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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.

Sep 1, 2022




               ELIJAH ALEJO 

                            HAILEY MENDES

‘UNDERAGE’ is the 1980 movie that launched the careers of Maricel Soriano and Snooky Serna as teen stars, along with Dina Bonnevie. 

Directed by the late Joey Gosiengfiao, they played three sisters named Corazon, Cecili and Celina, who have to cope with their life as orphans. 

We remember we were there at Mother China along Pasay Road when Mother Lily Monteverde came with Maricel and Snooky in tow. 

Maricel was with her Mommy Linda while Snooky was with her mother Mila Ocampo, both of whom are now deceased.

“I will launch them as teenage stars,” Mother Lily says. “Okay ba?” 

All the writers present concurred with her. Previously known as child stars, Maricel and Snooky were relaunched as Regal Babies and the rest, as they say, is history. 

“Underage” was such a blockbuster hit. 

It was remade in 1991 by the late Maryo de los Reyes as “Underage Too”, starring Ruffa Gutierrez, Aiko Melendez and Carmina Villaroel.

Now, GMA Network is coming up with its own millennial verison of a TV series, “Underage”, starring Lexi Gonzales, Elijah Alejo and Hailey Mendez as the Serrano sisters on GMA Afternoon Prime. 

Lexi as Celine is 17, Hailey as Carrie is 16, and Elijah as Chynna is 15. This time, they will be suspects in the killing of a young man, Leo, played by Nikki Co. 

Lexi as Celine will make a sacrifice and confess to the crime even if she’s innocent, just so her sisters will be set free. 

She is then confined in a youth care facility for juvenile offenders. 

Snooky Serna will be joining the cast of the show, along with Sunshine Cruz, Jean Saburit, Yayo Aguila, TJ Trinidad, Christian Vasquez, Jome Silayan, Vince Crisostomo and Gil Cuerva. 

Lexi Gonzales is a runnerup in the last Starstruck search and she’s really so fortunate as she is always doing a show. 

She was in “Love You Stranger” on primetime, then she taped for “Running Man” in Korea that will now be shown this coming September, and now, she’s in “Underage”. 

Elijah Alejo is a former child actress who became part of the successful “Prima Donnas” series, Parts 1 and 2. 

Hailey Mendez is a newcomer who appeared in the movie “Magikland” and in the Pilipino adaptation of the Korean hit, “Descendants of the Sun”. 

She is now also part of the primetime soap, “What We Could Be”, that would start airing on August 26, replacing “Bolera”. 

The question now is: will the chemistry between Lexi, Hailey and Elijah be as successful as that of Maricel, Snooky and Dina in the original movie? 

Well, that remains to be seen, of course. Let’s just hope TV viewers will support this new version of “Underage”.