While my mom was reading a Filipino newspaper last night, she found out that a nearby theater was playing a movie starring her favorite Filipino singer. Almost instantly, I was in the car with my parents on the way to watch "Catch Me... I'm in Love".
In the United States, singer/actress Sarah Geronimo is essentially unknown. However, she is likely one of the most popular celebrities in the Philippines, rivaling boxer Manny Pacquiao and overshadowing Charice Pempengo. I suppose the best way to describe Sarah Geronimo is that she has a voice comparable to Celine Dion with a multi-generation fan base as rabid as Justin Bieber's. When my folks an I got to the theater, the line to buy tickets essentially stretched around the building.
The experience of watching a Filipino movie can be as entertaining as the film itself. People get really into the movie, howling with laughter at certain scenes and screaming like fangirls during more romantic parts. I suppose I haven't been to enough midnight screenings, but I've never experienced as much enthusiasm from an audience while watching non-Filipino films.
As for the movie itself, I found it surprisingly enjoying. The best part of "Catch Me... I'm in Love" was Sarah Geronimo's role, which was a social worker for an NGO. For part of the movie, she had to take the self-centered and unsympathetic son of the Philippine president (played by Gerald Anderson) to a farm village in an isolated part of the Philippines. It was heartwarming to watch her portray the social work profession with such warmth and love, and see how the children and residents were so gracious in return. Perhaps the best line in the film was the response when the President's son stated that the children simply wanted money from her. Sarah's character replied that for the children wanted more than that, as time and companionship were equally important to them. As the movie progressed, seeing this kindness towards the less fortunate changed the President's son for the better.
Social work is an often unfamiliar and misunderstood profession to many. In my family, social work is often associated with simply being a discharge planner in a hospital. To see social work portrayed so positively by the Philippines' biggest star makes me ecstatic. Hopefully this will be a first step in bringing increased respect and recognition to the services provided by social workers in that nation. Thank you, Philippine film makers. Perhaps the United States can follow suit...