Tag archive for "Entertainment"




No Comments 12 January 2014

By Niki Yarte

Pauleen Luna was around six years old when she joined Eat Bulaga’s popular kiddie pageant, “Little Miss Philippines”.

Vic Sotto was the host.

IN PHOTO: Vic and Pauleen

She is now 25 years old with a solid career in entertainment, culminating in her current stint as co-host of the noontime show. She joins the ranks of Coney Reyes, Christine Jacob, and Pia Guanio with whom she shares more than a significant career highlight.

At 59 years old, he remains an unstoppable force in the industry, a daily fixture on television, and a constant presence at the Metro Manila Film Festival.

It was while doing the promotional rounds for My Little Bossings, his entry to the latest iteration of the film festival, that he finally cracked the lid on what had been an open secret among gossip-mongers in both the media and the public: That the two of them had been dating for at least a couple of years now.

During his segment in the news program Bandila, talk show host Boy Abunda asked Vic, “Kung bubuksan ko ang iyong puso ngayon, anong pangalan ng babae ang nakasulat?”

The TV host-comedian responded, rather hesitantly, “Sagutin ko na rin. Pauleen”.

While this admission did not come as a shock to many, it was only during the telecast that either parties had openly acknowledged the relationship since entertainment columnist Ricky Lo broke the story in late 2011. Quoting his source, Lo wrote that Vic “showered Pauleen with gifts. He courted not just Pauleen but also her parents. He even talked to Pauleen’s father and assured him of his ‘pure intentions’”.

Still, no official word ever came from either of them. Maybe because there were quite enough eyebrows raised then but the pair had somehow avoided becoming hot topic in gossip columns and showbiz talk shows.

Vic and Pia

Vic and Pia

In addition to what was obviously a May-December affair, Vic had just gotten off his much-publicized relationship with Pia barely a year earlier. With all three sharing hosting duties on the same daily show, many expected to witness a real-life drama that would have put soap operas to shame. That Pia got married barely a couple of months before Vic’s relationship with Pauleen became general knowledge should have also fanned the flames of intrigue. Yet much to the disappointment of the rumor mill, neither observers nor insiders were able to discern any hint of awkwardness onscreen or backstage.

One can only assume that at his age Vic must have already mastered how to maintain that delicate balance between his personal life and his career. Wading through the public eye day after day without attracting any controversy does sound like an arduous chore but he makes it look effortless. To his credit, the women that he had chosen to pursue are of the less chatty and catty variety.

Dina Bonnevie

Dina Bonnevie

Many may recall that Vic’s affair with Coney was rumored to have caused the breakdown of his marriage to actress Dina Bonnevie, with whom he had two children. At the time, Coney was also Vic’s co-host on Eat Bulaga. Her marriage to basketball player Larry Mumar, who she likewise had two children with, had just been annulled. When Vic and Coney’s tryst went public sometime in the early 1990s, Vic and Dina had long separated.

Rumors ran rampant that it was Dina herself who caught them in her own home. Speculations about Vic’s plans to propose marriage to Coney were also rife but were ultimately dismissed sometime in 1992 when his marriage to Dina was finally annulled. Sadly, he and Coney have already called it quits, though they did sire a son together.

Both women managed to keep themselves quiet – something that the tabloid press at the time must have been frustrated about. Even Dina, known for her feisty demeanor, managed to control herself. These days, Dina and Coney can be seen attending the same Christian fellowship. Supposedly, it was Coney herself who sponsored Dina’s membership. How amicable – much like Pia and Pauleen’s continued working relationship.

Between the Dina/Coney and Pia/Pauleen era, Vic was involved in a series of romantic entanglements that seemed to have sizzled and fizzled without much fanfare. There was commercial model Angela Luz with whom he had a daughter, beauty queen Kristine Florendo, and flight attendant Pia Cabreira. Perhaps his only high-profile relationship during this period was with Christine Jacob, who was by then an accomplished athlete but a budding TV personality.

Indeed, there must be something about working with neophytes that stirs something up in Vic’s senses. Even in the earliest day of Eat Bulaga, way before his marriage to Dina, his short involvement with Chiqui Hollman, the show’s first female host, was well-known.

As for Pauleen herself, she may have kept mum about what attracted her to the veteran entertainer, but Vic’s former filmfest leading lady Cristine Reyes, who is about Pauleen’s age, may have hit the nail on the head. She was once asked what it was about Vic that makes him so attractive and she replied: “Unang-una yung looks niya at very neat siya. Para sa akin, yung pinaka-number one trait niya yung charm niya kasi napaka-down-to-earth niya, tsaka may pasundot-sundot siya na humor”.

Ever curt, Pauleen could only share that “Kinilig ako, yun lang” when prodded about her reaction to Vic’s televised admission. She did admit to being on good terms with his children, most of whom are about her age.

Vic would later admit on the weekly talk show The Buzz ng Bayan that he still believes in marriage. “Kaya naman tayo nakikipag-ibigan dahil ang gusto mong dulong puntahan ay yung ‘to settle down’. At the end of the day, pagdating ng gabi, uuwi ka ng pagod, iba rin siguro yung may kasama ka”, he said during the live interview.

So are wedding bells in the works for the couple?

Word from the grapevine is that Vic had already proposed to Pauleen but she turned it down. Like everything in Vic’s storied love life, only time will sift the truth from the hearsay.




No Comments 11 September 2012

By Cherie del Rio

They were the most popular matinee idols of their time. Richard Gomez was the ultimate depiction of the much-desired breed of the “tall, dark, and handsome”. Aga Muhlach was the mestizo actor known for being extremely good-looking whichever way you look at him—thus earning the title of “Ang lalaking walang anggulo.”

Richard Gomez, or Goma to friends and colleagues in the business, has made a name for himself as an actor, athlete, TV show host, model, and director. He had chart-topping movies and TV shows. Goma has also won Best Actor merits from prestigious award-giving bodies such as Gawad Urian, FAMAS, Metro Manila Film Festival, and Star Awards. Goma has also been branded as a ladies’ man, having had romantic relationships with equally popular showbiz stars like Sharon Cuneta and Dawn Zulueta. The Dawn and Richard tandem is perhaps one of the most iconic love teams in Philippine cinema, with their critically acclaimed movie, Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit, as one of the most memorable romantic dramas in Pinoy movie history. But Dawn and Richard’s off-screen love affair was not meant for eternity. The couple eventually split up and Goma later married Lucy Torres, his leading lady in one of their more popular TV commercials.

Goma has had his share of downtime in showbiz, having transferred from one network to another and ultimately coming back to ABS-CBN where he landed the lead role in the remake of Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit — the primetime hit teleserye Walang Hanggan (where he rekindles onscreen romance with Dawn). This new soap could well be Goma’s biggest break after a period of drought in his career. And it seems that the veteran actor subscribes to the saying that one must strike while the iron is hot. He now has plans to run for Mayor of Ormoc City in Leyte in the 2013 elections.

Aga Muhlach shares the same circumstance. He has expressed his intent to run for congressman of Camarines Sur. Last August 3 Aga was sworn in by Mar Roxas as a new member of the Liberal Party. Incidentally, Goma and Lucy, who is an incumbent congresswoman of Leyte, are also LP members.

A couple of years ago, in the height of the fame of shows like Oki Doki Doc and movies like Kailangan Kita, one could not have foreseen the decline in Aga’s career — considering that the actor was able to maintain his baby face good looks and impeccable acting skills. But perhaps with factors such as age, marriage, and the tough competition with and among newer and younger actors, even the biggest names in Philippine cinema are susceptible to having their once stellar careers morph into lackluster visibility in showbiz.

Compared to Goma, Aga’s career has taken a steady spiral down to unpopularity. He has no new projects or upcoming movies. He left his home network ABS-CBN and transferred to TV 5 in 2011. The multi-awarded actor now hosts a TV 5 show called Pinoy Explorer. He is married to former beauty queen Charlene Gonzalez.

Both Goma and Aga are seeking a new career in politics — a considerably seamless transition since the realms of politics and show business are so closely intertwined in the Philippines. Showbiz celebrities, whether they are seasoned actors or starlets, have gone in and out of politics. And even politicians themselves sometimes cross over to the world of movies and TV.

Aga is up against formidable odds in his first try in politics. He will be facing the candidate of the Fuentebella dynasty of Camarines Sur. Aga does not consider this an obstacle, confidently offering his services to the people of Camarines Sur, believing that the “people will decide.”

Goma, on the other hand, has his eyes on the mayoral seat in his wife’s hometown of Ormoc. Wife Lucy meanwhile is seeking reelection as Ormoc City’s representative. It was actually Goma who sought the congressional seat in 2010 but he was disqualified for lack of residency, forcing Lucy to take his place at the last minute.

The actor is confident of winning the mayoral seat, pointing to his wife’s performance in Congress. “Sabi ko sa kanila, huwag na silang manggulo kasi ang ganda ng ginagawang trabaho ni Lucy,” Goma said. “There’s so much improvement, there’s so much progress sa Ormoc… Continuously, nanggugulo sila. I’ll be forced to run head to head against them. Ayaw nilang tumigil so maglaban tayo head to head. Lalabanan ko sila,” referring to his political foes.

Intrigues will continue to besiege the political path that Goma and Aga have chosen to traverse. Their political opponents will undoubtedly find one controversy after another to hurl against the former matinee idols. Their motive for running will always be questioned. And they will, as previous actors who have shifted their careers to politics have been grilled, be accused of using their showbiz fame and popularity to garner votes and will therefore win not based on actual political merit or skill but on face value and artista factors.

The trend of showbiz personalities shifting to politics is not new in the country. Countless actors have tried their hand in public service and governance. Vilma Santos is currently the governor of Batangas, Tito Sotto has been a senator for several terms, and Joseph Estrada was once the president of the country. It seems that there is a certain age in showbiz, a period close to retirement, when actors deem it most practical to dabble into politics, to present themselves to their fans and ask for their support as they run for public office. This recurrence is widely accepted in the industry that older actors gradually put a foot out of the silver screen and into government office.

The question now is, will Goma and Aga’s once-sparkling careers be bright enough to snag them the electoral win they’re vying for? Winning Best Actor trophies seemed an easy enough feat for these talented actors. Will a mayoral and congressional seat for Goma and Aga, respectively, be just as easy to achieve?




No Comments 08 November 2011

By Pepper Marcelo

People call them “cougar” – women over 40 that remain desirable and sexy even in middle age. Former President Joseph Estrada puts it more colorfully in street lingo: May asim pa. With exercise, diet, and the wonders of cosmetic surgery (read: botox, liposuction, boob job, noselift, facelift), women are now are able to mature with style, elegance and oomph. (Author’s note: This is not to imply that all the women featured in this piece have resorted to the cosmetic procedures.) The marvelous makeover must be well worth every peso (lots of ‘em to be sure), the physical ache and medical risk. Suddenly the gallivanting husband comes home early and takes a renewed interest in the wife. And for the separadas, hooking up with younger men now isn’t as difficult and distasteful as it used to be.

In the following piece Planet Philippines goes cougar-hunting in the glittery world of showbiz in search of celebrities who live by the mantra “50 is the new 40.” To avoid a catfight, we have listed in alphabetical order our top ten female cougars.

Gretchen Barretto – “La Greta,” as she’s known for her diva status and sassy attitude, is undisputedly one of the most beautiful faces in local showbiz. For three decades she has been a fixture on film and television, the ramp, and, much to her chagrin (says she), the gossip pages. A fashion icon and a certified bon vivant, courtesy of long-time partner, tycoon Tonyboy Cojuangco, she has graced the cover of every glossy magazine in town. Whether in a luxuriant Inno Sotto gown or in faded denim pants, La Greta is the embodiment of style and class.

Dina Bonnevie – Now a grandmother (!) at 50, the former Regal Baby still makes heads turns with her sultry persona and voluptuous figure. Introduced in 1980 in the film Underage, she cemented her nymphet image in her breakout movie Katorse, also in 1980. She has had two failed marriages – first to Vic Sotto, with whom she has two children, and later to a businessman, which lasted only a few years. Miss D was 39 and a mother of two teenagers when she agreed to strip for the cover of the December 2001 issue of the men’s magazine FHM. Of her numerous male admirers, she says, “Even naman before, they’ve always been there. That’s why I always say, ‘Where the boys are, someone waits for me.’”

Pops Fernandez – The erstwhile Concert Queen is deceptively quiet about her love life after her failed marriage to singer Martin Nievera, who bore her two sons, and brief romance with actor Jomari Yllana. Turning 45 in December, she says she’d rather have another child than a new husband. In 2006 she caused a stir when she appeared on the cover of FHM. Asked why she did it, she replied, “I wanted to do so something I’ve never done before, and agree to do it before I cannot do it anymore. It’s something I can do now so I might as well do it now.”

Jean Garcia – Housewives may hate her for her kontrabida roles in teleseryes but the men are in awe of her alluring and scintillating beauty. Behind the virginal smile and delicate demeanor is sex appeal personified. Obliging the macho crowd, she consented to bare skin on the cover of FHM (October 2008 issue), the first and only time that she allowed the adoring macho horde to have a peek at her physical assets. But the 42-year-old temptress says her proudest achievement is her two children – aspiring actress Jennica (with estranged husband, actor Jigo Garcia) and Kotaro (with a Japanese businessman). Happily single for three years now, her last publicly known boyfriend was actor Polo Ravales, who is 13 years her junior.

Cherie Gil – There is no more apt description for this alluring, versatile actress than the moniker “Sexy Kontrabida.” Sexy and mean, the 48-year-old mother of three is known for uttering the famous movie line, “You are nothing but a second-rate, trying hard copy cat!” Confidence, sophistication and class are what make a woman sexy, she says. And when does she feel most sexy? “When I am perfectly groomed and wearing my sexiest underwear, yet no one can see. Oh, and when I am wearing great four-inch heels.” In June 2008, she and her husband of 20 years, Israeli violinist Roni Rogoff, parted ways.

Zsa Zsa Padilla – Years ago her partner, Dolphy, used to say she was his natural Viagra. Going by the Comedy King’s reputation as a connoisseur of women, the accolade speaks volume about Zsa Zsa’s animal appeal and magnetic personality. Asked what’s the sexiest item in her closet, she teased, “Uh, probably a lace camisole that I don’t wear underwear with, hahaha. You get the picture.” The 47-year-old mother of three isn’t ashamed to admit that “a little part” of her body is no longer original (though she would not say which). She is one of our most seductive chanteuses in the mold of Carmen Soriano in the ‘60s and Didith Reyes in the ‘70s.

Lorna Tolentino – Even at 49, the acclaimed actress remains luminous and beguiling. Beginning as a child actress in 1969, LT metamorphosed into a lovely and scintillating beauty, which landed her in “bold” flicks in the ‘70s. After she married action star Rudy Fernandez in 1983 and later bore him two sons, LT shed her sex siren image and built a solid reputation as a top-caliber dramatic actress. Even with her husband’s approval, she declined an offer to appear on FHM, “kasi pinagdaanan ko na ang pa-sexy-sexy.” Still reeling from Rudy’s death in 2008, she can’t say if she’ll fall in love again.

Eula Valdez – Like fellow cougar Jean Garcia, Eula is an alumna of FMA, a popular character actress, separated with two children, and involved with a man 13 years her junior. It was in 2008 that she hooked up with ramp model Rocky Salumbides. Their May-December affair set tongues wagging but the couple has managed to survive the nasty whispers and mischievous stares. The 43-year old enchantress, says FHM, has an appeal that can put many women half her age to shame. “Her doe-shaped eyes and the interesting curve of her mouth emanate the mysterious allure of a woman who has been there and done that.”

Regine Velasquez – Asia’s Songbird is known not only for her powerful voice but also for her alluring charm and magnetic beauty. She has not posed for any men’s magazine or appeared in a sexy role but audiences are well aware of her physical assets (thanks to those plunging necklines and body-hugging outfits). Just ask the fans who voted her No. 7 in FHM’s Sexiest Women for 2010. Surprisingly for a single and attractive celebrity, she had only one boyfriend – singer Ariel Rivera – before her husband, Oge Alcasid. At 41, she is set to deliver her first ever baby in November. One hopes that motherhood would not turn the cougar into a lioness.

Dawn Zulueta – This 42-year-old doe-eyed mestiza is demure by showbiz standards when it comes to flaunting her physical assets. Ex-boyfriend Richard Gomez, who knows a thing or two about women, can attest to her stunning beauty and sex appeal. Entertainment columnist Ricky Lo writes: “She can look expensive without even trying to. Even if unadorned with expensive jewelry and accessories, she manages to look classy.” When not in front of the camera – which has become less frequent after her marriage to businessman-politician Anton Lagdameo – Dawn dotes on her two children, five-year-old Jacobo and two-year-old Ayisha.




1 Comment 08 December 2010

By Pepper Marcelo

One of the most colorful real-life showbiz love stories is the saga of singer-entertainers Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid. The Singer and Songwriter, as the two are sometimes referred to, are two of the most successful artists in Original Pinoy Music history.

Their fans have faithfully followed their careers and had long wished the two would eventually become a couple. But bad timing and Ogie’s unsettled marital status had put off a public announcement of their affair. It was only in the middle of 2007 that the marriage of Ogie to Michelle Van Eimeren was annulled. The closet lovers finally came out in the open to proclaim their love affair. Now comes their nuptial on December 22, which is already being billed as the Wedding of the Year.

The private wedding ceremonies will be held at the exclusive Punta Fuego Resort in Nasugbu, Batangas. The original venue was a beach resort, also in Batangas, but the owners backed out after initially agreeing to host the event. Regine reveals that she took the rejection badly and got depressed for two weeks.

Wedding entourage

The couple’s close friends in the industry are part of the entourage. President Benigno Aquino III will be one of the secondary sponsors. Regine and Ogie had campaigned for the President in the May presidential elections. Ogie’s ex-wife Michelle, who had remarried in 2009, volunteered to do the floral arrangement, and their two daughters – Leila, 12, and Sarah, 7 – will serve as flower girls.

Regine’s gown, a gift from cosmetic surgeon Vicki Belo, is designed by the US-based well-known Filipina couturier Monique Lhuillier, who dresses many Hollywood stars. Ogie will be wearing a suit designed by Randy Ortiz.

An unlikely couple

Before they met and became close, Regine and Ogie were involved with different partners. An aspiring singer/actor then, Ogie was tapped as one of the hosts for the Miss Universe beauty pageant in Manila in 1974 and assigned to chaperon and assist the contestants. But as fate would have it, Ogie – brown-skinned and standing barely five feet – and Michelle – the blue-eyed, blonde and fair-skinned Miss Australia – immediately hit it off. They eventually tied the knot in 1998.

Despite the physical and cultural divide, Ogie and Michelle led what seemed to be a happy married life in Manila. Michelle tried showbiz, appearing in a few TV shows and movies. But while Ogie was making great headway in his career, their marriage started to falter. In 2003, Michelle decided to go back to Australia with their two daughters. In spite of tell-tale signs of a brewing storm, the couple did not give any indication that their union was encountering rough seas.

‘Home wrecker’

Regine, on the other hand, had remained single all her adult life as she was deeply immersed in her career. She was discovered in 1984 when she emerged the first grand champion in the singing contest, Ang Bagong Kampeon. She gained international fame upon winning the Asia Pacific Singing Contest in 1989 and became the first Filipino to do a solo concert at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall in 1991.

Her first taste of showbiz intrigue came in the early ‘90s when she was rumored to have an illicit affair with singer-comedian Janno Gibbs, who was then married to Bing Loyzaga. Not long after the tabloid gossip had died down, Regine got involved with another singer and fellow GMA-7 artist, Ariel Rivera, while the latter was still on with actress Gelli de Belen. (Ariel and Gelli eventually reconciled and married in 1997.) These two episodes earned her the label “home wrecker” from her detractors.

Regine says she did not expect that her friendship with Ogie would develop into a romantic affair. “Hindi ko rin ine-expect!” she said when asked how it all began. “At saka, isa lang naman ang failed relationship ko [referring to Ariel Rivera]. Actually, dalawa pa lang naman sila [Ariel and Ogie]. Actually, it was really unexpected talaga for both of us, especially sa kanya because, you know, he’s married and we were just really friends. . . I never really expected we’ll end up together. But I always thought he’s a wonderful man.”

The secret is out

In Yes! Magazine’s June 2007 issue, Ogie announced what many had long suspected. “I love her, I’m crazy about her,” he said, declaring for the first time in public his feelings for Regine. He admitted that he and Regine had carried on a secret affair for several years while his wife Michelle and children were in Australia and their marital status in limbo pending approval of its annulment.

A month later, during a press conference for Pinoy Pop Superstar Grand Finals, which Regine was hosting at the time, the 40-year-old Asia’s Songbird acknowledged Ogie’s feelings, and proclaimed that she too loved him very much. “This relationship is important to me. This is the only relationship I have and the relationship I will ever have,” she said.

She said she had mixed feelings now that the secret was out. “Happy ako, although hindi halata, dahil at least now it’s out. But at the same time, very scared on what people will say about me. I’m scared I will be judged again.”

Regine also tearfully thanked Ogie for his discreet behavior all the time they were on. “Nagpapasalamat ako kay Ogie for protecting me. Hindi namin mailabas ito dahil napakaraming kailangang protektahan ni Ogie — hindi lang ako kundi pati pamilya niya.

Michelle by their side

For all what had transpired, Ogie holds his ex-wife in high regard, calling her his “best friend.” Michelle and Regine likewise have become good friends. In November 2009 Ogie and Regine traveled to Australia to attend the wedding of Michelle to Australian businessman Mark Murrow. Regine sang while Ogie played host during the wedding ceremony.

Michelle herself has nothing but kind words for Ogie and Regine. “Alam mo si Regine, talagang ang bait ng tao na ‘yan, and Ogie is so… when he’s with her sobrang saya parang iba ang ugali niya, he’s so happy. So ‘pag sama-sama kaming lahat, parang it’s just nice naman.”

Addressing the engaged couple, Michelle said: “Ogie, Regine, alam ninyo naman yung feelings ko para sa inyong dalawa. I’m just so happy, finally you’re getting married at alam ninyo nandito ako para sa inyo. If ever you need me, we’re here and we wish you every happiness in life, all the best, and mahal ko kayo!”

The lovebirds could not be happier at the turn of events. “At the end of the day, when you’re happy, if you’re okay, then you’re okay,” says the 43-year-old groom-to-be. “It doesn’t matter what people say, you have to do what you have to do with your life. You’ve got to be true to yourself.”




No Comments 16 October 2010

By Pepper Marcelo

One of the premiere leading men of local showbiz, Piolo Pascual is a veritable cottage industry – with his movie and television roles, concerts, albums and product endorsements attesting to his popularity and status as an icon in Philippine entertainment.

Piolo’s last major projects were the TV soap Lovers in Paris, and the film Love Me Again and the independent project Manila. After months of absence from the screen, he returns in a big way in the ongoing dramatic television series Noah.

His current TV project marks a change of pace for the 33-year-old actor, departing from his usual suave, lovelorn persona. In a press conference promoting the fantaserye, Piolo said he was excited by the prospect of trying out a different role.

“I immediately said yes to ‘Noah’ because sa dami ng nagawa kong teleserye I want to do something new naman,” he said. “If it will give me challenge, I’m up for it. That way I can discover a different side of me not just an actor, but also as a person. It’s my responsibility to my audience to offer something na hindi pa nila nakikita sa akin.”

He compliments ABS-CBN for giving him a role befitting his evolving status and needs as an artist. “This is an integral part in my growth as an actor because I don’t want to be boxed up playing romantic leads. Nabo-bore na rin ako na paulit-ulit na love story ang ginagawa ko. Hindi na rin naman ako bata. After being in the business for more than 10 years I want din naman to offer my audience something new.”

A story of “love and family,” Noah is a fantaserye about on a young cop, Gabriel (Piolo), and his search for his missing son, Jacob, played by child star Zaijian Jaranilla. His journey leads him to a mysterious island called Noah where he sees his lost son, but in a different guise as Eli.

Recently nga lang nag-dawn in sa akin na bago pala yung concept na ginagawa ko,” he says. “It’s hard to mount and it’s an ambitious project so I am excited. Sana ma-enjoy ng viewers as much as we do because it’s contemporary. Noah is a family drama, pero siyempre hindi naman pwedeng maalis ‘yung romance. We just want to focus on more important elements of the story.”

The focal point of the show will be Piolo’s relationship with Zaijian, himself a “veteran” lead of the hit program May Bukas Pa. Piolo is all praises for the seven-year-old talent. “Sobra yung energy ni Zaijian kaya nakakatuwa. And his eyes are so expressive so it’s easy to draw emotions just by staring at him. Talagang makikita mo that he’s a natural and perfect for the role.”

To that end, Piolo relishes the opportunity to play up the father-and-son dynamic. “It’s a relief kasi walang burden na kailangang i-work out ninyo as a love team anddun pa lang, okey na ako kasi hindi ko kailangang i-playyung tandem. With Zaijian, I’m happy because it’s something different.”

Even off-camera, Piolo shared that he and the playful young actor have a great time hanging out. “Masyadong energetic at masaya kasama. Kulitan kami sa set. Dude nga ang tawag ko sa kanya.”

In a case of art imitating life, the show is also reflective of his role as a real-life father to his 13-year-old son, Iñigo. “Zaijan is half the age of my son. Malayo ang edad nila pero nakikita ko ‘yung mata ni Zaijan hawig sa mata ng anak ko.”

Piolo is most excited about spending the upcoming Manila visit of Iñigo, who lives in California. The single father hasn’t made any specific plans yet, but if anything it is sure to involve eating. “I just want him maybe to accompany me during my shoots. We love to eat out. I love to splurge on dining and try different cuisines.”

Piolo is wary of his son entering following in his footsteps, at least until he has finished school. “Sabi ko tapusin niya muna yung pag-aaral niya and then he can decide what he wants to do afterwards. As much as possible ayokong mag-artista siya kasi it’s a tough career. Pero kung yun ang hilig niya, my only request is for him to finish his studies first. He’s been in the States for five years already. I was there during his graduation. This coming school year mag-ge-grade seven na siya so mabuting dun muna siya mag-aral.”

Piolo wants to shield Iñigo from any media scrutiny during his brief stay in the country. “So he’s coming over but I don’t really want to expose him [to the media] because he’s still young. My son’s not from the business and I don’t want him to be corrupted [by the usual intrigues in showbiz].”

Speaking of intrigue, much has been made of the eligible bachelor’s rumored relationship with his Lovers in Paris co-star KC Concepcion. Though Piolo admits they are close, they are just friends for now. “Hindi naman namin ikakaila ‘yon kung ano man ‘yung mga developments. Lalabas at lalabas din ‘yon but for now, we enjoy each other’s company. When there’s a chance we go out, we’re beginning to know each other better.”

In the gossip-filled world of showbiz, Piolo is aware he has to be careful not to damage the special relationship they share. “Ang hirap ‘pag may issues na mahirap lusutan. Hindi naman sa sensitive lang, kaya lang kailangan mo ring protektahan ang ibang taong involved so mas nagiging sensitive.”

As to his career, Piolo says he’s prioritizing Noah over other job offers. He admits turning down a guest host in the defunct noontime show Wowowee. “Hindi pwede, hindi talaga kaya ng schedule,” he says. “I’m working everyday. Mondays-Wednesdays-Fridays, I’m taping. Tuesdays-Thursdays-Saturdays, I’m either shooting a commercial, pictorial, doing an out-of-town show, or rehearsing for [the weekend variety show] ASAP. Wala na talagang oras. I guess marami namang ibang pwedeng gumawa nun.”

With his busy schedule, he also has to stop doing movies for the time being, although he says he’ll probably get back to it as soon as he can, out of necessity. “As an actor kailangan mo talaga maging visible sa movies, but I believe gusto mo rin ma-protect ‘yung track record mo sa movies. ‘Yung excitement na nakukuha ko sa TV gusto ko rin makuha sa movies.”

He says that henceforth he will accept only projects that are truly special in order for him to grow as an actor. “I’m already at the point in my career that you don’t want to just grab everything that comes your way. I don’t want to say that I have already proven myself but gusto ko kasi na nae-excite ako sa ginagawa ko not because of the quantity but of the quality. Gusto kong nage-enjoy ako sa ginagawa ko and hindi ko papagurin ‘yung sarili ko just because of exposure.”




No Comments 23 August 2010

By Jocelyn Valle

It’s all been all quiet on John Lloyd Cruz’s love front since clarifying on national TV last June the much-talked-about supposedly cheating heart. For starters, his relationship with Shaina Magdayao is not only warmly accepted by their families and friends but also by the public. Moreover, his special friend, Ruffa Gutierrez, is now being linked to a Venezuelan executive while his ladylove’s ex, John Prats, has long moved on.

This doesn’t come as surprise to people who have followed the career of the 27-year-old actor since he started in showbiz as an ABS-CBN discovery in 1997. For instance, when his love team with Bea Alonzo was moving full steam ahead, John Lloyd didn’t hide his romance with Ciara Sotto and then with his subsequent non-showbiz girlfriend, Liz Uy, even if he was already firming up his status as a sought-after leading man.

He seems to be the type who’s not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve as long as he’s completely sure whom it beats for. However, if there’s mutual decision to be non-committal about the affair (like the one with Kaye Abad) or if there’s no reason for him to be vocal about it (such as the case with Krista Ranillo), he keeps quiet like a true gentleman.

When asked during the launch of his endorsement for a cracker brand about the most magical moment he’s spent with a girl, John Lloyd was at a loss for words. “I have a poor recollection [of past events]. Honestly, lately kasi I’ve been busy. Ang hirap sagutin ang tanong na ‘yan,” he sighed. “Even hypothetically speaking because it will defeat the purpose of word magical.”

Well, just like in his romantic flicks and teleseryes, the star of the forthcoming primetime series, Imortal, (opposite Angel Locsin) takes love matters seriously. Now, can he be blamed for making girls swoon over and fall for a dreamboat like him?

Kaye was the first actress to be seriously linked to John Lloyd. In Tabing Ilog, they played Eds and Rovic, whose love story was at the core of the weekly teen series that ran from 1999 to 2003. The two became very close during those times but they never admitted having anything more than friendship, that’s why even now they are inconsistently referred to as exes.

One thing’s for sure, though: the former love team partners remain very friendly to each other. In fact, Kaye has been requesting ABS-CBN for a reunion project but it’s been very difficult to find a window in the actor’s hectic schedule. John Lloyd, on the other hand, has been teasing her for having a different taste now in men, as exemplified by her tandem with balikbayan performer, Guji Lorenzana.

If Krista’s story is to be believed, though, Kaye and John Lloyd were indeed a couple. While recounting her past romances during a press con for a TV show in 2008, the newlywed actress revealed that she went steady with John Lloyd after he and Kaye broke up. She added that Kaye was her childhood friend as their fathers belonged to the same circle.

According to Krista, John Lloyd courted her for four months but their relationship lasted for only three months because she went to the States, and they stopped communicating. She learned that he was already dating Ciara when she returned home in 2002.

Like Kaye, Krista is happy about John Lloyd’s successes and likewise hopes to work with him. In a separate interview, the actor acknowledged the short-lived affair that ended simply because they lost touch with each other.

The Ciara affair was John Lloyd’s first high-profile romance. He was still in a love team with Kaye then but his tandem with young upstart Bea Alonzo in the top-rating teleserye Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay was gaining more fans, especially when they starred in the Two Hearts episode of the twinbill flick, My First Romance. Right after the soap wrapped up in 2003, John Lloyd and Bea headlined their own primetime soap, It Might Be You, and then their first full-length movie, Now That I Have You, which would later on be followed up by similar blockbusters.

Ciara, who started her career in GMA-7, transferred to ABS-CBN and even went under contract with the network’s Talent Center (now Star Magic) that counts John Lloyd and Bea among its artists. But the pressure not to take the limelight away from the popular love team reportedly persisted.

There were talks in late June 2003 that Ciara overdosed on sleeping pills because of an alleged fight with her boyfriend, who, in turn, was said to be getting the cold treatment from the Sotto family, particularly her dad Tito and mom Helen. John Lloyd ended the nasty speculations by showing up at her birthday party a few nights later and presented her with a ruby ring. The duo eventually parted ways in 2006.

John Lloyd didn’t end that year with a broken heart, though, because he soon found a new love in fashion stylist Liz Uy. The couple didn’t cause much controversy (maybe because she worked behind-the-scenes) even if his love team with Bea remained strong and he scored back-to-back box-office hits with Sarah Geronimo.

It was only when John Lloyd became extra close to Ruffa, his and Bea’s co-star in the 2008 series, I Love Betty La Fea, that the relationship headed to splitsville the following year. And that’s when he became a bigger controversy magnet.

Ruffa, after all, has hogged the limelight since her teens and has been involved in a few scandals. Too, she’s older and a single mother to two daughters. It also didn’t help that they were spotted and, in some cases, photographed while having supposedly secret trysts in and out of the country, but continued denying being a couple.

The plot thickened when Shaina entered the picture initially through a series of blind items in the tabloids (e.g. a young star goes on drinking binges with another young star who’s not her boyfriend) then sightings in places like a local bike shop, Boracay and Singapore early this year.

John Lloyd kept mum on his association with both women to the point of being tagged as a two-timer and an “Overlap King.” He finally settled the score in a tell-all interview with Boy Abunda on The Buzz on June 20, and made everybody heave a sigh of relief.

But as long as John Lloyd remains on top (he was recently named Box-office King by the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation, Inc. for the third time in three years and cited for acting nods from Gawad PASADO, 8th Gawad Tanglaw, 1st MTRCB Awards for Movies and 26th PMPC Star Awards for Movies), people will always speculate and talk about his love affairs.




No Comments 27 July 2010

By Jocelyn Valle

Pokwang may have lost another chance at love when an imminent romance with a Mexican-American whom she met while doing a show in Dallas, Texas in April 2010 went kaput. But she’s not sulking.

For starters, her career is going great guns. She recently cut a two-picture deal with Regal Films and she will soon work on the remake of the ‘80s cult hit, Temptation Island, as one of the leads alongside young stars Andi Eigenmann and Carla Abellana. She will play the role of a bratty beauty queen’s loyal yaya. A solo picture is also said to be in the works over at Pokwang’s mother studio, Star Cinema, which is the film production arm of ABS-CBN.

Of course, there’s still the noontime show, Wowowee, which she has been co-hosting since 2007.  Pokwang will also be part of the new game and variety show Pilipinas, Win na Win, which will replace Wowowee beginning July 31. Her resilient professionalism and unique brand of humor have attracted a solid following in the country and abroad.

Pokwang, who is Marietta Subong in real life, is a fulfilled single mother to her teenage daughter, Riemae, and a capable provider to her widowed mother, her 11 siblings and several relatives. Her father died a few years ago.

She proudly declares that she attributes and dedicates her success to her family, most especially to her child. “Dalawa silang anak ko pero ‘yung panganay kong lalaki, angel ko na siya ngayon,” she says, referring to the sad aftermath of a personal tragedy in 1998 that she now considers as the turning point in her life.

Apat na beses akong nag-abroad sa Japan at ‘yung pinaka-last sa Abu Dhabi,” she recalls her experience as a migrant worker. “’Yun ang time na nagkasakit ang anak kong lalaki. Hindi ako nakauwi hanggang sa mamatay ang anak ko sa brain tumor at mailibing. . . Ang amo namin doon [ay] iba ang paniniwala nila sa mga Kristyano [kaya] parang hindi naman daw importante ‘yung pag-uwi ko. Tapusin ko na lang daw ang kontrata ko or else idedemanda ako. Six months ang kontrata ko. Nakaka-three months pa lang ako. Ayaw sagutin ang pamasahe ko. . . After that, hindi na ako bumiyahe ulit. Ayoko nang magtrabaho abroad. . . May nangyari sa anak ko na wala ako sa tabi n’ya. Sobrang do’n ako durog na durog.”

Upon returning home, Pokwang worked as a choreographer and then as a stand-up comedian at Music Box on Timog Avenue, Quezon City. One night, a talent coordinator from the now defunct gag show of ABS-CBN, Yes, Yes Show, came scouting for contestants in the segment, “Clown in a Million.” Her friends secretly signed her on so she nearly went berserk upon receiving a call telling her to report to the gag show’s set.

Despite feeling unsure of her chances in the contest, Pokwang reported to ABS-CBN studio. “Wala akong magagawa kundi magsikap na kahit ano’ng trabaho basta legal papasukin ko,” she says. “Kasi nakita ko na walang tutulong sa anak ko kundi ako lang. ‘Yung tatay, wala ng silbi, ‘di ba? Ang mga magulang ko naman matatanda na, wala nang trabaho. ‘Yung mga kapatid ko, sa akin pa rin umaasa.”

Pokwang, who wears her Catholic faith on her sleeves, firmly believes in fate. “Naniniwala talaga ako na ‘pag destiny mo, destiny mo talaga kahit ano’ng gawin mong iwas. Ayoko talagang sumali kasi sobrang nahihiya ako nang bonggang-bongga pero plano ni God ‘yan kaya hindi pwedeng ilihis.”

At the same time, she lives by the dictum that God helps those who help themselves. That’s why despite her flourishing showbiz career, Pokwang has put up a salon with her colleague and good friend, Pooh, and mulls over getting into a food business like a Japanese restaurant because she’s a fan of Nippon cuisine. She’s also building another house near her place in Antipolo that she considers lucky and looking into other real estate investments.

Asked if she’s already wealthy, Pokwang, without missing a beat, exclaims, “Ay, sobra! Umaapaw, siksik, liglig. Wala na akong bangko na madepositohan kasi tinatanggihan na. Gano’n ako kayaman!”

But does she still cry?

Oo naman, may mga moment,” she admits, turning serious. “Ibang reason na. Hindi na sa boyfriend, hindi na sa pamilya. Sa pera hindi na rin kasi alam ko na kung paano i-manage ang pinaghirapan ko.”

The last time Pokwang had a good cry was when she received last December the citation for the Readers’ Choice’s “Triumph over Tragedy” category of the 2009 Working Mom Balance Awards. Working Mom is a monthly glossy of ABS-CBN Publishing that annually honors exemplary mothers from various fields.

In between sobs, Pokwang made wisecracks at her hard and sad past while accepting her award. “Ang nanay ko talaga ang inspirasyon ko kung bakit ako naging komedyante. Nililibang n’ya kaming magkakapatid kasi wala kaming makain.” Then she turned emotional. “Idolo ko sa pagiging ina si Mama Mary. Pareho kaming nawalan ng anak [na] ginawa kong inspirasyon.”

She later tells us: “Very thankful ako na nare-recognize ang mga kagaya ko na comedian. Ibang-iba ito sa mga award na natanggap ko kasi madalas sa acting or hosting pero ito, akong-ako talaga ito.”

Last month the comedienne received another unexpected gift, this time from one of her closest friends in showbiz, TV host-actress Kris Aquino. Before the presidential sister left for the US last July, she gave away her customized pink-colored mini-bus to Pokwang as a token of appreciation for the comedienne’s support for President Noynoy Aquino in the last elections.

Bago siya umalis [papunta] sa US ay tinext niya na ako na ide-deliver daw sa bahay,” she relates, adding that she never dreamed of having a bus of her own and receiving such a big present from Kris. “Actually ako, ang gusto ko lang talaga ay malaking sasakyan kasi malaki ang pamilya ko. Sobrang marami kaming magkakapatid, mga pamangkin ko, ilan yang mga yan. Pero hindi ganoon kaganda at hindi ko ini-expect talaga.”

Pokwang says her mother became emotional upon seeing the mini-bus. “Ang unang una umiyak nanay ko. Natuwa talaga ang nanay ko nang bonggang bongga. Saka kasi mahilig maglaboy ang nanay ko. Excited na excited siya. Ginamit na nga agad.

For all the blessings that she has received, she is still wishing for Mr. Right to come her way. “Kung nabibili lang ang dyowa at pagmamahal,” she sighs. “Iniisip ko na lang na mas maswerte ako doon sa mga kababayan natin na walang bahay – ‘yung mga nakatira sa ilalim ng tulay na walang ano…alam mo ‘yun?”

But she adds her Prince Charming should be someone special. “Kailangan mas maraming pera kaysa akin. ‘Yun ang totoo kasi kung ako rin ang bubuhay sa kanya, ‘wag na. At siyempre kailangan ‘yung may takot sa Diyos dahil unang-una, babae ang anak ko. Dapat kasing sipag ko rin siya.”


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