Parola Anniversary

A couple of years ago a little movie called Ang Lalake sa Parola premiered at the UP Film Institute to a big happy crowd. It launched the showbiz career of one Harry Laurel later re-named Harry Chua, an innocent-looking and fresh-faced bikini open regular. Of course, he was a big revelation in the movie, which was written for the screen by Lex Bonife and directed by Jay Altarejos. The movie had a successful commercial run a month after, and people were clamoring for more of Harry. Sadly, he put on a little poundage and the movie offers got scarce until he disappeared from the scene.

Harry Surviving

He could have been doing this right now in Palau island where the Philippine edition of the Survivor reality show franchise was recently shot. One-time famous actor Harry Laurel a.k.a. Harry Chua auditioned for Survivor and got past the second round. Unfortunately, he got cut in the interview portion and I’m not so sure if this was because of the no-celebrity-in-the-show clause. And then again, Harry Chua‘s not really a celebrity – he got famous in the highly successful Parola movie and that was that. Too bad, Harry’s not in the show. He could have spiced some things up in there. Plus, it would have resuscitated his showbiz career.

Whatever happened to Harry and Justin?

After the success of Ang Lalake sa Parola, lead actors Harry Chua and Justin de Leon seemed to have disappeared from the limelight. Last seen at the Cruise show last year, the popular couple from the Men of Provoq are just not that visible these days. Maybe they are busy shooting another movie, proof positive that the duo has such great appeal and chemistry on screen that the producers are churning up a bolder movie now. Maybe Lex [Parola and Ang Lihim ni Antonio writer] can update us about the two?

Ang Lalake sa Parola out on DVD!

Viva Films’ blockbuster gay sensation, Ang Lalake sa Parola has just been released on video. A friend of the blog sent an email announcing that the movie with an “uncut” label, is now being sold at SM video stores in DVD and VCD [someone still uses this, apparently] formats. The movie ran for several weeks at the Robinsons Galleria IndieSine, and was reported by the mall as the highest grossing digital film shown in its theaters.

Harry takes a dip with Justin

The movie Ang Lalaki sa Parola was certified by Robinsons Mall as the highest-grossing flick shown at the Indiesine cinema at the Galleria branch. It is currently showing at the Robinsons Mall in Manila. From the People’s Journal, published recently, here’s some 411 on Harry:

Harry Laurel shines in the indie film Ang Lalake Sa Parola (The Man In The Lighthouse). Born Harrison Chua on October 18, 1986 to Nestor and Evelyn Chua (the former is a TransCo-Napocor lineman and the latter is a housewife), Harry spent his formative years in the sleepy town of Talisay, Camarines Norte. When he was old enough to study, his parents sent him to C. Villagen Elementary School; when he hit high school he moved on to the Camarines Norte State College of Agriculture.

Unlike some of his contemporaries, he made sure to secure a college degree in BS Marine Transportation from the Mariners Polytechnic College Foundation before embarking on a showbiz career. He describes his pre-showbiz life: “Noon isa akong model na sumasali sa mga male beauty pageant. Basically, doon umiikot ang buhay ko. Mahilig din ako mag-mall kahit walang pera,” he laughs. Asked to elaborate on the latter part of that sentence, he says, “Hiwalay na ako sa mga magulang ko noon at hindi na po ako sa kanila umaasa, kasi alam ko na kaya kong mabuhay nang hindi umaasa sa iba.”

One of Harry’s earliest challenges came during the 2004 Ginoong Albay pageant, which he lost. He joined the Rajah Bagakay pageant in 2006 and walked away with the Mr. Photogenic award. A year later, he beat out a host of other hunky provocateurs to win the 2007 Heat Wave Bikini Competition. However, Harry couldn’t believe his luck at first. “Akala ko noong una joke lang. Hindi ko kasi akalaing puwede akong mag-artista dahil hindi ako gaanong marunong mag-English at probinsyano pa ako.”

But now that he’s here, and after earning rave reviews for his acting in Parola, he’s determined to make the most of it. How does his family feel about his daring image? “Actually, hindi pa po nila alam, pero sa tingin ko, magiging proud naman sila. Gusto ko ring patunayan na hindi lang paghuhubad ang kaya kong gawin. Alam ko na hindi ako pababayaan ng Viva Films.” “

“Parola” in successful commercial run

Despite the “B” rating from the Film Development Council’s Cinema Evaluation Board [which entitled the film to 65-percent rebate on its amusement taxes], “Ang Lalake sa Parola” was a commercial success at the exclusive IndieSine of the Robinsons Galleria Mall. The digital film, starring Harry Chua [Laurel] and Justin de Leon [seen in photo above in the skinny-dipping scene of the movie], also got mixed reviews from film critics, after surpassing the initial “X” rating from the MTRCB. The DVD version of the movie will be out soon, and, with fingers crossed, it will be in its uncut version.

Lalake sa Parola gets X rating

As if we could never get enough of Harrison Chua aka Harry Laurel of the Men of Provoq, reader harrychuachika sends once again these wonderful images of Provoq’s main boy to my email [Thanks]. Harry, who starred in the movie Ang Lalake sa Parola, reportedly [I didn’t get to see the premiere at the UP Film Institute] flashed the family jewels a few times in the said flick. Yet, initial reports from the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board [MTRCB] revealed that upon first review, Parola got an X rating [not suitable for public exhibition]. The movie is slated for commercial release at Robinsons Galleria IndieSine on September 19 and the producers are apparently on the cutting room floor to submit the movie once again for the 5-man second review committee of the MTRCB. If the movie gets disapproved again, in its entirety, the movie will have to be appealed to the Office of the President. That means, the movie is on an uphill battle with the MTRCB to preserve the director’s cut. The regular showing of Parola would have to be tamer since the MTRCB found it, upon first review, not suitable for public exhibition because “[t]he work depicts in a patently lewd, offensive, or demeaning manner, excretory functions and sexual conduct such as sexual intercourse, masturbation and exhibition of the genitals.” Darn, I missed the premiere. [Photo credits: Niccolo Cosme]

Justin and Harry 3

A lot of readers have also noticed how the movie Ang Lalake sa Parola is being promoted in this site as a “male sex organ” show-and-tell. One reader even asked if the storyline is so “thin” that promo for the movie had to shift to the slant of “close-up scenes of a stiff schlong.” Such a pity, really, since the movie is directed by award-winning tv director Joselito Altarejos with a story from Lex Bonife. I’m pretty sure the movie has a decent plot and story worth watching. Harry’s supposed scene-shocker would just have to be a come-on, however, fleeting.

Will Justin show it all in Parola?

I, personally, do not think so. Abandon all hopes of seeing Justin’s pecker [or maybe Harry’s, too]. Unless the director or screenplay writer can confirm otherwise, the much anticipated close-up of an “erected male sex organ” [quote Lex Bonife, screenplay writer] could be that of a body double or a bit player in the movie. At most, there could be a lot of teasing from Justin and Harry. Just the same, see the movie at the UP Film Institute on 3 September, if only for the sexy lead actors, wonderful script, and bittersweet homosexual love story. [Tickets can be bought on site at Php 100.00].

Justin and Harry 2

This is a still from the movie Ang Lalake sa Parola [The Man in the Lighthouse], and it looks like we’ll all get to see the lead actors’ members, after all. Aside from that, though, there’s a bittersweet love story. Here’s the synopsis of the movie: A homo-erotic journey in finding one’s true self Mateo (Harry Laurel) has been searching for his father (Richard Quan) who left when he was five. His search leads him to Lobo, Batangas only to discover that his father is in Dubai. Awaiting his father’s return, Mateo works as the caretaker of Lobo’s lighthouse. Here, he meets Jerome (Justin de Leon), a gay man from the city. What ensues soon after the meeting is the beginning of his homoerotic journey, while Suzet (Jennifer Lee), Mateo’s girlfriend struggles for his love and attention. What begins as a search for one’s father evolves into a search for one’s self. Will Mateo, in the midst of his conservative rural community, cross the thin line between being straight and being gay? This story is a search for oneself as seen through the lens of rural homosexuality, myths, and fairies (superstitions/belief?); and the lies that people create to escape the bitter realities of life. The movie will be shown on 3 September at the UP Film Institute at 7 p.m.