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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.

Aug 6, 2010

A Simple Wedding for Zoren and Carmina

FREEHAND by Mario E. Bautista

IF EVER she and Zoren Legaspi would finally get married, Carmina Villaroel wants it to be a very simple affair.

“Kahit hindi mag-imbita ng marami,” she says. “Ang importante, ma-solemnize lang yung marriage namin.”

Nothing like the grand wedding she had with former husband Rustom Padilla who’s now reborn as BB Gandanghari? “Tama na, naranasan ko na yun so okay na. In the end, it’s not how grand the wedding is naman kundi how much each party is willing to work on their relationship as husband and wife.”

Is it true she decided to call it quits with BB because she discovered he’s gay? “Ay hindi. Honestly, I had no idea as never ko naman siyang nakitaan ng anuman that will make me suspect that he’s gay. So I was really surprised when he came out. Pero matagal na yun at matagal na rin akong naka-move on. Ten years na kami ni Zoren and 8 years old na ang kambal namin. Maligaya naman ang family namin. Mas matatag pa nga ang relationship namin ni Zoren kaysa ibang couples na nagpakasal nga but nag-split agad.” And what’s the secret of their lasting relationship? “Ang maganda kasi, we started as friends so by the time naging kami, we really know so much of each other at mas mature na rin kami.”

Now that they’re hosting the talk show “Love ni Mister, Love ni Misis” that starts airing on Monday at 9:45AM, they’re looking for BB to guest in the show but he’s nowhere to be found. There’s unconfirmed he’s now abroad to undergo the final operation that will make him a complete woman. “Basta we’re willing to wait for her kung kailan siya puede as guest sa aming show,” says Carmina.


WE REALIZED we’re still a movie fan while we were seated right beside Gloria Romero during the preview of “Tarima”. We’ve seen all her films during the height of her career in the 50’s: “Palasig”, “Kurdapya”, “Mr. Kasintahan”, “Anak sa Panalangin”, “Cofradia”, and her award-winning “Dalagang Ilokana”. She and the late Nida Blanca were the reigning movie queens then. We never had an inkling we’d one day be given the chance to be friends with them. We remember also being seated with Nida when we previewed “Saving Private Ryan” at the time she was a member of the MTRCB. Both Gloria and Nida are very warm, humble and accommodating. They don’t throw their weight around even if they’re both revered icons in local film history.

Gloria plays one of her meanest roles ever in “Tarima”. She’s been contravida before in “Kapag Langit ang Humatol” to Ate Vi and “Condemned” to Ate Guy, but her Lola Imang in “Tarima” is someone you’d surely love to hate. As the cruel grandmother of Roselo (Fanny Serrano), she’s a religious woman who prays the rosary every night in front of her altar but actually has an evil heart. A greedy usurer, she maltreats Fanny from childhood, causing him to go blind in one eye. Gloria is so persuasive in the way she attacks her role ferociously you’d easily understand why Fanny is so scared of her.

“In the scenes where I attack Fanny to beat him up, I was so hesitant,” she tells us while we’re watching what she’s doing to Fanny on the big screen. “Pero siya pa ang nagsabi na totohanin ko na, pati yung paghampas ko sa kanya ng tungkod. As I watch the film, pati ako, nagagalit ako sa sarili ko. Ako na ang bagong Etang Discher.”

The late Etang is one of the most famous villains at Sampaguita Pictures, best known for her role as Gloria’s oppressive mother in law in “Ang Biyenan Kong Hindi Tumatawa.” After the screening, everyone congratulated Gloria for her crackerjack delineation of the abusive lola. Boots Anson Roa who watched it with us, even if she’s not a member of the cast, congratulated her. For sure, she’ll get a best supporting actress nomination for her standout performance here. But in the end, there is redemption in her character after a tragic incident that happens during the Quiapo procession for the Black Nazarene. Fanny’s character becomes an agent of change that redeems the two people near his heart: Gloria and Rocky Salumbides who also gives a solid portrayal in the film as the lonely convict who has an affair with Fanny. We’ll tell you more about the film itself later. It’s definitely one of the better works of Director Neal Tan.


FORMER CHILD actor Jiro Manio was ousted from the cast of ABS-CBN’s “Tayong Dalawa” when he neglected his job. He revealed he now has a two-year old child and promised to reform if someone would give him a chance to come back. Now managed by Director Maryo de los Reyes, who gave him several best actor trophies for “Magnifico”, he gets to act again in GMA-7’s “Pilyang Kerubin”, which is also being megged by Direk Maryo. He is included in the new episode where the special guests are Iza Calzado, TJ Trinidad and Daria Ramirez. Iza plays Sandra, a friend of Angelika de la Cruz who’s about to marry a guy a she doesn’t love. Her real love is Abet (TJ Trinidad), who went insane because of their failed love affair and is now confined by his mom (Daria) inside a big cage in a zoo. Jiro as Rodjun is the zoo’s caretaker who leaves the door of TJ’s cage open so he gets to escape. TJ meets the angels Charity (Barbie Forteza) and Angelica (Aliyah Fatima) and he’s delighted each time he sees Charity’s wings. He becomes the new mission of the angels. Willl they succeed in giving him back his sanity and reuniting him with Sandra? “It’s an exciting love story and I play a very challenging role as a baliw,” says TJ, who’s commended by Direk Maryo for being so credible as a man who went mad because of love.


CONGRATS TO the cast and staff of “ILumina” for the high ratings the new show is getting in its pilot week. 15-year old Lexi Fernandez is happy that her very first TV show is a hit. Who’s Lexi? She’s the only daughter of Maritoni Fernandez who’s being introduced in “ILumina” as the rival of Bea Binene over Jake Vargas. She’s now part of the GMA Artist Center. “My mom chose GMAAC kasi she felt mas maaalagaan ako rito,” she says. “Marami na rin kasi akong friends na Kapuso.”

Lexi has training in theatre since she took acting, dance and voice lessons with Repertory Philippines. “I’ve been dancing jazz and ballet since I was 11 years old,” she says.

The high ratings of “ILumina” helped “Endless Love”, which was moved to the slot of “Diva” to also garner higher ratings.


OUR SYDNEY-BASED brother in law, Daniel Ko, calls on all his 1975 batchmates at Caloocan High School for their Coral Jubliee Reunion, “Wow, Here We Are After 35 Years”, to be held this coming December 10 to 12 at Caloocan City. The special event aims to reconnect their batch members to establish a non-profit organization that will help support projects and improvements of their alma matter. Those who wish to communicate with the organizing committee can contact Danny at danko45@tpg.com.au, Marissa Rael at ta_mar44@yahoo.com, marlenebernadetteyu@yahoo.com, tonymang15@yahoo.com, ellenyeepee@yahoo.com, lennie calderon at catalina43059@yahoo.com, audreybuena_c@yahoo.com, lerriegutierrez@yahoo.com, nap magno at napmm@yahoo.com, arlenemarteja@yahoo.com, cesar pineda at cpineda@pldtdsl.net, rafolsmauricio@yahoo.com, and our youngest brother jose bautista who’s based in L.A. at joebaujj@yahoo.com.