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Squid Game star’s directorial debut ‘Hunt’ hits PH cinemas  

STAR CIRCUIT - Ricky Calderon - The Freeman

Their original songs such as “Gunita,” “Paraya,” and “Awit sa Salamin” take listeners on a sentimental journey. Alternative rock band Sandiwa is again inviting us to go on a trip, this time to explore the feeling of finding “the one” with their latest composition, “Hawak Mo Na.”

Produced and distributed by Ivory Music & Video, the band shared that the song pertains to the person who will love you, will always be true to you, and will treat you as his/her world. During tough times, he/she will hold on to you, never let you go and become your source of strength.

Hailing from the east of Metro Manila, Sandiwa is composed of Yeoj Rivera on vocals, John Rale Soriso on bass, Samuel Dice on keyboard, Harold Tabuno on drums, and Jeremiah Torda on guitar.

They became friends after meeting in a youth camp and their passion for music and composing songs led them to form a band that became Sandiwa. Yeoj, the band’s vocalist, said that the name of the band was given by his friend who got it from a Filipino dictionary. “Sandiwa” (isang diwa) means “one mind”, and since our one passion is music, all the band members agreed with the name.

Sandiwa is managed by Asintada Management headed by Thea Pollisco, who also manages one of the premier rappers of the country, Gloc-9, and hip-hop hitmaker Shanti Dope. Asked about their influences and the type of music they offer, John, who plays bass for the band, answered, “We are heavily influenced by OPM bands especially those that emerged in the ‘90s and 2000s. Our music is a fusion of alternative rock and pop, but we love exploring other genres too.”

On how the band’s new song, “Hawak Mo Na,” came about, Samuel, Sandiwa’s keyboardist, stated, “The band joined a songwriting contest and we wrote ‘Hawak Mo Na’ for the competition. Even though we did not emerge as champions in that contest, we won first runner-up and the organizer still used our song in a youth camp. We’re very grateful for that.”

One good example of a song Sandiwa has created in the midst of the pandemic is “Tulong”, wherein they collaborated with OPM legend, Gloc-9. Speaking of collaborations, Jeremiah, the band’s guitarist, said that they wish to work with other OPM legends like Ely Buendia, Rico Blanco and Bamboo. “It would be an honor for us to collaborate with our idols on one of our songs since they really are the inspirations for the band,” he added.

Sandiwa has a knack for writing songs with great hooks, much like their new release, “Hawak Mo Na.” With such talented band members, it wouldn’t be a surprise that their music idols might collaborate with them in the near future.

“Hawak Mo Na” is now available on all streaming platforms. Subscribe to Sandiwa’s social media channels. For updates, visit Ivory Music & Video’s website.


Lee Jung Jae, one of the South Korea’s leading actors of his generation, has helmed the feature film “Hunt.” He has starred in many genres such as action, drama, melodrama, and became a household name after starring in the hit Netflix Original series “Squid Game.”

Director Lee has used his 30-year experience as an actor to lead fellow filmmakers and actors on set. While working with his co-stars in front of the camera, he listened to various advice and opinions, and showed what kind if director he is by convincing the cast and swaying their opinions in a way that improved the film.

He has taken “Hunt” into the realm of espionage action drama, but focused on the psychological warfare between the characters – heightening the overall tension. He made circumstances worse and worse for both Park Pyong-ho and Kim Jung-do, and they ultimately find themselves in situations where they have to compete at an optimal range.

“Of course spectacular action sequences play an important part in the film, but I also wanted to make sure that the audience’s attention was held by a story that had plot twists within plot twists, and to be invested in how two characters decide on their fate,” said Director Lee, explaining how “Hunt” differs from other espionage films.

Although the espionage story develops at a rapid pace, the plot is not very complicated. Director Lee hopes the audience will enjoy watching the film.

“Hunt” is the number one movie in Korea. It opens today in Philippine cinemas nationwide and is distributed by Glimmer Entertainment, a company owned by Grace Lee.

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