Monday, March 3, 2014

Cinematheque Zamboanga Inauguration with Jun Urbano as Guest of Honor

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Your friendly neighborhood "pambansang" blogger of the Philippines had the opportunity to witness the inauguration of a new prestigious landmark in Zamboanga city where the 2nd Zamboanga International Film Festival was also held last February 26 until March 2, 2014. The film festival showcased several Filipino and foreign films especially the independent or indie films at the newly-built Cinematheque Zamboanga of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP)

The city was also celebrating their 77th Dia De Zamboanga or Zamboanga Day when I arrived the morning of February 26, 2014 so it was a very festive day for the entire city. Zamboanga Day was anchored on the theme “Build Back Better Zamboanga” - a gargantuan effort to rise again and bring back the glorious days of the city after its terrible dilemma dealing with the 23-day conflict between the lawless Muslim elements and government forces which resulted to many displaced families.

The Cinematheque Zamboanga, conveniently located in the heart of the city along Legionnaire Road and very near the popular Paseo Del Mar and Plaza Del Pilar, is the country's biggest art-house movie theater with 180 seats as compared to the 120-seat standard that can be found at the Cinematheques in Davao, Iloilo and Baguio. It can also be used as a venue for workshops and symposiums to enhance the skills of our local film makers.

Attendees surround the majestic Cinematheque Zamboanga

The vision of the Cinematheques from all location is to primarily bring Filipino films to the Filipinos. They were built to educate and encourage Filipinos to watch and appreciate locally produced Filipino films - a vital part of the Sineng Pambansa or National Cinema program of the FDCP.

A banner labels the building as Cinematheque Zamboanga

The Cinematheques are alternative screening locations for diverse films ranging from Filipino to foreign works like Spanish, French, Argentinian and Mexican films through the FDCP's Film Cultural Exchange Program. The Cinematheque in Zamboanga is the biggest among the others standing on a 406-sq.m lot of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) under a usufruct agreement with the city government in 2012.

A yellow ribbon for the inauguration ceremonies of Cinematheque Zamboanga

Jun Urbano stand infront of his father's statue apparently wearing the outfit used in the Juan Tamad film series

Manuel Conde statue situated infront of the Cinematheque Zamboanga

Jonas Roces created the statue of Manuel Conde at Cinematheque Zamboanga. He is a famous Filipino sculptor who also made the statues of comedy king Dolphy Quizon and action king Fernando Poe Jr. and even the tallest statue in the world of Dr. Jose Rizal located in Calamba, Laguna

At the Cinematheque Zamboanga inauguration last February 26, 2014, local and foreign visitors graced the event to participate in the ribbon cutting and unveiling of the statue of film director, actor and producer Manuel Conde - known to many as the Juan Tamad of Filipino classic films. His statue, sculpted by artist Jonas Roces, will become a reminder and inspiration for future Filipino film makers to strive towrds the same beliefs and passions that Manuel Conde exhibited throughout his life.

A priests officiating the blessing of the Cinematheque Zamboanga

Attendees with lighted candles during the inauguration of Cinematheque Zamboanga
Cultural dancers dance the "Pangalay" popularly known as the “fingernail” dance. The name was derived from the verb mangalay which means 'to dance'. It can also refer to any traditional style of dance performed during social gatherings and festive occasions.

Present at the event was no less than Manuel Conde's son, Jun Urbano as guest of honor. Jun is an actor and writer, known for movies like Juan Tamad at Mr. Shooli: Mongolian Barbecue (1991), M.O.N.A.Y (Misteyks obda neyson adres Yata) ni Mr. Shooli (2007) and Magic Temple (1996). Jun is best known for his portrayal of Mr. Shooli, a Mongolian character who is fascinated with the Philippines and its people - the same way how Hollywood character Borat, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, is confused with the American way of life.

Also gracing the event were Zamboanga Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar, 1st District Congressman Celso Lobregat, FDCP Chairman Briccio Santos, Spain’s ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Domencq, and the counselor for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs of the Embassy of France Michel Stanilas Villar.

Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde along with some members of the City Council, City Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr., Monsignor Crisologo Manongas, Fr. Max Rodriguez, Fr. Angel Calvo, Fr. Michael Ufana and Tourism Regional Director Mary June Bugante, were also among the many other guests and visitors.

Tarps and posters can be seen decorating the facilities of Cinematheque Zamboanga

Cushioned seats are located at the ground floor pf Cinematheque Zamboanga

A few plastic seats are placed at the second floor of the Cinematheque Zamboanga
View of the stage from the top floor of Cinematheque Zamboanga

Performers do a few cultural dance to provide entertainment at the Cinematheque Zamboanga inauguration

To immortalize their presence and contribution at the inauguration of Cinematheque Zamboanga

Hands imprinted on cement during the inauguration of Cinematheque Zamboanga

After a brief tour of the facilities of the Cinematheque Zamboanga and a short program where the VIPs where requested to share their speeches. Certificates of appreciation were also presented to the VIPs. Entertainment were also provided by some cultural dancers. A ceremonial cement hand prints were done by the top VIPs including Jun Urbano.

The opening feature of Cinematheque Zamboanga was Paolo Berger's Blancanieves, a black-and-white 2012 Spanish silent film based on the fairy tale Snow White.

I actually have a lot more stories to tell about Zamboanga and its main attractions and festivities so this will be just the start of a series of blogs about my adventures at Asia's Latin City. I stayed at the lovely Garden Orchid hotel located at Gov. Camins Avenue which is very near the airport and just a few minutes away the popular places.

Aside from the Zamboanga International Film Festival and the Dia De La Ciudad De Zamboanga, the 9th Philippine Birds Festival, an event that was organized by the Department of Tourism Region 9 with the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines was another reason why I was in Zamboanga. I stayed in the city from February 26 until March 1. Yes! Four days of nothing but fun, learning and adventure exploring the sights, sounds, feel, smell and taste of Zamboanga!

Watch out for more stories soon as I promise them to be truly worthwhile reading as we continue to learn more about beautiful Zamboanga and its Chavacano-speaking friendly people.

See more pictures to be uploaded soon at the Wazzup Pilipinas Facebook page:

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