EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Stage-Film Actor Mike Liwag On Portraying Jaime in CULION
Manila, Philippines - Predicted as a strong contender at the 2019 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) for Best Picture is the historical period drama Culion. Stage-film actor Mike Liwag, one of the film's male leads, recently sat down with us for an exclusive conversation.
Portraying Jaime in Culion is Mike's biggest screen role thus far, who's known for his previous films Hiblang Abo (2016), Ang Araw sa Likod Mo (2017), and Apple of My Eye (2019). Culion tells the story of a community of people with leprosy-related disabilities during the American colonial period.
"'Yung character ni Jaime, nu'ng simula eh medyo maloko, at umaasa lang ako sa mga binibigay mga Amerikano. Bilang Jaime, pakiramdam ko walang patutunguhan ang buhay ko. Pero as the story progresses, makikita n'yo kung ga'no pala katindi ang pinagdadaanan nito," Mike said about the gist of his character.
Mike, whose recent theatrical outing was playing the role of "Manggagamit" in Floy Quintos' adult play Laro, is no stranger to advocacy films such as Culion whose conception was also aimed at seeking to debunk the social stigma attached to leprosy and Culion, a former leprosarium in Palawan.
In our conversation, Mike talked about the film's important message, some unsolicited confessions, and more about Jaime, who is also the love interest of Jasmine Curtis-Smith's Doris.
Additionally, he talked about his transformation, both physically and mentally, into Jaime while revealing some of his discoveries about the history and people of Culion.
"Ah, eto pala ang 'yung dating pinagdaanan na mga kakababayan natin na di alam ng maraming Pilipino. Nakakalungkot na 'di nagkaroon ng pagkakataon na makilala natin ang mga tao sa Culion kase talagang nakahiwalay sila. H'wag natin silang husgahan kase di naman natin alam ang mga pinagdaanan nila nuon," he said.
In Culion, written by Ricky Lee and directed by Alvin Yapan, Mike, alongside Jasmine, co-stars with Iza Calzado Meryll Soriano, Joem Bascon, Suzette Ranillo, Lee O'Brian, Joel Saracho, Simon Ibarra, Nico Locco, Upeng Fernandez, Mayen Estanero, Mai Fanglayan, Raflesia Bravo, Earl Andrew Figueroa, and the Culion Kalinangan Ensemble.
Produced by iOptions Ventures Corp. and Shandii Bacolod, Culion now screens in Philippine cinemas.
Video: Oliver Oliveros (with photos and video clips from iOptions Ventures Corp.)