American Adobo

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American Adobo

American adobo.jpg
Movie Poster
Directed by Laurice Guillen
Produced by Charo Santos-Concio
Kevin J. Foxe
Written by Vincent R. Nebrida
Starring Christopher de Leon
Ricky Davao
Cherry Pie Picache
Dina Bonnevie
Paolo Montalban
Music by Nonong Buencamino
Cinematography Lee Meily
Editing by Efren Jarlego
Distributed by ABS-CBN Entertainment
Unitel Pictures
Release date(s) 2001
Running time 104 minutes
Language Filipino
Official website

American Adobo is a film about five friends living in New York who have different tales of struggle. It was released in 2001 and is the first Philippine-American co-production to debut in three major cities in the US: New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The film is directed by Laurice Guillen and stars Christopher de Leon, Ricky Davao, Dina Bonnevie and Cherry Pie Picache, to name a few.



The film started out with a conversation between Tony Gloria and Vincent Nebrida that there should be films depicting Filipino life in the US. Two months later Vincent finished a screenplay called "Magic Adobo" but only received attention from movie executives in April 1999, after four years since its conception. Then on October 2000, the film started production entirely in New York over a course of only 20 days and was shot on places like Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, even getting a Mayor's permit to shut down the Queensboro Bridge for a night.


Five Filipino-American friends living in New York City experience and resolve various personal conflicts over the course of a year. Tere Sanchez is an accountant who is in her early forties, single, and wants to find the right person but can’t seem to. Being an excellent cook who often has her friends over for dinner, she has a dinner party in honor of her old friend Lorna visiting from Manila, who is thinking of leaving her husband and staying in the US as an illegal alien. Mike (Christopher De Leon), a former political journalist, has become a successful newspaper editor, but he is beginning to be disturbed by thoughts of having lost his principles, and has grown unhappy in his marriage to Gigi. Gerry is a advertising copywriter who is struggling with his fear of revealing to his mother back in the Philippines that he’s gay, but is determined to work up the courage since he is in a serious relationship with a gay Caucasian. Raul is a handsome and emotionally immature ladies’ man who likes to date American women. And Marissa is a well-to-do social butterfly who remains attached to her Caucasian boyfriend Sam despite his constant infidelity. Eventually they all work through their conflicts by harking back to their roots and dealing with conflicting cultural values and the movie ends with another gathering around the dinner table.


"Adobo" is the national dish of the Philippines and aside from being a hearty viand in the film, it also serves as a symbolism of the clashes in the different struggles of the characters. Acidic vinegar, salty soy sauce, meat, salt, pepper, all are combined in a pot to produce adobo. In the film, despite the conflicts in their characters, in the end, everything ended up well, just like a well cooked adobo.


Actor Character Name
Christopher De Leon Mike
Dina Bonnevie Marissa
Ricky Davao Gerry
Cherry Pie Picache Tere
Paolo Montalban Raul
Randy Becker Sam
Keesha Sharp Debbie
Sandy Andolong Emma
Gloria Romero Gerry's Mom
Susan Valdez-LeGoff Gigi Manalastas
Sol Oca Lorna
Wayne Maugans Chris
Martha Millan Candy Manalastas
Lorli Villanueva Lydia
Jojo Gonzalez Frank
Luis Pedron Nonong
Jason Verdadero Mark
James C. Burns Fireman (as James Burns)
Marcel Simoneau Sal
Traci Ann Wolf Denise


Year Film Festival Award Recipient
2003 FAMAS Awards Best Production Design Fiel Zabat (Nominee)
2003 FAMAS Awards Best Supporting Actress Cherry Pie Picache (Nominee)
2003 Gawad Urian Awards Best Actor Ricky Davao (Nominee)
2003 Gawad Urian Awards Best Actress Dina Bonnevie (Nominee)
2003 Gawad Urian Awards Best Actress Cherry Pie Picache (Nominee)
2003 Gawad Urian Awards Best Director Laurece Guillen (Nominee)
2003 Gawad Urian Awards Best Sound Dan Ferat (Nominee)


  • 2003 - Best Supporting Actress - Cherry Pie Picache, FAP Award


"AMERICAN ADOBO is a tasty dish of a movie. A tender film with genuine insight into the urban heart. The way 'American Adobo' treats the totally non-ethnic aspects of life-love, loneliness, dying, friendship-is what makes this Filipino film so attractive, and also so American."

"An intimate, good-humored comedy with lots of heart. Delicious and very funny!"


  • The entire movie was filmed in chilly October 2000 on location in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, including a summertime pool party scene which required the actors, who were shivering between takes, to wear skimpy bathing suits outdoors.
  • American Adobo was the first American-Philippine co-production to open in three major American cities at once (New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco).
  • The crew acquired a Mayor's permit to shut down the Queensboro Bridge for a night, becoming only the third movie that has ever achieved such a feat, the other two being "The Conspiracy Theory" with Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts and "The Siege" with Bruce Willis and Denzel Washington.)

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