ALFRED Vargas is now the congressman of the 5th district of Quezon City, but his first love is acting, so he returns to making films every now and then. He just produced and starred in “Tagpuan”, an official Metro Manila Filmfest entry. It had a special press preview and he was congratulated by the press people who attended the affair for his fine performance in the lead role.
“Tagpuan” is a romantic drama written by Ricky Lee and directed by MacArthur Alejandre, filmed on location in New York and Hong Kong. Alfred plays the central character in the story, Allan, a man who is separated from his wife Agnes, played by Iza Calzado, and finds new romance in a carefree young woman in Hong Kong, Tanya, played by Shaina Magdayao.
Then he meets Iza again in New York and his feelings for her are ignited once again, making him face a very serious dilemma. “A lot of people can relate with Allan,” says Alfred. “As a businessman, he’s very successful. But emotionally, he’s conflicted, he’s confused. People like him are always very busy, but they never seem to finish anything. The truth is it’s because they are in search of meaning in the relationships they have.”
The fact that the film was shot on location abroad escalated its budget but Alfred bankrolled it willingly. “You will not see in ‘Tagpuan’ the usual places that you’ve been to before in Hong Kong and New York. Ibang side of those two big and colorful cities ang ipinakita namin dito.”
He’s lucky to have love scenes with both Iza and Shaina. “It’s a must to show the sexual interactions among the characters because the film is all about Allan trying to find himself. In order for him to do that, it’s not enough that he knows what his heart and mind want, he has to know how his body reacts, too. Magkaiba ang treatment ng love scenes to the two actresses I interact with. The one I had with Shaina as Tanya is more liberating. It serves as a means of catharsis for my character. It was all about being free and uninhibited. Yung kay Iza as Agnes, my estranged wife, was more like reconciliation for them. It was like Allan finds himself again after being lost for a long time and it felt like nothing has changed between them after all the years of their being apart.”
He says the scenes shot in Hong Kong were made at the height of the protest rallies there. “As the film’s producer, I was worried about it, but we never felt we were in danger during the five days that we were shooting the film there because our contacts did very good coordination of all our shoots so we’re all safe.”
They could have shot the supposed interior scenes in Hong Kong and New York right here in Manila and it would have been cheaper and easier. “But we didn’t want to cheat. Everything you see in the film is authentic and it brought out the heart and soul of the story and also the characters.”
He feels blessed working with two very talented actresses. “Maraming gugulatin si Shaina rito. She’s a revelation as she transforms into her character, Tanya, na ibang-iba sa totoong siya. She’s stunning to watch at nadadala niya ako sa eksena. Grabe ang commitment niya sa role and she has no reluctance doing the sexy scenes. Game na game siya to do what the script requires her to do. Kay Iza, it’s such a breeze as we’ve worked before in some teleseryes, so gamay na gamay na namin ang isa’t isa. Tinginan lang, alam na namin how to execute the scene because of our good rapport with each other.”
“Tagpuan” opens on Christmas Day by live streaming via Upstream.ph that is so easy to download.
Princess makes fresh a 50-year old Christmas piece by dad
PRINCESS Velasco is dubbed as the Acoustic Princess as she’s best known for doing cover versions of popular songs in her very own acoustic style. She has recently released her new single with GMA Music, a Christmas song titled “The New Born King”, and she has now just given birth at Makati Med to a new baby girl, who she called Sara Bella.
This is her first daughter with Dr. Mark Rosario, who she married in 2013. They have two other kids, both boys, named Kobe and Milo. “We’re so happy God granted our prayers for a baby girl this time,” she says.
Princess says her new song, “The New Born King”, is very close to her heart as it was first composed by her 81-year-old dad, Alfredo Velasco, back in 1964. But it was only during the lockdown that he got to finally complete it. Princess decided that producing this song, together with her friend Mic Llave, will be a nice gift for her beloved dad.
“I don’t live with my father anymore, so I miss him and worry about him, more so since the lockdown started. So when he sent this song that he wrote more than 50 years ago, and asked me to sing it, I figured it would be a nice gift to him to record it and have it produced for GMA Music. I asked my friend Mic Llave to arrange it, and I recorded it right at home. I sang it the way it was arranged – which is full of life and joy! I made sure to smile while singing it, because the message of the song is really about celebrating the birth of Jesus.”
Through ‘The New Born King,’ Princess would like her fans to remember the night Jesus was born and how the bright shining star guided the Three Kings to the manger. It also serves as a reminder that even if this year has been hard on all of us, we still look forward to celebrating the true joy of Christmas – the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. ‘The New Born King’ is now available for streaming on YouTube Music, Spotify, Apple Music, and across all other digital platforms worldwide.