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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 4, 2023


WE LIKE Jennifer Lopez, so despite the negative reviews critics gave to “Shotgun Wedding”, we still watched it. 

The movie is about a destination wedding and the featured place here is Mahal Island in the Philippines.     

There is a Mahal resort in Samal Island, but the movie was not really shot there but in a resort in the Dominican Republic. They do have an Asian couple in the cast who speak Tagalog. 

Another movie supposedly set in the Philippines is Gerard Butler’s “Plane”, where they make an emergency landing in Jolo and are hostaged by Muslim rebels led by a Datu Jumar who’s not really played by a Pinoy actor but by a black Hollywood actor.  

“Shotgun Wedding” happens entirely on the island resort. JLo is Darcy and she’s about to wed Josh Duhamel as Tom.

They gather their respective families and friends there in what Tom pictures as the ultimate perfect wedding.   

But as may be expected, things don’t go as planned.  

Both Darcy and Tom start having cold feet and argue about a lot of things just before the wedding. 

And just as they continue to bicker amd express their doubts about the wedding, pirates suddenly barge in and take everyone hostage. 

It’s good Darcy and Tom are then fighting in another part of the island when the intruders come in so they get to evade the bad guys. It’s now up to them to save their relatives and guests.   

It turns out that Darcy’s dad, Robert (Cheech Martin), is a multi-millionaire and the pirates demand he pays them $45 million to keep everyone alive. 

The big cast includes the hilarious Jennifer Coolidge as Carol, Tom’s clueless mom who steals a lot of scenes. 

Respected Brazilian actress Sonia Braga plays Renata, the mother of Darcy who hates the new wife of her dad, Darcy Carden as Harriet, who turns out to have her own schemes about the wedding.  

Singer-actor Lenny Kravitz plays JLo’s ex-boyfriend, Sean, who her dad invited without telling her. 

It turns out there’s a big twist in the role he plays. Also in attendance is JLo’s slutty sister, named Jamie Rivera (Callie Hernandez), who had a one-stand with Tom’s best man, Ricky (Desmin Borges.)  Selena Tan and Alberto Isaac play the Pinoy couple. 

Some of the jokes in the movie are not really that funny but corny, but all in all, we find it quite entertaining. 

One of the most amusing sequences is when Darcy and Tom, after they’re captured by the pirates, ask their guards to let them go on with the wedding ceremony. 

The guards agree when Darcy’s dad promises to release the ransom money if they would allow Darcy and Tom to go on with the wedding ceremony. 

Jennifer Coolidge starts singing the song “I’ll Be (Your Crying Shoulder)” by Edwin McCain and everyone else follows. Darcy and Tom then trick the pirates and Darcy manages to steal a hand grenade from one of them, who runs away and starts firing on them. 

Jennifer Coolidge manages to get a gun and fires back. 

Tom asks Darcy to throw the grenade in the air and uses a stick as a bat to eject it to the direction of the bad guy. 

It’s a perfect hit and the explosion not only kills the pirate but also lights up the fireworks meant to be used during the wedding celebration.  

More exciting action scenes follow to make the movie a zany romcom combined with some slambang action. 

JLo maybe 52 but she has the comic presence and energy of an ingenue who has yet to learn much about relationships. 

She is quite endearing as the bride who doesn’t really want to have a grand wedding but gives in to her fiance who is bent on making it really memorable for everyone.

She is so cute in that scene where she flirts with her stressed groom in her sando and panties, revealing her washboard abs,  trying to reach a book on a high shelf to convince him for them to have sex.

Josh Duhamel looks so dashing when he was introduced in the soap “All My Children” and hit it big in the five “Transformers” movies. 

He’s now 50 years old, greying at the temples and plays a hasbeen athlete. 

Honestly, he doesn’t have much of an electric chemistry with JLo but he is serviceable enough so audiences will surely accept him doing the silliest, cartoonish situations as a big little boy who fears of being a disappointment to other people.  

Director Jason Moore (best known for the hit musical “Pitch Pefect”) doesn’t aim to win an Oscar for his work here but surely is in good touch with his leads and elicits smart supporting performances from the other members of the cast.

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                              BELA WITH MARCO GUMABAO IN 'SPELLBOUND'

                                                 BELA'S PHOTOS IN LONDON


BELA PADILLA is now based in London but she’s currently in town to help promote her movie, “Spellbound”, that is still now showing in theaters nationwide. 

We were entertained by her performance in the film as a young woman who can see dead people and seriously bothered by their continuous presence in her life.  

A lof of writers present at its premiere night at Megamall believe it’s even more scary than “Deleter” and Bela gives an even more effective performance than Nadine Lustre. 

We know it’s not fair to compare, but we are inclined to believe in what they say. 

The movie is a combination of romcom and horror and Bela is so effective even in the comic scenes, specially her drunken scene in a bar that not just any actress can do that convincingly on screen.  

So until when will she be staying here in Manila?

“I will be here for one month,” she says. “I miss our country but I now have two homes.”  

And which one does she prefer? 

“I love them both. Hindi puedeng pagkumparahin kasi sobrang magkaiba sila, like apples and oranges, but our country will be always be home for me.  

"Iba pa rin yung pakiramdam kapag umuuwi ako rito sa Pilipinas, e. My dad is British and my real family name is Sullivan, so I’m half Filipina, half British. 

"I’ve lived my whole in my mom’s home, the Philippines, so I felt it’s about time I find out how it is to live in my dad’s home.”    

Was it easy for her to decide living in London? 

“For years, I’ve been telling my friends I think it’s time for me to move and try new challenges. The move is actually a leap of faith for me. 

"I left Manila in 2019 and I’m enjoying my independent life in London, where I have two sisters and a brother, but they live two hours away from my place. 

"Of course, I still do projects in Manila and I’m glad that Viva continues to give me good assignments, not only to act like in ‘Spellbound’, but also to write and direct, like I did in ‘366’ which got good reviews.”  

Bela is doing a new movie, “If”, which was filmed on location in South Korea. She herself wrote and directed it, co-starring Korean actor Yoo Min Gon. 

Also starring in it is seasoned actress Lorna Tolentino in a very important role. 

She says shooting it in Korea is very difficult because of the language barrier. 

But aside from this, she has also shot another Korean movie entitled “Oppa” where she co-stars with Korean actors, Jasper Cho and Kim Gun Woo.   

While promoting “Spellbound” here, she got the chance to go to ABS-CBN again to plug it in “Showtime” and she says she felt teary-eyed. 

“Nakakaiyak kasi ngayon lang ako nakabalik uli sa ABS-CBN. 

"Naging part din ako ng ‘Showtime’ as a semi-regular co-host, so na-miss ko ring makasama ang mga dati kong co-hosts doon and I’m so happy kasi they were so warm in welcoming me again in the show.”  

Bela wants to make it clear that she’s not living in with her Swiss-Italian boyfriend, Norman Bay.

“I’m on my own in my one-bedroom apartment,” she stresses. “He is based in Zurich, Switzerland and he just visits every so often. 

"It helps a lot that he’s not from showbiz but a very private person who is very understanding.”

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Feb 3, 2023


RAFFY TULFO, tagged as the King of Public Service and now a senator of the Philippines, is recognized for his remarkable contribution to the broadcast industry by the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) that conferred to him the prestigious Excellence in Broadcasting Lifetime Achievement Award. 

This is an honorary star award that recognizes the service of long-time broadcast journalists in news and public affairs. 

The award has been previously given to distinguished journalists such as Luchi Cruz-Valdes, Maria Ressa, Noli De Castro, Jessica Soho, Mel Tiangco, among others. Tulfo received this award at the recently concluded 35th PMPC Star Awards held on January 28, 2023.

Joining Tulfo as this year’s Star Awards honorees is Connie Angeles, Senior Assistant Vice President and Executive Director for Health for SM Foundation, Inc., who received the Ading Fernando Lifetime Achievement Award.

With over 20 years in public service, Senator Tulfo (or “Idol Raffy” to his radio listeners and fans) has been one of TV5’s most respected broadcast personalities as he anchored the primetime newscast “Frontline Pilipinas.” 

He also soes the weekend newscast “Aksyon Weekend,” the noontime newscast “Aksyon sa Tanghali,” the morning show “Idol in Action,” and hosted the top-rated radio program on Radyo5 “Wanted sa Radyo.” 

Tulfo has carved his own niche as a man of action, eventually making him a pillar of public service in broadcasting. 

His tough and no-holds-barred persona, partnered with his quick wit and earnest desire to provide immediate assistance to those seeking help from social and civil injustices, has gained the trust of the Filipino masses nationwide who rightfully acknowledged him as the “Hari ng Public Serbis.” 

He is turning 63 on March 12. He is married to ACT-CIS Partylist Rep. Jocelyn Pua and they have two children. Their youngest, Ralph Wendell, is currently the representative of the 2nd district of Quezon City.

Catch PMPC Star Awards’ Excellence in Broadcasting Lifetime Achievement awardee Raffy Tulfo on “Wanted Sa Radyo,'' Mondays to Fridays from 2:00pm to 4:00 pm on Radyo5 92.3 NewsFM, simulcast via OnePh and live streamed on “Raffy Tulfo in Action” Youtube channel and Facebook page. 

Stay updated with the latest news on TV5 by following their social media pages on Facebook and Twitter.

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Feb 2, 2023



SAM YG is officially launched by Anima Studios and A+E Networks Asia as the host of “Nego King”, the ultimate “budol” show adapted from hit Korean web variety show that offers the best deals and loads of laughter. 

This will premiere on ANIMA Studios’ Youtube channel and LazLive on Lazada app starting February 8, Wednesday, 8 PM.  

“I’m super honored for me to be chosen as the host of ‘Nego King’,” says Sam. “It’s a very popular show in Korea and the concept is really interesting. 

"But as the host, it’s a big challenge for me to do it. We have taped several episodes and it’s not easy to talk to random strangers, lalo na ang mga Pilipino, mahiyain, so kapag tumakbo, hinahabol ko sila.”

Kroma Entertainment’s Anima Studios partnered with leading global entertainment company A+E Networks Asia to bring this one-of-a-kind show that will delight every Filipino who loves a good bargain.

"Fueled by our desire to expand our content portfolio, we now bring to our audience a fresh and original unscripted show that is excellently delivered by our talents and creatives at Anima. 

"And on top of our objective to wildly entertain our viewers each and every episode, we also want to reward them royally with unprecedented deals courtesy of our episode partners,” says Bianca Balbuena, Head of Anima.

In turn, Saugato Banerjee, Managing Director, A+E Networks Asia says: “As a global IP Media Group, we’re constantly creating new formats that transcend cultures and languages. 

"We’re thrilled to have found a like minded partner in Kroma, to bring Nego King to the Philippines. Nego King is a digital show made by A+E Korea that has secured millions of fans and popularity with brands as the ideal advertising vehicle. 

"We hope our Filipino viewers enjoy the show and the great deals our Nego King gets just for them.”

In his job as the Nego King, Sam YG will be negotiating with company executives to lower product prices and come up with irresistible offers for the Filipino audience.

You’ll see him roaming the streets of Metro Manila to interact with potential customers to ask them how they feel about a certain product and what would make them purchase it. 

Sam, the Nego King, uses these customer sentiments to negotiate the best possible deals with CEOs and business owners, getting huge discounts or amazing freebies that viewers themselves can avail of. 

So why did Kroma-Anima execs choose Sam YG to be the show’s host?

“We were very careful in choosing our host,” says Ardo Miravalles, head of Anima Distribution. “The show is not scripted so we need someone who’s smart and quick-witted.

"With Sam’s wide background as a TV-radio host and DJ, he is experienced in talking to all kinds of people like students, working people, even tambays, and he’s good in establishing rapport with them. 

"He makes the show really entertaining.”  

We know Sam just got married to non-showbiz partner Essa Santos in March last year. So how is married life so far? 

“It’s an ongoing nego-tiation,” he quips. “My wife is a very private person from Cagayan de Oro and she’s with the corporate world. 

"We did a lot of adjustment but so far, it’s been great. I am enjoying it and I look forward to going home to her from work every night. 

"Nego King takes me out of town to interview people in the provinces and she’s very supportive. I might be Nego King but she’s definitely the queen of our home. I’m looking forward to a lasting marriage with her.”

Since the original South Korean Nego King premiered two years ago on YouTube, it has aired 60 episodes across four seasons and continues to attract millions of global viewers. 

Considered as one of the most successful YouTube shows in Korea, the show is a hit to both brands and consumers.

Lazada, the top online shopping platform in the Philippines, is the official partner of Nego King Philippines. 

Nego King will be uploaded weekly starting February 8, Wednesday, 8PM on ANIMA Studios' YouTube Channel and LazLive on the Lazada app. You can view the Nego King Philippines’ official trailer on Lazada and youtube. 

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WE LOVE watching thrillers and we didn’t expect much with “Watcher” on Prime Video, but it turns out to be surprisingly effective. 

The writing and directorial debut of Chloe Okuno, it stars Maika Monroe (of “The Guest” with Dan Stevens and the hit horror film, “It Follows”) as a young American woman from New York.

She marries a Romanian, Francis (Karl Glusman), and they had to relocate to Bucharest for his job promotion there.  

They move into an apartment with a huge window and Julia notices a man on a building across the street looking intently at her.  

At first, she doesn’t mind but she notices that the man is observing her regularly. 

She gets alarmed when she sees on TV that a serial killer called the Spider is roaming around beheading young women. 

She befriends a beautiful neighbor, Irina (Madelina Anea) who says her own boyfriend has given her a gun for her personal protection.  

With her husband busy at work, Julia has time on her hands and walks around the city.

While on a trip to the city one day, Julia feels that someone is stalking her. She succeeds in evading him and hides in a store. 

She reports it to the police, but they don’t have enough evidence to conclude that it’s the man who’s watching her from his own window.  

She feels isolated as they have a language barrier since she doesn’t speak Romanian.   

She tries using another tack by waving at the man, who waves back to her. She learns his name is Daniel (Burn Gorman) and follows him. 

He works as a janitor in a strip club, where Irina turns out to be working. Julia asks Irina about Daniel but she doesn’t know anything about him. 

That night, Irina goes missing.    

Julia has her own hunch about what happened but the problem is that no one would believe her. 

Even Francis makes fun of her fears, saying it’s just a case of paranoia. 

We’ll stop here as going further will be a real spoiler. 

Suffice it to say that Julia gets the chance to confront the serial killer at the film’s climax and it’s a really a pulse-pounding moment.   

Maika Monroe gets our sympathy as the harrassed heroine as we can feel the terror that creeps in and consumes her. 

No one would take her suspicions seriously and some people even say it’s all in her head, with her imagination just running wild.

Director Okuno knows how to heighten the suspense by keeping the viewers guess as to what is real and what is merely a state of Julia’s mind, aided and abetted by an evocative musical score that makes it all even more gripping and tense. 

The violent conclusion is quite satisfying and we won’t be surprised if, in the end, Julia decides to split up from her apathetic husband.

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Feb 1, 2023


SHOWBIZ REPORTERS should thank the GMA talk show of Boy Abunda, “Fast Talk”. All of a sudden, they have a regular source of showbiz stories. 

They obviously watch it everyday and what they see, they report in their papers and columns. 

It relives the time of Boy’s “The Buzz” all over again when it’s the number one weekend showbiz talk show.

Reporters regularly quote stories from Boy’s interviews with celebrities like Marian Rivera (who says the sexiest part of hubby DIngdong Dantes is his chest), Bea Alonzo (who said she doesn’t mind if her BF Dominic Roque is just a starlet compared to her who’s a big star), 

Alden Richards (who revealed the real score between him and girls linked to him like Julie Anne San Jose and Winwyn Marquez), and Paolo Contis (who was bashed for admitting he’s on with Yen Santos and he doesn’t give financial support to his daughters with Lian Paz and LJ Reyes).

The most recent guest is Dina Bonnevie and as may be expected, they highlighted the controversy involving Dina with Alex Gonzaga when Dina reprimanded Alex and gave her a piece of her mind for being so late in the taping of their drama show, "PS I Love You", on TV5 12 years ago.   

What’s intriguing about the Dina interview is that Nadine Lustre has been dragged into the picture. 

Dina revealed that Alex gets angry when Nadine sheds tears ahead of her when they have a scene together. 

Alex says it’s her scene so Nadine should not cry ahead of her. 

Of course, Nadine fans felt bad about it. They say it just goes to show that Nadine is really the better actress between the two. 

“Kasi si Nadine, mahusay talagang umarte,” writes one netizen. “Si Alex, hirap na hirap umiyak kasi banong artista pero si Nadine, marami ng best actress awards and can cry at will and on cue.”

Alex’ camp should really do a lot of damage control. 

She still has to fully recover after that “waiter pahid ng cake” fiasco and now comes this Dina-Nadine issue. 

And most of the netizens are siding with both Dina and Nadine. 

Dina claims “wala akong galit sa kanya”. 

But the fact that she is spilling all the beans against Alex is a sure sign that Alex really annoyed her no end when they worked together in a TV5 drama series.

Looking back, TV5 really tried to build up Alex then and gave her a chance to gain full stardom, but it didn’t help forward her career at all. 

Alex really gained fame only when she put up her own vlog and gained millions of followers with her hilarious pranks and antics. 

But now, it looks like her past booboos are catching up on her.  

Even Cristy Fermin has joined the fray and revealed that Alex is really acting like a primadonna on the set then, asking the make up artist to put make up on her while she is lying down. 

“Nagpapa-make up nang nakahiga,” says Cristy.

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‘BELA LUNA’ is said to be an acting vehicle tailor made for Vivamax bombshell Angeli Khang playing the dual roles of Bela and Luna, two women who are so different from each other.

The film starts with Luna, a teacher. We see her standing on their tall school building’s rooftop and the people below all tell her not to jump.  

But she does jump, but she doesn’t fall to the ground, she just floats and flies away. 

It’s just Luna daydreaming to escape from her cruel world where she is regularly beaten up and raped by her older and very abusive common law husband, Abe (Julio Diaz.)  

She cannot leave him as she owes him a huge amount spent for the medical expenses of her mom who suffered from the big C. 

Then we see Bela, a screenwriter who is in a relationship with Arnold (Kiko Estrada), a wannabe film director. 

Between them, Bela is more accomplished as she has had three of her scripts filmed whereas Arnold has yet to direct his first movie.  

She is trying to help him by writing the script of a movie he is meant to direct for a new producer, who wants it to have revealing, very sexy bedscenes. 

Writing the graphic, salacious scenes is very much against Bela’s better judgment. 

But she is doing it just the same, just to help Arnold to succeed in his first directorial attempt. 

Then she discovers that her live in partner is having an affair with another woman so she decides to dump him.  

In the case of Luna, she’s on her way home from school when she chances upon two robbers running away from cops.  

The older robber is killed but the younger one, Diego (Mark Anthony Fernandez), manages to get away and takes Luna as his hostage. 

They hide in a big vacant house and it becomes a case of the Stockholm syndrome, where the kidnapped victim falls in love with her kidnapper like what happened to newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst in real life. 

Luna bonds well with Diego, who opens up to her, saying he’s an orphan who was reared by Tatay Roger (Raul Morit), the older man who was with him and killed by the cops in the street shootout. 

He doesn’t know how to read or write and Luna, being a teacher, teaches him how to do so.  

The two characters of Bela and Luna eventually converge somewhere and the film ends with a shot of them staring at each other on the street. 

Of course, we cannot spoil things for you and reveal how exactly they are connected. But it is telegraphed early on and you’d be so incredibly dense if you wouldn’t be able to guess right away where the movie is going.   

As written by National Artist Ricky Lee, the characters of Bela and Luna are both female empowered. 

Their stories somewhat end sadly, but they are now both free from the assholes in their lives.      

The movie shows how so chauvinistic some men can get, particularly in the case of Arnold who wants to have a threesome with Bela and another girl. 

Bela says: “Ayoko nga, kadiri.” She then suggests that they get a guy as the third party but Arnold vehemently rejects the idea as he is so “seloso”. Luna says: “Ah pag babae ok, pero kapag lalaki, ayaw mo. Unfair naman yun.”   

The males in the movie are mostly portrayed negatively. Both Bela and Luna have serious daddy issues. 

Bela doesn’t even want to visit her dad in the nursing home (Joel Saracho) who was very cruel to her and her mom.  

Luna is an illegitimate child and she never got the chance to meet her dad who has another family. Even Diego has complaints about his own dad.   

Since this is a Vivamax movie, one can expect the usual quota of sex scenes. Julio Diaz rapes Angeli twice. Angeli has extended unabashed nude love scenes with both Kiko and Mark. 

And Kiko also has a flaming hot bed scene with another girl with huge boobs, Millen Gal. 

As usual, the dialogue is no-holds barred. When Angeli returns from her stay with Mark, Julio tells her: “Ano, kinakantot ka ng lalaking yun?”   

Director Mac Alejandre gets another persuasive performance from Angeli who is credible in both her roles. 

Kiko, as usual, is very reliable. We like the hurt look on his face after Bela says a final goodbye to him. 

It’s as if he’s the aggrieved party since he has asked Bela’s forgiveness for bedding a girl: “Nalibugan lang ako roon. One night stand lang yun.”  

But it’s Mark Anthony who gives the best performance as the ill-fated robber who doesn’t know how to read or write but knows how to listen to inanimate objects like pillows, chairs, tables, walls. 

He delivers all his lengthy monologues convincingly and we just wished he was not made to wear that obviously phony moustache and beard he was wearing in his final tragic scene. 

His facial hair really looks so fake!

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Jan 31, 2023


DAVID LICAUCO joined showbiz three years ago but it’s only now that he has actually been noticed by the viewing public for his role as Fidel in “Maria Clara at Ibarra”. 

“Ngayon din lang napuri ang acting ko,” he says. “Dati kasi, yung namba-bash sa’kin, sabi, ang bano kong umarte maghubad na lang daw ako. 

"It’s good I didn’t give up that easily and after three years of trying to hone my craft, heto, nakakabasa na ako ng good comments about my acting.”  

He wants to thank Barbie Forteza for agreeing to be paired with him. 

“Kasi sobrang galing ni Barbie sa pag-arte. Macha-challenge ka talaga to always give your best. Kung ako ang tatanungin, si Barbie lang talaga ang gusto kong makatrabaho sa ngayon. 

"Buti nga at may Book 2 ang series namin, so magkakasama pa kami ng matagal kasi naging suwerte talaga for me ang pagtatambal sa amin.”  

It’s good Barbie’s real life beau, Jak Roberto, doesn’t get jealous of their closeness in the show.  

“Wala naman siyang dapat ikabahala kasi I know my boundaries kay Barbie. I have the highest respect for Jak. 

"From the start, sinabi ko na kay Barbie na napakabait na tao ni Jak. 

"We got to work together in ‘Heartful Cafe’ and I saw na he’s genuine, totoong tao siya, masipag and he really worked hard to get to the leading man status he has today.”

He adds that he and Jak have become good friends and they always greet each other warmly when they see one another at GMA. 

“I really admire him as a person at wala akong balak na lalandiin ko si Barbie. Hindi ako ganun. 

"Alam ko nang in a relationship yung girl, I will still try to make a move? I’m never like that. Yung relationship namin ni Barbie, strictly sa trabaho lang.” 

He says he is unattached right now and is very negotiable. 

“But I prefer it that way. Focus muna sa trabaho kasi ngayon pa lang bumubuwelo nang husto ang career ko. 

Hayan nga, for the first time nagkaroon kami ni Barbie ng endorsement as a love team, Ishin Food Supplement for skin whitening and boosting our immune system.”  

So why did Ishin get David as an endorser? 

“When we started the brand, we wanted to get a Korean celebrity to help endorse it,” says Shirleen Albino-Bautista, Ishin owner and CEO. 

“But nang mapanood ko si David with Barbie in ‘Maria Clara at Ibarra’, I felt puedeng-puede siyang endorser namin. Ang ganda ng skin niya.  

"So bakit kukuha pa ng Korean actor, e nandiyan naman si David na magiging mas effective pa dahil sa kasikatan ng love team nila ni Barbie. 

"Also, meron din si David na restaurant na Kuya Korea sa UP Town Center, so bagay na bagay talaga siya. 

And we proved to be right, kasi grabe ang positive response kahit ng distributors namin since we announced na sila ni Barbie ang magiging endorsers ng Ishin. 

We are very happy with our partnership with David and Barbie para mas lumakas ang sales ng Ishin.”  

Meantime, David has finished two new movies. He has a Valentine movie, “Without You”, co-starring Shaira Diaz and directed by RC de los Reyes. 

He has also completed a youth movie perfect for this coming summer, “Go, La Union!’, with other hunky young actors like Derrick Monasterio, Ruru Madrid, Enzo Pineda and Teejay Marquez, directed by Phillip King.

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Mediaquest, the holding company of TV5 and Cignal TV, is pleased to announce the appointment of Guido R. Zaballero as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of TV5, effective February 1, 2023. 

He will assume the position following the retirement of Robert P. Galang, who headed Cignal TV and TV5 since 2020.

 Meanwhile, Jane J. Basas has assumed the post of president and CEO of Cignal TV, concurrently with her role as the president and CEO of Mediaquest.

 “We would like to thank Robert for his many years of dedicated service and for steering TV5 and Cignal to its current position of strength,” Basas said.

 “We welcome Guido as TV5’s new chief executive. With his proven track record of leadership through service and action, we are confident that he will take TV5 to the next level,” Basas added.

 “I look forward to this new challenge, and I am grateful for this opportunity to serve,” Zaballero said.

 “Marami kaming bagong pakulo dito sa Singko. Siguradong matutuwa lahat ng mga Kapatid natin.”

 Zaballero joined the Mediaquest Group as Cignal TV’s Vice President and Head of Marketing in 2013. 

Over the past decade, he was instrumental in establishing Cignal TV’s present market leadership, growing its subscriber base from 500,000 to 4.3 million as of today. 

With him as the new TV5 honcho, you can expectnew, more exciting programming and a more aggressive campaign to make TV5 one of the country's leading networks.

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‘SPELLBOUND’ is a Viva Films adaptation of a 2011 Korean film that combines horror with romance and comedy. 

It is also known as “My Girlfriend Can See Ghosts”. The local version stars Bela Padilla as Yuri, the survivor of an accident in their schoolbus where her best friend, Rhen Escano as Clara, died. 

Since then, Clara and other ghosts continue to make their presence felt in Bela’s life, scaring the other people around her, her family included. 

It’s like the little boy who sees dead people in “The Sixth Sense” growing up and now facing this kind of frightful predicament.

Clara’s aim is to keep Bela single and sad forever as she believes Bela is partly guilty of her death after she gave Bela a necklace that’s supposed to protect her. 

Because of this, Bela lives a lonely and isolated life.  

Then she meets Marco Gumabao as Victor, a magician who is not really good in what he does but sees Bela’s gloomy appearance as something that will improve his act. 

He gets Bela to be part of his “horror magic show” as a ghost in the closet and the audience loves it. 

You’d think “Spellbound” is a horror flick due to the presence of ghosts, but it’s actually more of a romantic-comedy sprinkled with some jump scares involving some restless spirits.   

The progression of the love story involving Bela and Marco is delineated in a leisurely but credible manner. 

He acts brave in front of others but his cowardice comes out every now and then. 

But still he would willingly risk everything for Bela as he doesn't want to lose her, even if he’s afraid of what might happen with the ghosts around her.   

We didn’t expect the movie to be that entertaining, but surprisingly, it has many funny scenes that really make you laugh out loud. 

Bela has shown before that she is the queen of hugot films with sad endings, specially those helmed by JP Laxamana. 

Here she succeeds in making the viewers feel her palpable loneliness and her heartbreak, but she also shows a comic side we haven’t seen before. 

She is specially hilarious in that drunken scene where she reprimands a young couple who are kissing unabashedly in public.

You will somehow root for her as she deals with ghosts who treat her like an errand girl as they seek justice for their timely and unwarranted deaths, like the mother and son who are victims of hit and run. 

The movie has a strong supporting cast, specially Sarah Brakensiek and Moi Bien, but there’s no doubt the movie belongs to Bela and Marco. 

Marco is every inch a romantic heartthrob. He could also act well, as shown in that airport scene near the end where he is teary eyed as he implores Bela not to leave for abroad. 

We wish Viva would give him bigger film projects. 

Both he and Bela have an engaging screen presence and together, they have quite a good chemistry. 

It’s amusing to watch them as they explore their tentative steps in the development of relationship. 

You will cheer for them to eventually fall in love with each other, despite the spooky supernatural crazy odds thrown on their way. 

This is a quite impressive directorial debut for Jalz Zarate, who used to be a producer of indie films.

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