travel

roma at night. roma by bus

CHAPTER 1.

i did sleep well enough on the eve of our trip to rome. ive prepacked early in the day and decided to buy a few more socks for the trip. although i was excited for italy and made notes to see the sistine chapel and fontana de trevi, i really didnt know what to expect. or at least decided not to expect so much and be disappointed in the end. we were supposed to be in italy for four days and thank God the last minute our booking was changed and we got an extra day, which of course made me extra happy.

the check-in at the international airport was uneventful. we had tv coverage from both network stations and apparently i was seen in “startalk” by a friend, telling me he saw me behind cherry pie while i was on the phone. i was talking to mommy lolet at that time. cheerful !

the first leg of the trip was a 13 hour flight to amsterdam. oh yeah i got to see the netherlands but only from the plane window. and i didnt even get to step on actual soil. after 16 hours of flying and going back 6hours in the day, we finally made it to rome at midnight. the city was pretty deserted but the city was magnificent in lights. whole blocks of residences, graffiti on the walls, people walking ( ! ) over bridges and under streetlight (fixed in the middle of the street), i still couldnt make out what i was seeing. roman drivers are crazy ! they drive in small cars and go really fast through small streets and alleys. crazy! i feared we’d crash into some statue or a century-old building any time soon.

finally we parked into ludivisi palace, a four-star hotel in via veneto. a small bed and breakfast hotel but pretty steep at 360 euros a night (festival took care of that). i bunked in with the producer who was sick since we left the philippines. probably a combination of hyperacidity, gas, food poisoning and cargo pressure etchos.

cherry pie picache dante mendoza and me at cafe de paris
the air was chilly, like a crisp baguio evening and we celebrated our first night in rome with beer at a nearby bar in via veneto filled with guys in tailored suits and women with prada written all over them. crazy to be in rome .

via veneto in the morning
the day after we proceeded to the festival venue to register, get our little IDs and our bag of goodies (books, festival material). via Veneto, we later find out, is probably the most expensive street in rome. said to be the most beautiful street in the world, it is littered with bars cafes and expensive clothing shops including the famous cafe de paris, a glitzy, paparazzi nightmare for the elite stars in the 50s including sophia loren and them italian directors.


there was a free shuttle bus that hurtles through rome, passing by piazza manila (where a bust of jose rizal is found) all the way to the festival venue and back every 10 minutes.

ferdie, dante, pie and myself at the festival
this year’s Rome International Film Festival is the first ever. italy only had the venice IFF for the last 50 years or so and critics have been saying it’s about time Rome had his. big-budgeted ang rome IFF, wanting to be as prestigious as its venice counterpart along with toronto and cannes in paris.

onstage, dante m cherry pie picache ferdie lapuz and benjamin padero
KALELDO is included in the EXTRA! section, and contrary to what people thought, we are not in competition. nevertheless, the film lineup of the festival is very small, thus it is harder to get selected in this festival. and for the hundreds of filipino films the programmer got to see this year, they only selected KALELDO and ALA POBRE ALA VERDE. and for the two, KALELDO got to have 5 screenings in the festival, including its first during the gala opening of the festival ! oh diba?

at the roma termini after lunch and a bit of shopping
met with our tour guide, jerry, a pinoy organist in st.peter church during pope john paul ii’s time and a friend of cherry pie’s. we walked around rome and saw st.peter’s in the afternoon but the line was long and crazy so we decided to just take photos and go see it on tuesday. we then trekked to other sights in rome, bought rosaries in the nearby shops and ate pasta and pizza in some restaurant near the terminal station. i got some postcards i meant to send out via mail. snail mail? what is that?

goofing off in the hotel
had to go back early to the hotel to prepare for the evening’s gala. world premiere of KALELDO ! walked down the red carpet where nicole kidman and sean connery earlier that day also walked on. the theater wasnt packed but a lot of the viewers stayed at the end of the film for the Q&A portion. they were very supportive and they loved the film, made reference to other films and directors like kievslowsky’s and praised performances of cherry pie and the photography. met with some of the pinoys who watched the movie after the screening and it’s a nice feeling.

me with jakob, festival organizer, cherry pie and dante m; red carpet behind us
afterwards it was late and there were no more parties so we just celebrated with wine along with a filipina and her norwegian husband. stalked the theater where nicole kidman was still in but she didnt come out until hours later and we were bored from waiting. took pictures around the venue and didnt stop laughing until we got back to the hotel.

the producer was still sick when we got in so i had to play caregiver yet again and boss him around to eat and take water and apply hot towels on his stomach to ease his suffering, all the while encouraging him to burp and fart while i covered myself under the sheets to escape the poisonous gas circulating our room ! haha

and another night has ended. to be continued

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