"Kung hindi pa ko nakakain ng tae, hindi pa ako mananalo!" comedienne Eugene Domingo joked as she accepted her Best Actress Award in the New Breed category of 7th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.
During the awards ceremony of the annual independent film festival held last night, July 24, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Eugene bagged the best actress role for her portrayal of a celebrity superstar in Ang Babae sa Septic Tank.
"Maraming salamat po at pinagbigyan n'yo akong manalo. Napakaraming mahusay sa batch na ito," she says.
The actress, who celebrated her 40th birthday last July 23, gushes that having received this year's Cinemalaya award for Best Actress is the best birthday present she could ask for.
"Napakagandang birthday gift nito ngayong ako'y 40 na, itong Cinemalaya Award.
"Hindi ako makapaniwala ngunit tinatanggap ko ang napakagandang biyayang ito," she says.
Intimidated by this year's batch of actresses, Eugene is all praise for the actors and actresses who participated in this year's festival.
"Kung napanood ninyo ang iba pang pelikula, alam mong ang gagaling nila at masasabi mo na lang na bahala na ang judges, bahala na kung sino talaga ang manalo.
"Kaya nababaliw na ako ngayon sa tuwa. Hindi ako makapaniwala at ako'y nagpapasalamat."
ACCEPTS RAFA'S APOLOGY. Eugene also ties the loose ends of the controversial "Skyflakes and cat food" commentary of young filmmaker Rafa Santos.
"I believe everybody knows that I come from the theater, and forgive me if I have to say this...
"Nagkita kami ni Rafa sa Hap Chan [restaurant] at humingi siya sa akin ng personal na apology.
"I know we started the Cinemalaya ng may mga intrigang gano'n...
"So, in behalf of the theater actors, Rafa, we forgive you. We're all united here."
Eugene was touched by how Rafa asked for her personal forgiveness.
"He approached me and talagang halos lumuhod na siya at sinabi niya 'If I've offended you, I would like to apologize' nang personal, di ba?
"Ako, bilang taga-teatro, bukas ang puso ko sa pagpapatawad."
DREAM BIG. As for the younger generation's contribution, she emphasizes her gratitude to them in making this year's festival a huge success.
"Sa mga estudyanteng nagtipid, nagpalibre, nag-compli, nanood, nag-ipon, at pumila, kayo ang magpapatuloy ng adhikain natin sa makabagong pelikulang Pilipino."
The Cinemalaya surpassed it's 53,000 target audeience with a 53,611 count as of 3 p.m. of July 24.
Eugene also advised the young filmmakers to just go for it and dream big.
"Huwag kayong tumigil, huwag kayong mawawalan ng pag-asa. Tuloy-tuloy ang pangarap, tuloy-tuloy ang pagsali."
The Best Actress award for Ang Babae sa Septic Tank is Eugene's second Cinemalaya award. She bagged the Best Supporting Actress for 100 in 2008.
Apart from the Best Actress award, Ang Babae sa Septic Tank also won Best Screenplay (Chris Martinez), Best Director (Marlon Rivera), Best Film, and the Audience Choice Award under the New Breed category.
CLICK HERE for the full list of winners.