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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.
Latest Articles

Apr 22, 2017

ALDEN RICHARDS seems unruffled by all the controversy about a GMA scriptwriter saying that his show with Maine Mendoza, “Destined to Be Yours”, flopped at the start but has now picked up and rating well. Naturally, fans of the AlDub love team were up in arms against this writer but Alden tried to pacify them by tweeting: “Take it easy, guys. All is good. #Breathe.”

He really has nothing to worry about since more viewers now seem to be hooked to the “kilig” scenes involving Alden as Benjie and Maine as Sinag. In the latest Nielsen Phils. TAM’s National Urban Philippines people data, the show registered an average rating of 10.7% from April 3 – 19 (April 9-19 based on overnights) beating its counterpart show on ABS-CBN, My Dear Heart, that only got 9.8%.

In some of its latest episodes, viewers of “Destined to Be Yours” swooned with delight when Benjie and Sinag finally made peace with each other and are on their way to becoming friends again. Benjie attends the radio station’s company outing and joins some games where both he and Sinag are forced to work closely with one another. Trish (Thea Tolentino) then arrives and sees the two of them together and finds out from Tala that Sinag was Sunshine all along—a revelation that makes her fume out of jealousy.

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BIANCA KING played lead roles in her projects with GMA-7 and TV5 but she’s now with ABS-CBN playing Beauty Gonzales’ best friend who later on steals Beauty’s boyfriend, Joem Bascon. So what did she do while she was not doing any show with any network?

“I wrote a blog and did a lot of traveling,” she says. “Hindi kasi ako makapagbiyahe nung busy ako doing one show after another so now, nagawa ko yun. Hindi naman ako gumagastos as most of my trips are sponsored. But I’m glad na bago pa maubos ang naipon ko, dumating ang offer ng ABS-CBN for ‘Pusong Ligaw’, so may acting job na uli ako.”

She admits she was nervous at first. “Matagal din kasi akong nawala sa harap ng camera and I felt I might be rusty. Also, kabado ako sa magiging reception sa akin ng Kapamilya co-stars ko. But it turned out, I have nothing to worry about. Very warm silang lahat sa akin and I was able to prove na hindi ko pa naman nalilimutang umarte. Maganda yung role dahil may pagkakontrabida. I find it very challenging and I know it will help me grow as an artist, what with three directors helping us, sina GB Sampedro, Henry Quitain and Elfren Vibar. I’m also glad to be of help sa launching ng love team nina Diego Loyzaga and Sofia Andres. Sana tanggapin ng viewers ang tambalan nila in 'Pusong Ligaw' tha starts airing on Monday.”

Aside from Bianca, two other stars who are from GMA-7 are also in the show's cast, Raymond Bagatsing and Enzo Pineda. Enzo is very happy that after he worked with the JaDine love team in “Till I Met You”, he’s now the third wheel in another love team, that of Diego and Sofia. As for Raymond, he has not had a regular show with GMA-7 for sometime now as his last regular soap was actually with TV5, “Baker King”, two years ago. In 'Pusong Ligaw', he plays the rich benefactor of Beauty Gonzales who helps her fulfill her dream of becoming a famous fashion designer.
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MEGAN YOUNG had so much fun doing “Our Mighty Yaya” with Ai Ai de las Alas. “I’m not really used to doing comedy,” she says. “E, kapag kaeksena ko si Ms. Ai Ai de las Alas at nagpapatawa siya and delivering her punchlines, hindi ako makapag-focus at di ko mapigilang matawa kahit nagte-take na. E, kailangan pa naman, seryoso yung mukha ko kasi masungit yung character ko dito as the stepmother of the kids na inaalagaan ni Ms. Ai Ai. But I really enjoyed working with her and learning experience din ito for me on how to do comedy. Kuwentuhan kami sa set ng ‘Our Mighty Yaya’ kasi kahit big star siya, pantay-pantay ang tingin niya sa lahat ng tao, co-stars man niya o crew members. People will enjoy watching the movie kasi it’s not only funny but also heartwarming, talagang para sa buong family.”

Since “Our Mighty Yaya” is a tribute to yayas, does she have a personal experience with a yaya? “Actually, wala, kasi we grew up ng mga kapatid ko na walang yaya. But when I joined showbiz at 15, nagkaroon ako ng P.A. (personal assistant) who became very close to me at naging good friend ko talaga. Eventually, she had to leave nang mag-asawa na siya, but we still communicate up to now.”

Megan has just returned from the famous vacation island resort, Maldives, with her BF Mikael Daez, and she also has just renewed her contract with the Kapuso network. “I signed up for three more years exclusive contract with them kasi happy naman ako sa projects nila for me.”

She was in “Alyas Robin Hood” and there will be a sequel, but we heard that she’ll no longer be part of Book 2. “Yes, kasi namatay na yung character ko sa Book 1. But they’re giving me another show. Also, in July, I am leaving for the U.S. I’ve signed up with the Innovative Artists Agency to manage me and they got me a TV movie deal na gagawin ko for Netflix. I hope it will open doors for me to have a career abroad.”
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Apr 21, 2017

TOM RODRIGUEZ is back from the U.S. after attending the funeral of his dad who succumbed to the big C in Arizona. He’s happy to know that two new shows are waiting for him on GMA-7. First is the telefantasia, “Mulawin V Ravena” where he will play Rodrigo, a mortal and not a “taong ibon”.

The second is a drama that’s titled “I Heart Davao”. No, it’s not a tribute to our president and the city in Mindanao from where he hails. Someone tells us it’s a serious drama about having heart transplants.

In both his new shows, Tom is paired with real life girlfriend, Carla Abellana. Our guess is that they’ll just have a special participation in “Mulawin” as the parents of Bea Binene, who plays a lead role along with Derrick Monasterio. It’s in “I Heart Davao” where they will focus playing the lead characters.
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BEAUTY GONZALES gets her most dramatic role to date in “Pusong Ligaw”. “Dati, laging best friend lang ako, pang-comic relief,” she says. “Pero dito, nagdrama ako nang husto. I play Tessa, whose dream is to be a fashion designer. Sa town namin na cotton farm in Ilocos, best friend ko si Bianca King na dream naman maging model at beauty queen. Naging boyfriend ko si Joem Bascon as Caloy, pero nahuli ko siya in bed with Bianca so nagkasira kami. Nagkaanak ako, pero ninakaw yung baby ko at di ko alam, napunta pala kay Bianca. Then I meet si Raymond Bagatsing as Jaime, a rich guy who helps fulfill my dream to become a well known designer.”

She admits she got so nervous when the role was first offered to her. “Masyadong maraming dramatic scenes and I asked myself, kaya ko ba ito? But my fiance (Norman Crisologo, with whom she has a daughter) told me, kaya mo yan, so I took the challenge dahil gusto kong makita ng viewers na may kakaibang talent din naman ako. And now, ang laking pasasalamat kong sa’kin napunta ang role ng Tessa.”

Doesn’t she find it difficult balancing her time being a mom and continuing with her acting career? “As of now, hindi pa naman ako nabu-buang at nagagampanan ko pa naman lahat nang maayos, being a mom, being with my partner, being an actress. I have to give credit to my partner for being so supportive sa akin at sa acting career ko.”

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JERICHO ROSALES is one of today’s actors who have really good PR. As Bela Padilla, his leading man in “Luck at First Sight”, says: “Walang ka-ere-ere.” Even when he’s asked with the most innocuous questions, he remains very polite and diplomatic. He’s also very professional. His father got sick and passed while shooting the movie and he didn’t want to leave their set in Bulacan. It’s their director, Dan Villegas, and their co-stars who told him, ‘Sige na, go, umuwi ka na.”

So how is he now after his dad’s passing? “I’m better. I did a long ride on a motorcycle and went to San Juanico Bride where my father went and had a picture. Iniyak ko nang lahat dun sa tulay. I came back to Manila a better and stronger person. Medyo naka-move on na kami ng family ko.”

Echo says he’s happy that he’s the first choice to play the role of Joma in “Luck at First Sight”. “Kasi usually, second choice lang ako, but dito, ako agad ang naisip nila,” he says.

And this is true. In “Walang Forever”, he was not the first choice but he played the lead role so well he won a well deserved best actor award. So how is it working with Bela for the first time? “It’s fun and exciting to work with her. But in this movie, I really found it easy to work with everyone in the cast, like Cholo Barretto who plays my best friend, Kim Molina and Iza Pressman who play Bela’s cousins. Naging magkakaibigan kami lahat sa set so every shooting day was fun. Gusto ko rin talaga makatrabaho si Bela after seeing her in her drunken scene in ‘Camp Sawi’. Ang galing niya doon, e.”

As Joma, he’s a gambler who believes Bela brings him good luck. In real life, does he believe in luck? “No, I don’t. I believe more in being well prepared when opportunity comes. More than anything else, I believe in hard work and in grace.”

His director in both “Walang Forever” and “Luck at First Sight” is Dan Villegas. How different is it from one another? “Mas drama yung ‘Walang Forever’, mas realistic din. Mas comedy naman itong ‘Luck’, at meron ding element ng magic realism. It’s sure to please audiences.”
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Apr 20, 2017

TV5 CEO CHOT REYES presented Director Brillante “Dante” Mendoza in a solo presscon at SM Megamall for his monthly TV movies for them, “Brillante Mendoza Presents”. “He’s one of our most prominent filmmakers today, having won awards here and abroad, and we’re glad to have him as a content partner,” he says. “We’ve already shown two of his TV movies, ‘Tsinoy’ set during the Chinese New Year with Ina Raymundo and ‘Everlasting’ set during the Baguio Panagbenga Festival with Aubrey Miles and Mercedes Cabral. You can now view these films online. He’ll also do a 13-episode series for us next year, ‘Amo’, after he has completed the 12 movies he’s slated to do with us.”

Direk Dante says he’s thankful to TV5 for giving him complete artistic freedom in choosing the materials he shows in his TV movies. “There’s no compromise at hindi sila nakikialam as they just give me the budget at ako na ang bahala on how to use it,” he says. “May episodes kami filmed on location kaya medyo magastos, but they leave it to me para balansehin ang budget na ibinigay nila sa’kin. We have a pool of writers who go to the provinces to research on the right materials we can use for a film. We don’t get big stars as we want to focus on the story more than the actors who appear in them.”

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DIEGO LOYZAGA, the controversial son of Cesar Montano who publicly denounced his dad online, gets his biggest break as Potpot in the new ABS-CBN soap, “Pusong Ligaw”, directed by GB Sampedro and Henry Quitain. He’ll co-star with rumored girlfriend Sofia Andres as Vida, along with Bianca King, Raymond Bagatsing, Beauty Gonzales, Joem Bascon and Enzo Pineda.

“When they told me that I’d play a role na pambida at hindi na pang-support, ang sarap ng feeling na, finally, napansin ka na rin at binigyan ng opportunity and trust ng ABS-CBN management, so I’m just so thankful and happy beyond words,” he says. “Ang dami kong pinagdaanan bago ko narating ito, but it validates my decision to be an actor and I promise to do my best para mapaganda hindi lang ang performance ko kundi ang buong show.”

He was last seen supporting KathNiel in “Pangako Sa’Yo”. “Pusong Ligaw” will start airing this Monday to replace “The Greatest Love”. About his feud with his dad, he says everything has calmed down. “I’d like to think na nalampasan ko na po yun. Tapos na po. And I want to thank all those who stood beside me during that difficult time, including my mom (Teresa Loyzaga), si Sofia, and all the friends who supported me.”

So what’s the real score between him and Sofia? “Halos araw-araw kaming magkasama sa taping ng ‘Pusong Ligaw’ and I can say na mas kilalang-kilala na namin ang isa’t isa. At this point sure akong we will always be there for each other.”
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AI AI DE LAS ALAS plays the title role in Regal Entertainment’s special Mother’s Day presentation that opens in theaters on May 10, “Our Mighty Yaya”. Mother Lily is confident that their latest partnership with the Concert Comedy Queen will be a big hit. “Joey Reyes wrote and directed the movie and he made it a real crowd pleaser,” she says. “Magugustuhan ito ng viewers of all ages kasi feel good talaga, nakakatawa at nakaka-touch at the same time. A good tribute to mothers and yayas.”

“My role as Yaya Virgie is one of the most challenging roles I played so far,” says Ai Ai. “Pinapangit ako nang husto rito. Pinagsuot pa ako ng pustiso para naka-protrude ang mga ngipin ko, kasi baka raw ma-confuse sa amin ni Megan Young ang mga tao kapag hindi ako pinapangit. Kapag kaharap ko kasi siya, para kaming twinning, tipong nananalamin lang ako. But kahit pangit ako, I have a heart of gold when it comes sa mga batang inaalagaan ko. Kasama ko rin dito sina Zoren Legaspi, Sofia Andres, Beverly Salviejo, Divine Aucina and child stars Lucas Magallona and Allison McBride na siyang mga batang inaalagaan ko. Promise, masisiyahan kayo.”

Ai Ai has a lot to be thankful for as both her career and lovelife are currently doing very well. Aside from “Our Mighty Yaya”, she’s in two regular TV shows that both rate well, “Sunday PinaSaya” and “Hay Bahay”. And she’ll soon star in an another show on primetime. When it comes to her lovelife, her current BF Gerald Sibayan has officially proposed marriage to her as they celebrate their 3rd anniversary as a couple. It will be recalled that her previous marriages to Miguel Vera and Jed Salang both ended in divorce.

Gerald, who’s 30 years her junior, wrote her in a heart-shaped piece of paper: “Can you be my misis?” It came with a bouquet of roses and an engagement ring. In her reply, Ai Ai wrote: “Some knots are meant to be tied forever. Our journey is not perfect but it’s ours and I’ll stick with you till the end. I will pray to our great GOD that our journey will be smooth and sweet towards eternity.”
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Apr 19, 2017

DIEHARD SHARONIANS will be pleased to know that even if her reunion movie with ex-hubby Gabby Concepcion will not push through this year, she will still have a comeback flick, the Cinemalaya entry “Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha”. This will be directed by indie filmmaker Mes de Guzman, who is best known for the acclaimed 2005 film “Ang Daan Patungong Kalimugtong” about two poor kids living in the mountains who have to cross mountains and rivers just to get to school.

De Guzman’s work has been uneven since then and some of his films failed to impress us, like “Diablo”, “Sitio” and “Dyamper”. He failed when he worked with Nora Aunor in “Kuwento ni Mabuti”, so here’s hoping he’d be more fortunate in his movie with Sharon Cuneta. After all, Sharon herself is so upbeat working with him.

She even wrote in her FB account about her feelings on working with de Guzman: “I am beyond thrilled and feel truly blessed. I’m just so honored. Direk Mes and I are so excited na! We talked earlier tonight. So happy. Walang kokontra -- TULOY NA TULOY NA ang "ANG PAMILYANG HINDI LUMULUHA!"

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