In 1993, Andrew E. starred in Viva Films’ Ang Boyfriend Kong Gamol (dir. Ben Feleo) with Alice Dixson who plays a rich Filipina returning to the country and wanted to do outreach program for the poor. She lives in a slum area and meets Tom Cruz (Andrew E.) whom she eventually falls in love with despite their social differences.
This film was preceded by another film, Andrew Ford Medina: Wag Kang Gamol (dir. Ben Feleo) in 1991. Andrew E. co-starred with Dennis Padilla.
In 1997, another “gamol” movie was produced by Viva Films. Apart from Andrew and Dennis, another actor, Janno Gibbs, was cast to make a triumvirate of comedians in the film directed by action star Jun Aristorenas. It was called Si Mokong, si Astig, at si Gamol. So, which among them represented each of the word in the title? Mokong, of course, is Janno, while Dennis played Astig, and naturally, Andrew E., the progenitor of the “gamol” expression played Gamol.
Now, the film company has resurrected the troika of jesters in Sanggano, Sanggago’t Sanggwapo, which, in a way, marks their reunion in a movie.
This time, the three has actor-turned-director Al Tantay steering them to a big-screen rollercoaster ride of fun and laughter.
At the presscon last Tuesday at Musc Hall, the trio showed hints of what the audience should expect in the movie with their comical banters, obliquely answering questions the members of the mass media asked them. All three are quick witted and they have absurd asides to most of the questions. Yet, they can also be serious when need be.
Janno related that the movie was borne out of his signing with Viva recently. “Boss Vic (del Rosario) asked what I wanted to do. I suggested we bring back the comedy movies of the good old days, maybe bring back Andrew E. and Dennis Padilla as well.”
Janno’s wish was easily granted, and both Andrew and Dennis are grateful to him for resurrecting their respective film career. Dennis said, “After 1997, while I had film assignments every so often, it would always be supporting roles. Thanks to Janno, I am back as a lead character.”
Who among them plays the role suggested in the title? Dennis and Janno explained that among the three of them, the most suitable is Andrew. “We agreed, that Andrew play it. I was hoping I’d play it, but in a previous movie I played ‘Astig,’ so, Janno and I settled on letting Andrew be it.”
The new “gamol” movie follows the story of Andy, Johnny, and Dondon whose troubled-filled lives get more complicated because of deceit.
Upon the death of millionaire tycoon Don Robert Endrinal, Andy and Dondon (Andrew E. and Padilla) find out that their friend Johnny (Gibbs) is actually the son of the departed businessman, and naturally has the right and responsibility to take over his father’s business. But when they arrive at the mansion, the indolent Johnny tells everyone that Andy is Johnny to free himself from any responsibility. The hardworking Andy and the cunning Dondon play along with this charade.
Now that the three friends are thrust into a life of affluence and power, flirtatious women are not far behind. They also have to deal with a certain Mr. Russel (Eddie Garcia), a land developer determined to acquire Johnny’s hacienda, turn it into a casino complex and make the whole province a gambling capital.
To what lengths will Andy, Johnny, and Dondon go to protect the hacienda and keep their secret at the same time?
Last film of Eddie Garcia
The late Eddie Garcia was able to shoot most of his scenes in the film. According to Janno, when Garcia met an accident on a Thursday, he had just a couple of scenes left. Aristorenas did remedial measures so that the role Garcia was playing did not abruptly disappear.
“I tried to mimic Tito Ed’s voice in telephone conversation scene,” he said. “But, I don’t know if they (Jun and Viva) would use it.”
In 2001, Jun Aristorenas directed Eddie Garcia and Dennis Padilla in Sanggano’t Sanggago. This new film with the three seems like a tribute to the great actor/director.
All three of them and their leading ladies – Louise de los Reyes, Cindy Miranda, Debbie Garcia, and Vanessa Wright, expressed sadness that the actor had passed on before he was able to finish the shoot and the film is finally released.
“Nakaka- miss talaga,” said Debbie Garcia (no relation to the deceased actor). “He was a very caring actor. He’d always tell us to love our craft and be good at it because he said it’s our way of life.”
Julian Trono, Vitto Marquez, and Andrew Muhlach appear as the young versions of Andy, Johnny, and Dondon.
One member of the press asked, “How did the word ‘gamol’ came about?”
Andrew, popularized it in his movies in the 90s said, that in Parañaque, where he lives up to this day, the word referred to anything undesirable.
Do the millenials still know the word? If you’re from the south of Manila or Cavite, yes you would probably because it’s part of their street lingo. But the meaning of the word seems to be evolving. Now, it could mean anything from negative to stupid, and even funny.
But the movie seemed to have veered away from it, as the title suggests.
Sanggano, Sanggago’t Sanggwapo” opens in cinemas on 4 September.
*Whatever happened to Belle Douleur? Unofficial box-office reports said, it was one of three Filipino movie released last week that flopped. The other two were Indak (Viva Films) with Nadine Lustre and Sam Concepcion and Malamaya, an entry to Cinemalaya and released commercially, starring Sunshine Cruz and Enzo Pineda.
It seems the Filipino Tagalog movie audience would rather watch a romantic movie like Hello, Love, Goodbye than waste their 2-hours or less in movies with characters they can’t empathize with. With Hello, they can vicariously feel the relationship imparted to them. Whether or not they’re working overseas, the thesis is quite tangible.
*Dennis Padilla admitted he called up Gerald Anderson at the height of the controversy involving the actor and his then girlfriend, Bea Alonzo, and Julia Baretto. Padilla said, “I just reminded him that Julia is his daughter, belying rumors that he threatened Gerald.
*Seems like Bea Alonzo is moving on. In her post on her Instagram account, she uses the hashtag #onedayatatime. Good for her! Instead of sulking and feeling the world has crumbled with Gerald now out of her universe, she should be thinking positive. She’s pretty, talented, and she’ll meet the man she deserves to be with “forever.”