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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 18, 2017

STAR MAGIC artists are all over the place in the official entries of the current Metro-Manila Filmfest. First is in the only horror entry, Regal Entertainment’s “Haunted Forest”, where all the four lead stars are from Star Magic: Jane Oineza, Maris Racal, Jameson Blake and Jon Lucas, supported by other Star Magic artists, Miho Nishida and Myrtle Sarossa.

In “Ang Panday”, Coco Martin’s main villain, Lizardo, is played by Star Magic’s Jake Cuenca and the supporting players like McCoy de Leon, Elisse Joson, PJ Endrinal and child actor Onyok Pineda are all also from Star Magic.

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DEREK RAMSAY told reporters at the press preview of his Metro filmfest entry, “All Of You”, that the next movie he’ll shoot is Quantum Films’s project with Kris Aquino, to be directed by Chris Martinez, and not the movie intended for him by Star Cinema with Bea Alonzo as Bea is busy with a horror flick with Charo Santos, to be helmed by Mikhail Red.

After this came out, Quantum Films producer Joji Villanueva Alonso, who also produced “All Of You”, was informed by Star Cinema that Derek’s project with them for Bea Alonzo will start shooting right away this coming January, so Quantum Films is now postponing their shooting with Kris Aquino and will schedule its playdate in the 3rd quarter yet of 2018.

“Siempre, sila ang masusunod,” someone quips. “Kasi sila ang number one movie factory sa bansa ngayon. Alam yan ng ibang producers, gaya ng OctoArts, nang tapatan yung ‘Spirit of the Glass 2’ nila ng ‘Ghost Bride’, at ang ‘Barbie, Wonder Beki’ ng ‘Unexpectedly Yours’, wala silang nagawa kaya ayun, luhaan sila sa takilya. Being the number one film company today, natural lang na ayaw ng Star Cinema na mauunahan sila.”

Meantime, Derek continues to enjoy reading the glowing reviews that his performance as Gab in “All Of You” is getting, with everyone saying that his performance here is even better than his acting in “English Only, Please”, for which he got the 2014 Metro Manila Filmfest best actor award.
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RYZA CENON just won her first acting award for playing the role of the evil antagonist, Georgia, in “Ika-6 na Utos”. “This year is really memorable for me because of the huge success of our afternoon drama,” she says. “From my earnings in this show, I was able to buy myself a new car, a Fortuner, and I was able to invest in a business. We opened a restobar at BGC called Alegria, sa taas ng Uniqlo Bldg. It offers Latin, Mexican food. We have a good chef and it’s starting to build its own regular clientele. It’s open for events, like ngayon, uso ang Christmas parties.”

She also has found a new boyfriend and she now stars in her own movie. So how is Cholo Barretto, who plays a pivotal role in “Smaller and Smaller Circles”? Do they have plans of walking down the aisle soon?

“He’s okay, he gives me enough space, but no, wala kaming balak pakasal anytime soon. Chill lang muna kasi nga busy ako. I just finished shooting my movie for Viva with JC Santos, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Cruz’. This is with Director Sigrid Andrea Bernardo, who did the big hit ‘Kita Kita’.”

Do they play husband and wife? “No. Nagkataon lang na pareho kaming Cruz. Cruz talaga family name niya. Ako naman, Mrs. Cruz ako, pero iba ang husband ko. Iniwan ako, so I go to Palawan and dun ko na-meet si JC who’s also broken hearted. We shot in El Nido for ten days. This coming January 24 raw ang playdate nito, so abangan nyo kasi naiiba siyang love story.”

Since she’s a Kapuso and JC is a Kapamilya, weren’t they uncomfortable with each other? “No. Before shooting, we had to undergo a familiarization workshop with Direk Sigrid para maging maganda ang working relationship naming lahat. It’s great working with him kasi napakagaling niyang artista. Ako, kabadong-kabado kasi first mainstream film ko ito. Yung ginawa ko last year, ‘Manananggal sa Unit 23B’, was an indie film.”

So what other evil things will she, as Georgia, do in “Ika-6 na Utos”? “Naku, abangan nyo, marami pa. Inis na inis na nga sa’kin ang viewers. Nakakatanggap na ko ng death threats. Hindi nila alam, ang hirap gawin ng role na ito. Paiba-iba kasi ako ng personality, depende kung sino ang kausap ko. Gustong-gusto din kasi ng tao tuwing nakikita nilang nabubugbog si Georgia and, each time na may catfight kami ni Sunshine Dizon, physically draining talaga for me. May arrythmia pa naman ako. Nagkaka-palpitation ako. So tuwing intense ang eksena, nagha-hyperventilate ako and I have to get a brown bag para doon muna ako huminga.”

The enormous success of “Ika-6 na Utos” makes it a difficult project to follow. In case she’d be given a new show, would she like to do a role next time? “No, mas gusto ko pa ring magkontrabida. Kasi mas challenging gampanan. Kung bida ka, inaapi ka, paawa effect ka lang. Sa villain role, mas marami kang puedeng gawin.”

What kind of ending would she like for “Ika-6 na Utos”? “Si Georgia, dahil sa kasamaan niya, dalawa lang ang puedeng mangyari sa kanya, mapatay siya o mabaliw siya. Pero kung baliw lang siya, puede pa rin siyang magsabog ng kasamaan, kaya mas mabuti pang patayin na lang siya. About Emma, mas gugustuhin kong huwag na lang siyang makipagbalikan kay Rome. Ilang beses na siyang niloko, alangan namang patawarin pa rin niya. She deserves someone else who’s much better than him. Mas gusto ko kung ako na lang ang papatay kay Rome, tapos, magpapakamatay naman ako. Kaya lang, viewers prefer a happy ending, so I’m sure magkakaroon pa ng reconciliation sina Sunshine at Gabby sa bandang huli.”

Both Gabby and Sunshine are going to the U.S. during their two-week Christmas break starting December 18. What about her? “Ay, dito lang po ako. Naging panata ko nang tuwing Christmas namimigay ako ng pagkain sa mga homeless dito sa Quezon City, yung mga nakatira sa bangketa. E, ang dami nila all over. Sa dami rin ng blessings na natatanggap ko, dapat lang akong mag-share.”
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Dec 17, 2017

HEART EVANGELISTA is happy to host a Christmas party for her Korean co-stars in “My Korean Jagiya”. “Para ma-feel naman nila how we Filipinos celebrate the Christmas season,” says. “Both Alexander Lee and Andy Ryu ar Catholics so they know it’s about the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and they also know that we Filipinos celebrate the longest Christmas season in the world.”
Heart was able to meet Andy’s Korean girlfriend who came here to visit him, Kim Hye Jin, who starred in such Koreanovelas as “Iris” and “Dong Yi”. “She came to the taping of ‘My Koren Jagiya’ and she’s very nice,” says Heart. “May gift pa siya sa aking hand-painted scarf, so I invited them to have dinner in our house.”

“My Korean Jagiya” continues to enjoy high ratings so they’re extended up to 2018. But even if she’s still busy with taping the show, Heart is now preparing for a major painting exhibit. “May mga natapos na akong bagong artworks at nag-iipon talaga ko ng paintings for my next solo show. My first shows were in 2014 and 2015 and they’re both sold out affairs. Then I had my own Love Marie exhibit in Singapore then I also painted for Hermes bags and for the gowns of designer Mark Bumgarner. I’m really happy and thankful that people warmly accepted my being an artist aside from my being an actress.”
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DIRECTOR IAN LORENOS had an entry in the Metro Manila Filmfest last year, the family drama “Mano Po VII: Chinoy”, but it didn’t make it to the list of 8 finalists. He is much luckier this time with the horror flick, “Haunted Forest”, which a lot of people are predicting will hit it big at the box office as it’s the only horror entry this year. Is this his first horror film? “No, I did a horror film for Cinemalaya, ‘The Leaving’, in 2010 about ghosts in a haunted building, for which LJ Reyes won a best supporting actress award,” he says. “Pero ibang-iba itong ‘Haunted Forest’ in terms of scope and production vales. Mother Lily and Roselle Monteverde of Regal gave me freedom and didn’t leave any stone unturned to make sure this will succeed in scaring the audience. I think we achieved naman our purpose of presenting visual horror without resorting to cheap jump scares. We offer something that will last in the memory of the viewers even after they’ve watched the movie.”

He says the movie is not only about frightening the audience but also about giving them an involving story. “It’s about family relationships din. Raymart Santiago plays a cop who’s assigned to the province at sinama niya roon ang anak niyang si Jane Oineza as Nica. They have a big gap as father and daughter and this worsens when a mysterious and unexplainable force takes over Nica when she goes to the forest, which she doesn’t know is haunted by a monstrous elemental creature called Sitsit. I got the idea from a mythical island in Samar na during the day, it’s all forest, gubat lang talaga. But at night, it looks so well lighted up like a big city. I enjoyed shooting the movie in Mt. Makiling and in a farm in Tanay, Rizal.”

What can he say about his cast? “Aside from Raymart, we have Joey Marquez as the town’s chief of police and they’re both veterans who know what they’re doing and make my work easier. Aside from Jane, the other young stars are Maris Racal, Jameson Blake and Jon Lucas. They’re like typical young people na magulo, naglalaro sa set, but when it’s time to act for the camera, they can all easily turn serious and you can see they have a passion for their craft as actors. They all deliver well and we’re confident that viewers will enjoy having a good scare with ‘Haunted Forest’.”
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DEREK RAMSAY is ecstatic over the positive comments he got after the press preview of his Metro Manila filmfest entry, “All of You”, produced by Quantum Films. Most press people who saw the film believe he did good and has a good chance of bagging another acting award, especially for that confrontation scene with Jennylyn Mercado by the roadside where he got very emotional.

“Thanks for all the good words,” he says. “I’m really flattered and excited, but more than winning an award, I really pray that more people would watch our movie and appreciate it. Gusto naming lahat sa movie, mapasama kami sa list ng topgrossers.”

He seems more at ease with Jen this time as they feel so comfortable with each other doing their love scenes, where Jen is even shown taking off her bra. His son, Austin, was with him and his girlfriend, Joanne Villablanca, at the press preview. How did they react to his love scenes with Jen?

He called his son. “How did you like it?” “I didn’t understand much of it,” says the boy who just arrived from Dubai where he lives with his mom. “Most of it is in Tagalog. But I’m proud of my dad. I think kissing another girl is normal for an actor like him.”

How about Joanne? “I loved it! They’re both very good.” Didn't she get jealous? "She's not the jealous type," says Derek.

How’s Derek doing with Joanne’s own daughter from a previous relationship? “We’re okay, si Sophie. Lagi akong kinukulit. We have a great relationship. She calls me Tito, but she has a good relationship with her own dad and I don’t intend to replace him. Ganun din si Austin with his mom.

They’re relationship is unbreakable. I’m really thankful she allowed Austin to spend the Christmas holidays with me. After the filmfest awards night, I’m taking him to Palawan where my family and I have a resthouse para makasama niya ang parents ko. Doon na kami magi-spend ng New Year. I’ve also bought the gift he wants, an Alienware high tech laptop good for gaming. Ang mahal ha. About P100,000. But it’s worth it kasi ayaw na niyang bitawan.”

After “All of You”, Derek is supposed to do a new movie with Bea Alonzo for Star Cinema. But since Bea is starting a horror movie with Charo Santos directed by new filmmaker Mikhail Red, Derek goes back to Quantum Films to do a movie with Kris Aquino, directed by Chris Martinez. “I’m excited. We got to work together in ‘All You Need is Pag-ibig’, pero sandali lang kasi we were just in a short episode of that omnibus movie. Ngayon, full length film itong gagawin namin. I’ve read the script at maganda talaga so can’t wait to start shooting it.”

This is one of two movies that Kris is scheduled to do in the coming new year. The other one is said to be a horror movie for Iflix no less.
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Dec 15, 2017

FIRST, the positive. “Smaller and Smaller Circles” is that rare film based on an award-winning local novel in English. It’s about two Jesuit priests helping to solve a series of killings of pubescent boys in the dumpsite known as Payatas. Being a crime-thriller, it is such a welcome breather from the usual soaps and romcoms that proliferate today in local films and television.

The film is definitely well produced. Even small roles are offered to name and fairly well known actors who appear only in one or a couple of scenes, like Christopher de Leon as an NBI director, Tessie Tomas as a TV host, Alex Medina as a false suspect, Bernard Palanca as the boyfriend one of the major characters, Gladys Reyes as a councilor, Mailes Canapi as a grieving mother, Cholo Barretto as a friend of the killer who reveals the reason how he became one, Dexter Doria as a carinderia owner, and many more. They’re all quite competent.

The best is Ricky Davao as Cardinal Meneses, who is aiding and abetting the crimes of a depraved and corrupt Monsignor Ramirez (only mentioned, never seen), just like the cover ups the church did for perverted priests in the Oscar-winning “Spotlight”. The one who is really wasted here is TJ Trinidad as an NBI agent who didn’t get to do anything much of value.

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DON’T MISS GMA’s fabulous Christmas offering, ‘Paskong Kapuso: The GMA Christmas Special’ this Sunday (December 17) after “Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho”, topbilled by Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez-Alcasid and Kapuso Primetime King Dingdong Dantes, Julie Anne San Jose, Maricris Garcia and Christian Bautista with GMA’s singing groups One Up and T.O.P. Joining them in the opening number are the network’s primetime stars Dennis Trillo, Jennylyn Mercado, Lovi Poe, Carla Abellana, Tom Rodriguez, Rhian Ramos, Glaiza de Castro and Alden Richards.

The country’s Concert Comedy Queen AiAi de las Alas gives a one-of-a-kind rendition of the song ‘12 Days of Christmas’ with Andre Paras, Sheena Halili, Mike “Pekto” Nacua, John Feir, Boobay, Super Tekla, Tetay, Maey Bautista, Boobsie, Divine and Betong Sumaya. Janine Gutierrez, Gabbi Garcia, Mikee Quintos, Klea Pineda, Kate Valdez and Barbie Forteza with Derrick Monasterio, Ken Chan, Jak Roberto, Jeric Gonzales, Addy Raj, and Ruru Madrid give a spectacular song and dance number.

“Impostora” lead star Kris Bernal joins the cast of “Haplos” Sanya Lopez, Thea Tolentino, Pancho Magno and Rocco Nacino as they perform a ballroom dance number. They are joined by Rita Daniela, James Wright and Hannah Precillas.

The cast of the Network’s upcoming Primetime series “The One That Got Away” led by Kapuso Premier Drama Actress Lovi Poe, Rhian Ramos, Max Collins and Kapuso Drama King Dennis Trillo will deliver a performance that will surely make the audience anticipate their new program for 2018.

Asia’s Pop Sweetheart Julie Anne San Jose and Asia’s Romantic Balladeer Christian Bautista together with real-life sweethearts Tom Rodriguez and Carla Abellana will serenade the viewers with a special song number dedicated to our Kapuso abroad.

Completing the show is Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez-Alcasid’s world-class performance with the AFP Chorale. They will perform an inspirational song number that invokes the spirit of the season – and sends a message of love, compassion, and hope.

Mikael Daez and the stars of upcoming afternoon soap “Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka” Yasmien Kurdi, Ina Feleo and Mike Tan make a special appearance.

Aside from these special performances, this year, various Kapuso celebrities visit different organizations to entertain and create happy Christmas memories with them.

“My Korean Jagiya” stars Heart Evangelista and Alexander Lee, together with Barbie, Thea, Jeric and Derrick capture the hearts of the audience as they host a festive celebration in a Christmas Village.

The stars of “Pepito Manaloto” Manilyn Reynes, Angel Satsumi, John Feir, Mosang and Arthur Solinap; “Daig Kayo Ng Lola Ko” Ms. Gloria Romero, Chlaui Malayao, David Remo, Julius Erasga and Jillian Warde; and “I-Bilib hosts” Chris Tiu and Roadfill spread love at Child Haus, a temporary shelter for indigent patients from the different provinces.

“Ika–6 Na Utos” stars Sunshine Dizon, Angelika dela Cruz, Ryza Cenon, and Gabby Concepcion with Ms. Jaclyn Jose, Gabby Eigenmann and Dingdong Dantes return to Child Haus to grant the wishes made by the residents.

Kapuso leading ladies Andrea Torres, Katrina Halili, Solenn Heussaff, and Ms. World Megan Young, with Kapuso hunks Rafael Rosell, Kiko Estrada and Dion Ignacio surprise the AFP soldiers at Fort Bonifacio with an early morning Taebo session.

“Kambal, Karibal” stars Miguel Tanfelix and Bianca Umali surprise a talented dance crew and teach them a few dance routines. While Mark Herras, LJ Reyes, Vaness del Moral, Kristoffer Martin, Joyce Ching and Rochelle Pangilinan join them for a dance showdown.

The boys of “The One That Got Away” Ivan Dorschner, Jason Abalos and Migo Adecer will make the audience feel head over heels kilig with their surprise visit in a hospital’s nurse’s station; while GMA heartthrobs Benjamin Alves, Gil Cuerva and Martin del Rosario will definitely give viewers a cloud nine feeling as they pay a visit to some female security guards.

Pambansang Bae Alden Richards is accompanied by comedians Tetay and Pekto in a fun-filled Christmas surprise as they visit Hero Foundation, an organization that provides educational stipends to military orphans.

Kapuso Primetime Queen Marian Rivera and the cast of Super Ma’am Jerald Napoles, , Ashley Ortega, Enrico Cuenca, Vincent Magbanua, Marika Sasaki, Ralph Noriega and Joyce Ching organize a fun and jolly Christmas party at Lualhati ng Maynila, a nursing home that caters the elderly.

There will also be special video greetings from: “Magpakailanman” host Mel Tiangco; “Celebrity Bluff” and “Dear Uge” host Eugene Domingo; “Idol Sa Kusina”’s Chef Boy Logro and Chynna Ortaleza; the cast of “Sunday PinaSaya”; “Eat Bulaga” Dabarkads; “Wowowin” host Willie Revillame; and the cast of “Bubble Gang” led by Michael V. with Paolo Contis, Sef Cadayona, Boy II Quizon, Antonio Aquitania, Chariz Solomon and Kim Domingo. Should be “led by Michael V with Paolo Contis, Boy II Quizon, Antonio Aquitania, Sef Cadayona, Chariz Solomon and Kim Domingo.

2017 Reina Hispanoamericana Teresita Ssen ‘Winwyn’ Marquez and the men and women of GMA News and Public Affairs Mel Tiangco, Mike Enriquez, Vicky Morales, Arnold Clavio, Howie Severino and Jessica Soho plus the cast of “Unang Hirit,” also prepared their Christmas greeting to every Kapuso viewer here and abroad. Don't miss all these Kapuso stars performing in their own surprise Christmas numbers this Sunday night, directed by Louie Ignacio.
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SUNSHINE DIZON says she took a big risk when she decided to leave the cast of “Encantadia” and consented to do “Ika-6 na Utos”. “My character in ‘Encantadia’ was supposed to be there from start to finish,” she says. “Tapos nagulat na lang ako when they told me they’ll have to rewrite the story and kill my character dahil kailangan ako sa isang bagong show. I was really surprised, but it was explained to me that the story of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ is bagay sa’kin and what happened to me in real life, babaeng pinagtaksilan ng asawa. I agreed to do it at sila sa ‘Enca’, sabi sa’kin, we will wait for you to comeback. Kasi baka matapos na raw kami sa ‘Ika-6’ pero on pa rin sila. But yun pala, kami ang aabutin ng one year.”

Her role as Emma, the wronged wife, has really endeared her to the public. “When we go out in public, my kids are surprised when people approach me. Sabi nila, why are they happy to see you and why do they want to have their picture taken with you. Hindi kasi nila napapanood ang ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ kasi nasa school pa sila by that time. Nakaka-guilty rin kasi I don’t have much time for them kasi ang taping namin, halos five times a week. But babawi ako kasi bakasyon na kami starting December 18 at dadalhin ko sila sa States for a vacation, kahit short lang, basta magkakasama kaming tatlo.”

So, has she found a new love after the failure of her marriage? “Naku, I have no time for that. Hanggang next year pa raw ang ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ so we’re all happy. Sa sobrang pagka-busy ko sa ngayon, trabaho na lang ako at mga anak ko. Hindi ko naman hinahanap. Mas tahimik ang buhay ko ngayon.”
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Dec 14, 2017

AT THE RECENT PRESSCON of a new movie, writers were talking about the 37 counts of cyber libel against writer Jobert Sucaldito affirmed by the courts. This is not for his regular column in a tabloid but for his posts on Facebook against a talent manager and a singer. It started as blind items but Jobert eventually named them, Cornerstone Talent Management’s Ericson Raymundo and his talent, Erik Santos.

The case against him was filed on March 30, 2017 and the affirmation of its elevation to a higher court due to sufficient grounds was made on October 12, 2017 by Prosecutors Julian Ilao and Jaime Villanueva, who wrote:

“A careful scrutiny of the Facebook posts complained of disclosed that they were ostensibly made with malice tending to insult and tarnishes the reputation of Mr. Raymundo and Santos, and Cornerstone. The fact that Mr. Sucaldito is alleging that the company of Mr. Raymundo was undercutting projects from other people, employing underhanded means in order to book artists under his management, engaging in unfair competition, and becoming swell-headed, disparage the integrity of the latter.

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