Pacquiao plays World War II hero in Hollywood movie
The ad layout for Freedom Fighters that will star Manny Pacquiao (with Inspire Studios CEO Francis Lara Ho, right photo) as Col. Macario Peralta Jr.
Pacquiao plays World War II hero in Hollywood movie
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - October 16, 2019 - 12:00am

This just in:

Manny Pacquiao confirmed that he will play local hero Col. Macario Peralta Jr., leader of the Philippine Guerrilla resistance on Panay Island during World War II, in the Hollywood-Philippines global feature film Freedom Fighters.

An incredible true story of courage, faith and hope in the face of unspeakable Japanese-inflicted terror, Freedom Fighters will be produced by Inspire Studios, Inc., in association with a major US studio. The production is slated for 2020.

Producer/financier Francis Lara Ho, CEO of Inspire Studios, said, “Freedom Fighters will be a global, Hollywood studio-level release. We are currently in discussions with leading Hollywood and Philippine studios, financiers and distributors, as well as A-List directors and actors to bring this amazing, inspirational story to the global audience. 

“Having the charismatic and beloved Sen. Manny Pacquiao join by playing Col. Peralta is an exciting step in putting together a cast of top-tier actors for this movie. Manny is a worldwide hero and admired by people from all over the world, so stepping into this role is a natural for him.”   

Ho, founder of Inspire Studios which will hold offices both in the US and the Philippines, has great vision for the company.

He added, “We want to impact humanity by creating world-class movies of hope, heroism and honor from stories based on true-to-life event; movies that go beyond mere entertainment and that showcase positive, human virtues…movies that inspire and inspire us to look beyond ourselves, and help us dream to be greater and encourage us to pursue something bigger than life itself!”

Freedom Fighters is based on the memoirs of Louise Spencer, an American who was one of the residents of Hopevale, a community of patriots in Panay Island during WWII that played a great role in a most crucial time in Philippine history. 

After the Japanese sneak attack invasion of the Philippines in WWII, staged to coincide with the attack on Pearl Harbor, a group of American doctors, nurses, missionaries and miners in Panay Island chose to stay hidden behind enemy lines to continue to help the local people and the Guerrilla resistance, led by Col. Peralta.  

They built a community deep in the jungle called Hopevale and survived there for almost two years under constant threat of torture and execution if captured. They were supported by loyal, brave Filipinos who put their lives and the lives of their families on the line to help them survive and hold back the Japanese, allowing the triumphant Gen. MacArthur to belatedly return.  

Pacquiao will be busy playing hero next year. He has also been tapped to play Gen. Miguel Malvar in another movie.

(For details, e-mail or check out

Celso de Guzman Caparas

Positive outlook won title for Miss Spain

More than looks, what was between her ears won for Spain’s Chaiyenne Huisman the 2019 Miss Asia-Pacific International crown relinquished by the Philippines’ Sharifa Akeel, beating 53 other aspirants.

Should you win Miss Asia Pacific International, what legacy would you establish and leave behind?

That was the common question asked of the five finalists including Costa Rica’s Fiorella Cortez Arbenz (who finished fourth runner-up), Canada’s Jessica Victoria Cianchino (second), Dominican Republic’s Eonna Constanza Santana (first) and Brazil’s Carolina Schuler (third).

Chaiyenne’s answer: I believe that my positive outlook in life can guide the next generation to love themselves more and to believe that perfection isn’t everything because at the end of the day we are unique in our own way and that’s okay.

Chaiyenne speaks six languages ­­— English, Spanish, French, Dutch, German and Swedish. Like Pia Wurtzbach who won Bb. Pilipinas-Universe on her third try and, eventually, the Miss Universe title in 2015, Chaiyenne made it on her second attempt. She competed in the 2018 Miss Global pageant representing the Netherlands where she was voted by her fellow candidates as Miss Congeniality.

Under the banner of its season campaign #LoveTheDifference, this year’s search focused on the importance of embracing individuality and championing diversity.

Said Jacqueline Tan-Sainz, president of Miss Asia Pacific, Inc. (MAPI), “As a pageant organization, we take pride in our advocacy because we believe that true beauty lies in the camaraderie of women — when you see them together and them recognizing their differences. We want Miss Asia Pacific International to be a venue for the world to realize that women can achieve their highest potentials, not in spite of their differences, but because of it.”

Held at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila (RWM), the event was co-hosted by Joey Mead-King, American actor/TV personality Bobby Tonelli and Sam YG.  — Text & photo by Celso de Guzman Caparas

(E-mail reactions at For more updates, photos and videos, visit or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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