Amanda Page (left) flew in from New York to perform a dance tribute to Vilma Santos' Burlesk Queen (1977). Marian Rivera (right) took part in an intermission number paying tribute to past Metro Manila Film Fest entries. Photo: Noel Orsal

Star Cinema's Ang Tanging Ina Mo (Last Na To!) was the runaway winner at the 36th Metro Manila Film Festival held last December 26, 2010 at the Meralco Theater.

Eight mainstream movies took part in this year's edition of the annual event wherein Filipino local films are shown exclusively in local theaters for two weeks from December 25 to January 7, 2011.

The third and said-to-be last installment of the Ang Tanging Ina franchise reaped a  total of nine major awards including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Best Child Performer, Best Screenplay, Best Story, Best Musical Score and Most Gender Sensitive Award.

The jury of this year's MMFF was headed by Sec. Edwin Lacierda (chairman) while the other members were Ricardo "Butch" Trofeo, Butch Francisco, Deedee Sytancgo, Robert Arevalo, Emmanuel Borlaza, Mae Paner, Marie "Baby" Villegas. In line with its new rule this year, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) selected four citizens to be part of the judging panel namely Arnold Cabaluna (a public school teacher from Mandaluyong City), Justin Jarod Binos (a student from Makati City), and Milton Medina (a bus driver from Muntinlupa City). Aside from going through a selection process before being designated as jurors, they also took a seminar on film appreciation.

In his acceptance speech as Best Director, Direk Wenn V. Deramas was utterly surprised by the announcement. "Naawa lang 'ata kayo sa 'kin sa pagbalik-balik ko dito sa stage...Sobra-sobrang bonus na po ito."

For her part, Ai-Ai remarked, "Salamat po sa Metro Manila Film Fest...dahil sa Best Picture. Touch po kami kasi dahil nga last na ito. Binuhos po namin talaga ng buong puso at kaluluwa namin.  Maraming salamat po. Wala po ako ibang masabi kundi maraming salamat po sa mga jurors. Ang galing ninyong pumili," she said earnestly.

The highly anticipated event was the announcement of the Best Actress award, which was presented by MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino and Senator Bong Revilla. They called out the name of Ai-Ai delas Alas, who went out onstage with tears flowing down her face. The Concert Comedy Queen paused for a few moments as she tried to stop crying before giving her acceptance speech.

When she finally regained her bearings, she explained, "Kaya po ako naiiyak kasi nakakahiya lahat sila 'best' ako, hindi. Thank you po."

She even joked, "Di ko ine-expect 'to kaya may papel ako. Sa MMFF, thank you so much po sa lahat pong bumoto, at sa Star Cinema, sa ABS-CBN family, kay Direk Wenn,  sa lahat po ng gumawa nito, lahat ng anak ko sa movie, magagaling lahat sila dito, sa lahat po nagdasal...sa best friend ko pong pari, Father Eric Santos, si Father Allan, Dominican nuns...nagdasal sila, sabi nila, dapat 'best actress' ako. "

The comedienne told the audience that she would want to share her award with her "friendship" Kris Aquino, the lead actress of the horror film Dalaw. Ai-Ai also shared the award with Jennylyn Mercado, the lead actress of Rosario whom she considered to be her greatest contender.

However, Jennylyn was not nominated for her dramatic role as a woman convicted of adultery in the 1920s. Kris also did not make it to the top three slots for the Best Actress category. The two other Best Actress nominees were Carla Abellana for the horror trilogy Shake, Rattle and Roll XII and Marian Rivera for the action-comedy flick Super Inday and the Golden Bibe.

Ai-Ai continued in her speech, "Isa na lang ang hinihiling nila na hindi pa binibigay, mapangasawa  ko si Vic Sotto para in case, kami na yung magpro-produce, hindi ko na siya kalaban sa film fest. Amin na lang lahat nung kita. Hihintayin ko Lord. Thank you po sa inyong lahat..."

Comedy King Dolphy won two awards for acting; Best Actor for Father Jejemon and Best Supporting Actor for Rosario. 

Comedienne Eugene Domingo won as Best Supporting Actress in the role of Ai-Ai delas Alas's best friend in the film Ang Tanging Ina Mo. Child wonder Xyriel Manabat went home with the Best Child Performer award also for the same movie. She was pitted against Maliksi Morales for Dalaw and Buboy Villar for Super Inday and the Golden Bibe.

Another big winner that night was Studio 5 and Cinemabuhay International's period film Rosario. It earned seven awards that include 2nd Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Supporting Actor, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Float and the Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award. This true-to-life story about a controversial adultery case in the 1920s was topbilled by Jennylyn Mercado, Dennis Trillo, Yul Servo and Sid Lucero. Yul was nominated for the Best Actor along with Vic Sotto for the action-fantasy film Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote. However, veteran actor Dolphy bagged the said honor.

RPG: Metanoia, the first 3D film of the Philippines, won the 3rd Best Picture Award, Best Sound Recording and Best Theme Song and a special citation for being a Gender Sensitive movie.

INTERMISSION NUMBERS. Hosting the awards night were the  Gutierrez siblings led by actress Ruffa and younger brothers, Richard and Raymond.

In between the announcements of this year's winners, remarkable song and dance numbers were presented by artists.

Christian Bautista, Concert Queen Pops Fernandez and Pop Diva Kuh Ledesma performed songs that paid tribute to the immense talent of Filipinos.

Amanda Page flew in from New York to perform a dance tribute to Vilma Santos' Burlesk Queen (1977). She gyrated and did lifting stunts as clips from the original movie were shown on the big screen. Amanda's major movie in the Philippines was the 1997 film Rizal sa Dapitan wherein she brought life to Josephine Bracken.

Marian Rivera took part in an intermission number paying tribute to past Metro Manila Film Fest entries. The lead actress of Super Inday and the Golden Bibe was joined by fellow MMFF stars Gwen Zamora and child actress Jillian Ward. Mark Herras also showed off his martial arts skills in this production number.

PRESENTERS. The first set of awards--Best Independent Film, Best Child Performer and Best Production Design--was presented by young stars Robi Domingo and Bea Binene.

The indie films that competed for Best Independent Film were Nasaan si Hefte?, Presa, Senior Year, Rindido and Slow Fade. Presa won the award and a cash prize of P100,000.  Incidentally, the entry Nasaan si Hefte? has been invited to take part in an Italian film festival.

The Best Production Design award went to Joey Luna and Miki Hahn for the film Rosario. Other nominees were  Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote and RPG: Metanoia.

The presenters for Best Sound Recording, Best Musical Scoring and Best Theme Song were Joshua Dionisio and Barbie Forteza.  Super Inday and the Golden Bibe and RPG: Metanoia tied for the Best Sound Recording award. Best Musical Scoring award went to Jesse Lasaten for Ang Tanging Ina Mo while "Kaya Ko" of RPG: Metanoia won the Best Theme Song award.

The next set of awards particularly for Best Makeup, Best Visual Effects and Best Editing were presented by Gaby dela Merced and Carla Abellana.  Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote won the Best Makeup as well as the Best Visual Effects went to Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote.

John Wong won Best Editing for the movie Rosario while Carlo Mendoza earned for Rosario the Best Cinematography award.

Actor Yul Servo and Regine Angeles presented the award for Best Float, which went to Rosario. 

Senator Bong Revilla was regarded Male Face of the Night while his leading lady in Agimat, Sam Pinto, got the Female Face of the Night award. Both of them received P5000 cash.

The Most Gender Sensitive Movie award was presented by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera to Ang Tanging Ina Mo (Last Na To!). The 3D film RPG: Metanoia received a special citation also for being a gender-sensitive film.

Special awards such as Best Male Dressed and Best Female Dressed were presented by dashing Jake Cuenca, Sam Pinto and congresswoman Monique Lagdameo.  Real-life couple Dennis Trillo who was in an elegant black tux and Jennylyn Mercado dolled up in a sultry off-the-shoulder gray Pepsi Herrera  gown were given the cash prize of P10,000 each.

Unlike the other categories, four actors were nominated for the Best Supporting Actor category. These were Dolphy and Sid Lucero for Rosario, Roy Alvarez for Father Jejemon, Alwin Uytingco for Ang Tanging Ina Mo. Dolphy was unable to personally accept his award that night.

Nominees for the Best Supporting Actress category were Alessandra de Rossi and Gina Pareño for Dalaw as well as Eugene Domingo for Ang Tanging Ina Mo. Eugene emerged as the victor but she was also unable to accept the award because she is currently abroad.

The Best Story and Best Screenplay awards were presented by Marvin Agustin, Andi Eigenmann and Tricia Bonoan. Mel del Rosario bagged the Best Story and Best Screenplay awards for Ang Tanging Ina Mo.

Veteran actress Cherie Gil presented the Best Director award. She sang the lyrics "I gotta a feeling" before she announced that the nominees were Wenn V. Deramas for Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Mike Tuviera for Super Inday and the Golden Bibe and Luis Suarez for RPG: Metanoia.

Presenting the Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Cultural award and Best Picture awards were Calixto Gabiano, Ricky Davao and Ara Mina. Rosario garnered the coveted award. 

RPG Metanoia received the 3rd Best Picture award while Rosario garnered the 2nd Best Picture award.  Governor ER Ejercito and Maita Sanchez Ejercito announced that the Best Picture award went to Ang Tanging Ina Mo.

Actor-director Albert Martinez, wife Liezl Martinez and Secretary Edwin Lacierda were the presenters for the Best Actor award.  Nominees were Vic Sotto for Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote, Dolphy for Father Jejemon, and Yul Servo for Rosario.  Dolphy, who won Best Supporting Actor earlier, garnered the Best Actor award.

Click here to visit PEP's microsite about the MMFF