“Manila Kingpin” Dominates MMFF

"Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story" bags 11 MMFF Awards

MANILA, Philippines – At the 37th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Awards Night,  “Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story,” a film about the country’s legendary Tondo gang lord of the 1940s was the night’s big winner taking home 11 MMFF trophies including the coveted Best Picture and Gatpuno Villegas Cultural Awards, Best Supporting Actor for John Regala and Best Director for Tikoy Aguiluz.

The event however was missing many of the big name nominees including Best Actor winner Dingdong Dantes and Best Actress winner Maricel Soriano. 

Other winners included Eugene Domingo, Best Supporting Actress for My House Husband, and Bugoy Carino of Shake Rattle and Roll 13 Best Child Performer. (See full list of winners below)


Shot in black and white, the film starring Laguna Gov. ER Ejercito (also known by his screen name Jeorge Estregan) is actually a remake of the 1961 action hit “Asiong Salonga” which starred former President Joseph Estrada.

The film takes viewers back to the 1940s and 1950s where Tondo, Manila was known as a gangland and where gang wars were a common spectacle. Nicasio “Asiong” Rodriguez Salonga was a much feared and notorious gang leader but said to be a modern day Robin Hood until his untimely death at age 27, a victim of a shot to the head. 

But while the film dominated the awards last night, it isn’t doing as well in the box office. Ejercito attributes this to the fact that the film is an action flick and does not fall into the usual festival mold of kid friendly movies. “Actually ang pelikulang ito hindi pang festival. Pero pinalad na maging kasama sa festival. Salamat na rin . Ito na ang pagbabalik ng quality action films.”


In traditional MMFF fashion, the night was not free from controversy. Stars of “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” and “Shake, Rattle and Roll 13” both under Regal Films boycotted the awards night following the disqualification of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow from the Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and Gatpuno Villegas Award categories.

The film was disqualified because it is said to have violated an MMFF rule by making variations to the screenplay and cast list that it had previously submitted to the MMFF for approval.

In a statement Regal Films questioned the decision, calling it “unfair” and “with no purpose but to divide and already vulnerable industry”. – Rappler.com


Full List of Winners


Best Production Design
Best Editing
Best Original Score
Best Sound Recording
Best Original Theme Song
Best Cinematography
Best Screenplay: Roy Iglesias and Ray Ventura
Best Supporting Actor: John Regala
Best Director: Tikoy Aguiluz
Gatpuno Villegas Cultural Award
Best Picture


Best Original Story: Chris Martinez & Marlon Rivera
Best Child Performer: Bugoy Carino
Third Best Picture


Best Make-up
Second Best Picture


Gender Sensitivity Award
Best Supporting Actress: Eugene Domingo


Best Festival Float
Best Visual Effects


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