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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 10, 2018

DIREK JOEL LAMANGAN says ‘Pamilya Roces’ is ending this Friday. “Ang usapan talaga is for ten weeks,” he says. “Kapag nag-hit, then we’ll be extended. So now, on our 10th week, ending na kami kasi di namin matalo yung ‘Halik’ sa kabila. But I enjoyed doing this show. Ang ganda ng concept of a man having three different families na hindi magkasundo-sundo.”

He enjoyed working with the female cast. “Magaling talaga lahat yung mga babae, from Gloria Diaz to the youngest members of the female cast. Dinagdag pa si Katrina Halili na talaga namang napakahusay. Bilib ako. Lahat ng pinagawa ko, walang kiyeme, ginagawa agad. Sabi ko, maghubad ka, kasi ang sesexy nung nasa kabila, hubad agad, naka-bra at panty. Sabi ko, makipaglaplapan ka kay Roi Vinzon, ginawa rin. She’s an instinctive actress. I want to work with her again. Pati si Jasmine Curtis Smith na napakahusay rin. Isa pang puedeng pambida sa kanila, si Max Collins na nakatrabaho ko as the young Gloria Romero in ‘Rainbow’s Sunset’, napakaganda na, napakagaling pa.”

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GEN. RONALD ‘BATO’ de la Rosa had lunch with some showbiz writers and he was asked why he’s called Bato.

“I was born in Barangay Bato in Sta. Cruz Davao del Sur,” he says. “Then, dahil solid na solid ang katawan ko noon due to workouts, my colleagues called me Bato.”

He comes from very humble beginnings. Born on January 21, 1962, his dad is a tricycle driver and his mom is a market vendor. He first worked as a market porter and, later, bus conductor. He walks 8 kilometers to and from school without any “baon” and he’d get his lunch by doing his classmates’ school assignments. He’s serious in getting a good education and after going to the local high school, he got a public administration degree from the Mindanao State University then was accepted at the PMA where he graduated in 1986.

He then got his masters in public admin and doctorate in development admin from Southeastern Philippines University in Davao City. As a cop, he got more training in the USA and Australia. He became Davao City police chief and later worked with PNP HQ in Camp Crame. He was PNP chief for two years then became the director of the Bureau of Corrections before he filed his certificate of candidacy as senator. He is one of those who top surveys and he now gets his own share of bashers, but he has learned to ignore them.

“I don’t let them affect me because I have more admirers than bashers,” he says. “They want me to repackage myself but this is me, you have to take me for what I am.”

If ever his life would be filmed, he wants it to be an action-comedy. “Maaksiyon ang buhay ko dahil sa dami ng kriminal na nakalaban ako. Pero masayahin akong tao kaya dapat may comedy rin.”

If ever, he’d like Robin Padilla to portray him with Sharon Cuneta as his wife, Nancy Johnson Comandate to whom he's been married since 1989. They have three children. “But no apo yet. Ayaw pang mag-asawa ng mga anak ko, e.”

He enjoys going around the country in his motorcycle. “Mas enjoy ako kasi nakakaikot ako sa iba’t ibang probinsiya at nami-meet ko nang harapan ang mga tao,” he adds. “Gusto ko talagang magserbisyo sa bansa.”

What would be his advocacies as a senator? “First on my agenda is the restoration of the death penalty for drug traffickers. Yung mga nagbabaha ng drugs dito sa atin galing sa China. Sa ibang countries, takot sila kasi may death penalty. Dito, nakakulong lang sila and sometimes, they even operate while in prison. Then I want to return the training of cops sa PNP mismo. Kasi, paano mo sila madidisiplina if they’re not directly under you? Then I will push for the National ID as a deterrent to crime and for prepaid cellphones to be listed down kasi ginagamit sa krimen then you cannot even track them down. We need a law for that.”

What’s his take on cops complaining about how they’re portrayed in “Probinsyano”? “I can understand them kasi 2 percent lang naman ang rogue cops, pero bakit puro yun ang pinapakita nila? How about the accomplishments of the 98 percent na matino naman? Dapat yun ang ipakita nila, not just the negative.”
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SHEENA HALILI belongs to Starstruck Batch 1 launched in 2004. She’s one of the few who remains active. “Isa rin ako sa mga single pa at wala pang anak,” she adds.

Her female batch mates who now have a love child are Jennylyn Mercado and Katrina Halili, while Yasmien Kurdi and Nadine Samonte are married with kids. Cristine Reyes also has a daughter but now reportedly split from her husband. “Si Jade Lopez, kailan pa lang kinasal at wala pang baby,” she says.

And she is now officially engaged to her non-showbiz boyfriend named Jeron Manzanero who proposed to her inside a moviehouse where he did a special footage with her close friends asking her to marry him. She was wearing the diamond engagement ring he gave her when she attended the presscon of her new movie, “The Girl in the Orange Dress”.

“Yes, we already have wedding plans but nothing definite yet. Siguro next year. Nagsabi na rin siya sa parents ko. Gusto sana namin, sa malamig na month like January or February kaya lang masyadong malapit na yun so we have no time to prepare so ide-delay na lang namin, para more time to prepare pati ang friends ko for a bridal shower. Gusto ko ring makahanap ng magandang venue for our wedding.”

So what’s her role in “The Girl with the Orange Dress”? “Best friend ako rito ni Jessy Mendiola. Tatlo kami, along with Ria Atayde and Hannah Ledesma. Nang ma-trap si Jessy with Jericho Rosales inside a hotel at hina-hunting sila ng press, nakasama kami sa gulo. It’s a great romantic comedy that’s full of fun.”

Didn’t she feel awkward that most of her co-stars are Kapamilya actors while she is a Kapuso? “Okay naman. Na-miss ko talaga gumawa ng movie. My last one was ‘One Last Summer’ pa with Julie Anne San Jose, e ang tagal na noon. I also welcome the opportunity of being able to work with actors from the other network. They’re all nice, lalo na si Jessy na madalas kong kaeksena. Wala siyang arte sa katawan at naging masaya kami lahat during the shooting.”

On TV, her last show was “Victor Magtanggol” with Alden Richards. So what’s next for her? “As of now, wala pa kasi katatapos nga lang ng ‘Victor’. Siguro next year na uli ako mabibigyan ng bagong soap.”

She’s been the best friend of Maine Mendoza after they did “Destined to Be Yours”. Is it true Maine is now playing beautiful music with Arjo Atayde? “Ay, mas mabuti po siguro kung sila ang mismong tanungin nyo tungkol diyan."
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Dec 9, 2018

DIRECTOR JOEL LAMANGAN has reason to be glad because his entry in the coming Metro-Manila Filmfest, “Rainbow’s Sunset”, is getting very good feedback from those who’ve seen it in its press preview. The acting of the whole cast led by Eddie Garcia, Gloria Romero, Tirso Cruz III, Aiko Melendez and Sunshine Dizon is universally praised, with some of them predicted to win awards.

But eventhough the film has yet to be shown, Joel is now starting to shoot another new movie, “Burak (Filth)”, a socially relevant film about the dregs of society who are victims of poverty and corruption. This is written by Eric Ramos, produced by Dennis C. Evangelista for Mrs. Baby Go of BG Productions International. The story is set in a small island on Manila Bay called Sitio Onse, a sanctuary for the lower depths of all kinds of criminals who are all beholden to a corrupt cop, Julius, played by Jay Manalo.

The story is told from the point of view of Cherry Pie Picache as Marya, Jay’s former lover who he brought to the island and where she’s now considered as the First Lady. “Matagal na akong hindi nakagawa ng indie film but after reading the script of ‘Burak’, nagustuhan ko agad,” she says. “I love my character, a probinsyana who goes to the big city for a better life but ends up being a prostitute and a swindler, a snatcher. My character maybe a con artist, but she’s actually a victim of society who becomes a survivor. At this point in my career, I really want to do something na makabuluhan like this. What the movie really shows is that even among criminals, may natitira pa ring kabutihan.

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JOHN MELO gained fame in the early 90s with hit songs like “Hinahanap-Hanap Kita”, “Ikaw Pala ang Minamahal”, “Magtiwala Ka” and “Basta’t Mahal Kita”. He won the Awit Awards best new male performer trophy in 1993, besting out other singers like Chad Borja, Calvin Millado and Willie Garte. He had two albums with Ivory Records, released in 1992 and 1994, with songs written by Vehnee Saturno and the late Alex Catedrilla. Anthony Castelo was his idol and he revived two of Anthony’s songs, “Nang Dahil sa Pag-ibig” and “Ibig Kong Ibigin Ka”.

His debut album got a gold record award, but he left his career here and migrated to Canada then to the U.S. where he now lives in San Ramon, California with his wife Precilyn Silvestre and their three children, two boys and a girl aged 16, 15 and 8.

He’s a dentist by profession, also his wife, and they have put up their own dental clinics in Newark and San Jose. They’re members of the American Dental Association. He’s currently back in town to promote his new song, a Christmas ditty entitled “Malapit Na ang Pasko”, penned by Jimmy Borja.

“Siempre, nami-miss ko ang Pilipinas at ang pagkanta. Also, kilala ako ng maraming Fil-Ams sa California na gustong kumanta at tinutulungan ko sila. Kilala rin ako ng OFW’s dahil sa youtube and when I posted the song’s music video sa internet, with the Golden Gate Bridge as the background, naging big hit ito agad sa kanila. Naka-300,000 plus hits na ito sa youtube at sa Facebook, it has 3.1 million views. Being an OFW myself, I dedicate this to them. Nakaka-identify sila theme at lyrics ng kanta kasi nakaka-miss talaga ang Pasko sa Pinas, lalo na yung nawala sa mga pamilya nila. Pero kailangan mong mag-sacrifice working abroad para mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan ang iyong mga mahal sa buhay.”

You can access “Malapit Na ang Pasko” on Spotify, Youtube and on John’s own company, John Melo Entertainment. It’s now getting good airplay on radio not only in Luzon but also in Visayas and Mindanao. We won’t be surprised if it’d later be a Christmas classic like “Pasko Na Sinta Ko”, “Missed Kita Kung Christmas” and “Sana Ngayong Pasko” because it has such touching lyrics na may kurot sa puso especially for homesick OFW’s.
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 ANNE CURTIS is the busiest actress on the big screen this year. She’s had two hits so far, the romantic drama “Sid & Aya” and the action-thriller “Buy Bust”. After these films were shown, she went on a much delayed honeymoon with husband Erwan Heussaff to South Africa. Now, she’s back home and busy again promoting her third movie for this year, “Aurora”, an official entry in the coming Metro-Manila Filmfest.

“This is really a very good year for me,” she says. “Aside from the movies I did, I also had hit
 concert at Araneta, ‘Anne Bisyosa’. Ang dami kong blessings to be thankful for. And now, I even have an official entry in the Metro Manila Filmfest, ‘Aurora’, of which I’m really proud dahil sobrang kakaiba siya sa movies na nagawa ko na before. Horror siya, but it’s a different kind of horror film. I’ve done other horror films before like ‘Wag Kang Lilingon’ and ‘Ika-13 Kapitulo’, but this is very quiet, understated, at hindi yung basta tili lang ako ng tili dahil sa takot. Even the tone, the atmosphere is dark and gloomy.”

The title “Aurora” refers to the name of a boat that sunk in the ocean with about a thousand passengers inside. Many dead bodies have already been found floating in the water, but the relatives of the missing passengers who have yet to be found firmly believe they might still be alive somewhere. Filmed totally in Batanes, Anne plays Leana, the owner of an inn by the seaside.

The frantic relatives looking for survivors ask Leana’s help to search for their missing loved ones. In return, she will be paid a hefty sum for her efforts. She’s quite scared but she accepts the offer. She is assisted by her former boyfriend, Ricky (Marco Gumabao), and the boatman named Eddie (Alan Paule.) This is where Anne and her 8-year old sister, Rita (Phoebe Villamor), start experiencing creepy and terrifying incidents that will scare them (and the viewers, too) out of their wits. “Aurora” is produced by Viva Films with Aliud Entertainment. It’s written and directed by Yam Laranas.

Writers are curious as to when she and husband Erwan will have a baby. Anne chooses to decline answering it, saying: “I’d rather not answer it. It’s a personal question.”

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NEW HUNK ACTOR SHIDO ROXAS makes a splash playing the young and gay Eddie Garcia in Joel Lamangan’s filmfest entry, “Rainbow’s Sunset”. “I really had second thoughts about it since it required me to have torrid kissing scenes, described in the script as matinding laplapan, with another guy, Ross Pesigan, who plays the young Tony Mabesa,” he says. “I was very apprehensive but my manager, Leo Dominguez, talked to me. One hour kaming nagmiting. He explained to me that it’s a good role kasi not everyone gets the chance to play Eddie Garcia and he said I should not worry about the kissing scene kasi Direk Joel will guide us, so I agreed to do it. Sa kissing scene, he told us to do it right away without any reluctance para one take lang. It ends with my wife, Max Collins as the young Gloria Romero, catching us in the act.”

Standing 5’10” and with a good physique, he’s very honest in admitting he’s turning 28 on December 17. Isn’t he quite late in joining showbiz? “I know. Bata pa ako, talent scouts who see me in public would offer to manage me but I’m not interested in showbiz then. My mom wants me to be a lawyer after I finished economics in La Salle, pero ayoko. I looked for a school in Japan where I can enroll and I stayed there for five years to get a second degree in international management. Pagbalik ko rito, Cosmo Bachelor got me as one of their models and I agreed. After that, I did many TV commercials. I met Leo Dominguez and I agreed to be managed by him as I can see he’s very hands on in handling his talents. I was first cast as the new boyfriend of Erich Gonzales in ‘The Significant Other’, also directed by Direk Joel.”

Shido’s real name is Sydney. It’s in Japan that he got nicknamed as Shido. He’s the eldest of four kids and has relatives in showbiz, like Faith Cuneta and Ayen Laurel. “But I don’t think they know me. Sabi lang ng mom ko, we’re related.”

He’s now glad that he accepted “Rainbow’s Sunset”. “Big challenge for me how to play a young Eddie kasi I know he’s a prominent icon in showbiz. I watched his old films and also gay films like ‘Lihis’ with Jake Cuenca and ‘Muli’ with Sid Lucero to get an idea on how to do it. Wala naman akong problem sa LGBT community kasi may mga kamag-anak akong gay, both men and women, so I have no gender biases talaga. I got very encouraging remarks from Direk Joel for my performance so now, ganado na akong ituloy ang pag-aartista ko. There’s a new offer from a comebacking director. Sana nga, matuloy.”

Does he have a girlfriend? “Yes, but right now, the status is complicated. She’s a model, part Russian, who’s based in Italy. I met her in Japan. Nag-break kami, tapos nagkabalikan, but we’re so far apart from each other.”

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MAINE MENDOZA was chided by some folks who asked her if she’d still have a career after her AlDub love team with Alden Richards has waned. Well, the answer is a big YES! Twitter Philippines just announced that she’s the Most Tweeted among Pinoy celebrities for 2018, declaring that: “@mainedcm cinched the highest place once again in the most tweeted about Filipino celebrities.”

Following Maine in the number 2 and 3 spots are Maymay Entrata and Kisses Delavin and Alden himself is just in the number 4 slot. Even without Alden, it’s obvious that Maine remains to be talked about. When she came out with her own brand of lisptick, it was sold out in a jiffy, proving that her ardent followers continue to support her. And she has a new TV show and a new movie, all without Alden.

Her ‘Daddy’s Gurl’ with Vic Sotto is a hit sitcom and her movie with Coco Martin and Vic, “Jack Em Popoy”, is a much awaited entry in the coming Metro-Manila Filmfest. For sure, there will be a Twitter Party among her fans before its showing to help it be a topgrosser at the box office.

At the movie’s presscon, Maine admits that “Jack Em Popoy, The Pulis Credibles” is a big blessing for her. “Malaking karangalan na makatrabaho ko for the first nang magkasama sa isang movie sina Bossing Vic at Sir Coco Martin,” she declares. “Marami akong naging bagong experiences and met a lot of new people while doing this film. Marami talagang bago. Nag-action ako rito sa role ko as a policewoman. Malamya nga, e! But I enjoyed it all, si Lito Lapid pa ang action director namin, kaya I’m really proud of this movie and excited na akong mapanood ito ng mga tao.”

How is it working with Coco? “Nagulat ako, kasi I thought he’d be intimidating, but he turned out to be so approachable, very much a gentleman, mabait talaga. Pagdating naman sa trabaho, very meticilous siya sa mga eksena, Very passionate din siya sa craft niya, perfectionist, kaya maganda talaga lumabas ang movie namin. He never treated me na baguhan pa lang ako at tagakabilang station. I really enjoyed working with him at sana, makatrabaho ko pa uli siya in the future.”

The title “Jack Em Popoy” are the nicknames of the three leads. Coco is Jack Halimuyak, Maine is Emily Fernandez and Vic is Maine’s dad, Popoy Fernandez. They’re all cops who work for the same police station and they would be joining forces in a special dangerous mission. Supporting them are Ronaldo Valdez, Tirso Cruz III, Cherry Pie Picache, Ryza Cenon, Arjo Atayde, Paolo Ballesteros, Wally Bayola, Jose Manalo, Mark Lapid Ryza Mae Dizon, and many more.

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Dec 7, 2018

BONG GO got noticed because of his photos with Pres. Duterte and other world leaders that he earned such tags as Pambansang Photobomber and Selfie King. His full name is Christopher Lawrence Tesoro Go and he turned 44 last June 14. He has a management degree from La Salle. He’s been an assistant and personal aide of Duterte since 1998 in Davao.

When Duterte became president, he was appointed as Special Assistant to the President with the rank of secretary, a post which he had to give up now that he’s running for the senate. When he filed his candidacy, the president accompanied him in person, making folks say he’s a sure winner since he’s also a frontrunner in the surveys of senatoriables. Some people now call him Senator but he demurs, saying he’s more of a janitor since he used to be the president’s all around utility man and alalay since his days as mayor of Davao.

He had a tete-a-tete with selected entertainment writers and he says he’s a certified movie fan. “As a boy of around 6 or 7 in Davao, I’d watch the films of FPJ, Lito Lapid and Phillip Salvador in wooden movie houses na puede kang mag-smoke sa loob at jumingle sa floor,” he says. “Wala pang malls noon, e. Who would have thought na magiging katropa ko pala ngayon sina Ipe, Phillip and the daughter of FPJ, Grace Poe.”

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VICE GANDA has been ruling the Metro filmfest for the past several years now with topgrossing entries like “Praybeyt Benjamin”, “Beauty and the Bestie”, “Boy Girl’ Bakla Tomboy”, “Sisterakas”, “Petrang Kabayo”, and “The Revengers”. In 2016, his entry, “Super Parental Guardians”, was rejected by the filmfest but it turned out to have earned better than any of the entries they chose then.

“Wala naman po kaming gustong gawin kundi pasayahin lang ang viewers,” says Vice. “At ginagarantiyahan ko po sa inyo that everyone will have a great time watching our new movie na ‘Fantastica’. Hindi lang ito basta raket kundi patatawanin namin talaga kayo. Walang lalabas ng sinehan na hindi natawa kasi meron talagang eksena na sure akong magpapatawa sa bawat viewer nito.”

It’s really his time now, his season, so whatever movie he does, people flock to it. Some quarters call his movies trash or “basura” but this proves that the adage na “may pera sa basura” is simply true.

Vice is glad to work for the first time with former Kapuso Richard Gutierrez as the Prince of Fantastica and still a Kapuso Dingdong Dantes as Gangnam. “Kakaiba talaga ang dynamics ng big cast namin,” adds Vice. “Noong una, napansin ko na sa shooting, puro kina Chard at Dong lang naka-focus yung pagpapatawa, so sabi ko sa director namin, si Barry Gonzales, yung next scenes, mag-focus naman sa’kin. I play the role of Belat, anak ako ni Jaclyn Jose as Miss Fe at mga kapatid ko sina Edward Barber as Junjun, Ronnie Alonte as Daks and Donny Pangilinan as Pepe. Kapartner nila mga ka love team nilang sina Maymay Entrata, Loisa Andalio and Kisses Delavin. Kasama rin namin ang comedians na sina Ryan Bang as Dongman, brother ni Dingdong, plus Lassie as Chakalyn, Lassie as Chubbylyn, Miss Q&A winner Juliana as Songbird, alagad ni Bela, and Chokoleit as a princess in Fantastica.”

He’s used to directors like Joyce Bernal and the late Wenn Deramas. How is it working with a new one like Barry Gonzales? “When Joyce backed out, Barry was suggested by Star Cinema. E, I know him kasi trainee siya noon ni Direk Wenn. They told me to watch his first film (“Fanboy/Fangirl”) at okay naman. Everyone has nothing but good words for him at totoo naman pala. Hindi katakatakang ang laki ng tiwala ng Star Cinema sa kanya. Now, nagkaroon tayo ng bagong comedy director.”
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