Quezon City, Sept. 30, 2001 - Rica Peralejo is wearing a silver pendant engraved with the initials of her boyfriend Bernard Palanca, Jr. The pendant is a gift from her mom, Alice, who bought it in Singapore.

Rica and Bernard, along with Rosanna Roces, performed for the Filipinos working in Singapore recently. Alice acted as Rica's chaperone throughout the trip.

It's obvious that Alice likes BJ for her daughter. They both find BJ responsible and loving. He is very understanding, too, they both related. BJ has yet to lift a finger to prevent Rica from performing whatever role in her movies. He just seems to trust her very much.

Rica and BJ came together and learned to love each other while filming "Sa Huling Paghihintay."

"Funny," Rica recalled. "But did you know that the role which Bernard performed in that movie was first offered to Jomari Yllana? But for one reason or another, Jomari turned down the offer."

She continued: "We must have really been meant for each other. Remember na kami ni BJ are both former Talent Center talents. But we never discovered each other until nga ginawa namin iyong 'Sa Huling Paghihintay' for Viva Films.

Is she happy with him?

"Very much," she answered.

BJ has brought Rica to meet his parents (his mom, Pilar, has now remarried. The senior Bernard Palanca died when Bernard was still very young) and Bernard's other relatives. BJ's granddad is former matinee idol Armando Goyena. His is a family of beautiful people. Most of his aunties, like his mom, are known for their beauty. Such as Maritess Revilla, Tina Revilla and Cecile Revilla, themselves former movie stars. Commercial model and MTV host Bianca Araneta (mom, Maritess R) is Bernard's first cousin. His late lola, the former Paquita Roses (spelled with an S, yes. Revilla is his lolo's real surname) was the first Miss Camay Girl.

BJ has a brother who is himself a Talent Center talent. He is Miko Palanca.

Rica, too, is the elder sister of Paula Peralejo, also a Talent Center talent.

"Sabi ko sa inyo, we have so much in common," Rica declared, smiling.

"I like Rica's sense of humor," said Mark Anthony Fernandez, Rica's leading man in her soon-to-be released flick, "Dos Ekis," directed by her "Sa Huling Paghihintay" director, Erik Matti. "With her, there's no dull moment. Patawa siya ng patawa kapag magkasama kami. Kaya kahit malungkot kang dumating sa set, halimbawa, magiging masaya ka kapag kasama mo siya."

In "Dos Ekis," which is produced by Viva Films and co-stars Rica and Mark Anthony with John Arcilla, Ricardo Cepeda, Celso Ad Castillo (yes, the director) and Kokoy Jimenez (Christine Jaca is being introduced), the two young stars play two young people bored with their respective lives. They look forward to the "sunrise" of their respective lives, only to find themselves entangled with underworld characters who won't leave them alone, not while they are alive, anyway.

Of their tandem, Direk Matti said: "They are perfect for each other. You can feel the explosive chemistry between them once they are together on screen. They have a way of setting the screen on fire with their searing performances."

Would he have fallen for Rica? We asked Mark Anthony.

He answered: "Madaling mahalin si Rica. Lalo pa nga at nakikita mo kung anong klaseng babae siya, kapag matagal mo na siyang kakilala. It's just that alam kong may nobyo na siya. Kaya, attracted man ako sa kanya, hanggang doon na lang. Ayaw kong maging dahilan para maging malungkot ang buhay ng isang kapuwa ko lalaki."

Mark Anthony has also wrapped up work for "Jesus Rebolusyonaryo," where he has Donita Rose for a leading lady. Direction is by Lav Diaz. Producer, Regal Entertainment.

Rica is just about to finish filming "Dos Ekis," which is due for release on Oct. 26. She will soon start work on "Tatarin," which is Viva Films probable entry to the coming Metro Manila Filmfest. (Malaya)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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