Nestle celebrates 100 years in Pinoy culture

FROM the President’s sister Kris Aquino, Mega couple Sharon Cuneta and Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Piolo Pascual, Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid, Ai-Ai de las Alas, Pokwang, Kim Chu and Gerald Anderson (who arrived separately and chatted briefly), to Eddie Garcia, Marvin Agustin, Mike Enriquez and other notable personalities—the guest list was enviable as it was impressive. It was after all an event that was 100 years in the making.

Nearly a thousand people graced the premiere screening of Nestlé’s short film anthology Kasambuhay, Habambuhay on Sunday at the Newport Theater in Resorts World Manila.

With the theme, “Companion in Life, for Life,” for its centennial celebrations, Nestlé Philippines first came up with a heartwarming 90-second television advertisement that illustrates how the company’s products have become a significant part of Filipino family life.

John Miller, CEO and chairman for Nestlé Philippines, said: “This relationship with the Filipino consumers, anchored on the quality of our brands and the role that these much loved brands have played in helping nurture and nourish Filipino families, is what led us to our centennial theme Kasambuhay, Habambuhay.”

100 years in the telling
But with still so many great stories left to tell, Nestle decided to come up with Sine Kasambahay, a 100-minute anthology of 10 short, entertaining and creative films each reflecting a part of Philippine culture and how each of their brand has become part of Philippine culture.

The bar, however, had been set quite high as Nestle had produced some of the most memorable ads and catchphrases throughout the years—from “I remember yesterday the world was so young;” “Great things start from small beginnings;” “Let’s sit and talk awhile;” to favorites such as “You’re my No.1;” and “I-bottomless ang saya.”

Choosing from a select roster of commercial directors who have previously helmed Nestlé TV commercials, the challenge was to capture the wide spectrum of emotions and present it in a way that shows how Nestle has become a part of Pinoy culture itself.

The directors pitched stories of various genres for brands Bear Brand Powdered Milk Drink, Nescafé, Milo, Nestea, Mido, Coffee-Mate, Maggi, Bear Brand Sterilized, Nestlé Ice Cream, Koko Krunch, Nestlé Fruit Selection Yogurt and Nestlé Fitnesse. The exercise yielded a spectrum of stories—but there could only be one story per brand. After a difficult process of selection, 10 stories were selected, which vary from drama, romantic comedy, musical, fantasy, satire, family comedy, suspense, adventure, mock-umentary and even a Shakespearean parody.

“We envisage the films as an opportunity to look to the future and our mission to continue providing Filipinos with tasty and high-quality products that promote nutrition, health and wellness,” Miller said. “Creativity plays a central role in this mission and these excellent films display the very best of Filipino creative talent in the realm of filmmaking.”

“Through this film series, we would like to thank and honor the generations of Filipino consumers and families who have put their trust in Nestlé and its brands, and have made them a part of their everyday lives,” Nestlé Communications director Sandra Puno said.

Sine Kasambahay opened with “The Howl and the Fussyket” (Eugene Domingo and Kiray Celis), a humorous take on how the family comes together during competitions—whether it’s for a national contest or in this case a second grade declamation. Determined to help her son win despite his obvious “f” and “p” speech defect, (“What a veautiful ‘fussy’ you are!”), Domingo decides to hire a call center agent and an upstart stage actor to prepare him for the contest and taking the word “kinareer” to new heights.

Next was “Unplugged” (Eddie Garcia, Marvin Agustin, and Kaye Abad) a story of a young football team who goes on a field trip to the province to learn the value of team work. Initially too caught up with their gadgets, the boys eventually learn to value the simpler things in life and unlock a new world of natural wonder of nature and discovery—that going offline is the only way to reconnect back to life.

“Silup” (Sid Lucero and Gloria Romero) on the other hand is a peek into the often dangerous life of a cop—his dealings with denizens and the crimes they commit; why he has remained single; and the reason behind his seemingly strange and symbolic routine of taking out a can of sterilized milk and depositing his gun in place.

Paying comedic homage to the epic film Himala, “Isang Tasang Pangarap” (Ramon Bautista) tells the story of Elias, a down and out young man whose most prized possession is a shiny red coffee cup. After an encounter with a Nora Aunor-looking sari-sari store owner, Elias gains the ability to tell the future and with it the fame and responsibility that goes with his newfound power.

The mere appearance of Kuya Bodjie Pascua of Batibot fame in “Sali Salita” (Migs Cuaderno, Bodjie Pascua and Judy Chua) was a giveaway that some good story telling was about to ensue, and he did not disappoint. The story was about a mother who writes children’s storybooks but doesn’t have enough time to create stories for her own son. The young boy eventually finds the attention he desperately craves for with the arrival of his grandfather (Pascua). Together the two fill up an empty milk can with words and creates a magical tale of heroes and villains—all that was needed was a good ending.

Fans of the Nicos in the Nestea-serye of commercials will enjoy “Oh! Pa Ra Sa Ta U Wa Yeah!” (Neil Coleta and Jillian Ward), which takes the Clemente family on an MTV-esque road trip. But while the entire family was in high spirits, Nicos seemed to be out of it. Seeing his son distraught in trying to figure out Mattina, Nicos’s father finally shares the centuries-old family heirloom—an alphabetical manual of how their clan courted women.

One of the most applauded and the best films of the night, “Downtown” (Virgilio Que) is a tale of an aging Chinese man who has floated through life with his ladylove by his side. But now, times have changed as he begins each day waking up alone on his bed made for two. He becomes distant, alienating people around him and realizes that even a cup of coffee has it better because it will always have a creamer as its mate. He eventually decides to get his act together for a second shot at the greatest thing in life—love.

“Tingala sa Baba” (Arby Cesar Viduya, and Eubert Marc de la Cruz) is a coming of age satire featuring two kids on a seesaw from different social backgrounds. The chubby kid who comes from a well to do family finds himself always at the bottom—looking up to a lanky child brought up in poverty. How they try to reverse positions shows just how friendship is more valuable than money and the true worth of a friend.

The classic tale of Romeo and Juliet takes on a Shakespearean (or is it Balagtasan) twist in “Cooking Mo, Cooking Ko” (Isay Alvarez, Nonie Buencamino and Robert Sena) as two warring families try to battle it out for carinderia supremacy—while their two children have secretly fallen in love with each other. It portrays the often copy-cat mentality of Filipinos and our love for food.

Finally, “Sign Seeker” (John Lloyd Cruz and Solenn Heussaff) takes the Filipino belief in superstition to a romantic level as a young man seeks all sorts of divine signs to determine his decision to ask the girl of his dreams out on a date. As each sign materializes, however, he begins to ask for more unfathomable ones as the fear of rejection seems too much for him to bear. John Lloyd Cruz once again proves why he is one of the best actors of today, as he shines throughout the 10 short minutes, making you wish it was a full-length movie instead.

The films will be shown to the public on June 10 at SM Megamall. June 11 and 12 will Free Movie Weekend, and viewers get to watch for free at selected SM cinemas nationwide (Megamall Cinema 3, Southmall Cinema 6, Rosales Cinema 1, Davao Cinema 1 and Cebu Cinema 7). Five lucky viewers (one per cinema) will get a chance to win P10,000 per area just by voting for their favorite short film.

Nestle also published a centennial cookbook entitled Celebrating 100 years of Cooking with Nestlé. It features 100 easy-to-prepare, affordable and tasty recipes developed for Filipino taste buds using Nestlé products.

Miller added that its century-long presence in the Philippines is just the start of things to come and concluded: “Our mission continues into the future as we forward to the next 100 years. That mission centers on our commitment to nurture generations of Filipino families with tasty products that promote nutrition, health and wellness.”