In time for Fernando Poe Jr.’s 83rd birthday, the late actor-director’s FPJ Museum announced it has undergone a significant upgrade and will be opening to the public soon.
Da King’s nephew, Jeffrey Sonora, FPJ Productions Vice President, told CinemaOne’s “CinemaNews” that the renovation began third quarter of last year. The museum used to be made of wooden walls which made the various memorabilia inside it more vulnerable to the heat and humidity seeping in from outside. After studies and consultations with experts, Sonora and team decided to change the walls to a more museum-standard material, making sure the mementos inside are better preserved.
What can people expect to see at the FPJ Museum? Poe’s National Artist medal, a collection of stamps bearing the star’s image, a replica of the “Ang Panday” (1980) sword (the original is safely kept somewhere else), an ARRI 25 mm film camera which was used to shoot “Padrino” (1984) and many other FPJ movies, and the cue sticks used in “Pakners” (2003), his movie with billiards icon and fellow legend Efren “Bata” Reyes.
Some of the posters displayed in the museum include their original incarnations, bearing the artists’ signature and traces of the manual labor that went into completing them. “Actually, si Susan Roces mismo yung nagtabi niyan eh, doon sa house [nila],” said Sonora, referring to her aunt who passed away last May, FPJ’s better half and one of Philippine cinema’s great movie queens. “Lahat ng mga posters after it’s approved, at na-run na yung movie, tinatago niya talaga lahat ng materials.”
A sizable collection of Poe’s photographs are also kept here, including ones from his boyhood (an image of a child FPJ, barefoot and already doing the iconic FPJ pose—hands tucked on both pockets of his trouser shorts—hangs prominently) and from the set of his movies. According to the FPJ Productions VP, when Da King found out about the possibility of digitizing his old pictures, he told his devoted still man Jon de Castro to turn his negatives over to the museum. This yielded more than 100,000 still images from FPJ Productions movies, including those that captured Ronwaldo Reyes—FPJ’s alias as a director—at work, either looking into the camera lens, or giving instructions while a crowd of fans eagerly observe the moviemaking from a distance.
A new theater within the FPJ compound in QC will also be launched soon—the brainchild of Roces, a project she was very much excited about.
[The FPJ Museum is located inside FPJ Productions, 457 Del Monte Ave, Quezon City, 1115 Metro Manila.]
Screenshots from the CinemaNews video