SUSAN ROCESManila, June 25, 2003 (MALAYA) by Mario E. Bautista - MOVIE Queen of the '60s Susan Roces is making her big screen comeback in Regal's "Mano Po 2." But before that, she will be seen this Thursday in the heartrending true story of a mother searching for her long-lost daughter in GMA-7's "Magpakailanman." The episode "Nang Magtampo ang Kerubin" is culled from Bernandette Sembrano's top rated "Wish Ko Lang."

Susan plays Elvira Lerum, the mother of three children who is forced to leave home and work as a DH when her husband (Ramil Rodriguez) dies in an accident. Her youngest daughter, Maria (Charina Scott), is an epileptic. After she leaves, her elder children (Biboy Ramirez and Maybelyn de la Cruz), treats Maria as a burden so she leaves home. Susan then starts her search for her ailing daughter but fails to find her, until she watches "I-Witness" as it features young mental patients in a hospital. Susan sees her missing daughter as one of them so she goes to the hospital and they are reunited.

Be sure to have hankies ready when you watch this story as it is sure to make you cry. Last week, the Sarah Geronimo story on "Magpakailanman" garnered a high 28% rating. We're sure this episode topbilling Susan, who is deglamorized in the role, will be another sure winner.

"I always watch 'Magpakailanman' because of its inspiring stories," Susan says. "I have many offers on TV but I chose this one because the story of Elvira and Maria really touches the heart and offers a good message about family life."

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The Power Four or P4'S carrier single, "Oochie Coochie," is getting good airplay. It shows that Jordan Herrera, Jay Salas, Frank Garcia and Greg Martin do not only have the the great body and the good looks needed to make it in showbiz but also the voice to win them more fans. They are really quite an alternative to the current hit Chinese band F4 since their self-titled debut album carries songs in English and Tagalog you can truly relate with. The P4 will rock the "Kool 106" booth this week as they are the special guests in "Kool on Kam," seen weeknights on ABC-5 at 7:30 p.m. Hear them dedicate their songs like "I Believe in You" and "I'll Find Your Heart" especially for you.

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KRIS AQUINOShe's obviously no longer hiding her affection for Joey Marquez anymore as we were informed Kris Aquino is now the one who regularly visits her inamorato on the set of his "Kool Ka Lang, Oo Naman" show on GMA-7. Sometimes, she'd even cook his favorite pasta dishes and bring it to him on the set so he'd have something to eat with co-stars Raymart Santiago, Benjie Paras, and the rest of the cast.

"Wala na talagang pakialam si Kris even if public opinion is against them," says a scribe. "She obviously believes she can get away with anything. And Joey must really be bringing out the worst in her. Look at the way she dresses in 'The Buzz' every Sunday. Halos hubad na. Talbog na sa kanya ang ibang bold stars."

We're told her revealing getups help make the show rate, so this is probably why she's dressing up like a sexpot.

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Former teen singer Roselle Nava now projects a more mature image now that Wyngard Tracy's Artistation is managing her career. A much awarded singer (including Awit Awards' best female performer of the year) and certified hitmaker ("You," "Bakit Nga Ba Mahal Kita"), Roselle's contract with Star Records has expired so she has decided to move on. She is now waxing her first album for Viva Records, to be produced by Side A's Joey Benin no less.

"Tito Wyngard's first request is for me to lose weight because I look so plump on TV, so I went on a strict diet and hied off to the gym to work out almost everyday," she says. "Parang naging addict nga ako sa gym and everytime I'm free, I attend my aerobics class."

The result is really a much sexier figure that she can use to project a more sultry image. How come she decided to leave Star? "There's a lull in my career and I don't know if they still have any plan for me than my semi-regular appearance in 'ASAP,' so I talked to Mr. Johnny Manahan and he gave his permission for me to go. Natutuwa nga siya kasi magaling daw si Tito Wyngard."

Now that she's with Viva, her first project is her participation in their production of the tribute to National Artists, "Lagi Kitang Mamahalin," to be staged at the CCP on July 11 and 12. She will be singing Atang de la Rama's "O Anong Sarap" from the zarzuela, "Paglipas ng Dilim." "I'm really excited to sing the song of a national artist," she says.

About her lovelife, she admits she's going steady with a guy named Allen. "We met at the Center for Pop and he's been watching my concert ever since. Then he started calling me and visiting me at home. 'Yun na." But facing the altar is still very far from her mind. "That can wait. I still want to accomplish a lot more in my career before I settle down."

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The Himig Handog song contest helped launched Heart Evangelista's recording career. "It's when I interpreted the entry 'Love Has Come My Way' for last year's Himig Handog Love Songs and it won as the listener's and texter's choice that management realized I have a potential as a singer so I'm launching my own album next month," she says.

When ABS-CBN was holding Himig Handog contest with nobler themes like "Bayani," the winners failed to hit it big in the airlanes. But when they zeroed in on "Love Songs," bingo! They came up with an album of all the finalists that is now certified double platinum. Not only that, the winning song, Bituin Escalante's "Kung Ako Na Lang Sana," has become a big hit and is now the title song of the first film of Sharon Cuneta and Aga Muhlach. So now, they are launching the Himig Handog Love Songs once again. Whereas before, the ten finalists only receive P10,000 cash each, now, it's P50,000 cash each plus P200,000 for the first prize on finals night, with an Asian love cruise and romantic gift showcase. The runners-up will receive P100,000 and P50,000, plus their own cruises and showcases. There will also be prizes for the texter, buyer and listener's choices, plus P50,000 for the best interpreter. They're also going global as Filipinos overseas can submit their own entries through The Filipino Channel office is the US and Middle East.

You can send your entries at the Himig Handog Love Songs Secretariat, ABS-CBN, Sgt. Esguerra Ave, Quezon City. Deadline for submission is August 15, so join now!


Benicio del Toro won the Oscar best supporting actor award for "Traffic" but it didn't seem to help his career at all. His follow up to that comes more than two years later, "The Hunted," an action drama where he's paired with another Oscar best supporting actor, Tommy Lee Jones, who won for "The Fugitive" in 1993.

"The Hunted" is directed by William Friedkin, who made the hit "The Exorcist" and won the Oscar best director award for "The French Connection."

The two actors play trained assassins. Benicio is Aaron Hallam and Tommy Lee is LT Bonham, both animal lovers who'd go to great lengths to help an animal in trouble. Hallam is a former Special Forces operative who fought during the war in Kosovo, where his exposure to so much killing and carnage no doubt left him traumatized.

When Bonham sees a white wolf whose leg is caught in a trap, he rescues it, frees its leg then treats its wound with medicinal plants. When he meets the guy who has previously set the trap, he knocks him out to give him a lesson.

Hallam is more brutal, though. When he sees two hunters with high-powered guns hunting down a deer, he turns the tables on them and stalks them to give them a dose of their own medicine. He moves quietly like a ninja and even knows the ventriloquist's trick of throwing his voice off to confuse them. He terrorizes them with knives, then kills them to give such cruel hunters a lesson about animal preservation.

Because he has become a predator to hunters, the FBI becomes concerned about him, particularly a female agent played by Connie Nielsen ("Gladiator.") She then aks the help of Bonham to track down Hallam since it is Bonham who taught him everything he knows about survival tactics. Hallam was his best student in the Special Forces and he did learn all he has to teach about ruthless killing.

Set in the Pacific Northwest, the cinematography offers wonderful vistas of its unspoiled beauty, just like in "The Edge" with Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins. Friedkin tried to inject some philosophical thoughts into the material, telling us that the real enemy is really one's self, just like in "Fight Club" with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Tommy Lee shows us how to murder a man in five easy steps. Benicio shows us how to make a deadly knife from sratch. There is a reference to Abraham and Isaac (you know, where the father offers his own to God) to give it some Biblical dimension, but the characters of both Hallam and Bonham are not really that fully fleshed out so you don't really get to care much for them. The film is actually a series of bloody fight sequences using knives that only lovers of violent hard action films will surely enjoy.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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