When Daniel Padilla first found out that he was being offered the lead role in director Carlo Francisco Manatad’s film Kun Maupay Man It Panahon, the 26-year-old actor admitted he had misgivings.
“Ang pinaka una kasi siyempre alam ko na tungkol siya sa Yolanda. Yung fear ko lang is parang mabigat itong film na ‘to, parang very dramatic yung film. Parang kaya ko bang gampanan ‘to?
“Siyempre first time ko nga lang din na lalabas sa Star Cinema with a new group of production staff and director. Siyempre pag sa Star Cinema meron akong kaagapay na direk Cathy (Garcia-Molina), meron akong kaagapay na direk Mae (Cruz-Alviar), andiyan din si Inang (Olivia Lamasan) so nagagabayan ako. Dito siyempre hindi ko alam yung timpla eh. So kaya naging medyo hesitant ako na tanggapin. Pero kumbaga tinext pa lang yun sa akin. So hindi pa naman ako humihindi. Andun pa ako sa iniisip ko kung gagawin ko ba siya?
“And then after ASAP, nag-set kami ng meeting kami with direk Carlo na magkita kami na para bang mas personal makapag-usap, mas matimpla ko ung ano ba yung timpla nung kuwento. At paano ba yung storytelling natin,” he shared during an intimate interview with the press last December 12.
After meeting the director face-to-face, DJ said he went all in on the project, especially because it represents the hometown he and his mother Karla Estrada grew up in.
“Nung kinuwento ni Carlo, na-fascinate na ako sa kuwento. Iba pala yung atakeng gagawin namin. Tapos at the same time, alam niyo naman na taga-Tacloban ako. Parang nag-uusap din kami ni ermat na kailangan ko gawin ito, sino pa bang gagawa nito ‘di ba? Ako na taga dun na mismo. I think I have to do this also for my people. At yung pinagdaanan nila, I have to represent.
“So napag-desisyunan namin na kailangan ko gawin ‘to for my growth. Hindi puwedeng natatakot ako eh, lalo na pag may gusto akong gawin. Hindi puwedeng may fear na ayoko kasi may fear na ganun. Bilang aktor kailangan gawin mo yung bagay na kinakatakot mo. Hindi lang aktor, bilang tao. Hindi tayo puwedeng mabuhay sa takot kung hindi, hindi tayo mag-go-grow as human beings,” he explained.
Unlike the rest of his co-actors in the film, DJ said he did not need much coaching when it came to speaking the local dialect of Waray while shooting in Tacloban City.
“Fluent ako maka-intindi kasi sa bahay yun naman ang mother tongue ng pamilya ko at sa lola ko na siya ang nagpalaki din sa akin, talagang Waray yun. So fluent ako makaintindi pero hindi ako fluent magsalita. So dito, meron kaming coach na nagtuturo sa amin mag-Waray. May konti lang ako na siyempre alam ko naman kasi kung paano ko naririnig so medyo mas madali ng konti. Pero dito sa pelikula parang mas magaling pa rin si ma’am Charo (Santos) mag-Waray sa akin,” he recalled.
After premiering at this year’s Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland where it took home the Youth Jury Prize and being screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, Kun Maupay Man It Panahon has gone to 11 more international film fests all in a span of less than five months. The film also won Special Mention by the Jury at the Guanajuato International Film Festival in Mexico and Best Director at the London East Asia Film Festival in the UK.
Kun Maupay Man It Panahon follows the story of a mother and her son in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda. Set in Tacloban in Leyte, Daniel portrays the character of Miguel, a desperate son who roams the ruins looking for his childhood friend Andrea (played by Rans Rifol) and mother Norma (played by Charo Santos). Miguel’s quest for the two important women in his life is complicated by reports that another storm is hitting Tacloban very soon. As Miguel’s time is running out, he must decide whether to stay put to persuade his loved ones to escape with him, or to leave town on his own before the next super typhoon devastates the only home he knows.
The story is inspired by filmmaker Carlo’s own experience of traveling from Manila to Tacloban after super typhoon Yolanda to search for his family members; all 16 of whom—plus their family dog—managed to survive the massive calamity.
Kun Maupay Man It Panahon stars Daniel Padilla and Charo Santos and is a joint project of Dreamscape, iWant, Quantum Films, Black Sheep, and Globe Studios, with international partner studios in France, Singapore, Indonesia, Germany, and Qatar. The movie is directed by Carlo Francisco Manatad, whose short film, Jodilerks Dela Cruz, Employee of the Month, was nominated at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in 2017.