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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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Mar 22, 2019

cristine reyes with co-star enzo pineda in NANG NGUMITI ANG LANGIT pressscon

CRISTINE REYES has a new movie, “Maria”, where she plays an ass-kicking heroine out to avenge the murder of her husband and daughter, and she has a new TV drama, “Nang Ngumiti ang Langit”, where she plays a contravida role as the cruel aunt of new child star Sophia Reola. Folks are now wondering why she accepted such a villain role?

“Actually, ako mismo ang nag-request nito sa ABS-CBN Business Unit Head na si Ruel Bayani ng RSB Drama Unit,” she says. “Kasi lagi na lang akong naaapi, just like sa last soap kong ‘Tubig at Langis’, so sabi ko kay RSB, sa susunod, gustong kong mag-try ng ibang klase role naman. Something new.

"Alam ko, maraming magagalit sa’kin dito dahil sa pang-aapi ko kay Sophia Reola as Mikmik, but okay lang basta maayos kong magampanan ang role ko. Even my own daughter, si Amarah, nang makita yung eksenang tinapak-tapakan ko yung halamang tanim ni Mikmik, sabi sa’kin, why are you so mean to her? So I had to explain to her that I was just playing a role, uma-acting lang ako at hindi totoong inaapi ko si Sophia. So, naintindihan naman niya.”

In the story, she plays Katrina, the wife of Rafa Siguion Reyna as Erik, who died and they accused RK Bagatsing to be the killer. RK is married to Kaye Abad as Ella, the mom of Mikmik who later had terminal illness so Mikmik is given to the family of Pilar Pilapil as Divina, the mother of Rafa and this gives Cristine the chance to vent on her anger on Mikmik for the death of her husband. In real life, Cristine says she will never hurt a child.

“Ingat na ingat ako sa mga eksena namin ni Sophia Reola kasi I want to make sure na hindi ko siya masaktan,” she says. “My role here is the exact opposite of my role in ‘Maria’ as the protective mom of my daughter na pinatay naman ng mga kaaway ko kaya ipinaghiganti ko siya Diyan, maraming eksena ng bugbugan na nagkakasakitan kami talaga ng mga kalaban ko, which includes Ivan Padilla, my former lover na naging mortal enemy ko, at sina Jennifer Lee and Cindy Miranda as female assassins who worked for him. Walang daya lang ng fight scenes and stunts namin diyan. Kami talaga ang gumawa.”

About her personal life, Cristine has admitted in a TV show that she and husband Ali Kathibi (they were married in 2016) have really separated, but they remain civil with each other for the sake of their daughter Amarah. Cristine doesn’t really have to hide the real score anymore because, earlier, her older sister Ara Mina, has confessed in another interview that she and Ali have already called it quits. In effect, Cristine that their marriage ended because she is not happy anymore.

“Nang Ngumiti ang Langit” opens this Monday before “Showtime” while the movie “Maria” opens on Wednesday in theaters nationwide. We’ve seen “Maria” at its special screening at the UP Film Institute and you’d really admire Cristine for her dedication and determination to portray her role as an action heroine convincingly.

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philip jose galit as SHADOW ACE

eleana gabunada

HK sisters hannah korin and harrah kae

ASIA’S GOT TALENT is now on its 3rd season. In its 1st season, the Philippines’ shadow play group El Gamma Penumbra was the grand winner and soprano singer Gerphil Flores was 3rd placer. In Season 2, beatboxer Neil Llanes was 3rd placer and the dance group DMX Comvalenos was runnerup, both are from the Philippines.

Now, in “Asia Got Talent Season 3”, five Pinoy acts stood out. We’ll give you here an account of the first three acts. First is Shadow Ace, a hand shadow artist whose real name is Philip Jose Galit from Calatagan, Batangas. He uses his hands with impressive dexterity to create shadows that tell imaginative stories. One time, he told comical stories concerning the three judges of the show. David Foster is shown break dancing, Anggun is seen having water problems in the shower and Jay Park is shown dancing to ‘Oppa Gangnam Style’. He received the Golden Buzzer and automatically became a finalist. The irony of it is that he joined “Pilipinas Got Talent” before and only became a semi-finalist.

“Sabi ko nga, hindi pala pang-Pilipinas lang ang talent ko, pang-Asia pala,” says Shadow Ace who is sure to compete in the grand finals on April 4 to be held at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands with a chance of winning USD100,000.

He never thought he’d make it because when he joined the show, he was the last to perform. “E, nakita ko yung ibang contestants, wow, ang gagaling, like the Chinese acrobats. And meron ding sumaling ibang shadow artist at hindi siya nagustuhan. So kabadong-kabado ako. Wala akong masyadong confidence kasi growing up, wala akong kalaro and I was bullied. Yung shadow images lang ang naging imaginary friends ko and I didn’t know dadalhin nila ako sa finals ng ‘Asia’s Got Talent’.”

Eleana Gabunada is a 10-year old grade 5 student at Colegio de San Agustin who has previously joined “The Voice Kids”. The youngest semi-finalist this season, she impressed judge David Foster who hit the Golden Buzzer after her rendition of Barbra Streisand’s “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from the Broadway musical “Hello Dolly”. Judge Anggun said: “You’re like a baby Streisand. It’s such a difficult song.”

In the semi-finals, she sang “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked” and David proclaimed: “You’re gonna be a Broadway star! I am telling you right now!”

A Pinoy act that got a uniform yes votes from all the judges are the HK Sisters, a soprano and alto duet specializing on opera. No, they’re not from Hongkong. The initials of their names are both HK: Hannah Korin, 17 years old, and Harrah Kay, 16. Their family name is Castillo and their dad is a seaman who they seldom see. They’ve previously won awards at WCOPA (World Championships of the Performing Arts). At AGT, they won singing “Think of Me” from “Phantom of the Opera”. Why did they choose to sing operatic songs?

“For a change, we don’t want to be ordinary, although we can also sing pop,” they say.

They come from a musical family and grew up in Manila. They started singing as part of their church choir and school choir. They’re now both majoring in music at the Philippine Women’s University and they’re now doing a balancing act with their school studies and their being part of “Asia’s Got Talent”.

Next time, we’ll write about the last two Pinoy acts: the hiphop dance crew Junior Good Vibes, the contemporary acrobatic dancers Power Duo, and

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Mar 21, 2019

JASMINE CURTIS SMITH gets her second show from GMA-7 in “Sahaya” after she appeared in “Pamilya Roces”. Some folks now wonder why she accepted to play a mother role to Bianca Umali in the story and even her sister, Anne Curtis, has called on GMA to her more substantial shows.

“But Bianca and I don’t appear naman together in the show,” she says. “Sa akin magsisimula ang story with my role as Manisan, which will be played later by Mylene Dizon. I’m happy to be part of the show kasi first time ko play na isang katutubo, member ng indigenous tribe called the Badjaos. Before the taping started, I studied their culture and tradition, along with the other members of the cast, and it’s very enlightening. I even did a Badjao dance workshop. I hope the show will make us understand our Badjao brothers even  more.”

As the young Manisan, she’ll fall in love with a Manila boy, played by Gil Cuerva, and gets impregnated by him. But she’s betrothed to marry another Badjao guy, played by Benjamin Alves, whose mother, Snooky Serna, oppresses her.  “Kahit maikli ang role ko, I’m very happy with it,” adds Jasmine.

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ARJO ATAYDE is excited as his digital series, “Bagman”, has started streaming on iWant.  It had a special preview at Trinoma and the response is very encouraging. He considers this as his most challenging project to date as he plays the title role of “Bagman” and the show required him to do action and dramatic scenes he has never done before.

“It starts with me as an ordinary barber na tahimik ang buhay,” he says. “But for the sake of my family, napilitan akong sumubok na gumawa ng illegal para sa governor namin. Nakalusot naman at after that, nagtuloy-tuloy na ang paglubog ko sa corruption at hindi na ako makaahon pa. No holds barred ang violence sa action scenes dito kaya very thrilling talaga lumabas on screen.”

Ajo and Maine
Arjo wants to clarify that he and Maine Mendoza are just exclusively dating and not yet officially on. He’s not fazed by bashers who are fans of Maine’s love team with Alden Richard. “Basta I’m very, very happy po. I think that’s what matters now. As far as my career is concerned, ABS-CBN is taking good care of me, so I can’t complain. About my personal life, it is also good right now. I’m really happy so kontento po ako. What you see na mga pino-post namin ni Maine is what you get.”

He doesn’t seem to hesitate to defy his bashers when it comes to Maine. “As I said before, she’s worth fighting for, so dedma na lang siguro ako kanila. I’m really happy. And I see her also happy. And I think that’s all that matters to me.”

Maine has introduced him to her parents and he admits being scared at the start.  “Well, of course, I think every guy naman would be scared to meet the family of the girl he’s courting but but I faced my fears. I have to and I want to because I want to show that malinis ang intention ko sa anak nila. Okay naman sila. They were nice to me and I’m happy I did it.”

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SEN. JV (for Joseph Victor) EJERCITO is personally concerned about the sad plight of the local film industry where most home grown movies flop at the theaters nowadays. “Siempre, dyan nagsimula ang aming ama (current Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada), diyan siya nakilala, kaya handa akong suportahan ang ating local film industry,” he says.

“I’m always willing na suportahan kung anuman ang mga hakbang na gagawin ng legislators nating nasa showbiz din, like Senate Pres. Tito Sotto at ang maraming members of congress na galing sa pag-aartista, led by Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos. Kung kailangang babaan ang buwis sa film producers at ang bayad ng mga tao sa sinehan, dapat, gawin natin yan para mapabalik ang moviegoers sa panonood ng sine. Sana, mabuhay muli ang industriya ng pelikula rito sa atin kasi nakakalungkot naman kung mawala ito gayong part ito ng ating kultura all these years.”

Sen. JV is glad with the recent approval of the Universal Health Care (UHC) law that he supported. “The UHC is one of the reasons I fought for the restoration of almost P16 billion funds for the health facilities enhancement program in the 2019 budget. It makes medical consultation and many basic laboratory tests affordable and accessible. Dito sa atin, bawal magkasakit dahil mahal ang gastos. Under the UHC Law, mas abot-kaya na ang pagpapagamot dahil kahati na ang gobyerno sa mga gastusin. Makakatulong din ito sa movie workers na hindi miembro ng MOWELFUND kaya importanteng magkaroon tayo ng health card.”

Sen. JV is so busy campaigning in various parts of the country and he is happy that people give him warm acceptance wherever he goes. One of his advocacies is to push for a more extensive use of trains in our country as our primary means of mass transportation.

“We need to develop and modernize our infrastructure for the Philippine National Railways,” he adds. “This will foster growth and progress in the provinces. Right now, we are in a crisis situation when it comes to our transportation system at infrastructure development at diyan tayo napag-iwanan nang husto ng mga katabi nating Asian countries with their now modernized railways systems.

"E, tayo, our population is growing steadily. 106 million na tayong mga Pinoy, at ang mga sasakyan, padami nang padami, so lalong nagsisisiksikan lalo rito sa Metro-Manila. Only train systems all over the country can be the best solution for our transport problems and I promise to devote all my attention to the approval of legislation on this once I get re-elected in the senate.”

Sen. JV will be 50 years old on December 26. He is married to Ma. Hyacinth Lotuaco and has two sons, Jose Emilio and Julio Jose. He started his career in public administration as mayor of San Juan in 1991 when he was only 32 years old. He then became a congressman before being elected into the senate, so you can say he’s really a seasoned public servant. He is currently vice chairman of the House Committee on Local Government.
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Mar 20, 2019

ANA ROCES’ last appeared in “Pamilya Roces” as one of the three wives of Roi Vinzon but her character was quickly killed. She’s now cast in GMA-7’s newest primetime show, “Sahaya”, shown after “Kara Mia” which had its successful debut this week.

“And hopefully, hindi naman siguro papatayin agad ang character ko rito as Irene,” she says. “Wife ako rito ni Zoren Legaspi who plays Harold at anak namin si Ashley Ortega as Lindsay. Hindi ko alam na si Zoren pala ang tunay na ama ni Bianca Umali as Sahaya, dahil naanakan niya si Mylene Dizon as Manisan bago pa kami ikinasal. When I find out about this, magiging hostile ako kay Mylene at mainit ang dugo ko kay Bianca.”

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Derrick Monasterio with Ruru Madrid, Kiko Estrada, David Licauco
DERRICK MONASTERIO was last seen as a special guest in the pilot week of “Dragon Lady” opposite Bea Binene. He doesn’t know yet as to when he will get a new soap from GMA-7. “But okay lang kasi I’m busy with two new movies,” he says at the storycon of “G! LU” (which means ‘Go! La Union’), a youth oriented film intended for release this summer produced by Arnold Vegafria with Ben Chan and Rein Entertainment, the production company of Lino Cayetano and Philip King. King is also the film’s writer and director.

“Aside from ‘G! LU’, I’m also in the comeback movie of GMA Films launching comedian Tekla in his first starring role,” adds Derrick.

In “G! LU”, he will co-star with five other young hunks: Ruru Madrid, Kiko Estrada, Enzo Pineda, David Licauco and Teejay Marquez. Their leading ladies are beauty title holders managed by Arnold: Miss Philippines World Katarina Rodriguez, Bb. Pilipinas runner up Chanel Morales, Miss Eco Tourism Cynthia Tomalla, Miss Multinational 2017 Sophia Senoron, Miss Multinational 2018 Kimi Mugford, and model Michelle Dee, the daughter of Melanie Marquez and Derek Dee. Shooting will start soon on location in San Juan, La Union, now the new in place for young people as far as beach resorts are concerned.

Is Derrick aware that they will be required to show off their bodies in the movie? “Yes, of course. It’s a beach movie and we will be shirtless in a lot scenes as we will be shown surfing. We'll be in swimming attire, especially the girls who will be in bikinis.”

Is he doing any special preparation for his beach scenes? “No, I always work out naman three times a week so I just need maintenance to be in good shape. Siempre, I have to be ready kasi all the guys here are buff and into physical fitness so for sure, we’ll be compared with each other.”

The movie’s director, Philip King, is a newbie and this is his directorial debut. We ask him why chose such a difficult project with such a big cast, and to be shot on location at that, for his first project? “I’m aware that it’s a demanding project but I think I’m ready. And the material is near to my heart as it’s about a barkada and, when I was single, I had my own barkada so the material is near to my heart and I can re
late to the characters in the movie.”

Arnold Vegafria says the movie is different from other youth films shown recently as all the members come from rich families. No one comes from a life of poverty. They belong to a group called the Valley Boys Club and the movie is about the last seven days of summer when they’re about to graduate from college and have to push the limits of their youthfulness.
Derrick plays Brian, whose family owns shipping and trucking empires started by his grandpa. He’s in a rivalry with his cousin, Ryan played by Enzo Pineda, who happens to be their grandpa’s favorite. A near death experience in La Union will make them re-evaluate their relationship as rival cousins.

Ruru plays Albert, the smartest member of the group who’s an honor student as a software engineer. He’s paired with newcomer Kimi Mugford, who plays an aspiring singer-songwriter. Kiko Estrada is Carlos, the coolest member who just wants his friends to live their best lives ever, often referred to as “maangas but sweet”.

David Licauco is Patrick Dy, the richest barkada member as his Chinese family owns a huge chain of shopping malls in Metro-Manila and he is the heir apparent to the empire. He is often pressured to be like his tycoon dad and this somewhat clouds his own view of himself.

Teejay Marquez is Ramon, the chick boy in the group who’s the captain of their soccer team but he suffers a knee injury and is forced to undergo rehabilitation, during which time, he becomes close to his male nurse and discovers his true self and sexual orientation.

Arnold Vegafria has worked with Regal, Star Cinema and GMA Films. He also produces the local franchises of the Miss World and Mr. World pageants. He feels he’s now ready to tackle more creative pursuits like film production and is optimistic that “G! LU” will be a blockbuster and he hopes it will be finished in time for the opening of classes in June.

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CONDUCTOR GERALD SALONGA wields the baton for the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and will now have to shuttle between Kuala Lumpur and Manila for the whole of 2019.  He takes on a new job as resident conductor of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO).

After working as assistant conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in 2016 and still currently for the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, Gerard now wields the baton for the MPO. He learned about his new job in May 2018, while he was in Kuala Lumpur to conduct one of the concerts of the MPO.

“At that time, the general manager sat down with me and let me know of their intention to invite me to be their next resident conductor,” Gerard shares. “Naturally, I felt great about it. I’ve known about that orchestra since they were founded in 2008.” (Visit the website for full history www.mpo.com.my)

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BUSINESS LEADER & PHILANTHROPIST LUCIO TAN received the ALAB Award from the Anvil Business Club which held its induction of new officers on March 15 attended by top government and business leaders and celebrities at Century Seafood Restaurant in Manila.In the same occasion, Anvil led by chairman Wilson Lee Flores and president Patrick Cua conferred on Dr. Lucio C. Tan its inaugural “Anvil Leadership Award for Business Excellence” (ALAB Award) in recognition of his “inspiring business success, outstanding community leadership and magnanimous philanthropy”.

One of Asia’s wealthiest billionaires according to Bloomberg News & Forbes magazine, the self-made entrepreneur Lucio Tan is chairman of LT Group, Inc., Philippine Airlines (PAL), Philippine National Bank (PNB), Asia Brewery, Tanduay Distillers and many others. Tan is also chairman emeritus of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII).

Witnesses at the ALAB Award conferment ceremony for Dr. Lucio Tan were Trade & Industry Ramon Lopez, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Employers Confederation of the Phil. (ECOP) chairman Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr., Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of  & Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) president Domingo Yap, Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PCCI) chairman George Barcelon, Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) chairman Jesus L. Carranza and China Embassy Commercial Counsellor Jin Yuan.

Among the celebrities who also graced Anvil’s 28th anniversary event were Senator Grace Poe and her son Brian Poe Llamanzares, former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, former Senator Bong Revilla and wife Bacoor Mayor Lani Mercado Revilla, former PNP chief Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa, Malabon Vice-Mayor Jeannie Sandoval among many others.

Leading the 2019 Anvil Business Club board of directors are chairman Wilson Lee Flores, president Patrick Cua, Hubert Chua, Jayson Sze, Christopher Yae, William Lim, Jr., Lexter Ang, Eusebio Lu, Jr., Christopher Go, Joeben Tai, Vicente Sy, Richmond Co, William Villanueva, Kenneth Dee, Aldrin Chua, Wilynda Chua, Claudine Sy, Sheryll Yu, Katherine Yap, Ian Cheng, Cherie Haw, Lorina Tan.

Among past leaders still active with Anvil include chairman emeritus George Siy, honorary chairmen Michael Tan, Jeffrey Ng, Bernard Go, Peter Mangasing, Reynold Siy, Marcelo Co, Wilfred Co, Eduardo Cobankiat, Roy Chua, Michael Chenglay and others. 

Among the diverse civic, cultural, economic and other undertakings of the organization includes promoting international investors to come to the Philippines; promoting business activities in provincial areas outside Metro Manila; socio-civic and cultural projects like 2009 donation of the larger-than-life Confucius Monument for Rizal Park’s Chinese Garden to honor all teachers of the world and holding an annual Teacher’s Day tribute to educators every birthday of Confucius on September 28; different forums and workshops with renowned business leaders; giving scholarship grants and also donating relief supplies during natural calamities.

Anvil Business Club recently gave away 10,000 tikoy to urban poor families of Camarin and Barracks communities in north Caloocan City.
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Mar 19, 2019

Kaye with RK Bagatsing in NANG NGUMITI ANG LANGIT
KAYE ABAD was married to PBB Housemate Paul Jake Castillo in Cebu on December 9, 2016 and she gave birth to their first baby, a boy named Joaquin on December 22, 2017, also the same birthday of Paul Jake. Her last TV show was “Two Wives” in 2015.

Now, she’s making a comeback in ABS-CBN’s new morning soap, “Nang Ngumiti ang Langit”, that starts airing on March 25, produced by the business unit of Ruel S. Bayani. She plays the mother of new child actress Sophia Reola in the story. So how is it to act as a mom now that she’s a mother in real life?

“It’s kinda weird,” she says. “How will I explain it? Dati na nga akong gumaganap na mom, but now, mommy na ako talaga. Being one really helped me in my emotions. Hindi kasi ako masyadong reliant sa technique as an actor . Now, it’s easier for me to assume a nanay part at ipasok ang sarili ko sa character, kasi nga I’m no longer just playing a role kundi mother na talaga ako ng isang real baby boy.”

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