Making their mark

In Photo: Carlo Cruz, Joyce AnnBurton and Nelsito Gomez

MERE days after flying back from his studies at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute in New York, promising actor Carlo Cruz was already applying what he has learned from the famous acting school.

Carlo is part of the exciting cast of Urian awardee Arnel Mardoquio’s new filmAlienasyon, which tells the heart-wrenching story of a retired professor who refuses to leave his home inside the University of the Philippines Diliman campus despite an administrative order of eviction.

“I’m just thrilled to be entrusted a good role in the film, and I get the opportunity to work with some of the most respected local actors that I look up to,” he enthused.  In the film, Carlo shares screen time with the likes of Spanky Manikan, Tessie Tomas, Art Acuña, Shamaine Buencamino, Meryll Soriano, Manuel Chua Jr. and Jess Mendoza.

He added that he was so impressed with the amount of talent in the film, which was shot mostly in Los Baños and Diliman. “It was my first time to work with most of them and I’m so humbled by the privilege. There was never a moment of tension during the entire shoot. Everyone worked as a team, and the personalities of the people involved were just teeming with positivity, and that’s why work was smooth and pleasant.”

Just before Carlo left for his 12-week course in New York, he had finished work on a film inspired by the massacre in Maguindanao in 2009.  Titled Maratabat, it is the debut feature film of former news reporter Arlyn de la Cruz.

He told us that the course he took opened his mind to a lot of things about acting. “I’m relatively a newcomer in the acting field. But this is my passion and being with students from around the world to learn about acting from the masters was simply a life-changing experience.  I hope to put to good use everything I learned in my future projects.”


Joyce Ann Burton believes that everything exists in cycles. “Nothing is permanent, so let’s not get too attached with anything. Take each day at a time and make the most out of every opportunity,” she told us in a manner that made us reminisce about her days as a beauty queen.

Joyce Ann was Binibining Pilipinas Universe of 1985, and she competed in Miami, Florida, that same year.  After her reign, show business beckoned and she embraced the opportunity.

She was the leading lady of the late great comedians Dolphy and Panchito in her debut movie Kalabog en Bosyo Strikes Again, directed by Ben Feleo. She also acted with the late Vic Vargas in 1986’s Ang Anomalya ni Andres de Saya, directed by Carlo Caparas. Her last film before getting married was 1994’s Binibini ng Aking Panaginip, directed by Joey Romero.

“I had to set aside my showbiz dreams when I got married and started to raise a family,” she said. Joyce’s marriage didn’t last long but the union produced two children, now both grown-ups and living abroad.

When love knocked on her door again, Joyce was already an independent woman, one with substance and style, molded by years of experience. So she fell in love all over again and remarried.

Now, almost 30 years after being crowned Miss Philippines, Joyce Ann has again been bitten by the acting bug. She is in the cast of the new GMA afternoon soap, titled Ang Lihim ni Anasandra.

“I’m just so excited that every day I have to go to the set. I feel like I’m a new actor again, absorbing every new thing that will help mold me into becoming a competent actor. I’m definitely enjoying the process.

Joyce Ann is also part of the new reality show of GMA News TV, Pinay Beauty Queen Academy, where former pageant titleholders like her mentor young ladies who want to become beauty queens too.

“The show is fun and mentoring is something that I love to do. If I can impart a few things that these hopefuls will forever take with them in their journey to become beauty queens and a national pride, then I guess I have somehow made a mark.”

Former beauty queens Evangeline Pascual, Maria Isabel Lopez, Lara Quigaman-Alcaraz and Ali Forbes join Joyce Ann in this new reality show.


After trying out film (he was in the Chito Roño musical Emir) and television (Good Vibes and ASAP Rocks), the young and promising Nelsito Gomez has found his place in theater.

We watched Shrek The Musical over the weekend at the Meralco Theater and we were impressed with the outstanding performances turned in by the cast, led by Sheila Martinez (Princess Fiona); Jett Pangan (Lord Farquaad); Nyoy Volante (Donkey); Carla Laforteza as the Lady Dragon and Nelsito who played Pinocchio.   

We learned afterward that Nelsito was under the weather, but we didn’t see any signs of that when he was onstage, which just means that at a very young age, he is already shaping up to be a real pro.

We reckon that Nelsito will go far in the acting business, and he should not close his doors when offers for film and television come again because this early, this young man is already making his mark.

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With more than 20 years as a lifestyle and entertainment journalist, Ricky Gallardo is also a businessman. Equipped with decades of advertising experience, his interests include arts, cinema, fitness and communications.


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