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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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Dec 9, 2016

RONNIE ALONTE turned 20 last October 26. He’s from Binan, Laguna and started as a dancer in Hashtags last year on “Showtime”. He has since appeared in several episodes of “Maalaala Mo Kaya”, including an episode that featured his own life story. His rise to stardom is definitely quite meteoric as he is now in two movies no less, and both are official entries in the Metro Manila Filmfest.

In Reality Entertainment’s scary horror flick, “Seklusyon”, he plays a young deacon who is being tempted by the devil so he will no longer pursue his vocation as a priest, directed by Erik Matti. And in Star Cinema’s “Vince & Kath & James”, he figures in a love triangle romantic-comedy with Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia, directed by Theodore Boborol.

“Magkasunod ko pong ginawa ang dalawang pelikula,” he says. “Nauna ang ‘Seklusyon’, then three days bago natapos ito, sinimulan ko rin ang shooting ng ‘Vince & Kath & James’. Never kong inexpect na parehong papasok ang pelikula sa festival, kaya I consider myself very lucky dahil first movies ko pa lang, naging entries agad sa filmfest. Sobrang laking blessing po yun para sa isang baguhang tulad ko, to think na wala pa akong acting experience sa big screen. Medyo nahirapan ako, lalo sa ‘Seklusyon’ na ang daming pinagawa sa’kin, nilublob pa ako sa putik, but nag-enjoy naman ako. Sa ‘Vince & Kath’, sobrang kaba ko nung una kong makaeksena si Julia Barretto kasi she’s more experienced in acting at baka tarayan ako kapag nagkamali ako. Pero ang bait pala niya kaya nagkasundo kami agad.”

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‘PINOY BOYBAND SUPERSTAR’ will be a showdown this coming weekend among the 7 remaining singing heartthrobs: Ford, Joao, Mark, Niel, Russell, Tony and Tristan. The final name of the boyband will also be revealed. This Saturday, the remaining seven will be divided into two duets and one trio. The one who’ll get the highest scores among judges Vice Ganda, Sandara Park and Yeng Constantino and Aga Muhlach will be the first sure member of the boyband.

On Sunday, the remaining six hopefuls will perform and from the votes of the judges and the public, the four who’d emerge on top will comprise the remaining members of the 5-member boyband. The five final choices will get Star Magic contracts, recording contracts from One Music, Yamaha motorcycles and P5 million cash.

To vote, text BB (space) name of contestant you’re voting for and send to 2366. Online, you can vote through Google PBS Vote and click the link. Just wait for the go signal from host Billy Crawford before sending your votes.
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RICHARD YAP is one of the most likeable stars she has ever worked with, according to Regal’s Mother Lily Monteverde. “He’s very professional during the shoot and now, he’s very cooperative sa promo ng ‘Mano Po 7: Chinoy’, the country’s most successful family drama franchise, unlike other stars na after doing a movie with us, ang hirap nang hilahin para mag-promote,” she says. “Si Richard, he attends all the presscons, TV guestings, mall tours, free shows, parade and even school tours we laid out for the cast to promote our movie. Tuwang-tuwa sa kanya ang school officials, teachers and students ng iba’t ibang Chinese schools we scheduled for him to visit. This included Chiang Kai Shek College, Hope Christian High School, St. Stephen School and Uno High School.

The movie is about Chinese families in the Philippines kaya we promoted it sa Chinese schools kasi this is about them. Lahat sila, kinikilig kay Richard and he’s very accommodating to all of them at matiyagang nakipag-picture taking sa kanila.”

This Sunday, they will have a big promo and grand parade in Binondo and Chinatown with a dragon and lion dance starting at the Lucky China Town Mall at 4 PM. The main stars will be there: Richard Yap, Jean Garcia, Enchong Dee, Jessy Mendiola, Janella Salvador, Marlo Mortel, plus the supporting cast led by Eric Quizon, Jake Cuenca, Janna Agoncillo and Kean Cipriano. They will hand out “Mano Po 7” souvenir items to all those who’ll watch the parade.

“All Chinoys will enjoy the parade and in watching ‘Mano Po 7’ because it is about their life here in the Philippines,” adds Mother Lily. “Noong una, kaming Chinese, ang lakas ng discrimination against us. But now, we’ve been assimilated in the community. May mga kuha ito on location in Taiwan and aim din namin sa movie for it to help build friendlier ties with the Filipino and Chinese communities.”
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JANELLA SALVADOR got favorable reviews for her performance in the recent Disney concert at Kia Theatre, “Tale as Old as Time”, where she sang “How Far I’ll Go”, the theme song from the hit movie, “Moana”. “After the concert, I realized I want to try doing theatre, just like my mom (Jenine Desiderio) who did ‘Miss Saigon’ in London before,” she says. “Noong magpa-audition sila uli for ‘Miss Saigon’, gusto ko sana mag-join but it so happened I was taping my show with Elmo Magalona in Japan at that time. But I’m also willing to try local theatre productions, if my schedule would permit it.”

About Elmo, what is her reaction to some netizens who bash and blame her for the break up of Elmo with Janine Gutierrez? “Wala akong reaction diyan kasi hindi naman ako guilty. I’d rather make no comment and stay out of it kasi I’m not at all involved in it. But I feel sad about it kasi Elmo is my friend and I knew he was sad about it. I was just there ready to comfort him.”

What if Elmo would court her in turn? “I don’t think it’s that easy. We need more time. As of now, okay na yung friends lang kami.”

How about Marlo Mortel, her original leading man in “Be Careful with My Heart” with whom she is now reunited in “Mano Po 7: Chinoy”? “Marlo and I are also the best of friends. Mas matagal yung pinagsamahan namin kaya yung fans ng MarNella love team namin, tuwang-tuwa sila na magkasama kami ulit in a movie. We are both so proud of ‘Mano Po 7’ at alam naming matutuwa rin ang fans namin when they watch us in the movie. I’m also proud of this movie kasi piniga ako ni Direk Ian Lorenos in my dramatic scenes with Richard Yap and Jean Garcia as my parents. Maraming kaming mabibigat na eksena at nagtulungan kami to make sure magiging maganda talaga ang labas nito on screen.”

The outgoing year is a very productive one for Janella and she is able to save enough money from her earnings to buy a house and lot for her and her mom, Jenine Desiderio, worth P18 million, somewhere in Commonwealth Avenue. “Christmas gift ko ito sa mommy ko,” she says.
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Dec 8, 2016

AT THE FINAL presscon of “Mano Po 7: Chinoy”, Mother Lily Monteverde told us she has just seen the completed film that morning and she’s gushing over the great performances of the movie’s lead stars. “This is a family drama and the conflict is about parents and children,” she says. “Ang gagaling ng confrontation scenes nila, Janella Salvador and her mom, Jean Garcia, after she found that Jean has a lover, si Jake Cuenca. Tapos, si Richard Yap and Enchong Dee, both powerful actors. Kung nakapasok kami sa filmfest, I have no doubt some of them will win acting awards. Richard Yap is known for his light comedy-dramas on TV but here, he shows he can also be great an very convincing in drama. As for Enchong, I think he’s one of our most underrated young actors today so I want to get him again for another movie project dahil sa husay niya. Pati yung bagong indie director na binigyan namin ng break dito, si Ian Lorenos, ang ganda ng attack niya sa material, very fresh,
magugustuhan ng millennials kasi very now ang treatment. I’m so proud of this movie and I think it’s the best ‘Mano Po’ we’ve done in the series of 7 movies that we did. Christmas is for the family and this is just perfect for the whole family as it teaches great family values.”

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DENNIS PADILLA says he’s very proud of his daughter Julia for starring in her own filmfest entry. “Kahit hindi niya ako imbitahin, I will watch her movie,” he says. "Siempre, anak ko yan, and gusto ko makita ang trabaho niya."

We got to talk to Dennis on the set of “Alyas Robin Hood” the day after the presscon of Julia’s movie. “Siempre I want to see how she’ll do in comedy kasi comedian ako. Gusto ko makita kung may minana siya sa’kin at sa lolo niya (Dencio Padilla) sa pagko-comedy.”

Dennis reveals that he almost made it as a cast member of “Vince & Kath & James”. “Actually, the role of her father in the movie was first offered to me. Na-excite nga ako. Kaso, may conflict sa tapings ko for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ at hindi na nila puedeng i-delay ang shoot. Sayang nga, first time sana namin to do a movie ng anak ko. Pero ang hula ko, ang movie nila ang magiging topgrosser sa filmfest. Kasi sila lang ang rom-com na puedeng manood ang mga bata at bina-back up pa sila ng ABS-CBN sa promo, kaya mas marami tiyak manonood sa kanila. Ang wish ko lang is magkaroon sana kami ng reunion ni Julia at ng mga anak ko pang sina Claudia and Leon sa Christmas. Kasi gusto kong pakilala sa kanila ang mga anak ko ngayon, sina Gavin, 4 years old, at ang bunsong si Madeleine who was just born noong November 30. Si Gavin, kilala si Julia dahil sa pictures at billboards niya. Tinatanong ako, when will they come to our house?”

Gavin and Madeleine are his kids with his Aussie wife, Linda Gorton. His first wife, Monina Gatus, now lives in the States and he has two kids with her, aged 24 and 23, now both professionals. "Sabi ko nga sa panganay ko, bigyan niya na ako ng apo. E, ayaw, so gumawa na lang ako ng bago kong baby."

How’s his relationship with Julia’s mom, Marjorie Barretto? “Well, I’m really sad na hindi kami magkaibigan, kasi kahit anong balasa ang gawin mo, ina pa rin siya ng tatlong anak namin.”

How about he and Marjorie’s two other sisters? “We’re okay. Si Gretchen, Kuya pa rin ang tawag sa akin. Nagte-text kami every now and then.”

Dennis is very happy with his villain role in “Alyas Robin Hood”. “Bale comeback project ko ito sa GMA-7 after 14 years. Dito naman talaga ako nag-start noong heydays ni Randy Santiago sa ‘Lunch Date’ in the late 80s, then nalipat ako sa ABS. First time ko gumanap ng kontrabida role na sobrang sama, mukhang pera. May touch of comedy ang treatment ko, pero kahit nagpapatawa si Wilson, bad guy talaga siyang nagpapapatay ng mga taong against him. Earlier, it was shown na mamamatay ako, pero nakatakas pala ako at nagtatago. I will ask my people para mahuli nila si Dingdong as Alyas Robin Hood at abangan nyo dahil madadakip nila ito, then ihaharap nila sa akin.”
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JULIA BARRETTO’s previous projects didn’t click as well as expected and people attributed it to her tiff with her dad, Dennis Padilla. But the universe conspired for her to now have an entry in the coming Metro-Manila Filmfest, a feel good teen rom-com, “Vince & Kath & James”, and everyone is now predicting it will be a surprise big topgrosser, considering it’s backed up in its promo by ABS-CBN’s formidable publicity machinery. We’ve always said we believe in Julia and here’s hoping ito na nga ang project na magbabangon sa dormant career niya.

“It’s really Godsent,” she says. “Kasi when we were doing the movie, we never expected that this will be entered in the Metro Filmfest at heto nga, natanggap at naging official entry pa, kaya blessing talaga. So we’re all excited to have a movie in the festival, me and my two leading men, Joshua Garcia and Ronnie Alonte.”

So how is it working with her new co-stars? “It’s our first time to work together. I’m glad that I found new friends in both Ronnie and Joshua. I’ve been really comfortable with them sa set. I think doon namantalaga nagsisimula, sa friendship, kapag komportable kayo sa isa’t isa. Nakikita kasi sa screen 'yun eh. Maganda yung naging bonding at team work namin while we’re shooting the film, along with our director, Theodore Boborol. Si Joshua, may tumatawag na sa love team namin as JoshLia and I really admire his passion for his craft. Maalaga siya sa set and we really got along fine. Those who followed the original story as a social serye with text messages will be pleased, kasi we remained very faithful to it. Nandun pa rin yung kilig, yung pagiging very now and modern dahil sa texting, at nadagdagan pa ng lalim ng emotions now na that you see us giving life to the characters. Mas may heart itong movie.”

Will she invite her dad, Dennis Padilla, to watch the movie? “Of course, sa premiere night pa lang, I will invite him na. Our relationship now is so much better than ever before.”
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Dec 7, 2016

JOSHUA GARCIA appears to be the breakout star of the year in Star Cinema’s surprise Metro Filmfest entry, “Vince & Kath & James”. Some folks are now predicting he’ll be the next big thing at the Kapamilya Network. No less than the members of the filmfest screening committee were charmed by his captivating performance and they’re all praising him. How does he feel when people compare him with JLC?

“Siempre, sobrang nakakatuwa po kapag sinasabi nilang ako yung new John Lloyd Cruz,” he says at the movie’s presscon. “Kinikilig ako kasi idol ko talaga siya. Makuha ko lang kahit na yung ¼ ng narating niya, masaya na ako.”

We first saw Joshua in person at the presscon of the afternoon soap “Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan” where he was paired with his original Pinoy Big Brother ka-love team, Loisa Andalio. But we didn’t take much notice of him then, until we saw him again acting with Sylvia Sanchez as his lola in “The Greatest Love”. It was then we wrote that he looks like a young John Lloyd Cruz. This was reinforced when we saw him as Daniel Padilla’s cousin in “Barcelona: A Love Untold”, where he acquitted himself well in his drama scenes with Aiko Melendez as his mom.

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NORA AUNOR is touted this early to be the front runner as best actress in the Metro Manila Filmfest for her crackerjack performance as a mother who lost her husband and sons violently in the tour de force drama that deals with extra judicial killings, “Kabisera”, directed by Real Florido and Arturo San Agustin. “Naku, hindi ko po iniisip yun,” says Ate Guy at the film’s presscon at Salu Restaurant.

“Basta I’m proud of this movie at masasabi kong sa dinami-rami ng nagawa kong mga pelikula, this is one of the best at maipagmamalaki ko talaga. Batay ito sa isang real life story tungkol sa trahedya ng isang inang sunod-sunod na nawalan ng asawa at mga anak at ang kanyang struggles in her quest for justice. Pampamilya ito and teaches good family values kaya bagay na bagay sa Kapaskuhan because Christmas is for the whole family.”

Co-starring with Ate Guy in this movie are Ricky Davao as her husband, plus JC De Vera, Jason Abalos, and two kids of veteran filmmaker Arturo San Agustin, “Kabisera’s” producer co-director, RJ Agustin and Alex (a girl) San Agustin, as the four children of Nora and Ricky. Also in the cast are Victor Neri, RJ Agustin, Ronwaldo Martin, Kiko Matos, Perla Bautista, Ces Quesada, Karl Medina, Coleen Perez, and Rhen Escano.

“Kabisera” was first presented to the Metro-Manila Filmfest last year where it was rejected as a script. Now, they submitted the completed film and it was accepted as an official entry, making this a vindication of the setback the project earlier suffered. In Tagalog, “Kabisera” means the capitol of a province. But in a family, it means the head of the dining table. In the movie, find out what happens when Nora Aunor takes the head seat on the “Kabisera” of their family table after her husband is killed.
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ALICE DIXSON came to the presscon of “Happy Life” at  as the donor who’ll extend help to an orphanage in Bacolod for the show’s Christmas episode. As she sat on our table, she happily confessed that she’s in love again after her marriage with Canada-based ex-hubby Ronnie Miranda has formally ended in divorce. She’s 47 now and her new beau is a 45-year old European businessman who she first met here in Manila when she was still married.

“He was then also in a relationship,” she says. “Then our paths crossed again after we both had bad breakups. He got my phone from someone and now, after four years, we have a happy life. Akala ko nga, hindi magtatagal kasi I’m an introvert and he’s an extrovert, but we complement each other. He makes me laugh a lot. And we now have a project, we are trying to start a family. Because of my age, I’ve been seeing a specialist and discussing what we can do to conceive the natural way. We’re giving it one year and if it wouldn’t succeed, we’re willing naman to adopt. Pero sana puede pa, kasi si Janet Jackson became a mom at 48. By 50, I plan to retire from showbiz since I don’t think there would be challenging roles for me by then.”

Her BF is now in Abu Dhabi. “He’s asking me to join but, ayoko nga. They don’t celebrate Christmas naman there so I want to be here for Christmas. Also, I’m doing nga an episode in ‘Happy Life’ which is directed by my friend, Eric Quizon. I will be a donor to bring gifts to an orphanage in Bacolod. We have yet to tape it and this will be shown in the show’s Christmas episode on GMA News TV. This is aired Sundays at 9:30 AM.”

She likes the format of the show. “It aims to show the beautiful places around our country but also, it helps people in need. It’s produced by ex-Gov. Chavit Singson and I believe in his being genuinely generous.”

Her last acting job was in GMA-7’s “Marimar”. “I’ve got another offer to do one next year but magmi-meeting pa lang kami and I want to know muna what’s my role. Kung maganda, I’d accept it and if ever matuloy, we’d start taping in January.”
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