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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.

Nov 29, 2020



 CHANDA ROMERO is just one of the many veteran stars who were allowed to do lock in taping. Other seniors now back to work are Nora Aunor in “Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit”, Coney Reyes in “Love of My Life”, Nova Villa in “Owe My Love”, Gloria Diaz in “Oh My Dad” and soon, Pilar Pilapil in “First Yaya”. 

Chanda is now actually on the second leg of her lock in taping for “Prima Donnas”, where she plays the wealthy matriarch, Lady Prima.

“Noong una, I thought hindi na ako makakasama sa pagre-resume ng taping kasi bawal daw ang senior citizens,” says Chanda, who’s now 66. 

“But I was told pwede raw basta mag-submit muna ako ng health and medical records ko to show that I’m fit to work. So nagpa-physical check up muna ako to show everything is normal in me, like my blood pressure, X-ray ng lungs, ECG result, swab test, etc.”

Personally, she knows she’s still very strong for her age. 

“I can feel naman that I’m still as healthy as a mule, pero siempre, we have to comply with the requirements. And now, I’m happy to be back to work again with all my co-stars sa lock in set ng ‘Prima Donnas’, lalo na nga I enjoy the company of the teen stars who play my apos. Feeling bagets din akong nakikipagkulitan sa kanila. Nagti-Tiktok pa kami.”

So she didn’t find it difficult to do Tiktok taping? “No. Hindi siya mahirap at all. I really want to laud our bosses in GMA and the whole production team for carefully thinking everything through and putting every health protocol detail into action.”

She says she actually feels safer while in lock in taping than when she’s outside. 

“GMA rented a whole resort hotel for just our entire production team. We use whatever other parts of the hotel for pocket locations like hallways, an office, stairways, etc. For our family home, we use a mansion that stands on its own in a huge property only ten minutes drive away from main road. 

"So nobody but our team is there, except for three caretakers. We keep our masks and shields on up to the rehearsals and then take them off only when we are ready to do a take.”

She and the rest of the cast are now “experts” when it comes to doing lock in taping. 

“It takes a bit of getting used to but it's doable. What's more challenging for me as an actor is not being able to be more expressive, like touching my son, played by Wendell Ramos,  while we’re doing a dramatic scene, like if he is distressed and I'm trying to calm him, or not being able to hold my apos, the Donnas, to comfort them when they’re crying. Kasi nga, kailangan ng social distance even on cam.”

How about her husband, Jose Alejandrino? Don’t they mind being far apart from each? 

“Hahaha! We’ve been apart longer than this so sanay na kami. Besides, we're not clingy and he has his own work to attend to.”