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Canlubang, Laguna, the Philippines, 31 January 2020 -- Don Bosco College - Canlubang always celebrates the Feast of St. John Bosco with great solemnity and in style. This year's theme, "Towards Greater Faith", was chosen as early as October of last year at the launching of the preparation for Don Bosco Day 2020 Celebrations. The theme could not have been more timely, since the school, sitting at the edge of the 20 km radius of Taal Volcano, was very much affected by the ashfall. Classes were suspended even until the first days of the novena to the feast of Don Bosco. Some activities were cancelled; while others were set at a future date. But the Grand Eucharistic Adoration (28 January) and of course, the Grand Eucharistic Celebration (31 January) pushed through.

On the very night of Don Bosco's Feast Day, the Salesians and the Lay Mission Partners (LaMPs) gathered to celebrate the traditional Agape Night which takes a different theme every year. Artell Almonte shares in his wall: "This year's Agape Night featured Cinema Don Bosco 2020, wherein 6 short films from the different groups of LaMPs were viewed. After dinner, the Awarding Ceremony followed. Everybody was anxious and excited as the winners were called! From the Broadway productions two years ago, to the international cultural presentations last year, this year we were challenged to showcase our talents in film-making, coming out with the best performances whether be it in acting or in the technical aspects of the film. Indeed, the best just gets better!" Regiel Condino adds: "Every year's AGAPE is different, is exciting, indeed something to look forward to!"

The activity yielded six short films done by the LaMPs themselves: Hiling ng Puso (directed by Joseph Briana), LABoratoryo (directed by Artell Almonte), Sinisila Ako ng Langit (directed by Erbert Dela Resma), Tapik (directed by Bernadette Cabrera and Hazel Elago), Uhay (directed by Julie Manaig), and Upos (directed by Gerine Falcon and Fatima Alarcon).

Sinisila Ako ng Langit won the Best Picture Award. It also won Best Screenplay (Maru Nasayao), Best Cinematography (Cris Corocoto), Best Editing (Cris Corocoto), Best Sound (Kent Dinglasan), and Best Musical Score (Kent Dinglasan). Taking the award for Best Director is Upos (Falcon and Alarcon). Uhay wins Best Production Design. Upos takes the prize for Best Movie Poster (Marlon Javier). The top acting awards went to Jeff Lorenze Vanguardia (Actor in a Leading Role - Upos), Cleofe Adsuara (Actress in a Leading Role), Renato Guevarra (Actor in a Supporting Role - Uhay), and Solita Alvarez (Actress in a Supporting Role - LABoratoryo).

Two films featured stories based on the lives of Lay Mission Partners--those of Mrs. Florame Gatasi (Tapik) and Ms. Melinda Hernandez (Uhay). One was inspired by the work of Fr. George Schwarz in the Science Laboratory of Don Bosco Canlubang (LABoratoryo). Sinisila Ako ng Langit and Hiling ng Puso are stories of conversion. Upos revolves around the moral issue of life and acceptance. All the films developed the theme "Towards Greater Faith." This Cinema Don Bosco Film Festival yielded two original songs from Veronica Castillo (Hiling ng Puso) and Mark Garcia (Uhay). Stars of the Night were Anthony Sibayan (HIling ng Puso) and Alyssa Faye Gocela (Tapik).

Mr. Jaime Fabregas, a respected character actor in the Philippine Movie Industry, was one of the judges. He remarked: "As I reviewed the films, it dawned on me how powerful indeed the medium is, as a means to teach value formation, to invoke thought and discussion. It is very hard for me to choose who better performed or who better wrote or directed the films because I look at these films as collaborative pieces of work. I would like to congratulate everyone involved. I believe all the films succeeded to impart the lessons that they sought out to impart. With all the limitations of time, budget and resources, the important lessons of love for others, forgiveness, understanding the flaws in our humanity, hope and most specially faith that God is always there for us, were all communicated clearly and forthrightly. Again congratulations to all. Thank you for asking me to be part of this endeavor. I look forward to future films."

Erbert Dela Resma, the director of the winning film SInisila Ako ng Langit, was very grateful for this experience: "Thank you, Fr. Joel and the Salesian community! Thank you for giving us NEW OPPORTUNITIES to serve our purpose as LaMPs! From the small projects you assign to us to the big project we did this January because of the Taal eruption, you made us partners of God's own work--generosity in loving! Thank you for making it possible that we deliver messages of family, hard work, perseverance, resilience, and hope anchored in FAITH, to a wider audience and even beyond the confines of the classroom through media! And THANK YOU for the wonderful event yesterday! Thank you Father!"

The films may be accessed via Youtube:

  • Hiling ng Puso
  • LABoratoryo
  • Sinisila Ako ng Langit
  • Tapik
  • Uhay
  • Upos

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