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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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Oct 19, 2017

BENJAMIN ALVES was last seen on TV in “I Heart Davao” and he’s glad that after that, he’ll now be seen on the big screen in the movie “Spirit of the Glass 2, The Haunted”, where he is paired with last year’s Bb. Pilipinas Universe, Maxine Medina. “This is an ensemble movie and I enjoyed working with the rest of the big cast, along with Cristine Reyes, Janine Gutierrez, Daniel Matsunaga, Ashley Ortega and Enrico Cuenca,” he says. “This is about a barkada na nagbakasyon sa isang lumang bahay, nakakita roon ng ouija board na pinaglaruan na, without knowing na yun ang magbubukas sa isang portal na magiging dahilan kung bakit maraming scary things na mangyayari sa movie.”

Off cam, his relationship with Julie Ann San Jose is going strong even after they got some bashing when they officially admitted their relationship. “Basta happy kami. The bashing started to come when Julie and me came out out in public. At the start, nagagalit ako and I feel hindi basta dapat

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KEN CHAN first captured our attention when he played the young Freddie Webb in the indie film, “First Ko si 3rd”, where his star presence was so palpable on screen. After doing lead roles in “Destiny Rose” and “Meant to Be” on TV, he now plays his first lead role in a mainstream movie in “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter” as the playful Tristan, who broke Barbie Forteza’s heart as Erica, not just once but twice. They’re directed by ace filmmaker Joel Lamangan for the first time. How is it? “Sobrang kinabahan ako when I learned siyang magdidirek sa’min kasi dati ko na siyang naririnig na sobrang istrikto at naninigaw,” he says. “But it turned out okay siyang katrabaho at sweet nga kasi binibigyan pa kami ng favorite niyang baon, kamote. It’s really an honor and I’m proud na finally, nakatrabaho ko na siya. Malaki ang tulong niya sa’min ni Barbie kasi yung story, tumakbo for several years, mula noong college students pa kami hanggang sa nagtatrabaho na kami na nag-meet kami uli. Galing kami sa ‘Meant to Be’ na very light. Dito, mas madrama and Direk Joel guided us well in interpreting our roles through the years.”

He’s also happy that Barbie is his leading lady in his first big movie. “Seven years na kaming magkaibigan since ‘Tween Hearts’ pa sa GMA-7. All these years, we’re able to keep that friendship. So okay na kami sa ganun. Baka masira pa ang friendship kung magiging iba ang level ng relationship namin. As friends, for life na itong pagiging magkaibigan namin. Ayaw naming lokohin ang tao just for the promo of our movie.”

He claims to be a fan of Barbie from way back. “Actually, hindi pa man ako nag-aartista, kapag nagi-imagine akong gumagawa ako ng music video, si Barbie yung nakikita kong kapareha ko, so dream come true ito for me. Barbie is my best friend na babae. Kahit hindi kami boyfriend-girlfriend, mararamdaman mo yung pagiging sweet and caring niya bilang leading lady mo. At alam naman ng fans na may kanya-kanya kaming buhay at tanggap nila yun.”

How is “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter” different from other romcoms? “Mas madrama nga itong movie namin. It’s about not just giving a second chance kundi even third chance. I broke Barbie’s heart twice tapos bumabalik uli ako sa kanya and she says ‘dalawang beses mo na kong pinaiyak, ang tanga ko naman kung bibigyan pa kita ng pangatlong chance na paiyakin ako.’ So dun pa lang, makikita na nyo ang kaibhan nito sa usual romcoms dahil mas serious ito, mas may tama sa puso.”
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RHIAN RAMOS is happy to be working with Lovi Poe and Max Collins in GMA-7’s upcoming new show, “Triple X” which is about three girlfriends who are all the ex-girlfriends of the same philandering guy, to be played by Dennis Trillo. Just like Lovi Poe, she believes that ladies should be given the chance to date as many guys to be able to select the best partner for her.

"I also believe that you should be able to date as many people as it takes to get the right one,” she says. “A lot of them may turn out to be mistakes. But until you finally get the kind of person that you truly deserve, don't just settle for anyone else."

She says there seems to be a double standard in your society, since it seems okay for men to date as many girls as they want. But when it comes to women, the view is more conservative and limited. “It’s really unfair kasi kapag guys, no one asks kung gaano na karami ang naka-date nila. But when it’s a girl, para bang it’s so scandalous kung marami na ang naka-date mo. But you really have to be choosy kasi siempre, at the start, hindi mo naman alam yung tunay na ugali noong guy. When you realize that he doesn’t really give that much value or importance, then it’s time for you to go and love yourself a little more. Maybe the next guy will be a little bit better.”

In “Triple Ex”, Rhian plays Zoe, a flirty social media darling who works as a swimwear designer. She comes from a rich family but she hungers for the love of her parents who are both very busy. “She’s so different from what I am in real life. Unang-una, super duper fashionista siya. E, ako, off cam, kung damit ako parang lalaking naka-pants and t shirt lang. Tapos, selosa siya, possessive. E, hindi rin ako ganun. But I’m taking the difference between us as a big challenge and with the help of our director, Maryo de los Reyes, I’m confident maitatawid ko naman nang maayos ang character ni Zoe in ‘Triple Ex’.”

How come there was a story that she and her non-showbiz BF Jason Choachuy tied the knot while they were on a trip to Iceland? “Not true. Both of us have no plans of settling down yet. Ang dami ko pang projects na gagawin, no?

Rhian is also doing a new movie, “Fallback”, with Zanjoe Marudo and Daniel Matsunaga, directed by Jason Laxamana.
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Oct 18, 2017

WE FEEL SO sad for Piolo Pascual. Earlier this year, his “Northern Lights” did badly at the tills. And now, “Last Night” with Toni Gonzaga also got lukewarm reception from moviegoers. And to think it was Toni who helped in boosting his career before in “Starting Over Again”. So what went wrong?

If viewers would make a film starring someone like Empoy Marquez a huge blockbuster at the tills, how come they aren’t so hot about a leading man as good looking as Piolo? Has he lost his magic with Toni just because she’s now married and already a mom? We think the problem is in the material. The moment some folks learned that the movie is about suicide, a lot of them were quickly turned off by the idea.

We intentionally did not review the movie while it was still showing because our take will surely be a spoiler. And we don’t want to review it without being able to point out what we believe are the film’s shortcomings. Piolo plays Mark Peters. He tells Toni he’s 32 (without batting an eyelash), but we all know he’s 40 in real life.

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REGINE VELASQUEZ is understandably tense as her 30th anniversary concert is about to take place this coming Saturday and Sunday at the MOA Arena. “This is my way of saying thank for the 30 fruitful years I’ve had in showbiz and I just want to remind the concert goers na iba yung repertoire of songs ko for each day, at iba rin yung mga guest ko sa bawat gabi,” she says. “I also want to remind them na available na yung three 30th anniversary albums kong ‘Renditions’, ‘Rise’ and ‘Reflections’ na bale 30 songs all in all, may cover versions at may 10 all new original songs.”

Among her guests are Mark Bautista, Jed Madela, Julie Anne San Jose, Aicelle Santos, Erik Santos, Angeline Quinto, Jona Viray, Lara Maigue, Sarah Geronimo and of course, husband Ogie Alcasid and their son, Nate. So what would she say is the biggest change she encountered in her 30 years in showbiz?

“E, di ang social media. Noong mag-start ako, I was a teenager, ni wala pang cellphone, di ba? Ngayon, lahat ng gadgets, available na, making everyone feel na lahat sila, entitled to make their own comments tungkol sa mga artistang bina-bash nila.”

So how does she deal with haters and bashers? “Dati sumasagot ako but this point, naturuan ko na ang sarili kong huwag magpaapekto. Yung bashers, when they bash, parang kilalang-kilala ka nila, e. And it’s always personal. Gustong-gusto nilang i-bash yung mga anak ng artista. E, siempre, pag parent ka, masasaktan ka para sa anak mo. E, they’re faceless kaya wala kang laban, e. I used to make patol but I realized it’s not really good. E, hindi rin naman ako confrontational na tao. Most of them are kids na parang ang happiness nila ay mambash ng tao, so bakit mo pa papatulan? Ibigay na lang natin sa kanila.”

She says it took her sometime before she realized “making patol” to bashers is not really worth it. “Medyo slow yung journey ko diyan kasi nga, hindi ko naman na-experience yan nung time namin. Nag-evolve talaga ang showbiz because of social media. Before, you want to set things straight, tatawagan mo ang kaibigan mong writer isulat ka ang side mo. Ngayon, diretso ka na sa instagram, twitter o facebook. So pag binash ka, diretso rin sa social media. Ako, kung binabash ako, I don’t read it na lang. Kasi iinit lang ang ulo mo. Kung sasagutin ko, hindi titigil yun, magkakaroon pa kami ng exchange, so huwag na lang. Kapag paulit-ulit, ibina-block ko na. Ang dami ko nang na-blocked, e. Di hindi ka na nila maba-bash.”
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VALEEN MONTENEGRO started with ABS-CBN as part of Star Magic 2006. Her real family name is Vicente but she chose to use the name of her more famous maternal grandpa, the late LVN actor Mario Montenegro. She did shows like “About Ur Love”, “Crazy for You”, “Ysabella” but she was never really given a starring role so we were not surprised when she moved to TV5 in 2009 doing shows like “Lokomoko”, “Happy Truck ng Bayan” and “Kapitan Awesome” and co-hosting “Artista Academy”.

In 2015, she moved to GMA-7 to do “Sunday PinaSaya” and she’s still in it. She also did a lot of shows like “Poor Senorita”, “Juan Tamad”, “Princess in the Palace”, “TsuperHero”, “Encantadia” and now, “My Korean Jagiya”. After doing supporting roles on TV and films, she now plays a starring role in the QCinema Filmfest entry that starts showing on October 20, “The Write Moment”, a romantic-comedy where she’s paired with Jerald Napoles, her co-star in “Sunday PinaSaya”.

The film’s writer-director, Dominic Lim, chose her after seeing her in the Cinema One movie, “Every Room is a Planet”. “Hindi pa nagsi-sink in sa akin na leading lady ako,” she says. “But when I saw the film’s trailer, I felt overwhelmed kasi hindi ko akalaing ganun kaganda ang ginawa naming film. Ngayon, I can’t wait to see it in full.”

How is it working with Jerald? “Masaya kami and he made it easy for me kasi he knows na I feel insecure when it comes to acting. Buti na lang dati na kaming magkaibigan so I trusted him na dadalhin niya ako sa mga eksena namin together. At si Direk Dominic naman, before the take, si Jerald lang ang kinakausap, ako, hindi, so sabi ko, siguro he trusts me na alam na niya ang gagawin ko.”

Valeen has had her shares of bashers and she usually doesn’t respond. But recently, she answered back when a basher made fun of her performance in “My Korean Jagiya”. “Actually, hindi ako nag-react na minura niya ako at sinabing mukha akong impaktang alalay ni Heart Evangelista. Nainis ako kasi iniintriga kami’t pinag-aaway kami ni Heart, e maganda ang samahan namin sa set at masaya kami sa taping. Parang pamilya na kami, e. Pero after sagutin ko siya, siya ang na-bash ng husto ng ibang netizens na natuwang sinagot ko siya. Pasencia na lang, Ate, but next time, think before you click.”
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Oct 17, 2017

 JACKIE CHAN is 63 years old but he amazingly continues to do his own stunts and acrobatics as the undisputed king of martial arts flicks, sustaining his reputation as the most successful Asian actor who has worked in Hollywood. He usually does action comedy with lots of slapstick but in “The Foreigner”, based on the novel “The Chinaman” by Stephen Leather, he goes into action drama when his only daughter (Katie Leung) is killed in a terrorist attack while buying a dress for her school prom.

One of the most iconic international actors today, this is his most dramatic vehicle in his career and in all fairness to Jackie, he tackles his role with so much gravitas and quiet power. The shocked sorrow on his face after his daughter’s untimely passing makes his perfomance a notched higher than that of Liam Neeson’s similarly anguished dad whose daughter is only kidnapped in the original “Taken”.

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QUEZON CITY Mayor Herbert M. Bautista used to be Reneboy in “Flor de Luna” as a child star and, as a teenager, he was called Bistek in “Two Plus Two” with Maricel Soriano and that moniker somehow stuck with him. We recalled this as we watched him deliver his State of the City Address (SOCA) at the Quezon City Hall last Monday. It marks his 8th year as QC’s chief executive, during which time he made remarkable achievements that he cited during his speech.

One writer who’s with us quips that Mayor Bistek’s SOCA no-nonsense delivery is even better than Pres. Digong’s SONA, simply because he was direct to the point, no useless ramblings and adlibs that will lengthen his talk needlessly.

For the second consecutive year, QC is the named Most Competitive City in the country. The QC Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council is also no. 1 among highly urbanized cities in the Gawad Kalasag Regional Awards. A Singapore-based organization also conferred the OpenGov Recognition of Excellence to QC through digital transformation. There are a lot more reasons for QC to celebrate as it garnered lots of other recognitions here and abroad.

For informal settlers, QC has put up 28 Bistekvillages housing projects benefitting 1,899 families. Herbert expects to put up about 50 more for about 5,000 families by the time his term ends. For child’s care, he has put up 294 public daycare centers managed by Social Services benefitting 23,420 children, and 18 Supervised Neighborhood Play Centers.

QC has built 3 new elementary and 11 new high school buildings with 221 classrooms, with a new building donated by ABS-CBN. The new QC Public Library is now considered one of the ten best libraries in the country and 19 branches all over the city. QC also has a Unified Referral System for children to protect them from abuse, exploitation and violence through Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children.

QC has many other achievements that justifies its title “The Philippine City of Asia”. Mayor Herbert has been very diligent in his efforts to make QC tackle the challenges of today’s local governments. His vision in pushing for innovations in E-governance, his pro-active disaster risk reduction management program, his global linkages and efforts to raise the standards for transparency and accountable governance have become his trademarks in public service. This is his last term as QC Mayor and we won’t be surprised if he’d run for senator in the next election. We have no doubt it’ll be easy for him to get a seat in the senate.
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APRIL GUSTILO gained fame as one of Willie Revillame’s co-hosts in “Wowowee”. She is noted for loudly exclaiming “Congratulations!” on the air whenever a contestant wins. “Tumatanaw talaga ako ng malaking utang na loob kay Kuya Willie dahil from being a dancer, siya ang nagbigay sa’kin ng break to be a host at nakasama pa niya ako noong lumipat siya sa TV5,” she says. “Forever ko yung tatanawing utang na loob sa kanya. Nung mawala ang show, I branched out into acting at nakapag-guest ako sa ‘Magpakailanman’, ‘Ipaglaban Mo’, and did teleseryes like ‘Babaeng Hampaslupa’, ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ at last ko ‘yung ‘D’Originals’ sa GMA-7.”

She now tries something new, theatre acting in the sexy stage play “Solo Para Adultos (For Adults Only)” to be shown at Music Museum on Friday, October 20, 8 PM. “Noong una, naiilang ako, but I welcome the challenge. Ang hahaba ng lines na dapat memoryahin at bawal makalimot dahil you’re live on stage so mistakes are not allowed. Sobrang daring ako rito. Ginahasa ako ng stepfather ko, then naging pokpok ako, may na-meet akong Amerikano na dinala ako sa States at doon, nakilala ako as porn star named Veronica Fox. Pati lengguwahe sa play na ito, very daring, pang-adults talaga, bastos at walang pasintabi.”

She has kissing scenes with both a boy and a girl in the play. “Yung boy is Vivo Ouano, a masseur na dati ko nang lover. Ang girl naman, si Tori Garcia, na gustong agawin ang title ko as Porn Queen.”

So which does she prefer, the boy or the girl? “Siempre, si Vivo dahil ayoko naman ng kapwa ko babae. May boyfriend ako, non-showbiz. Papanood ko nga sa kanya ito para ma-shock siya. Ha ha ha!”

During the presscon, she did an act from the play and she impressed the writers present because the lines she delivered are about ten paragraphs and she didn’t buckle at all, mouthing them all with much gusto and conviction. Who knows, this might just be the start of her career in theatre?

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Oct 16, 2017

ASHLEY ORTEGA plays her biggest movie role to date as one of the leads in “Spirit of the Glass 2: The Haunted”. This is really turning out to be a very memorable and productive year for her. Aside from appearing in a lead role in the movie, she’s also hosting a daily show, “Wowowin”, with Willie Revillame and she’s appearing in a daily primetime series, “Super Ma’am”, on GMA Telebabad where she’s paired with her regular ka-love team, Enrico Cuenca.

“This is totally unexpected for me,” she says. “Yung magsasabay-sabay ang mga trabaho ko at naglalagari ako sa shooting, sa taping nang halos hindi na ako natutulog kasi diretso ako from one set to another. Pero kinakaya ko pa naman so far.”

Now 18 years old, Ash started with modelling when she was just 13 then GMA-7 got her and introduced her playing a supporting role in the series “Cielo de Angelina”. This was followed by “Instadad”, “Paraiso Ko’y Ikaw”, “My Destiny”, “Kailan Tama ang Mali” and “Oh My Mama”. She also played support in movies like “Bamboo Flowers” and “My Big Bossing”. Her career really picked up when she was paired with newcomer Enrico Cuenca in a TV commercial for a fastfood restaurant. Now, they are paired on TV in “Super Ma’am” and on the big screen in “Spirit of the Glass 2”.

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