MARIA Labo is a popular urban legend about a woman "aswang" who cooked and ate her two children. The legend is popular in the Visayas and in Mindanao.
Way back in the 1980s or 1990s, Davao had a Mario Labo scare. There were rumors that the aswang has reached Davao and is looking for new victims. She became a bogeyman (or bogeywoman) of sorts for children who liked to wander and loiter around.
“Uy naa na daw si Maria Labo diri sa Davao, ayaw na mo magsuroy-suroy.” (Maria Labo is already here in Davao don’t loiter around) I remember being reminded of that.
The Maria Labo story caught the attention of movie and television actor Roi Vinzon, who was visiting Bacolod City. He wanted to bring the life story of Maria Labo into the big screen. Not long after, a group of investors decided to pitch in for the film project with Roi coming on board as a director.
Roi, who gained fame as an action star in the 1980s and 1990s, also dabbled in film directing in the mid 1990s. He recently became visible, acting in GMA teleseryes among his most notable character is a stern military general in the hit drama series My Husband’s Lover.
Kate Brios, a businesswoman from Bacolod and the friend of Roi Vinzon’s wife, was tapped to play the lead role of Maria Labo opposite movie actor Jestoni Alarcon.
Together with local TV personality Cherry Maning, I met Kate last Tuesday during her visit to Davao City. She is a Dabawenya who left for Bacolod 15 years ago. She currently manages a resort, a hotel and a herbal food supplement business.
Maria Labo is her first foray into film. “I really do not have prior experience in film,” Kate said.
A movie fan who idolizes Sharon Cuneta and Nora Aunor, Kate said she didn’t go to acting workshop. She describes her acting style in the film as natural acting.
The acting newbie is joined by veteran actors such as Mon Confiado, Rez Cortez, Baron Geisler, Rey PJ Abellana and Sam Pinto.
“I really wasn’t nervous when working with my co-actors. To me, it's just part of work,” Kate said. She describes as friendly her working relationship with the cast.
“Before I accepted the role offered to me by direk Roi, I asked myself if I can do it. Because in the shoot, there is no room for hesitation,” Kate said.
In the film, Maria Labo is a loving and dutiful wife and mother to her husband played by Jestoni Alarcon and their two kids. However, financial problems forced Maria to go to Dubai to work.
In Dubai, she befriends a fellow OFW who later passes of a horrible curse, thus the start of the legend.
The movie has several action scenes, Kate said. Though she has to utilize stunt doubles, still she had to some scenes like climb walls and trees.
According to the film director, the film doesn’t rely much on special effects, as he wants the horror to be as natural as possible.
Kate hopes that her fellow kababayans in Davao will support her upcoming film, which will be shown nationwide on November 11. The film is distributed by Viva Films.
Last Wednesday (September 30), I also got the chance to meet Kate's Maria Labo co-star Sam Pinto at the Oroderm Body Davao in CM Recto during the launching of their newest laser machine Cynosure's Picosure.
The new machine is a breakthrough in laser technology it delivers ultra-short pulses of energy to shatter tattoo ink and skin sports, which results in greater clearance faster, in fewer treatments with improved recovery time.
This is the first non-invasive laser treatment machine of its kind in the Visayas and Mindanao.