Sunday, December 31, 2017


THE VERY first “Ang Panday” was shown in 1980, starring the late FPJ as Flavio, the blacksmith who is the nemesis of  Lizardo, evil personified as played by the late Max Alvarado, with Liz Alindogan as his leading lady. It’s an origin story that FPJ himself directed as Ronwaldo Reyes, based on the komiks novel of Carlo Caparas. The movie made Panday one of local cinema’s most iconic superheroes.
It was such a big hit that it spawned three sequels: “Ang Pagbabalik ng Panday” (1981), “Panday: Ikatlong Yugto” (1982) and “Panday: Ikaapat na Aklat” (1984). All became Metro filmfest topgrossers. Later on, ABS-CBN made a TV series starring Jericho Rosales and last year, TV5 did their own version starring Richard Gutierrez. There was also a cartoon version shown on RPN-9.
In 1993, Regal Films did “Dugo ng Panday” with Bong Revilla and Aiko Melendez, directed by Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes. In 1998, Jinggoy Estrada also had his own version, “Hiwaga ng Panday”, with Kris Aquino, directed by Carlo Caparas himself.
It will take 11 years before another “Panday” movie is made in 2009, produced by Bong Revilla, with him playing Flavio and Iza Calzado as his leading lady, directed by Mac Alejandre and Rico Gutierrez. It was a big hit so “Ang Panday 2” was made in 2011, with Marian Rivera as the leading lady, directed by Mac Alejandre.
Now, 6 years later, Coco Martin, in his aim to be the FPJ of today’s generation after the huge success of “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” on TV, comes up with his own reboot of “Panday”, with he himself as co-producer and debuting as a director using his real name, Rodel Nacianceno.
The story is now set in the present. A prologue told in animation recounts the past exploits of the first Panday, narrated by Joonee Gamboa who is a fixture in the Panday movies. Coco as the new Flavio is the grandson of FPJ’s Flavio. His dad is Jeric Raval, who’s also named Flavio, and his mom is Dimples Romana.
His parents are killed at the start of the movie by Lizardo as played by Arjo Atayde. It’s Jaclyn Jose as the midwife who saves Flavio as a baby from the murderous minions of Lizardo and, next time we see him, he’s already Coco running in Divisoria and fighting some goons in a street brawl.
The new Flavio is actually a thug, but old man Joonee Gamboa comes along to tell him he is the new chosen one, like his grandpa before him. It’s his destiny to protect the world and he is tasked to look for the mystical “balaraw”, so he must make a risky journey to the mountains and through a magical forest to retrieve it. He’ll use the “balaraw” against the forces of evil led by the new Lizardo, played by Jake Cuenca.
Well, we already knowhow the story goes as it follows the same formula in the FPJ movies. Jake might seem to be triumphant at the start sa pagsasabog lagim, but in the end, you know that good will still triumph over evil as Coco is the savior of mankind. The more important question now is: so how did Coco fare as a director?
First of all, he’s to be commended for giving jobs to former action flick staples like Jess Lapid Jr., King Gutierrez, Tom Olivar, Val Iglesia, Dindo Arroyo, and others, whose acting careers were badly affected after the local film industry slackened and action flicks went out of fashion. Even on TV, he has given work to so many idle actors.
Coco also pays homage to his recent TV hits. The scenes where he’s fighting and running through the market place in Divisoria is reminiscent of similar scenes in “Juan de la Cruz”. The cast assembles a lot of people he has worked with before in “Juan” and “Probinsyano”, including Eddie Garcia, Jaime Fabregas, Albert Martinez, Agot Isidro, Lito Lapid, Michael de Mesa, Mark Lapid, Ejay Falcon, and several supporting actors.
Like FPJ, he makes use of child actors, like Bentot Jr. in the original “Panday”. But Coco is a segurista so he doesn’t get just one but several child stars to join him in the movie, some of whom didn’t even do anything at all. The children are led by Awra Briguela who is given a lengthy exposure as a closet biniboy who later on becomes a hero in the fight against aswangs.
The only one missing from “Probinsyano” is Susan Roces as Coco’s lola, who’s now replaced by Gloria Romero. Coco also gets himself a new leading lady, the beauty queen daughter of Christopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong, Mariel de Leon, who looks taller than him whenever they’re shown walking side by side.
But Mariel’s role is too short and their love story is not really shown going anywhere because Coco tries to cram in so many other elements into the movie. He is even shown doing a lengthy song number with some local rappers and their song is rendered on screen in full. Awra is also given his own big moment when he joins a gay beauty pageant that didn’t really work and fell flat on its face.
There’s an encounter with midgets who have homes looking like those of the Hobbits in “Lord of the Rings”. And there’s a whole sequence in the kaharian ng liwanag with Albert Martinez as the king, but made up more like a queen who’s raring to come out of his closet. Then, of course, there are the faux aswangs who attack the innocent people in Coco’s neighborhood but are not even really scary.
Coco actually wants to have a little bit of something for everyone, so he just jumps from scene to scene. Now, who’d say that narrative cohesion is important in telling a story?
Coco is stabbed by Jake and dies, but this is a fantasy movie where the hero is unkillable, so he is resurrected by Joonee Gamboa and is sent to train with Lito Lapid in the mountains and they’re all suddenly garbed like native inhabitants of Manchuria or Mongolia.
Then Coco is ready to face to Jake again and they are suddenly transported to the sand dunes and Coco is now instantly wearing a new and proper costume, like a real screen superhero should, for his final showdown with Jake who, but naturally, he gets to defeat after a long fight sequence.
As a director, Coco obviously just allowed Jake interpret Lizardo anyway he wants to, but Jake seems confused as his performance lacks consistency. He seems campy in some scenes, acting like Heath Ledger’s Joker, but menacingly serious in other scenes.
But don’t worry, the movie is a big hit, so for sure, there will be a sequel and Lizardo will be resurrected once again. If you’re looking for a polished work of cinema, then “Panday” is not for you.
But kids in the audience don’t seem to be complaining. We saw it with our own grandchildren and when we asked them how they like it, they say it’s okay. So Coco has succeeded in pleasing his target audience with his own take on the fantasy-action movie genre. If you’d complain and want a more mature film fare, then go watch “Larawan” and “All of You” instead.


THE HOLIDAYS are over and stars who had a taping break during the Christmas season are now returning back to work the face the cameras once again. Marian Rivera is one of those who returns to work in “Super Ma’am”, her primetime show that offers more exciting adventures as she faces new scary opponents in the coming of the new year.
She and husband Dingdong Dantes and their baby,  Zia, spent the holidays and their 3rd wedding anniversary last December 30th in the beautiful island of Siargao down south and she’s now feeling recharged. While she’s back to taping “Super Ma’am”,  Dingdong will resume the shooting of a new movie he is doing with Viva Films opposite Anne Curtis.
Marian is so satisifed with the comments they’re getting about their daughter, that Zia is an obiously sweet and happy baby and also quite talkative. “That’s true, masayahin siya,” says Marian. “At very communicative kaya talagang nakakatuwa. Gusto talaga namin ni Dong to train her growing up with a positive attitude in life. Yun bang masayahin at mapagbigay sa ibang tao. As of now, talagang very friendly siya. She smiles kahit sa mga hindi niya kakilala kaya we really can’t complain about her.”
So when are they going to Zia a baby brother or sister? “It all depends kay Lord. Iwe-welcome namin kung ibibigay niya sa bagong taong ito ng 2018 ang kapatid ni Zia. Ready na kami.”

Saturday, December 30, 2017

ALDEN RICHARDS leads GMA Network welcomes 2018 with a BIG bash via its New Year Countdown Special this December 31

LETS SAY FAREWELL to the year that was as the Kapuso Network greets 2018 with grand performances from its brightest and hottest stars and exceptional fireworks display with its grand celebration dubbed as "GMA New Year Countdown to 2018: Buong Puso Para sa Kapuso" at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA), Seaside Boulevard this Sunday, December 31.

Catch your favorite Kapuso artists in a night full of loud revelry, fireworks and merry-making as they open the year buzzing with seasonal treats, festive cheers and sparks.

Steering the night with a spectacular celebration steeped with fun and laughter is Pambansang Bae Alden Richards as he takes centerstage with his own musical performances.

Joining him are Kapuso heartthrobs Mark Herras, Benjamin Alves, Rocco Nacino, Miguel Tanfelix, Jak Roberto, Jeric Gonzales, Addy Raj, Matthias Rhoads, Juancho Trivino, Jason Abalos and Migo Adecer in their mix macho and boy next-door performance.

All set to provide sizzling and hot moves on the dance floor are Kapuso leading ladies Bianca Umali, Joyce Ching, Klea Pineda, Ayra Mariano, Denise Barbacena, Lindsay de Vera, Hanna Precillas  and with the 2017 Reina Hispanoamerica, our very own Kapuso Miss Teresita Sen “Winwyn” Marquez.

The night won’t be complete without the enjoyable musical entertainment brought by Asia’s Romantic Balladeer Christian Bautista and Asia’s Pop Princess Julie Anne San Jose.

Kapuso viewers are definitely in for a treat as Kapuso leading ladies Kris Bernal, Sanya Lopez and Andrea Torres sizzle the night with their fiery performance.

Being the home of quality entertainment, GMA Network continues to live up to its good humor and great comedy in 2018. Dance the night away with comedians Tetay, Valentin, Maey Bautista, Nar Cabico and Betong Sumaya as they provide a humorous throwback to the happenings in 2017.
On its 10th year of partnership with GMA Network, SM Mall of Asia is all set to light up the sky with a world-class and brilliant fireworks display that will surely leave the audience in awe. And to make sure that the event remains safe and secure, the network also partnered with National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and Pasay City police. Visit for the full list of the event’s security policies.

End 2017 right and say hello to 2018 with this year’s GMA New Year Countdown to 2018, Buong Puso Para sa Kapuso at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA), Seaside Boulevard on December 31, 2017. Live telecast starts at 10:00 pm to 12:30 am on GMA.

YEARENDER 2017: a last look at showbiz happenings during the past 365 days: wedding, breakups, births, deaths, life goes on

ar, let’s have one last look at showbiz happenings during the past 365 days.
IT’S 2018! Before we totally forget the past year, let's take one last look at the showbiz happenings of the past 365 days.
In the romance department, Ellen Adarna has the most colorful lovelife. She hit the headlines with her love affairs, first with Baste Duterte, and later with John Lloyd Cruz, whose child she’s now allegedly carrying.
Many stars walked down the aisle. Ai Ai de las Alas with her 3rd husband Gerald Sibayan. Camille Prats and her 2nd husband JC Yambao. Ehra Madrigal and businessman Tommy Yeung. Dr. Vicki Belo with Hayden Kho in Paris. Anne Curtis and Erwan Heussaff in New Zealand. Max Collins and Pancho Magno at Marriott Hotel. Rochelle Pangilinan and Arthur Solinap in Tagaytay.  Wendell Ramos and Kukai Guevarra in Paranaque. Julia Clarete and Irish groom Gareth McGeown in Ireland. Frencheska Farr and non-showbiz BF Gino Jose in Las Vegas.
Not all couples have a happy ending. Those whose relationships ended in a breakup, some even bitter, include Erich Gonzales and Daniel Matsunaga, TV hosts Robi Domingo and Gretchen Ho, Thea Tolentino and Mikoy Morales, PBB discoveries Tommy Esguerra and Miho Nishida, Paolo Ballesteros and dancer Roland Anog, Charice who became Jake Zyrus and Alyssa Quijano.
Those who became mommies are Kylie Padilla (dad is Aljur Abrenica), Rufa Mae Quinto (dad is nonshowbiz guy Trevor Magallanes), Bangs Garcia (dad is British guy Lloyd Birchmore), Nerissa Naig (dad is Parokya ni Edgar vocalist Chito Miranda), Pauleen Luna (dad is Vic Sotto, who has five grown up kids with other women), singer Maya (dad is Geoff Eigenmann), Erika Padilla (dad is cager-coach Jeffrey Cariaso), Regine Angeles (dad is Van Victor Leano), Karen de los Reyes (dad is not revealed), Michelle Madrigal (dad is American athlete Troy Woodfolk), Nikki Gil (dad is BJ Albert) and Kaye Abad (dad is Paul Jake Castillo). Second time moms are Camille Prats, Pia Guanio, LJ Moreno and Melai Cantiveros. Currently preggy with their second babies are Jolina Magdangal and Sarah Lahbati.
Winwyn Marquez is the only local celebrity-beauty titlist who was blessed enough to win in an international beauty pageant, the Reina HispanicoAmericana held in Bolivia. The others are not as fortunate and didn’t even make it as a finalist.
Other standout stories of 2017: The hit shows of the year are “Probinsyano” of ABS-CBN on primetime now on its second year, “Ika-6 na Utos” of GMA-7 in the afternoon which just celebrated its first year and is seen from Monday to Saturday.
The first teleserye of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, “Destined to be Yours”, didn’t become the mammoth hit that their fans expected. It was cut short as they’re said to be shooting a new movie, but the year has ended without any new movie in sight. Instead, Maine wrote a scathing letter to her meddlesome fans saying she and Alden are just a love team and their relationship was never for real. She then left and had a long vacation abroad.
Barbie Forteza was paired with four leading men in “Meant to Be”, a big hit. Ken Chan got her on TV but off cam, the lucky guy who won her heart is Jak Roberto.
Sharon Cuneta made a comeback in the Cinemalaya film, “Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha”, but lumuha sila sa box office. She made a more successful return on the big screen in “Unexpectedly Yours” with Robin Padilla.
Angel Locsin and Luis Manzano broke up and Luis quickly found a replacement in Jessy Mendiola, while Angel is now cozy with producer Neil Arce who just broke up with Bela Padilla who’s now being linked to Zanjoe Marudo.
Diego Loyzaga denounced his dad Cesar Montano in public with so much bitterness, saying “Sana lumabas lahat ng baho mo, duwag!” Cesar had the good sense to just keep quiet.
Comedian Atak Arana was sued and arrested for allegedly molesting a bellboy in Okada Hotel. Mark Anthony Fernandez was freed from the Pampanga Provincial Jail after being detained for one year for possession of marijuana in his car.
And for the last time, let’s pay our last respects to showbiz denizens who left us in 2017, starting with producer-actress Donna Villa who suddenly passed due to the big C in January. She was followed by Directors Gil Portes and Emmanuel Borlaza, 60s matinee idol Romeo Vasquez, comedian-talent manager Angge aka Cornelia Lee, scriptwriter Jake Tordesillas, singers Eugene Villaluz and Ric Manrique Jr., director-comedian Soxie Topacio, director-actor Herminio “Butch” Bautista (dad of Mayor Herbert), entertainment writers Alfie Lorenzo,  Richard Pinlac and Gas Gayondato, film critic Mario Hernando, actress Zeny Zabala, actor Ernie Zarate, radio broadcaster Joe Taruc, TV news anchor Amelyn Veloso, actor Chinggoy Alonzo, scriptwriter-columnist Tony Calvento, actress Isabel Granada, actor-stunt director Baldo Marro, rapper Vincent Daffalong, Hashtag Franco Hernandez and composers Willy Cruz and Margot Gallardo. Let’s all pray for the repose of their souls.
2017 is a good year for me and my family. Here’s praying that the new year 2018 will be a better, peaceful and more productive one for us Filipinos and the rest of the world.

Friday, December 29, 2017


AFTER THE CHRISTMAS holidays, Valentine’s Day will come next and this early, Regine Velasquez is announcing her special Valentine concert titled “Pa-MORE”. MORE stands for Martin Nievera, Ogie Alcasid, Regine herself and Erik Santos. It will be staged at MOA Arena on February 10 and you can get your tickets now.
Regine has reason to be thankful for the passing year as it’s been a great one for her. Her long running Saturday show, “Sarap Diva”, continues to rate well. Her two-night 30th anniversary held last October at the MOA Arena, “Regine 3.0”, was an enormous succerss.
Her 40th anniversary album, also titled “Regine 3.0”, quickly reached platinum status in just six weeks and the Platinum award was handed to her by Viva Records exec MG Mozo in “Sarap Diva” recently.
We’d like to thank Viva for sending us a copy of the album, which is really a collector’s item as it’s actually 3 CD’s in one with ten songs each. The first record is “Renditions” with revivals like “Tadhana”, “Bakit Ako Mahihiya”, “If You Go Away”. The second album is “Rise” with songs like “Higher”, “Walang Hanggang Ikaw” and “Say Goodbye”. The third album is “Reflections” with past hits like “Dadalhin”, “On the Wings of Love” and “Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang”.
“Thank you sa aking Viva family,” says Asia's Songbird. “Pinaghirapan nating gawin ito. Salamat sa mga nakasama ko, sa lahat ng arrangers who made new areglos for my songs, at sa lahat ng bumili ng album ko.”
For next year, Regine fans will be glad to know that a new movie for her is in the works. And here’s hoping it will really bring out the best in her as an actress.


PEOPLE ASK us: “Bakit po ‘All of You’ ang title ng movie nina Derek Ramsay at Jennylyn Mercado?” This means to say na marami talagang hindi naka-gets sa point ng movie. It’s titled “All of You” because, as the film concretely underlines, when you love a person, you just don’t love the qualities that you like, you have to love him or her totally, all of him or her.
That’s why in the Discovery Weekend, where we’re a regular volunteer, we always stress to the couples who want to get married that LOVE is a DECISION. When you decide to love someone, you can’t just pick the good qualities that you like and tell yourself that for the bad qualities, you’ll make him your project so he can change for the better.
If that’s your attitude, then your marriage or relationship will be an uphill battle as you’re acting like a psychologist or a social worker. He’s had a whole lifetime before he met you, how do you think he’d change his ways just for you?  Don’t kid yourself. The only time you can change a man is when he’s still in his diapers.
The movie "All of You" is not your usual romcom. It’s a serious look on how relationships can develop, deteriorate and be redeemed. The ending is not the usual “madrama” reconciliation between the lead characters after they had a big conflict. It’s very quiet. Almost no dialogue. It asks you to read the behavior of the characters. Kung hindi mo masakyan yun, it’s not the movie’s fault kung nasanay ka sa manipulated, engineered happy endings.


JOSEPH MORONG is a regular broadcast journalist at GMA News and Public Affairs assigned in Malacanang to cover the activities of Pres. Duterte. He’s a recipient of the McLuhan Fellowship award in 2015 from Canada that encourages responsible journalism. He was chosen to receive the fellowship for his excellent reportage of the issues surrounding the peace process in Mindanao, especially the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.
He is now given his biggest break as host of his own show, “Fact or Fake”, which is very timely in this era of fake news. This is part of GMA One Online Exclusives on GMA’s youtube channel. He’ll be with Atom Araullo and Gabbi Garcia.
Does he feel any pressure with his first hosting job? “Siempre may pressure kasi we’re touching on something controversial, so we have to be careful as our goal is for the public to be able to discern what is fact and what is fake news,” he says. “We have to be sure kung ano yung ilalabas namin para hindi kami ma-criticize na naglalabas ng fake news. I promise to do my best para maging maayos and very informative and truthful ang bawat episode na ilalabas namin. Even the big bosses of thew GMA news department are very much involved to make sure we have a show of good and top quality.”
The show will start airing tomorrow on New Year’s Day 2018, and will be aired every Monday thereafter at 5 PM.


MOTHER LILY MONTEVERDE of Regal Entertainment is the big winner in the current filmfest. Her entry, “Haunted Forest”, is reportedly now occupying the third slot in the list of topgrossers, proof that you can never go wrong when you are the only horror entry in the festival. It quickly showed its strength at the box office on its opening day on Christmas Day and attendance continues to go up since then.
In terms of return on investment, she’ll be the one who’d make the biggest profit because “Haunted Forest” has a relatively smaller budget compared to those of “Gandarapido” and “Panday” that spent so much on their big name stars and their special effects. In contrast, “Haunted Forest” has only four relatively unknown stars of Star Magic as the leads: Jane Oineza, Jameson Blake, Maris Racal and Jon Lucas. All of them also have no proven box office clout.
Another plus factor is that the movie works as a horror flick as viewers are really screaming their hearts during each screening. The feedback in social media is generally positive, with viewers recommending it for their friends to watch it also. Its director, former indie filmmaker Ian Lorenos, failed to make it last year with his “Mano Po 7” entry but this time, he’s really back with a vengeance at the tills. We won’t be surprised if Regal would now give him more projects to direct in 2018 now that he has proven that he has a good box office touch.
We also won’t be surprised if more theaters would be added to the current list of cinemas now showing “Haunted Forest”. Congratulations to Regal, Mother Lily Monteverde and daughter Roselle, and Direk Ian! And don’t leave the theatre right away after the end credits are flashed as there is a short preview of what will happen next.
It seems that the creature (played by Anthony Falcon) was not really killed but is seen cruising down a river on a bamboo raft. So don’t be surprised if this “Haunted” thing will turn into a franchise. After “Haunted Mansion and Forest”, we’ll next have “Haunted River” and probably, “Haunted Mountain”, “Haunted Village” and “Haunted Filmfest” (with the bitter indie filmmakers of last year haunting the screening committee who brought back mainstream films this year.)

ALDEN RICHARDS hosts thanksgiving party for the press, says Maine Mendoza will be back in EAT BULAGA on January 1, 2028

ALDEN RICHARDS hosted a thanksgiving party for the press. The only big star who did so this year. He raffled off so many cash prizes. No wonder the press continues to love and appreciate him for not forgetting their help to him all throughout the passing year and his entire career. Love begets love and that is what’s Alden is getting in return.
Alden’s thanksgiving lunch was held at his own resto, Concha’s Garden Cafe at Sct. Madrinan on Thursday. He just returned from Japan with his whole family the day before, after touring Fukuoka and Tokyo for nine days in their first family vacation abroad ever.
He says the passing year is a good one for him. “Ang daming blessings na dumating. My endorsements were renewed and extended up to next year. Itong Concha’s will soon be available for franchising. Sa TV, nasa planning stage pa kung ano ang magiging next program ko. Siempre, tuloy-tuloy pa rin ako sa ‘Eat Bulaga’. Wala pang final word sa movie namin ni Maine (Mendoza) so abangan na lang natin. For sure, I’ll be hosting again the GMA New Year Countdown to welcome 2018. 7th year ko nang ginagawa ito. Then sa birthday ko on January 2, I will have a special birthday presentation sa ‘Eat Bulaga’ then I will treat my fans on January 6 sa Enchanted Kingdom. May international shows din pala ako in January. Unang-una na sa Sydney, Australia, then GMA Pinoy TV shows sa New Jersey in the U.S. and Toronto in Canada.”
Does he have any birthday wish? “For myself, wala na kong masyadong hinahanap kasi I’m contented na with everything. Wish ko na lang, peace and stability.”
And what can he say about Maine? “I’m very happy that she’s having fun with her family sa holiday vacation nila abroad. Just like me with my family. We both deserve those breaks. Abangan na lang natin ang pagbabalik niya when we go live sa ‘Eat Bulaga’ on January 1st.”
Even his countless fans appreciate Alden’s gesture of making a video presentation of his new home in Sta. Rosa, Laguna which was posted on social media. Those who’ve seen it were impressed because Alden had a special room constructed for his grandparents at the ground floor his house so that it will be easily accessible for them. No wonder he continues to be so blessed. Most writers believe that if ever Maine would choose to exit from showbiz, Alden can still go solo and sustain his career on his own.


CONGRATS TO THE winners at the Metro Filmfest Awards night held at Kia Theatre last Thursday night. “Larawan” of Culturtain won as best picture and it also won the Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award. Ten17P's “Siargao” won as second best and Quantum Films’ “All of You” won as third best picture.
Best actor is Derek Ramsay for “All of You”. Best actress is Joanna Ampil for “Larawan”, her first local movie. Best supporting actor is Edgar Allan Guzman for “Dedma Walking”, even if he’s actually playing a lead role. Best supporting actress is Jasmine Curtis Smith for “Siargao”. Baeby Baste won as best child actor for “Meant to Beh”.
“Siargao” won most of the technical awards, including best editing, cinematography, sound and theme song, including the best director award for Paul  Soriano. “All of You” won best screenplay, co-written by Director Dan Villegas. Best production design and musical score for Ryan Cayabyab were won by “Larawan”, best visual effects by “Panday”, which also won FPJ Memorial award and children’s choice award.
Derek Ramsay and Erich Gonzales were named best male and female star of the night. “Dedma Walking”, earlier predicted by many writers to win as one of the best three best pictures, was snubbed in this category and won the even much more coveted best float award.
Here’s hoping the awards won by “Larawan”, “Siargao” and “All of You” will really help them gain more viewers so they can go higher in the list of filmfest topgrossers.


ATOM ARAULLO (for Alfonso Tomas) left ABS-CBN and just did two eye-opening docus for GMA-7, “Philippine Seas” that shows the current state our seas from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao, and “Silang Kinalimutan” about Rohingya refugees from Myanmar living in a camp in Bangladesh. Atom has also finished shooting his first movie, “Citizen Jake”, for Mike de Leon, where he plays the title role. It’s not known yet as to when the film will be shown in theaters. And at GMA, he’s allowed to do endorsements so watch out for his TV commercial soon.
Now, he’s hosting a new online show on GMA’s online channel on Youtube, “Adulting”. This is part of a three-in-one show. The other shows are “#Goals” hosted by teen star Gabbi Garcia and “Fact or Fake” hosted by broadcaster Joseph Morong.
In “Adulting”, he aims to help millennials as they face the challenges of entering the world of grownups. This is very timely for him since, for the first time, he recently left his parents’ home at 35 and now live on his own. “I did because of the horrendous traffic situation,” he says. “I now live nearer to my place of work. It’s a big challenge as I’m starting from scratch. Natutuhan ko kung paano maglaba, maglinis, mag-budget. Magtataka siguro yung iba, hello, Atom, ngayon mo lang natututuhan yan, ilang taon ka na ba? It’s true, late na nga ako, so young people should really prepare for it. We can also about finding a job, how to move up the corporate ladder, how to improve their careers and their relationships. You see, adulting never ends and we seldom get direct help how about to handle these things. I feel a lot of young people can relate with all these very relevant issues and topics.”
Will he be giving tips about sex? “I know it’s such a taboo, but we have to talk about it to enlighten young people, but without malice. We’ll ask kung naranasan na ba nilang ma-friendzone, ma-seenzone, ma-kuyazone? The digital landscape is a growing battlefield we have to make sure we’re contributing something positive to human knowledge. We won’t claim to have all the answers but with the help of social media, we will encourage people to give us all their feedback, thanks to the highly interactive nature of the digital platform.”
“GMA One Online Exclusives with Adulting, #Goals and Fact or Fake” will start airing on New Year 2018, 5 PM at GMA-7’s official youtube account. Don’t miss it!


GLAIZA DE CASTRO shone as Pirena in “Encantadia”. Now, those who appreciate her kind of intense acting will be pleased to know that she is in a new show, “Contessa”. They have started taping it and it’s expected to start airing by February, 2018. How does it feel that they’re replacing a superhit afternoon show with skyrocketing ratings?
“Siempre, may pressure, but we’re confident ng mga kasama ko na sa pagtutulong-tulong namin, mapapaganda namin talaga ang show para kundi man namin malampasan ang ratings ng show papalitan namin, at least man lang, mapantayan namin,” says Glaiza.
Her co-stars in the show are cousins Geoff and Gabby Eigenmann, Pambansang Abs Jak Roberto, Lauren Young, Chanda Romero, Tetchie Agbayani, Tanya Gomez, Dominic Roco, Leandro Baldemor, Phytos Ramirez and the special participation of Mark Herras.
This is under the direction of Albert Langitan, the director of another hit afternoon drama, “Impostora”. Albert was taken out of “Impostora” (he was replaced by Gina Alajar), so that he can focus his full attention in making “Contessa” another big winner in the ratings game.
“Contessa” is just one of the several shows being prepared by the Kapuso Network as part of their first salvos for the New Year 2018. The others are “Sherlock Jr.” with Ruru Madrid as a blind young ivestigator, Ai Ai de las Alas, Janine Gutierrez, Gabbi Garcia, Roi Vinzon, Rochelle Pangilinan, Andre Paras, Kate Valdez, Sharmaine Arnaiz, Matt Evans, Yann Asistio, Sophia Pablo and Serena, a lovable smart Golden Retriever  who will help Ruru solve crimes, directed by Rechie del Carmen.
Another big project is the romantic-comedy “The One That Got Away (TOTGA)” starring Dennis Trillo, Lovi Poe, Rhian Ramos, Max Collins, Jason Abalos, Ivan Dorschner, Bembol Roco, Snooky Serna, Luz Valdez, Ayra Mariano, Ashley Rivera, Sophie Albert, Jason Francisco, Ervic Vijandre, Nar Cabico and Migo Adecer, directed by Maryo de los Reyes and Mark de la Cruz.
Then there’s “Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka” about an HIV positive heroine starring Yasmien Kurdi, Gina Alajar, Martin del Rosario, Ina Feleo, Mike Tan, Shamaine Buencamino, Charee Pineda, Ina Feleo, Mike “Pekto” Nacua, Catherine Rem, Caprice Cayetano, Sef dela Cruz, directed by Neal del Rosario.;  “Sirkus” with Mikee Quintos, Mikoy Morales and Cherie Gil; “The Stepdaughters” starring Megan Young, Katrina Halili and Mikael Daez, Glydel Mercado, Sef Cadayona, Samantha Lopez and Gary Estrada, directed by Paul Sta. Ana,  and the much awaited local adaptation of “Descendants of the Sun” starring Alden Richards with a new leading lady.  


ANDREA TORRES is very satisfied with the good feedback she’s getting for her current movie, “Meant To Be”, as the third wheel in the Vic Sotto-Dawn Zulueta relationship. She has played lead role in several soaps. Didn’t she mind playing a supporting role this time?
“Okay lang yun kasi sina Bossing Vic at Miss Dawn naman ang sinusuportahan ko,” she says. “I really enjoyed working and shooting the movie with them. I will always treasure the experience kasi naging masaya talaga ang samahan ng buong cast and I’m glad na naranasan kong makasama sila sa float noong Parade of Stars.”
But for next year, her dream is to be given her own movie with her in the lead role. Is she willing to go sexy? “Why not? Kung maganda ba talaga ang role, yung challenging talaga at may acting na required, hindi basta laswaan lang. After ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, I also look forward to have another teleserye, afternoon man or primetime, okay lang sa akin para maging busy uli ako sa taping.”
For next year, she also wants to fall in love again. “Hindi naman ako nagmamadali but I can feel na ready na akong ma-in love uli, kung darating si Mr. Right. Ayoko naman noong masabi lang na nagka-boyfriend na ako uli.”


‘SIARGAO’ is a movie that accomplishes its primary intention, which is to showcase the pristine beauty of the fabulous island of Siargao in Surigao del Norte, Mindanao. You’ll see its attractions like the Magpupungko rock pools and the Cloud 9 resort, site of the annual Siargao Cup, a domestic and international surfing competition. There’s also General Luna, considered as the country’s surfing capital. After watching the movie, you’d really like to go visit the place.
“Siargao” joins the list of other movies filmed in an island or a beach town, like “Camiguin” with Gelli de Belen and Jomari Yllana, “Flotsam” (set in Surf Town, San Juan, La Union) with Solenn Heussaff and Rocco Nacino, “Batanes” with Iza Calzado, “Apocalypse Child” (set in Baler) with Sid Lucero,  “I Found My Heart in Santa Fe” with Roxanne Barcelo and Will Devaugh (filmed in Santa Fe, Bantayan Island).
The coming “Mr. & Mrs. Cruz” with Ryza Cenon and JC Santos will feature El Nido in Palawan. Later, we won’t be surprised if we’ll also have films set in Camotes,  Malapascua & Sumilon Islands in Cebu, Gigantes Island in Iloilo, Coron in Palawan, Puerto Galera in Mindoro, Panglao in Bohol, Pagudpud in Ilocos, Samal Island in Davao, Bellaroca in Marinduque, etc. But come to think of it, how come we don’t have a movie yet called “Boracay” (we did have a TV series, though)?
Siargao, the island, is a stunning beauty and we wish we could say the same about “Siargao”, the movie. It has good technicals, with the fine cinematography capturing the idyllic beauty of the place, including the gigantic walls of surfing waves. But storytelling-wise, the makers must have fallen in love so much with the place that they forgot that a good movie should also tell an involving story.
After an hour of seeing the beach and the scenic attractions of Siargao in endless drone shots, someone beside us quips: “Isang oras na, wala pang masyadong nangyayari.” And it’s true. The material is really thin, there’s not much of a story and whatever loosely constructed narrative there is, most of the time, ‘ikinukuwento lang’.
The motivations of the characters are not fully or well articulated. Maybe that’s really the intention of Director Paul Soriano and his scriptwriter, Anj Pasumal, to leave some things hanging in the air. But the trouble is there’s so much frugality in the storytelling that we end up having little to hold on to and the script comes out as so underwritten.
We see the characters surfing, biking, drinking beer, flirting, dancing to the beat of Siargao’s nightlife and surfing some more.  But they are not that well delineated, so we don’t sincerely invest our emotions in them and you want to ask: “Ano ba talaga ang problema ng mga ito?”
When we finally get a handle on them and somehow learn about what they’re going through, our reaction is ho-hum. We’ve seen people in even worse situations but they seem to have much better coping mechanisms.
In “Siargao”, Jericho Rosales is Diego, who seems to be a very popular band vocalist as people always want to take their picture with him. He is really from Siargao and, after some years of being away, he goes home to his mom (Suzette Ranillo) and siblings (they’re really believable as siblings as they truly all look alike, especially Jericho and Leon Miguel who look like identical twins). He seems to be carrying a big emotional baggage with him.
On the plane, Erich Gonzales as Laura is seated beside him and she recognizes him instantly. He gives her a ride from the Siargao airport to her hotel. Laura is a vlogger who seems to have serious hangups of her own. It turns out she has an ideal boyfriend who is so devoted and caring (Enchong Dee in a special participation), but when he proposes to marry her, complete with a ring, she instantly rejects him.
She explains her own reasons for doing this, but frankly we can’t understand it and we don’t buy it. Maybe, millennials for whom this film seems to be more intended, will be able to understand more quickly the reasons for her and the other characters’ confusion and indecision. With a more incisive script, this could have been a more satisfying if bittersweet piece about searching for identity, exploring a relationship and making more lasting decisions and connections.
In Siargao, Erich meets native girl Jasmine Curtis Smith as Abi. She learns that Echo and Jasmine used to be an item, but it’s all very tentative. When Echo finally decides to tell her his true feelings about him, Jasmine says she already has a boyfriend. Honestly, again, we cannot relate.
We’ve seen films about young people and unrequited love and it’s best if what they’re going through is properly spelled out for us so we can fully comprehend what they’re experiencing.
The best film in this sub genre of romances is JP Habac’s “I’m Drunk,  I Love You” featuring an incredibly effective performance from Maja Salvador as a young woman secretly in love with her best friend, Paulo Avelino. So many things happen and we totally relate with her that, when Paulo finally makes a gesture to bed her, she rejects him and we get it, totally, because the script allowed us to get into her character and understand her.
This cannot be said for the characters in “Siargao”, who we all get to know in a very superficial way. Technically, the film is way above average. It can be quite a visual feast, particularly the sun-dappled cinematography that captures the gorgeousness of Siargao and the underwater scenes showing huge towering waves in the surfing scenes. The film offers a lot of songs and seems bent on pushing the career of Jericho as a vocalist. He gets to sing two songs here while accompanying himself on the guitar, in full, not just snippets dahil binuo talaga nila.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

dedma walking predicted to win lots of awards but won only best float and best supporting actor for edgar allan guzman who actually plays a lead role

LAST YEAR, it was “Die Beautiful” that told the story of two gays who happen to be the best of friends. This year, the movie about gays, friendship and death that you should not miss is “Dedma Walking”, the impressive directorial debut of Julius Alfonso, former assistant director to the likes of Chito Rono and Joel Lamangan who seems to have truly learned a lot from his mentors when it comes to engaging storytelling.
Based on a Palanca Award-winning script by Eric Cabahug, whose portrait is seen in a wake scene and who cooks up some witty lines and situations, the movie is actually a con film and it’s a real crowdpleaser. It’s a lot of fun for all sorts of viewers and the first comedy we’ve seen for quite a while that really succeeds in making us LOL (laugh out loud) several times. The story is about John (Joross Gamboa), a rich closeted young executive whose mom is a former beauty queen, and his close friendship with Mark (Edgar Allan Guzman), a more openly gay theatre actor who performs in drag.
John learns that like his mom who died of the big C, his own days are also numbered. To find out how family and friends truly regard him, he asks Mark to help him stage his fake death and the subsequent wake. At first, Mark won’t tolerate his ideas but John convinces him in a well executed montage showing how they plan to stage the fake death, also the wake with its closed casket and the cremation that follows.
John and Mark breaks a lot of rules and this leads to a chain of events that propel the plot forward and which you wouldn’t want to miss. As a con man, John attends his own wake disguised as a balikbayan transgender who is mute. Complications occur when John’s sister, Ate Mary (Dimples Romana), return home during the wake.
The film is primarily a comedy, but has valid layers of drama about friendship and family relationships in it, particularly when one character discovers that the friend he trusts so much has somehow betrayed him. The confrontation scene where the erring party is branded as “ahas” is surely well acted, also quite touching and heartfelt at the same time.
In caper films like this that involves people deceiving other people, the characters have to be lovable rulebreakers for the viewer to side with them. The key is the inclusion of humor as their act of deception is played out. This makes you somehow root for them, anxious to see if they could successfully carry out their schemes and get away with it.
The film’s kind of humor is anything goes, ranging from pa-cultured effect with black and white film clips of an arty French movie starring Eugene Domingo probing into the mysteries of life and love (which actually means you don’t have to take the film too seriously), to pandering to gay viewers with scenes showing scantily clad young men, to unexpected wisecracks like when John asks his goodlooking doctor (Bobby Andrews): “Kailan naman kaya kita matitikman?”
It also makes fun of Pinoy gays’ obsession with beauty queens. There’s a scene showing former beauty queens parade before John and Mark while they are sighing in awe as they see past title holders like Evangeline Pascual and Desiree Verdadero. But this sequence is topped by Carmi Martin’s riotous appearance as the chief rival of John’s mom (Bing Pimentel) in past pageants.
Carmi and her assistants telling John “Condolence” is very funny, but it seems the joke is lost on the audience who obviously doesn’t know that the word always comes with an S in the end. There’s also a twist in the ending that we didn’t see coming.  We initially felt quite uncomfortable with this unforeseen contrivance, but we have to concede that its sense of irony really made the movie cloyingly bittersweet.
Of course, the movie will not work without the endearing performances of Joross and Edgar Allan. They have played a lot of gay roles before on film and TV but in, hindsight, those projects now seem to be mere rehearsals that trained them well for this one. They have great comic chemistry on screen and Joross is splendid, but it’s Edgar Allan who shines more brightly simply because he has the more flashy, more flamboyant role, making him run away with the lion’s share of laughs. As a drag queen, he also figures in some well staged song and dance production numbers, giving him an edge, exposure wise.
The movie also boasts of the presence of so many guest stars. Aside from Uge, there’s Piolo Pascual,  Direk Joel Lamangan (what a riotous cameo), Carmi Martin, Iza Calzado, Gerald Anderson, Vin Abrenica, Wendell Ramos, Angelu de Leon, Marco Alcaraz, Sue Ramirez, Ricky Rivero, Matt Evans, among others. Don’t leave the theatre right away as some of them appear in the end credits which also feature some hilarious bloopers.