayed put behind the big camera until the interview of Leo Martinez was over and done.
And when everyone was gone and we, ourselves, were ready to leave, our editor asked me, “Sino nga ba yung host?” Even against my will, I had to recite the full name of the host lest I lose the opportunity of having my article published.
As I was walking out of the cinema lobby, I smiled and said to myself that my coverage of the event was a rousing success. But on second thought… I forgot to text my wife. She was expecting me to take her to dinner. What now? I had already feasted on the Hawaiian barbecue provided by Ohana.
Well, “mag-uzi sa showbiz ay di biro.”
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