Gina Pareño describes her preparations for "Serbis"

by Jocelyn Dimaculangan
May 1, 2008
Serbis cast members (from left) Gina Pareño, Bobby Jerome Go, and Jaclyn Jose shot this indie film in Angeles City, Pampanga. Brillante Mendoza's indie film will represent the Philippines in the 61st Cannes Film Festival.

Vetaran actress Gina Pareño is one of the lucky Filipino artists included in the film Serbis. This Brillante "Dante" Mendoza film was chosen as one of the 20 films around the world to compete for the Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival, which will be held from May 14 to 25.

During the esposada-slash-dinner hosted by Panoramanila Pictures Co. after the press preview of Ploning, PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) was able to talk with Gina regarding Serbis. What was her initial reaction to the good news?

"Nagulat ako! Kasi unang-una, Cannes? My God! Sabi ko, ‘Talaga? Ganun ba kaswerte?' Siyempre ginagawa mo yung Serbis, nagshu-shooting ka, hindi mo naman wini-wish na ganun. Basta arte ka. Tapos ‘di mo alam papupuntahin kayo doon [France]."

Gina plays a woman who owns a run-down cinema house in Angeles City, Pampanga. She taped her scenes for four days in the province.

"Maganda yung character at challenging in the sense na magsasalita akong Ilocana, at the same time nag-Kapampangan, at the same time Tagalog. Sabay-sabay yun! May eksena yun na galit na galit ako. Sabi ko, ‘Direk, dapat ko bang memoryahin 'tong Ilocana?' Sabi n'ya, ‘Kasi 'di ba ang tao, pag galit na galit sa anak, natural na sasabihin n'ya kung ano yung gusto niyang sabihin. E, Ilocana kayo. ‘Tapos may negosyo kayo sa Pampanga kaya natural na lumalabas yung salitang ganun.'"

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Gina narrates the preparations that she did for her role in Serbis.

"Nagpa-tan ako kasi ako yung may-ari ng sinehan. Ako ay talagang Ilocana na para for cinematic effect, e, dapat brown ka ‘di ba? Tapos ang buhok ko, pina-bleach para pumuti. Ayaw kasi ni Direk Brillante na gumagamit ng spray para pumuti. Pina-bleach yung buhok ko pagkatapos ilalagay ka sa steamer. Apat na oras ako sa steamer."

She explains that her character is somewhat a hypocrite because she files a case against her husband for bigamy but she lets the customers perform sexual acts inside her cinema house.

"Yung asawa ko kinasuhan ko dahil may ibang babae, may ibang asawa, may ibang pamilya kahit na kasal kami. Ilang taon na yung kaso namin pero ang panindigan ko kasi, yung prinsipyo ko na ‘pag mali, mali. Dapat sagutin mo ‘yon at pagbayaran. Pero yung mga kalokohan dun sa teatro ko, kung minsan yung mga serbis-serbis, hindi ko pinapansin na actually mali rin yun. Pero ako, focused ako sa aking asawa. Maganda yung istorya."

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Does she know that these "services" continue to be offered in some cinema houses?

"Oo nga raw! Alam mo nung nagre-research ako, may friend akong Ilocana. Itinetape ko yung boses n'ya at pinapa-translate ko. So two weeks before ng shooting schedule ko, pinupuno ko na yung tenga ko ng Ilocano. Inopen-up niya sa ‘kin. Sabi niya, ‘Alam mo, nakapanood na ako ng ganyan sa Avenida [Avenue in Manila].' Dun ko nalaman."


Playing Gina's children in Serbis are Jaclyn Jose, Dan Alvaro and newcomer Roxanne Jordan. Julio Diaz will portray Jaclyn's husband, Kristofer King is the projectionist of the moviehouse, and Coco Martin is a billboard painter. Mercedes Cabral plays Coco's girlfriend and Bobby Jerome Go is the son of Jaclyn and Julio.

Serbis is scheduled to be shown in the Philippines this June.

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Serbis cast members (from left) Gina Pareño, Bobby Jerome Go, and Jaclyn Jose shot this indie film in Angeles City, Pampanga. Brillante Mendoza's indie film will represent the Philippines in the 61st Cannes Film Festival.
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