Of all the Italian restaurants, in all the towns, in all the world, Cassie Labayen (Angel Jacob) walks into Puccini’s restaurant, owned by Jacko Teves (Christian Vasquez). They rekindle their romance amidst the task of transforming the Italian restaurant into a local restaurant that will feature the best regional food.
Indeed, the revamped restaurant, and the film, became a showcase of popular local cuisine and idiosyncratic local food habits in Negros Occidental. Namets! is the second film of director Jay Abello to deal with Negrosanon culture. Indie filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik praised Abello’s debut film Ligaw Liham. He acknowledged the young director’s ability to bring out the essence of Negros Occidental. The script was full of loopholes but the look and feel of the film was purely magic. Viewers were transported back to the glory days of Negros Occidental.
In 2008, Abello dug deep once again into his ‘sariling duende’ and came up with Namets! The decision to use Hiligaynon language was simply inspired. It enhanced the local flavor of the film, which was shot entirely in the Visayan province of Negros Occidental. Some food segments fall flat but the hospital scene is fantastic. There’s also a memorable scene featuring a father teaching his children how to prepare sauce for chicken inasal. He instructs them how to properly eat the chicken.
A plethora of mostly Ilonggo actors greatly helped in sprucing up the authentic ambience of the film. The pairing of Vasquez and Jacob was pure chemistry. Dwight Gaston was excellent as the right hand of Boss Dolpo. It was nice to see Monsour del Rosario on the widescreen once more. Heavily made-up Joel Torre played a cave man who unwittingly discovered fire in 23436 BC. The cave man tried to put out the fire by throwing a chicken on the flame. He failed to quash the fire but came up with the first fried chicken in Negros. Peque Gallaga, mentor of budding regional filmmakers, had fun with his mumbling Don Corleone-type character. The only intelligible word to come out from his mouth was ‘namets!’