MANILA, MAY 11, 2011 (STAR)
FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo (PHOTO - Pia Guanio: The look of love is in her eyes)

BREAKING NEWS: If you notice Pia Guanio on Eat, Bulaga! as if she’s, to use a cliché, floating on Cloud 9, it’s not only because she’s deeply in love but also engaged to be married to Steve Mago, her non-showbiz businessman boyfriend of barely one year.

Yes, the engagement (pamanhikan) was held last Saturday in Pia’s resthouse in Tagaytay, with both the Guanio and Mago families present.

No date for the wedding has been set yet.

“So the right word for it is ‘engaged to be married’,” somebody who was there told Funfare.

The affair was so hush-hush (and rush-rush?) that those present forgot (daw!) to take pictures of Pia and Steve in their first kiss as an engaged couple.

“It was kept secret,” added the Funfare VDPA (Very Deep Penetration Agent), “and I think even Pia’s Bulaga! co-hosts haven’t been told about it yet.”

But Bulaga! followers (this one included) seem to notice a certain sadness in the eyes of Vic Sotto, Pia’s ex-boyfriend and now only her good friend, who must have an inkling gut feeling, you know). At times, Vic even seems to give Pia the cold-shoulder treatment.

Pia and Vic broke up mid-July last year after going steady for more than seven years, just when rumors were flying thick that they were ready to settle down. Barely a few months after, Pia began dating Steve (the guy in a “loving kiss” with Pia in the Internet photo). Meanwhile, if we are to believe the rumors, Vic has remained fancy-free even if he’s linked to a few girls (one of them reportedly a flight stewardess).

The big question is: If and when Pia and Steve finally get married (later this year or early next year?), will they invite Vic to be the Best Man?

* * *

Goodbye, Willing Willie! Hello, Will Time Bigtime!

(Willie Revillame with TV5 big boss Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP, left) and TV5 president & CEO Ray Espinosa. Far right: Willie’s co-host Shalani Soledad. )

Finally, after an absence (forced?) of more than a month, Willie Revillame will be back on the same timeslot on TV5 (6:30 p.m. onwards weekdays and 5:30 p.m. onwards Saturdays) this Saturday, May 14.

Asked why the Kapatid Network decided to drop Willing Willie as title and change it to Will Time Bigtime, Kapatid PR Girl Peachy Guioguio told Funfare, “The change of the title signifies that we have raised the standards for a better quality program, with more production values, new segments and a new set which we believe the audience will appreciate more. LED (Light-Emitting Diode) screens have been installed around the studio and even the stage was made of LED.”

But Willie will still have Valenzuela City Councilor Shalani Soledad as co-host. The dancing girls, once known as WW Girls, are now called Bigtime Girls.

“The prizes will be bigger,” said Peachy. “There will be more new games.”

Jay Montelibano, business unit head of the show, said, “This brand-new approach in local game show is definitely a visual treat for all Filipinos. While brainstorming for new segments, we kept in mind that these new innovations on TV shall be incorporated in all the mechanics of the games to make sure that we offer something new for everyone.”

With the recent controversy in mind, Willie will surely be more careful especially since all eyes — and ears — will be focused on him.

TV5 volunteered to take Willing Willie off the air early last month while the “Jan-Jan issue” was raging. Legal experts, among them human-rights lawyer Romeo Capulong, have insisted however that, contrary to the claims of some sectors, that no “child abuse” was committed on the show. The DSWD, among other government agencies, has filed a case against Willie.

MTRCB Chief Grace Poe slapped Willing Willie with a one-month suspension while at the same time acknowledging the “self-regulation” imposed on itself by TV5.

“The show can open anytime now,” Grace told Funfare. “But it’s under probation so they will have to get a permit for every show until the proposed changes are properly in place.”

Like the general, Willie promised, “I shall return.”

He’s back — with a vengeance?

* * *

Docu on Phl wins award at Tribeca fest

Give Up Tomorrow, Michael Collins’ documentary film that touches on a sensational crime in the Philippines, won the Heineken Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the just-concluded Tribeca Film Festival, in addition to the Special Jury Mention that it has already won in the filmfest’s World Documentary Competition. The prize includes $25,000 cash. Photo shows Paco Larranaga (rightmost) in a scene from the docu. — Reported by Funfare’s New York Correspondent EDMUND SILVESTRE

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved