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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.

Jun 30, 2022



LAURICE GUILLEN is currently directing the big GMA Afternoon Prime hit soap, “Apoy sa Langit”, which is rating so well that it’s getting an extension. 

But now, Laurice is also busy working as an actress in front of the camera, playing an important role in the dark crime-drama, “Pamilya sa Dilim”. 

She plays the lead role as the matriarch in a wicked family with so many deep, forbidding secrets. 

“I am happy and thankful to be acting again as I haven’t received any acting offers since the pandemic came,” she says.

The movie is written and directed by Jay Altarejos who she gets to work with for the first time. How is it being handled by younger directors? 

“Well, lahat ng mga nagdidirek sa’kin now, mas bata na sa akin,” she says. 

“My last movie was ‘Circa’ with Adolf Alix na mas bata rin sa akin. Kasi naman, all the older directors I’ve worked with before, wala na sila.”  

So which does she prefer to do: acting or directing? 

“Actually, I prefer acting. Kaya lang, wala nang magagandang offers for acting na dumarating sa akin, so I turned to directing and I’ve been busy ever since.” 

Laurice has formidable credentials both as actor and director. In acting, she started with theater then branched out into films and TV. 

Her best performance on stage was as the troubled tragic heroine, Blanche Dubois, in “Flores Para Las Muertos”, a Pilipino adaptation by PETA of the acclaimed Tennessee Williams’ play, “A Streetcar Named Desire”. 

On film, she gave unforgettable performances in “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang”, “Lunes Martes Miyerkules…”, “Ina, Kapatid, Anak” (all directed by Lino Brocka), “Nagalit ang Buwan sa Haba ng Gabi” by Danny Zialcita and Mike de Leon’s “Sister Stella L” (for which she won several best supporting actress awards). 

On TV, she is best remembered as the iconic Tita Jo Alicante in the long-running soap, “Flor de Luna”, that was aired for six years. 

She started directing in 1980 with the acclaimed “Kasal”. She then won directing awards for “Salome”, “Dolzura Cortez Story” (about AIDS) and the touching inspirational family drama “Tanging Yaman” which swept most of the awards in the 2001 Metro-Manila Filmfest and won several best actress awards for lead actress Gloria Romero. 

Her other acclaimed films include “Ipagpatawad Mo” (the first local film to deal with autism), “Kung Mahawi Man ang Ulap” (one of the best films based on a komiks melodrama), “American Adobo” (about the lives of Filipinos living in New York City) and “Santa Santita” (about the interplay between good and evil.)  

She turned 75 last January and shows no signs of slowing down.

With all these impressive credentials, we tell Laurice she should next be in line as National Artist after her late contemporary, Marilou Diaz Abaya, just got the honor. 

Has anyone nominated her? She shakes her head and would rather not talk about it. 

Well, with all her achievements that we just enumerated, we sincerely hope she’d soon be considered as a National Artist as she surely deserves it. 

Going back to “Pamilya sa Dilim”, she says she’s excited with it as it’s her first time to work not only with Direk Jay but also with the other cast members. 

“Except for my daughter Ina Feleo, wala pa akong nakatrabaho sa mga kasama ko rito, kaya I really look forward to working with all of them. 

"I love working with new people as I also learn from them. The material is challenging because the story is very dark, but there’s redemption in the end.”   

Ina says she is excited with the movie as she will play her mom as a young woman. 

“First time ko gagawin ito, playing my mom on screen. I will appear in all the flashback scenes and it will be a very big challenge for me to play her kasi hindi ako dapat malayo sa how she moves or talk now.”