Ruel S. Bayani is grinning from ear to ear. When I sat down with the topnotch producer-writer-director-TV executive for an exclusive interview, he just shared with me a teaser of good news: Cattleya Killer, a series he spearheaded and recently exhibited in MIPCOM (Marche’ International des Programmes de Communication or International Market of Communications Programmes), is deep in negotiations for international distribution.
AS a fan of Charo Santos-Concio, I am glad to learn that this formidable media personality, known by many as “Ma’am Charo,” too, is a fan. Well, not of myself but a movie fan in general. It is in fact her being a fan that drove her passion for restoring and archiving classic Filipino films she is a fan of.
It’s been more than 15 years since Sam Milby debuted in Philippine entertainment. And it shows.
ACTOR Joross Gamboa is the last person to say that he is leading man material. Even when his loveteam with Roxanne Guinoo was launched, thanks to their stint in the first Star Circle Quest talent search almost 20 years ago that led to a slew of high-profile projects, such as TV shows and even some movies, Joross feels more comfortable in doing supporting roles.
ABS-CBN continues its successful pivot to digital as its entertainment group marks another digital milestone: its TikTok account has earned over one million followers and more than 18 million likes.
AS the first woman-led teleserye on ABS-CBN holding the top prime-time spot in more than a decade (Ang Probinsyano ran for seven years, which replaced Nathaniel, which in turn replaced Dream Dad, which in turn replaced Hawak Kamay), Mars Ravelo’s Darna lands on the airwaves with a glorious purpose of feminism. Narda Custodio (played by newcomer Jane de Leon) is the show’s protagonist—a loving daughter to her mother Leonor (Iza Calzado) and younger brother Ding (Zaijan Jaranilla). Every day, she trains with her mother, acquiring self-defense skills with her mom who is also an EMT nurse, thinking that she just has to do this because she is the “ate” and a whole gamut of responsibility is placed upon her.
AFTER seven years on the air, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano will bid adieu to its loyal viewers.
I’m usually no kiss-and-tell but it has to be known: I slept with upcoming actor Jameson Blake.
THERE’S much ado about ABS-CBN’s upcoming weekend program Flower of Evil.
THE first quarter of ABS-CBN’s prime-time lineup has experienced a surge. FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano continues to be the network’s most watched teleserye. Then there’s Broken Marriage Vow, the always-trending Philippine remake of the hit Korean drama. Viral Scandal as the third teleserye in the lineup was critically acclaimed for its brave and novel approach to a very intense social issue among young people nowadays all wrapped in an engaging family drama. In fact, this writer feels that this is one of the most well-acted shows in recent years.
WHO says there’s nothing new to be introduced in the TV and digital viewing landscape? Who says it can’t be more exciting? A new era will dawn in Philippine entertainment as content provider ABS-CBN, entertainment company KROMA, and corporate venture builder 917Ventures, introduce “tradigital” viewing to Filipinos through PIE, the Philippines’s first real-time and multi-screen interactive channel that will officially launch on May 24.
EARLIER this year, ABS-CBN signed a partnership deal with video-sharing giant YouTube to produce exclusive content. This co-production deal is the latest initiative of the Kapamilya channel to expand its digital content offerings and reach more audiences with the goal of serving more Filipinos on various platforms.
FORMED in July 1985 by the alumni of the Ateneo College Glee Club, The CompanY initially performed as back-up vocalists for the pop stars of the 1980s before becoming professional recording artists.
Luis Manzano has a lot of reasons to smile these days. His show I Can See Your Voice has returned on the air via A2Z and Kapamilya Channel, and is still rating like its previous seasons. People couldn’t get enough of the rib-tickling antics that he and his cohorts do every week, trying to help a celebrity contestant guess who among the studio participants are real singers or those pretending to be one.
I’ve been a fan of Internet sensation Davao Conyo for almost two years. I’ve been following all his social-media accounts because I find his content very funny. My most favorite was one of his early works, when he dubbed the film Taken. His bit on Tupperware that had to be treated with extreme care and caution, and must be returned in pristine condition still cracks me up.
THE virtue of loyalty is what prompted Filipino music icons Regine Velasquez-Alcasid and Gary Valenciano and stars Zanjoe Marudo, Erich Gonzales, Jake Cuenca, Jolina Magdangal, Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte, Sam Milby, Shaina Magdayao and Gerald Anderson to remain as Kapamilyas as they all signed new contracts with the network.
Thanks to her past TV and movie roles of always being heartbroken, along with her frank answers in interviews and her no-holds barred social-media posts on love and life, Angelica Panganiban is known by many as the “hugot girl.” Take a look at one of her posts: “Sa umpisa lang ’yan mainit, tignan mo sa katagalan magkakalamigan din kayo. Parang kami.”
La Vida Lena has a pretty absurd premise. It tells the story of Magda, who despite being the subject of bullying (she has a prominent facial scar) refuses to let criticisms get to her. Using her skills, she creates a soap that quickly gains popularity in the town of Salvacion. The young lady’s success, however, does not sit well with the Narciso family, the owners of Royal Wellness, which is the biggest surgical and cosmetic company in the country. Conflict arises when Magda refuses to sell her formula to the Narcisos due to their contrasting views, and she loses everything. Magda returns with a new face, armed with determination to retaliate against the powerful clan who ruined her life.
Compared to Black Mirror’s edgy commentaries on the modern world, iWantTFC’s Click, Like, Share feels tame, partly because Filipinos are at the helm of this series. Black Mirror is a stunning show that identifies the terror around us in this modern world—in dating apps and virtual reality, for example—and revealing the horrific conclusions. But that’s not to say that Click, Like, Share is a series not worth your watch because it really is. Especially nowadays when the real world is so scary, who needs more of it?
“Ako lang kasi ang willing mag-work ngayon e kaya siguro sa akin in-offer,” joked actor Zanjoe Marudo when asked how he landed the iconic role of the cheating husband in the much-anticipated ABS-CBN remake of Doctor Foster, titled The Broken Marriage Vow.
One series I am hooked on is Marry Me, Marry You: Merrily Ever After? If you’re into K-dramas and also watching this teleserye, then you would know what I mean. All the essential components that you love in K-dramas can be found in the Paulo Avelino-Janine Gutierrez-Jake Ejercito show. As the story soon reaches its climax, Andrei and Camille (Paulo and Janine) will have to find a way to overcome their relationship problems before their families, who are slowly unraveling a complicated history, totally tear them apart.
Seth Fedelin and Andrea Brillantes, aka SethDrea, are so cute as a love team that you’d want to spread some candy sprinkles on them and put them in your pocket.
FOR Sharon Cuneta, joining FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano was a “no-brainer.”
After more than a dozen year in showbiz marked by successes, Enchong Dee remains in fighting form, still in tip-top shape as an artist to reckon with.
Jake Cuenca is one of the stars of upcoming ABS-CBN show Viral Scandal. Of course, the actor went, uhm, also viral a couple of weeks ago because of an incident with the police involving a buy-bust operation. According to reports, the policemen were in an undercover operation and dressed as civilians when he was stopped. The actor, in his vehicle, side-swiped one of the police cars.
PUTTING singer Gigi de Lana into a single song category would be difficult. She first gained the showbiz spotlight when she joined Tawag ng Tanghalan singing torch songs, but unfortunately she didn’t bag the grand title. And then she started a YouTube channel where she and her band (Gigi Vibes composed of Jon Cruz, Jake Manalo, LA Arquero and Romeo Marquez) would perform covers of pop songs. At the time, Gigi would be happy if there were around 30 viewers of her livestream.
MANY are called but few are chosen when it comes to reality show Pinoy Big Brother. Now that this famous house in the country will once again open its doors for a new edition, titled Pinoy Big Brother Kumunity Season 10, we gathered some past notable housemates to share their tips on how applicants can stand out and possibly be chosen as a housemate.
ABS-CBN Entertainment will produce the local adaptation of South Korean thriller drama Flower of Evil after acquiring the rights from content production companies CJ ENM Co., Ltd. and Studio Dragon Corp.
You have got to give it to Maymay Entrata.
IT is more or less 30 days before the deadline of registration for new voters. The upcoming elections will be very consequential—with the country divided, a pandemic that seems to have no end, and an economy circling the drain—so it is very important to exercise your right to vote.
Sorry, Kameron Michaels. No tea, no shade but your rant on your lackluster return to Drag Race All Stars did not make us gag much as did the announcement of not one but two audition calls for upcoming drag race reality competitions set here in our country: Drag Race Philippines and Drag Den.
Perky, wholesome and unashamedly earnest, last year’s Metro Manila Filmfest entry The Boy Foretold by The Stars is something of a landmark in local LGBTQ cinema. A high-school romance with a nod to Korean and Thai romcoms that dominated the early 2000s, it ticks all the boxes of the genre. Except that the central character, Dominic (Adrian Lindayag), is an effeminate gay who, with the prodding of a manghuhula, is on the lookout for three signs to find his soulmate. Of course, a lot of things, some funny but many touching moments, happen before he happily ends up with his “real” love, Luke (Keann Johnson), and just like that, an alternative gay narrative is written. One that doesn’t end in inevitable heartbreak and suffering, or one involving a macho dancer in some seedy gigolo bar.
Television is a powerful medium. So powerful that it can make someone as jaded as I am cry. I am quite familiar with the landscape. I work on TV. I know what happens in front of and behind the camera.
Strength comes in numbers. This year, Star Magic’s strategic partnerships with Rise Artists Studio, Star Hunt, and the different production units of ABS-CBN, as well as the forging of co-management deals with various independent managers, among others, have made it possible to welcome some of the network’s most reliable actors, reality-show alumni, and promising new faces under its fold.
I hate Erich Gonzales.
MY friends know that I’m a mama’s boy. She played a big role in my life.
If you haven’t met Bianca Gonzalez and get to meet her for the first time, you would think she’s a shy, unassuming timid girl. Well, it’s kind of true as Bianca is indeed quiet—but she’s more of the silent but deadly type. Because when she’s at work and when the lights hit her and the director shouts, “Action!” Bianca is a woman transformed. She shows her gregarious, witty and brilliant side in a charming way that just captivates you.
SOME may dismiss the new ABS-CBN youth-oriented show He’s Into Her as nothing more than a guilty pleasure. After all, it’s not like Clueless, which was a reboot of Jane Austen’s Emma; nor Gossip Girl that has shades of The Great Gatsby with its elements of youth and the angst of wealthy people. In fact, the base material is a Precious Pages-LIB novel bearing the same name that will probably never be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
IF there is one thing the TV series Almost Paradise is, it is that it started out as a thrilling show, and it will end as a thrilling show. Starring American actor Christian Kane (of The Librarians fame) and a slew of talented Filipino actors, the show follows the story of former United States DEA agent Alex Walker as he goes into retirement in the Philippines but finds himself entangled in dark criminal elements.
Imagine yourself trapped with a few people. For two weeks or even more. You can’t go out and the only people you can physically interact with are those people trapped with you too.
AT first glance, ABS-CBN’s latest offering Init sa Magdamag can easily be dismissed as a sexy drama. First of all is its title that implies heat and passion. It doesn’t help that the trailer, which hit 12 million views after barely two weeks since its release, features a lot of titillating scenes, most notable of which is Gerald Anderson in his tighty whities. Plus the fact that Gerald and other lead stars JM de Guzman and Yam Concepcion are also known to be daring actors.
HIS good looks and irresistible charm started winning scores of fans for Paulo Angeles when he entered showbiz as a member of It’s Showtime’s Hashtags. Later on, the ultimate charmer even gained more followers when he ventured into acting.
NO matter what I write about Zack Snyder’s Justice League, I know that nothing has stopped or will stop you from watching the four-hour reimagining of the much-maligned superhero extravaganza that was originally released years ago. So instead of posting a review, I’d just write about the differences of the Snyder cut against the original release.
THE most popular young stars today—Seth Fedelin, Kyle Echarri, Francine Diaz and Andrea Brillantes, collectively known as The Gold Squad—are back on television. This time they occupy a prime-time slot in the new series that promises to give hope to viewers and comfort troubled hearts, Huwag Kang Mangamba.
Home was the most recurring word during the contract renewal of ABS-CBN talents Maymay Entrata, Edward Barber, Francine Diaz, Donny Pangilinan and Gary Valenciano. For them, continuing to be with the network is but natural as they continue to call it their home.
Mary Jay of ABS-CBN’s newly launched MOR Entertainment is a lovely lady. She is also a bubbly young woman who always engages in positive conversations in Good Time, ’To!, a daily talk show she hosts with Ateng Jeri B, Bong Bastic and Macky Kho. Besides discussing the news, daily trends in lifestyle and showbiz, they even conduct fun games and play feel good music.
SOFT rock as genre of music is usually scoffed at. Music critics, especially the young ones, blast soft rock as too commercialized, too formulaic and, uhm, too soft.
TWENTY-TWENTY was such a chaotic year but a lot of people have found peace and escapism via the so-called BL or Boys Love shows.
BGYO (pronounced phonetically like an acronym) is a boy band composed of five strapping boys. They’re dressed impeccably with flawless skin and coiffed hair. Comparisons to K-pop bands BTS, Big Bang, Exo and Superjunior are inevitable but make no mistake: the BGYO boys aren’t apologizing for emulating them. In fact, they would like to be them—filling up stadiums and placing in music countdown charts all over the world.
Regine Velasquez is one true diva—and by “diva,” I mean she’s a talented singer who can command an entire nation just by sustaining one high note.
BECAUSE of a meeting, I missed the media conference of Hoy, Love You!, iWantTFC’s newest series that can be streamed starting January 18.
RIGHT now, while I’m still burping up gaseous reminders of all the food I gobbled up and all the scotch whiskey I swigged during the holidays, I decided that 2021 will be a better year for me than the sh*tstorm that was 2020. It’s got to be.
Kim Chiu apparently has a new title. In the press release for the Star Magic contract-signing, she was dubbed as the “Millennial Multimedia Idol.”
Long before answering the insistent call of showbiz, Jovani Manansala was already “famous.” After scoring a number of print and TV ads, he gained a massive following online. No thanks to his sexy pictures that features his chiselled body and brooding but charming and handsome face and that winning smile.
I HAVE always loved films. The joy in the communal experience of laughing, crying, getting shocked, feeling kilig and many more watching a movie in a dark theater is really something I have always enjoyed.
ACCORDING to legendary TV personality Merv Griffin, there are a number of elements that make a great game show. The man behind such timeless classics Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy shared that these include: a “play along” factor and rooting value.
NOT many people know this but name a Broadway musical and chances are there’s a Filipino in the cast. For many years now, talented Filipino and Filipino-American artists have found themselves dancing, singing and acting on Broadway.
HE is one of the hottest young male stars in showbiz today, and has achieved a lot of things in his young life. But what is fascinating about him is that he remains true to his core. He remains true to his goodness while being imperfect—which is okay. Who am I talking about? He’s none other than Daniel Padilla.
ALMOST 14 years ago, I met Sam Concepcion. He was then a lanky teenager who just bagged the Little Big Star singing competition.
RABID DDS and anti-ABS-CBN fans undermine the network’s efforts to help amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “Di niyo naman pera ’yan eh!” they would post on their social-media accounts, not accounting that the Lopezes shelled out P100 million of their own money along with logistics and coordination, not to mention the airtime that was allotted to mount a telethon and air various plugs to encourage donations.
HERE’S some exciting news for you voters: It’s now less than two years until the presidential election. Here’s more exciting news for us workers: It’s certain we’ll have a holiday in May 2022.
Pia Wurtzbach caught my full attention when she snagged the Binibining Pilipinas Universe title after her third try.
THE follow-up movie to Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman has made fans all over the country excited. After all, the first movie was a thrilling spectacle with a career-making performance by Gal Gadot in the title role. Not only did it champion female power but the genius of Jenkins was that she turned out a movie that didn’t make male viewers intimidated by the fact it was a woman kicking butt onscreen.
WHILE fans of FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano know Marc Abaya as bad guy Jacob Serrano, music fans know him as front-runner of acclaimed rock band Kjwan.
Well-loved TV host Boy Abunda is now exploring the wild wild world of digital and the Internet as he launches his own YouTube Channel.
FOUR years ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook declared the future of TV is in apps. This was during the launch of an all-new Apple TV, with Cook standing onstage in front of hundreds of journalists and employees promising to bring TV viewing into the app age.
AT the Tinig ng Bayan: SONAgkaisa concert, Jugs Jugueta and the rest of Itchyworms performed their latest song, titled “The Silence.”
A FEW years ago, Angel Locsin and Jennylyn Mercado couldn’t even breathe the same air.
FIRST of all, I would like to use this moment to apologize to Ryle Santiago.
THIS month 18 years ago, my mother passed away. She died of breast cancer.
NO exaggeration but for a number of days, after the ABS-CBN shutdown, it was quiet in our house. The usual TV background noise I would hear during lunch or dinner, emanating either from the kitchen or the room of our house angel (and rightful landlady of our house, as she knows every nook and cranny of our small abode), was reduced to a dreadful silence.
I DON’T expect most politicians to be grateful. They’re very busy, either serving the people or stealing from the people. Both are done with dexterity and panache. And it’s hard to tell who’s doing good and who’s committing a crime.
DURING this time of community quarantine, everyone I know is either watching popular K-drama series or the action-laden extravaganza Extraction on Netflix, or the beautifully shot but gravitas-lacking Hollywood. I am, however, begging everyone to watch The Innocence Files.
THE House of Representatives Committee of the Whole just approved a bill that gives ABS-CBN a provisional franchise until October. Filed by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, this allows the House to focus on addressing the Covid-19 crisis while giving them sufficient time to tackle the 25-year franchise application.
THANKS to the nonrenewal of the ABS-CBN franchise, I learned there are a lot of “lawyers” and “media experts” in the Philippines. The lot of them are all over social media, with their profiles bearing no photo or an innocuous bible quote.
FILIPINOS are angry nowadays. Well, some of them are at China for allegedly trying to conceal the coronavirus outbreak at the start. A number are angry at insensitive so-called influencers who either spread fake news, or fool people by saying a certain Twitter account is theirs and then eventually disowning it, or throwing all sorts of invectives at marginalized people.
MY column for this week is about music. My love for music is something I have rediscovered, thanks to the lockdown. Usually, my free time is spent on going out, sometimes eating and many times drinking, reading books, or binging and binging on Netflix. But now, with more hours of nothing to do, I willed myself to discover new music.
I THOUGHT I lived a boring life prior to the community lockdown. I worked, I played and I fixated on a lot of hot guys. That seemed to be my life.
HIS appearance in the Senate made him a household name. But who really is Carlo Katigbak? No, this won’t be some comprehensive profile piece about who he is and what his achievements are. I will leave that to the professionals.
ALMOST four years ago at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañang, in his inaugural address as President of the Philippines, Duterte said, “Love of country, subordination of personal interests to the common good, concern and care for the helpless and the impoverished—these are among the lost and faded values that we seek to recover and revitalize as we commence our journey toward a better Philippines.” This promise to subordinate personal interests to the common good, to serve the nation as a whole rather than any faction within it is admirable. It should be a given actually for any public official. But based on recent events, many Filipinos think Duterte displays no evidence he understands the words he himself uttered.
Kathryn Bernardo was known as the Teen Queen.
I HAVE always adored you, Ai-Ai delas Alas. Back when I was still a nubile virgin, I worked with you as part of your publicity and production staff. You are gracious, funny and I really admire you. Every Christmas when I was working with and for you, you never failed to give me a nice gift that you personally chose, wrapped with matching handwritten card and even a touching personal note. That really stuck in my mind. That you are a genuine person and I was fortunate to have made it to your Christmas list.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that March 2020 will mark the end of the franchise of ABS-CBN. I promise to write more about that issue when the right time comes.
Hands down, the showbiz newsmakers of the year are the Barrettos—Gretchen, Marjorie, Claudine and Julia—plus the other people directly or indirectly involved with their imbroglios and brouhahas like Gerald Anderson, Atong Ang, Lolit Solis and many more. Much was written about them that I wasn’t able to give much attention to the many “positives” for 2019—specifically in the romance department.
MY friend Apple is sick.
AVID readers of this column (yes, all three of you) would remember that I wrote about how I attempted to play basketball when I was young. As I’ve written, I can’t exactly remember what happened during these attempts, but I’m pretty sure their number couldn’t have exceeded the fingers of one hand.
For a number of years now, ABS-CBN has dominated the weekend prime-time ratings with different crowd-pleasing talent competition shows.
BESIDES the often humorous but mostly annoying memes of Jose Mari Chan and Mariah Carey, the ABS-CBN Christmas Station ID always marks the start of the yuletide season.
CANCER, even in this modern day and age, is seen almost like a death sentence. To call it a difficult disease is an understatement because it attacks not only the body but also the spirit. It is conquerable but not without the support and the resources that, unfortunately, not many have. And so it can seem incredibly unfair that little children whose only worry should be what games to play next and how to study best for that upcoming exam would also be targets of cancer, their innocence and laughter seemingly dimmed by this cruel disease.
THE night that Marjorie Barretto spoke on TV Patrol about the estrangement between her and sisters Gretchen and Claudine, I got my ears pierced. I don’t know why. I was in the mall that time, walking aimlessly after buying that one thing I needed for a Halloween costume until I found myself in an accessories shop. A salesgirl smiled at me and offered services of ear piercing. I mindlessly agreed. Maybe it was God’s way of telling me that shooting pieces of metal into my ear lobe would be more tolerable than seeing Marjorie’s interview.
IN my years in the business, I hardly get starstruck. I’ve interviewed stars and starlets left and right, some became my friends, some I had a falling out with, but I am usually indifferent when it comes to celebrities. I know we’re all the same people. We all laugh, love, dream, cry and fart. Oftentimes, in my delusional mind, I even think I am better than some of them. While many would scramble to take a picture or get an autograph from celebrities, my mind would often wander off and think of other things. Except when it comes to Pia Wurtzbach.
TEN years ago, Vice Ganda was just an ordinary comedy bar regular who would occasionally do some TV guestings in variety shows or in a teleserye or two. She then received a call that would forever change the course of her life: a “guest” stint as a judge in a new TV reality program that would air once a week every Saturday night. Vice, along with other judges, then taped the pilot with Vhong Navarro and Anne Curtis as host.
I MISS many things in my life, among them the ability to party all night and show up the next day in school or in the office as if nothing happened.
HE may well be of drinking age already but Inigo Pascual has a daunting task that will haunt him for the rest of his life: being the son of superstar Piolo Pascual.
REALITY shows are here to stay. Whether it is competitive shows like The Voice Kids (now lording over the weekend prime-time ratings) or simply watching people live their lives, such as Pinoy Big Brother (PBB), viewers are drawn to watching people live under surveillance.
VISIONARY is a word routinely applied to dreamers who see the world differently. And one thing that makes them a visionary is that they seem to go beyond the rules of the world. Heck, sometimes they think it doesn’t apply to them. This frightens a lot of people who are stickler for rules. They believe norms and laws, and adherence to these is what makes the world safe—and they’re right. But where would we be if we insist on living and following the same rules day after day after day? This is why often visionaries are regarded as crazy or nuts—because they threaten the safety of the constant, the known, the expected.
AND now Julia Barretto has spoken. Gerald Anderson, too.
MY apologies to the brilliant Ruth Sheehan for this week’s column.