Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23 B: Official Entry to Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino showing from August 16-22

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The first time that I watched Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B was during the Quezon City International Film Festival or QCinema 2016. It was produced  by IdeaFirst Company of Direk Jun Robles Lana and Perci Intalan.

This year, Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B is part of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino which is under The Film Development Council of the Philippines. There are12 films that will participate in the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, scheduled from August 16-22.

The line-up is a mixture of different genres, with some films making their Philippine screening debut. 

Fortunately, I was given a chance to watch the movie again during its special screening at UP Film Institute with fellow bloggers, film enthusiasts and students. 

I felt like I was a student again especially after watching the film and seeing all these students eager to ask questions about the film and to the cast as well. The venue was jam packed plus I noticed that everyone's really attentive while watching the film, they scream to the intense parts and they all applaud after the watching the film too.

Unlike any other horror movies, Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B features a lady (Jewel - Ryza Cenon) who not only transforms into a Manananggal but also have a soft heart that she only opened to Nico (Martin Del Rosario). Jewel used to be reserved and just silent but when she met Nico, they shared a lot of things in common which includes having a pet turtle. Nico named his turtle Dumbledore while Jewel named hers Edward.

They've been constantly hanging out to the point where Jewel finally got close with Nico's Grandmother and she was treated like part of the family. Until news break out about mysterious killings in the metro and the big similarity with all the dead bodies are: They all have a missing heart. It was a bloody kill and most of them were Male and had a big poster of "Pusher Ako" with them.

Ryza portrayed not just a typical manananggal but a manananggal that is triggered by sexual urges, the aftermath is that she transforms into a manananggal then the rest is history. Although it was not really mentioned in the movie how she became like this, most manananggal stories got this in their bloodline which also explains how Jewel became one.

According to Ryza, when they shot those delicate scenes, she needed an hour before the shoot so that she can condition herself. She said that it was needed in the story which is why she gave them her go signal. It terms of being typecast and getting more sexy and daring roles after this movie, according to Ryza, for as long as the script is good and it will help the movie, why not but she still needs to review the material. For me, she perfectly nailed the role, with her sexy and fit body, I think girls will be more inspired to achieve the bod of Ryza Cenon, indeed she is one of the most beautiful and talented actress in the industry. I just hope she'll get to portray more "bida" roles in the future, let the girl get her own spotlight because she deserves it. 

Martin on the other hand portrays a different role in this movie compared to his usual roles in his past projects. In this movie, he is the typical boy-next-door. A guy who takes very good care of his grand mother and is recovering from a bad break up after her girl friend ditches him for someone who is much powerful and has a lot of money. Martin can very well portray any given role, from bida to kontrabida, name it, he can very well deliver it.

Do Martin and Ryza believe that Manananggals exist?
Ryza said she believes that they do, she've heard a lot of stories about it. Martin said that he wanted to believe that they do exist but he needs to see it first before he can totally believe that they really do exist.

I just loved one question from a student who asked the main cast specifically Ryza and Martin, if Jewel and Nico will be married someday, will there be a chance that they will call one another as "My Other Half", this is, by far one of the sweetest, cutest and brainy question of the night that made everyone laugh and applaud, but Martin's response is way clever, "I'd like to call Jewel, My Better Half". Indeed. Uwian na, May nanalo na!

“Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B” opens in cinemas nationwide August 16 as part of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino. Directed by Prime Cruz. 
Rated R-16 by the MTRCB.

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