By Lalaine Marcos & Inka Sanchez
Newly minted “actor” Wesley Chu is seen posing with wife Mennen and colleagues from the Rotary Club of Ormoc Dr. Sandra Fiel-Chiong, Atty. Joy Mejia-Romero and Troy Bumagat with himself in the background in the movie.
THE MOVIE “Three Words to Forever”, top-billed by Mayor Rich-ard Gomez himself, the country’s bright-est young star Kath-ryn Bernardo, and the mayor’s former flame, megastar Sharon Cu-neta, is eliciting pride among Ormocanons who were once called “taga-bukid” by police officer Jovie Espinido for voting an actor into office.
The movie opened on Wednesday, November 28, in 210 theatres nationwide but because of the crowd, the number was upped to 220 theatres by Thursday. The movie reportedly sold P 6.5-million pesos on its opening day.Here in Ormoc, because of demand, the movie is now showing in all four theatres in Robinsons Place Ormoc, and two theatres in SM Center Ormoc. A locally owned moviehouse, the Star Theatre, also reported good ticket sales.
On November 30, the Filipino-Chinese family of Andrea Chu booked the 40-seater luxurious Director’s Club to celebrate their matriarch’s birthday. Wesley Chu, a “frustrated” actor, was excited to see his one-liner scene in the movie, and had the movie theatre freeze the frame where he appears for a souvenir selfie. He was joined in the front with his friends from the Rotary Club of Ormoc.
Wesley, who is a local celebrity of sorts and more known as “Haus Representatib Eking,” is happy that he is now a true-blue actor and a proud “tagabukid” at that.
Also seen in the particular scene were his brother Warren O. Chu, brotherin-law Allan Quimbo, and Byron “DJ Boom” Rojas.
Another scene that had Ormocanons cheering was that of city councillor Tomas Serafica who was mayor of Ormoc in the film. He had a longish exposure, causing his wife city accountant Charivic to post in their common Facebook page how the movie has fulfilled his “impossible dream.” In a post showing a shot of his high school yearbook, Serafica said his ambition was “to be an actor” after saying that his motto in life was “nothing is impossible under the sun.”
Marinette Solibaga, who watched the movie at the regular theater, said that it was heartwarming to see how Ormocanons cheered whenever cherished places were seen like Lake Danao and Kalanggaman Islet in Palompon, Leyte. They would clap, some would hoot their approval, she said.
Kimberly Urboda, on the other hand, advised on her FB that people should bring hankies when watching. Mayor Richard Gomez, on the other hand, said he was pleased with the reception of the Ormocanons of the movie.
He said that “Three Words to Forever” will bring more visitors to the city. He pointed out that the movie will not only be shown in the Philippines but worldwide.
Gomez said they are happy that Star Cinema came to the city to shoot the movie. “We’re happy that we’re not paying anything yet Star Cinema help our tourism by shooting the movie in Ormoc,” Gomez said.
He added that other local government units have to pay movie producers for their place to appear in movies.
“What we’re doing is for the good of the city. And we’ll continue to do our best,” said Gomez while urging his constituents to “do our share” in pushing the city’s tourism agenda.
According to Gomez, the city got “good reviews” from Star Cinema production.
Cuneta, in her Instagram post, said that Gomez “has done a fantastic job here in Ormoc, I’m still speechless up to now.”
Data from the city government said that Ormoc had 297,338 visitors in 2017.
Known for its Piña Festival in June, Ormoc also received 144,338 tourists in the second quarter of 2018 alone.
Gomez’s “Three Words to Forever” was premiered on Nov. 27.
The movie was directed by Cathy GarciaMolina, who also directed Bernardo’s recordbreaking “Hows of Us.”
Gomez hoped they can surpass the top-earning movie “The Hows of Us” of Bernardo and Daniel Padilla which earned over P800 million in August 2018.
In 2015, Gomez also starred in “The Love Affair” with Dawn Zulueta, which became the second top-earning film in the country after it broke the P300 million mark.