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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.

Apr 1, 2020



direk gina with entire cast of PRIMA DONNAS

WHILE the hit afternoon drama, ‘PRIMA DONNAS’, cannot tape new episodes now that we’re going through the corona crisis, the former prime time series, “Onanay”, is temporarily replacing it in its slot from Monday to Saturday afternoons.

This stars Jo Berry in the title role, along with Nora Aunor, Wendell Ramos, Mikee Quintos and Kate Valdez. Both “Prima Donnas” and “Onanay” are directed by multi-awarded actress and now, hitmaker TV director, Gina Alajar.

Gina was earlier rumored to have been afflicted with the corona virus, but she denied this in her own social media account.

“I was told may sumulat nga na infected daw ako but it’s not true. Fake news po yon. I had myself tested at negative po ako, wala akong pneumonia or anything. But I really salute our doctors and all health workers, lahat ng frontliners pati soldiers and policemen.

"We all know the risks that they’re taking but they continue to serve. Itinataya nila ang sarili nilang mga buhay para maglingkod sa atin and we should all thank them and pray for their safety.”

While she’s not busy taping, Gina takes advantage of her free time to read the Bible and pray.

“We should all reconnect with God dahil Siya lang talaga ang tunay na makakalutas sa lahat ng mga problema natin. At siempre, sinasamantala ko rin ang free time ko para bumawi sa tulog. Magkasunod kong ginawa ang ‘Onanay’ at ‘Prima Donnas’, so tuloy-tuloy ang pagiging busy ko sa meetings, sa tapings.

"Wala time para matulog nang mahaba. E, ngayon, nagagawa ko yan. Sabi ko nga, siguro, paraan din ito ni Lord para makapagpahinga tayo. Lalo ngayon, Holy Week, it’s time for us to reflect and meditate naman and give time to communicate with our Creator. We can listen to praise and worship music to put us in the right mood and spirit to reconnect with Him.”

How did she prepare herself when the lockdown was declared?

“Siempre, importante yung to have the right mindset. I took it as a chance to have some much needed rest, physically and spiritually. Then I made sure we practice all the necessary measures sa bahay namin.

"Marami kaming hand sanitizers. Kapag lumabas, kailangan ang face mask at bago pumasok uli sa loob ng bahay, mag-sanitize uli. We have to make sure, kasi may mga apo ako.”

What’s the first thing she’ll do when the crisis is over?

“Una sa lahat, I will fall on my knees and pray, thank God and praise Him for helping us survive. And I will be glad to be reunited with my cast and staff sa ‘Prima Donnas’. May nabuong friendship sa amin at nami-miss ko na sila at ang samahan naming lahat.”

She must be so happy that ‘Prima Donnas’ is a big hit. “Happy is an understatement. Lahat naman kami, napakasaya sa naging success ng ‘Prima Donnas’. Lalo na ako, I’m so thankful na naging ganoon kalakas ang impact nito sa viewers.

"Yung iba, nagre-react sa akin, nagagalit kasi the story is not turning out the way they want it to be. Pero patuloy pa rin ang panonood nila.”

How is it working with the tween stars in the show: Jillian Ward, Sophia Pablo, Althea Ablan and Elijah Alejo?

“When we started, very detailed ang instructions ko sa kanila. Iniisa-isa ko sila on what they’re supposed to do, pati sa tono ng pagsasalita nila, pati nuances ng acting, level ng pag-iyak. But now, they have come to understand their respective roles better.

"Marunong na sila and they’ve already become the characters that they play. They have evolved well. When they’re not sure, nagtatanong pa rin sila, but largely, hinahayaan ko na lang sila on how they want to attack their respective scenes.”