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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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Nov 26, 2020

 












GMA NETWORK is going full blast taping an exciting lineup of new soaps which are obviously intended for airing in the new year 2021. 


Now on lock in taping is “Owe My Love”, a sexy romantic-comedy topbilled by Lovi Poe, Benjamin Alves, Winwyn Marquez and Ai Ai de las Alas. 


It’s already being talked about because of the shenanigans of Mystica in the lock in taping. She has since been replaced by Patani of “Survivor Philippines”. 


Somehow, they should thank Mystica as they already got a lot of advanced publicity. Also in “Owe My Love” are comedians Nova Villa, Leo Martinez, Ruby Rodriguez, Mike Nacua, Kiray Celis, Buboy Villar, Brod Pete, Divine Tetay, Donita Nose, Mahal, Jason Francisco plus Jackielou Blanco and Ryan Eigenmann.


Also now on lock in taping in Batangas is “Babawiin Ko ang Lahat”, a family drama topbilled by Carmina Villaroel and John Estrada. Completing the cast are Kristoffer Martin, Tanya Garcia, Pauline Mendoza (who's being launched in this soap), Manolo Pedroza, Dave Bornea and Liezel Lopez. 


In contrast to the “maligalig” taping of “Owe My Love”, this one is going on very smoothly and John Estrada has openly praised the GMA staff for “putting us in a very comfortable environment for our one-month lock in taping. Di po kami tinipid. Nagtatrabaho ka pero parang nasa bakasyon ka.” 


As one staffer says: “Ganyan talaga kapag walang pasaway sa cast.”


Three other new shows slated for early next year are: “First Yaya” with Gabby Concepcion, Sanya Lopez, Pancho Magno, Pilar Pilapil, Cassy Lopez, JD Domagoso and Glenda Garcia. They were supposed to start this month but this has been moved to January after the Christmas holidays.


"Legal Wives" with Dennis Trillo as a Muslim man with three wives: Alice Dixson, Andrea Torres and Bianca Umali, supported by Cherie Gil, Al Tantay, Bernard Palanca and Kevin Santos, introducing Starstruck 2019 winners Shayne Sava and Kim de Leon.


The last one is the psychological drama “Ang Dalawang Ikaw” starring the RitKen love team of Rita Daniela and Ken Chan, supported by Anna Vicente as the other woman. 


These are just a few of the new shows being prepared by the Kapuso Network for 2021. Watch out for more exciting shows to welcome the New Year, to be announced soon.



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KYLINE ALCANTARA turned 18 last September but she didn’t have a grand debut as planned, simply because the pandemic came to town and spoiled it.


“Nakapag-book na kami sa hotel, last year pa, nag-down na nga kami,” she says. “When the lockdown came in March, I was hoping before my birthday, sana matapos na ito, but it didn’t happen. 


"So I just accepted it na lang. Wala namang magagawa. I don’t want to dwell on negative emotions, so nagkaroon na lang ako ng special 18th birthday pictorial na pinaganda talaga namin.”


But soon after that, she got the news that they’re about to resume taping for her hit afternoon soap that was disrupted by the pandemic, “Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit”. 


“So ayun, natuwa naman ako, at least back to work na kami,” she says. “Lock in taping nga lang. Mahirap dahil maraming health protocols. 


"Tapos inabot pa kami ng mga bagyo while we’re taping sa isang hotel resort in San Mateo, Rizal. But we’re all glad na balik na kami sa trabaho kasi me and all my co-stars all missed acting before the camera.”


She’s happy to see Mylene Dizon again, who plays her mother, Nora Aunor as her grandmother, her leading man Yasser Marta and the other members of the cast like Zoren Legaspi and Gabby Eigenmann. 


“And of course, our director, si Direk Laurice Guillen from whom I’m learning so much about acting while we’re doing this show,” she adds.


So how is it being officially a grown up at 18? 


“I’ve been told that adulthood is not gonna be an easy ride, but with the people around me guiding me, I know that I will be just fine. 


"Kaya natutuwa ako sa pakikinig sa stories ng mga nauna sa’kin sa showbiz, like Ms. Nora Aunor, as you’ll really learn a lot from her with her wealth of experience in showbiz.”


Kyline says all the fans of “Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit” who’ve been asking in social media as to when they will resume it’s showing should now watch out for their return in December. 


“Abangan nyo lang at babalik na kami. And we promise you mas lalong gumanda ang takbo ng story at maraming mga pasabog na eksena to please all of you.”


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Nov 25, 2020

 






                    DIRECTOR EDUARDO ROY, JR. at the presscon of 'ANG DAIGDIG KO'Y IKAW'



DIRECTOR EDUARDO ROY, JR. is an acclaimed independent film director for such award-winning films as “Quick Change”, “Pamilya Ordinaryo”, “Lola Igna” and “Fuccbois”. 


He now directs a romantic drama for Eagle Broadcasting Net25’s “Ang Daigdig Ko’y Ikaw” that starts airing this Saturday, November 28, 9 PM. How does it feel directing a TV soap?


“It’s like stepping into alien territory kasi ibang milieu siya,” he says. “But I like challenging myself and do materials na hindi ko pa nagagawa. 


"Some folks say parang luma ang ‘Daigdig Ko’y Ikaw’, which is a love story. But love never goes out of style. It’s always timely and classic as it shows kung paano tayo magmahalan lalo na sa panahon ng pandemya.” 


As most folks say, at this point in time, almost all stories have already been told. The difference comes mainly in the treatment or style of how it is told on screen. 


“Ang maganda sa paggawa ng TV drama is the idea na parang tumatalon ka sa cliff at hindi mo alam kung may sasalo sa iyo. But kapag maraming risks, mas malaki ang nadarama kong challenge as a director. 


"Mas inspired ako sa trabaho ko and I give my best to make sure the viewers will enjoy watching ‘Ang Daigdig Ko’y Ikaw’.”


The show was taped on lock in taping at the old houses in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan which Direk Edong says is much more beautiful than those of Vigan in Ilocos Sur. 


It was his first time to direct Ynna Asistio and Geoff Eigenmann. How is it?


“I’m really happy na nabigyan ng break si Ynna kasi she is a good actress,” he says. “When you first see her, akala mo, parang wala lang. But there is something about her that grows on you. 


"As for Geoff, marami na siyang TV drama experiences before, so alam na niya ang proper blocking and marking. Alam niyang hanapin ang kanyang ilaw. 


"And there was a scene na may actor’s cue kami supposedly, pero wala pa siyang cue, umiiyak na siya. And I  can also feel na may kilig sa tambalan nilang dalawa. Alam mong they were portraying their characters Reina and Roman for real. 


"They were emotionally invested sa characters nila that they portray kaya captured ng camera yung kilig at chemistry nila.”


Don't miss “Ang Daigdig Ko’y Ikaw” when it starts airing on Net25 starting this Saturday at 8 PM.


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         ENCHONG DEE IN SUNLIFE NEGOSYANTE STARTER PACK ZOOM PRESSCON


         ENCHONG DEE WITH JASMINE CURTIS SMITH in 'ALTER ME'


ENCHONG DEE is one actor who’s also a successful entrepreneur so it’s not surprising that Sun Life got him to endorse their Negosyante Starter Pack, a bundle of Sun MaxiLink 100 life insurance  and Sunlife Prosperity Achiever 2028 mutual fund, with rates that start at P4000 per month.


These products can surely ba big help for one to be a step closer to a brighter future, just like Enchong. 


"Teenager pa lang ako, I started investing my money na,” he says. “And as I focus on my career and my businesses, it's important for me to have a trusted partner covering my back. I'm glad I have Sun Life as  my lifetime partner in this financial journey."  


Enchong has many businesses, among them an entire building in Cubao which he rents out to various tenants. 


“My advice to young people is to just look for something, a business that’s close to their heart. Specially ngayon, marami sa atin ang naghahanap kung saan ilalagay ang savings nila. Saan sila makakakuha ng emergency funds nila. 


"As my financial adviser from Sunlife says, this is the perfect time for us because we're young, we're healthy. So start as early as now, so we can make our money grow more."


He’s always very careful with handling his finances. 


“Hindi ako mahilig sa expensive things, sa luho. What’s more important for me is to see your money growing so that you can have the freedom you want in the future.  


"And if I may add, sa panahon kasi ngayon, ang hirap ng buhay, tapos sunod-sunod pa 'yung nangyayaring unpleasant sa bansa natin, hindi natin alam kung kelan matatapos itong pandemya, so we should be more conservative lang on approaching our business goals. Even our personal goals."


Is having his own family part of his personal goal since he’s now financially stable? 


"At this point, hindi ko pa talaga siya tina-target, kasi marami pa rin akong ibang inaasikaso. Kasi alam ko 'yung priority ko, at sa ngayon, hindi siya settling down at pag-aasawa. 


"But if it comes, feeling ko I need to sacrifice some things that take my time out of my lovelife. So, sa ngayon, personal goal ko is definitely focused still on my work and my businesses.”


What he can say about his Kapamilya co-stars who now work with other networks, like Maja Salvador, Billy Crawford, Alex Gonzaga and the rest? 


“We should understand na kailangan nating lahat ng hanapbuhay para kumita, lalo na yung breadwinners sa family nila. 


We cannot take away their right na maghanap ng ibang lugar kunsaan kikita sila. Ako, I’m just lucky na patuloy akong may project sa ABS-CBN.”


Enchong has just finished "Alter Me", a daring movie with Jasmine Curtis Smith where he does a delicate disrobing scene that will surely shock his fans. It's now showing streaming on Netflix. 


 

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Nov 24, 2020

 















THE PAKBOYS


THE METRO MANILA FILMFEST officially announced in a zoom presscon the 10 entries in this year's festival coming in December. 


MMDA Chairman Danny Lim and Globe VP Chris Cheng said it will not be shown in theaters but through the platform of digital streaming in cooperation with Globe Studios. 


You can now watch it right in the comfort of your own homes for only P250 per movie and your whole family can watch it. Even viewers abroad can access it through the G Movies app. And here are the entries: 


“Magikland” - Produced by Lore Reyes and the late Peque Gallaga with Brightlight Productions of Cong. Albee Benitez whose "Magikland" theme park in Silay City inspired the movie. An action-adventure fantasy directed by Christian Acuna, this stars four kids, Miggs Cuaderno, Elijah Alejo, Joshua Eugenio and Princess Aguilar, who get into the video game called Magikland. Supporting them are Jaclyn Jose, Rowell Santiago, Maricel Laxa, Paolo Contis, Katrina Halili, Agot Isidro, Gabby Eigenmann and Luis Alandy.



“Coming Home” - Produced by Maverick Films, written and directed by Adolfo Alix Jr. This is a family drama about an OFW dad who comes home to his family with Sylvia Sanchez as the mother, plus Edgar Allan Guzman, Martin del Rosario, Shaira Diaz, Vin Abrenica, Julian Estrada and Jake Ejercito. 


“The Missing” - A horror drama produced by Regal Entertainment, filmed on location in Saga, Japan, written and directed by Easy Ferrer. It stars Ritz Azul, Joseph Marco and Miles Ocampo in a story of a haunted house that echoes the now classic Japanese horror flick “The Grudge”.


“Tagpuan” - Drama from Alternative Vision Cinema, written by Ricky Lee and directed by Mac Alejandre. This is a love triangle movie shot in Hongkong and New York, starring Alfred Vargas, Iza Calzado and Shaina Magdayao.


“Suarez, The Healing Priest” - A true story based on the life of the late Fr. Fernando Suarez, who died while playing tennis last February 4 at the age of 52. Directed by Joven Tan, it stars John Arcilla in the title role, supported by Dante Rivero. 


“Isa Pang Bahaghari” - Produced by Heaven’s Best Entertainment and directed by Joel Lamangan, this is another family drama about an OFW father who returns home to his hostile family. It stars Nora Aunor and Philip Salvador as the estranged couple, Michael de Mesa as their gay best friend, with Zanjoe Marudo, Joseph Marco and Sanya Lopez as their three kids. 


“Mang Kepweng, Ang Lihim ng Bandang Itim” - Produced by Cineko Productions and directed by Topel Lee, it’s an action-horror-comedy. It stars Vhong Navarro in the title role, supported by Ritz Azul, Benjie Paras, Joross Gamboa, Ryan Bang and Ion Perez. 


“Pakboys, Takusa” - A sex-comedy produced by Viva Productions, directed by Al Tantay. It stars comedians Janno Gibbs, Andrew E, Dencio Padilla and Jerald Napoles as four married men who cheat on their wives. They are supported by Natalie Hart, Angelu de Leon, Maui Taylor, Ana Roces, Marissa Sanchez and Leo Martinez. 


“The Boy Foretold by the Stars” - Originally accepted as an entry in the CineFilipino Filmfest which didn’t push through because of the pandemic, this is the first BL (Boys Love) movie after so many TV series. Produced by Derrick Cabrido of Clever Minds Inc. and directed by Dolly Dulu, it stars Adrian Lindayag (of “Oh My God”) as a gay high school boy secretly in love with his high school friend, Keann Johnson. 


“Fangirl” - Produced by Dan Villegas, written and directed by Antoinette Jadaone, it stars newcomer Charlie Dizon in the role of a young girl who’s so enamoured with her idol, an actor played by Paulo Avelino, that she’d do everything to meet him in person. This has been shown and has gained raves in international film festivals in Tokyo and Estonia.


In summary, the ten entries are a mixture of drama, comedy, action, horror flicks. There are five drama films. Two dramas are about an OFW father who returns home to his family with his kids alienated from him, “Homecoming” and “Isa Pang Bahaghari”. 


Another drama is a biographical film, “Suarez, The Healing Priest”, while the other one is about the unusual story of a fan and her favorite actor, “Fangirl”. The last one is a love triangle story filmed in Hongkong and New York, “Tagpuan”.


Two action-adventure fantasy flicks intended for kiddie viewers both make heavy use of CGI special effects, “Magikland” and “Mang Kepweng”. Then there’s a sex comedy, “Pakboys”, and a gay romantic comedy, “The Boy Foretold by the Stars”. Only one movie is an out and out horror flick, “Missing”, filmed in Japan. 


The question now is: will the Metro filmfest be as successful as the annual festival held in actual theaters? The streaming platform is something new for local films. One movie tried it last Halloween, the horror fick “U-Turn” starring Kim Chiu. and the result is not very encouraging. 


Streaming is quite successful here only if it’s for free, like in iWant. But if they’re required to pay, PInoy viewers are obviously very reluctant, even with Netflix. In the whole Asian region, it’s said we have the fewest viewers compared to our neighbor countries. 


But who knows, with the lineup of entries in the Metro-Manila Filmfest, they might finally be enticed to watch new local films online.




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STARSTRUCK BOYS 2019 are given the chance to shine on their own in the new ‘YouLOL’ show called “The Cray Crew”. These are Kim de Leon (the winner), Radson Flores, Abdul Rahman and Allen Ansay, who are all good looking and talented and all potential heartthrobs. 


“We want to thank GMA-7 for putting up this All-Boy group called The Cray Crew kunsaan maipapakita naming apat ang iba’t ibang talents na kaya naming gawin,” says Kim de Leon.


How is it working with each other? “We’re happy na kami ang magkakasama kasi during Starstruck days pa lang, naging magkakaibigan na kami,” says Radson.


“So hindi na kami naiilang sa isa’t isa,” adds Abdul. “We’re all comfortable with each other na at maganda ang rapport namin kahit anong ipagawa sa’min: sing, dance, host or act.”


“Our show is a lot of fun kasi we will vlog various internet trends, challenges, pranks and games na tiyak magugustuhan lalo na mga kabataang viewers,” says Allen, the tallest guy in the group at nearly 6 feet tall.


So don’t miss the highly entertaining first episode of “The Cray Crew” starting this Thursday at the Kapuso comedy youtube channel, YouLOL. 




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Nov 23, 2020

 







                                        SARAH CARLOS
                               ELORA ESPANO
                                 KATE LAPUZ

                                          ALEX DIAZ
                                             KENNETH MEDRANO                               


‘CARPOOL’ is a horror serye that starts on Thursday, 9:30 PM on TV5 and Cignal TV. Produced by Archangel Media. it stars five newcomers who play passengers in a carpool that become victims of a tragic car ride. 


They are Elora Espano, Sarah Carlos, Alex Diaz, Kenneth Medrano and Kate Lapuz. This will start airing on Thursday, November 26, at 9:30 PM. 


Elora plays Happy in “Carpool”, a student and responsible daughter and sister. She is the most senior among them as she has done several films like “Signal Rock” of Direk Chito Rono, “Siphayo” of Direk Joel Lamangan, “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 3”, and various TV shows like “Tadhana”, “Wagas”. “Karelasyon”. 


Sarah Carlos plays Clarence, a student with a secret and a sick mom. She started with ABS-CBN and has done many shows with them like “Pangako Sa’Yo”, “Maalaala Mo Kaya” and “Ipaglaban Mo”. But she’s now a free lancer and has also appeared in GMA-7’s “Prima Donnas”. 


Alex Diaz plays Lucho, who lives alone as his parents are abroad. Alex is a balikbayan whose full name is Alexander McDermott. Diaz is his middle name. 


He is the most controversial among them after he openly admitted that he’s bisexual. He first appeared in the period movie, “Dagsin”, playing a young soldier. He’s now also seen in the BL series “Oh Mando”.


Kenneth Medrano play Terence, a closet gay whose dad cannot accept his homosexuality. Kenneth is the winner in the “Eat Bulaga” contest, “That’s My Bae”. He’s from Cebu and has since appeared in the movies “Train Ubusan” and “My Bebe Love”, also in TV shows like “Trops”, “Half Sisters” and “Buena Familia”.


Kate Lapuz plays Steph, an achiever in school but also a spoiled brat. Kate is also an “Eat Bulaga” discovery and has appeared in the shows of TAPE like “Princess in the Palace” where she played Valerie and “Trops” where she played Pia. She’s also a good singer. 


Before they started shooting “Carpool”, they all took an acting workshop which made them more comfortable in each other’s company. 


“Mahirap ang shoot kasi maraming twists and turns sa story,” says Elora. “We all have to experience primal fear kasi malalagay ang buhay naming lahat sa panganib. We guarantee that you will be watching at the edge of your seats kasi marami talagang scary scenes from beginning to end ng story.”


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“THE MINIATURIST” is a 3-hour BBC miniseries based on the 2014 novel by Jessie Burton and set in Amsterdam in the 1600s. 


Petronella or Nella (Anya Taylor-Joy of “The Queen’s Gambit”), an 18-year old girl from a small rural town, is sold by her mother to a rich merchant, Johannes Brandt (Alex Hassell), to pay for their family’s debts. 


She arrives in his big, dark home in the city all by herself and the air is immediately filled with tension and mystery. 


Her husband is not there and she is welcomed by his cold and hostile sister, Marin (Romola Garai), who runs the household, and by their faithful servants, Cornelia (Hayley Squires) and Otto, a black guy (Paapa Essiedu).


 At the start, the story seems like “Rebecca”, about a young bride who marries someone rich without really knowing him. Johannes is much older than her and she’s supposed to continue their family’s line. She is clothed in elegant gowns with sumptuous fabrics, but Johannes never makes love to her. 


Marin is quite forbidding and will remind you of the strict Mrs. Danvers character in “Rebecca”. She has very Puritan ideals and is very ascetic and religious. 


She won’t even allow Nella to have some sweets, telling her: “We do not keep sugar in the house. The luxury of it sickens the soul.”


But Johannes himself is very generous to Nella. He gives her an expensive bridal present, a dollhouse that is an exact duplicate of their own home. 


Since her husband is often out on business, Nella gets busy with the dollhouse with items forwarded to her by the local miniaturist who seems to be very skilled. 


All the items given to her, like chairs, tables and dishes, are exact replicas of the furniture and other things inside their own home. 


Later on, without even her asking for them, she is given small dolls that look like Marin, Cornelia and Otto, and other uncanny stuff that seems to predict future events, making it a big mystery for her.


She then tries to meet in person the miniaturist, whose identity is unknown, to ask her why she seems to know so much.  


We, too, as viewers, become curious about the underlying mysteries of the various items Nella is getting, including a baby’s crib and a doll that looks like the brash young man who serves as a messenger for them.  


But the miniaturist is so elusive and seems to be deliberately avoiding her. The tone of the movie is quite sinister, menacing, but never really reaching the intensity of horror flicks.


 We cannot divulge anything more at this point, because everything else will be a spoiler. Suffice it to say that the story has a rather tragic ending, but it also serves as a coming of age story. 


It is an awakening for the teenage bride who starts as a damsel in distress but later on learns how to stand on her own two feet when one problem after another suddenly comes her way to confound her. 


You may or may not find satisfying how the storytelling goes, but there is no denying that the whole show is a lavish visual feast. 


Its portrayal of Amsterdam in the story’s period backdrop seems pretty authentic, often told from the viewpoint of the marginalized. The cinematography and production design make every scene count and every frame is carefully crafted for maximum effect. 


The lighting of some scenes will make you recall the works of Dutch painters with its depiction of light and shadow with an otherworldly glow.


Anya Taylor Joy is truly impressive as the innocent bride who discovers one big secret after another and becomes a gutsy heroine. 


But even more compelling is Alex Hassell as Johannes, giving a much nuanced performance that brings so much pathos to his role, specially in the court scenes where he is practically a broken man. 


Romola Garai starts as a villain, but it turns out she’s not really Nella’s enemy and she brings much poignancy to what happens to her character. 








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Nov 22, 2020

 











MATTEO GUIDICELLI had a solo presscon via zoom as endorser of Sun Life Newlywed Starter Pack, which is very apt for him since he and wifey Sarah Geronimo are really newlyweds. So how is married life so far?


“I’ll recommend it to everyone as I’m having the best time of my life!” he says. “But of course, you have the choose the right partner. 


"With me, I’m just thankful to wake up next to my wife every morning. I feel so blessed.”


So there’s no truth to the rumors that they’re not getting along fine and are about to break up? 


“Definitely not true! We’re enjoying each other’s company. We make decisions together.”


What has he discovered about Sarah that he didn’t know before? 


“Na she knows how to bake. At magaling pala siyang mag-bake. Nagulat ako.”


And about him, what has he discovered? 


“That I have a green thumb pala. Sinubukan kong magtanim at nakakatuwa kasi tumutubo naman yung plants. We’re plantito and plantita na.”


What would he say is his shortcoming as a husband, if any? 


“Ano ba? I don’t know. But I think yung when we watch movies at night, kasi we bought a huge TV. While watching, I fall asleep agad. E kasi, I wake up early in the morning. So nauuna na akong matulog.”


So do they have fights? 


“Yes, like all married couples do. Hindi naman siguro maaalis yun, part of marriage, but the important thing is you know how to go through with it by saying, love, sorry, it’s my fault.”


Will they still have a grand church wedding? 


“Yes, when the right time comes. Kapag may vaccine na tayong lahat.”


He’s now with Viva and he’s doing “Masked Singer” for TV5. Does he miss being with ABS-CBN? 



“I do, but I’ve just taped a Christmas special for them with Toni Gonzaga. It’s nice to see again their production people and I’m so happy nakatuntong uli ako sa studio nila. 


"But sa TV5 now, marami ring production people na galing din sa ABS. I’m also doing a horror show, ‘Kagat ng Dilim’, directed by Rae Red.”


As a family man now, Matteo is happy to partner with Sun Life in strengthening his financial foundation Sun Life’s Newlywed Starter Pack, a bundle of financial solutions ideal for those who are starting a family or saving up for their future milestones. 


The Newlywed Starter Pack combines the SUN Smarter Life Classic life insurance and Sun Life Prosperity Achiever 2028 mutual fund investment with rates starting at P5,000 per month.  


“I believe in the value of proper planning for my various pursuits. With Sun Life, I am more confident that I can give my loved ones a brighter future,” Matteo says.


Those who wish to know more about the Celebrity Product Starter Packs are encouraged to consult a Sun Life advisor who can help them assess their financial needs, just visit bit.ly/advisormatch. 


More details are available at sunlife.com.ph and on Sun Life Philippines’ official Facebook page.


So when do they plan to have a baby? 


“Sana next week  na. It will happend when it’s God’s will. We’re trying naman but as of now, we’re just enjoying each other more kasi we weren’t able to do that much as boyfriend-girlfriend. Kung darating, we will definitely welcome this blessing and we think we are ready for it.”


How many do they intend to have? 


“As many as kung ilan ang ibibigay ni Lord. The more the merrier! Hahahaha!”


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 THE LOVE TRIANGLE in 'PAANO ANG PASKO' JULIA with EJAY FALCON & BEAUTY GONZALEZ


JULIA CLARETE was last seen in “Eat Bulaga”. She resigned when she got married and lived in Kuala Lumpur with her son, Sebastian, and husband, Gareth McGeown (a Coca Cola executive), for three years. 


But recently, they came back to Manila and Julia is surprised when friend Joseph Boncalan, executive producer for TV5’s Christmaserye, “Paano ang Pasko?”, called her up and offered her the role of Love, the eldest daughter of Maricel Laxa in the series. 


“This wasn’t planned, but I really prayed na sana, makabalik ako sa acting kasi nami-miss ko rin, and my prayers were answered quickly,” she says.  “I didn’t expect it, but sometimes the Lord just gives you great opportunities. 


"Ang ganda pa ng role ko rito. I’m married to Ejay Falcon but he’s also in love with my younger sister, Beauty Gonzalez as Hope, so we have a big conflict in the story with challenging confrontation scenes.”


How is her life in KL? 


“Well, it gave me the chance to live away from home and experience new things and other cultures. I helped out the Philippine Embassy in some of their fund-raising projects. But as they say, there’s no place like home. 


"Both my husband and I love the Philippines and we’re glad to be staying here for two years naman before he’s assigned to another country.” 


She admits that doing lock in taping in time of the pandemic is quite a challenge. 


“Mahirap kasi ibang-iba ang setup sa dating tapings. You have to be very cautious. E, may pagka-claustrophobic pa naman ako, so sa facemask pa lang naiilang ako noong una. 


"You can’t just hug anyone on the set, even old friends, no beso-beso. But the people in the production are all so competent and kind, so it’s all worthwhile.”


She considers being part of “Paano ang Pasko?” a big blessing. 


“I’m glad to be in this show kasi ang ganda ng message niya about families, love, acceptance and forgiveness specially in the season of Christmas. 


"Very relevant siya sa mga nangyayari sa atin ngayon and very inspiring din, so don’t fail to watch it Monday to Friday at 9 PM on TV5 and Cignal Entertainment.”


She’s just happy to spend Christmas at home once again. 


“Favorite ko talaga ang Paskong Pinoy. Wala talagang katulad ang saya ng Paskong Pinoy kahit sabihin pang may pandemya at ang daming challenges na dumating sa atin lately, iba pa rin ang Pinoy talaga when it comes to celebrating Christmas.”


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