(From left) Iza Calzado, Regal Films matriarch Mother Lily Monteverde, Ogie Alcasid, Judy Ann Santos, and Ploning director Dante Nico Garcia pose during the launching party of the Ploning Foundation. The event, which doubled as a thanksgiving party for the indie film, took place last February 22 at Dolce Bar in Quezon City. Photo: Jocelyn Dimaculangan


Last week, the staff of Panoramanila Pictures Co. distributed invites to members of the press showing a photo of the Oscar trophy and the words "Ploning Foundation" decorated with two lychees.

The golden trophy in the invite refers to the Oscar bid of Ploning as the Best Foreign Film representative of the Philippines to the 81st Academy Awards. Unfortunately, it was not able to enter the Top 9 entries chosen worldwide.

On the hand, the lychees are significant to the plot of the film because the canned fruit is considered special food in Cuyo, Palawan—the place where the film was shot entirely.

Last night, February 22, Judy Ann Santos made a big announcement regarding the Ploning Foundation, contrary to what others thought would be a big announcement regarding her upcoming wedding to Ryan Agoncillo.

"Yung Ploning Foundation, it's a big announcement because this is gonna be a big foundation because it concerns the whole industry," explains Juday. "That's why we invited the media, we invited writers and directors and celebrities. Gusto namin united tayo sa parteng itong para sa entertainment industry. To inspire filmmakers na gumawa pa ng mas magandang pelikula para mas mapansin yung Pilipinas."  


Ploning director Dante Nico "Ga" Garcia then added: "We just want to make it legit para yung mga donations, nabibilang ng tama at nagagamit sa tamang paraan. Para it will be easier for people to help. We told the Film Academy of the Philippines about the plans and ang problem sa Ploning, dumating ako sa U.S. ng October 9, Thanksgiving na. Ang problem, yung mga writers, they worked for the Oscars during the summer pero pag Thanksgiving and New Year, wala na sila. Ang daming oras na nasayang na hindi ako makapag meeting."

They also wish that the FAP will choose the Philippine representative at a much earlier time. "Sana mas maaga pipiliin, yun yung pinakiusap namin sa FAP then middle of the year, nagsisimula nang mag-plan at maka-book na ng theaters.

"Ang problema kasi 66 countries ang kalaban mo at ilan lang ang theaters na nag-i-screen ng independent films sa Los Angeles. So kailangan talaga may magba-back up and honestly, we just want to help and share the experience," says Ga.


JUDAY CRIED OVER PLONING'S LOSS. Did Judy Ann feel hurt or disappointed that Ploning did not enter the Top 9?

"Hindi naman na-hurt, hindi rin ako na-disappoint kasi alam naman naming suntok sa buwan. Nalungkot, oo, nalungkot, given ‘yon," says Juday. "Kasi napakaipokrita ko naman kung sasabihin kong ‘ay no, hindi ko sya ininda at all.' Sa hinaba-haba ng journey namin sa fund-raising, siguro yung lungkot lang na, ‘happy-sad.' Happy because finally it's over, sad because finally it's over.

"Nakatapos na tayo sa mahabang journey, napakaraming tumulong, mas dun sa thankful ka na madaming nakaintindi sa ginagawa mo, at saka ang daming sumuporta...Naiyak ako sa pagiging masaya at pagiging malungkot, kasi ang tagal-tagal ko na sa industriya pero hindi ko akalain na ang dami-dami ko palang kaibigan na more than willing tumulong sa akin."

The ABS-CBN star pointed out that through their efforts, they were able to introduce Philippine cinema to a lot of foreigners that they met during their Oscar campaign.

"Nakakatuwa and napakasarap isipin na kahit papaano may narating naman yung Ploning kasi nakilala naman s'ya ng mga banyaga. Actually naghihintay na rin sila ng next representative ng Pilipinas to go to their festival because na-introduce namin na Filipinos are very talented. Isa sa masasabi naming achievement kasi nagbukas kami ng pintuan. Sana yung pintuang binukas naming hindi isipin ng mga tao na ginamit naming sila, or nanggamit kami, hindi po. We wanted to inspire people and we wanted this door to be open at all times."

Judy Ann also mentioned that if their film Ploning made it to the Top 9, they would have created another fundraising that would ask people: "Ano ang susuotin ni Ploning sa Oscars?"


BYE PLONING, HELLO DARLING. Speaking of looks, the actress arrived at the event with a new hairstyle that is wavy instead of her usual straight black. Why is she sporting curly hair now? Is it in preparation of upcoming wedding to fiancé Ryan Agoncillo?

"Hindi, gusto ko lang maiba yung itsura ko kasi parang time na rin to move on from Ploning di ba? I've been doing Ploning for the past year, eto na ‘to, goodbye to and farewell to Ploning and hello to the Ploning Foundation! And hello to Darling!"

(Click HERE to read more about the wedding plans of Judy and Ryan.)


According to Direk Dante, Darling will be the name of her character in his upcoming comedy film to be produced by Regal Entertainment. The film is conceptualized by Asia's Songbird Regine Velasquez and it will be topbilled by no less than her boyfriend, Ogie Alcasid.

"Gusto ko kung gaano ka-kime si Juday sa Ploning, ganun siya ka kahinhin sa Ploning, gusto kong i-reverse," says Direk Dante. "Gusto kong kulot siya kaya siya kulot ngayon. Sana magawa this year [the comedy film] bago ko gawin yung serious film ng Panoramanila, based on a documentary of Howie Severino.

"Alam ko mas mahirap magpatawa kaysa magpaiyak kaya gusto ko lang i-try. It's a story by Regine Velasquez and it will star Ogie Alcasid and Juday. Sa story, nag-collaborate kaming apat: si Ogie, si Regine, si Juday at ako." 

Ga, a long-time friend and the stylist of Juday for the past 16 years, says that he wants this comedy film to show how fun it is when friends collaborate on a movie together.

PEP spotted GMA-7 documentarist and I-Witness host Howie Severino that night at Dolce Bar and he mentioned that this upcoming drama-comedy film, to be produced by Panoramanila, is based on war veterans residing in Powell Street in San Francisco, U.S.A.