Tag archive for "showbiz"




25 Comments 26 February 2012

By Cherie del Rio

It was an unexpected chemistry. She’s recovering from a heartbreak and slowly reclaiming her place in the industry. He’s a multi-talented newcomer who was likewise seeking stable ground in show business. Although they have worked together previously albeit with smaller roles, Kim Chiu and Xian Lim did not have an established love team until their hit primetime teleserye, My Binondo Girl. Kim was even paired with two other leading men in the show: Jolo Revilla and Matteo Guidicelli. But it was her pairing with Xian that had the series title trending in Twitter both in the Philippines and worldwide.

As the series progressed, both the show’s producers and viewers were pleasantly shocked by the onscreen romance between Kim and Xian, how they got televiewers kilig with their scenes. It truly was a surprise — and it is this very element that triggered the success of KimXi (Kim’s and Xian’s names put together to form a label for their love team). Almost out of nowhere, KimXi garnered recognition and support not just from the local fan base but even from colleagues in showbiz as well.

All of a sudden, KimXi is the next big thing and everyone, regardless of their age, social class, or geographical location (thanks to TFC!), is feeling kilig over Team Jandy (another label that represents Jade + Andy, characters in My Binondo Girl played by Kim and Xian, respectively).

Kilig factor

Today’s leading newspapers, magazines, and even Kapamilya shows all share a bit of the limelight with KimXi. Everyone seems eager to feature the budding romance between the Filipino-Chinese pair. In an episode of KrisTV, Kris Aquino unabashedly pointed out that Kim and Xian looked really good together and more importantly, that Xian had her vote.

A lot of fans have noted that the KimXi love team is for everyone — bridging the proverbial gap between the ages and the classes. The pair is wholesome enough to be adored by the younger fans but still relatable enough to be admired by the older audiences. If Filipino TV had a poster couple for the exciting beginnings of young love, then KimXi would definitely be it.

Their My Binondo Girl co-star, Cherry Pie Picache, admits to feeling butterflies whenever she looks at the pair. It has been reported that Xian is quite old fashioned when it comes to his courtship ways. Lumang tao is how Kim described him in a recent interview with the Philippine Entertainment Portal.

Xian, as part of his Christmas gift to Kim, hired a choir to serenade the young actress after the latter commented that she can’t quite feel the spirit of Christmas. Earlier, Xian overheard Kim talking about wanting a life-sized teddy bear. He then surprised her with one: a dark brown, fluffy, giant stuffed bear. Apart from these grand gestures, Kim admits to receiving flowers from the actor-singer. She says that guys like Xian are a rarity nowadays. This all the more enflames the passion of KimXians (fans of their love team).

Everyone seems to be guessing, trying to determine whether there is something more to the onscreen pair of Jade and Andy. And of course, all these guessing and excitement contribute to the overwhelming kilig that now envelopes the Pinoy TV fandom. Kim and Xian, on the other hand, are more than happy to supply the audience with moments that are all seemingly genuine, unique, and sincere. They are careful with interviews, though — always being clear on what their relationship status is so far and how things are being taken in stride.

From Kimerald to KimXi

Perhaps one of the strongest fan organizations that will define Filipino showbiz history is the Kimeralds (fans of Kim and Gerald Anderson).  And when the pair split up, the Kimerald hype died as well. Now that both Kim and Gerald have separate career paths, one cannot help but wonder how the fan group is thriving in all the changes.

A lot of Kimeralds have been supportive of the KimXi love team, adding force to its growing popularity today. Everywhere on the internet, you will find KimXi-devoted websites. From Facebook fan pages to Tumblr to Twitter, the KimXi tag is visible and dominant.

Upon closer inspection of these sites, however, you will find that there are still a lot of fans that compare Kimerald to KimXi even though they are supportive of both pairings. It is as though they approve of the KimXi pair but, just like any other hardcore fan, Kimeralds will always advocate the Kim-Gerald pair, hoping for a reconciliation in the future may it be on or off cam.  Rivalry between the Kimerald and KimXi camps is rare if not altogether nonexistent on major websites.  And all this positivity boosts KimXi’s promising direction in the tough industry.

Looking ahead

After My Binondo Girl ended on January 20, fans started clamoring for more KimXi appearances — emails to the ABS-CBN network, posts and comments on public websites, twitter pleas, etc. With the success of their pairing, though, Kim and Xian would most likely show up on another teleserye or in a movie in the very near future. Kris Aquino, also in another episode of her morning talk show, hinted that Kim is presently working on a movie with one of the major stars of the network and Xian will be joining her. Online discussion boards have guessed that Xian and Kim’s first movie together will be with the Star for All Seasons herself, Ms. Vilma Santos.

Xian has gained a lot of fans and admirers for how special he has been treating Kim. He already wrote a song for her entitled Ako’y Sayo Lamang, which is part of the soundtrack of their soap.  After the choir serenade, the life-sized teddy bear, and the song, one can’t help but wonder how Xian will possibly outdo himself. Whatever magic he still has up on his sleeve, the entire Pinoy fandom will definitely be keeping watch and feeling kilig.




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.




No Comments 01 October 2011

Here was a rarity: a hugely popular singer who looked plain, and a movie musical star who didn’t dance as well as Cyd Charisse and Nida Blanca, evolving into a great singer and a great actress. Singing actors are common in local showbiz, but Nora is peerless. READ FULL STORY




No Comments 02 February 2011

By Jocelyn Valle

The box-office success of My Amnesia Girl was sweetest for its female star, Toni Gonzaga. For starters, that project seemed to have come from out of the blue because she was supposed to do a movie with her dream leading man, Robin Padilla. But the action star suddenly became busy attending to the affairs of his heart that eventually led him to India, where he tied the knot with Mariel Rodriguez. Interestingly, Toni had announced around that time that she had a falling out with Mariel, who’s been her close friend since they started co-hosting Pinoy Big Brother in 2005, without revealing its cause.

Toni also had her hands full as one of the lead stars in Kokey@Ako, an early primetime series featuring the Pinoy-created small-screen character from outer space, and co-hosting the Sunday talk show The Buzz.

It was only when the teaser for My Amnesia Girl started airing in late October that it was confirmed that Toni was indeed making a new with John Lloyd Cruz with Cathy Garcia-Molina at the helm. The announcement, however, was initially met with skepticism because some quarters thought the movie closely resembles the Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler’s blockbuster, 50 First Dates.

Doubters were proven wrong when My Amnesia Girl opened to smashing results on Nov. 24 amid strong competition from Hollywood flicks like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1. It continued its winning streak till it ended its run on Dec. 24 when the Metro Manila Film Festival rolled in on Christmas Day.

But it was Toni who remained incredulous even during the December 9 victory party thrown by Star Cinema for the people behind the movie – from the cast to the creative and production teams.

Ano ka ba, you deserve it,” John Lloyd told an emotional Toni.

“Thank you. I deserve this movie with John Lloyd,” she said, facing the back-to-back winner of the Box-office King title. “Kasi ang akala ko marami pa akong kakaining bigas bago kita makatrabaho.”

She continued: “I’m really, really grateful na he said yes when I know that he could’ve said no. Kasi busy ka. May ibang bagay na gusto kang gawin. But you said yes to me and to the project. So, maraming, maraming salamat sa opportunity na makatrabaho ka at saka na-share mo ang husay at galing mo. Marami akong natutunan sa ‘yo. Sabi ko nga, ang prayer ko lang, ‘Lord, sana bigyan mo ako ng bagong leading man.’ Ang binigay sa akin, John Lloyd Cruz.”

It’s no false humility for Toni. While she’s had her share of moneymakers like 2005’s D’Anothers and the romantic comedies You are the One, You Got Me, My Big Love and My Only U, a John Lloyd Cruz movie is in a league of its own. His leading ladies in his hit movies, Bea Alonzo and Sarah Geronimo, are certified box-office queens, too. So Toni’s insecurities are valid and realistic.

She’s been in the biz long enough (she joined a singing contest at age 13 and ended up excelling in hosting and acting as well) that the 27-year-old TV host-actress-singer already knows how competitive her chosen field is. And it’s even tougher for someone who, as a Methodist like the rest of her family (dad Carlitos, mom Pinty and younger sister Alex), has strong religious convictions. For instance, she can’t show flesh or do intimate scenes in any of her projects.

That’s why it was big deal for Toni to kiss John Lloyd in My Amnesia Girl, insisting that their lips only touched lightly. And, no, she wouldn’t go any farther than that in her future assignments.

Hanggang do’n na lang ang puwedeng ibigay,” she said. “Alam naman ng mga director ko. Hindi siguro nila ako bibigyan ng isang bagay na hindi ko magagawa wholeheartedly.”

But wouldn’t those limitations impede her growth as an actress?

“I can be a mature actress without doing bed scenes or showing of flesh,” Toni explained. “That’s my belief. You can be a mature in how you attack your role, how you deliver your lines, how you carry your character – but it doesn’t mean you have to do bed scenes.”

In fact, she’s already proven her point in A Journey Home, the directorial debut of her boyfriend, Paul Soriano, grandson of the late actor Nestor de Villa and son of TV commercial director Jeric Soriano.

Released in 2009, A Journey Home is about a father (Soliman Cruz) who, after 20 years of absence, tries to reconcile with his family. His eldest son, Raffy (Joem Bascon), who also has problems connecting with his own children (John Manalo and Cha Cha Canete), is the last to forgive him. Toni plays Raffy’s wife, Gayle.

“I did that movie wholeheartedly as a Christian,” said Toni. “It’s a Christian film and not really for commercial purpose or for my personal glory. It’s for the Lord. So hindi ko inisip ‘yung sarili kong benefit.”

When it comes to choosing between acting and hosting, though, Toni is less certain. “Hosting is something that I do naturally.  ‘Yung mga bagay na sinasabi ko, they just come from heart. Pero iba rin ang fulfillment sa acting, sa singing.

Sa tingin ko naman kaya ko pa namang pagsabayin at kinakaya naman ng katawan ko at ng schedule. At saka sabi nga nila, strike while the iron is still hot and while there are opportunities. Siyempre time goes by. Hindi natin alam, maraming magagaling, maraming mga batang magaganda at mahuhusay din. Baka eventually dumating ang panahon na maghanap ng bago ang mga manonood at hindi na nila gusto ang naiibigay ko. Kaya hangga’t gusto pa nila, binibigay ko.”

She also believes that a star’s staying power doesn’t lie on just one talent. “Ang longevity naman hindi nasusukat sa isang bagay na nagagawa mo. Longevity is being able to give your audience variations and variety. So if I can do everything at the same time, I’ll do my best to do everything at the same time hangga’t kaya ko pa.”

Someday, though, Toni hopes to host a public-affairs program. “But kailangan ko pa sigurong i-hone ang ability ko,” she acknowledged. “Hindi naman natin minamadali ang mga bagay na ganyan. Given the right time and the right opportunity, then I can host a show that inspires and touches other people’s lives.”

Meantime, Toni looks forward to an even more productive 2011. There are talks that a sequel to My Amnesia Girl may be in the works and that she’ll be doing more movies this year. The channel of communication has opened once more between her and Mariel and they may soon rekindle their friendship. Maybe Toni can get to work with Robin, after all.




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 27 October 2010

“Chuvachuchu,” “Jologs,” “Krung-krung” at “Kikay.” Ilan lang ‘yan sa mga nakaaaliw na salita na madalas nating marinig sa mga showbiz personalities… na malamang ginagamit mo rin paminsan-minsan. Pero kagaya ka ba ng manunulat na si Pete Lacaba na nagtatanong kung saan nga bang lupalop nahugot ang mga salitang ito? READ FULL STORY




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.”




No Comments 18 July 2010

By Pepper Marcelo

Considered as one of the great beauties in local showbiz, Gretchen Barretto has been in the public eye since her early teens as a model and later on as an actress. She is not only one of the most fashionable and glamorous celebrities today, she is also one of the more colorful personalities in showbiz, thanks to her candid and sometimes over-the-top comments and behavior that have become regular fodder for the tabloids.

In the trailer of ABS-CBN’s recently launched fashionserye, Magkaribal, Derek Ramsay pushed Gretchen down on a table, suggesting a wild session for their characters Louie and Victoria.

First day namin na-shoot yun,” recalls Gretchen during the press conference of Magkaribal. Matagal akong hindi nakapag-love scene na kahit kanino—sa pelikula or telebisyon—so medyo nahirapan kami at hindi ko dapat aminin ito, pero kinailangan naming mag-shot ng brandy bago makunan ang scene na ‘yon. Kasi siyempre nakakanerbiyos. ‘Saka mainit kasi maraming ilaw.”

During the press con, Gretchen refused to talk about her leading man, who was then in South Africa with girlfriend Angelica Panganiban. It will be recalled that Gretchen asked Derek to send her solo pictures from his vacation. In response, Angelica posted an intriguing message in her Twitter account that led some people to believe that she was slighted by the “naughty statement” of Gretchen.

Does she feel sorry for being playful?

“Of course, I have to apologize for being playful kaya ngayon mas guarded ako. Hindi na ako masyadong exciting. Boring na ako. Bahala na kayo [press] kasi kayo lang ang nagpapalaki ng mga sinasabi ko,” she said.

She promised to focus on her acting career, which has been on an upturn since her appearance last year on the drama anthology Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK). This was followed by her ongoing soap, Magkaribal, co-starring Bea Alonzo, Angel Aquino and Derek.

Gretchen is excited to once again showcase her talents on a regular basis in front of the camera. “Parang feeling ko andito lang ako sa show business pero wala talagang anything na solid para sabihing artista ako or talagang singer dahil paga-nun-ganon lang  ako. Ngayon artista na po ako.”

She said she was inspired to work harder when she was bestowed the Best Single Performance by an Actress citation last year by the Philippine Movie Press Club Star Awards for the episode Salamin in MMK.

Gusto ko kasi makita ng tao kung paano ako magtrabaho, kung gaano ako kasipag at kung gaano ako ka-excited na bumalik sa show business,” she says. “After all, I’ve been here for like half of my life, so gusto kong bumalik at paligayahin ang mga tao na naghintay nang matagal para sa teleserye na ito.”

Set in the fashion world, Magkaribal finds Gretchen in her natural environment, essaying the role of a successful model-cum-socialite. While some may feel that Gretchen is merely being typecast in the soap, the actress promises to bring an unexpected emotional complexity to the role.

Ang kakaiba lang makikita nila ‘yung emotions ni Gretchen Barretto, na ang isang socialite, ang isang model at isang mayaman ay tao rin na nagkakaproblema, umiiyak rin at may issues din sa buhay. Hindi porke’t mayaman ‘yung tao o maganda, ibig sabihin wala na siyang problema sa buhay, wala na siyang pinagdadaanan na sitwasyon.”

Originally, Gretchen was to appear on the soap alongside younger sister Claudine, but after the latter moved to rival network GMA-7, the project was shelved. Claudine’s role eventually went to Bea.

Gretchen is happy that ABS-CBN kept its word to produce the teleserye despite some drastic changes.  “Habang nag-uusap kami tungkol sa kontrata at tungkol sa teleserye na dapat si Claudine ang kasama ko, sinabi nila na, ‘Baka hindi matuloy si Claud. Kung mangyari ba yun, matutuloy ka pa rin ba, because we still want you.’”

She says that she and Claudine have never discussed the latter’s abrupt transfer to GMA-7 but she respects her sister’s decision. “Nanghinayang ako na hindi na si Claud, pero siyempre, hindi naman ibig sabihin nun hindi na kami magkakatrabaho sa isang teleserye, na hindi na magkikita. Again, maliit lang ang mundo ng show business.”

Nonetheless, Gretchen is excited to be working Bea. “Unang-una, that’s Bea Alonzo. She’s one of the biggest stars of ABS-CBN, box-office princess. It’s inspiring to know I’ll be working with somebody as good and as famous as she is, so inspiring talaga for me.”

For her part, Bea admits she was initially intimidated at the thought of working with the model-actress nicknamed “La Greta.” (The moniker stems from her diva-esque attitude.) “Kahit naman sinong tao ‘di ba when you hear na si Gretchen ang makakatrabaho mo, dyosa lang, tapos ang ganda-ganda niya, e ako panay effort bago gumanda. Ang tagal [kong] magpapapayat, ganyan. Nai-intimidate ako.”

Before taping started, the two attended acting workshops where they got to know each other. “Nakita ko ‘yung vulnerable side of her. Parang doon ko nasabing tao naman itong tao na ‘to. Hindi siya showbiz, tao naman siya. So, excited ako. Nag-connect kami doon sa workshop,” adds Bea.

Gretchen is likewise excited to work with Derek, who, like her, is a model too. She admits to having a “showbiz crush” on him before. There were reports that she had asked him to co-star with her in the soap. Notorious for getting involved with her leading men in the past, the rumor did not escape the attention of the gossip mills.

But she laughed off the speculations, pointing to her long and strong relationship with her live-in partner of 16 years, millionaire businessman Tonyboy Cojuangco.

Hindi naman siya nagseselos kasi alam naman ni Tony na kahit ano pa ang mangyari, hindi ko naman siya iiwan. Naughty-naughty ako minsan, pero alam din niyang good girl ako ngayon.”

She fully appreciates Tonyboy’s support and encouragement. “Sinasabi niya lagi sa akin, ‘Go, I want you to work, I want you to feel good.’ Kasi siyempre, when I feel good about my career, about myself, I feel happy also. Alam niya na ito ang pinakagusto ko, alam niyang I’m happiest when I’m working.”

As a show of dedication, she has refused other projects for the duration of the teleserye. “Ayoko naman i-overload because I’ll be taping three times a week for 24 hours. Soyun muna. Titingnan namin kung anong gagawin. May namention about a movie project, but hindi pa namin talaga pinagmimeeting-an. Siyempre unahin muna namin ‘yung teleserye.”

With her comeback in full swing, Gretchen is determined to ignore intrigues that will surely come her way. “As long as hindi masisira ang pagtatrabaho ko, focus pa rin sa pagtatrabaho ko, ibibigay ko pa rin para sa publiko at para sa mga bosses ng ABS-CBN ‘ yung Gretchen, the best of Gretchen, and I realize that.”

She says she’s currently where she wants to be, both personally and professionally. “My life is too perfect now! I have Tony. I have [15-year-old daughter] Dominique and I have a career.”


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