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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.

Aug 5, 2017

Coco Martin Hosts Thanksgiving Dinner For 'Ang Probinsyano' As It Nears Its 2nd Anniversary, GMA Stars Aljur Abrenica & Louise De Los Reyes Formally Introduced At The Affair

COCO MARTIN’S ‘Ang Probinsyano’ hosted a thanksgiving dinner-presscon at Le Reve for its 100th week on the air. The show started in September of 2015 and has been enjoying very high ratings since then. As part of their thanksgiving, before the presscon, the cast led by Coco all went to the V. Luna AFP Hospital and staged a free show, “Saludo sa Sundalong Pilipino”, to the delight of our wounded soldiers in the Marawi conflict.

The series has since received about 80 awards from various award-giving bodies praising its story that mirrors the lives of Filipinos today. An “Ang Probinsyano” mobile game app that gives players to act as Cardo Dalisay in fighting evildoers is also a hit with 50,000 downloads five minutes after it was made available.

At the presscon, three batches of different co-stars sat down with Coco on the stage to greet and be interviewed by the press. The first batch consisted of Movie Queen Susan Roces, Yassi Pressman, Mitch Valdes, Long Mejia, Arlene Tolibas, Marvin Yap, Benj Manalo, Jerry Tam, PJ Endrinal, Awra and child stars Dang, Paquito, Ligaya and Enzo.

We wanted to greet Susan Roces a belated happy birthday for turning 76 on July 28 but we were not given the chance. Among our movie queens, Susan has maintained her untarnished reputation and high respectability through the years. Most of her matchmates at Sampaguita Pictures in the 60s are now retired, but she remains to be very active as one of our most enduring and competent senior stars. Happy birthday, Swanie! Among the stars in the show, she’s the one who gave the most number of giveaways, particularly from her highly successful RiteMed endorsement where her singing brought in more sales.

The second batch was composed of Jestoni Alarcon, Jhong Hilario, Ejay Falcon, Yam Concepcion, Ron Morales, Mark Lapid (Lito Lapid was supposed to be in this batch but he is said to be indisposed), Gene Padilla, Basilio and the latest two transferees from GMA-7, Louise de los Reyes and Aljur Abrenica.

Both Louise and Aljur were asked about their move to ABS-CBN. “Sobrang saya ko when my handler told me that I will join ‘Ang Probinsyano’,” says Louise. “Actually, I was about to go abroad for a vacation, but I had to forego it. Sabi ko agad, sige, Push na yan! I can’t explain up to now kung gaano ako ka-overwhelmed kasi noon ko pa dream to do action. And I want to thank everyone, lalo si Kuya Coco, kasi everyone is warm on the set at magaan ang atmosphere.”

“Mabilis ang pangyayari,” says Aljur. “My manager, Jon Ilagan, told me noong Monday we have a meeting sa ABS-CBN. Isasama pala ako sa ‘Ang Probinsyano’. Ayun, nag-taping na ako agad by Wednesday at iba ang kultura sa taping namin dito. Talagang tinututukan nila ako sa bawat eksena at inaalagaan nila ako nang husto.”

Louise plays a female soldier while Aljur plays an illegal miner who will be an enemy of Coco. Coco was asked how he got to convince Sen. Lito Lapid to join his hit primetime show.

“Idol ko talaga siya noon pa,” says Coco. “I asked someone to help me at nagpunta ako sa bahay niya sa Pampanga. Na-starstruck ako when we first met. Tinanong niya kung ano kailangan ko sa kanya. Sabi ko, gusto namin siyang aluking lumabas sa ‘Ang Probinsyano’. It turned out his family, nanonood pala nito. Pinakuwento niya sa’kin kung ano ang role niya at kinuwento ko naman. Sabi niya, alangan namang hindian kita, e sinadya mo pa ako rito. So ayun, naging part na siya ng show, along with his son, Mark Lapid.”

How does he feel now that the show will soon celebrate its 2nd anniversary on the air? “Mas lalo naming napi-feel ng mga kasama ko sa show ang pagmamahal at suporta sa amin ng mga tao. Dahil dito, mas inspirado kami. Ito ang nagbibigay sa amin ng lakas para lalong pagbutihin ang aming trabaho at nang mas magandahan ang viewers.”

How many more years does he think the show will last? “Hindi natin masabi. Napakataas pa ng ratings namin, umaabot sa 46.7% sa Kantar Media. Kapag bumaba na ang rating namin at naramdaman naming pagod at sawa na ang viewers sa amin, dun lang kami titigil.”