In a phone interview with PEP editor-in-chief Jo-Ann Maglipon yesterday, July 22, Jomari Yllana shared details about his upcoming film Ikaw ang Pag-ibig (originally titled Peñafrancia). The actor-concert producer revealed that he will be in Naga until this Saturday, July 24, to shoot scenes for this movie.
Written and directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya, Ikaw ang Pag-ibig is part of the Church's celebration of the 300th anniversary of the statue's arrival in Bicol. The feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia is celebrated on the third Saturday of September in Naga City. But the film will be released this December in honor of the miraculous patroness of the Bicol region.
When Jomari and Direk Marilou talked recently, he volunteered to help the director promote the film. She gratefully told him, "Yes, please. Ikaw na si Dougs [Douglas Quijano, Jomari's manager who passed away in June 2009]."
Jomari was so affected that he cried profusely when he was reminded of his beloved manager who worked with him for two decades.
He reveals that he was offered a role in the film just a few weeks ago. The lead roles were supposed to be portrayed by Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo but when the actress got pregnant, the director decided to cast different actors instead.
"Everything fell into place. Taga-Bicol ako and our family have been devotees for centuries," he says.
When he learned about this movie, Jom talked to his uncle, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan in Pangasinan Socrates Villegas. The actor confided that he wanted to "waive his talent fee in the name of the Lady of Peñafrancia." The Archbishop agreed with his decision and eventually, all the stars of Ikaw ang Pag-ibig decided to waive their talent fees.
In this film, Jomari will portray a doctor named Joey while his girlfriend is portrayed by Ina Feleo. Marvin Agustin is cast as Johnny, the brother of Ina's character. Marvin portrays a priest stricken with leukemia. Eddie Garcia is also part of the cast as the bishop in the story.
The character of Fr. Johnny is actually based on the struggles of the late actor Johnny Delgado, who battled with lymphoma before he passed away in November 2009.
Before he passed away, the husband of Laurice Guillen gave Direk Marilou some advice regarding the film. "'Wag kang bibitaw," he said to the Direk Marilou who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in the past.
Unitel Productions was supposed to produce this film but when it backed out, the Archdiocese of Caceres in Naga City, Camarines Sur decided to fund the project. The said parish is led by Archbishop LeonardoLegaspi, O.P.D.D., who has held this position for the past 26 years.
In September 2009, Archbishop Legaspi was diagnosed with lung cancer in its early stage. According to a report from ABS-CBN Naga, the Archbishop has been "responding positively to medication."