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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.

Mar 17, 2015

Charo Santos Concio Attends 'Maalaala Mo Kaya' Restored Version Screening In Up, Says She's Retiring At 60

CHARO SANTOS CONCIO attended the special screening of the restored version of “Maalaala Mo Kaya, The Movie” at UP Film Institute last Monday night. We got to talk to her at the cocktails before the screening started and she confirmed she’s retiring at 60. Why? we ask her. She’s still young since 60 is the new 40.

“That’s the rule. You have to give in to younger blood, but I will stay as an adviser,” she says.
But she’s definitely not leaving “Maalaala” and will continue to host it. The show started in May 1991 with Romnick Sarmenta in the episode “Rubber Shoes” and has been on the air for nearly 24 years now, the longest running drama anthology in the history of local television. For its 3rd anniversary in 1994, they came up with “Maalaala Mo Kaya The Movie”, the full length film directorial debut of Olivia Lamasan which won for Aiko Melendez the Manila Filmfest best actress award (the year that there was a scam) as the young woman who took care of her cousin’s abandoned son.

It formally introduced Chin Chin Gutierrez, who won the Urian best supporting actress award for her role as the biological mom who went to Japan and became the victim of the Yakuza. The film also featured Richard Gomez as Aiko’s love interest who turned out to be the boy’s biological dad, Caridad Sanchez as Aiko’s mom, Robert Arevalo and Liza Lorena as Richard’s parents, Jao Mapa as his younger brother, Glenda Garcia as Chin Chin’s friend who took her to Japan, Eula Valdes as Aiko’s friend and child actor Karl Angelo Legaspi as the 5-year old son who really gave a three-handkerchief performance to make this a sure fire tearjerker.

The film is the 82nd movie restored by the ABS-CBN Restoration program under Leo Katigbak and the quality of the restored version is truly superlative. It was shown as part of the celebration of International Women’s Month, along with the restored version of “Madrasta”, which was also helmed by Olive Lamasan and scored a grand slam of best actress awards for Sharon Cuneta. We were able to catch some parts of it and we must say the quality of the cinematography seems even better than in the original.
We ask Ma’am Charo and Olive why there were no other film versions of “Maalaala” after the first one. “Kasi after ‘Esperanza’ and ‘Mula sa Puso’, hindi na nag-succeed sa takilya ang ibang movie versions of TV shows,” says Olive. “Tapos, we came up with big-budgeted period episodes shown for two weeks na parang pelikula na rin ang dating.”

“Also, all our top stars have appeared in MMK,” says Ma’am Charo. “Vilma Santos appeared in a two-episode special and Sharon also did several special episodes.” Ma’am Charo herself appeared in two episodes, one pairing her with the late Mark Gil and another with Eddie Gutierrez where she was a battered wife. She can really be proud of the show as it became the training ground of many scriptwriters who later on became directors themselves, like Jerry Sineneng and Ruel Bayani who were both present at UP that night to show their support for the iconic show.

Once again, kudos to Leo Katigbak for a job well done. And we’re so excited because they’re now in the process of restoring one of our favorite local movies of all time, “Ikaw ay Akin” by the late Ishmael Bernal, shown in 1978. It won the Urian best actor for Christopher de Leon in his role as a man torn with his love for two women, Nora Aunor as Teresa and Vilma Santos as Sandra, who both give electrifying performances but were edged out by Beth Bautista that year for her spellbinding title role portrayal in the late Danny Zialcita’s “Hindi sa Iyo ang Mundo, Baby Porcuna”. That year, the late Manny Pichel and I were fighting for “Ikaw ay Akin” to win as best picture, but we were overruled by other members who voted on “Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak” as it tackled the more socially relevant topic of land reform. We really want to thank Leo for including “Ikaw ay Akin” in the films he is restoring. Now, if they could also find a copy of “Baby Porcuna”, that would truly be a great find.