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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.

Dec 2, 2021




REGAL ENTERTAINMENT as represented by Roselle Monteverde and Reality MM Studios as represented by Dondon Monteverde announced in a presscon that they are now partnering with Virtual Playground, as represented by Charlie Dy, as their official talent management arm. 

Virtual Playground will officially handle the careers of their contract artists and aim to discover homegrown talents to star in their future projects. 

Regal was the top film company in the 70s to the 90s with its stable of stars known as the Regal Babies discovered and built up by the iconic Mother Lily Monteverde.  

In the mid-80s, Regal Entertainment became instrumental in re-establishing one of the largest television networks in the country, ABS-CBN, when it reopened after Martial Law. 

Now, Regal is working with GMA Network to produce and air “Regal Studio Presents,” feel-good stories that feature today’s most talented celebrities. It also produced the series “Ben X Jim” on Youtube and “Gen-Z” on Cignal. 

Reality MM Studios, under Ronald “Dondon” Monteverde and award-winning director Erik Matti, has been pushing the boundaries of Filipino cinema for almost twenty years. 

It has been recognized both locally and internationally with imaginative films like “On The Job,” shown at the 2013 Cannes International Film Festival; “Buy Bust,” hailed 2019 Gawad Urian Best Picture and one of the films selected in the award-giving body’s list of best films of the decade; 

“On The Job: The Missing 8,” which premiered to a standing ovation at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival and gave lead actor John Arcilla the coveted Volpi Cup Best Actor Award.     

Virtual Playground’s roster of brilliant and talented celebrities include television teen heartthrob Grae Fernandez; “A Girl and A Guy” stars Alexa Miro, Rob Gomez, Sarah Holmes, Rosh Barman and Carlo Tarobal; Ms. Universe Philippines 2014 MJ Lastimosa; Ms. Globe 2015 Ann Colis; 

Star Awards Best New Movie Actor nominee Kent Gonzales; award-winning theater and film actress Krystal Brimner; Asia’s Got Talent Finalist Gwyneth Dorado, Events and TV hosts Mela Tunay and Apple David, 

and young actors Keann Johnson, Dustin Yu, Darwin Yu, Kimson Tan, Migs Villasis, Blue Cailles, Shiara Lagman, Ayeesha Cervantes, Pam Gonzales, Lara Fortuna and Sarah Edwards.      

Virtual Playground also continues to cultivate the talents of a number of athletes who have already crossed over to the world of show business, such as Mixed Martial Arts World Champion turned “Buy Bust” lead actor Brandon Vera; 

collegiate basketball idol turned movie star Ricci Rivero; taekwondo gold medalist Pauline Lopez; UFC Fighter and Model Mark Striegl; and professional volleyball stars John Vic de Guzman and Jema Galanza. 

Virtual Playground is primed to break new grounds in the Philippine entertainment scene. 

This new partnership with Regal and Reality brings to the forefront a new breed of refreshing new faces and exceptional talents that will soon shine across the mainstream stage and take over digital platforms worldwide.

Roselle says that there is more room for new talent today because of the many digital platforms now available and they all need new content. 

Dondon says he is hoping that someday, Philippine showbiz would be able to achieve what the Koreans have accomplished for their showbiz industry worldwide. 

Like what we always say, discovering new stars is really the lifeblood of showbusiness. We hope Regal, Reality and Virtual will succeed to build up their own big stars but this all depends on the kind of exposure they’ll give to their discoveries. 

Even if you have the best stars, if they're not frequently visible to the public, wala rin.

 Admit it or not, Viva is the one most successful in this at the moment with their streaming channel, Vivamax, that releases one or two new films every week, assuring their so many new stars with Viva Artist Agency regular and steady projects. 

What Vivamax is doing is cultivating all the Filipino viewers worldwide to subscribe to them. Right now, they’re really the busiest showbiz company but we just hope that they’ll soon realize that it’s not just a matter of paramihan ng releases. They should come up with more crowd pleasing projects. 

Right now, they’re just banking on the fact that streaming is not controlled by the MTRCB, so they’re having a heyday making soft porn films that leave little to the imagination. 

There’s no denying that sex sells, but they should also come up with films that have truly engaging and satisfying stories because naked flesh for voyeurs is not enough to sustain a streaming channel. 

Like what one writer told us when we asked if he's watching Vivamax: "E puro chaka ang palabas nila, panay kangkangan lang."