Tough choice for Pinoys: Affairs of the heartor food for the soul?

Photograph courtesy of ig/Liza Soberano Liza Soberano

So, did Enrique Gil’s I Am Not Big Bird do well yesterday, Valentine’s Day? It’s a raunchy movie that would click with Pinoy lovers of Filipino/Tagalog flicks.

But its opening day coincided with Ash Wednesday, which ushered the Lenten season for the Catholics in this country.

So, what did the Pinoys go for to celebrate love and loving?

Some claimed that instead of a date out, they would rather receive cash gifts. That’s according to a non-commissioned poll conducted by the Social Weather Stations last December but whose results were shared to the public just last Sunday, 11 February.

Survey said that 16 percent of Filipinos wanted to become more practical and receive cash as their gift wish for Valentine’s Day. About 10 percent said they prefer to receive flowers. Some 11 percent did admit that they desire “love and companionship.”

The same SWS survey said the number of people who have no love life has gradually increased through the years. The survey had only 1,200 respondents.

More men wished for apparel, while more women wished for money.

Around 58 percent of respondents also said they are very happy with their love life; 23 percent admitted they could be happier; while 19 percent have no love life at all.

SWS also noted that the percentage of people who are not in a romantic setup has gradually increased through the years, from 10 percent in 2002 to 19 percent in 2023.

But how did Pinoys carry on this love day? It was traditionally meant for going out but which happened to be Ash Wednesday this (Lunar) Year of the Wood Dragon?

A Facebook survey was conducted by a social news media organization Rappler starting 5 January. By 10 February, the company noted that 981 participants said they would abstain from going out and eating meat today. They signified this intention by ticking the “care emoji.” Only 59 of the news site’s followers on FB said they would be with their jowa (romantic partner).


The movies are the most inexpensive way to be together these days. If someone is paying for the tickets for two, that would be P800. Imagine how many kilos of rice it would buy! But then again, daters have to go dine somewhere after watching a movie. An unfanciful dinner at, say Max’s or WingZone, may cost another P800.

Well, that’s how life goes these days. And the truth is even movie producers are not keen about showing their films in the movie houses. They would rather show their outputs on the streaming platforms. They get a definite sum for it, though their film is locked with the platform owners for a few months, after which they can offer the film to another platform operator.

That’s what Viva Communications, Inc. did with Nadine Lustre’s action film Road Killers. The company let Prime Video Philippines to stream the movie starting November last year. Next month (March), they’ll stream it on Viva One.

There really are more movies offered in the digital platforms than in the cineplexes. For instance, aside from Viva One, the Del Rosarios also own and run Vivamax, which specializes in films with the most daring sex scenes.

Those who are not hot for Enrique Gil’s denial of being Big Bird (the fictitious porno king of Thailand), at least two Hollywood movies are on offer.

Cult movies

Poor Things and Madame Web opened yesterday.

The former is a cult movie of sorts and the opening film at last year’s QCinema International Film Festival in Quezon City. It is directed by award-winning and critically acclaimed Yorgos Lanthimos and stars Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe and Ramy Youssef.

The story is about a dead young woman revived by her scientist foster father by implanting an infant’s brain into her skull. The young woman, though initially awkward in her movement, develops into a sexually liberated human being. Stone portrays the awakened one.

Dakota Johnson, also a cult figure as a young actor because of her Fifty Shades trilogy, top-bills Madame Web, which deals with a paramedic who becomes a clairvoyant who sees future events within the “Spider world.” She must confront her past while trying to survive with three young women who are being hunted by a deadly adversary. It is helmed by S.J. Clarkson, the first woman to direct a Star Trek film series. Also stars Sydney Sweeney.

‘Love, Q&A’

There are concerts that lovers can go this Valentine’s week.

Ogie Alcasid and United States-based Odette Quesada will have their first Valentine’s Day concert together, dubbed “Love, Q&A,” tonight at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Pasay City. The two-night show opened last night.

‘Lisa Frankenstein’

Liza Soberano’s first Hollywood film, Lisa Frankenstein, may still be showing in some theaters as a carry-over from its opening last movie week (which began 7 February). It’s as if boyfriend Enrique Gil gave way to it by having his I Am Not Big Bird flying off yesterday.

It’s actually Kathryn Newton who portrays the title role Lisa Frankenstein, a mal-adjusted young woman who fell in love with a dead guy (played by Cole Sprouse), whose looks she espied in his grave in a 19th century cemetery she frequents every time she is depressed. Soberano delineates Kathryn’s stepsister.
The movie opened 9 February in the US and Internet reports have it that it’s struggling in the box office there.

The movie seems to have been sidetracked by Super Bowl weekend. According to a report by Variety, Lisa Frankenstein brought in $3.8 million over the course of the three-day weekend, which is lower than the $4 million expected. It’s second-place at the box-office behind Argylle, which earned a mere $6.5 million, in the worst Super Bowl weekend on record. (Argyle was shown last week here in the country and it also did not do well.)

Hollywood film box-office analysts point out that: “January and February tend to be poor months at the box office, as they sit between major holidays. The cold weather also often keeps potential viewers at home, ruining any chance to have massive engagement by audiences.

“As Lisa Frankenstein continues its run into March, there is a potential for a late recovery. The chances are low, however, as there are still weeks until the February haze ends.”

Some analysts also say that the slow box-office weekend “could be explained by the Super Bowl, “explaining that Super Bowl weekend that brings in $3.8 million could indicate positive movement in the future. Lisa Frankenstein is not likely to have too much profit, but profitability is still a possibility.”

Still Kapamilya

Top content-supplier and leading entertainment-media conglomerate ABS-CBN renewed the contract of practically forlorn actor Daniel Padilla on Monday, 12 February, even more quietly than how the company pulled off that of his ex-girlfriend, Kathryn Bernardo, previously.

Padilla’s contract renewal was no grand media event, too. Only the media station’s reporters and those from the PR staff were asked to cover the event.

Happily, Padilla was allowed to thank his ex-girlfriend in the on-camera interviews. He let it out that his career in the past couldn’t have gone far without Bernardo as his partner on-and-off camera.

No specific future projects for Padilla were announced. But almost surely, there will be for this year and next.


Couples may be breaking up, but Carlo Aquino has decided that Charlie Dizon is the one he’ll marry sooner or later. He said so in one beauty product event in which he is an endorser. However, Dizon, who went with him to the event, kept mum as she stayed in one room at the venue while all the cameras were on.

JK Labajo is no longer broken-hearted. He actually has been going with singer-beauty queen from Cavite, Dia Mate, since April 2023. He couldn’t scream about it because he seemed to know that he was going to release and promote an album of broken-hearted songs inspired supposedly by his break-up with beauty queen-model Maureen Wroblewitz.

Carlo Aquino and Charlie Dizon.

As he turned a year older on 5 February, the “Ere” singer received a birthday greeting from Mate, who is this year’s Miss Universe Philippines-Cavite. Labajo reposted her birthday greeting via his Instagram Stories.

“To my light and my happiness, happy birthday, love. May you receive everything you deserve in this lifetime. I love you!” Mate’s message read.

In response, Labajo said, “Love you, bb!,” using a shorter version of the endearment term “baby.”

As for Wroblewitz, she revealed months ago yet that she has found a new boyfriend, US-based Fil-Am model, Noah Steinbuch.

They are now both based in Los Angeles to keep their relationship in a low key. She visited Manila a few days ago from a vacation with Steinbuch in Japan to promote a movie she quietly did here in the past and which is scheduled to be released here soon.

She may have flown back to Japan so they could go back to the US together. In a media interview, she said she wishes JK well in all his professional and personal involvements but she is not ready yet to be chummy with her ex.

During the interview, Maureen shared that she’s happy with her “low-key” relationship with Noah.