MANILA, Philippines – ABS-CBN’s movie outfit, Star Cinema, and the Archdiocese of Caceres have joined forces for a family drama film, called "Ikaw Ang Pag-Ibig," that is slated to come out in February.
Star Cinema is distributing the movie produced by the Archdiocese of Caceres.
Directed by multi-awarded filmmaker Marilou Diaz-Abaya (Jose Rizal, Muro Ami, Bagong Buwan), "Ikaw Ang Pag-Ibig” tells the story of a troubled family that will find answers, peace and happiness through the help of Our Lady of Peñafrancia.
The partnership was formalized through contract signing on Monday evening. The event was graced by no less than presidential sisters Ballsy Aquino-Cruz and Viel Aquino-Dee.
Ballsy and Viel have been invited to attend the contract signing by Abaya.
As a devotee of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Ballsy gave her full support to the upcoming project.
"Alam mo naman kasi ang mga Bicolano ay malapit sa aming puso at kami talaga ay devotee ng Our Lady. Marami nga siyang pangalan, kung ano ano, pero isa lang naman siya. Kaya anything about Our Lady talagang gusto naming suportahan ng aming pamilya," the eldest sister of President Benigno Aquino III said.
Viel, on the other hand, said she can’t wait to see the movie.
"I'm just excited kasi kahapon (Monday), ang Nazareno sabi nila ay kasing laki ito. So, tingnan natin kung gaano ka-special," Viel said.
The film stars Jomari Yllana, Ina Feleo, Marvin Agustin, Sharmaine Buencamino, Noni Buencamino and Eddie Garcia. In the film, Feleo, daughter of the late veteran actor Johnny Delgado, plays the role of Yllana's wife and sister of Agustin, a priest who is suffering from leukemia.
"Ikaw ang Pag-Ibig" was originally titled "Peñafrancia," and was first offered to celebrity couple Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos.
Abaya admitted that Agoncillo and Santos were removed from the film after the young superstar got pregnant. The move created a controversy after it was reported that the 2 stars were caught flat-footed.
But Abaya maintained that they all agreed to the decision.
"Medyo maselan ang pregnancy niya…. Nag-discernment kami and Judy Ann and Ryan agreed. 'You know what Judy Ann, I don't want you to just play the role of a mommy, I want you to be a mommy'; which eventually sobrang gift yon kay Judy Ann and Ryan. I haven't seen the baby. I want to see the baby. All those who got involved in the film, in one way or another, everyone got a gift from Ina including Judy Ann and Ryan," the director said.
"And I hope sometime in the future ay magkaroon kami ng another chance and another movie na ‘yong relationship namin as friends and as director, actor, actress ay magkaroon ng another chance," she added.
For Abaya, “Ikaw Ang Pag-Ibig" is “very, very special for me.”
"It happened like a miracle for me kasi noong unang in-assign sa akin ito, 2 and a half years ago ay nasa cancer remission ako. Tapos noong tinanggap ko, naulit ang cancer. During that time sinulat ko and noong time for production doon nag-remission ulit. So para bang hindi na ako ang nagdi-direk, parang si Ina na ang nagdi-direk. Special talaga," Abaya said.
She stressed that the film is not exclusive for Catholics, but for people who are looking for love in the family.
The film is endorsed by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines and got an A rating from the Cinema Evaluation Board and Parental Guidance rating from the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.
The film will be shown in various schools and universities on February 9. It will hit the big theatres on February 23.