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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.

Jan 24, 2011

Dwarfina and I Heart U Pare stars big hit at Iloilo Dinagyang Festival

WE WERE AT the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival from Friday to Sunday with GMA Network Corporate Communications VP Butch S. Raquel (who’s just been re-elected as President of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines), VP for Comedy Shows Marivin Arayata and PR for out of town sorties Barbs Atienza. We accompanied the Kapuso stars who performed for the Ilongos to celebrate their annual fiesta. Regine Velasquez and Dingdong Dantes were in the same PAL flight with us on Friday. They performed at Robinsons to promote their new show that starts in February, “I Heart U Pare”. Heart Evangelista, Dennis Trillo, Vaness del Moral and Will Devaughn came the next day and staged their show at SM to promote their hit telefantasya, “Dwarfina”. Both shows were jampacked with thousands of Ilongos who were eager to see their fave stars in person.

Regine sang “I Will Survive” with several local female impersonators and it was a riot. Scenes from “I Heart U, Pare” were shown and Regine is hilarious as a woman who gets involved in a crime and is on the run so she disguises herself as a gay impersonator performing in the club for drag queens owned by Dingdong’s aunt, Celia Rodriguez. The fans went wild when Dingdong later joined her on stage singing “Hinahanap-Hanap Kita”. The audience reception is really very warm, saying they’ll wait for the start of “I Heart U Pare” on February 7, making it GMA’s special pre-Valentine offering. The show ended with Regine and Dingdong throwing out some GMA souvenir items like caps, bags and fans to the crowd. Regine and Dingdong were billeted in the same hotel where we stayed, Westown, and they left the following morning.

The “Dwarfina” stars came on Saturday morning, performed at SM at 1 PM, then went back to the airport to leave back for Manila. Their schedule is really so hectic as they still have to tape new episodes of the show in a special set built in Marilao the following morning. They’re all elated because the first two weeks of “Dwarfina” rated so high in the surveys.

SM was filled to the rafters as fans really trooped to see Heart and company in person. The show started with a special screening of past episodes of “Dwarfina” showing how she was born to normal human parents (Janice de Belen and Cris Villanueva) and later adopted by the Queen and King of the Duwende World (Jackielou Blanco and Jestoni Alarcon.) This was followed by a dance number of about 20 girls and boys dressed in duwende costume complete with pointed ears who later also joined Heart on stage when she did her two song numbers. But the first one to sing was Will Devaughn whose “Wonderful Tonight” was a hit with the crowd. Three girls were summoned on stage to play a game with Will. They all pretended to be Will’s girlfriend and he had to act with each of them.

Next was Vaness del Moral, who first did a rousing version of “Lady Gaga”. We didn’t know she sings that well and is very energetic on stage, later calling on a guy to join her while she sings him a Tagalog song. Then it’s Dennis Trillo’s turn, who started with a rock song. Three girls volunteered to act a scene with him, with Dennis pretending to be their jealous boyfriend. Dennis was very good in delivering his improvised lines and the girls all get to kiss and hug him. After Heart’s song numbers, three guys also went up stage and each got the chance to court her. The one who won turned out to be already married and his wife was even with him. All the contestants who joined the games on stage were given special prizes. We’ll write about our individual interviews with all the stars who were with us in Iloilo later.