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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.

May 30, 2016

Charo Santos Concio Celebrates 25th Anniversary Of 'Maalaala Mo Kaya' & Stars In A New Movie, 'Ang Babaeng Humayo', Directed By Lav Diaz

ALTHOUGH CHARO SANTOS has been replaced by Carlo Katigbak as ABS-CBN Pres. & CEO when she reached the mandatory retirement age of 60, she remains to be a top Kapamilya exec as president of the ABS-CBN University and as Chief Content Officer. And yes, she remains to be the host of “Maalaala Mo Kaya” which is now celebrating its 25th anniversary as Asia’s longest running drama anthology show. Not only that, Charo is also back on the big screen in Lav Diaz’ latest opus, “Ang Babaeng Humayo”.

“After he came back from Berlin for ‘Hele ng Hiwagang Hapis’, he asked me if I’d still be willing to act,” she says. “I said it would depend on the project and on the character I’d play. A few days later, he sent me the script for ‘Babaeng Humayo’ and I read it. I liked it, so I shot it na. The last movie I did is ‘Alfredo Lim Story’ with Eddie Garcia in 1992. Ang tagal na rin, so na-miss ko talagang magpelikula.”

She won’t say what the story is all about and who are her co-stars. “We’ll have another presscon for that in July,” says her sister, Malou Santos, who’s Star Cinema’s top exec. “Basta magugulat kayo kasi ibang-iba ang Charo Santos na mapapanood nyo sa role na ginagampanan niya roon.”

Meantime, Charo is proud that “Maalaala Mo Kaya” is celebrating four special stories starting this Saturday as their 25th anniversary offering. Did she really expect the show to last for 25 years? “No, I never imagined that it’d last this long. When we’re starting, ang gusto ko pang title was ‘Among My Souvenirs’, but Freddie Garcia says dapat kundiman, yung Tagalog, kaya naging MMK. It’s quite a feat for any show to celebrate its 25th anniversary. So many writers and directors started their careers with us. Naging training ground ito for some of our top directors today.”

So what’s the secret of its longevity? “I think it’s because of the impact of the true stories we present. We provide hope, inspiration and positive influence to our Kapamilya viewers kaya nakaka-relate talaga sila. And also, utang namin ito sa lahat ng tao working hard behind the scenes para mapaganda ang bawat episode nito each week.”

And chief writer Mel del Rosario adds: “We also owe it to the credibility and leadership of our host, na mas lalo pang bumabata sa paglipas ng mga taon.”

So what’s Charo’s secret for looking so young? “I just go with the flow. Hindi ako yung nagpaplano na dapat ganito, ganyan. Basta whatever the universe offers to me, kung maganda, I’m open to it, I’m adventurous. Also, I like kasi what I’m doing. It’s not like work for me, so it’s not stressful. I also look at life with a very positive perspective.”

As MMK celebrates its 25th year, you can now check on all its past episodes on its website and send your own life stories via email to mmk.abs-cbn.com. They’re also issuing a special commemorative anniversary album featuring top names like Sharon Cuneta, Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid, Lea Salonga, Gary Valenciano and more.

MMK merchandise items like shirts will also be available at the ABS-CBN Store. They will continue to visit provinces for the Regional Story Gathering and Charo will reunite with past letter senders starting in Davao on July 6. She also will be visiting various countries abroad for Kuwentuhang Kapamilya as MMK is one of the top shows on TFC. This will start in Madrid, Spain on June 26, then Hongkong on July 24, plus Canada, USA and Japan later. For updates, just follow @MMKOfficial on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

This Saturday at 8:15 PM, the first story in their anniversary presentations is “Batang Samal”, starring Abby Bautista as a tribal girl who dreams of being a teacher. This was shot on location in Pagadian, with Princess Punzalan as special guest. For their Father’s Day presentation, they present “Caveman”, starring Zanjoe Marudo as a very poor father who becomes homeless and takes his children to live in a cave.

The third story is “Pole Dancer”, with the very sexy Jessy Mendiola in the title role. The fourth and final episode star Angel Locsin and JC De Vera in the true story of a dying little girl whose battle with the big C became a hit in social media, “Courageous Caitlin”.