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The Movies of our Lives

by Senator Manny Villar

In the Philippines, there are many signs Christmas is approaching. You begin to hear Christmas songs on the radio as early as October. Sometimes it annoys you that radio stations start the countdown to Christmas right after Christmas Day! The malls and the streets begin to glitter with decors and lights.

In the province, you start smelling bibingka and puto bumbong being cooked in the corner street as you prepare for Simbang Gabi. You begin to feel a certain chill in the air. Of course, in Metro Manila you also notice traffic worsening as everyone makes a beeline to the malls and the neighborhood tiangge.

Christmas also announces itself when blockbuster Hollywood films give way to Filipino films. On Christmas Day, it is typical to see Filipino families troop to the cinema with their kids in their new, beautiful dresses to watch the movies in the Metro Manila Film Festival. Why do we love movies so much? Why do we have this lifelong love affair with films?

In my case, I like watching movies because it relaxes me. It takes me away temporarily from the routine of daily life and keeps me fixated – for two hours or so – in a world not my own. Some people criticize films that make people escape reality – escapist films they call it – but to me that is the best thing about movies. You forget whatever it is that bothers you for a little while and immerse yourself in another world. If you ask me, watching movies has given me a bit of perspective in life.

Whether you watch movies in a traditional movie house or in some of the more modern cinemas with a La-Z-Boy couch that fully reclines and state-of-the-art sound system or through the many streaming platforms like Netflix, Iflix or Amazon Video, films have been an important part of our lives. It is one of the reasons why I made sure that the cinemas in our malls offer only the best for moviegoers.

Our Vista Cinemas at the Evia Lifestyle Center offers the first and only MX4D Motion EFX Theater in the country to Southern Metro Manila. 4D cinema technology features theater seats that move in-sync with the action on-screen, while special EFX generators inside the cinema make viewers feel every jolt, poke, tilt, plus timed wind and mist atomizers. Talk about a true cinematic experience!

I like movies because it gives me the opportunity to be with loved ones. It is a convenient excuse for a simple date with my wife. One of the simple joys in life is to go out with your loved one, have a simple meal then snuggle together and watch a movie. It does not matter what kind of movie.

I enjoy all genre, well, except horror. I never got into films that scare the heck out of you. I do not watch films that will leave me screaming and my heart pounding. But I love comedies. I also enjoy romantic films that make you break into a smile without knowing it. Strangely my wife loves crime and suspense movies more than I do.

But I think that’s what movies are all about. Critics enjoy films because of their aesthetic qualities. Some even go into the technical details of films. I think it takes the fun out of the whole experience. I love watching films that makes you wonder and wander. I remember during my younger days, my friends and I will go to Quiapo or Recto to watch double feature films. Imagine that, two films all afternoon, back to back!

So as Christmas Day approaches, I want to greet our readers a very Merry Christmas! I hope you have the grandest time with your family and friends. Go out. Go to your ninongs and ninangs. Go to the mall. Watch Filipino movies. But more importantly, celebrate what you have in life.

Does it matter what food you have on the table or how many gifts you receive? What really matters are the persons around the noche buena table. What matters the most are the people around the television set watching a tearjerker of a movie with you as you all wait for midnight.Thank the Lord you have people whom you love and who loves you back.

Maligayang Pasko po sa inyong lahat!