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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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Feb 17, 2019

BOTH KYLINE ALCANTARA and Therese Malvar are happy that their new show, “Inagaw na Bituin”, is off to a good start. It’s pilot week rated very high and trounced its rival in the ratings game.

“Lahat po kami, nagpapasalamat sa mga nanood at sumuporta sa pagsisimula ng aming show,” says Kyline. “It will inspire us to do better in each episode para mas galingan pa ang performance namin in both singing and acting.”

“Ang prayer po namin ngayon is for the show to be able to sustain its good ratings,” adds Therese. “We will not rest on our laurels kundi mas pagbubutihin naming lahat ang trabaho namin para hindi lumipat ang viewers sa ibang shows na katapat namin.”

The story is about the intense rivalry in showbiz of two aspiring and good singers. This has been tackled before in films and other TV shows. What is the difference of “Inagaw na Bituin” from them?

“Aside from the rivalry as singers, iikot din po ang story around family issues,” replies Therese. “Kami ni Kyline will also be rivals for the love of our parents and later on, we will be rivals over the attention of one guy, played by Manolo Pedrosa.”

“You’d think simple yung story about rivalry pero maraming twists sa kuwento na dapat abangan,” adds Kyline. “Ang maganda pa, puro magagaling na seasoned actors ang kasama namin, like Sunshine Dizon, Angelu de Leon, Angelika de la Cruz, Marvin Agustin and Gabby Eigenmann. Nakakatuwa silang katrabaho kasi very helpful sila, puro mahusay and we learn a lot from them. In future episodes, makikita nyo ang interaction namin with them and with each other and it’s really amazing kasi ang ganda ng teamwork naming lahat for the good of the show.”
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JOBERT AUSTRIA w/ Karla Estrada, Direk Jerry Sineneng & producer Dennis Aguirre

JOBERT AUSTRIA gets his biggest break as the leading man of Karla Estrada in the wholesome comedy “Familia Blondina”. He is a regular in the gag show, “Banana Sundae” and also appeared as Coco Martin’s sidekick in “Ang Probinsyano”.  He likewise gained fame as a DJ on DZMM and did other shows before like “Toda Max”, “Havey or Waley” and “The Illegal Wife”.

He went through several rough times, like when a woman suddenly confronted him and presented herself as his real biological mother. This was how he found out that he was just adopted. It disturbed him and really disrupted his life. There was a time it was even reported he tried to end it all by jumping off from the top floor of a hotel but he was persuaded not to do so. He was able to recover and had to undergo rehab from substance abuse.

He says a big to help to him was co-comedian Eric Nicolas, and John Lloyd Cruz, his co-star in the sitcom, “Home Sweetie Home”. He had an estrangement with his wife, Chad, and their son, Myron, but they have since reconciled. He says the experience brought him closer to the Lord.

“Doon ko talaga na-realize mahal ako ng Diyos at hindi ka Niya pababayaan kung lalapit ka sa Kanya,” he says. “Malaking lesson ang nangyari sa’kin kasi it showed me na meron pa palang buhay para sa’kin pagkatapos noon. Since then, nagbagumbuhay na talaga ako.”

He wants to thank Karla Estrada for agreeing to be paired with him in “Familia Blondina”. Karla plays a widow formerly married to an American with a son and two daughters, while he is a widower formerly married to a British wife with two daughters. They meet and fall in love and it becomes a case of yours, mine and ours, with their American and British kids often clashing with each other. Jobert also wants to thank Director Jerry Sineneng and their producer, Dr. Dennis Aguirre, an ophtalmologist who dared to now venture into film production, for giving him the break as a leading man.

Jobert’s two daughters in the movie are played by teen star Chantal Vilela and child star Shane Weinberg. Chantal has an Argentinian father and a Pinay mother. She was born in Argentina and they moved to Manila in 2010. She plays a mean girl in the movie and is also in the digital show “Spirits Reawaken”.

 Shane plays Charlotte in the movie, a child vlogger who she says is “maldita”. She has appeared before in “Maalaala Mo Kaya”, “Ipaglaban Mo” and various TV commercials. Her dad is American and her mom is Pinay.

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mika de la cruz with barbie forteza & jak roberto, paul salas

MIKA DE LA CRUZ; role in “Kara Mia” is the most difficult one she has ever played. “Mahirap gawin kasi paulit-ulit ang takes to make sure sakto ang sukat namin lagi and perfect yung pag-fit ng mukha ko sa likod ng ulo ni Barbie Forteza,” she says. “Pareho kami lagi ng mga damit na sinusuot ni Barbie rito, pero yung sa’kin, laging yung baligtad, yung likod ng damit ang suot ko. But I accepted the role kahit alam kong mahirap kasi first lead role ko ito.”

Even if they have the same body, they have two different personalities. “Si Barbie yung mabait as Kara, ako yung mas maldita, mas selosa as Mia. We're so happy sa positive reaction ng mga tao sa show. Kitang-kitang inaabangan nila ito sa dami ng memes and ng videos na ginagaya kami ni Barbie. Andami nila talagang paandar! Ha ha ha!”

Last October, she and Kapamilya actor Nash Aguas admitted that they’re going steady. Both she and Barbie, who’s on with Jak Roberto, are both lucky in love and career. What does Nash say about her new show?

“He’s so happy for me, na sa paglipat ko sa GMA from ABS, nabigyan ako ng ganitong lead role. I can feel na we both inspire each other to be better versions of ourselves. Ako, feeling blessed talaga. At this point in my life, I can really say na masaya po ako sa career ko at masaya rin po ako sa lovelife ko. Naging okay ang end sa akin ng past year at ang ganda rin ng pasok for me nitong bagong taon. Sana, magtuloy-tuloy.”

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karla with xia vigor & marco gallo


kira, marco & xia with CHANTAL VILELA and SHANE WEINBERG

KARLA ESTRADA is happy to be back on the big screen in the comedy “Familia Blondina” that opens in theaters on February 27 produced by Arctic Sky Entertainment. Although she’s seen regularly in her morning show, “Magandang Buhay”, the last movie Karla did was almost two years ago in “Gandarapido: The Revengers Squad” where she appeared with her own son, Daniel Padilla, and Vice Ganda, which was a mammoth hit. Is she somehow nervous that “Familia Blondina” might not be as big a hit as that one?

“Hindi naman ako ninenerbiyos, mas excited ako,” she says. “I’m very happy with the movie kasi nakakatawa talaga siya. Ang galing ni Director Jerry Sineneng in cooking up scenes na magpapagulong talaga sa viewers sa katatawa. Sa bagay, yung hitsura ko pa lang, nakakatawa na, kasi ang laki-laki ko sa screen. Ha ha ha!”

Karla plays Cindy, a promdi mom who meets an American who takes her to the U.S. where all her kids were born and raised. They are all blonde, which is why the movie’s title is “Familia Blondina”, then she decides to come home to Manila with her kids and meets resistance from them.

“Siempre, hindi sila excited na umuwi sa ating bansa, lalo na nga’t sa probinsiya pa kami titira. Ayun, na-culture shocked sila nang husto, kasi ibang-iba nga rito sa Pinas kaysa sa Tate. Doon magsisimula ang maraming eksena ng katatawanan. Kapag pinanonood nyo, matatawa talaga kayo kasi, pati ako, natatawa ako sa mga riot na eksenang pinaggagagawa namin.”

About her son Daniel Padilla, Karla dimisses rumors that he has broken up with Kathryn Bernardo because Kathryn has unfollowed him in social media. “Naku, tigilan na nga yang mga ganyan. Sinabi na ni Kathryn na nagkamali lang siya ng pindot, e. And a few days before that, natsismis namang nag-propose na raw si Daniel ng marriage sa Japan, na hindi rin naman totoo. Katuwaan lang nila roon. They’re too young to settle down, malayo pa itatakbo ng mga buhay at career nila, so huwag nyong madaliin.”

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Feb 15, 2019


STARSTRUCK 2 alumna and Miss World 2013 Megan Young is really a faithful person. She’s been on with BF Mikael Daez for 8 years now and they’re still going strong. Now, she chooses to remain a loyal Kapuso as she renewed her exclusive contract with GMA Network, Inc. on February 8. The beauty queen and versatile Kapuso actress and TV Host says that she is very happy to renew her ties with GMA Network.

“Of course, dito ako sa GMA nagsimula so it’s nice to be here with my family. Last year, naging busy talaga ako dahil sa The Stepdaughters. I’m really thankful to GMA for giving us a program that would showcase our talent. This year, I’m looking forward to do something different from the other teleseryes I’ve done before. I don’t really mind doing another Afternoon Prime series kasi nag-enjoy ako. But I’m also looking forward to hosting jobs this year.”

Present in the contract signing were GMA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Atty. Felipe L. Gozon, GMA Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Felipe S. Yalong, GMA Entertainment Group's Senior Vice President Lilybeth G. Rasonable, GMA Senior Assistant Vice President for Alternative Productions Gigi Santiago-Lara, and Arnold Vegafria, Megan’s manager.
Megan’s last program with GMA was the highly-successful and top-rating Afternoon Prime series “The Stepdaughters” with Mikael Daez and Katrina Halili. This time around, she wants try light dramas and romantic comedies for her next project.

“Ang gusto ko talaga yung mga romcom. Pero never pa ako nakagawa ng ganito. Hilig ko talaga yung mga Koreanovela. So that’s kind of my dream. I know some people aspire for heavy roles pero ako I love the lightness and endearing moments of Koreanovelas. So maybe a story like that is something I look forward to. I also love anime na gagawing live action. I’ve never done anything like that.”

During the contract signing, Atty. Gozon shared that he is delighted with this latest chapter of Megan’s life in GMA, “Si Megan naman, hindi lang siya isa sa pinakamagagandang artista natin dito. Kaya natutuwa tayong nag-renew siya uli ng kontrata sa atin sapagkat sa tingin ko, malayo pa ang mararating niya sa showbiz.”

Rasonable, on the other hand, revealed that the Network is already gearing up for Megan’s next big projects in the Kapuso Station, “Siyempre iniisipan na natin siya ng susunod niyang soap. Kasi di ba very successful ang The Stepdaughters na almost one year na tumakbo. So happy tayo sa performance niya dun. She showed na magaling siya sa drama. Ang layo na ng inimprove niya from before. So we want to do more of that. And yes, she’s also a good host.”
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KATE VALDEZ as Natalie is slowly redeeming herself from being the villainous daughter in “Onanay” to one who now has learned to care for her mother, Jo Berry as Onay. This started after Onay was kidnapped and she was also mistakenly abducted by the kidnappers who were hired by her grandma, Cherie Gil as Helena. Onay was buried alive and nearly died and went into a coma, but she was eventually revived. This turn of events proved to be so involving for viewers that the ratings of “Onanay” shot up to overtake the competition for several nights.

“This is a period of redemption for Natalie, who’s actually Rosemary before her grandma, Cherie Gil, snatched her away from her real mama, Jo Berry as Onay,” she says. “Pagkatapos niyang pagmalditahan ang sarili niyang ina at tunay na kapatid, si Mikee Quintos as Maila, mare-realize niya ang mga kamaliang ginawa niya sa kanila. Sa wakas, tinawag ko na ring nanay si Onay kaya tuwang-tuwa siya.”

Many viewers wrote to Jo Berry that they really cried when she almost died after sacrificing her own life just to save Kate as Natalie. “Hindi lang nag-rate ang episodes na yun kundi nag-trending din nang husto sa social media,” adds Kate. “Nakakaantig naman talaga kasi ng damdamin, pero kaming mga gumaganap doon, namugto naman nang husto ang mga mata namin sa kaluluha dahil kailangan naming umiyak sa halos bawat eksena. Pero huwag kayong bibitaw dahil marami pang pasabog na eksena sa darating na episodes hanggang sa ending namin in March. Siempre, hindi papayag si Cherie Gil na basta matalo siya ni Onay sa laban. Hindi niya matatanggap na mabubuking lahat ng mga kasamaang ginawa niya. Marami pa siyang maiitim na balak para mabawi ako sa tunay kong ina.”

Don’t miss the final few weeks of “Onanay”, which will be replaced by the drama about indigenous tribes, “Sahaya” starring the love team of Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix.
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LIAM NEESON, still the late blooming action star at 66, stars in yet another revenge drama, this time laced with dark humor, in “Cold Pursuit”. He plays Nels Coxman, a snowplow driver in a resort town, Kehoe, in the Rocky Mountains. He lives a quiet life and was just awarded as Citizen of the year for keeping their snow-filled roads clear even during blizzards.

But his quiet life turns upside down when his son Kyle (played by his own real life son, Micheal Richardson, from his late wife Natasha Richardson) dies from drug overdose. He gets so depressed, thinking he didn’t really know his son.

He’s about to shoot himself when he learns the truth from his son’s friend, with whom his son worked as a baggage handler in the Denver airport, that his son was actually murdered by a drug syndicate. He then becomes a vigilante warrior who stalks and kills various members of the syndicate named Speedo, Limbo and Santa.

The leader of the drug cartel, Trevor Calcote aka Viking (Tom Bateman of the TV series “Da Vinci’s Demons”), thinks the killings were caused by a rival syndicate of Native American Indians led by White Bull (Tom Jackson). Viking kills White Bull’s only son and this leads to a gang war between the two drug traffickers, which escalates the film’s body count that is listed down on screen every time there is a killing, complete with little crosses as some sort of R.I.P.

When Viking finds out its actually Liam Neeson who killed his men, he tries to call off the gang war but White Bull is so bent on seeking vengeance by seeking Viking’s own son, Ryan, a smart little boy who loves classical music (Nicholas Holmes), to pay for the death of his own son. But Liam has already kidnapped Ryan and this leads to a climactic battle and showdown in the snow between the drug lords and Liam which, we think, could have been better blocked and executed.

The movie is the Hollywood directorial debut of Hans Peter Moland, a Norwegian who based it on his own Norwegian film, “In Order of Disappearance”. He treats the material with a wry and morbid kind of playfulness, making some of the killing even somewhat oddly hilarious, like that of a hitman named Eskimo who certainly deserves what he gets. There’s even unexpected homosexual romance between two thugs and a dick joke about another thug who exposes himself to chambermaids in motels and later gets the comeuppance he rightfully deserves.

Liam has perfected this kind of stoic hero role down cold after having developed a knack for playing action leads late in his career in 2008’s “Taken”. Bateman doesn’t measure up to him as the main villain but the death scene he gets will be truly satisfying for those who enjoy violence and vengeance. Laura Dern plays Liam’s grieving wife, but it really isn’t much of a role as vanishes quickly.

William Forsythe also has a short but decent guest role as Liam’s older brother, WIngman, who’s married to a cheap Asian masseuse, while Emmy Rossum and John Dornan provide some kind of comic relief as two mismatched law enforcers who are underutilized as they don’t really get to do anything.

Nicholas Holmes as the precocious Ryan is surely one of the most adorable kid actors who’ve appeared on screen for a while and the scene where he asks Liam Neeson if he has heard of the Stockholm syndrome is really so funny.
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Feb 14, 2019

JAK ROBERTO gained fame as the Pambansang Abs for always being shirtless in his TV appearances, especially in “Dear Uge”, to show off his six-pack abs. But for his new show, “Kara Mia”, with real life girlfriend, Barbie Forteza, he says they agreed he won’t be taking off his shirt this time.

“Ginawa ko na yung lagi akong walang shirt sa last show ko, ‘Contessa’, so for a change, gusto ko naman talent ko sa pag-arte and mapansin sa akin at hindi ang paghuhubad ko,” he explains. “Maski sa ‘Dear Uge’ at sa ‘Bubble Gang’, hindi na rin ako gaanong nagta-topless. Pahinga muna sa ganyan para hindi magsawa ang viewers.”

How is it finally being paired with Barbie in their own show? “Siempre, it’s a nice feeling dahil lagi kaming nagkikita. We help each other sa script reading at mas nakaka-inspire magtrabaho.”

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OUR GRANDCHILDREN thoroughly enjoyed “The Kid Who Would Be King” and we liked it, too, as it’s a well made fantasy-action-adventure flick for the whole family. The title roler is Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis, son of Andy Serkis who played Gollum), a boy who is bullied in school, along with his best friend, Bedders (Dean Chaumoo).

When the bullies chase them, Alex hides in a forsake construction site. There, he finds a sword stuck into a concrete block and he’s able to pull it out easily, just like King Arthur in the tale of the Camelot and the Knights at the Round Table, of which, this new movie is a modern retelling. Alex knows the story of King Arthur because of a book left to him by his father who left him and his mom (Denise Gough).

After he gets the sword, a strange teenage boy called Merton arrives in their school, Dungate Academy, to warn him about the dangers that might happen because of the sword. Merton is actually the wizard Merlin, the adviser of King Arthur, played as a boy by Angust Imrie and as an old man, by Patrick Stewart. He performs magic with his flashy hand movements and he can also transform himself into an owl.

Merlin says an evil sorceress, Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson), is brought to life to chase Alex and get the sword from him so she can rule the world. The movie is written and directed by Joe Cornish, who makes sure his contemporary interpretation of the familiar Arthurian legend.

Alex as the new Arthur has to knight his friend friend as Sir Bedders, and also the buillies, Kaye (Rhianna Doris) and Lance (Tom Taylor.) And they even have their own round table. They fight Morgana’s army of evil knights in flames, with their horses also burning as they chase the kids in the streets or in mountains and meadows.

Alex and his friends will have to become many
personal struggles as they fight Morgana. Alex will also learn the sad truth about his missing dad and see his mom and her own sacrifices in a new light. The cast, like most other movies these days, are multi-racial. Alex and Lance are Caucasians. Bedders is Asian and Kaye is African-American.

At one point, you’d think the film has already ended, but it turns out there is a much bigger climactic finale involving the entire school and its students in fighting Morgana’s evil knights from hell. All in all, this is a wholesome and exciting family film that will introduce a new generation of young viewers to the legend of King Arthur, Excalibur and the Knights of the Round Table.

The acting of everyone is fairly good, especially Imrie with his off-the-wall performance, and the production is well above average. The CGI special effects in that sequence where Alex and friends fight gnarled trees that come to life and in the final battle with Morgana and her henchmen are particularly well executed.

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CARMINA VILLAROEL is the mother of twins in “Kambal Karibal”, one of whom is a ghost. Now, she is the mother of twins again in “Kara Mia”. “Siguro, they get me as mother of twins dahil nanay talaga ako ng twins in real life, sina Mavy at Cassie,” she laughs. “Pero kakaiba yung kambal dito sa ‘Kara Mia’, kasi dalawa ang mukha nila, pero iisa ang katawan. Kakaiba yung concept kaya ngayon pa lang, ang dami nang nagsasabi sa aking inaabangan nila talaga ang show. Puwes, magsisimula na po ito sa Monday, February 18.”

In the story, she plays Aya, a girl from Manila who goes on vacation in Bacolod where she meets John Estrada as Arthur. They start on the wrong foot but eventually fall in love with each other. Without Carmina knowing it, an elemental or engkanto also falls in love with her. This is Iswal, played by Mike Tan, who’s shirtless like his character when he appeared in the show’s presscon. Later on, Iswal will haunt her to claim that he’s really the father of her twin daughters.

“Mahirap gawin ang show,” she adds. “Kasi paulit-ulit tine-take ang eksena. Una, kausap ko si Barbie pag siya ang kaharap, pero pag tumalikod siya, kunwari kinakausap ko si Mika, pero ang totoo, batok lang ni Barbie ang kausap ko at idinadagdag na lang ang mukha ni Mika later. Mahirap para sa crew, pati sa wardrobe at sa stylist, kasi pareho lagi mga damit nila, pero si Mika, kailangan, laging baligtad yung suot na damit.”

How about her own twins, will they also do soaps? “You know, bago sila nag-sign up sa GMA Artist Center, kinausap muna namin sila ng papa nila. Gusto nyo ba talagang mag-artista. Yes, they want to try it out. So one year lang ang pinirmahan nilang contract sa GMA kasi they still go to school, so working students sila. As of now, enjoy sila hosting in ‘Sarap Di Ba’ with me on Saturday and then dancing sa ‘Studio 7’ kung Sunday. Hayaan muna sila roon at kung gusto nilang ipagpatuloy ang showbiz, saka na nila subukan ang acting.”

What can she tell detractors who say the concept of “Kara Mia” is actually ridiculous? “All I can say is give us a chance. Silipin nyo muna ang show kasi nakakaumay naman if you watch the same kind of show. E, ito, bagong putahe ang ino-offer namin, so tikman nyo muna, and we assure you that ‘Kara Mia’ will be the talk of the town and will change your primetime viewing habits.”

“Kara Mia” will replace the action-drama “Cain at Abel” that ends tonight. It will be shown right after “24 Oras”.
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