MANILA, DECEMBER 28, 2011 (STAR) CONVERSATIONS With Ricky Lo - The so-called Diamond Star applies the lessons of yesterday in living her life today without planning for her tomorrows'

For this Conversation, as per the request of those handling her career, I prepared a set of questions for Maricel Soriano patterned after the title of her Metro Filmfest movie Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (YTT) by Regal Films, five questions each for each season. It’s only the title but not the story that is similar to a Regal movie several years ago in which Maricel starred with the likes of Vilma Santos, Snooky Serna and Gabby Concepcion who is reunited with Maricel in the new YTT. What’s the plot this time? Better for you to find out for yourself when it opens nationwide today along with the six other official Metro Filmfest entries.

After more than a week, no word from Maricel. Her former manager Malou Choa-Fagar said that she had passed on the e-mailed questions to Maricel. Then, talent manager Shirley Kuan called, saying that Maricel would rather answer the questions face-to-face and not just via e-mail.

When we met at the office of Regal Matriarch Mother Lily Monteverde at her own Imperial Palace Suites (IPS) at Timog-Morato Rotunda in Quezon City, Maricel had just come from a promo-guesting in Wiltime Big Time, hosted by Willie Revillame who is in a way related to Maricel because he’s the father of Meryll Soriano, daughter of Maricel’s sister Becbec.

“I didn’t read the questions,” Maricel said. “I didn’t want to be preempted. I didn’t want to give studied answers. I want to answer them spontaneously.”

And straight from the heart.


What did you learn and unlearn in showbiz about yourself and in dealing with people?

Maricel Soriano’s ‘yesterday’ involved playing wacky characters that earned her the monicker ‘Taray’ (roughly translated snooty). Her ‘today’ is as tame and serene as the life she leads, reflected in the roles she chooses to play, such as the one in Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (YTT), Regal Films’ 2011 Metro Filmfest entry.

“A lot. Maraming masakit, maraming nakakatawa, marami rin nakakaiyak. Parang pelikula! My only wish is that I could have given my mom more time; she died more than two years ago. Mas marami pa sana akong nasabi sa kanya. I learned a lot from my mom. I miss the times when we were together, mga pangaral niya na nagiging guide ko sa buhay. I was in denial for a long time after my mother’s death; I was depressed. It took me a long time to accept the reality that she’s gone.”

How was it growing up in showbiz (she started at age six in the kiddie TV show Kaluskos Musmos, produced by Imee Marcos and later in the Dolphy-Nida Blanca sitcom John en Marsha)? Didn’t you feel that you missed parts of your childhood?

“I admit that I missed a lot as a normal child — ‘yung playing, going to a regular school. Maaga akong namulat sa realities ng buhay na, you know, you have to work for a living, that you have to help your family. I realized that I came from a broken home early enough. I wanted sana that my life wouldn’t be like that, that my own family would be intact, but what could I do? Nobody promised me a rose garden; hindi mo hawak ang bukas, you can’t predict what will happen.”

Recall three incidents in your yesterday that changed the course of your life.

“One, when I got married (To Edu Manzano. — RFL). Two, when I gave birth (To Sebastien, by another man. — RFL). Three, when my mom died.”

If you were not in showbiz, what would you have been?

“If I was able to study, I would have been a lawyer now. I really want to fight for what is right and what is just. Or I would have been a teacher, a character that I portrayed in Mila. I also played a lawyer in one of my movies.”

[(From left) Eula Caballero (as her and Gabby Concepcion’s daughter), Solenn Heussaff, Lovi Poe, Agot Isidro and Carla Abellana.

What was in your yesterday that you would have changed if you could?

“Honestly? Kung puede, hindi ako nagmahal. What love brings is not all happy; it’s not always pleasant. It involves a lot of pain and betrayal. I’m afraid to love again, masyado siguro akong nasaktan.”


How are you different now from what you were, say, 20 or 30 years ago?

“I have mellowed. Marami na akong nadaanan at naiintindihan, maraming pagsubok na nalagpasan. Ngayon, I think 10 times before I do or say anything. I watch life go by, so parang naka-stare lang ako bago ako gumalaw. That’s me now. Lately, if you notice I haven’t been taking a lot, pa-smile-smile lang ako. It’s better that way — smile ka lang, don’t talk much.”

How did you find inner peace?

“I just keep on praying…honestly, honestly! I’ve learned that you can’t hold on to anybody, to anything. You can hold on only to God. Ay, napapaiyak na ako!”

How do you maintain your looks?

“Every part of me is original; walang ginalaw. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against those na nagpapa-ayos; it’s just that I’m not for it. Kasi kilala ako ng tao… gumagalaw ang kilay ko, pag nagpagawa ako baka hindi ko na magalaw…natatakot ako! The public has accepted me for what I am, for how I look, so bakit ko babaguhin, bakit ko ipapabago? Am I afraid of aging, of growing old? No, I’m not. All of us grow old naman, di ba?”

How do you feel looking at the new breed of stars?

“I see myself in them. I’ve been in the business for four decades. The stars today were not even born when I was starting. I try my best to be a good example to the younger generation in the same way that I look up to those before me as role models, like Tatay Dolphy.”

Which three of your movies are memorable to you?

“One, Ikaw Pa Lang Ang Minahal (with Richard Gomez, directed by Carlitos Siguion-Reyna for Reyna Films). Two, Saan Darating Ang Umaga? (directed by Maryo J. delos Reyes for Viva Films). Three, Dahas (with Richard Gomez, directed by Chito Roño).”

How are you as a mom (to Marron, 25; and Sebastien, 18)?

“I‘m like a friend to them. I encourage them to be open to me. Yes, they are courting girls na. I always remind them to respect women, huwag mambabastos ng babae. Marunong silang rumespeto ng babae. They are good boys. They don’t give me problems. I’ve been a single mom for a long time; sanay na sila sa ganoon. I’m glad that they are not fond of gimik-gimik, very homebody sila like me.”


How do you see yourself 10 years from now? Still in showbiz or abroad?

“Let’s put it this way: If I have to sum up my tomorrows, isa lang ang sasabihin ko — hindi natin hawak ang bukas. I used to but I don’t want to plan anymore. C’est la vie! I don’t want to get hurt, to get frustrated or devastated. I’m ready for what’s in store for me, tatanggapin ko na lang. I live life one day at a time, I take one step at a time. I continue to pray; I say the rosary. I just want to be happy. ‘Yon lang! Am I happy now? Yes, I am!”

Having done all kinds of roles, any that you still haven’t portrayed but would love to?

“I’ve answered that question several times. Anyway, even if you play the same role, the execution makes the difference kaya nagiging iba ang atake mo sa role.”

Any regret or frustration personally or professionally?

“If you asked me yesterday if I regretted anything, I would have said many things. Today or tomorrow, wala akong regrets. I learned even from my mistakes; they are part of what I am now.”

Do you intend to stay single all your life?

“As I said, all I want is to be happy. But I must admit that there’s a void, there’s something missing. What is it? I don’t know. Only God knows.”

Looking back 10 years from now, what do you think you would focus on?

“There are so many questions in life that I cannot answer, that have no answers. That question is one of them. Basta, no regrets na lang ako.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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