"Sa 'Yo Lamang" Stars on faith, family and forgiveness
- Vanessa A. Balbuena () - September 10, 2010 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Gracing the Cebu premiere of Star Cinema’s 17th anniversary offering “Sa ‘Yo Lamang” at the SM City Cebu Cinema were two of its male casts, Christopher de Leon and Diether Ocampo. The family-ensemble drama held a simultaneous premiere in Cebu, Manila and Davao last August 31.

 Following the tradition set by the 2000 Metro Manila Film Festival hit “Tanging Yaman”, the film tackles familiar conflicts contemporary Filipino families face which were ably portrayed by grand slam best actress Lorna Tolentino, Bea Alonzo, Coco Martin, Zanjoe Marudo, Shaina Magdayao, Enchong Dee, Empress Schuck, Miles Ocampo and Lauren Young.

Christopher, still untoppled as the country’s Drama King after four decades in the business, is the prodigal father who returns home to seek forgiveness 10 years after abandoning his family for another woman.

His wife, Amanda (played by Lorna), forgives him, but their grown-up kids, especially the eldest daughter Dianne (Bea Alonzo), remain hostile. Dianne had sacrificed personal happiness throughout the years her father was missing from their lives as she had to be the family’s padre de familia. Coby (Coco Martin) is rebellious and gets a girl pregnant; James (Enchong Dee) is under a lot of stress and cheats in school; and youngest child Lisa (Miles Ocampo) has hardly any recollection of the absentee father.

“My interactions with the children here in the movie are really close to my heart. I have a lot of scenes with the character of Bea. I also have a daughter who’s as tall as her but a lot younger. She’s now in New Zealand studying Culinary Arts. Everytime I did a scene with Bea, I would remember Princess—I call my daughter Princess. Ang gaganda ng mga eksena namin. Kaya magdala kayo ng panyo kasi this is a three-handkerchief movie,” said Christopher of his filming experience in an earlier press conference at the Castle Peak Hotel. 

The award-winning actor shared how in this movie, he deviated from the acting we’ve known him for thanks to the guidance of director Laurice Guillen, whom he considers the best in her craft of this generation. 

“She was very, very meticulous. Every word that we said in the movie, hinimay niya. She told me, my role used to be the big-time engineer making a lot of money, you leave the family, and then after 10 years you’re down and out. In my previous roles in ‘Maging Sino Ka Man’ and in ‘Lovers in Paris’, I was the big boss, the tycoon. But this time, I’m slouched all the time. He goes home, he has his shoulders down looking repentant and feeling sorry for himself.”

Meanwhile, Diether was able to relate to the children in the film because he grew up without a father, forcing him to make hard decisions for himself at a young age.

“I lost my father to cancer when I was six years old. So imagine, I was the eldest in the family, ako yung lumaking padre de pamilya. Mahirap, kasi ang tatay kasi yung structure eh. Pag wala yung isang haligi ng pamilya, iba.”

Growing up without a father figure in one’s formative years was hard, especially for a boy who needed a man’s perspective. But Diether was fortunate to have relatives and other people in his life who willingly filled up the void.

“I was adopted by my uncle who was the brother of my father. Along the way, I met a lot of older people na nakatrabaho ko. And then most of my life which was spent in ABS-CBN, si Mr. Johnny Manahan has been a great mentor to me. I consult with him everytime I make an important decision. Kaya I’m very thankful.”

“Tanging Yaman” and “Sa ‘Yo Lamang” have a lot of similarities such as its central theme of faith and a family member’s disease that would be instrumental in pulling the troubled family together. It touches on the Filipino family values we can all relate to— respect, love, faith and forgiveness.

Diether stated: “Itong pelikula na ito napapanahon kasi minsan karamihan sa atin, sa dami nating inaasikaso sa trabaho, there are a lot of important things that we miss out in our family. Hindi natin napapansin may pinagdadaanan na pala ang pamilya natin. Sinasalamin niya ang pinagdadaanan ng pamilya.”

“I can relate kasi ako na-experience ko din yun. Minsan nababalewala natin pero kapag may problema ka, pamilya mo ang laging nandiyan. Mawalan ka man ng career o negosyo, sila pa rin ang nandiyan, no matter what. We realize that the family is a very important component of society so dapat hindi natin balewalain yun. It also made me realize na may mga pagkukulang din ako sa nanay ko at sa mga kapatid ko. So lahat tayo makaka-relate talaga with this movie dahil may sari-sarili tayong family issues.”

Christopher, who’s married to actress Sandy Andolong, was asked how in real life he manages to keep his own family intact despite the daily breakdown of marriages, especially in the world of showbiz.

“The theme of the movie is forgiveness and sacrifice. You really have to learn to forgive and sacrifice. I think that’s one of the secrets to a long-lasting relationship. In my case, I have six children. You have to sacrifice a lot to put them in good schools and keep your family life intact. My family is not perfect. You should have seen us before. It’s like a warzone. But after a while, you get to be more mature and relaxed. You learn how to forgive and just let things be,” was his reply. 

Asked to whom he would tell the words “sa ‘yo lamang”, Christopher, who is one of founders of the Oasis of Love charismatic community here in Cebu, said: “I don’t want to sound preachy, but I’m going to say it to Him (God).” 

For Diether, even if he portrayed a minor role as the returning former lover to Bea’s character who cheats on her, his participation in the film led him to realize who the most important person in his life is, that person whom he could deservingly utter the words “sa’yo lamang” to.

“Sa ‘yo lamang...Bihira tayong makapagbitiw ng ganyang salita. I guess I could say it to my mom dahil grabe yung sakripisyo niya para palakihin kami kahit walang tatay. So all that I have right now, I owe it all to the one who managed to take care of us all these years,” the actor said.

Graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board and rated PG-13 by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, “Sa ‘Yo Lamang” is still showing in theaters nationwide.

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