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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 8, 2023



EMPOY MARQUEZ is glad that Viva gave him another big break in the highly entertaining romantic-comedy, “Kidnap for Romance”, that pairs him for the first time with Cristine Reyes and is now showing in theaters nationwide. 

“It’s something totally unexpected,” he says. “But I consider it a big blessing. Nagkasama na kami before sa isang teleserye na bida siya, support lang ako. 

"Dati na niya akong admirer kasi maganda na, napakagaling pang artista. Di ko inakalang makakapareha ko siya balang araw.

"Ang request ko lang sa kanya when we started shooting, sana huwag kami ma-link sa isa’t isa, kasi ayokong magselos sa akin ang boyfriend niya na 8 lang ang abs. E, ako, 84.”

He’s referring to Marco Gumabao, who was at the movie’s premiere night to support his inamorata. But Cristine says she wants to keep their relationship in low profile. “I want to keep it private,” she says. “Mas maganda yung chill lang and keep it low key.” 

As for Empoy, he says he’s unattached at the moment. He reveals that he used to have a non-showbiz girlfriend, but he got hurt.

“Pero may kalaro naman ako. But like Cristine, I believe it’s better to keep such things private. 

"I’m afraid to seriously love again. I just leave it kay God. Darating naman yan kung ibibigay Niya.”

Few people know that his real name is Julius Ernan Marquez and Empoy is just a nickname given to him by his relatives after watching Nino Muhlach in the Lino Brocka classic, “Tahan Na, Empoy”.

The eldest of seven children, he turned 42 years old last July. 

He was discovered when he joined the Mr. Suave lookalike in 2003 on “Magandang Tanghali Bayan”. He was signed up by Star Magic and became a regular in the noontime show for one year. 

He appeared in several movies and TV shows usually playing a supporting role as the hilarious sidekick of the bida. He then moved to TV5 and was given bigger roles in their gag show “LokoMoko U” and played the title role of ‘Kapitan Awesome’. 

He was then paired with Derek Ramsay in the sitcom “Mac and Chiz”.

Later, he moved back to ABS-CBN to do “Banana Sundae”. 

After the success of his movie “Kita Kita” with Alessandra de Rossi, he did several other films like “Kusina Kings”, “The Barker”, “Since I Found You” and “Walang Kaparis”. 

He says he played a very challenging role in “Kidnap for Ransom”.

“Kasi mayamang heredero ang role ko rito,” he adds. 

“Yung lolo ko, played by Boboy Garrovillo, is a super rich business magnate at pinanganak akong nakahiga sa salapi. Ang hirap palang umarteng mayaman na walang ginawa kundi magparty-party at mag-chicks gabi-gabi.”

At the premiere night, it’s apparent that his tandem with Cristine clicked with the audience who was laughing loudly in many scenes. 

“Marami kaming scenes ni Cristine na naga-adlib kami. Basta nage-enjoy lang kami sa ginagawa namin para mapasaya ang viewers and I’m glad that it worked, pati yung lips to lips kissing scene namin sa ending, tilian nang tilian ang mga tao.

"Akala ko, mandidiri sila, pero tawang-tawa sila, e."