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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 20, 2023





REGAL & GMA-7 are celebrating the second anniversary of their successful collaboration in “Regal Studio Presents” that is shown every Sunday at 4:15 PM. 

In attendance to the mediacon they held were Roselle Monteverde and Joey Reyes to represent Regal, and Joey Abacan and Atty. Nanette Gozon Valdez of GMA Network.

“I would like to thank GMA for collaborating with us,” says Roselle. 

“We started airing the show two years ago at the height of the pandemic when a lot of showbiz people were jobless. 

"Our aim is to help them and also to give a break to new stars, writers and directors.

"We’re so glad that after eight seasons, viewers continue to watch the show every afternoon.

"We’re now on our 9th season and we have lined up several special original stories to entertain the audience as we celebrate our second anniversary. 

"Iba-iba ang stories. May romcom, may hugot drama, may family story, may magical realism, may screwball comedy, so don’t miss watching all of them.”

Eleven of their stars who appear in various episodes of the show were invited to the anniversary event: Shayne Sava and Dustin Yu, Yasser Marta and Lexi Gonzales, Will Ashley and Althea Ablan, Larkin Castor and AZ Martinez, Royce Cabrera, Migz Cuaderno and Carlo San Juan. 

Yasser and Lexi appeared in last Sunday’s offering entitled “Battle of the Exes”. Larkin and AZ also appeared in a past episode about bullying in school, “The Two Nerds”. 

Appearing in this coming Sunday’s special episode (September 24) entitled “I Love You, Bien” are Lianne Valentin and Royce Cabrera.

The episode on October 1 is “The Dream Band” starring Carlo San Juan as a rakista who discovers the difference between his passion and reality.

And on October 8, the featured story is “Poster Boy” with Will Ashley as the cute boy on a poster who magically comes to life, as requested by his avid fan, played by Althea.

Coming up soon is “Mother, Mother, Where are You?”, with Shayne Sava starring as an influencer from abroad who comes to Manila and is assisted by Dustin Yu in her search for her long lost mother.

Another forthcoming episode is “My Fake Family” starring Migz Cuaderno as an orphan boy who gets a scholarship to a top university and has to come up with a fake family when he is interviewed by the school authorities. 

For the episode this Sunday, “I Love You, Bien”, Royce Cabrera is happy to play the title role of Bien, who is the husband of Lianne Valentine in the story. 

Lianne was absent at the presscon so we asked Royce how is it working with her? 

“Lianne is my katropa even before pa, so we’re comfortable with each other at masaya kami sa set,” he replies.

“Napakahusay rin niyang aktres and very easy to work with so I hope to work with her again someday.”

What is their episode all about? 

“It’s about newly weds na maagang nag-asawa. They soon find out that married life is not that easy. 

"Maganda ang message ng episode namin kasi it tells us to always be ready to accept the realities of life and face all the challenges na dumarating sa buhay natin, specially for married couples. 

"So don’t miss it in ‘Regal Studio Presents’ this Sunday at 4:15 PM.”

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WHAT IS the best of the best in the Philippines which can be considered as the country’s numero uno or number one attraction?

The Philippines is truly a haven of superlatives and we can boasts of many number 1’s. 

It is home to the most perfect cone-shaped volcano, the tallest bamboo statue, the deepest trench under the sea and the longest underground river, among others.

But where exactly can we find the best of the best in the Philippines?

To answer that question, GMA Public Affairs and YouTube Philippines now join hands to find the “Philippines’ Number 1” on the special online series “Philippines’ Number 1."

This will features the country's “best” as creatively explored by celebrity content creators and set to be exclusively available on the GMA Public Affairs YouTube channel beginning  on September 22.

 Following the success of “Pinoy Christmas in our Hearts,” YouTube Philippines ties up again with GMA Public Affairs for in this not to be missed special that highlights the most amazing things qualified to be the "Philippines' Number 1."

 Palawan Island is indisputably one of the most stunning tourist destinations not only in the Philippines but in the world. Rufa Mae Quinto, a renowned actress and comedian, sets foot in the municipality of El Nido. 

During her visit, Rufa Mae stumbles upon a "secret place" that locals claim is one of the places where you can experience the ultimate island vacation. 

Intrigued by this information, Rufa Mae confidently applies as a receptionist to uncover the secrets of this exclusive destination.

The adventure continues as “Philippines’ Number 1” visits Tuguegarao City in Cagayan Province to experience their most celebrated food festival—the Pancit Batil Patung Festival. 

Celebrity chef JR Royol traverses the streets of Tuguegarao to search for the oldest pancit batil patung recipe in town. He even tries the traditional way of cooking noodles called kinabayu. 

Chef JR also joins the Batil Patung Eating Contest, wherein he needs to finish a huge bowl of batil patung in just three minutes.

Meanwhile, famous vlogger Agassi Ching boldly takes on the Ultimate Pancit Batil Patung Mukbang Challenge and indulges in the delicious local cuisine. 

Filipinos have yet to identify a national dish, but it will probably be Adobo if there’s a frontrunner dish. For the locals of Silay City in Negros Occidental, almost everything can be Adobo—chicken, pork, shellfish, vegetables, rabbit, duck, etc. 

They even hold a festival wherein different versions of Pinoy Adobo are served. Famous chef vloggers RV Manabat and Abi Marquez go to Silay City for a one-on-one adobo cooking showdown.

But to spice up things, Chef RV and Abi are not given any ingredients to cook with.

The two chefs need to start from scratch and  harvest their own ingredients. 

Wonder what will be the taste of their “adobo that is indeed a labor of love”?

Experience the finest of goodies and attractions that the Philippines has to offer, as seen through the lenses of the country's most renowned creators. 

Catch "Philippines' Number 1," exclusively available on GMA Public Affairs’ YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/gmapublicaffairs) beginning September 22. For more stories about the Kapuso Network, visit www.gmanetwork.com.

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‘VIDEO CITY’ is, more than anything else, a tribute to local Cinema, paying homage to Viva movies like “Bituing Walang Ningning”, “Maging Sino Ka Man”, “Palabra de Honor” and to top actresses Sharon Cuneta, Maricel Soriano and Lorna Tolentino. 

It’s also a homage to Viva directors like Roman Perez Jr., Victor Villanueva, etc. who make cameo appearances in the movie. 

And of course, it is also a nod to nostalgia when feature films are available on VHS format and can be rented in outlets like Video City that are now a thing of the past. 

Even the theme song they selected, “Sa Tuwing Umuulan”, comes from a hit Robin Padilla-Regine Velasquez movie made by Viva, “Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw”.

The central character is Han (Ruru), a film student who feels lonely and world weary. He is supposed to complete his film thesis but he lacks the inspiration to do it.

His depression stems from his mom's being an invalid, Anita Pena (Suzette Ranillo), when she used to be an award-winning director noted for her epic black and white works ala-Lav Diaz.

Once, Hans chances upon a VHS rewinder in an old internet store and when he presses it, he is suddenly transported to 1995, inside a Video City outlet where he meets Ningning (Yassi Pressman), a store attendant who wouldn’t believe him when he says he is from the future.

He keeps returning to the past with the help of the magical rewinder and he, expectedly, falls in love with Ningning, who eventually believes he’s really a stranger from the future. But how can their love affair prosper when they come from two different time frames?

The film comes hot on the heels of “Love You Long Time”, an entry in the MM summer filmfest last April about two young people from different time periods who get connected through an old cellphone. 

The characters in “Video City” are better developed, although the storytelling is a bit slow at the start. Yassi is an aspiring actress who eventually helps in perking up the melancholic Ruru. 

She gives him the inspiration he needs to finish his film thesis and makes him want to consummate their relationship even if they actually have a huge age gap between them. 

Those who nitpick will no doubt have a lot of questions about some details in the way the story is told.

The movie could have ended in that scene where Ruru saves Yassi from riding on a ferry boat that, he happens to know in advance, would sink.

But it goes on and on, with Ruru trying his best to locate Yassi’s whereabouts in 2023.

So the story goes up to the present time when Ruru is invited to attend a film screening for the film’s obligatory happy ending. 

We like it that when the lovers finally meet again, Director Raynier Brizeula did not show them rushing to each other to hug or kiss. They just stare at one another, with tears of happiness welling from their eyes.

Suffice it to say that hopeless romantics will not be disappointed, but what really carries the movie through are its stars who are both oozing with a lot of charm. 

Both Ruru and Yassi excel in their light moments and even more so in the dramatic ones where they both shed tears so effortlessly. 

Also a stand out is Suzette Ranillo as Ruru’s mom. All throughout the film, she is disabled and just shown sitting on her wheelchair. 

But there is a flashback sequence where Ruru, while in the past, meets her mom in a convocation focused on her films and she delivers a very inspiring talk on how to bounce back when you are feeling low, just rewind yourself then play it back again.

Suzette is so splendid and competent in that scene we wish Viva would give her more acting assignments in the future.

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Sep 19, 2023


SHEILA SNOW is the latest sex siren being built up by Viva for their edgy offerings on their streaming channel, Vivamax.

She has a degree in tourism from Trinity then she started working as a model for online gaming. 

Sheila Snow is just her screen name as her real family name is Suyat, which we have to admit, is not very showbizy. 

She has a shapely figure measuring 36-24-34. Someone took her to audition with Viva and she was signed up to an exclusive contract to do ten movies. 

She’s immediately cast doing supporting roles in films like “Pabuya”, “Lawa”, “Suki” and “Hilom”. 

She’s now part of “Ligaw na Bulaklak” that starts streaming this Friday and she says it’s her biggest break so far. 

“Sa past movies ko, mga one or two scenes lang ako pero dito mas malaki ang role ko as Cassie,” she says. “Arron Villaflor and I play sexy movie stars at may pagka-clingy ako sa kanya. 

"Gusto ko talaga siya but he ignores me. One night after our shooting sa isang remote province, umuwi siyang mag-isa for his father’s birthday at naligaw siya. 

"That’s how he met Chloe Jenna na sobrang obsessed pala sa kanya.”

The movie is directed by Jeffrey Hidalgo and it’s her first time to work with him. 

“It was Viva who recommended me to be part of his cast and I’m glad pumayag siya kasi I really enjoyed working with him. 

"He’s young and napaka-cool lang niya sa set, open to suggestions at hindi yung tipong istrikto at nagtataray.”

She also enjoyed working co-stars Arron and Chloe. 

“Si Arron, sobrang bait. He makes sure na comfortable ka with him. Na-relax ako agad in his company and ang feeling ko, parang high school friends kami. 

"Si Chloe naman, we were like sisters. We shot on location in Cavite and we all stayed in one hotel during the duration of the shoot at ang saya namin lagi sa set. I really enjoyed their company.”

What’s her most difficult scene in the movie? 

“Yung love scenes with Arron. We shot two love scenes. Yung isa, sa ibabaw ng mesa na I’m the one on top.

"Yung isa naman, sa bed na iba-ibang positions. Kung anu-anong different positions ang ipinagawa sa amin ni Direk Jeffrey at tuloy-tuloy ang shoot kaya sobrang napagod talaga kami ni Arron.”

Didn’t she have any hesitation about doing sexy scenes? 

“None. Kasi maski naman online, sexy talaga ang projection ko and once, I also did a sexy pictorial for FHM.”

So what does her boyfriend say? 

“As of now, wala akong boyfriend. Mas okay sa akin maging single. Nakaka-stress lang kapag may boyfriend kang babawalan ka pa sa trabaho mo. 

"Yung last boyfriend ko nga, hindi naman serious. Date-date lang kami.

"I will focus muna sa trabaho ko sa Viva and hopefully, mabigyan na rin nila ako ng solo movie ko in the near future.”

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Sep 18, 2023



CHLOE JENNA couldn’t help but cry with tears of joy at the mediacon of her first solo starrer, “Ligaw na Bulaklak”, when we congratulated her for her totally unabashed and brazenly uninhibited performance in the lead role of Di-an.

As a quiet seemingly harmless lass who turns out to be a psychological damaged predator to the guy she secretly loves, Chloe has several sex scenes with leading man Arron Villaflor who she practically rapes while he is tied up in bed.

We tell her she easily surpassed Kathy Bates’ Oscar winning performance in the 1990 film, “Misery”, because Bates never got to have sex with her captive, James Caan, while she had her way with Arron not just once but several times. 

In “Misery”, Bates played a nurse who gets to care for her favorite author, Caan, when he had an accident and she takes him to her remote cabin where she makes him her prisoner.

This is also the gist of “Ligaw na Bulaklak” (there’s another “Ligaw na Bulaklak” local film in 1976 directed by Ishmael Bernal but they are not at all connected in any way), where Chloe plays Di-an, who lives in a solitary hut in a remote rural area. 

Arron is Kevin, a popular actor who gets lost while driving his car on his way home from an out of town location shooting.

His car gets stuck in the mud and he meets an accident when he slips and his head unfortunately hits a big rock on the ground. 

When he regains consciousness, he is already in bed in Chloe’s home and she turns out to be a big fan of his movies and is so obsessed with him. 

She would watch his movies on DVD and give pleasure to herself while Arron is doing sexy bedscenes with his perennial screen partner (Sheila Snow.)

Just like “Misery”, “Ligaw na Bulaklak” becomes a thriller in its last half hour as Arron tries his best to escape and get away from his captor who will not let him go.

Both Arron and Chloe do a good job in their respective roles.

Jeffrey Hidalgo does multi-tasking in this movie. 

He co-wrote the story with Lou Gopez and Dennis Marasigan, with the latter writing the full script.

He and Dennis also do acting jobs as the two useless cops who are looking for Arron after he goes missing. 

What will Direk Jeffrey say when detractors would accuse him of his movie just copying “Misery”? 

“We don’t hide na it’s inspired by ‘Misery’,” he says. “It’s actually a homage to ‘Misery’ but, if you’d notice, marami na kaming binago. 

"For one, the ending is totally different from ‘Misery’. Tapos, may back story yung character ni Chloe along with Jeric Raval, who plays a mysterious mute man in her life.

"A movie is just like a song. Maraming paulit-ulit na melodies and the difference na lang is in the treatment and execution.”

Former Viva Hot Babe Sheree Bautista is part of the movie and plays a special role as the mother of Chloe who appears in the flashback scenes to shed light on Chloe’s background. 

She has a hot love scene with a nameless guy and she says this is the last time she’d do a sexy flick.

“I want to thank Viva for all the projects they’re giving to me, but I want to take a break for a while, kasi my teenage son told me to rest muna,” she says.

“Dito sa ‘Ligaw na Bulaklak’, nahirapan ako kasi my character was killed at nakahiga ako sa lupa with fake blood, na matamis kaya kinagat-kagat ako ng langgam.”

As for Jeffrey Hidalgo, he started as a singer, then went into acting, and is now into directing. So which one is nearest to his heart? 

“Right now, given the choice, directing is really on top of the priorities in what I enjoy doing.

"I find much more satisfaction in filmmaking.”

And to prove this, he now has a new film to direct, “Salawahan”, with one of the current Vivamax Queens, Angeli Khang. Meantime, don’t miss ‘Ligaw na Bulaklak’ that will start streaming this Friday on Vivamax.

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The lead stars of GMA Network’s hit live-action adaptation series Voltes V: Legacy continue the battle against piracy by launching the Network’s merchandise anti-piracy plug. 

This initiative is part of the Network’s broader efforts to protect the rights of content creators and foster a culture of respect for intellectual property.

The anti-piracy plug includes a powerful message featuring Miguel Tanfelix, Matt Lozano, and Raphael Landicho.

Miguel, who plays Steve Armstrong, emphasizes the importance of buying official merchandise from authorized sellers only, “Make sure to buy Voltes V: Legacy merchandise only from official licensees like the GMA Store.”


Matt, known for his role as Big Bert, encourages fans to become part of Camp Big Falcon via www.campbigfalcon.com, “Kung gusto n’yo magbenta ng Voltes V: Legacy official merchandise, be part of the Camp Big Falcon team!”

By becoming a part of the Camp Big Falcon team, Voltes V merchandise sellers are encouraged to practice proper consumer merchandise licensing to foster respect for Intellectual Properties and compliance with the law.

This initiative ensures that fans not only enjoy genuine merchandise but also contribute to a culture of responsible consumerism.

Raphael, who portrays Little Jon, reminds fans, “Iba ang orig kaya buy legit!” He underscores the significance of purchasing genuine merchandise.

Miguel adds, “Let’s buy responsibly and help fight piracy.”

The video also conveys the need to avoid buying fake merchandise due to the criminal nature of product piracy. Fans are reminded that official merchandise guarantees durability and product quality.

Under the Philippine Intellectual Property code, “any person who sells products that bear the registered mark of another, without the latter’s consent, is liable for trademark infringement.

Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” GMA Network encourages consumers to be aware of their rights and responsibilities when purchasing merchandise.

“At GMA Network, we are committed to safeguarding the intellectual property rights of creators and ensuring that fans can enjoy authentic merchandise. This plug is a crucial component of our efforts to combat piracy and protect the interests of both content creators and consumers,” says GMA Network’s First Vice President and Head of International Operations Joseph T. Francia.

Rossette H. Roa, Senior Assistant Vice President, GMA Viewer-Directed Marketing, also adds:

"We're thrilled to be part of this initiative to combat piracy. Authentic Voltes V: Legacy merchandise is not just a product but a piece of nostalgia that is intricately woven into the Filipino culture across generations. 

"We encourage fans to support the official merchandise available at the GMA Store, ensuring they get the best quality while protecting the intellectual property rights of creators."

The Network’s new anti-piracy plug is a testament to the company’s unwavering commitment to combat piracy and protect intellectual property rights. By joining forces with the cast of Voltes V: Legacy, GMA Network aims to educate and inspire fans to make responsible choices and support the creators they love.

For more information on GMA Network’s anti-piracy efforts and official merchandise, visit www.gmanetwork.com

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GMA Network’s flagship international channel, GMA Pinoy TV, continues to solidify its digital presence across various social media platforms, reaffirming its position as the Global Pinoys’ ultimate choice for Filipino entertainment and content beyond on-air. 

For the month of August 2023, GMA Pinoy TV’s Facebook page crossed the 3 million mark with more than 3.3 million followers. This remarkable achievement places them 1.5 million followers ahead of its closest rival, The Filipino Channel (TFC), marking the most significant gap between the two channels since December 2021. 

Meanwhile, GMA Pinoy TV’s Tiktok account has garnered an impressive 7.5 million likes and 448,991 dedicated followers in August, further establishing the channel’s dominance and influence on this dynamic platform.

On X (Twitter), GMA Pinoy TV has surged ahead with an additional 66,000+ followers, with a total of 116,147. On Instagram, the Kapuso international channel tallied 250,000 followers, while TFC only had 117,000 followers.

These significant increases emphasize the channel’s ability to engage and connect with its audience across diverse social media landscapes.

GMA Pinoy TV also made significant strides on YouTube, with its official account now boasting 268,000+ subscribers. This progress underscores GMA Pinoy TV's unwavering dedication to providing top-quality content to its worldwide audience.

The Kapuso Network’s international channel likewise continues to strengthen its presence on other online platforms, including its Stronger Together Podcast, which has garnered immense success. 

“We are incredibly proud of GMA Pinoy TV’s remarkable milestones in the digital sphere. Our commitment to delivering high-quality Filipino content to our global audiences remains unwavering. 

"These achievements underscore our dedication to bridging the gap and connecting Global Pinoys, all while bringing the best of Filipino entertainment to their screens,” said GMA First Vice President and Head of International Operations Joseph T. Francia.

These remarkable achievements on multiple digital platforms reflect the channel's dedication to delivering high-quality content that resonates with audiences worldwide.

Follow GMA Pinoy TV’s growing global community on Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, X, and Viber channel.

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Sep 17, 2023


EUGENE DOMINGO laughs off the rumor that she has died last Friday. 

A Facebook page wrote: “At about 11 AM, Sept. 15, 2023, our beloved actress Eugene Domingo passed away. She was born on July 23, 1971 in Manila. 

"She will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page.”

Some folks acknowledged it and sent their sympathy but a lot more doubted its veracity as such significant news concerning an award-winning actress like Eugene would surely be reported immediately by various legitimate new sources and news networks. 

Eugene herself said its a hoax and she now joins a long list of celebrities who have also been erroneously reported to have did when the truth is that they’re all still alive and kicking. 

We can only wish that people who make such false reports will meet their own morbid karma sooner than soon, so they will stop such nasty deeds on the internet. 

The truth is: Eugene has just finished shooting a new movie, “Becky and Badette”, where she shares topbilling with another comedian, Pokwang.

This is written and directed by the multi-awarded Jun Lana, who has previously directed Uge in such award-winning films as “Mga Kuwentong Barbero” and “Big Night”, and in the streaming hit, “Sampung Mga Kerida”. 

“Becky and Badette” is the story of two women who have been rivals since their high school days. Now, they are fighting for the attention of one man, played by Romnick Sarmenta. 

Eugene is one of the recipients of the Film Development Council of the Philippines or FDCP in giving recognition to iconic Filipino comedians, in line with the celebration of the 3rd Philippine Film Industry month this September, with the theme “Tuloy Pa Rin ang Tawanan”.

The list of awardees includes the late Dolphy, Tito Vic & Joey, Ai Ai de las Alas, Michael V and Vice Ganda and Eugene says it is such an honor to be with such great company of recipients.

This is what FDCP wrote to give her recognition: 

“Known in the industry as “Uge,” Eugene Domingo started out as a theater stalwart who has worked with theater icons and National Artists Tony Mabesa and Ishmael Bernal before she became the film and tv actress that she is now.

“Among the hit films she starred in are her titular role in the “Kimmy Dora” franchise and in Marlon Rivera’s award-winning film “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank” which was also the country’s official entry to the Academy Awards in 2011.

“Uge has managed to bring the discipline and nuances shaped by theater to television and screen to create intelligent characters and to raise the level of comedy to more than just a popular art.”

Uge just got an offer to do a talk show for a top network but she decided to decline it as it will be a daily show that entails a lot of work.

She is also slated to do a new movie for Amazon Prime but she is not allowed to reveal the details yet. 

Uge is now happily married to Italian film critic Danilo Bottoni and they’ve been together for seven years. 

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DENNIS TRILLO is celebrating his 20th anniversary as a Kapuso.  He joined ABS-CBN in 2001 when he was 20 years old as batchmate of Bea Alonzo and Alfred Vargas.

Now, they’re all with GMA-7. 

Dennis moved to GMA in May, 2002 to be the leading man of Jolina Magdangal in the afternoon drama, “Kahit Kailan”, which was directed then by Ruel Bayani, who later moved to ABS-CBN. 

Since then, Dennis has done a lot of hit shows as a Kapuso, including “Zaido, Pulis Pangkalawakan”, “Gagambino”, “Mulawin”, “Magdusa Ka”, “My Husband’s Lover” and the most recent is the runaway hit, “Maria Clara at Ibarra” where he played Ibarra. 

GMA gave him the title Drama King. How does he feel about this?

“I’m flattered, but I’m not conscious of labels,” he says.

“I just want to thank GMA for all their trust and support to me all these years. 

"And ako naman, I just make sure to do my best in whatever job they give me. Lagi ko lang pinagbubutihan ang trabaho ko.”

And as he celebrates his 20th anniversary, he is assigned another great show where he is now reunited with Bea Alonzo, “Love Before Sunrise”, that will replace “Royal Blood” starting this coming Monday. 

How does he feel about working with her again after they did the teen show “K2BU” at ABS-CBN two decades ago.

“I am just too happy and grateful to work with her again,” he says.

“Kasi sa ABS-CBN noon, bagets pa kami. Sobrang bata pa niya, teenager. 

"But through the years, it’s nice to know we’ve both grown in our respective careers and now, pinagtagpo kami uli to work together again. 

"And ‘Love Before Sunrise’ is just perfect project for our reunion on screen.”

Dennis plays Atom and Bea plays Stella. 

They used to be sweethearts but they broke up since they were in love but at the wrong time. Many years later, they meet again. 

Will love be sweeter for them the second time around?

“The story is about second chances,” says Dennis.

“Parang yung nangyari sa amin ni Jennylyn (Mercado, his wife) na naging kami when we did ‘Gumapang Ka sa Lusak’. 

"But it only lasted for a year, then we met again at yun, mas naging successful ang relationship namin the second time around.”

GMA has given them a star-studded supporting cast: Andrea Torres, Sid Lucero, Jason Abalos, Ricky Davao, Tetchie Agbayani, Vaness del Moral, Rodjun Cruz, Sef Cadayona, Matet de Leon, Isay Alvarez, Nadia Montenegro, Vince Maristela and Cheska Fausto, as directed by Mark de la Cruz. 

Don’t miss the exciting start of this unforgettable romance drama on Monday, September 28.

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Sep 16, 2023


‘NANNY’ is the directorial debut of Nikyatu Jusu, who also wrote the screenplay, produced by Blumhouse that is noted for its horror movies. 

It won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Filmfest last year and it is now available via streaming on Prime Video.

The lead character is Aisha (Anna Diop, a Senegalese-American actress who has done a lot of TV series like the DC-HBO show “Titans” that ran for four season.)

Aisha is an illegal immigrant from Senegal where she used to be a teacher and where she left her 6-year old son, Lamine, to try her luck in the land of milk and honey.

She gets work as a nanny for Rose (Rose Decker),  the daughter of a rich white couple living in the plush Upper East Side of New York City, Amy (Michelle Monaghan) and Adam (Morgan Spector).

She plans to save enough money to get her son to later join her in the States. 

But there are other elements that hint of tension and problems. Since she’s undocumented, Aisha wants to be paid in cash, but Amy often forgets to pay her when she is frequently asked to work overtime. 

So she tells about it to Adam, who then tries to make sexual advances to Aisha. As if her problems are not enough, Aisha also gets a boyfriend, Malik (Sinqua Walls), who works as a doorman in the apartment building where she works. 

Honestly, their romance seems to belong to another movie.

Malik also has a son and a grandmother, Kathleen (Leslie Uggams), who seems to know about some magic. Soon, Aisha is having frightening nightmares that she’s drowning and she also sees sinister visions of her son Lamine. 

Once, she hears voices and gets a knife to check the bathroom. Someone pulls her into the bathtub and it turns out to be Rose,  who tells her that it is her own son who is causing the dark visions as he is envious of the attention that his mom gives to her ward.

Critics loved this movie saying it’s a psychological horror film that portrays the displacement felt by emigrants who leave their families in their countries of origin to find work in the States. 

The movie does seem to have this element, and also other factors, but they are not persuasively woven together. The nightmares and visions are not really scary. 

For a TNT (tago ng tago) migrant, what’s really scary here is having real financially problems, putting up with undependable employers, and worrying about immigration authorities who might catch you and deport you.

There’s an effort to inject some supernatural dimension in the narrative through Malik’s grandma and the African folktales that Aisha reads to Rose about a spider called Anansi, but the writer-director fails to make it a convincing correlation that will satisfy horror movie fans.

The movie simply fails as a horror flick as it fails to frighten or terrify the viewers. 

It’s attempt at making it a social commentary on the life of illegal migrants is also very superficial. 

In the end, it has a melodramatic final reveal that we just find hard to swallow. Why it won Grand Jury Prize is something truly beyond us.

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