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Focus on the Philippines: Coco Martin and co-stars coming to Dubai

Plus: Manila in the Claws of Light to join Criterion Collection; Arnel Pineda marks ninth-year anniversary with rock band Journey.
Coco Martin. Courtesy ABS-CBN Entertainment.
Coco Martin. Courtesy ABS-CBN Entertainment.

Filipino actor Coco Martin is coming to Dubai to meet the fans of his popular television drama series Ang Probinsyano (The Man from the Province). Martin, accompanied by co-stars Pepe Herrera, Yassi Pressman and six-year-old child actor Xymon Ezekiel Pineda, will appear in a show to be held at Al Nasr Leisureland on December 3. They will be joined by singer Daryl Ong, who recorded the show’s theme song. Ong rose to fame after appearing on The Voice of the Philippines last year. Ang Probinsyano is an action thriller based on the hit 1997 film of the same title. Martin, 34, headlines the programme, which is broadcast daily in the Philippines on ABS-CBN and worldwide, including in the UAE, on The Filipino Channel. Martin and his co-stars are flying to Dubai from Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, where they will also be performing on December 2.

Martin previously visited the UAE in 2012, performing concerts in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Earlier this year, his film Padre de Familia screened in UAE cinemas. In the movie, he played an overseas Filipino worker in Malaysia struggling to support his family back home. Prior to appearing in independent films, Martin himself was an OFW in Canada, working in odd jobs in order to help his family in Manila. His big break came after being discovered by celebrated filmmaker Brillante Mendoza, who cast Martin in several of his acclaimed movies, including 2005’s Masahista (The Masseur) and 2009’s Kinatay (Butchered), which won the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Manila in the Claws of Light to join Criterion Collection

The late Filipino auteur Lino Brocka’s 1975 film Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (Manila in the Claws of Light) will make history as the first Filipino movie to join the Criterion Collection, the prestigious American video distribution company focusing on licensing classic and award-winning films.

Considered by many as one of the greatest films of Filipino cinema, Manila in the Claws of Light features actor Bembol Roco as 21-year-old protagonist Julio Madiaga, who ventures to Manila from his provincial island hometown in search of his lost lover Ligaya, played by Hilda Koronel.

“The movie’s palpable, deeply lived-in realism is among its great attractions, largely because the film isn’t just a story about a young Filipino Everyman, but because it’s also a de facto record of Manila in the 1970s,” read a review by the New York Times in 2014, when a newly restored version of the film — funded by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation — was screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The film is expected to be distributed by the Criterion Collection on DVD/Blu-ray in 2017.

Arnel Pineda marks anniversary with Journey

Filipino singer Arnel Pineda is celebrating his ninth year as the lead vocalist of the legendary American rock band Journey.

Pineda, 49, joined the band in December of 2007 after the members of Journey hunted for a replacement for their departed vocalist Steve Perry. The group, comprised of lead guitarist Neal Schon, bassist Ross Valory, drummer Steve Smith and keyboardist Jonathan Cain, discovered Pineda’s YouTube videos and were impressed with his soaring covers of Journey’s songs.

In an interview with the Filipino morning programme Magandang Buhay (Beautiful Life) on Tuesday, Pineda said that nine years later, he still cannot believe his luck.

“When I auditioned for them, I told myself that just being able to audition for them, just being able to meet them, just being able to have them sign their autographs on my CD copies — that would be enough. So to be accepted as the singer of the band is such a massive achievement for me,” Pineda said.

He also reminisced about first hearing Journey’s songs as a teenager, while growing up homeless in Manila after the death of his mother.

“Who would have thought that I would now be singing these songs — on a world stage — with the band?” he said.

Pineda’s compelling story was even featured in the award-winning documentary Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, which was released in cinemas in 2013.

Pineda is currently on holiday back in the Philippines to spend time with his family. He is also performing a concert on October 28 at the Solaire Resort in Manila along with The X Factor UK’s 4th Impact, another music act that recently made waves on a global stage.

Journey rose to fame in the 1980s with hits including Don’t Stop Believin’, Open Arms and Faithfully. They have sold more than 90 million albums worldwide.

artslife@thenational.ae

Updated: October 27, 2016 04:00 AM

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