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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.

Mar 16, 2023


‘TAYA’  was a blockbuster hit on Vivamax shown in 2021, with Sean de Guzman as a student who gets into online gambling and pays dearly for it. 

He had three leading ladies then: AJ Raval, Jela Cuenca and Angeli Khang. 

Now comes “Balik Taya”, which is not a sequel but offers a totally different story with some new stars. 

Angeli Khang and Jela Cuenca are retained but they now play characters who are different from their roles in “Taya”.

The new leading man is Kiko Estrada, with Azi Acosta taking the place of AJ Raval, who was not available (because of you know what, but she will be in “Taya 3”) when they were shooting the movie.   

The first part of the film was shot in Thailand.

“This is the first Vivamax movie shot abroad and we’re thankful to Boss Vic del Rosario na pinayagan kami,” says Direk Roman. 

“We shot guerilla style. May permits kami pero we shot doon sa ibang locations like yung temples na bawal, so hinuhuli kami. 

"So sabi namin, vloggers lang kami, hindi naman ito movie. Mahirap but masaya naman, we had fun.”

Kiko Estrada plays Pip, a Pinoy who goes to Thailand to find work but ends up being the victim of scammers who beat him up.  

He then meets Azi as Jessy, a Pinay who helps him as he’s wounded and lets him stay at her home until he regains his good health.

A special friendship quickly blooms between them but this is interrupted when Azi suddenly goes missing. 

It’s reported that immigration authorities got her and she was returned back home to Manila.

Pip decides to follow her to look for her and also to search for a job in his home land. 

He then meets Angeli Khang as the ravishing and mysterious Kate and Jela Cuenca as the seductive but deadly femme fatale, Nina. 

Kate works as a betting girl in an online gambling site run by Nina.  

As Pip navigates this gambling site, he sees the mole on Kate’s chest which looks exactly like that of Jessy’s. So he thinks he has finally found Jessy.

But when Pip meets Kate, she makes him forget all about Jessy. 

Pip gets so enamoured with Kate and, as luck would have it, there’s also a job offer for him as well.

Jela as Nina is the Chinese lady boss of a big syndicate and offers Pip to be one of the boxers in their underground boxing business. 

Though he knows the risks of boxing, Pip accepts the job. 

There’s also another thing he can’t resist: Nina’s body that is willingly offered to him.  

Pip is living a very risky life and it’s only a matter of time before Kate finds out about his relationship with Nina. 

But this is not the only secret that Pip is keeping from Kate. 

It seems that he is engaged in something else. But if Pip has a dirty secret, Kate and Nina also have their own deadly secrets that makes it all a very dangerous game. 

“Balik Taya” is available for streaming starting March 31, 2023.