THE holidays are over and stars who had a taping break during the Christmas season are now returning
back to work to face the cameras once again. Marian Rivera is one of those who returns to work in
“Super Ma’am”, her primetime show that offers more exciting adventures as she faces new scary opponents in the coming of the new year.
She and husband Dingdong Dantes and their baby, Zia, spent the holidays and their 3rd
wedding anniversary last December 30th in the beautiful island of Siargao down south and she’s now
feeling recharged. While she’s back to taping “Super Ma’am”, Dingdong will resume the shooting of a
new movie he is doing with Viva Films opposite Anne Curtis.
Marian is so satisfied with the comments they’re getting about their daughter, that Zia is an
obviously sweet and happy baby and also quite talkative. “That’s true, masayahin siya,” says Marian.
“At very communicative kaya talagang nakakatuwa. Gusto talaga namin ni Dong to train her growing up
with a positive attitude in life. 'Yun bang masayahin at mapagbigay sa ibang tao. As of now, talagang
very friendly siya. She smiles kahit sa mga hindi niya kakilala kaya we really can’t complain about
So when are they going to give Zia a baby brother or sister? “It all depends kay Lord. Iwe-
welcome namin kung ibibigay niya sa bagong taong ito ng 2018 ang kapatid ni Zia. Ready na kami.”
MOVIE REVIEW: ANG PANDAY
THE very first “Ang Panday” was shown in 1980, starring the late FPJ as Flavio, the
blacksmith who is the nemesis of Lizardo, evil personified as played by the late Max Alvarado, with
Liz Alindogan as FPJ's leading lady. It’s an origin story that FPJ himself directed as Ronwaldo
Reyes, based on the komiks novel of Carlo Caparas. The movie made Panday one of local cinema’s most
It was such a big hit that it spawned three sequels: “Ang Pagbabalik ng Panday” (1981),
“Panday: Ikatlong Yugto” (1982) and “Panday: Ikaapat na Aklat” (1984). All became Metro filmfest
topgrossers. Later on, ABS-CBN made a TV series starring Jericho Rosales and last year, TV5 did their
own version starring Richard Gutierrez. There was also a cartoon version shown on RPN-9.
In 1993, Regal Films did “Dugo ng Panday” with Bong Revilla and Aiko Melendez, directed by
Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes. In 1998, Jinggoy Estrada also had his own version, “Hiwaga ng Panday”,
with Kris Aquino, directed by Carlo Caparas himself.
It will take 11 years before another “Panday” movie is made in 2009, produced by Bong
Revilla, with him playing Flavio and Iza Calzado as his leading lady, directed by Mac Alejandre and
Rico Gutierrez. It was a big hit so “Ang Panday 2” was made in 2011, with Marian Rivera as the
leading lady, directed by Mac Alejandre.
Now, 6 years later, Coco Martin, in his aim to be the FPJ of today’s generation after the
huge success of “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” on TV, comes up with his own reboot of “Panday”, with he
himself as co-producer and debuting as a director using his real name, Rodel Nacianceno.
The story is now set in the present. A prologue told in animation recounts the past exploits
of the first Panday, narrated by Joonee Gamboa who is a fixture in the Panday movies. Coco as the new
Flavio is the grandson of FPJ’s Flavio. His dad is Jeric Raval, who’s also named Flavio, and his mom
is Dimples Romana.
His parents are killed at the start of the movie by Lizardo as played by Arjo Atayde. It’s
Jaclyn Jose as the midwife who saves Flavio as a baby from the murderous minions of Lizardo and, next
time we see him, he’s already Coco running in Divisoria and fighting some goons in a street brawl.
The new Flavio is actually a thug, but old man Joonee Gamboa comes along to tell him he is
the new chosen one, like his grandpa before him. It’s his destiny to protect the world and he is
tasked to look for the mystical “balaraw”, so he must make a risky journey to the mountains and
through a magical forest to retrieve it. He’ll use the “balaraw” against the forces of evil led by
the new Lizardo, played by Jake Cuenca.
Well, we already know how the story goes as it follows the same formula in the FPJ movies.
Jake might seem to be triumphant at the start sa pagsasabog lagim, but in the end, you know that good
will still triumph over evil as Coco is the savior of mankind. The more important question now is: so
how did Coco fare as a director?
First of all, he’s to be commended for giving jobs to former action flick staples like Jess
Lapid Jr., King Gutierrez, Tom Olivar, Val Iglesia, Dindo Arroyo, and others, whose acting careers
were badly affected after the local film industry slackened and action flicks went out of fashion.
Even on TV, he has given work to so many idle actors.
Coco also pays homage to his recent TV hits. The scenes where he’s fighting and running
through the market place in Divisoria is reminiscent of similar scenes in “Juan de la Cruz”. The cast
assembles a lot of people he has worked with before in “Juan” and “Probinsyano”, including Eddie
Garcia, Jaime Fabregas, Albert Martinez, Agot Isidro, Lito Lapid, Michael de Mesa, Mark Lapid, Ejay
Falcon, and several supporting actors.
Like FPJ, he makes use of child actors, like Bentot Jr. in the original “Panday”. But Coco is
a segurista so he doesn’t get just one but several child stars to join him in the movie, some of whom
didn’t even do anything at all. The children are led by Awra Briguela who is given a lengthy exposure
as a closet biniboy who later on becomes a hero in the fight against aswangs.
The only one missing from “Probinsyano” is Susan Roces as Coco’s lola, who’s now replaced by
Gloria Romero. Coco also gets himself a new leading lady, the beauty queen daughter of Christopher de
Leon and Sandy Andolong, Mariel de Leon, who looks taller than him whenever they’re shown walking
side by side.
But Mariel’s role is too short and their love story is not really shown going anywhere
because Coco tries to cram in so many other elements into the movie. He is even shown doing a lengthy
song number with some local rappers and their song is rendered on screen in full. Awra is also given
his own big moment when he joins a gay beauty pageant that didn’t really work and fell flat on its
There’s an encounter with midgets who have homes looking like those of the Hobbits in “Lord
of the Rings”. And there’s a whole sequence in the kaharian ng liwanag with Albert Martinez as the
king, but made up more like a queen who’s raring to come out of his closet. Then, of course, there
are the faux aswangs who attack the innocent people in Coco’s neighborhood but are not even really
Coco actually wants to have a little bit of something for everyone, so he just jumps from
scene to scene. Now, who’d say that narrative cohesion is important in telling a story?
Coco is stabbed by Jake and dies, but this is a fantasy movie where the hero is unkillable,
so he is resurrected by Joonee Gamboa and is sent to train with Lito Lapid in the mountains and
they’re all suddenly garbed like native inhabitants of Manchuria or Mongolia.
Then Coco is ready to face Jake again and they are suddenly transported to the sand dunes and
Coco is now instantly wearing a new and proper costume, like a real screen superhero should, for his
final showdown with Jake who, but naturally, he gets to defeat after a long fight sequence.
As a director, Coco obviously just allowed Jake interpret Lizardo anyway he wants to, but
Jake seems confused as his performance lacks consistency. He seems campy in some scenes, acting like
Heath Ledger’s Joker, but menacingly serious in other scenes.
But don’t worry, the movie is a big hit, so for sure, there will be a sequel and Lizardo will
be resurrected once again. If you’re looking for a polished work of cinema, then “Panday” is not for
But kids in the audience don’t seem to be complaining. We saw it with our own grandchildren
and when we asked them how they like it, they say it’s okay. So Coco has succeeded in pleasing his
target audience with his own take on the fantasy-action movie genre. If you’d complain and want a
more mature film fare, then go watch “Larawan” and “All of You” instead.