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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.

Jul 10, 2015

Mother Lily Monteverde Introduces Her New Regal Babies That Graduated From An Acting Workshop Led By Director Joey Reyes

MOTHER LILY MONTEVERDE used to be the top discoverer of new stars that she calls her Regal Babies, led by teen stars Maricel Soriano, William Martinez, Snooky Serna and Gabby Concepcion and by the many sexpots she launched with her Magic Camison in the late 70s and 80s . In the 90s, she partnered with ABS-CBN and the task of building new stars was assumed by Star Circle, which later became Star Magic. We all know that the lifeblood of showbiz is in discovering new face because the "masa" public is always on the lookout for new stars they'll idolize. With Regal withdrawing in introducing new blood, ABS-CBN became the top movie and TV factory of stars.

Now, after so long, Regal has again decided to discover new babies they will nurture and build up on their own. A few months ago, Mother Lily and daughter Roselle called for an open audition and 300 youngsters joined. 25 were initially chosen then further trimmed to 17, who were then enrolled in the Regal Acting Workshop headed by Director Joey Reyes and the Actors Workshop Foundation led by Leo Martinez, Manny Castaneda and Rez Cortez.

Last Thursday, they held their graduation rites and were also formally introduced to the press. There are seven females and ten males. Some of them are now being introduced in the coming releases of Regal: the horror flick "Resurrecion" starring Isabelle Daza and Jasmine Curtis Smith, "No Boyfriend Since Birth" with Carla Abellana and Tom Rodriguez, "Prenup" with Jennylyn Mercado and Sam Milby, and the Regal Metro filmfest entry, "Haunted Manzion" with Janella Salvador.

We'll introduce two boys and two girls here, and the rest, later. Let's start with Sisi Gonzalez, 17. She has the most interesting story to tell. The youngest of three kids of a Pinay mom and a Jordanian dad, their mom returned to Manila when she was 5 years old. She and her siblings were left living in Gaza with her paternal grandparents. Life became risky because of the war. She and her two older siblings decided to escape by passing through a tunnel going to Egypt, where they went to the Philippine embassy that helped them reunite with their mom in Manila. "I was 13 then at yung mga kapatid ko, 20 and 15 at that time," she says.
She's taking up hotel and restaurant management at St. Benilde when she joined the Regal audition and was lucky enough to qualify.

Luke Conde is one of the tallest (6 ft.) and oldest (25) among the guys. He's taking up masscom at Lyceum in Batangas City when he joined showbiz and did several TV commercials. He was a finalist in Showtime's Gandang Lalake and has since appeared in bit roles in ABS-CBN shows like "Ipaglaban Mo", "Oh My G" and currently plays Sue Prado's husband in "Nasaan Ka nang Kailanga Kita". He has also made an indie film for Carlo Maceda, "Ang Batang Rizal at ang Batang Magiliw", opposite Kiray Celis.

Rolini Pineda is 2013 Miss Chinatown winner. She's 20, a graduate of interior design at PSID, the youngest of two sisters. Standing 5'7", she's being offered to join other beauty pageants. "Later na lang siguro, when I'm more mature and has more experience," she says. After she won as Miss Chinatown, ABS-CBN enrolled her in their acting workshops and she appeared in several episodes of "Home Sweetie Home". "But then, I was graduating then so I had to quit and focus on my studies," she adds. Mother Lily asked her to audition for a movie about Chinese-Filipinos, "Chinoy", and she's now ready to give showbiz a try.

David Paul Ambagan, 22, stands 5'7", the second of 6 kids and is taking engineering management at Mapua. He's now cast in Director Joey Reyes' "No Boyfriend Since Birth". He's very thankful to the workshop given by Leo Martinez, "It certainly helped in boosting our self confidence, improving our personality and our acting skills," he says. Given the chance, who'd he like to be his leading lady? "Jasmine Curtis Smith and Liza Soberano," he says.