Dateline: Megamall, March 17, Saturday. M.O.N.A.Y. premieres at Cinema 6 after the presscon at the nearby Max’s Restaurant.
“Ang daming artista, ano? Walang pang bayad ang mga ‘yan (laughs). Puro pakikisama lang,” quipped Mr. Shooli, a.k.a. Jun Urbano, the mastermind of M.O.N.A.Y. the movie, which also has him as the lead star together with Leo Martinez in his naughty character as Congressman Manhik-Manaog of Lakas-Tama Party.
M.O.N.A.Y. is touted to be a symbol of friendship. With a shoestring budget, Jun Urbano went ahead and finished the production with a little help from his friends. Aside from the 41 stars who guested in the movie and the technical crew, Direk Jun’s friends also lent a hand in post-production, booking and promotions. Now, it’s the turn of the press to provide their treasured assistance so the public would know that M.O.N.A.Y. is opening in theaters on March 21, a Wednesday.
Norma Japitana hosting the event while seated on the presidential table are Ernie Zarate, Ronnie Lazaro, Jun Urbano, Leo Martinez, Caridad Sanchez and Gary Lising.
Norma Japitana, a dead-ringer for Delia Razon, casually started the presscon using a small videoke player for a sound system. In the name of friendship, Norma handled the event that many say would re-launch the duo of Jun Urbano and Leo Martinez to comedic stardom. Seated in the presidential table were Jun Urbano, Leo Martinez, Caridad Sanchez, Flora Gasser, Ernie Zarate, Gary Lising, Ronnie Lazaro and the president of Love Radio 90.7 and Yes FM 101.1 who co-sponsored the event. Unlike ordinary movie presscons where Ang Pao (red money envelope) is secretly handed to the press, M.O.N.A.Y. had no secrets to keep and had only the sumptuous food and short anecdotes to share.
The golden ladies of MONAY, Caridad Sanchez and Flora Gasser. In the background are Merla and Dads of www.phf.com.ph
Laughter filled the venue when Flora Gasser grabbed the microphone from Ernie Zarate. “GRO ang papel ko dito at tumanda na ako bago nag-hearing sa kaso ko.” Flora had almost related the entire sequence she had appeared in. For her part, Caridad Sanchez had difficulty mincing her words due to her difficulty in suppressing her laughter. With Gary Lising seated beside her, what would you expect. Even without the microphone, Gary proclaimed, “Ako ang campaign manager ni Victor Wood.”
Perhaps due to tension, the anticipated comic spiels from Jun Urbano were missing but his banter with former DILG Secretary Raffy Alunan was very naturally funny. A La Sallite, Secretary Alunan showed full support to the movie of Jun who’s an Atenista. Late arrivals were Giselle Sanchez, Ricky Davao, Bembol Roco, Archie Adamos and film directors Joe Carreon and Nards Belen.
Former DILG Secretary Raffy Alunan in a jolly banter with Jun Urbano and Leo Martinez.
Writers from various newspapers were scattered in different tables, doing their own mini-interviews with the cast. The big TV camera of ABS-CBN had a field day in taking footages for TV Patrol while the Film Academy’s camera took the official photographs.
A mini-raffle was held before the movie premiered at Cinema 6 which had a full deck in the upper level while the lower level was almost filled up. The short program of introducing the cast was presided by 2 DJs of the sponsoring radio stations. In his short speech before the showing, Jun Urbano said that if M.O.N.A.Y. would be a success, a sequel is already in the offing – Palaman ng M.O.N.A.Y.
M.O.N.A.Y. was supposed to be a comedy picture but laughter of the audience was a bit subdued, not because the gags were not funny enough. “Malalim kasi ang message, talagang mag-iisip ka dahil hindi puwedeng hindi ka tatamaan,” remarked a Banco De Oro executive. “Bagay na bagay ito sa mga estudyante, kasi bukod sa educational yung history scenes, talagang ipinakita kung nasaan ang mga mistakes natin.”
Some of the cast and guests queueing in the theater lobby
Two known personalities from www.phf.com.ph were deeply touched by the movie. “Matindi ang mga patama, buti nakalusot sa censors. Hindi biro yung ginawa nilang joke sa mga government employees kasi… totoo naman yun, di ba?” Merla swore to have her children watch the movie. For his opinion, Dads was dead serious, “Ngayon ko lang naisip yung sinabi ni Mr. Shooli. Kaya pala sa traffic pa lang kitang-kita ang lamangan at gustong mauna eh epekto pala ng colonization. Siguro nga kaya gusto nating laging makalamang just so to break the rules, parang rebellion sa authorities.”
A lady who said she’s a first cousin of former President Fidel V. Ramos stated with a smiling face, “This is a nice movie, worth watching talaga. I never expected the ending.” Her companion, Oskee Salazar’s sister, teased her that she failed to hold back her tears when Mr. Shooli was delivering his M.O.N.A.Y. – Misteyks Opda Neysion Adres Yata. “It’s no joke to hear that litany from a Mongolian, pointing out our faults in a humorous way…”
Giselle Sanchez, a bit late in coming for the premiere.
One of the bestsellers was the production number of Congressman Manhik-Manaog where he sang the theme song in his patented Batangueño accent. Leo with his four bodyguards dancing to the tune of PBA – Pulitika, Basketball at Artista – the scene was a metaphor for the lapdogs in our society. The naughty Congressman was an obvious personification of a successful politician who doesn’t need a brain and a good background in order to win.
Interspersed with humorous scenes were dramatic sequences that tried to show the sad state of our country and the undesirable attitudes of our countrymen, that until now we are still a slave of our own colonial mentality. Surprisingly, M.O.N.A.Y., which is bursting with gags and comical sketches, is a full menu with a complete story and relevant sequences that will never fail to amuse, educate and inform us of the obvious problems with obvious solutions.
Ricky Davao’s kids together with Monching’s and Lotlot’s children.
M.O.N.A.Y. is not only a labor of love and a product of friendship but also a work of art. Truly, it can be said that M.O.N.A.Y. is a masterpiece!
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