Even in the midst of “clandestine” negotiations surrounding the possible partnership between TV5 and ABS-CBN, the big man behind the Metro Pacific Group of Companies, Manuel V. Pangilinan obliged to sharing a light moment with a handful of writers during the contract-signing of MPIC’s strategic partnership with Carmen’s Best group of companies recently.
In that brief moment of light banter, MVP gamely answered our question about his favorite ice cream flavor, revealing that indeed, he has a sweet tooth satisfied by Carmen’s Best Rocky Road. And he certainly has a discriminating taste for it. He says he could distinguish the taste of it from the rest. He added, “This one (Carmen’s Best) is made of whole milk. The rest of the ice cream (available in the market), I don’t really know.”
MVP even took note of the pale color of the Salted Caramel flavor, which his Chief Finance Officer and Risk and Sustainability chief Ms. Chaye Cabal-Revilla handpicked as her favorite. He continued, “It is more beige, not dark, and you can really taste the salt. Maybe because they use Malabon salt.”
It was evident how much MVP loves this proudly Filipino-made artisanal product that he made a business proposition to its owners. He recalled, “I spotted them first. It was in 2006 or 2007, I believe when we were talking to senators because we were looking more toward the business of cable TV. I met later on with former Senator Jun Magsaysay and his son Paco to discuss this business endeavor.”
And even when that cable business didn’t materialize, June 27, 2022 became the day when Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (“MPIC”), the country’s leading infrastructure investments company, entered into a strategic partnership with Carmen’s Best Dairy Products, Inc., Carmen’s Best International Dairy Company, Inc., Real Fresh Dairy Farms, Inc., and The Laguna Creamery, Inc. (collectively, the “Carmen’s Best Group”) to further develop and expand the operations of its dairy farm and dairy products manufacturing facilities.
Under the partnership, the Carmen’s Best Group integrates its assets and operations into The Laguna Creamery, Inc. (“TLCI”), with MPIC owning a 51 percent equity interest in TLCI and the Carmen’s Best Group retaining a 49 percent equity interest. MPIC shelled out P198 million for this partnership.
MVP has very good reason for zeroing in on this brand. The Carmen’s Best Group is behind the home-grown premium ice cream brand, Carmen’s Best Ice Cream, and the country’s only locally pasteurized and homogenized fresh milk, Holly’s Milk. It also produces artisanal cheeses under the Carmen’s Best Natural Cheese and Holly’s brands.
This is the reason why Chaye Cabal Revilla calls this the “ice cream of the royalty” and therefore there might be no need for a celebrity endorser to market it. She said, “Carmen’s Best will sell itself.”
MVP’s more noble purpose was “to ramp up investments in the agricultural sector and reduce the country’s dependence on food imports amid ongoing global supply chain disruptions and high inflation. This transaction presents a significant growth opportunity for MPIC and the Philippines, as the country currently imports 99 percent of its annual dairy requirements.”
“The agricultural sector presents a wide range of possibilities that can help us achieve several goals –to strengthen the food supply chain and augment the accessibility of resources for all Filipinos as well as provide more opportunities for growth in an otherwise underserved business,” says the MPIC Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer.
World-class projects under Reality MM Studios as it signs up 5 new directors
Marching ahead with a noble vision of headlining and showcasing Filipino ingenuity and creativity in filmmaking globally, the dynamic duo behind Reality MM Studios Dondon Monteverde and Erik Matti launched five neophyte directors who will take the helm of world-class projects for international release.
The new directors are Joey de Guzman, Dean Marcial, Kerwin Go, Siege Ledesma and Kip Oebanda. Each of them is expected to contribute fresh, new, innovative content that sets Reality Studios apart from the rest.
Direk Erik said, “these like-minded directors are the ones who see the vision of Reality MM. Since the pandemic changed the landscape of cinema, we needed to evolve and look into the future. We were lucky to have caught a lot of interest from international streamers after ‘On The Job.’ Because of this, we feel we have been given the momentum to bring the Filipino talent on global stage even during the pandemic.”
He added, “our content is different from what could be the trend in the Philippines. It is hard to find people who would push the envelope further, for stories to not just be local but also provide universal appeal, enough to cut across different territories. We are going global.”
The directors were chosen because Reality Studios found the grit in them. Matti continued, “there are lots of talented filmmakers we have known over the past years who may specialize in TV series, melodrama or love stories. But our projects are meant to be brought somewhere else. We found in our directors what we were looking for in terms of sensibilities. They can tell bigger stories than what were used to, but keep the characters purely Pinoy pa rin.”
Direk Erik revealed that they are doing projects from HBO, Netflix, Disney and other international companies which are currently in different stages. Dondon Monteverde, for his part, disclosed that Reality has collaborative projects being shot in Korea, United Kingdom, US, New Zealand, among others.
Reality is also developing two projects – one in Cebu featuring foreign characters and the other in Palawan, a hostage series with supernatural elements. They are also set to shoot a Filipino adaptation of a French series “Call My Agent” which will be shown on HBO starring Edu Manzano, Angel Locsin and Gina Alajar. The project starring Bea Alonzo will also be pushing through and it is about a woman con artist, a role that Bea liked better than the other project offered to her.
Thirty-one-year-old director Joey de Guzman is a protégé of Reality Studios from the beginning. He made the big leap from New Zealand to the Philippines in 2016 to pursue his dream of filmmaking after seeing the movie “On the Job” that same year.
He said he wrote to Dondon Monteverde and flew to the Philippines and has since been a learning the ropes from Direk Erik and Dondon since.
Joey, a gold-medalist in Wushu martial arts, has a passion for action movies. He is currently developing a martial arts action film.
Kip Obaeda is an award-winning director in the Cinemalaya film festival. His movie based on the life of his mother Cecilia, “Liway” starring Glaiza de Castro in 2018 was also one of the top-grossing in the festival. For Reality, he is doing an episode for the “Rabid” series which gives a hard look at the danger and evil of social media.
Siege Ledesma is the only female director in the list. She pursued filmmaking after a long route that started in her Call Center years before she landed in the field of scriptwriting having attended courses, seminars and trainings under some of the best writers in the Philippines – Bing Lao, Dr. Doy Del Mundo and Ricky Lee. She is directing an anthology-horror flick for “Rabid.”
Dean Marcial relocated to Manila after his filmmaking stint in New York because he admired the movie “On the Job” which he saw in an exhibition of contemporary Philippine cinema at the Museum of Modern Arts in New York in 2017. He is currently working on a project to be shot in Korea with a Korean production as well as an adaptation of a hit Korean movie. He is also deep in the development of a passion project ala “Jaguar.”
Kerwin Go is cinematographer turned director. His debut film feature “Mina-anud” won in the Singapore Film Financing Forum 2017. He is currently developing “Maniatica,” a Filipino Gothic horror film under the Reality Films banner.
FROM THE GRAPEVINE
A source very close to this controversial couple attests just how tumultuous their love affair is. The source said the actor has already reached the end of his tethers because of the “possessiveness” of the actress which, the source said, even led to a situation of “sampalan” one time because she didn’t get her way. The source said the actor refused to sleep over his girlfriend’s house because of an early call time the following day which caused him the explosive ire of the actress. The actress broke up with him. The actor, relieved in some way about the unexpected turn of events, agreed to the break up. But within hours, the source said, the actress was already calling and calling the actor asking him to go back to her.