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    Film Director Brillante “Dante” Mendoza has brought great honor to the Philippines by winning numerous awards for his independent films shot in digital video. He is the first Filipino to win the Best Director award for Kinatay (The Execution of P), his first full -length film, at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2009, the same year that Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Bastards) and Ang Lee (Taking Woodstock) competed in that category.

    Born in San Fernando, Pampanga, is proud of his Kapampangan heritage and makes frequent visits to his hometown. Despite his many international travels and honors, Brillante remains a true cabalen at heart. This is his San Fernando.

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    “When Mount Pinatubo erupted many years ago, many people said that Pampanga will just be part of history. I almost believed it myself, even doubting what the Kapampangan can do given the worst situation in his life.

    But being true to the Kampangan spirit, we all pick up the pieces and start life anew. Now we only see traces of the wrath of Mount Pinatubo, but every time we see them, we are reminded of how the true Kapampangan spirit can surpass a tragedy.”

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    “Having SM now in the midst of what used to be a barren land before is like giving hope and joy to many Kapampangans. It is not only a mall where people go to shop, but it has also become a meeting place for all Kapampangans in different parts of the Philippines.”

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    “I like to visit the Metropolitan Cathedral whenever I go home. It brings back memories of my high school life when I was an altar boy.”

    The Metropolitan Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga. Agustinian friars built the first structure of the church in 1755.

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    “I come from a simple, close knit family, and my growing up years were quite ordinary. Every weekend, I would go with my Mom to the old market of San Fernando. I also remember that my parents loved films, and would debate on what genre to watch every time we would go out to watch a movie.”

    Brillante in San Fernando with his sisters Lourdes Mendoza, Yolly Mendoza Punsalan, and Gloria Mendoza.

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    “What I like most about Pampanga is the food – Kapampangan kare kare, dry adobo, biringhe, and for dessert, tibok-tibok. I always miss Kampampangan food when I travel.”

    Brillante enjoys a hearty Kapampangan meal at Partyland at SM City Pampanga. With him are crew members Harley Alcasid, Jun de Guzman, Tony del Rosario, and Chris Garrido.

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    “Like most Filipinos, I love shopping at SM because of the wide variety choices it offers. When I was still working as a production designer, I remember that I would shop at SM from sun up to sun down and leave the mall with all my shooting requirements complete. I would say that SM is the total Filipino store, Filipino mall.”

    Brillante and his crew members at the SM City Pampanga cinema.