Direk Paul Soriano, “Kid Kulafu” stars, share how the movie change their lives

Direk Paul Soriano, “Kid Kulafu” stars, share how the movie change their lives

Before he became one of the world’s greatest boxers, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao was a young boy living a hand-to-mouth existence, trying to survive from one day to the next. When he discovers his natural talent for boxing, he embarks on a brutal and intense journey that takes him from the mountains of the Philippines to the streets of Manila, and must risk everything to become a champion.

Robert (Buboy) Villar, 15, portrays Pacquiao. Alessandra de Rossi plays Mommy Dionisia and Cesar Montano, his uncle Sardo. The movie is entitled “Kid Kulafu” and tracks Pacquiao’s boyhood until he leaves General Santos City for Manila to pursue a career in boxing. Paul Soriano is the director with businessman Ernest Escaler the producer.

In 2006, Star Cinema produced the film “Pacquiao The Movie” with Jericho Rosales as the world champion. The movie focused on Pacquiao’s life as a fighter. “Kid Kulafu” goes back in time before Pacquiao left General Santos City with 10 teenaged and wide-eyed boxing prospects to try their luck in Manila in 1994.

During the Kid Kulafu’s Media Launch and Bloggers’ Conference, Direk Paul Soriano admitted that Kid Kulafu is three years in the making and most of the casts studied their characters especially the young Manny Pacquiao, his moves, his accent and the way Manny Pacquiao live his early age of life.

The characters are challenging and the character of Manny who underwent to an audition and of all the artist who auditioned, Buboy Villar finally got the role of Kid Kulafu, said Direk Paul Soriano. 


Direk Paul Soriano and Kid Kulafu himself, Buboy Villar during the Grand Media Conference in ABS-CBN.

Buboy Villar said during the interview that he had his intensive training right after he knew that he will portray the role of young Manny Pacquiao.

Ako kasi very intense ba ang training kasi mga 3x or 5x in a day ang training ko. Buboy recalls. I knew that there were a lot who auditioned for the role that’s why I was so happy when I was chosen. Because I’m really a big fan of Pacquiao, Buboy added.

Buboy shared how the movie changed his life. According to him, because of the movie, he was able to finish paying his house.

Because of ‘Kid Kulafu’ I realized that Sir Manny can be a huge source of inspiration to kids of today. He’s hardworking, determined to rise above poverty, and has high respect for his parents and family, shared Buboy. When Sir Manny stepped into amateur boxing, his goal was not to win. He wanted to help provide meals to his family and make his parents proud of him. Buboy added.

However, Direk Paul also shared his thoughts when doing Kid Kulafu. He added that what inspired him more to do the movie was when he got to know more Manny through a series of conversations which happened within the two-year research spent for the biographical film.

To be honest, this movie really changed my life. It was tough filming this film, it was the pressure, number one. You know, we had the People’s Champ, his life story, the trust that he gave me to do this. He gave permission, I had to ask permission, he could have easily said no, but you know, he gave me that trust. And making the film, it was really one of the hardest things I’ve  ever done in my life and I think I’ve matured as a person, as a filmmaker after this movie,  Direk Paul said.

According to Direk Paul, “Kid Kulafu” has been three years in the making with two years dedicated for extensive research about the childhood of the People’s Champ.

Viewers will discover in the film how hard life was for Manny as a kid in General Santos City. They will get to know a young boy who had nothing but attitude, passion, and fighting spirit to face every challenge head on and knock it out one by one, shared Direk Paul.

Acoording to Direk Paul, Manny shared to him, All the pain and the knock outs I experienced in boxing were just physical pain. But you know what’s more painful? It’s the fact that you have nothing to eat, no home where you can rest, and having a broken family. And I endured all those when I was young.


From left: Khalil Ramos, Direk Paul Soriano and Kid Kulafu himself, Buboy Villar

Khalil Ramos who plays Eugene, the best friend of Manny. He said he was happy when he passed the audition and became part of the cast of the movie about the childhood of Manny.

Each one of us in the cast auditioned. I didn’t know it was a movie about Pacquiao but I was told it was for director Paul Soriano. That made me excited. I told myseff, Uy okay ‘to. Hindi ko ‘to palalampasin, Khalil said.

He said part of their audition was to play basketball but they were all clueless what the film was all about. When I finally learned it was about Pacquiao, all the more that I got excited. And who wouldn’t be? Pacquiao is everybody’s idol. He’s our nation’s hero. I really felt lucky I was chosen to be one of the stars among the many who auditioned. Khalil recalls.


Award-winning actress, Alessandra de Rossi

On the other hand, an award-winning actress, Alessandra de Rossi is happy to do this project. According to Direk Paul, she is a hand pick for the role.

Portraying Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao is such an honor, syempre Mommy D un. Sana najustify ko naman ung role ko, pinatanda naman ako sa movie knowing na halos kalaki ko lang ung anak ko sa movie, Alessandra said.

Kid Kulafu changed my life when it comes to how I view things differently now. It inspires me so much in doing my best in my chosen craft, Alessandra added.

Kid Kulafu was shot in Saranggani and General Santos City where Manny spent his childhood and teen years. Also in the cast are Alessandra de Rossi and Alex Medina (who play Manny’s parents Dionisia and Rosalio), Cesar Montano and Igi Boy Flores. It is written by Froilan Medina and is under creative consultant Amor Olaquer and fight director Erwin Tagle.

Kid Kulafu is a Star Cinema and TEN17 biographical film under the direction Paul Soriano which stars Robert “Buboy” Villar as the young Manny Pacquiao, Alessandra De Rossi and Cesar Montano showing on April 15, 2015, nationwide theatrical release.

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