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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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Sep 30, 2016

WE WENT to two malls on the first day of showing of “Ang Babaeng Humayo” as we can’t wait to see it, only to find out that its screening hours start only from 5 PM and above. This gave us the chance to finally watch “Barcelona: A Love Untold” and we’re happy to report that it’s a well made fan movie. Kathniel fans will surely enjoy it, especially the ending which shows them smooching to their heart’s content after some tentative and unconsummated tries throughout the film.

Daniel Padilla is Ely, and we see him at the film’s opening scene being greeted by his dad (Joey Marquez) and family on his birthday. It turns out that this is just an old video and it’s his girlfriend Celine who’s taking the video so we don’t see her face. Ely is watching it on his cellphone while inside a train in Barcelona, Spain.

It’s obvious that Celine is already gone by this time, but it’s only much later that we’ll find out what happened to her. Inside the train, Ely sees Mia (Kathryn Bernardo), who he thinks is Celine, and follows her. He calls her “Celine!” And she barks annoyed: “Hindi ako si Celine!” We thought the more proper response to a total stranger is “Hindi Celine ang pangalan ko.”

They cross paths again and again until Ely sees her so drunk, about taken inside a hotel by a foreigner, and rescues her. So that’s how the relationship of the future lovers starts. Ely went to Barcelona to finish his architecture degree, on a scholarship financed by the parents of the late Celine (Cris Villanueva and Liza Dino). He also holds three jobs to help finance the needs of the demanding family of his dad and stepmom (Ana Capri).

Both Ely and Mia have big problems with their respective families. Ely, a lonely heart who can’t move on from losing his first love, is the milking cow of his dad. He also has big mommy issues with his mom (Isabel Lopez) who left him and his dad when he was a child and remarried in Spain. Mia, in turn, has big daddy issues with her dad (Ricky Davao) who’s forcing her to be a lawyer and who got so mad when she was disgraced in school for being caught cheating in an exam. She leaves for Barcelona to prove she can redeem herself but ends up homeless and penniless.

Ely helps Mia by making her stay in the apartment where he lives with his aunt (Aiko Melendez) and cousin (Joshua Garcia). He also helps her find a job but she’s always having problems that not a day passes without Mia shedding buckets of tears and she looks like she actually enjoys wallowing in tears. They indulge in a surfeit of seemingly endless series of overly emotional dramatic scenes and whiny arguments that kinda wears you down and becomes quite annoying after a while.

 But if you’re a diehard Kathniel fan, you wouldn’t mind at all as they both do quite well in the well engineered and belabored dramatic scenes whose aim is to present them as more mature performers who suffer a lot. We think the film succeeds in that objective, but somehow, you’d miss their winsome charm and playfulness in their past movies, like “She’s Dating the Gangster” and “Crazy Beautiful You”.

Between the two, it’s Daniel with his puppy dog eyes who exhibits more maturity in emoting as he doesn’t have to resort to caterwauling all the time, the way that Kathryn does. His best scenes are not actually with her but with Isabel Lopez (who’s also excellent), first in that restaurant scene where he finally gets to tell her upfront how much he hates her for leaving him as a child hungry for his mother’s love, and later, when he visit her at her new home with his half siblings and learns to forgive her.

The film runs for more than two hours and there are so many “laylay” moments, particularly the scenes where Ely and Mia shoot pre-nuptial videos that bog down and do not help forward the film’s narrative. Made on location in Barcelona and Director Olivia Lamasan makes sure they shoot several outdoor scenes using its well known landmarks as the backdrop, notably the gaudy monstrosity called Sagrada Familia of Gaudi. It’s not as satisfying as the better written “Sana Maulit Muli” shot in 1995 in the U.S.A., but we feel it’s a notch better than “Milan” shot in 2004 in Italy about a husband searching for his wife who doesn’t really want to be found. Those who look for a relevant story about OFW’s in Barcelona need to go to another movie as this film is not at all concerned with the Filipino diaspora.
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COCO MARTIN has so much to be thankful for. After a year, his primetime show, ABS-CBN's "FPJ's Ang Probinsyano", remains the undisputed number one primetime series in the country, with more viewers nationwide tuning in to his character Cardo's story of love for family and for the country every night.

“It’s been a memorable year,” says Coco at the thanksgiving party given by “Ang Probinsyano”. “Nagpapasalamat kami sa lahat ng sumusubaybay sa show at sa lahat ng mga artistang naging guest namin sa loob ng isang taon. Dahil dito’y nakapagbigay pugay kami at naparangalan ang buong kapulisan. We’re now preparing for the next three months hanggang December kasi dito lalabas lahat ng sekreto at totoong kuwento ng bawat tauhan sa show kaya huwag kayong bibitaw.”

No doubt the show helped the careers of its characters. It helped Arjo Atayde as the resident villain to win the Peplist best supporting actor award. It also launched the showbiz careers of child stars Macmac as Awra and Onyok, and new comedian Pepe Herrera.

“Salamat po at ako’y naging artista,” says Onyok. “Masaya ako kasi marami na kong fans. Nakakaipon na ako para sa pag-aaral ko at para sa bahay ko.”

“Salamat po sa ABS-CBN at kay Kuya Coco dahil kinuha akong artista at tinuruan akong umarte,” says Awra. “Hindi ko malilimutan yung eksenang inamin ko ang katotohanang isa akong bakla.”
As the show celebrates its first anniversary, it will thank its viewers through a very special show as ABS-CBN’s brightest stars come together to entertain the fans at the Araneta Coliseum on October 8 (Saturday), led by the cast of “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano”: Coco with Susan Roces, Maja Salvador, Arjo Atayde, Simon “Onyok” Pineda, McNeal “Awra” Briguela, John Prats, Yassi Pressman, Bela Padilla, Pepe Herrera, Agot Isidro, Albert Martinez, and Eddie Garcia.

Also on hand to entertain the crowd are loveteams James Reid and Nadine Lustre (JaDine), Elmo Magalona and Janella Salvador (ElNella), and McCoy De Leon and Elisse Joson (McLisse), plus the country’s finest artists Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid, Vina Morales, Ayen Laurel, and other "ASAP" singers. “It’s Showtime’s” Vice Ganda, Vhong Navarro, and all-male group Hashtags will also be there to serve up laughter and good vibes. To get free tickets to the event, just go to the ABS-CBN Center Road this Saturday and Sunday (October 1 and 2) from 1PM until 7PM.

“FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” continues to influence audiences nationwide, with the House of Representatives commending the ABS-CBN primetime series for its efforts to promote crime awareness and prevention among viewers. It even endorsed Coco Martin as “Celebrity Advocate for a Drug-Free Philippines.” Aside from the recognition given by the Congress, “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” has also been recognized by several award-giving bodies for its stars' stellar performances and the show’s top-caliber production.

More explosive surprises await viewers in the next few weeks as Cardo starts to investigate the bloody ambush of Verna (Agot Isidro) and Rachel (Belle Mariano), just after his heart-stopping bout with Eric (Paulo Avelino). How will Cardo be able to track down the suspect in the incident that happened to Verna and Rachel? What will Tomas (Albert Martinez) do to take revenge? Don’t miss all this and more.
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ANGEL LOCSIN plays the title role in Star Cinema’s newest offering, “The Third Party”, which has a very unusual story. This is her second movie this year after “Everything About Her” with Rep. Vilma Santos. In the story, Angel plays Andi, an events organizer and aspiring fashion designer whose first love is Sam Milby as Max, but Sam broke up with her saying their relationship is not working. Years later, she hears again from Sam, saying he’s introducing someone to her. She thought that this someone, Zanjoe Marudo, is a guy Sam wants to match with her because she’s been loveless for sometime.

So you can imagine Angel’s surprise when Sam introduces Zanjoe as: “This is Christian, my boyfriend.” Yes, there is a gay angle in the story and we think Star rushed the play date of this movie to pre-empt the showing of another movie with the same theme, “Bakit Lahat ng Guwapo, May Boyfriend?” starring Dennis Trillo, Anne Curtis and Paolo Ballesteros from Viva. We think Viva should now let some months pass first before they show their own gay love triangle movie and not show it right after “The Third Party” as this will be to their disadvantage.

“Napakatapang ng Star Cinema sa project na ito dahil it’s not the usual romantic comedy that we do,” says Angel. “It shows kung ano ang feeling ng first love, tapos nagkahiwalay kayo, at nang magkita kayo uli, iba na ang kapiling niya. Same sex na. At bale ako ang naging third party sa relasyon nila.”
“It’s not just a gay movie,” says Sam “It’s about relationships, between friends na mga mature na tao, tapos nagsanga-sanga ang story and shows what they have to resolve as mature persons. It’s the first time na may ganitong klaseng characters in a movie na ibang-iba ang dynamics.”

“All of us are leads here, the major characters,” says Zanjoe. “It’s a very modern take on an unconventional love story na ngayon pa lang namin lahat nagawa. Sam and I are both doctors here. He’s a pediatric oncologist and I’m a cosmetic surgeon. Kung minsan, may awkward situations involving us pero pinagtatawanan na lang namin and we had lots of fun sa shooting.”

We ask Angel how is it working with Sam and Zanjoe? “At first, I thought mao-OP ako sa kanila, out of place, kasi masyado silang close, but masaya kaming lahat sa set. At pareho silang magaling in their respective roles. I first worked with Sam in an episode of ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ and in the teleserye ‘Only You’, but it’s our first movie together. Si Zanjoe naman, nakasama ko na sa movie na ‘One More Try’ which was a Metro filmfest entry. Maganda ang naging bonding namin sa set kasi after work, lumalabas pa kami nang magkakasama para kumain.”

Written by Charlene Esguerra and Patrick Valencia based on a story by Enrico Santos, “The Third Party” also stars Alma Moreno, Cherry Pie Picache, Al Tantay, Matet de Leon, Beauty Gonzales, Carla Martinez, Katrina Legaspi and Mariz Racal, opening in theaters nationwide on October 12.
With regard to her own love life, Angel says she remains loveless after her break up with Luis Manzano who’s now linked to Jessy Mendiola. “Hindi ako naghahanap,” she adds. “Kusa namang dumarating yan at the right time. So hindi kailangang pilitin. I just hope the next one who comes along will really be the Mr. Right for me.”
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MEMBERS OF GMA Artist Center’s breakthrough male boyband, T.O.P. (for Top One Project), are all excited since they will be staging their first ever major concert at the Music Museum on October 28. These are Adrian Pascual, Louie Pedroso, Mico Cruz, Miko Manguba and Joshua Jacobe. They were presented to the press but Joshua was a no show as he’s not feeling well.

The group just celebrated their first anniversary last Tuesday, September 27, the day they won in the reality competition, “To The Top”, the first multi-platform boyband search in the country conducted by GMA exactly a year ago, with their mentors led by Maestro Ryan Cayabyab. “We are so thankful na naka-one year na kami,” says Louie. “We learned so much from our mentors like The Company and Philippine All Stars.”

What do they most remember about their first year in showbiz? “We were able to record our own album, staged a lot shows and when we sing our carrier single, “Pag Gising”, the audience sing along with us,” says Miko M. “Our album made it to the third sport of the Astro charts of top-selling OPM albums when it was released in May.”

“We became closer as friends, met a lot of new people and also made a lot of new friends,” says Adrian, the youngest in the group at 18 and the one with movie star good looks. “We now have plenty of fans who call themselves the UnsTOPpables.”

So what will they do in their first concert? “We’ll do a lot of things we’ve never done before,” says Mico C. “So we can show that we have a lot more to offer. We’ll sing mostly as a group but we’ll also do solo numbers. Marami rin kaming choreographed dance numbers, along with our guests, Aicelle Santos, with whom we’ll do ‘Halik’ and Kim Domingo with whom we’ll do a medley of songs.”

What’s next for them aside from the concert? “We’re planning to do a music video of our new single, ‘San Na’, which we ourselves composed,” says Mico C.

The song’s lyrics were written by Mico and Louie, with Joshua, Adrian and Miko M doing the overall sound and arrangement of the song. Tickets to their concert are available at P2000 for VIP seats, P1500 for lower box, P1000 for orchestra and P500 for balcony. A lot of tickets have already been sold and they think it will all be sold out before October 28. Proceeds from the show will go the Children’s Charity Ward of the Philippine Orthopedic Hosp. For tickets, call or visit ticketworld.com.ph
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JILLIAN WARD is fast becoming a promising teen star. She’s not only pretty but also very talented as she can both sing and act. GMA-7 should really take good care of her as she has the potential to be one of their future top stars. Jillian is currently thoroughly enjoying her role as Katherine in the hit afternoon soap, “Sa Piling ni Nanay”.

This week, she and Yasmien Kurdi as Ysabel have patched things up and are now reconciled as mother and daughter. But the evil Katrina Halili as Scarlet comes along and once again takes Jillian away from Yasmien. Jillian thinks Katrina remains to be her biological mom and Yasmien is only a surrogate. But she is able to talk to Dr. Andrada who delivered her when she was born and the doctor told her to ask Nova Villa as Matilda since Nova is the one who holds the key that will unlock all their family’s secrets. Jillian is able to open the safe of Nova and sees pertinent documents to prove that Katrina is not her real mom. She confronts Katrina with these papers and Katrina panics, not knowing what to do.
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BARBIE FORTEZA had her own festival on GMA-7 last Saturday night. She was the special guest star as Jake Vargas’ love interest in “Pepito Manaloto” and after that, she was also in “Magpakailanman”, playing the lead role of a young woman who had a strange disease and whose father, Joko Diaz, was imprisoned for drugs.

Whether she’s doing comedy like in the sitcom “Pepito Manaloto” or interpreting a very dramatic role with many challenging scenes in “Magpakailanman”, Barbie will not disappoint you and you can always expect her to deliver expertly. It’s just too bad that when her acclaimed Cinemalaya entry, “Tuos”, where she also gave a great performance as a teenage girl who rebels against their tribe’s traditions, was given regular theatrical release last week, the movie was not given any publicity at all so very few people knew about it and, as expectedly, it quickly vanished from the movie houses.

We’ve heard that Regal Entertainment has succeeded in borrowing Barbie from GMA Network to make her star in a mainstream romantic-comedy, tentatively titled “This Time Will be Sweeter”. We are told she will be paired with one of the top Kapuso young actors, Derrick Monasterio, who has already signed up to do movies with Regal earlier. Honestly, though, we don’t think this is promising simply because Derrick is paired by GMA often with Bea Binene. They just did the soap “Hanggang Makita Kang Muli” and they’re now together again in the sitcom, “Tsuper Hero”. It’s easy to see that will happen here is what happened to Andre Paras, who was paired with Yassi Pressman in the movie “Girlfriend for Hire” when he was more identified with Barbie on TV in “The Half Sisters”. So as we now all know by now, the movie with Yassi was an epic flop. Don you think both Derrick and Barbie deserve a better fate?
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Sep 29, 2016

MEGAN YOUNG and Andrea Torres are working together for the first time in “Alyas Robin Hood”, where they will be competing for the attention of lead actor Dingdong Dantes. We won’t be surprised if they’d really feel some rivalry between them. After all, Megan’s beau, Mikael Daez, is the on screen ka-love team of Andrea and they’ve been paired in several soaps before where they did some hot love scenes. How do they feel now that they’re working with each other?

“Okay lang, wala namang competition between us,” says Megan. “People ask me if I don’t get jealous sa romantic scenes nina Mikael and Andrea. The answer is no, kasi we all know naman na trabaho lang ang lahat. Huwag na lang sana kaming gawaan ng intriga.”

“Yes, walang rivalry sa amin, so walang issue,” adds Andrea. “Pati yung pagpapa-sexy namin sa ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, nilalagyan ng kulay as to who’s sexier between the two of us, pero ayaw naming magpa-pressure. Enjoy kami to work with each other.”

This week in “Alyas Robin Hood”, Dingdong as Pepe is framed up for killing his own dad. Cherie Gil as Maggie and Sid Lucero as Dean do everything to make sure that Dingdong will be convicted for a crime that Sid himself committed. Sid also plans Dingdong’s death to get rid of him for good. On the way to the courthouse, the vehicle that will transport Dingdong from jail is bombed and falls off the bridge and into the river.

His foes think Dingdong has died. Sid is rejoicing because he can now have Megan as Sarri for himself. But Dingdong is rescued by a very athletic girl, Andrea as Venus, and her dad, Rey PJ Abellana as Leandro. Venus and her dad will help train Dingdong to be the hooded crimefighter that he will soon be transformed into. They will attend a big event at the Metropolitan Museum where the Black Triad Pearls will be on display. This will be the first instance where Dingdong’s fighting skills as Alyas Robin Hood will be tested.
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Sep 28, 2016

SOFIA GONZALEZ, the eldest daughter of Tacloban City Mayor Cristina Gonzalez and ex-Mayor Alfred Romualdez started recording her debut album for Viva Records yesterday. One of the songs she did is her own composition, “Love Hurts”. How can she write a song about love when she herself admits she has never fallen in love in her entire life?

“Love is relatable naman even if you haven’t been in love yet. But actually, I’m in love pala, with food!” she laughs. “I got the inspiration for the song from my friends who fall in love then break up with their boyfriends and come to me to open up about their heartbreaks. I’m their shoulder to cry on and judging from their stories, parang ang daming lalaking manloloko.”

How long does it take for her to write a song? “‘Love Hurts’ natapos ko in 5 minutes. It was late at night, I was bored, so I wrote it. I have finished two other songs.”

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CHARO SANTOS says the most challenging part of her role as Horacia in “Ang Babaeng Humayo” is when Direk Lav Diaz required her to disguise herself as a man while planning to take revenge on Michael de Mesa who sent her to jail. “I asked him if he’s sure na ako ang kina-cast niya in such a role,” she says. “And he said, disguise nga, eh. Suot lalaki ka, magpapanggap ka. So pinag-aralan ko yun. Paano kumilos ang lalaki, pati pag-upo, na hindi model o beauty queen ang dating. I told him kapag soft ang dating ko, call my attention. After a while, nawala yung apprehension ko kasi ang kaeksena ko, si John Lloyd Cruz na ang role naman is a transgender prostitute. Nakadamit lalaki ako, nakadamit babae naman siya.”

They had to keep their roles a big secret for the longest long time. People didn’t even know John Lloyd is in the movie. “That was really part of Direk Lav’s plan. Not to reveal about John Lloyd’s presence in the film so as not to pre-empt its premiere screening in Venice. Kasi sobrang kakaiba naman talaga ang ginampanan niyang role. At napakagaling niya. One he puts on his make up as Hollanda, in character na agad siya at hindi mo na makakausap. Babalik lang siya as John Lloyd kapag nag-shower na siya and put on men’s clothes again.”

Produced by Lav’s Cine Olivia (named after his sister who perished in a car crash) and Cinema One, “Babaeng Humayo” is distributed by Star Cinema and opens in theaters today. It’s Lav’s shorted masterwork at only 3 hours and 47 minutes running time. How did Charo feel when it was not chosen as the country’s entry to the Oscars?

“It’d have been really great if we were the one chosen but then, iba-iba ang panlasa ng tao and I can accept that. Kung hindi napapanahon, hindi napapanahon. Kung nauukol talaga, e di mas okay. But I just go with the flow and move on.”

But “Babaeng Humayo” could still be nominated in the Oscars if it would have a regular theatrical screening in the U.S. and all the critics who praised it in Venice and started the Oscar buzz about it will help them. Here’s keeping our fingers crossed that this would still happen, for the sake of the movie and for Charo Santos.
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OUR CONDOLENCES to Annabelle Rama and family for the passing of her eldest sister, Pura, 78 years old, who resides in Australia. “She was here two months ago and pinutol ang mga daliri niya sa paa because of gangrene caused by diabetes,” says Ms. Rama. “Awang-awa nga ako kasi nagpaalam na siya sa akin. Hindi na raw siya tatagal.”

On a more positive note, Annabelle is happy because their family’s reality show, “It Takes Gutz to be a Gutierrez”, continues to rate high and E! Channel now wants them to shoot the next season after the final episode ends this week. “I told them rest muna kami, kasi lahat sina Richard, Ruffa, Raymond puro so busy sa ngayon. Maraming nagkagusto sa mga apo ko, ang mga anak ni Ruffa na sina Lorraine at Venice. Lorraine is like a model, so tall and slim. Si Venice, maganda ang mukha, but may tendency na tumaba. Sabi ko sa kanya kapag kain siya nang kain, sige ka, gusto mong maging kamukha ka ni Jun Lalin?”
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