BY: Pilar Mateo


From the looks of it, Father Fernando Mortel Suarez had his life planned out.

In his biopic, ably acted out by award-winning actor John Arcilla, and the meticulous direction of Joven Tan, Father Do’s story was laid out as one would want it to be.

Simple. Giving enlightenment on the things which tried to mar and scar his name in the priesthood.

The people behind the scenes have told numerous stories, not just of his healing, but how Father Do would have wanted it presented.

“One instance was when he called for everyone to have a shoot. Lahat ni-require niya to be on the set. Kasi, magma-Mass Healing daw siya. Maybe he felt na kailangan na makapag-Misa siya on the set. He was right sa naramdaman niya. Na marami sa crew ang may dinadala. One can attest to that, dahil meron pala roon na may lingering illness na nga. Kaya pikit-mata, kinunan ‘yun.

“Sabi nga ng producer nung una, another gastos ang kakailanganin for another day. But he insisted that it be done.”

Stories of how Father Do made one scene in the movie get done and be included.

“Du’n niya raw sasabihin ang mensahe niya. So, kinailangan na magpagawa ng tulay na lalakaran niya. Nadapa pa nga siya. And doon sa set where the scene was shot, may mga tao near the beach or the waters na nagpapakain ng mga turtles. Pawikan. Nung makita siya, naglapitan.

“Sa mga dinaanan pa lang ng movie, ng paggawa nito, ‘yung hindi pagkasali o pagpasok in another festival at pagkapili uli is in itself eh, himala rin.

“Gusto pa nga sana na i-reshoot ‘yung scene na ‘yun ni Father, nabaduyan kami sa dating. Pero gusto niya na ilagay ‘yun. Wala na rin kasi time at kailangan na siya i-submit. Kasi nga, kailangan uli ng budget for that. Siya na raw ang bahala. Meron ng sasagot.”

That promise of Father Do never saw the light of day as he passed away just a few days before he was set to celebrate his birthday.

“Pati nga ang celebration sa birthday niya, nai-plano na niya. Kakanta si John, lahat magpe-perform. ‘Yun pala, ‘yun na ang mangyayari sa wake niya. Sa libing niya. Talagang ang mga inihabilin niya eh, nangyari.

“Kaya, when we watched the movie, kilabot kasi, iba ang naging dating ng pelikula. Naiparamdam niyang mabuti ang gusto niyang maihatid ng pelikula, tungkol sa buhay niya. ‘Yung inisip naming baduy, ‘yun pala ang mabigat ang impact na ihahatid.”

It was Father Do’s strong faith that carried him through the hurdles in life that was thrown at him. So many highlights of how the gift of healing was given to him. And how he fought a good fight with the cases given to him.

“Siguro may mga bagay na ipinag-adya na talaga ng panahon. Dahil naiba ang paraan ng pagpapakita ng istorya ni Father Do sa pelikula. Nabigyan ng importansya ang mga naging gawain niya sa buhay niya bilang alagad ng Panginoon. Hindi nag-delve sa negative things which life threw at him but got him vindicated by the Vatican, but something that can instill so much inspiration sa mga tao. Lalo sa panahong ito.”

I was one of those who was touched by the many scenes acted out by our great actors in the movie. Small scenes. But with immense impact.

Short lines. But pierces through the heart.

The young boy who uttered “Merry Christmas” to his Dad and Grandma. Who was healed and was able to speak. Du’n wasak kami!

Above all, the scene of Father Do, as if he was already going up to Heaven. Ang lakas ng dating sa screen! His message. Of faith. The spirit that carried him through his life on earth was something that will live in the hearts of those who believe. Who has been touched by him.

I was.


KILIG is the feeling that this “The Boy Foretold by the Stars” gave me as I got invited to its special preview with its stars in Sine Pop.

This is the story of a boy and another boy. Caught in the tender trap of love and its trimmings in a different light.

The journey that brought them together in believing in Destiny in their own ways through different paths.

Naniniwala sa hula ang isa. Sampalataya sa flipping of a coin to know what his decision over something naman ang isa.

Fresh faces on the big screen.

Even if Keann Johnson has been a suki na in commercials and Adrian Lindayag has done his bit in teleseryes, they both are a breath of fresh air sharing such chemistry in the roles they portrayed.

Kilig nga is the operative word, eh. Kasi, bagay sila. Feel na feel mo what they wanted to impart. Plus the other characters around them.

I know, babaeng bakla nga ako. But seeing the characters develop as what writer and director Dolly wanted it to happen, is so authentic kaya you know, so many would fall in love with them in this movie.

You and I can relate. A boy falls out of love with a girlfriend. Another boy (in the closet) expecting to meet the one that life will give to him. Was a triangle formed?

If you believe in soulmates, that the one for you is just running around the planet and your paths will be destined to cross then this is the movie that will give you that awesome feeling this Christmas Season!

Kudos to Direk Dolly Dulu in a story so very close to her heart. Since she wrote this as a play years ago. For people who have experienced unrequited love and for those who succumbed to its charm and magic.

I like the background where the love between Dominic and Luke bloomed. Subtly, God was in the middle of the friendship they started to form.

Tis’ the season to find the real meaning of Christmas.

We are strengthened by the Faith that we hold onto as we face life’s many challenges.

And even if the pandemic finds its comfort in discomforting people, love in all its forms will still thrive no matter what.

These are two of the films I would recommend that can be watched on this Season as part of the ten MMFF 2020 (Metro Manila Film Festival) entries.

“Father Suarez: The Healing Priest.”

“The Boy Foretold by the Stars”.

Faith is ever present in the hearts of who are wanting to find the love meant for them as foretold by the stars in their destinies.

After all, Love is the essence that connects them all!

I cried a lot of tears in Father Suarez’ story.

My heart kept thugging and ‘kiliggin’ in the BL “The Boy Foretold by the Stars”.

Watch them! And just be! (30)

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