Francis Magalona was a hero and an inspiration to those lives he has touched. I was in tears watching such artists as Gloc9 cry unabashedly in a televised tribute on "Eat Bulaga" on Saturday. My heart also went out to his children, especially the young ones who may not yet realize their loss. I admire his wife Pia Arroyo-Magalona a lot because of her strength amid all the pain I'm sure she's going through for the sake of family. Maxene likewise for her vow to continue keeping his dad proud. Francis is special to most because of his passion towards whatever he does, be it as a rapper-musician, TV host, actor, and lately, as a photographer and entrepreneur. He puts his mind and soul in all his undertakings and do whatever it takes to make his creations something to remember. There's this one incredible performance he did as a guest in Gary V's "Major Impact" concert in 1990 that changed my view of Kiko. Before this, I only thought of him as just another local artist mimicking American popular music, in his case, the emerging genre of rap at that time. But when I witnessed him first hand at the ULTRA, I had since been in awe of his talent and dedication to his work. As Gary finished his set, the lights went out. Despite the darkness, the audience could see those on stage. It was Francis's turn to perform "Mga Kababayan." What we saw was a touching sight...Francis himself preparing his props, instruments, and other equipment for his number. Then when that familar ethnic-inspired beat was heard in extended play, people started to get excited. And when the voice "Ma-ma-mga-kababayan..." was heard, everyone was in pandemonium. What surprised me was the crowd's reaction to his music. Then when he stepped in to do his number, the crowd went berserk and danced and sang to his music as if it was a personal anthem. For a moment, I thought, it was a Francis M concert. After this, he did an incredible duet with Gary that brought the house down. Gary shared this video on his "showdown" with Francis in his own YouTube channel and also presented it on "Eat Bulaga" last Saturday. Since this concert, I thought Francis would become the biggest thing in Philippine music. He achieved even more--he became an inspiration that made other lives better, not only his own.
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Manny Pacquiao in "Rocky 7"? Consider this explosive plot: Rocky Balboa turns boxing promoter who is faced with insurmountable odds in terms of sealing prized fights with big-name boxers due to the financial crunch. With his back against the wall and financial health in peril, Rocky looks beyond the US or South America and trains his sights on a far-away country with incredible talent in the sport, discovers "Boy Kamao" (played by Manny Pacquiao) in a provincial match, and sees himself in the emerging fighter, whom he will soon promote and push to become the next world champion. Well, that could be a good "Hollywood breakthrough" for our Manny but it is just, in reality, a product of my disheartening attempts at writing Hollywood synopses. But what is real is that Pacquiao and Rocky star Sylvester Stallone are really talking about a possible movie team-up, according to Team Pacquiao. While both met in a posh hotel in Los Angeles recently, with Sly meeting Pacman's sons and giving them autographed boxing gloves, nothing was definite about the possible project. Reports say Stallone was looking at producing the movie, which has a storyline similar to the Jacky Chan-Chris Tucker blockbuster "Rush Hour" series. But if ever this is really in the works, Stallone should watch Pacquiao's 2007 film "Anak ng Kumander" first and decide on a thespic approach for the WBC Lightweight Champion. But if the plot would revolve around the life of a boxer, just like what I precariously presented above, then Manny could just be himself and really not act at all. Something like his more concrete show biz project, GMA 7's "Totoy Bato," in which he will play a character he only knows too well. With big name networks and possibly Hollywood studios interested in jumpstarting his show biz career, Manny has the best of both worlds. But then again, he should play his cards right.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer and Inquirer columnists Rina Jimenez David and Dolly Anne Carvajal bagged top journalism prizes in this year’s Gawad Tanglaw awards, which is annually handed out by academicians. The Inquirer shares the Best Newspaper Award with the tabloid Balita. Carvajal, on the other hand, was named Best Entertainment Columnist in a tie with Philippine Star’s Ricky Lo. David was adjudged Best Opinion Columnist. For cinema, independent films continue their winning run with four films sharing the Best Picture plum—“Ploning,” “Boses,” “100,” and “Jay.” Judy Ann Santos bagged the Best Actress award for “Ploning,” also in a tie with Anita Linda for “Adela.” Baron Geisler (“Jay”) and John Estrada (“Caregiver”) split the Best Actor honors. Dante Nico Garcia (“Ploning”), Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil (“Boses”), Chris Martinez (“100”), and Francis Xavier Pasion (“Jay”) were co-awardees for Best Director. Boots Anson-Roa was named Best Supporting Actress for “Love Birds” while Emilio Garcia was chosen as Best Supporting Actor for “Walang Kawala.” In the television category, GMA 7 and ABS-CBN shared the Best TV station award. But the Kapamilya network won the most number of awards, 21, which includes three awards for its cable news channel, ANC. GMA 7 took home 10 awards, inclusive of the three awards won by its affiliate, QTV 11. For radio, dzRH was the Radio station of the Year and shared the Best AM Station award with dzMM and dzBB. YES-FM 101.1 was named Best FM station. Film Best Films Ploning, Boses, 100, Jay Best Actors Baron Geisler (Jay), John Estrada (Caregiver) Best Actresses Judy Ann Santos (Ploning), Anita Linda (Adela) Best Directors Dante Nico Garcia (Ploning), Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil (Boses), Chris Martinez (100), Francis Xavier Pasion (Jay) Best Screenplay Benjamin Lingan, Dante Nico Garcia (Ploning), Froi Medina, Rody Vera (Boses), Chris Martinez (100), Francis Xavier Pasion (Jay) Best Story Benjamin Lingan, Dante Nico Garcia (Ploning) Best Supporting Actor Emilio Garcia (Walang Kawala) Best Supporting Actress Boots Anson-Roa (Lovebirds) Best Cinematography Charlie Peralta, Marissa Florendo (Ploning) Best Editing Danny Anonuevo (Ploning) Television Best TV Stations of the Year ABS-CBN, GMA 7 Best News Program 24 Oras (GMA-7), TV Patrol World (ABS-CBN) Best Documentary Special Signos (GMA 7) Best Public Service Programs Salamat Dok (ABS-CBN), Wish ko Lang (GMA 7), Bantay OCW (NBN 4) Best Educational Program Matanglawin (ABS-CBN), Art Angel (GMA 7) Best TV Anchors Vicky Morales (GMA-7), Ted Failon (ABS-CBN) Best Comedy Programs Camera Café (QTV 11), Goin’ Bulilit (ABS-CBN) Best Magazine Show Rated K (ABS-CBN) Best Travel Show Travel Time (ANC) Best Celebrity Talk Show Sharon (ABS-CBN) Best Morning Show Umagang Kay Ganda (ABS-CBN) Best Game Show Pilipinas, Game KNB? (ABS-CBN), Singing Bee (ABS-CBN) Best Game Show Hosts Edu Manzano, Cesar Montano Best Public Affairs Show Strictly Politics (ANC), Media Forum (ANC) Best Prime Time Drama Series Lobo (ABS -CBN) Best Family Oriented Talk Show Moms (QTV 11) Best Lifestyle Show The Sweet Life (QTV 11) Best Drama Anthology Maalaala Mo Kaya (ABS -CBN) Best Documentary Programs The Correspondents (ABS - CBN) / Reporters Notebook (GMA 7) Best Investigative Programs XXX (ABS - CBN) / S.O.C.O. (ABS - CBN) Best TV Ad Jollibee (Christmas Edition) Best Movie Theatre Shangri-La Cinema Radio Radio Station of the Year dzRH (Manila Broadcasting Company) Best AM stations dzMM (ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp.)/ dzBB (GMA Network Inc.) / dzRH (Manila Broadcasting Company) Best FM station YES FM 101.1 (Manila Broadcasting Company) Best Radio Program Sining Gising (NBN-4) / Radyo Balintataw (DZRH) Journalism Best Newspapers Philippine Daily Inquirer, Balita Best Entertainment Columnist Dolly Anne Carvajal (Philippine Daily Inquirer), Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) Best Opinion Columnist Rina Jimenez-David (Philippine Daily Inquirer) Best Fashion Magazine Metro HIM, Chalk (ABS-CBN Publishing) Best Showbiz Magazine YES! (Summit Media) Performing Arts (Theater) Best Play (Full Length) The Golden Child (Tanghalang Pilipino, CCP) Performing Arts (Dance) Best Dance Presentation (Ballet-Full Length) Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang (Ballet Manila) Liza Macuja Elizalde (Artistic Director)
Watching this year's Golden Globe Awards left me awestruck as my first Hollywood interviewee romped away with the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television plum for a controversial role in a timely themed TV movie. In an October morning last year, a few Filipino journalists, myself included, had the chance to interview Laura Dern to know more about her thoughts, her artistic approach, and even her political views as she portrayed Florida governor Katherine Harris in HBO Films' "Recount," which presents the fateful chain of events in 2000 US presidential elections that changed the country's electoral system forever. While she may not have won the Emmy for her performance, Laura's stirring performance surely did not get unnoticed, and in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's case, unrecognized. Here are excerpts of the interview with Laura: Why do you think this film and your role are significant enough to accept as an artist? First of all, I accepted the role because I felt that this story, especially at this moment in American history, is extremely important to tell; to remind people that they should never allow their voice to be taken from them and that we all have to work to make sure that our vote counts. And I think this has helped these elections so far. People are very passionate about enforcing, protecting their vote on November 4th. What are your personal thoughts on the character you portrayed? (The reason) why I wanted to play Katherine Harris is complicated. I did not respect her in November 2000, her terrifying and troubling hand (in the events that transpired). But she is a wonderful character to get to portray as an actor! I’m very insistent in playing people who are opposite (of me). I think she is someone who had a very narcissistic idea of how important she was to the nation because she (thought she) had the ability to change history. How did you prepare for the role? I studied everything from her autobiography, personal e-mails, letters, everything they had of her in the public domain to all the press conferences she held during the recount. And that helped so much to learn her mannerisms, her quirks, her dialect. You can’t really have an opinion of the other side until you walk in her shoe. Ultimately, to understand another human being, you have to have that experience. That was really good for me and I really enjoyed that. I found (the role) very difficult but very fun. It was difficult for me to understand why she (Harris) would suppress the right to vote for her party. Where do you stand politically? I have always been politically active and I have always been a passionate liberal in American politics. But this time...I am the most passionate and hopeful and excited for myself, my family, my children’s future and the future of your country and all other countries that Barack Obama (wins) the presidency...I think he’s got a great, unified idea about where the world should go and we should work together. What checks do you know are in place to prevent any future incidents similar to those portrayed in the movie? We have done a lot of good things (since then). This November 4th, there will be no more punch card ballots in America so cannot have a chad (paper pieces that drop after holes are made in punch cards), a hanging chad or a dimpled chad or all that the movie talks about. People will be voting by computer. Also, there are states that will require VVPR or Voter Verified Paper Record. When you vote, you will need to put a piece of paper or card in the computer. After voting, the card comes out saying who you voted for. This card then goes into a box (for reference) which someone can check. So automatically, it is checked by a computer and by a person. If the numbers are different they can check it again. What is the message 'Recount' wants to convey? We must all be willing to educate ourselves on election reform and fight for that right to vote and have our vote counted. Taking it away without us knowing is a heinous act. I hope we could all work together to learn more and support each other. That’s what the film teaches. And it isn’t about a (partisan) party process. James Baker, a Republican, is working with Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, on election reform. Anybody can do it. The only way to protect your man or your woman in winning is to make sure every voice is counted.
THEY’RE considered superstars-in-waiting—showbiz personalities who have achieved milestones in their respective careers this past year and are expected to reach greater heights in the coming year. Here are 12 promising stars whom we expect to shine brightest in 2009 and land major roles, juicy entertainment projects, public accolade and industry approbation in the coming months. 1. Aljur Abrenica Aljur Abrenica, 18, rose to prominence as the first “Ultimate Hunk” of the reality-based talent search “StarStruck” in 2006. He continued to draw attention with appearances in the teen drama “Boys Nxt Door” and regular performances in the Sunday noontime show “SOP.” His first major television role came in 2007 when GMA-7 tapped him to play the “Red Zaido” and Cervano, one of the three lead characters in the primetime fantasy series “Zaido: Pulis Pangkalawakan” opposite Dennis Trillo and the late Marky Cielo. His inclusion in the top rating “Dyesebel” further exposed him to a broader audience. Aljur also had roles in successful box office hits “I.T.A.L.Y.” and “Loving You.” Presently, he is part of the ensemble cast of the top rating fantasy series “Luna Mystika” as the tikbalang Libado. Though Aljur is currently cast in mere supporting roles, a major lead role in a movie or television show could most certainly come next year. 2. Jon Avila Who’s that guy on the billboard? Female motorists can’t help but notice his eye-catching, libido-pushing images along the Metro’s major thoroughfares. But this attention getter did not stop there. Like Sam Milby before him, this professional model made the big plunge into show business when he made the cut as a housemate in “Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition 2.” The Irish Filipino Jon Avila, 21, who was born and raised in the United Kingdom, is now a household name. Dubbed the “English Outcast,” Jon was unceremoniously evicted from the reality-based TV show because of a controversy, but that did not discourage him from pursuing an acting career. ABS-CBN picked Jon to play a fumbling superhero in the Mars Ravelo classic “Kapitan Boom” in the network’s “Komiks” anthology this year. The show generated a big following in its Saturday airing, as viewers started getting enamored with Jon’s boyish charms. He did not disappoint them. Apart from television appearances in “ASAP 08” as part of the Cover Boys and the dance program “Shall We Dance” on TV5, this young talent is embarking on a movie career, starting with the indie film “Nars” and the Star Cinema movie “When Love Begins.” Jon is filming his first major role opposite Rufa Mae Quinto in “Civil Status: Single,” a comedy scheduled for an early 2009 release. 3. Valerie Concepcion Call it a blessing in disguise, but Valerie Concepcion’s abrupt exit from showbiz in 2004 due to her pregnancy worked wonders for her. It showed that life’s challenges can make one stronger, wiser, and in Valerie’s case, a topnotch actress-TV host. When Valerie transferred to ABS-CBN after a respectable career in GMA-7 (which started with the 2002 youth-oriented series “Click” and ended with the 2007 fantasy series “Fantastic Man”), the spotlight focused on another aspect of her talent: TV hosting. Valerie received the 2008 PMPC Star Award for Best Female Variety Show Host for her efforts in the noontime show “Wowowee.” That continuing stint provided her the needed exposure for subsequent projects, including product endorsements and guestings in the network’s youth oriented shows and drama anthologies. Valerie is now a regular in ABS-CBN’s “Banana Split,” further showcasing her acting talent, particularly in comedy. Valerie has also crossed over to the movies with a role that departs from her usual girl-next-door portrayals. She stars in Octo Arts Films’ sex comedy “One Night Only,” opposite Diana Zubiri, Katrina Halili, Jennylyn Mercado and Alessandra de Rossi. Next year is expected to be a banner one for Valerie, who will play the role Mexican singer-actress Thalia made popular in the 1990s—Maria Mercedes, set to become an ABS-CBN primetime offering. 4. Jake Cuenca Considered one of the top hunks of ABS-CBN, Jake Cuenca, 21, was actually a former Kapuso and graduate of GMA-7’s teen drama “Click” in 2003. Jake indeed made such a big impact in his “Click” stint that GMA-7 herded him into their major television offerings. He landed plum roles in “Hanggang Kailan,” “Forever In My Heart,” “Encantadia,” and the Angel Locsin-starrer “Majika.” Jake’s 2006 transfer to the Kapamilya network proved to be a good decision. Not only did he bag juicy TV roles, he also got a sizeable movie deal with Star Cinema for several projects. From late 2006 to 2007, Jake appeared in 14 ABS-CBN shows, from the fantasy series “Komiks Presents: Si Pedro Penduko at ang mga Engkanto” to the superhero classic “Mars Ravelo’s Lastikman.” Jake grabbed his biggest role in the remake earlier this year of the Bernard Bonnin 1960s starrer “Palos,” in which he shared lead credits with Cesar Montano. But the guy got more attention on the sidelines when he made tabloid headlines bannering his romance and eventual breakup with fellow ABS-CBN star Roxanne Guinoo. He also courted controversy when he got linked to another Kapamilya star, Bea Alonzo, which triggered Roxanne’s reported confrontation with Bea during a show abroad. Amid all the talk, Jake is making heads turn as part of the ASAP Cover Boys, a group in the tradition of the Hunks that propelled the careers of Piolo Pascual, Diether Ocampo, Jericho Rosales, Bernard Palanca and Carlos Agassi. This is definitely a sign of more good things to come for this good-looking and sexy actor. 5. Will Devaughn Will Devaughn, 25, captured the limelight immediately after landing fourth place in the “Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition 2” reality TV show. His stunning Filipino-African-American-German looks made him a natural choice for many product endorsements. Will’s “Pinoy Big Brother” victory endeared him to a growing number of fans and led to appearances in ABS-CBN dramas such as “Love Spell” with fellow PBB alumna and Second Big Placer Rizza Santos, and “Komiks Presents: Da Adventures of Pedro Penduko.” Will is also be part of the ensemble cast of the back-to-back Metro Manila Film Festival entry “Desperadas.” 2009 is definitely expected to be Will’s banner year with his involvement in two huge ABS-CBN projects—two comeback shows for two of the country’s most acclaimed and revered actors. Will is included in Judy Ann Santos’ upcoming ABS-CBN teleserye, “Humingi Ako Sa Langit" and is part of Comedy King Dolphy’s most-awaited first teleserye, “Utoy.” This could be his biggest break yet. 6. Robi Domingo Ateneo student Robi Domingo, 18, made his mark as the Second Big Winner of the “Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition Plus” series this year. Since his big finish in ABS-CBN’s talent launchpad that started the careers of Sam Milby, Gerald Anderson and Kim Chiu, Robi has been aspiring to make it big in the biz without abandoning his studies. He had appeared in a number of ABS-CBN youth-oriented shows, including “Your Song” and “Love Spell,” but the acting bug has yet to bite, it seems. Joining the video jock search in ABS-CBN’s music channel Myx proved to be his biggest breakthrough this year, which was enough to convince voters in the Philippine Movie Press Club to name him as this year’s Star Awardee for Best New Male TV Personality. The award will surely open doors for this actor-TV host who has proved himself a role model among young fans. A comparison with Rico Yan further motivated him to pursue the late actor’s accomplishments in the biz. Continuing his impressive Myx VJ stint, Robi appears headed for still grander things in 2009. A major TV or movie role seems to be within reach. 7. Sheena Halili When people first saw Sheena Halili, they never thought she would have reached this far in the biz. An early dropout in the initial 2003 “StarStruck” search, Sheena may have had second thoughts about joining the reality-based talent search. Although she signed a GMA-7 contract right after the show ended as one of the StarStruck Avengers, the group of contestants who failed to reach the competition’s Final Four, Sheena was not able to sustain the popularity she gained from the contest. This led to her exit from the limelight when her contract expired. But when a casting call came for the Philippine adaptation of the Mexican series “MariMar,” Sheena, now 21, grabbed the opportunity and landed the supporting role of Monica, the sprightly best friend and collaborator of Katrina Halili’s character Angelica. That became her biggest break. As “MariMar” became the most watched television show in the Philippines during its six-month run and made its lead stars Marian Rivera, Dingdong Dantes and Katrina the biggest names in showbiz, Sheena was also rewarded with a revitalized acting career. After “MariMar,” Sheena’s bubbly nature again filled the airwaves as one of the main antagonists in the Regine Velasquez-starrer “Ako si Kim Samsoon.” She is also cast in the successful worldwide telenovela franchise “La Lola,” and appears as one of the on location hosts of the Manny Pacquiao show “Pinoy Records.” 2009 will be no different from Sheena’s successful 2008 run as GMA-7 continues to line up projects for this young actress, who is enjoying her second wind. 8. Karylle Who would have expected that a controversial break-up with her boyfriend of three years would eventually lead to this singer’s radical bid for showbiz superstardom? Now 27, Karylle is enjoying her time as a new talent of ABS-CBN and artist of EMI Music after months of despair and personal anguish. Not to simplify what she went through, but Karylle emerged a winner from it all. The controversy and the media circus that played on her personal life indeed made her stronger and more driven as an artist and person. Karylle has opted for a clean slate since her split from Dingdong—a new management outfit, record label, film studio and television network. Who knows? A shift in image as well, as showbiz talks speculate on a possible cover for a popular men’s magazine. Karylle is appearing in “ASAP ’08” after several years of performing in rival “SOP.” Her newly signed ABS-CBN contract shows that she is set to appear in several Kapamilya shows and Star Cinema films. A banner year in 2009? That seems to be an understatement, what with several potential top raters lined up for Karylle. Reports have it that this singer is being cast in three major ABS-CBN projects, including a remake of the Susan Roces film “Maruja,” and two hit Koreanovela adaptations, “Lovers in Paris” and “Princess Hours.” 9. Lovi Poe Her famous family name may have helped a bit, but definitely, Lovi Poe, 19, is a class on her own. Lovi’s string of successes on television didn’t come overnight. Initially billed as a singer, Lovi proved that striking good looks are always an asset that television show producers can’t just ignore. As a 17-year-old Colegio de San Agustin junior, this young star started her showbiz career opposite GMA-7’s returning male lead Cogie Domingo in the 2006 “Love to Love: Jazz Got Lucky.” After her initial stint, Lovi embarked on the turning point in her showbiz career, portraying Kristal in the highest rating TV show in 2007, “Bakekang.” As televiewers adored her pretty face and enthralling voice, Regal Films also took notice of her talent, casting her in 2007’s “Shake Rattle and Roll 9,” a performance that earned her a Star Award for Best New Movie Actress from the Philippine Movie Press Club. She also became a hot subject on showbiz talk shows after Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s son Jolo openly admitted that he was courting her. Though both deny any serious involvement, partly because of an alleged rift between Jolo and Lovi’s mom Rowena Moran, the young stars used the hype to the hilt with their appearance as a couple in the sine-novela “Kaputol ng Isang Awit” with Glaiza de Castro and the late Marky Cielo. Lovi also juggles her acting career with her recording duties under Sony BMG, which released her second album, “Bloom” this year, a follow-up of her “Best of My Heart” CD that turned gold in 2006. She also held her first major concert, “Bloom,” at the Music Museum last October. Lovi is currently involved with the GMA-7 adaptation of Latin American telenovela craze “La Lola.” With all these projects under her belt, Lovi seems all set for a more fruitful year ahead. 10. Cristine Reyes Like her sister Ara Mina who accomplished a lot in the last decade, Cristine Reyes, 19, is fast becoming tinseltown’s next vixen. Not only is this “StarStruck” alumna poised to achieve stellar status with her new, daring persona, she’ll do anything to achieve it, even leave the network that discovered and nurtured her career from Day One. But Cristine has no regrets. She considers ABS-CBN more than accommodating for giving her a plum role in the Jericho Rosales-Carmen Soo drama “Kahit Isang Saglit,” a portrayal that even impressed multi-awarded actor Christopher de Leon. The network then cast her in the role of her dreams—in “Eva Fonda, 16” a sexy role popularized by Alma Moreno. Though controversial, as the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board had reprimanded ABS-CBN for some scenes, the series is bound to get televiewers to notice Cristine’s acting talent and spellbinding appeal. Indeed, 2009 will prove to be another big year for Cristine as she makes TV screens sizzle with an adaptation of Vilma Santos’ 1970s classic “Burlesk Queen.” 11. Rhian Ramos The bubbly and perky teen star recently got her biggest break in the popular guy-turned-girl Latin American franchise “La Lola,” currently airing weekdays on primetime TV. Rhian’s breakthrough performance had led to top ratings for the show in its initial weeks. But Rhian Ramos, 18, did not come from nowhere. After appearing in TV commercials, Rhian was cast in the top rating 2006 fantasy series “Mars Ravelo’s Captain Barbell,” landing a supporting role to Richard Gutierrez that immediately made an impact on televiewers. Noticing this, the GMA 7 bigwigs included her in another Richard Gutierrez project, “Lupin,” playing the prominent Avril. As her celebrity flourished on and off cam, Rhian became a regular fixture in showbiz talk shows as controversies surfaced on alleged altercations with a fellow actress, some revealing Internet photos and hate blog entries. But these have not dampened Rhian’s young spirit as she became a favorite in most Kapuso shows, including the sine-novela “My Only Love,” “Pinoy Idol Extra,” and “Codename: Asero,” where she made a brief appearance with Richard. Apart from her television projects, Rhian also appeared in several GMA Films projects, such as “The Promise,” “Ouija,” “I.T.A.L.Y.,” and “My Monster Mom,” as the young Annabelle Rama. Her “La Lola” success would definitely lead to bigger things. A hardworker, Rhian is dead serious about staying in the industry for a long long time. 12. JC de Vera JC de Vera, 22, has become the leading male actor of choice in GMA-7 dramas. He is in fact described as the network’s “Drama Prince” after good ratings from his performances in the sine-novelas “Pati Ba Pintig ng Puso,” “Pasan Ko Ang Daigdig,” and “Babangon Ako’t Dudurugin Kita”—opposite his erstwhile screen partner Yasmien Kurdi. JC is also a 2004 “Click” graduate, who impressed his directors with deep and sensitive acting. He subsequently appeared on top rating GMA 7 shows “Sugo” and “Captain Barbell,” and the “Now and Forever” series where he was paired with the industry’s top actors. But his recent dedicated anthology “Obra Presents JC De Vera” has proven that he can now be counted among the country’s top young actors. As the male lead in the Latin American telenovela franchise “La Lola” and with his memorable performances in the movies “My Bestfriend’s Girlfriend,” “My Monster Mom,” “Loving You,” and the Metro Manila Film Festival entry, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll X,” and with his upcoming film “Sundo,” one can say for sure that JC has arrived and will continue to make his mark in the industry. (Published in the 28 Dec 2008 issue of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine)
Singer-actress Karylle appeared she has gotten over the pain and was looking forward to start anew, both in her personal life and professional career. It seemed she abandoned everything that she and Dingdong had together--from her stint in GMA 7 to even their Quezon City videoke bar-cum-restaurant joint venture. But who can blame her? While people can sigh and think of what could have been, Karylle would not allow herself to become a prisoner of her past. She has decided to move on. This is quite evident in her taped interview with "The Buzz" on Sunday. This was not set in her home or in the studio, but during Gary V's recent 25th anniversary concert, a sign that she is ready to face the controversy head on and frolick. Here's our report on the interview: "Finally, after weeks of silence, part of which was joining a retreat to cope with the heartbreak, singer-actress Karylle now has the strength to face a love lost. And, quite dramatically, she realized her desire to move on from this difficult chapter in her life, as her first TV interview on the breakup showed last Sunday. "Kasi sa pagmamahal, wala namang regrets. Basta nagmahal ka, nagmahal ka ng totoo, yun lang naman yun eh. Kung mag-work out man o hindi, wala na sa kamay ko yon,” she told ABS-CBN’s “The Buzz.” Karylle said her breakup with her boyfriend of three years, actor Dingdong Dantes, followed a “process.” “It was a mutual decision. Hindi siya nangyari overnight so matagal siya na proseso kasi siyempre hindi ka naman magigising bigla na lang tapos sasabihin mo, ay break na tayo,” she said. Karylle admitted going through all the painful “stages” in the breakup, and declared she was now in the acceptance stage, which she considered a personal victory. “Hindi ko naman made-deny na nasaktan ako. Pero ang nangyari naman kasi talaga pinagdaanan ko lahat ng stages ng isang breakup na may denial, may hurt, may bargaining, tapos may acceptance. At this point, nandito na ako sa acceptance. Natanggap ko na ang lahat ng nangyari kasi sa bawat na masakit na nangyayari, may magandang naidudulot.” How did she succeed in entering the acceptance stage? Karylle said focusing on her work helped a lot. “Right now kasi yung focus ko nasa pagtrabaho lang. Hindi ko na masyadong iniisip ngayon kung ano ba yung iniisip niya (Dingdong) o mararamdaman niya kasi as of now para maging maayos naman yung buhay ko, isipin ko muna yung trabaho ko,” she said. Karylle, whose relationship with Dingdong flourished as they both worked for GMA 7, is now set to embark on a new phase in her career as a contract artist of ABS-CBN. Apparently not looking back, Karylle smiled when she answered the interviewer’s question if she still loved Dingdong. “Hindi na,” she said. But for Dingdong, coping seems far from over, despite his heavily-backed and successful on-screen tandem with fellow Kapuso centerpiece star Marian Rivera. “Nag-sink in na lahat eh. Kasi nung time nung nangyayari ang lahat ng ito, busy kami sa pag-shu-shoot. Pero, ngayon na’t dumating na lahat at nag-settle down na lahat, siyempre, you can’t change things overnight. It will take a while. (But) I will be okay,” the actor told GMA 7’s “Showbiz Central” also on Sunday."
Is there trouble brewing between top stars of the "Kapuso" network? If newspaper and Internet reports are to be believed, there seems to be a turf war going on between two camps of GMA 7 artists--on one side, the camp of Richard Gutierrez, the network's premiere talent, and on the other, the group of Aljur Abrenica, the station's rising male star. The conflict was allegedly rooted on a supposed altercation between the main protagonists at a popular bar in Quezon City last month. In this incident first reported on Philippine Entertainment Portal, Richard approached Aljur and allegedly hit the latter in the head two times. This stunned Aljur, who stood up, faced Richard, and asked him, "What's your problem?" Richard responded, "You, what's your problem?" Cooler heads intervened and avoided what could have been a major incident. Some believe the incident had something to do with both actors' links to Jewel Mische, another GMA 7 contract artist who was Richard's co-star in "Kamandag" and Aljur's batchmate in the reality talent program, "StarStruck." In a statement given to PEP, Richard flatly denied hitting Aljur, but confirmed he "politely" asked the latter to leave the table they were occupying because he was "uninvited." He also denied that Jewel was the cause of the altercation. The report said the entire second floor of the bar had been occupied by Richard and his circle of friends. Part of the statement read: "Time management is what stars whose schedules are busy need to master, for it is during these moments of privacy that a star can unwind, relax, and de-stress. "Unfortunately, however, a star like Mr. Aljur Abrenica, an acquaintance, does not seem to understand that stars need space too, and barging in on our table unexpectedly, sitting down uninvited, and partaking of the drinks freely, does not speak well of a person's social graces..." Aljur, for his part, broke his silence in the recent launch of "Luna Mystica," which stars Richard's "Codename: Asero" co-star Heart Evangelista. In the press conference, Aljur said there was "no truth" to Richard's version of the incident. While he confirmed a part of Richard's statement that said that the altercation did not have anything to do with Jewel, Aljur revealed that he and Richard "were not okay" without giving more details. For now, it was apparent that GMA Artist Center, the talent management arm of GMA 7, had been taking a lot of effort to appease both camps and refusing to make statements on the incident. But by the looks of it, lines have been drawn and the war may be far from over.
A looming announcement that may not happen at all. First of all, a confirmation. Sources all close to the couple confirmed that Dingdong Dantes and Karylle have indeed split. Actually, for them, it's old news. They have long separated, they say. The reason? Well, that's where they all provide conflicting claims, from both growing distant from each other to the never-ending rumors of a love triangle with Marian Rivera. Dingdong was all over the news the past week saying that he and Karylle will end all speculation and reveal the truth by way of a media interview. But it seems that won't happen as Karylle is reportedly now making herself scarce, even to Dingdong, as the truth about their relationship is slowly being leaked outside of their circle. "I'm still waiting for her," Dingdong responded to our SMS last Friday. Another source was quite emotional: "Zsa Zsa (Padilla) is upset." This source even went as far as claiming that Karylle's mother was arranging for her daughter's transfer to ABS-CBN after she found out that GMA-7 did not intend to stop the circus, all adding fire to the controversy that involves its current top stars, who are allegedly using her daughter to keep them prominent in sleazy entertainment press write-ups. But the frenzy may not even benefit both Dingdong and Marian. It will place Dingdong in a bad light because it would seem that he "dumped" Karylle for his once slumping "career" that found new life in an on-screen partnership with Marian, who whether she likes it or not, will be viewed as the villain, the "third party" in the off-screen troubled romance, even if she dedicates a two-hour special on a Sunday night just denying she had anything to do with the supposed separation. Maybe this is the reason for the extended silence on the matter. Maybe both sides are thinking it over. Maybe the network is doing some serious crisis management. But whatever's the score, Dingdong and Karylle should end this once and for all. And they should be honest and direct about it. As the controversy grows, who knows who else might get hurt.
WATCH Senator Miguel Zubiri and Aiza Suguerra sing their favorite Eraserhead song at the reunion concert at the Fort open field in Global City in Taguig.
There were fireworks as they sang "Alapaap." Organizers estimated about 40,000 people gathered at The Fort Bonifacio open field in Taguig City. And then there was the enigmatic 20-minute break. And just like that, he disappeared. Ely Buendia, frontman of the popular Eraserheads which held a reunion concert Saturday, August 30, never came back onstage after singing 15 songs in their first set. What really happened that night? Watch this video: