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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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May 22, 2017

THE SENIOR MEMBERS of the cast of “Mulawin vs. Ravena” include Angelu de Leon and Bobby Andrews, who used to be a top love team. Their fans are hoping their tandem will be on and off cam, but it turned out Angelu is already pregnant by her secret boyfriend then, Joko Diaz, who’s now also part of “Mulawin vs. Ravena”. How did Angelu feel working with the dad of her daughter Nicole, who’s now 18 years old taking up communication arts at the Ateneo?

“It’s no big deal,” she says. “It’s no longer an issue. Una kaming nagkita sa story con pa lang and I didn’t even know na kasama rin pala siya sa show. Pero ako na ang unang lumapit at bumati sa kanya, so we won’t feel awkward with each other. Para walang tensyon. After all, pareho naman kaming maganda na ang buhay. Past is past na and everything is forgiven and forgotten.”

Being a Christian helped Angelu to move on and she’s now a happy wife to Wowie Rivera and mother to their kids. She feels so blessed with her kids. “Mas obedient sila kumpara sa akin. They don’t give me any headache.”

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ALDEN RICHARDS and Maine Mendoza’s “Destined to Be Yours” is on its final week of telecast, to be replaced by “My Love from the Star” starting Monday, May 29. “Don’t miss it kasi patindi nang patindi ang mga eksena namin ni Maine,” says Alden. “Mas lumalala ang conflict between our two families who are both against our love affair, so you’d really wonder kung may happy ending pa kayang naghihintay sa amin as Benjie and Sinag in the story.”

“Nakakalungkot kasi patapos na ang show, pero sa lahat ng fans namin who say they’d surely miss us, chill lang kayo kasi you can still watch us naman sa ‘Eat Bulaga’, then abangan nyo yung bagong movie namin that we will start filming soon sa abroad,” says Maine. “We promise you na mas ibayong kilig at saya ang hatid ng bago naming movie kaysa sa movie namin last year na ‘Imagine You & Me’.”

Their fans had a great time when they played the truth or dare game and they found out that Maine doesn’t want Alden to wear skinny jeans. It’s obvious that she really cares for him and gives him tips on what outfits become him and what do not. Meantime, don’t miss the last few episodes of “Destined to Be Yours” where the Obispo family of Maine and the Rosales family of Alden both continue to oppose their love for each other, especially when Alden’s folks found out that he financed the exhibit of Maine’s dad, Gardo Versoza as Teddy. Is there still hope for the young lovers to be together and live happily ever after? Find out in the last remaining episodes of “Destined to Be Yours”!
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SOME FOLKS are making a big thing out of Rhian Ramos' absence at the presscon of “My Love from the Star”. But someone told us Rhian is in the show just for a special participation. “Mamamatay agad ang character niya at palalabasing nag-suicide siya,” says our source. “Pero magkakaroon ng investigation at si Jennylyn ang isa sa mapagbibintangang pumatay sa kanya, kaya maikli lang talaga ang role niya.”

The one who will conduct the investigation is Renz Fernandez who plays a police officer. At the presscon, Renz showed up with a full beard and moustache. “Itong gusto ni Direk Joyce Bernal para maiba naman daw ang dating ko sa role ko as a murder investigator.”

What was his last show? “‘Little Nanay’. Matagal-tagal na rin akong bakante kasi nga na-delay itong ‘My Love’.”

His co-star in “Little Nanay” was Kris Bernal. We thought he was courting Kris then? “I did, kasi sabi niya, ligawan ko siya. Pero tinigil ko na kasi napi-feel kong para hindi naman niya ako type. Sa body language niya, wala akong nakikitang gusto niya ko so, I told myself, bakit ko lolokohin ang sarili ko? So I stopped, pero friends pa rin kami. Nitong recent birthday niya, binati ko pa nga siya.”

So why not try to court his new co-star in “My Love from the Star”, Jackie Rice, who’s also loveless now? “Naku, magkapatid ang roles namin dito, e. Huwag na lang at baka makagulo pa sa trabaho namin.”
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JACKIE RICE is the only winner in Starstruck 3 who is still active today. Marky Cielo has passed, Gian Carlo has gotten married and Iwa Moto has retired. Although she has played lead in some soaps, Jackie is now supporting Jennylyn Mercado, Starstruck 1 winner in "My Love from the Star" that starts airing on Monday. “First time ko to work with her and it excites me," she says. "I told her idol ko siya noon pa man and she’s the reason why I joined Starstruck 3 then.”

How come she hasn’t played any lead roles lately? “Okay lang, basta happy ako sa roles ko, like in ‘My Love from a Star’ na pinanood ko talaga before as a Koreanovela, kaya fan ako nun and I’m happy to be part of the local adaptation. I play Lucy, best friend ni Jennylyn from high school na artista rin pero laging suporta lang sa kanya. Tahimik lang ako rito at happy na sa pagiging supporting actress. Pero magkaribal ang mothers namin dito ni Jen. Siya, si Glydel Mercado at ako naman, si Melissa Mendez, na pinu-push ako para sumikat ding gaya ni Jen. Brother ko naman dito si Renz Fernandez at gusto ko rito si Christian Bautista, pero si Jen ang mas gusto niya.”

So how’s her long time non-showbiz BF? “Wala na kami. Halos eight years kami, pero we broke up eight months ago.”

What’s the reason? “E, siguro, hanggang talagang doon na lang ang relasyon namin. Dumaan lang kami sa buhay ng isa’t isa to somehow help each other grow. Walang forever. Pero siya ang longest na naging BF ko. Kaya lang, after a month, I learned na napalitan agad ako. Ako, wala pang bago, pero happy ako kasi mas may time ako sa parents ko, sa family ko. But I wish we could still be friends kasi since we broke up, hindi niya ako kinakausap. Nagseselos yata sa’kin ang GF niya ngayon.”

She admits there was a “luka-lukahan” phase in her career before when she became unprofessional. “Hindi pa kasi ako sure sa sarili ko noon. Mas inuuna ko pa ang gumimik. But now, I’ve realized, ito talaga ang gusto kong gawin, ang umarte. Ang wish ko, dito na ako tumanda at sana magaya ako sa senior actresses nating pagaling nang pagaling habang tumatagal. Si Jean Garcia ang peg ko. Di ba, hindi nawawalan ng work at ang husay-husay pa rin kaya respetado ng lahat?”
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May 21, 2017

KIKO ESTRADA is the third wheel in the romance of Derrick Monasterio and Bea Binene in “Mulawin Vs. Ravena”. His last show was “Sinungaling Mong Puso” then he did a movie, “Pwera Usog”.

About his lovelife, how does he feel that his ex-GF is now said to be playing beautiful music with Jak Roberto? “Confirmed na ba yun?” he says. “Kung totoo, I’m happy for them.”

Would he still be willing to work with Barbie? “Of course naman, she’s one of our best actress today so kahit sino, gugustuhing makatrabaho siya.”

So he’s not avoiding her? “Not at all. Gusto ko nga siyang makausap so we can have a formal closure pero siya itong ayaw akong kausapin. I really don’t know what I have to do kasi wala naman kaming pinag-awayan talaga. Maski tanungin nyo siya, wala akong maisip na naging away namin. Kaya gusto kong ayusin dahil I want us to remain good friends. Naging on kami noong May last year after we did ‘That’s My Amboy’. Bale three months lang kami. Love siya ng mommy ko (Cheska Diaz) na nalungkot nga noong malamang hindi na kami. But I’m very happy sa success niya ngayon, lalo na’t top rater ang ‘Meant to Be’ niya. I wish her all the best.”

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DIRECTOR PRIME CRUZ is one of the wards of IdeaFirst Production, the company of Jun Lana and Perci Intalan that gives breaks to promising young filmmakers, along with other young directors like Miko Livelo in “I Love You to Death” and Ian Payawal in “I America”. Prime was discovered when he joined Jun’s writing workshop, Cine Panulat, and his full length film debut is “Sleepless”, an entry in QCinema that won the best actor award for Dominic Roco and the NETPAC Jury Prize as best picture.

The film is a different kind of romantic-comedy about two call center agents suffering from insomnia who find companionship in their late night conversations. While the rest of the world is in slumber, they talk about love, work, zombies and everything else to combat their nocturnal sadness. Prime was born on November 8, 1987 as Primocyrius Cruz and finished communications at the Ateneo. The eldest of three kids, his family was hoping he’ll be a lawyer like his dad but he forayed into filmmaking instead.

He initially worked as brainstormer for Star Cinema, where he met his girlfriend, Jenny Chuaunsu, born on December 20, 1982, also a graduate of Ateneo majoring in creative writing. He then directed four episodes of “Parang Normal Activity” for TV5 and the award-winning short film, “Kung ang Ulan ay Gawa sa Tsokolate”, before doing “Sleepless” that premiered abroad at the Osaka International Filmfest.

“‘Sleepless’ actually started from an old script of Jenny about 8 years ago,” he says. “I’m glad I was able to help her tell the story and I really enjoyed making the film kasi the characters of Gem and Barry, kami yun, e. Yung aming own late night conversations when it’s quieter kasi tulog na ang mga tao kasi pareho kami, we have trouble falling asleep. Having two people talk and connect in this lonely setting was a central element in the film.”

Why did he include animation in the movie? “It’s a way of visualizing the trivial or silly things that the characters talk about, their way of escaping from reality that gives them a connection. Kung may budget nga kami, I would have made the special effects even more awesome.”

After this movie, Prime directed another QCinema entry, “Manananggal sa
Unit 23-B” with Ryza Cenon. He must be really that good as he now has three simultaneous film projects with top three companies: Regal Entertainment, Star Cinema, and Viva. For Regal, he’s doing a horror flick called “The Debutantes” starring newcomers like Sue Ramirez, Michelle Vito, Jane de Leon and Chanel Morales. He’s doing a romcom starring Gerald Anderson and Arci Munoz for Star, titled “”Can We Still Be Friends”. For Viva, he’s doing a project for producer Neil Arce. Don’t miss “Sleepless” when it opens in theaters on May 26 in SM Cinemas as part of the Film Development Council of the Philippines’ Cine Lokal. It will run until June 1.
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VALERIE CONCEPCION is back with GMA-7 playing the role of Tuka in “Mulawin Vs. Ravena” that starts airing tonight after “24 Oras”. “My last show with them was ‘Because of You’ as the estranged wife of Gabby Concepcion,” she says. “After that, I did ‘Probinsyano’ with ABS-CBN, one month ako roon, then I joined Jericho Rosales’ ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’. Free lancer naman ako kaya it’s easy for me to cross channels.”

The last time we talked to her, she had a doctor boyfriend and they were planning to settle down. “Hindi po natuloy. My boyfriend now is Francis Sunga from Guam, a marshall sa Supreme Court nila roon. He was on vacation here when we were introduced to me by his cousin na friend ko. That’s four months ago. Nag-click agad kami so it’s now an LDR (long distance relationship).”

So is this for good? Do we hear wedding bells soon? “I don’t know. Too early to tell. I have a daughter, Heather Fiona, who’s turning 13 in October. Siya naman, he has a son, 8 years old. Pareho kaming unattached. So, tingnan natin. As of now, akong nagpupunta sa Guam nung wala pa kong taping. I don’t mind living there kung sakaling magkakatuluyan kami.”

Is her daughter joining showbiz? “She’s interested but ang mas gusto ko, mag-beauty queen siya. Kasi ang tangkad at mahahaba ang biyas. 12 pa lang, 5’3” na, so parang mas tataasan pa ako.”

Is her role in “Mulawin Vs. Ravena” a good or bad character? “Si Tuka, foster mom ni Bianca Umali as Lawiswis at aapi-apihin ko siya. Ambisyosa siya, gusto niyang maging Reyna ng mga Mulawin kaya ise-seduce ko rito yung Hari nila, si Roi Vinzon as Daragit. Abangan nyo dahil maraming gagawin si Tuka rito na magiging dahilan kung bakit si Lawiswis, papanig sa mga Ravena kahit Mulawin siya sa simula ng series.”
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THE KOREAN film “One Step” starring Sandara Park bombed and laid a big fat egg at the local box office. It proves that Sandara doesn’t really have that big of a loyal following here even if she’s already very much familiar to local audiences because of the movies and TV shows she did with ABS-CBN before. So those who are suggesting that her love team with Hero Angeles be revived, just dream on. They’re both things of the past and there’s no more Part 2 for their tandem after their lost opportunities.

There’s an impression that Korean stars have a big following here in Manila. Maybe, on TV, yes, but on the big screen, we beg to disagree as no Korean film has really become a blockbuster except for the zombie thriller that is “Train to Busan” starring Gong Yoo.

But Gong Yoo’s other big movie, “The Age of Shadows”, was hardly noticed when shown here, even if it was very well reviewed. The movies of another very popular Korean actor, Lee Min Ho, like “Gangnam Blues” and “Bounty Hunters” didn’t really make that big a dent at the tills when they were released here, dubbed in Tagalog at that.

Other Korean movies that were big hits in Korea but didn’t do well locally are “Ode to My Father” (which is a well made, great drama about Korea’s modern history from the Hungnam evacuation during the Korean War until their involvement in Vietnam War), “Miracle in Cell No. 7” (a tearjerker about a mentally challenged man wrongfully accused of murder), and “Roaring Currents” (a war film which is the most watched movie in Korea.) If they want their movies to be hits here, then they should promote it more extensively.
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AI AI DE LAS ALAS became emotional at the thanksgiving lunch given by Regal’s Mother Lily Monteverde for the big success of “Our Mighty Yaya”. She’s so happy that she just won an international acting award for the drama she did last year, “Area”, and she now has a bonafide box office hit in “Our Mighty Yaya”.

“A few years ago, dumaan talaga ako sa maraming trials,” she recalls. “Namatay ang mother ko, nahiwalay ako sa asawa, nag-flop ang movie ko (the one with Kim Chiu) at wala akong ginagawa. Gusto ko nang mag-abroad kasi walang kumukuha sa’kin dito. Sasama na lang ako sa mga anak ko roon. I questioned si Lord, what did I do wrong at nangyayari sa’kin ito? Na-feel ko ang sagot niya, ‘Anak, maghintay ka lang sa tamang panahon.’ At yun na nga, binabalik niya ngayon. Biglang pinatawag ako ni Mrs. Tony Tuviera. Nag-sign up ako sa GMA-7. May hit TV shows akong ‘Sunday Pinasaya’ at ‘Hay Bahay’. May hit movie rin ako ngayon. Nanalo pa ko ng acting awards abroad. So yung nawala kong kumpiyansa sa sarili ko, naibalik na at salamat kay Mother Lily at sa daughter niyang si Roselle na patuloy na naniwala sa akin. Kaya ako naiiyak, kasi may mga tumutulong pa rin sa akin para makapag-stay ako sa showbiz.”

At this point, Mother Lily butts in. She’s also crying and cracks a joke to lighten things up. “Thank you, Ai Ai, for making me rich again. I’m rich again because of you!”

Mother Lily said “Our Mighty Yaya” earned P35 million on its first week of shooting. “Honest yan, walang padding. Tapos, itong second week, ang lakas-lakas pa rin. Mas dumarami ang nanonood dahil sa good word of mouth endorsement.”

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A LOT OF the female members of the cast of “Mulawin Vs. Ravena” came to its presscon in revealing gowns plunging necklines, like Lovi Poe, Bea Binene, Bianca Umali and even Regine Velasquez who plays Sandawa, Inang Kalikasan. But one of the standouts is the tall and statuesque Winwyn Marquez who came in a stunning black gown with a high slit that shows off her long legs. She found time to sit with us on our table and she’s as amiable as ever. We ask her about some of her half siblings, like Mark Anthony Fernandez. Has she visited him?

“Yes, about five times na,” she says. “Okay naman siya. He remains optimistic na makakalabas din siya. Siempre mahirap ang lagay niya roon, lalo ngayon, sobrang init ng panahon. I keep on praying for him.”

How about her Ate Jowee, daughter of her dad Joey Marquez and former actress Brenda del Rio? “Yes, I congratulated her right away after she passed the bar exams. I’m so proud of her as she’s the first lawyer in our family. We’re okay. She came to my birthday party.”

In “Mulawin Vs. Ravena”, that starts airing on Monday night, she plays Ribay, the second in command of Chynna Ortaleza, the Ravena queen. Ribay knows the truth about the missing child of Dennis Trillo as Gabriel, the king. “Nakapag-taping na ako for several times and we’re now into Week 4 of the story. I’m just happy to be part of this very big telefantasya.”

And how is Mark Herras, her inamorato? “Okay naman. Bale one year and 4 months na kami.”
So is she sure he’s the one for her? “Sana nga, in the end, siya na talaga. Kasi, otherwise, why would I invest in this relationship kung hindi kami seryoso? But we’re not thinking of settling down yet. In time siguro, but not now na marami pa akong priorities.”

Like joining the coming Miss World Philippines contest? “No, I have to let go of that kasi kasama ako rito sa ‘Mulawin’. Kapag nakuha kang contestant, you’ll have to stay with them, e I can’t do that kasi nagte-taping ako for ‘Mulawin’. Siguro by next year, sa Bb. Pilipinas ako mag-join uli. Last chance ko na yan kasi I’ll be 25 na.”

How come there are reports that Mark is having problems in his relationship with his child whom he has not seen for sometime? “I’ve met his daughter and I feel sad sa nangyayari sa kanila but I’m not in a position to say anything kasi issue nila yan, so ayokong sumagot or sumawsaw at all. Si Mark na lang ang itanong nyo dahil wala akong karapatang makialam diyan.”

Is it just okay for her that Mark has a love child? “Okay lang naman, kasi I myself come from a family na marami akong half brothers and sisters. Sanay na ako.”
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