Showbiz stars and other prominent figures converged yesterday, December 24, to officially open the 35th Metro Manila Film Festival. The Parade of Stars—traditionally being held to jumpstart the annual local film festival—gathered the seven competing entries, with their attention-grabbing floats that journeyed the long stretch connecting Pasay City to Manila.
As expected, major celebrities like the Megastar Sharon Cuneta, Comedy King Dolphy, ace comedian Vic Sotto, former matinee idol and dramatic actor Gabby Concepcion, action star turned senator Bong Revilla Jr., and global boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao, earned most of the screams and cheers from the enthusiastic crowd, which didn't mind the Yuletide afternoon heat just to witness the spectacle.
Also present to participate in the motorcade were Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, new Metropolitan Development Manila Authority (MMDA) Chairman Oscar Inocentes, businessman Wilson Tieng and newly appointed Optical Media Board (OMD) head Ronnie Ricketts.
Darling Kong Aswang, I Love You, Goodbye, Nobody, Nobody But Juan, Ang Panday, Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love, Wapakman and Shake, Rattle and Roll XI became the sequence of the parading floats.
The parade started at the SMX Convention Center of the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay culminating at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta, Manila, where a mini program was taged with German Moreno, Jodi Sta. Maria-Lacson and Candy Pangilinan as hosts.
Some celebrities who were at the motorcade unfortunately opted to skip the official presentation at the Luneta to attend to some personal concerns. Manny Pacquiao, as mentioned by good friend Wilson Tieng, had to catch a flight back to General Santos to spend Christmas with his family.
Noticeably absent throughout the event was young actress Krista Ranillo. Krista—who also didn't show up at the premiere night of Wapakman last December 23—has been controversial lately, brought about by rumors linking her to married co-star Manny Pacquiao.
But other than those mentioned sidelights and security letdown at the tail end of the event, the turnout of support and excitement—as displayed by the eager crowd that filled up the streets during the motorcade—offered renewed optimism that this year's edition of the Metro Manila Film Festival would be as successful as the previous installments.