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Endings are new beginnings

Filed under: Features — admin at 11:11 pm on Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tapos na ang shooting namin ng aming pelikula na For the First Time. In fact, palabas na nga ito ngayong araw, ika-27 ng Agosto. Ayun! Simula pa lang, promo na agad. Pero huwag kayong mag-alala at hindi naman promo lang ang gusto kong isulat dito. Hehehehe.

Marami na akong nagawang pelikula, teleserye, at mga proyekto na iba’t-ibang tao ang aking nakasama. Noong una, naiiyak talaga ako pag natatapos na ang isang serye o kinakansela ang show sa ere. Nakakaiyak, kasi parang nasanay na ako na nagkikita kami lingu-linggo ‘tapos bigla na lang ito matitigil. Nakakaiyak, kasi may mga tao akong naging ka-chikahan na tungkol sa mga nangyari sa buhay ‘tapos biglang mahirapan na akong makita sila dahil sa kanya-kanyang schedule. Maliban pa rito, nakakaiyak siya dahil kailangang maghanap ng bagong regular na raket dahil naputol din ang kabuhayan.

Naalala ko yung sinabi ni direk Bobot Mortiz sa akin nung nakansel yung aming daily early evening variety show sa ABC5 na G.E.P.: Good Evening Please!” Aniya, “Candy, people will come and go but this building will stay. Makakasali ka pa sa maraming shows at isang araw matatapos din yun, katulad ng show natin. Our loyalty is to our audience.” Opo nga naman. May point. Pero nakakalungkot pa rin.

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Pero dito sa shooting ng For the First Time, meron akong na-realize. Ang pagtatapos ay daan para sa isang magandang simula. Simula ng mas panghabang-buhay na pagsasama—ang pagkaikaibigan. Kaya hindi naman pala goodbye, kundi see you soon. Aba! Problema na namin talaga kung paano aalagaan at palalaguin ang naitanim na pagsasama sa isang proyekto.

Simulan ko nga ang flashback sa aking “three gfs.” Si Gelli De Belen ay naging kaibigan ko sa pelikulang The Secrets of Sarah Jane. Si Carmina Villaroel naman ay nakasama ko sa Hindi Magbabago pero naging close kami sa Tropang Trumpo. 

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Si Aiko Melendez, una kong nakasama sa Buddy en Sol the movie at sa The Emma Salazar Story, pero hindi ko matandaan kung paano kami naging magkaibigan. Siguro, parati kaming nagkikita kung saan-saan kaya ayun, nag-gel na lang kami. Ngayon, kaming apat ay isang grupo.

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Naging best friend ako ng halos lahat na yata ng babae. Madalas ay best friend ako ni Donna Cruz at Mikee Cojuangco sa pelikula, at pareho ko silang naging malapit na kaibigan sa totoong buhay. Pati nga ang love story ng dalawang ito ay nasaksihan ko.

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Isang “emotional” na last day ang aking naalala nung natapos ang seryeng Mula sa Puso, na pinagbibidahan nina Claudine Baretto, Rico Yan, and Diether Ocampo at idinerek ni Wenn V. Deramas. Ang role ko ay best friend ni Claudine at sidekick ni Nida Blanca.

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Umusbong mula sa teleserye na ito ang pagkakakabit-kabit ng aming mga bituka. Si Direk Wenn ay ninong ko sa kasal, inaanak ko ang anak niyang si Gabby, at inaanak naman niya ang anak kong si Quentin. So mag-ano kami? Si Tita Nida ay ninang ko rin sa kasal. Assistant director pa nun si Direk Andoy, na ninong ni Quentin at kaibigan ko na mula pa nung college sa UP. Si Cherry Pie Picache ay ninang din ni Quentin. Hanggang ngayon, nagkikita kami kapag nagkakayayaan.

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Naging malapit din sa akin sina Jacklyn Jose, na nanay ni Claudine dito; Mickey Muñoz, na executive producer namin; Princess Punzalan, na kontrabidang bonggang-bongga sa palabas na ito; si Eric Quizon, na nakasama ko pa sa maraming proyekto pagkatapos ng MSP; direk Tots Mariscal, na production designer pa nun; mga production assistants na sina Allan Chaliongco at Hazel; at si Tita Mae Santos, na associate producer namin.Nagtuluy-tuloy ang aming pagkakaibigan hanggang sa likod at harap ng camera sa Saan Ka Man Naroroon at Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan.

Sa Saan Ka Man, nadagdagan ang aking mga kaibigan—sina Karla Estrada, Fanny Serrano, Gladys Reyes at Debraliz.

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Hindi ko natapos ang Sa Dulo Ng Walang Hanggan dahil nainis si direk Wenn sa schedule ko na magulo dahil meron pa akong Wattamen.

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Sa Wattamen, naging kaibigan ko ang aming dalawang director na sina John Lazatin and Danny Caparas. Siyempre, namulat ang mata ko kung paano mag-usap ang mga lalake at tumingin sa babae, dahil puro lalake ang naging kaibigan ko dito. Si John Prats na parating may kuwento tungkol sa development ng love life niya. Sina Marvin, Papa Dom, at Vhong Navarro na naging hingahan ko ng problema for a time. Siyempre, pati ang EP namin na si ate Weng ay ka-join sa eksena. Gaya ng mga naunang mga palabas, natapos din ang mga ito.

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Sa Yes, Yes Show naman, si direk Willy Cuevas ang naging kaututang dila ko. Inaanak ko si Rain na anak niya. Nag-click kami dahil nagkasundo kami sa kalokohan, pagpapatawa at sa paniwala na lahat ng bagay ay nagagawan ng istoryang nakakatawa.

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Pinoys in Dubai

Filed under: Features — admin at 12:17 pm on Friday, August 15, 2008

candy063.jpgAng kapatid na si Rams David of GMA-7 ang nag-book sa akin for Dubai. Matagal na akong kinukuha ni Rams pero di mahanapan ng schedule. Finally, the date for my Dubai trip was set. I was really excited. Why? Wala lang, gusto ko lang maging excited.

Dubai Airport. Perplexed. Confused. In awe. Amazed. Stunned.

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Filipinos were all over the place. In almost every corner, may naririnig kang nagta-Tagalog. I had to pause for a while and make sure the airport I landed was Dubai. Parang nasa NAIA lang naman ako. Kaliwa’t kanan naririnig ko, “Kabayan! Kabayan!” I therefore conclude that the Filipinos have invaded Dubai nang bonggang-bongga!

Together with Rey Pumaloy, we were greeted by Gibby Pangilinan and her hubby, Luvin Santiago. We went straight to our hotel, Lotus Hotel, in Al Mamzar. It’s a three-star hotel-apartment type with a living room and kitchen. Ganda siya, in fairness. As a  matter of fact, kahit walang in fairness.

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candy02a.jpgAng init sa Dubai. The temperature reached 40 degrees. Nakakatakot yung init. It was so humid. Finally, I experienced what it was like to feel humid. Hindi ko nga alam ang exact Tagalog word for “humid.” Meron ba? Mainit sa Dubai at mainit din ang ulo ng mga tao doon sa pera dahil ang ganda ng mga buildings and everything…

Lunch time, we met the owners of Comedy Junction, Nikki Andres and Kaye Egea (thank you to our hosts, they took good care of us), at the City Center, isang mall.

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candy072.jpgCity Center Mall, again, was filled with Pinoys. Merong shoppers, servers, cashiers, sales personnel, sales guide, maintenance staff, caregivers, household help, and all the other jobs that you can think of. I was amazed by how the Filipinos have made themselves so comfortable in Dubai, and how they have managed to get the trust of the locals. Filipino workers are in demand in Dubai. Why? Simply because Pinoys are efficient, loyal, trustworthy, and hardworking.

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Totoo nga naman… Given all the calamities, not to mention our daily struggles, that we Filipinos have gone/ to go through here in our country, hindi na nakapagtataka that we can easily adapt and survive anywhere. Magandang training camp ang Philippines.

We went around and saw more Filipinos, pati sa money exchange ay mga Pinay pa rin. Simply amazing!

candy09.jpgDubai has been building so many things. Construction is non-stop. Again, under the heat of the sun…at 45 degrees, there were Filipinos working in construction sites, helping Dubai with its goal to be one of the finest tourist spots by 2010.

12:00 a.m. ang salang namin sa Comedy Junction, which was near the bowling station. Rey and I were prepared for a two-hour show. Honestly, at first, I got worried that people may leave because the time was already late. Pero nag-enjoy yata kami at napahaba ang show, naging two hours and a half.

I was so thankful to God for giving us a full house of eager, open, and good audience. They came to watch, and most of them came from work. Some still had work the next day, yet, they were there. They stayed, laughed, and joined us till the end of the show. We also had a good number of people during the second night.

At oo nga pala, nalaglag po ako sa lamesa the second night bilang nagpapabibo ako. Buti na lang komedyante ako. Jeff, the club manager, came to the rescue. He did not ask me to spare the table, but he watched my every move. I could read his mind while I was dancing on top of the table, “Naku, pag nalaglag ka dito, lasog-lasog na ang buto mo, baka makabasag ka pa.” Matira ang matibay. Tibay din naman ang mukha ko, sumayaw talaga ako at tila buwis buhay. The crowd cheered. Pinoy na Pinoy ang attitude. Yung mga tila underdog, todo ang suportahan, lalo na kapag lumalaban.

Na-touch ako sa mga multiply friends ko. They came and brought a gift for my son, Quentin. Truly, I appreciated it so much.

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What a Greece experience!

Filed under: Travelogue — admin at 6:47 pm on Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hello, dear friends! I’m sorry for not updating all of you with a new entry. I just got so busy…Now, I have so many stories to tell you that I don’t know if I can actually compress everything into one entry.

Too many things happened to me these past three weeks. After my Wu Chun and Calvin Chen experience, life has become more exciting. Sign na kaya yun ng Diyos na umayos ako sa acting ko at nang maging ka-level ng age ko? Whatever…

This is going to be a long story. Brace yourselves…

I went to Greece for the filming of KC Concepcion and Richard Gutierrez’s movie, For the First Time. And yes, for the first time I traveled alone.” All By Myself”, ang theme song ko these past 3 weeks. I may be projecting a strong and very independent personality, but in reality, pa-baby po ako. I don’t know how to check in my things and where to go, even if I have been always traveling. There’s always been somebody doing things for me.

Pero ito ay Greece kaya iba ito. Gagawin ko ang lahat makita ko lang ang Greece. Ito ay pinag-aralan ko as a theater arts student. Greece is where most things sprouteddrama, literature, architecture, dance, sports, the gods, pati yata horoscope galing sa kanila. Since Greece is an old nation that had a rich culture, that influenced nations and famous people, why have second thoughts about visiting the place? Dedma sa thought of traveling alone. Wala pa naman akong nababasa na sumakay sa eroplano mag-isa at hindi nakarating sa destination. For sure, talagang doon pupunta ang plane na naka-schedule.

While inside the plane that will bring me to Greece, I was seated beside this 26-year old girl who has been married for a year to a German guy. She told me that it had been her wish to marry a foreigner. Her husband is a very nice and understanding guy. Kaya lang, she doesn’t feel like going back to Netherlands because life there is lonely. She actually gave me a litany about her life there, and I actually suggested that she tries planting, crocheting, painting, and etc., just to keep her busy. Ayaw niya. Until I told her, nakakatawa ka, kapatid. Sabi mo sa akin kanina, ipinagdasal mo itong mapapangasawa mo ng bonggang-bongga. Ngayon naman na binigay sa iyo, reklamo ka ng reklamo. Kahahaha! Ganun din kaya ako. I wanted to visit Greece, then after finally having that chance to go there, I kept on whining why I had to travel alone. Nakakaloka din naman ang tao. Kung ako si Lord, iinit siguro ulo ko sa pagka-fickle-minded ng human beings.

Going to Santorini Island of Greece, ang daming stop-over. First was in Amsterdam, where I was amazed by their huge, beautiful, well-kept, and very busy airport. Oh…so this is what you call first world country. Three hours yata ang stop-over ko. I went straight to the business lounge. Wow! Yung business lounge nila parang pang-conference room na. Pwede nga ako mag-show tapos pass the basket, kasi mukhang stressed na stressed ang mga tao doon. Walang nag-uusap. Walang lumilingon. Wala akong maka-eye contact at mangitian. Hindi naman kaya Library itong napasukan ko? Ang Business Class lounge ng Amsterdam, dapat palitan nila ng name into “mind your own business class lounge.”

Bigla akong may narinig na tumawa sa likod ko at nagsalita, “Sir, would you like me to change your coffee. You haven’t drank your coffee and it’s already cold.” Paglingon ko. Pinoy ito. Alam ko, eh. Sagot yung puti, “Thanks.” “No problem sir, Nene is my name, service is my game.” Tumawa ulit yung puti. Nene?! Pinoy nga. At Pinoy lang ang hihirit ng ganun. Laking TVJ siguro ito.

My next stop was in Athens, where I wrote my last entry about Wu Chun. Ang guwapo naman ng tao dito sa Athens. I had like six hours of stop over in Athens alone. Guess what? I enjoyed the independence and freedom. Hindi ako nape-presure kumain kahit busog ako kasi sarili ko lang naman ang iniintindi ko.

Ang mahirap lang talaga sa pag-travel mag-isa ay ang picture taking. Mahirap kunan ang sarili with matching background. Kakaibang talent na yun. Pero mas nagiging observant lang ako, kasi hindi ako busy chumika. Ang signage ng HSBC card ay napansin ko na mas maraming letra ang gamit sa Greek Alphabet compared to the four-letter used in the English Alphabet.

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Santorini Island, here I come. Ate Zel of Star Cinema picked me up with Nickolai, a Greek guy, who was as our locations manager/ connection/ mediator/ talent/ problem solver/ runner/ driver…kulang na lang siya na ang maging ka-partner ni KC.

The first thing we did after they picked me up was to buy bread at the bakery. What a wide variety of breadall shapes, sizes, and flavor. They told me to try on Greek coffee because it’s really good. We decided to look for coffee. We had to transfer to another bakery because they had no coffee there. But…they had a hot “panadero.”

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Santorini is all white with a touch of blue. ‘Pag nagtayo ka ng bahay na orange, out of place ka. The colors maybe dull but the place is full of energy and passion.

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I had that day-off before the shoot. I rented an ATV. It’s a four-wheel motorcycle. Opo, mahal! Bilang Euro ang bayaran at malayo sa exchange rate ng pera natin.

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Pati mga nagpapahiram ng motor ay guwapo. Nagbebenta ng “suklavi,” Greek’s street food, ay kay guwa-guwapo. Pati mga police doon, guwapo at ang babata, walang malaki ang tiyan. Nagbebenta sa grocery ay guwapo. Lahat ay well-built and well-mannered. We were staying at Oia, it’s near the beach, the port, and the donkey trail. It’s a place filled with tourists, and July is their peak season. Ang daming guwapo at magagandang tao.

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candy08.jpgNagbe-blend sina KC at Richard sa mga locals. Bilang magkakakulay at magkakapareho ang itsura nila. Ako, turistang-turista ang itsura ko, bilang kitang-kita naman sa kulay, height, at tangos ng ilong ko.

Santorini is a place that you will fall in love with. The air, the aura, the scenery are so romantic. There I saw KC and Richard. Their looks blended with the place, but their closeness was evident and outstanding. I couln’t help but sigh when I look at them. It was obvious that they care for each other. Their action said more than anything else. I wasn’t really envious of what they have because they never alienated any of us. They simply looked good together. Hindi ako naiinggit! Hindi! Hindi! Hindi ko na kaya ang sweetness nila.

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Sa totoo lang, there were moments that I had to stay away from them because…because…because…(Breakdown in tears) huhuhu! Ang ganda ng lugar, ang sweet nila, bagay sila, konti na lang puwede ako masaktan sa inggit. Haaaay!

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Direk Joyce Bernal, Shayne Sarte (our director of photography), Irene (our assistant director), Jerry (our production designer), Ms. Beng (make-up artist) and the whole crew really bonded with each other. Walang primadonna sa mga artista. Lahat nagbubuhat at tumutulong. Yes, pati si KC and Richard, on the go sila. Pati nga si Richard Paul na kapatid ni Richard ay tumutulong ng bonggang-bongga.

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Marami akong FTFT na experience dito sa shooting na ito.

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