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Magicland rises in the South

ALL-FILIPINO – Yes, a theme park called Magicland will rise in the South, hopefully before the year is over. And what is wonderful about Magicland is it’s an all-Filipino endeavor headed by Negros Occidental Congressman Alfredo B. Benitez, simply Albee to friends.

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Upon the invitation of colleague Lolit Solis, some members of the entertainment media had a sumptuous lunch at Pio’s in QC for an informal tete-a-tete with Albee, who said that construction of Magicland has started last year in Silay, a few minutes away from Bacolod. Albee said the Bacolod airport is actually in Silay, noted for its heritage homes.

Director Peque Gallaga, distinguished son of Bacolod, and his staff are behind the creation of Filipino mythical and folk creatures to be used in the theme park.

RIDES, RIDES, RIDES – Magicland features at least 15 rides, expected to arrive by March this year, coming from all over the world.

One ride costs at least $3million, more or less R150 million. Multiply the amount by 15. Total budget of Magicland is over one billion pesos.

But surely kids (and even adults) will enjoy Magicland. Those from the Visayas and Mindanao don’t have to fly to Manila to enjoy a day or two in amusement centers.

Albee said in time Magicland will branch out to movies, just like Disneyland.

ALL-STAR CAST – Speaking of movies, Albee’s financing a project submitted by his friend from way back Albert Martinez. Something like Hollywood’s “Ocean’s 11,” bunch of old friends who quit their bad ways to be of help to the less fortunate.

Like “Ocean’s 11,” the Filipino version (if it could be called that) is star-studded, mostly stars of the ‘80s.

Albert himself and brother William Martinez, Sharon Cuneta, Richard Gomez, Gabby Concepcion. Plus Piolo Pascual and Arjo Atayde, and a few others. Richard and Gabby are also Albee’s old buddies.

Albee’s confident the stars of the yet untitled movie will thresh out whatever kinks (like schedule, billing, fee) there are.

Dondon Santos is being tapped as director.

Albee’s not really new in showbiz. Years back he produced a movie or two with Viva. He also hosted TV shows not too long ago.

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