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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 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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 SHAIRA MAE DE LA CRUZ is a discovery of TV5 in their Artista Academy search. Her love team with batchmate Mark Neumann clicked in several “Wattpad Presents” episodes even if, off cam, she was then going steady with Edgar Allan Guzman, with whom she is rumored to have broken up.

After TV5 has stopped producing local shows, she’s lucky APT Entertainment got her to be part of their morning youth oriented show, “Trops”. “Supposed to be, guesting lang yun, but sinuwerte ako, ginawa akong regular member ng cast,” she says. “Then after that, naisama-sama rin nila ako sa ‘Eat Bulaga’ and ‘Sunday PinaSaya’. And now, kasama rin ako sa movie nila with Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola and Paolo Ballesteros, ‘Trip Ubusan: The Lolas vs. Zombies’ which opens today in theatres.”

She enjoyed doing the movie where she is paired with Miggy Tolentino of “Trops”. “Masaya sa set kasi kasama rin namin sina Taki Saito and Kenneth Medrano na cast members din noon ng ‘Trops’. And it’s fun working with the tree Lolas kasi lagi silang nagpapatawa sa set so para lang kaming naglalaro sa shooting. Pero yung scenes na hinahabol kami ng zombies, scary talaga.”

She’s now doing shows with GMA-7 and Edgar Allan is also currently in GMA doing “My Korean Jagiya”. Do they get to see each other? Is it true they broke up because Edgar’s family and manager are against her?

“Basta tungkol diyan, please lang, ayoko nang pag-usapan. Magkaiba naman kami ng shows, e. So basta sa ganyan, ayoko na lang sumagot hangga’t maari, kasi tahimik na ang buhay ko ngayon. At mas gusto ko, yung tahimik na lang lagi at walang intriga.”
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Nov 20, 2017

WE HAD SO MUCH fun at the birthday bash of well loved talent manager and “Eat Bulaga” exec Malou Choa Fagar at Mother Lily’s Valencia Events Place last Saturday night. The highlight of the evening for us is Edgar “Bobot” Mortiz singing “Yesterday I Heard the Rain”. He certainly hasn’t lost his touch at all when it comes to singing and his daughter Camille also sings very well.

We also enjoyed the singing of Tirso Cruz III, Ali Sotto, Maila Gumila, Roderick Paulate. Other guests in the affair are Bibeth Orteza, hubby Carlitos Siguion Reyna and son Rafa, Lorna Tolentino and sons Ralph and Renz, Maricel Soriano, Laurice Guillen and daughter Ina with her Italian boyfriend, Gina Alajar, Amy Austria with husband Duke Ventura, Pip’s wife Lyn and daughter Djanin, talent managers Dolor Guevarra, the balikbayan Shirley Kwan and Veanna Fores, banker Danny Dolor, Viva’s June Torrejon and Lawrence Tan, Anna Pingol of Yes Magazine, Allan Diones of Pak,

Bibeth says that after her stint as a theatre actress in Singapore some months ago, it seems they liked her performance so much that they were getting her again, this time for a musical. “When I told them that I don’t sing, they said they thought all Filipinos are good singers,” she laughs. Bibeth continues to be one of the most enlightened members of the MTRCB who patiently explains to the newly appointed members the why’s and wherefore’s of their job in the review board.

Her son Rafa is part of the new Jerrold Tarog historical epic, “Gen. Goyong”. “I play Julian del Pilar, the brother of Gen. Goyong played by Paulo Avelino, so mahaba yung role ko,” he says. “Patapos na ang shooting namin and the movie is scheduled to be released by the middle of next year.”

Gina Alajar happily informs us that her three sons have all given her grandchildren. Ryan Eigenmann has three, Geoff has one and the youngest, AJ (based in the U.S.), also has one. She’s now in the cast of the new GMA-7 soap, “Hindi Kita Kayang Iwanan”, playing contravida to Yasmien Kurdi who became an HIV victim after she was raped.

Laurice Guillen is the director of the GMA megahit, “Ika-6 na Utos”, which is extended until next year. She also appears as a drug lord in “Dark is the Knight”, a film about extra judicial killings starring Gina Alajar and Phillip Salvador which was screened in the recent Toronto Filmfest. Her daughter Ina is with Gina in “Hindi Kita Kayang Iwanan”.

Lorna Tolentino says she has happily resumed the taping of her new ABS-CBN soap, “Asintado”, while son Renz is in GMA-7’s “Impostora” playing the role of an NBI agent. Maila Gumila tells us she plays a hotshot lawyer in ABS-CBN’s new soap, “Hanggang Saan”, who defends Arnold Reyes pro bono after he was accused of killing Eric Quizon when the culprit is actually Sylvia Sanchez who had to do it to save her son Arjo Atayde, who also happens to be Maila’s top student in law school.

And Ali Sotto is excited that she will be a grandmother any moment now as it’s the “kabuwanan” of the wife of her son Chino. “It’s going to be a boy!” she proudly declares, showing us on her cellphone her grandson’s ultrasound photo. She also showed us a poem she has written for her late son, Miko, who left 12 years ago, and we told her it will be an excellent song with touching lyrics so she should ask someone to set it into music.
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