JAYA TO DIVORCE U.S. DRUMMER

Manila, July 4, 2003 By MARIO E. BAUTISTA (MALAYA) BERNADETTE Sembrano's "Wish Ko Lang" on GMA-7 is celebrating its first anniversary so she hosted a thank-you party for the press at the refreshing Fernwood Gardens where she does her spiels. Her discoveries in their Celebrity for a Day episodes, Cathy Tiongson and Dexter Bagason of Zambales, rendered musical numbers. Dexter will be a regular singer at Ratsky starting Friday.

We've followed the show since its heartrending first episode showing Lola Maria, a Tala Leprosarium patient who they reunited with her long-lost family. We learned that some months later, Lola Maria passed away, but she was happy to see her children again. The show will have three moving special anniversary stories that pay tribute to modern-day heroes this Saturday at 4 p.m.

First is the Tagbanua tribesmen in Isla Tara, Coron, Palawan, who want to make their island an ecological sanctuary. Their leader, Ka Gardo, and his entire family suddenly disappeared last year while fighting for their cause against cyanide and dynamite fishing. Bernadette sought the approval of GMA's top management to give them a patrol boat to protect their waters and it cost them P120,000.

The second episode is about a man, Percy, who transformed Sitio Ferry in Batangas from being the lair of drug pushers to a drug free zone.

But the one that made Bernadette cry is the story of l5-year-old Cairiya Ontong, a Muslim girl who organized the victims of the war in Mindanao so they can get their own school in Lanao del Sur. "I cried as I was watching the kids because I know they face a bleak future," she says. "Some of them might turn into Abu Sayyaf or MILF members if the government will not help them. But I really admire Cairiya for her courage to fight for their chance to obtain good education."

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SOUL QUEEN JAYAFor the first time, Queen of Soul Jaya talks about her failed marriage to drummer Andrew Buffington. "I'm going to the U.S. on Monday to do shows in L.A. and San Diego, so I'll also work on our divorce papers," she says. "Three years kaming on and 3 years married, so six years din kami. For one year after our breakup, masungit ako, suplada. But now, I've recovered."

We thought Andrew was happy here. "Akala ko rin. But it turned out he couldn't take the pressures of my job. He thought I'd just stay here for one year, then we'd go back to the States. E, my career did very well. It's really difficult for him because he has no American friends here. I implored him to stay, but when I realized he's not happy, I told him - how can you make me happy if you're not happy? So sige, exit na, babu. That was in August of 2001."

What if Andrew would ask for a share of the property she acquired during their marriage? "I really regret that we don't have a pre-nuptial agreement. But all the properties I acquired are here, and he's a foreigner, so he cannot own them. Siguro naman, he's gentleman enough para huwag nang maghabol pa."

Why hasn't she released a new album for a long time? "My contract with Viva was made through Andrew. So ayokong mag-album nang magulo ang marriage ko. Si Boss Vic nga, kinukulit ako noon pa to do a new one, so we've renegotiated the contract and now I also have a new manager, Wyngard Tracy, kaya I'm now doing an album produced by Ogie Alcasid no less. I'm writing some of the songs myself. I'll record them when I come back in August for an October launching."

Jaya's songs like "Dahil Tanging Ikaw," "Laging Naroon Ka," and "Wala Na Bang Pag-ibig" have become modern classics. Lately, Jaya's singing style has deviated from what her fans have been accustomed to hearing. "You have to evolve as an artist. We're supposed to innovate. If I'd sing a Whitney Houston song, I won't duplicate it but interpret it my way. But in some songs in the new album, I'd go back to my roots and do the same style."

Will she ever marry again? "Of course. Pero kung hindi man, I just want to have my own child, na ayaw ni Andrew kasi he didn't want to have kids. Right now, ayoko munang ma-in love. Aayusin ko muna ang divorce ko so I can be single again. Also, I want to try something else, like acting. Nag-extra ako sa 'Pangarap Kong Ibigin Ka' ni Regine and I kinda liked it."

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Today, when most young people seem to find pleasure in drugs, sex and material things, it's heartening to note there's a sector who tries to live a morally upright Christian life. This is Genrev (for Generation Revival) and you can visit their website at www.genrev.net, the friendliest online community for young people that already got over a million hits since it was launched last January. It now has members from 911 schools in 27 countries!

We got to meet their executive director, Moses Catan, and their program to help attract more youngsters to live a better Christian life is really impressive. They publish a GenRev (Generation Revival) devotional to guide the youth daily with reflections from the Bible, written by talented young writers. You can e-mail them at genrev@elimrevival.com. Every 4th Friday of the month, 7 p.m., they hold GenRev Nights at the Elim Center at 51 10th St., Rolling Hills, New Manila.

To reach more people, their band, simply called GenRev, now releases its first album, "Crazy About You." It has 17 tracks combining songs and hilarious spiels, all wild but wholesome as they declare their faithfulness to the Lord and sincere love for Mama Mary. The songs are a combination of modern rock, punk, pop rock, rap, and disco, plus a Tagalog ballad, "Tanging Nais Ko." The best cuts are "I Belong To You," "Falling," "Teenage Girl," and the title track. The best thing about the songs is that they are not overpreachy, even if they profess holiness, purity and challenge today's youth to go beyond what's socially acceptable and choose to be morally upright.

The vocalists are Kiddo Cosio, Mikel Garcia, and Choy Miranda, who also play various musical instruments. These three young guys conduct retreats in various schools like Ateneo, St. Scholastica, St. Theresa's, but they notice "mas malakas ang hatak" when they do rock concerts, so they are attracting more believers through their catchy songs. The album is now available in all House of Praise outlets. For inquiries, call 722-6749.

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Hajji Alejandro beat other singers like Eva Eugenio, Gary Granada, Nina and April Boy Regino who competed with him in GMA-7's toprated "The P1 million Videoke Challenge" hosted by Arnell Ignacio. "I'm lucky because I know most of the songs," he says.

Hajji is also excited to perform at the Araneta Coliseum with Rico J. Puno, Rey Valera, Nonoy Zuņiga and Marco Sison for Viva Concerts' "Just Once" this July.

"It will be very different from the smaller shows we did at the Music Museum which are all big hits," he says. "This time, we'll have bigger production numbers with the Viva Hot Babes and some Viva Divas as our special guests. This time, though, we're warned to shorten our adlibs dahil noong tatlo lang kami, 3 hours na ang show. Baka ngayong five kami, the show will also be 5 hours long."

We ask them who's the oldest among them. "Ako, because I turned 50 noong February 14," says Rico.

"I'm turning 49 on December 26," says Hajji.

"I was born on May 4, 1954," says Rey Valera. "That's exactly the same birthdate of Ryan Cayabyab."

"I'm turning 46 on September 3," says Nonoy.

"I'm the youngest since I'm only 45 this July 10," says Marco.

Now you know how old they all are.

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After playing a sugar daddy in "Hiram," Mark Gil now plays the owner of a "kabaret" in the '60s in the film "Sa Piling ng mga Bellas" of Violett Films, the follow up film of Madame Violet Sevilla to the acclaimed "Magnifico" which is competing in the Karlovy Vary International Filmfest in the Czech Republic. Directed by Joe Carreon, this is the story of the women who work as "bellas" or dancers in Mark's "kabaret."

"The film is about the end of the era of the kabaret, which was replaced by beerhouses with GR0's," he says. "The story begins and ends with me as I tell my story to a reporter, played by Mark Anthony Fernandez."

What happened to the security guard of a hotel who he reportedly punched? "Nothing. He knew he was so rude. Ang mali ko, pinatulan ko siya. I should have controlled myself na lang and let it pass. Kaso, nagkapatong 'yon and the incident with the Thai elephant trainer who spat at me kaya napuno ako."

Aside from Gabby Eigenman, Mark has a new son joining showbiz, Timothy, his son by Bing Pimentel. "He'd be using the screen name Sid Lucero, which is the name I used in Mike de Leon's 'Batch 81'," he says.

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ABC-5's "On-Air" has a new riotous segment, Cheeze Nibbles Seriously Noisy.

All you have to do to join is make sure you have vigorous lungs that will give you the stamina to roar and scream in front of the colossal video camera inside the On-Air booth located next to Kingcorn at the Glorietta 4 lobby. You can also unleash your Hulky self or do any funny thing you can think of for the On-Air Clip of the Month. This will give you the chance to win up to P5,000! Hosted by JM Rodriguez along with his hilarious barkada every Monday night, you can also send On-Air your favorable and nasty comments about the show and hear JM read them in his Reading Time sessions.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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