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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 24, 2019


SNOOKY SERNA and Maricel Soriano used to be the chief rivals as Regal Babies in the 80s. They did several movies together like “Underage”, “Schoolgirls”, “Summer Love”. Now, they are in competing TV dramas. Maricel is in “The General’s Daughter” on ABS-CBN, while Snooky is in “Sahaya” of the Kapuso network that started airing just last week. Snooky’s fans now claim that their idol is luckier because she has a lengthier role while Maricel’s exposure in “TGD” is now you see her, now you don’t. What can Cookie say about this?

“Well, I’m really glad to know that I have loyal fans who are still there rooting and cheering for me, but honestly, at this point in time, we’re too old for such kind of rivalries,” says Cookie in a special presscon for “Sahaya” called by her manager who was then celebrating his birthday, Leo Dominguez. “Ever since naman, hindi kami naapektuhan ni Maria as rival Regal babies and yung mga ganyan, sa age namin ngayon, it’s beyond us now. Malay nyo, later on, hahaba rin ang exposure niya sa show nila.”

Another writer pointed out that it’s not only Maricel who’s in the show but also her ex-BF, Albert Martinez. “Ay, oo nga, ano? Pinagtutulungan nila ako,” and she laughs heartily at her joke.

Someone said: “Bakit parang kinikilig ka pa rin nang mabanggit si Albert?”

“Ganun ba? Well, let’s face it, si Albert ang first boyfriend ko, e. Di ba they say that first love never dies?” she giggles.

So is Albert her one true love? “Hindi naman. True love ko rin si Ricardo (Cepeda, who she married and dad of her two daughters.)  Pero yung ngayon (Bulacan ex-vice governor Mon Villarama), siya ang aking Eternal Love and Forever Love. Four years na kami at napakalaki ng positive influence niya sa buhay ko. He helped organize my life, pati how to handle my finances properly.”

Are they living in? “No. I live with my two daughters in our condo. Pero lagi kaming nagkikita pag wala akong work.”
And how is she and Ricardo? “We’re civil. Tuwing weekends, our daughter are with him and Marina (Benipayo). We all get along fine. Marina and I are friendly with each other and my daughters just love her.”

She’s getting great positive feedback for her performance as the villainous Salida in “Sahaya” and she says it’s very encouraging. “Siempre, kabado ako noong una kasi salbahe ang role ko. Inaapi ko si Jasmine Curtis Smith as Manisan, na asawa ng anak kong si Benjamin Alves. Hindi lang basta matapobre ang role ko kundi nananakit talaga sa kanila ni Bianca Umali who plays Sahaya.
"Nakokonsensiya talaga ako kapag sinasaktan ko sila and I try to make daya, but sila ang may sabing totohanin namin kasi they want to really feel yung mga sampal at sabunot para maging realistic din ang feelings and reactions nila.”

So how would she size up the acting of Jasmine and Bianca? “Pareho silang magaling. I’m so impressed sa kanila. Sabi ko nga kay Jasmine, sana, sa next show niya, lead role na ang ibigay sa kanya. She deserves it. As for Bianca, she and Miguel Tanfelix remind me noong teenager pa ako and paired with the likes of Albert and also Gabby Concepcion. Naiisip ko na lang, been there done that na ako.”

Their director in “Sahaya” is relatively new, Zig Dulay. How is he? “Oh, he’s an intelligent director. He knows what he’s doing pati sa cinematography at sa acting ng actors niya. And he’s very cool sa set. Hindi nagagalit.”

How does she feel being relegated to mother roles now? “Oh, it’s fine with me. I’m just thankful that GMA still gives me good assignments like ‘Sahaya’ na ginagastusan talaga nila nang husto sa sets and costumes pa lang. Ever since naman, never akong nag-feeling big star kaya when our time passed and mother roles na ang ino-offer sa’kin, I gladly accepted them. The industry has given me so much since the time I was a 3-year old child star. So wala akong mairereklamo talaga after all these years.”