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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.
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Nov 24, 2017

ANDY RYU (Ryu Sang Wook), the new Korean leading man of Heart Evangelista in “My Korean Jagiya”, is formally introduced to the press by GMA-7 and the consensus is that he is better looking than Alexander Lee. The eldest of three kids, his family is from Daegu, Korea, four hours away from the capital, Seoul. The eldest of three kids, he was born on March 4, 1985 but looks younger than his age. His two siblings now work in Seoul and L.A. Writers familiar with K drama say he’s a lookalike of Song Joong Ki and he agrees. Speaking with an interpreter, he says he and Song attended the same acting school in Seoul.

“When I got there, they told me they already have an actor who looks like me and it’s Song,” he says. “When people see me in public, they sometimes mistake me for him.”

How did he get the role of Alexander Lee’s rival over Heart Evangelista in “My Korean Jagiya”. “The manager of Alexander is a friend of my manager. He told my manager they’re looking for a new actor in the show and he would like to recommend me. My manager told me about it. At first, I was nervous because I don’t speak English well but I got excited because I already heard of ‘My Korean Jagiya’, so I said yes.”

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CARLA HUMPRIES admits there was a time she felt depressed about her showbiz career. After being introduced as part of Star Magic Batch 11, she gained praise for her performances in such shows as “Abt Ur Luv” and “Bituing Walang Ningning”. She did more shows, some movies but felt at some point that her career is not really going anywhere.

“I felt parang hindi yata talaga para sa’kin ang showbiz as the industry doesn’t seem to love me back so, to do some soul searching, I went to visit my paternal grandmother who lives in Nice, France,” she says. “My dad is French American and I stayed there for almost two years. It helped for me to find out more about the roots of our family. While I was there, I also fell in love with a French musician and producer who I met in a bookshop. We were together for about a year and a half then we split, I got heartbroken, and came home. Tamang-tama naman, I met Tita June Rufino and she’s managing me now. I did a guest role in ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and now I play a recurring character in ‘Pusong Ligaw’ as the best friend of Beauty Gonzales and I’ve just finished two new movies. In “Nay” for Cinema One, I play the young Sylvia Sanchez. In ‘Smaller and Smaller Circles’, I play the female lead. After this, I’m doing a project written by my friend, Alessandra de Rossi, titled ‘Diary of 30 Somethings’, about women in their 30s, hopefully for Viva. So hopefully, sana nga, this time, magtuloy-tuloy na ang projects ko.”

For “Smaller and Smaller Circles”, she was the personal choice of its young director, Raya Martin, to play the only female character in the story, Joanna Bonifacio. “I saw Carla doing drama in ‘10,000 Hours’ and comedy in ‘Bekikang’ and I was impressed by her versatility,” says Raya. “She also speaks French and the character delivers some lines in French in the movie so it fits her perfectly.”

“Smaller and Smaller Circles’ is an acclaimed Filipino novel by Felisa H. Batacan that won the Palanca grand prize in 1999 and was a best seller reprinted several times. A crime thriller about a serial killer in the dumpsite known as Payatas, the lead characters are Fr. Gus Saenz (Nonie Buencamino) and Fr. Jerome Lucero (Sid Lucero), Jesuit priests who are forensic experts. They try to solve the mystery involving the murders of young boys, with the help of their news reporter friend, Joanna.

Produced by Tuko Film Productions and Buchi Boy Entertainment who made the sleeper hit ‘Heneral Luna’, the script is co-written by Moira Lang, Ria Limjap and Raya Martin, with Ms. Batacan herself acting as their consultant. The film got an A from the Cinema Evaluation Board.

“My character as a reporter is actually the alter ego of Ms. Batacan,” says Carla. “She lives in Singapore now, but I got the chance to meet her in person when she visited our set. She’s very quiet but ang lakas ng presence niya. Akala ko, she’ll give me advice on how to play my character but no, she gave her full trust to me and our team to interpret the material our own way. She’s very, very encouraging. This is the biggest and most challenging role I've played in my career and I consider it a big blessing, especially working with top actors like Noni Buencamino, Sid Lucero, Christopher de Leon, Bembol Roco, Ricky Davao in the big cast. I’m really praying that local viewers will support this movie when it opens in theaters on December 6.”
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Nov 23, 2017

WE HAD such high hopes for “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter” because the tandem of Barbie Forteza and Ken Chan has such a huge fan base after their TV romcom, “Meant To Be”, became such a big toprater. But after watching the movie, we realized it’s not really successful in pleasing their fans.

It starts quite well, with Barbie as Erika, a writer in their school paper who has a big crush on Ken as Tristan, a varsity swimmer. Just when she thought she and Ken already have a relationship, another girl comes along to say she and Ken have long been going steady.

Barbie is crushed but gets over it and a couple of years later, she meets Ken again and she thinks love is lovelier the second time around. But history repeats itself for her and she feels betrayed once more. Actually, their split seems more just like plot mechanics because it could have been so easy for Ken to explain that he and the girl who claims to be his fiancee (Thea Tolentino) have actually broken up because Thea cheated on him. So Barbie goes to Cambodia to work there while nursing a broken heart.

If the movie just focused on their relationship, perhaps viewers would have embraced the film more, but somewhere along the way, it gets inexplicably over dramatic when one major character dies from a plane crash.

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KAPUSO NEWCOMER PAULINE MENDOZA gets her biggest break in “Kambal, Karibal” (formerly “Santa-Santita”), the newest GMA-7 soap that will replace “Alyas Robin Hood” starting this Monday. She plays Criselda, the fraternal twin sister of Bianca Umali as Crisanta. She died as a child but returns as a ghost and only Bianca can see her.

The title is “Kambal, Karibal” because, later on, they will be rivals over the affection of Miguel Tanfelix and Pauline will possess the body of Kyline Alcantara (former Kapamilya child star) to snatch Miguel away from Bianca.

Pauline started as a model for a clothing brand then she auditioned with GMA Artist Center who then got her and started giving her supporting roles in their shows.

“I first played the role of Barbie Forteza’s younger sister in “That’s My Amboy”, then isinama ako sa cast of “Alyas Robin Hood 1” and “My Love from the Star”,” she says. “Most challenging role ko itong ‘Kambal, Karibal’ kasi nga multo ang role ko at ka-love triangle ko sina Bianca at Miguel dito. Tapos, si Bianca lang ang nakakakita sa akin dito at ang suot ko, lagi lang akong nakaputi as a ghost.”

Pauline was born on October 5, 1999. Her real name is Pauline Bianca Esquieres and Mendoza is just a screen name. Her dad is half-Spanish, which explains her mestiza features, and she’s an only child. She’s in grade 12 and will be graduating in March.

She intends to take up architecture in college as she comes from a family of architects. But she’s also thinking of taking up a showbiz related course, like filmmaking or theatre arts.

At 18, she has never had a boyfriend. “May mga nanliligaw pero puro friends lang,” she says. “Di pa ako ready. I want to focus muna on acting and make good in my career.”
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SUE RAMIREZ was formerly in “Luna Sangre” playing a supporting role, but her character has been killed and she’snow playing a lead role as the leading lady of Arjo Atayde in the new Kapamilya afternoon teleserye, “Hanggang Saan”, that starts airing on Monday to replace "Promise of Forever".

“When they asked me before kung sino ang gusto kong makatrabaho, I said si Arjo kasi nagagalingan talaga ako sa kanya kahit sa kontrabida roles niya,” she says. “So wish granted itong ‘Hanggang Saan’ for me kasi nakaka-challenge talagang trabaho si Arjo and his mom, Tita Sylvia, dahil pareho silang mahusay kaya you should always be on your toes. I’ve worked with Tita Sylvia before in ‘Greatest Love’ at gaganahan ka talaga kapag siya ang kasama mo sa eksena.”

So she doesn’t consider it a big pressure working with this award-winning mother and son team? “No, iniisip ko na lang na inspiration ko sila to bring out the best in me, for me to give my very best kapag kaeksena ko sila.”

She’s currently linked to Joao Constancia, a member of BoybandPH. And the rumor is that they’re really already on? “Lumalabas-labas kami every now and then, but we’re still getting to know each other. We’re both busy and we both have our own priorities. We don’t want to pressure ourselves into having a relationship.”

Her previous boyfriend is non-showbiz and they broke up because she got so busy. “Wala akong time, but we’ve remained friends naman.”

In “Hanggang Saan”, she plays the daughter of Teresa Loyzaga and Eric Quizon. Something bad happens to Eric and he dies. Someone is accused of killing him, Arnold Reyes. But it will turn out, that it’s actually Arjo’s mom, Sylvia, who is the culprit and will be the most shocking complication in the story.
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Nov 22, 2017

 “Matilda the Musical” is based on the 1988 children’s novel by Roald Dahl (he also wrote “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) filmed in Hollywood in 1996 with Mara Wilson in the title role. It was made into a musical in 2010 by the Royal Shakespeare Company, premiered at West End in 2011 and in Broadway in 2013, receiving wide critical acclaim.

Matilda is a bright and precocious child who’s unhappy because she’s ignored and neglected by her own parents. In school, she finds comfort in the caring Miss Honey who defends her from the cruel headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, a terror who makes the lives of all the other children miserable. The show then becomes an inspiring tale of empowerment for the most oppressed group of all, innocent children who can easily be abused by grown ups.

There’s a distinctly British consciousness in the material and this is well served by the entire cast who tries its best to deliver all their lines with a pronounced British accent. When we watched the play, the title role was played by Uma Martin and she’s quite a marvel as Matilda. Someone tells us another child actress is even better, but we’re honestly quite satisfied with Uma who’s just full of winning verve and spunk.

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PAOLO BALLESTEROS admits he’s somehow unnerved by the fact that his two movies that will be shown one after another are up against tough competition. When “Trip Ubusan: Lolas vs. Zombies” opens today, it will still be facing the extended showing of the hit “Justice League”, while his solo project, “Barbi, D’Wonder Beki”, will be up against the Sharon Cuneta-Robin Padilla movie, “Unexpectedly Yours”, on November 29.

“Pero kung may Wonder Woman sa ‘Justice League’, e ano? D’Wonder Beki naman ako,” he quips. “Palagay ko, hindi rin kayang pataubin ng superheroes ng Justice League ang tatlong lolas ng ‘Trip Ubusan’. Daanin na lang sa paseksihan ang labanan at tiyak na mas tatawa ang audience sa movie namin nina Jose Manalo at Wally Bayola. Maski sumali kaming lahat sa beaucon, talo ibang candidates sa ganda namin. As for Ate Shawie, megastar yun. Wala namang nagsabi na ang movie ko lang ang puedeng ipalabas sa November 29, at birthday ko sa araw na yun, kaya birthday gift sa’kin ng viewers na ang movie ko ang mas unang panonoorin nila.”

What can he say to predictions that his triumvirate with Jose and Wally will replace Tito, Vic & Joey in “Eat Bulaga”? “Naku, walang makakapalit sa kanila, no? Sila yun, e. Kami ito. Hindi porke tatlo sila at tatlo rin kami, kami nang papalit sa kanila. Sila pa rin yun. May kanya-kanya kaming atake sa mga bagay-bagay at tigilan na lang ang comparisons.”

Isn’t he scared he might be typecast in gay roles? “Okay lang naman sa’kin kung habambuhay akong magiging beki. Puede ka namang maging creative kung paano mo iiba-ibahin yung characters na gagampanan mo. Open naman ako sa ganyang challenges. Pero siempre, gusto ko rin namang mag-try ng ibang roles? Marami pa naman akong puedeng kayang gawin, ibigay at ipakita.”

How does he feel when folks say he might end up like BB Gandanghari who played nothing but gay roles since he came out of the closet? “For me, there’s no comparison kasi magkaiba kami ni BB. Nag-out siya at pinili niyang lumabas kasi doon siya masaya, hindi para magkaroon siya ng mas maraming offers o trabaho. So I’m happy for her.”

So does he intend to come out himself? “Ay,
wala naman akong i-a-out kasi wala namang nakapasok sa’kin. So anong i-a-out ko?” he laughs. “Dito nga sa ‘Barbi, D’Wonder Beki’, pinatunayan kong kaya kong maging action star sa scenes na naging superhero ako. Abangan nyo dahil ginawa ko lahat ng fight scenes ko nang ako mismo, wala akong kadobol. Ang tapang ko, e.”

How did he feel when Christian Bables backed out from doing Barbs in Director Jun Lana’s “Born Beautiful” for Cignal TV? “Siempre, nagulat at nawindang ako when I learned about it. Nakakalungkot kasi nakilala kami as Trisha and Barbs in ‘Die Beautiful’. Tapos, biglang pinalitan siya ni Martin (del Rosario) as Barbs. E, ganun talaga sa showbiz, di ba? May mga biglaang nangyayari so I just wish Christian all the best.”
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HEART EVANGELISTA posted a very sexy photo of her wearing a skimpy bikini in her social media account with the caption, “Beach days are the best days”. And she really looks ravishing in her scanty two-piece that shows off her curvaceous figure while she and husband Sen. Chiz Escudero are vacationing in Amanpulo.

Heart got encouraging comments from her fans who say she should also display her sexiness in her hit GMA primetime show, “My Korean Jagiya”. The show has a new “pasabog” because another Korean actor is joining the cast. This is Andy Ryu, whose full Korean name is Ryu Sang Wook. He will be the rival of Alexander Lee over the attention of Heart as Gia.

Andy Ryu has starred in many Koreanovelas, one of them being “Queen Seondeok” that was also shown before on GMA-7. This will be a new and intriguing love triangle to watch, with two Korean guys fighting over Heart’s attention. Watch out for the special episode that shows Ryu’s first appearance in “My Korean Jagiya”.

Meantime, Xander Lee just returned from visiting his parents in Korea and he felt sad when he learned that his dad is sick, with a tumor on his liver. His dad has undergone chemotherapy and let’s help Xander pray for his father’s full recovery.
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Nov 21, 2017

 
CLIQUE5 is a new boyband managed by 3:16 Events and Talent Management Company. They were presented to the press and performed several song and dance numbers. Their manager, Kathy, says this is just the beginning as their company will also introduce soon a girl group called Belladonnas. They will have a big show with their girl counterparts in Japan by next month.

“Total package sila na hindi limited ang talent kasi they underwent rigid dance workshops, voice lessons, personality development and acting workshop,” she adds. “We made sure they’re well prepared at hindi hilaw bago namin sila isinalang in performing.”

Their first song is a Christmas ditty in time for the coming holiday season, “Tuwing Pasko, written by Joven Tan, who did two other songs for them, “Bakit Hindi” and “Puwede Ba, Teka Muna”. Their voices have very good blending and given the chance, they might just make it in showbiz. There’s a plan for them to launch a full length album with Ivory Records.

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TERESA LOYZAGA has left Australia and returned to Manila for good. “Kasi my two sons, Diego and Joseph, have both decided to come home here at dito na mag-work, so wala na kong kasama ako roon. Mahirap naman yung magpabalik-balik ako dito at doon to see them, kaya umuwi na rin ako,” she says.

Didn’t she have her own job in Australia? “Yes, but I resigned na from my job as a flight attendant in a big airline kahit walang kasiguraduhan kung makakakuha ako ng bagong trabaho dito. But I’m just really thankful that ABS-CBN now got me at isinama ako sa cast ng ‘Hanggang Saan’ that will start airing this November 27. I play the mother of Sue Ramirez, na magiging love interest ni Arjo Atayde na anak naman ni Sylvia Sanchez. Kami ang babago sa buhay nilang mag-ina.”

Teresa is very close to Diego, her son with Cesar Montano. She usually accompanies to his presscons and takes his pictures. She was also seen in MOA Arena last Saturday and took photos of Diego while participating in the Bench fashion show. What kind of advice does she give to Diego? “I tell him to always be the best in his craft, be professional, and don’t ever hurt women intentionally. He should just think of me and what I myself went through.”
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