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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 10, 2019

Bianca Umali Gets Her Most Challenging Role To Date Playing The Title Role In 'Sahaya'

BIANCA UMALI celebrated her 19th birthday on March 2 and she says the best gift she got is playing the title role in the GMA primetime show, “Sahaya”, where she plays a Badjao maiden. Bianca has been very daring lately even in posting her bikini photos on her social media account and everyone says she has K or karapatan to do so as she is gifted with a truly curvaceous figure. Looks like she’s ready to say goodbye to her erstwhile wholesome and sweet image.

Bianca is one star who we saw growing up before our eyes. She started as a TV commercial model for a brand of diaper when she was only two years old. She then did many other TV ads, then she auditioned with GMA-7 and was tapped to be one of the hosts of the kiddie show, “Tropang Potchi”. It was there where we first got to interview her and learned that she’s the only child of her parents, but she has half siblings with both her mom and her dad. Her mom died of the big C in 2005 and her dad of heart attack in 2010, so she grew up with her paternal grandmother.

Bianca first appeared as a child actress in the TV remake of “Kaya Kong Abutin ang Langit”. She played supporting roles in other soaps like “Magic Palayok”, “Kuwento ni Mariposa”, “Mga Basang Sisiw”, “Dading”, and was eventually paired with Miguel Tanfelix. They were given their first starring roles in “Once Upon a Kiss”, followed up by “Wish I May”, “Mulawin vs. Ravena” and, their biggest hit together, “Kambal Karibal”.

She now considers “Sahaya” as her most challenging project and role to date. What preparations did she take to play Sahaya? “Matagal po ang preparasyon kasi I have to take diving lessons dahil magaling sumisid ang mga Badjao,” she says. “And I have to learn how to swim underwater without the usual diving gears. Pinag-aralan din po namin ni Miguel ang language ng mga Badjao.

"I did a lot of research about the indigenous Badjao culture and had an immersion session with actual Badjaos. Pinag-aralan ko rin ang mga sayaw nila kasi may scenes where we perform their dances. I’m thankful to GMA-7 and proud na binigyan nila ako ng chance to be in this show that aims to show the Badjao’s way of life on TV so we can all have a better understanding of their unique culture.”

Based on her bikini photos on social media, it seems like she’s about ready to do more mature, sexy roles. “Yes, I want to do more mature roles kasi 19 na ako, but I don’t want to be judged based on what I post on my social media account. Iba naman yung pictures lang sa what I do on screen.”

“Sahaya” will premiere on March 18, replacing “Onanay”. Bianca has two leading men: Miguel Tanfelix as Ahmad, a Badjao boy in love with her, and Migo Adecer as Jordan, a boy from the big city who will also try to win her heart. Supporting them are Mylene Dizon as Manisan, Jean Garcia as Ricca, Ana Roces as Amang, Ashley Ortega as Mira, Zoren Legaspi as Pancho, Pen Medina as Marciano and Eric Quizon as Harold.

Doing special guest roles are Jasmine Curtis Smith as the young Mylene Dizon, Gil Cuerva as the young Eric Quizon, Benjamin Alves as the young Zoren Legaspi and Gabby Garcia as the young Jean Garcia. This is under the direction of Zig Dulay who did such acclaimed indie films as “Paglipay”, “Bambanti” and “Bagahe”. On TV, he directed the series “Sirkus” and several episodes of “Karelasyon” and “Tadhana”.