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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 18, 2020


TOM RODRIGUEZ says he felt like a newbie actor when he taped for the ‘High Rise Lovers’ episode of GMA-7’s new drama anthology, “I Can See You”. 

“Siempre, ang tagal ko ring hindi naka-acting kaya medyo nanibago ako sa first taping day namin,” he adds. “But after a while, sobrang enjoy na ako. It feels great to be working again before the camera after being away for so long because of the lockdown. You can feel all your creative juices working again.”

He is paired with Lovi Poe and they shot on a lock in location in Clark, Pampanga for four straight days, directed by L.A. Madridejos and Rechie del Carmen. 

“We had to follow all the safety protocols now needed in the new normal way of taping. Konti lang yung taong involved. No bystanders. Yung mga kailangan lang talaga sa taping.”

Everyone involved had to be tested first. 

“Yes, lahat kami, cast and crew, dumaan muna sa swab testing before we were allowed to be part of the taping, para sure na walang may virus sa aming lahat. Then sa set, we also practised social distancing and constantly disinfecting and sanitizing ourselves and also everything on the set.”

Unlike before that they can tape until the wee hours of the morning, this time, they can only work for 12 hours straight. 

“May limit ang working hours, kaya kailangan ma-maximize ninyo ang trabaho para matapos lahat ng scenes meant to be shot on that day. It’s like parang bagong pasok kami lahat eskwelahan and you should all do your assignments para walang masayang na oras. May kaba rin, but we’re all just happy to be back working after resting for six months because of the pandemic.”

So how is it working with Lovi Poe? 

“I’m glad to be reunited with Lovi. We play husband and wife na daraan sa maraming pagsubok dahil may kanya-kanya kaming goals sa buhay. Sanay na kami ni Lovi sa isa’t isa kasi we also played husband and wife before sa drama series na ginawa namin four years ago, ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’. Kaya madali na for us to do our scenes together kasi nagkakaintindihan kami agad.”

Supporting them in the episode “High Rise Lovers” of “I Can See You” are Winwyn Marquez, Teresa Loyzaga and Tetay Ocampo.  The new series will start on September 28 on GMA Telebabad at primetime and the first story to be featured is “Love at the Balcony” with Alden Richards and Jasmine Curtis Smith. 

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Brace yourselves for a more exciting viewing experience as GMA Network officially brings Hallypop, the newest and first ever digital channel that’s a one-stop-shop for K-Pop, lifestyle, and entertainment in the Philippines, this Sunday (September 20). 

This groundbreaking partnership between GMA-7 and Jungo TV gives Filipino viewers 24/7 access to the hottest shows including international concert tours, trendy music videos, and live performances of today’s biggest global superstars.

K-entertainment aficionados took their excitement to social media with the arrival of Hallypop in the country. 

 One fan tweeted, “The partnership makes GMA Network the first media organization in the Philippines to distribute channels from Jungo TV, specifically its concert network Frontrow and Asian Pop network, Hallypop. And now, it's available on GMA Affordabox. Thanks for this, GMA Network.”

“Hi Filo K-pop stans! There's a new channel in GMA called Hallypop and they will broadcast a bunch of K-pop contents and Korean variety shows! It would be nice if y’all could watch and support it,” another netizen added. 

Netizens can’t also wait to binge-watch pop culture programs and see their favorite idols on TV.

“Thanks GMA Hallypop for bringing my happy pill since 2012, Running Man, on a small screen. I heard that the 1st episode will be aired next week is Episode 300. The guest of that episode was BTS. @GMAHallypop,” a fan wrote on Twitter. 

This Sunday, top-rating South Korean variety show Running Man premieres in the country for the very first time. Catch the guestings of Korean heartthrob Park Bo-gum and Korean group BTS in the widely-popular reality variety show. 

In Hallystage, witness the breathtaking concerts of Grammy-award winning performers U2 and BeyoncĂ© that will surely keep viewers on the edge of their seats. 

Meanwhile, jaw-dropping performances from the nation's top musicians take the spotlight on Music Bank. 

Sing along and jam with your favorite artists on StarGazeMuzik featuring high quality music videos produced out of Asia, in particular South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. 

K-pop royalty and starmaker Park Jin-young or JYP hosts the musical talk show JYP's Party People.

 Viewers should not also miss the talk show Sidewalk Talk and reality TV competition K-Pop Star. 

Rescan your GMA Affordabox and other digital TV receivers now and don’t miss these programs and performances on the newest digital TV channel in the Philippines, Hallypop.

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Sep 17, 2020


XOXO IS a new all-girl group whose four members simply known as Riel, Dani, Lyra, at Mel, were recruited from “The Clash”. They have now released their debut single, also titled “XOXO”, under GMA Music that has all the makings of a big hit. The four girls deliver powerhouse performances and the song has a very positive message about woman empowerment.

 “We want to show them who we really are as performers as well as when we’re not on stage,” says Riel. “We know that we cannot please everyone but we’re not going to stop pursuing our dreams. Kagaya nga po ‘nung sinabi namin sa song ‘no matter what they say, no matter what they do, we’re gonna keep on flying’.” Dani 

that the song carries a message about self love and body positivity. “We want to inspire people who are not feeling good and confident with themselves, those who think that they are not perfect or they don’t fit in sa “standards” ng society. We want to show them that it is okay to be different and each of us has our own kind of beauty.” 

The girls just feel that they cannot perform live now because of the pandemic. "Sobrang na-miss po namin doing shows for a live audience,” says Lyra. “Iba po talaga mag-perform kapag nasa big stage ka, with all the lights and magkakasama kami. Iba 'yung energy na nasa harapan mo lang ang audience."

“Iba kasi yung live dahil bawal magkamali,” says Mel. "Mas exciting kasi kapag nagkamali ka, walang take two so dapat, galingan mo lagi. Iba rin 'yung feeling ng fulfillment after mo mag-perform ng live at natapos mo na, then nakababa ka na ng stage."

The uplifting song is composed by Kiko Salazar and you can now stream it live on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music and other  digital stores worldwide. 

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TV5 IS REALLY strengthening its programming not only with new local shows but also with acclaimed Koreanovelas. Local fans of Korean drama are now in for a double treat as two of Korea’s outstanding drama series will be seen on TV5 beginning Monday, September 21.

K-Dramas have touched the hearts of Filipinos because of its original and compelling plots coupled with hard-hitting social commentary on generational and class conflicts that have proven to be relatable to the Filipino audience. 

TV5’s newest addition to its program roster are “Reply 1988” and “Wok of Love”. Starring Lee Hyeri (Sung Deok Sun), Park Bo Gum (Choi Taek) , Ryu Joon Yeol (Kim Jung Hwan),  Go Kyung Pyo (Sung Sun Woo), and Lee Dong Hwi (Ryu Dong Ryong), “Reply 1988” is a cult favorite in Korea and in other countries where it is shown. 

Set in the year 1988, the series revolves around 5 childhood friends and their families living in the same neighborhood. This is definitely a throwback to the times when real friendships were forged without the convenience of technology.

Its final episode recorded an 18.8% nationwide audience share in Korea, making it the fourth highest rated drama in Korean cable television history, beating the ratings of Pinoy favorite KDramas such as Crash Landing on You and Itaewon Class. 

The show even emerged as the biggest winner in the tvN10 awards of 2016, bagging 8 out of 18 nominations including the Grand Prize (Daesang) Drama Award and Content Grand Excellence Award. Ryu Joon Yeol, who plays Kim Jung Hwa, was even awarded the Baeksang Arts Award for Best New Actor in TV in 2016.

Another drama series that will fuel your appetite and build excitement is “Wok of Love”. You can marvel in the sumptuous cuisine that it features in each episode, while the main characters engage themselves in light-hearted slice-of-life encounters and romantic interludes in the show’s most thrilling moments. 

The show features a stellar cast that includes Lee Jun Ho, member of K-pop boy group 2PM, Jang Hyuk, and Jung Ryeo-Won who will captivate audiences with their undeniable chemistry and exceptional performance.

Don’t miss the K-Drama wave with “Reply 1988” and “Wok of Love” starting this Monday, September 21, 2020! Both shows will air back-to-back Mondays thru Fridays, from 8:30 to 9:30 PM, only on TV5.

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SANYA LOPEZ feels lucky that after guesting in “Wish Ko Lang” and “Mars Pa More”, she’s now a guest again in the fresh new episode of “Dear Uge”. 

She stars in the episode “Ang Dalawang Mrs. U”, which has two parts. The first part will be shown this Sunday at 2:30 PM and the second part on September 27. 

“Suwerte ko talaga dahil sunod-sunod ang guestings ko,” says Sanya. “And I play a good role in ‘Dear Uge’. The story starts na namatay ang husband ni Ate Uge as Stella. Di niya alam, may other woman pala yung mister niya, si Nelda, at ako yun, and I happen to be pregnant.”

Uge’s husband named Marco Unciano has left a big sum of money, but he placed it under the name of his lawyer friend, Atty. George, played by Gardo Versoza, who happens to be gay. 

Uge can inherit the money only if she would comply with one condition: she has to live with her husband’s mistress under one roof for a certain number of days.

Since the money is entrusted in George’s name, then Uge as Stella has no choice but to comply and accept the challenge to live with Nelda, no matter how repulsive it is for her. 

Nelda also accepts the challenge and while they are living together, Atty. George keeps watch on them and takes note of their behavior toward each other. The reason for this is for him to determine who deserves to get a bigger amount of money from his late client: Uge or Sanya?

As maybe expected, sparks immediately fly between the two Mrs. U. Uge insists that she is the legal wife while Sanya says she has the advantage of carrying Mr. Unciano’s unborn child. No one is wiling to give way.

Gina Marissa Tagasa, the beautiful and talented head writer of “Dear Uge”, says that the material about two women fighting may be explosive but their treatment is very light. 

“May konting dramatic moments din between  the two female protagonists na very touching ang dating,” she says. “Sa kabuuan, very entertaining siya and heartwarming, with great performances from Uge, Sanya and Gardo, written by Jessie Villabrille and directed by Tata Betita.”

“Nag-enjoy ako sa role, kasi magkahalong comedy at drama,” adds Sanya. “It’s so much fun to work with both Ate Uge and Kuya Gardo kasi pareho silang napakagaling at napakasarap na kaeksena.”

Sanya’s recent guesting in “Mars Pa More” is a big hit with the viewers as she shared her workout routine at home to maintain her shapely figure. 

Since she doesn’t have the usual equipment used in a gym, she shows her improvised exercises done on the floor and on the wall which anyone can do at their very own home.

“We have to be inventive kasi hindi tayo makapunta sa gym to work out,” she says. “I’m really praying matapos na itong pandemic para makapag-taping na rin kami ng aming bagong show. Kasama ako sa ‘Agimat ng Agila’ starring Sen. Bong Revilla and I’m excited and looking forward to taping the show with him. Hopefully soon.”

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Sep 16, 2020



GMA ARTIST CENTER is really making its presence felt with their online digital shows. Their “Just In, Kumustahan” has gained so many loyal followers, just like their recent telecast with Joe Mari Chan as special guest. 

Viewers say they can relate with the show’s very relaxed style of interviewing their guests. One of their hosts, Vaness del Moral, says they want the show to be as conversational as possible, but still very relevant.

“Yes, you have to be relevant at times like this,” says Vaness, “Kasi lahat tayo nakakulong sa loob ng bahay eh. ‘Just In’ is a good platform that features other artists and personalities aside from the Kapuso stars we usually see on TV. 

"Ang kinukumusta natin ay yung mga hindi mo na nakikita, yung mga may iba ng buhay, yung mga nasa ibang bansa. So in a way, parang na-re-refresh din yung mga tao.

Another hit on line show is “Quiz Beh!” , on the other hand, is a 20-minute online game show where several GMAAC artists play a word guessing game (similar to Pinoy Henyo but with a few tweaks). 

Host Betong described it as “kulitan with fellow Kapuso celebs. Nakakatuwa kasi habang nag-uusap kami, we would sometimes forget na live pala kami. The show also allows viewers to get to know more about these artists, kung ano sila sa likod ng camera, kung anong buhay nila ‘pag walang taping. 

"The game’s mechanics are still the same but this time, meron ng kamag-anak or loved ones ng mga Kapuso stars na maglalaro din. Malaking tulong ito na meron (akong) pinagkakaabalahan at na-da-divert yung mga alalahanin ko.”

Another comedian who is given a hosting job is Mike Nacua aka Pekto, who has already explored the world of hosting in “Day Off”. 

He is now the host for the new season of “E-Date Mo Si Idol”. Despite technical difficulties he would encounter on the show, Pekto said that he wouldn’t mind as long as he has something to keep himself busy with. 

“E-Date Mo Si Idol” features a top GMAAC artist per week with three fans who will be interviewed by the featured artist. Then the artist will choose a lucky winner whom he/she will go on an “E-date”.

“So far, I am still adjusting because this is new to me. Malaking tulong po ito kasi nga yung pagkabagot at least mabawasan man lang dahil ilang buwan na wala akong ginagawa sa showbiz. 

Excited na ako and I’m sure this is going to be fun. Ang dami kong friends na nagtatanong at gusto nga nilang makipag-E-date sa mga artists,” Pekto says.

For updates, check out GMA Artist Center’s YouTube channel and follow its official social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

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GABBI GARCIA just got her Gold Play Button, given by youtube to content creators with one million subscribers in their own channel. 

“It paid off, lahat ng paghihirap ko personally tending to my vlog,” she says. “Nakaka-inspire magtrabaho dahil dito. Nakatulong ang lockdown na walang taping kaya nakapag-devote ako talaga ng time for my vlog.”

Her first entry was a tour of the newly constructed home for their family which she built in a 350 square meter lot in Paranaque. 

It was a hit with youtube followers, specially when she showed her incredible walk in closet housing all her flashy clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories. 

She also thanked her boyfriend, Khalil Ramos, who helped her with her vlog like her own personal one-man production team. 

They showed her accepting the Gold Play Button and opening its box via live streaming in her own vlog. You can now watch it on her youtube channel.

Gabbi has really come a long way since she was introduced by GMA in the soap, “My Destiny”, in 2014. She was then paired with Ruru Madrid in their own soaps and she also shone in the remake of “Encantadia”. 

She was last seen in the action-drama, “Beautiful Justice”, which is now making waves in South America. Now, she’s visible in the weekend variety show, “All Out Sundays”.

She says she wants to put up a flower shop with Khalil, but first, she intends to take up a course in floral arrangement. 

“Plano talaga namin yun, but I have to study muna para maging credible ako in doing floral arrangements.”

What does she miss the most while we’re still on lockdown? 

“Traveling. Our family usually go abroad every year for bonding together. Kasi my mom is a flight attendant, so may discount kami sa airfare. 

"Pero hindi nangyari yun ngayon because of the pandemic. Kaya sana, matapos na itong health crisis na ito so we can all go back to our normal lives na hindi tayo natatakot lumabas at mag-travel.”

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CONGRATULATIONS to Dingdong Dantes for winning the Asian Star Prize at the 15th Seoul International Drama Awards announced via Live stream on Tuesday, Sept. 15. Dingdong dedicated his award to all frontliners and to his fellow Filipinos. 

“This award is a tribute to all the frontliners in the world - soldiers, healthcare workers, and volunteers,” he declares. 

“This award is also for my loved ones and all the Filipino people. May we find consolation knowing that our stories are being appreciated especially during these trying times. Again, thank you very much. A snappy salute to you all.”

GMA Entertainment Group's Pinoy adaptation of 'Descendants of the Sun' (DOTS), where Dingdong stars as Captain Lucas Manalo or 'Big Boss', was also recently recognized as the Most Popular Foreign Drama of the Year from the award ceremony. 

It is the first television program in the country to receive the said recognition from the annual global festival. 

Dingdong wants to remind followers of his action-drama show with Jennylyn Mercado that it will resume its telecast soon with fresh new episodes that they have just finished taping.

The 15th Seoul International Drama Awards was held last September 10 at the MBC headquarters in Sangam-dong, Seoul. 

It is an annual festival organized by the Seoul Drama Awards Organizing Committee and Korean Broadcasters Association which brings together all professionals in the field of TV drama production and media industry and global audiences who enjoy television dramas.

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Sep 15, 2020


THE IAN VENERACION sitcom ''Oh My Dad" on TV5 is a wholesome family sitcom, so we stand corrected when we wrote previously that its premise of Ian being a womanizing father doesn’t augur well for the show.

The show will be produced by Bright Lights of Rep. Albee Benitez, written by Alpha Habon and directed by Jeffrey Jeturian, with Atty. Joji Alonso as supervising producer. 

Ian Veneracion is said to be very pleased with his demanding role which is about the challenges of being a father who doesn't have an inkling he had actually sired several kids.

In the story, Ian plays a top and hotshot basketball player who became swellheaded at the peak of his career. But his career took a nosedive when he got involved in a scandal and he never recovered. 

He then went to the U.S. and tried other jobs for several years. He later returned to the country and stayed with his dad, played by Ariel Ureta. Their neighbor is Gloria Diaz, with Dimples Romana as her niece. So Ian and Dimples are not a married couple as we earlier wrote.

Ian gets the surprise of his life when a young man, played by award-winning young actor Louise Abuel of “Edward”, showed up claiming that Ian is his dad. After Louise, a girl then comes up to say she’s Ian daughter with a girl from the province, played by Sue Ramirez.

And lastly, another man, played by Macoy Dubs or Auntie Julie, shows up to claim that Ian is also his dad. The inclusion of Macoy Dubs and how Ian gets to accept having a gay son will surely please the LGBT community. 

We’re told the show will foster nothing but good family values and love.

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ALDEN RICHARDS has finally started his lock-in taping for his “Love on the Balcony” episode of GMA-7’s new drama anthology show, “I Can See You”. 

He is paired for the first time with Jasmine Curtis-Smith, who just finished taping all her scenes for “Descendants of the Sun” in the mountains of Tanay. 

They first worked together in the movie “Imagine You & Me”, but Jasmine was just the third wheel then in the love team of Alden and Maine Mendoza. 

Now, they play each other’s romantic interest. Some folks are apprehensive that Jasmine might be attacked by diehard AlDub fans who hate to see Alden being paired with anyone other than their idol, Maine Mendoza.

But more open-minded fans welcome seeing Alden being paired with other actresses. They say that both Alden and Jasmine are good actors so it’s nice to see them doing a dramatic love story together. 

As one netizen says upon seeing their on-the-set photos of “I Can See You”: “They have good chemistry and this is something to look forward to.”

Another netizen says AlDub loyal fans have nothing to worry about since it’s common knowledge that Jasmine has been in a three-year relationship with the good looking La Union public official, Jeff Ortega. So, her working relationship with Alden will be just purely professional. 

In the unusual love story amidst the pandemic, Alden plays a wedding videographer while Jasmine is a nurse. 

When the lockdown was declared, they both have to stay in the same condominium building where the live and they would meet each other at the balcony, where love eventually blooms between them. 

As usual, they follow safety protocols and both had a swab test along with the crew before taping started. They're happy they both registered negative to the corona virus.

Alden has three current shows: “Eat Bulaga”, “All Out Sunday” and the rewind of “One True Love”. Now, aside from “I Can See You”, he’s also doing another new show for GMA News and Public Affairs, a magazine show titled “Lockdown: Food Diaries”. 

No doubt he is now the busiest and most popular Kapuso star.

 “Food Diaries” will tackle the various problems and setbacks suffered by the local food industry because of the corona lockdown. 

Alden is a perfect host for this kind of show as we all know he has a chain of restos called Concha’s, where they serve the best kare-kare ever. This will start its telecast on September 27.

Meantime, Alden is so happy that the replay of his afternoon soap, “One True Love”, is doing very well in the ratings game so it’s telecast will not be edited to shorten it. Instead, it’s going to be extended for five more weeks.

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