A GOOD YEAR FOR CARLA ABELLANA

MANILA, DECEMBER 29, 2011 (MALAYA) MARIO BAUTISTA ‘2011 is a good year for her as she got to do three major films.’

DENNIS Trillo plays a potentially off-putting character in "Yesterday Today Tomorrow" as a former macho dancer-callboy who becomes the boytoy of Agot Isidro and later shares him with daughter Solenn Heussaff. But in fairness to Dennis, his heartfelt portrayal of the role made his character appear quite sympathetic as a male "pokpok" with a heart of gold. Some folks predict he’ll surely be nominated as filmfest best supporting actor. He himself just feels lucky to have love scenes with both Solenn Heussaff and Agot Isidro in the movie.

"’Yung kay Agot, more of kissing scene lang," he says. "The one with Solenn, mas passionate so I’m sure a lot of guys will be envious of me dahil sa ginawa namin ni Solenn. Very happy nga pala kaming lahat sa cast ng movie as people are now really flocking to watch in theaters. Na-miss siguro nila ang ganitong klase ng family drama."

In his next GMA soap, "Legacy," his fans are wondering why Dennis agreed to do a father role as the dad of Heart Evangelista, Lovi Poe and Alessandra de Rossi. "Okay lang naman ‘yun as it’s just a guest role. I’d appear in the show’s first week lang. Hindi kami magkakasama sa eksena nina Heart as I’ll be played by another actor as an older man."

Dennis continues to be evasive about reports that he and Bianca King have fallen for each other while they were taping "Sinner or Saint." "We’re good friends. Heto nga, magkasama uli kami sa first week ng ‘Legacy.’ But after that, hindi na kami magkapareha."

Bianca plays the lead in the new afternoon soap, "Broken Vow," with Luis Alandy and Gabby Eigenmann.

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Camille Prats had a not-so-merry Christmas this year as this is her first Christmas as a widow. "But life has to go on even if I still miss my husband Anthony Linsangan very much," she says. "I still have our son to celebrate Christmas with. And I also want to thank all my co-stars and co-workers in ‘Munting Heredera’ dahil malaking tulong sila sa akin to recover after my husband’s passing. Kung wala akong show like ‘Munting Heredera’ na pagkakaabalahan ko, it would have been more difficult for me to move on."

The show’s regular followers tell her they’re happy that she’s now reunited with her daughter Jennifer (Mona Louise Ray) and she intends to forgive Manny (Roderick Paulate) so they visit him in prison since Jennifer misses they gay teacher who helped in raising her. But the enemies of the Montereal family won’t stop in trying to harm them, Desmond (Gabby Eigenmann) and Simeon (Neil Sese), who continue to hatch an evil scheme against them. Meantime, Ynez Veneracion as Claire and Leandro Baldemor as Philip are obviously falling for each other.

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Carla Abellana as Ellery in "Kung Aagawin Mo ang Langit" gets mixed feedback from the hit show’s loyal viewers. "Some pity me sa kaapihang dinaranas ko," she says. "Pero may naiinis naman dahil tanga raw ako sa sobrang pagkamartir at dapat na akong lumaban. Sa tweets nga, sinasabihan ako ng fans, lumaban ka na. But there’s a new development in the story. Meron akong bagong leading man, Frank Magalona, at si Mike Tan naman gets shot when someone tried to kidnap our daughter Samantha. Si Michelle Madrigal naman will give birth to her own baby. So marami pang mangyayari kasi extended kami up to February 2012."

2011 is a good year for her as she got to do three major films: "My Neighbor’s Wife" and her two filmfest entries, "Yesterday Today Tomorrow" and "Manila Kingpin." Those who’ve seen the premiere of "Yesterday" praise her for her fine performance as Gabby Concepcion’s much younger wife who gets humiliated by his first one, Maricel Soriano. "They tell me hindi ako basta nilamon ni Ms. Maricel and I say dapat lang. If you’re given the chance to work with someone like her, sulitin mo na."

In the scene where Maricel learns that her daughter Eula Caballero was injured in an earthquake, Maricel slapped her so hard. "Masakit ‘yun kasi totoo. But na-anticipate ko naman. Pero inulit pa ‘yung take so bale four times niya akong sinampal. But she hugged me agad at nag-sorry siya sa’kin. I told her okay lang ‘yun as I’m just proud to be part of this film’s powerhouse cast."

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Gino de la Pena is always shown in "Survivor Philippines Celebrity Doubles" parading in his skimpy shorts, making viewers suspect he really enjoys displaying his lean physique. "What happened was pinamahayan ng surot or bugs ang mga damit na dala ko sa island at ‘di ko maisuot, so most of the time I’m just in my speedos," he laughs.

But did he really buff himself up for the show? "No, dati na naman akong nagwo-work out. My plan then was magpalaki sana and gain 10 pounds before we go to the island para may stored fats ako as I know walang makakain doon. But dire-diretso ko in hosting sa ‘Unang Hirit’ kaya hindi ko nagawa. What happened was I lost 20 pounds while in the island. I regained it na since we returned to Manila kasi doble, triple ang ginawa kong kain."

What can say that viewer feedback on him is very positive? "Salamat, but as we watch it now, doon ko lang na-realize ang daming internal na away sa isla."

He got alienated from his own partner, Steff Prescott. "That’s true. We had some confrontations, even with other castaways, but ang importante, ‘yung nagso-sorry ka. Now, tinatawanan na lang namin ‘yung differences namin doon. It’s good I listened to my friend JC Tiuseco (winner of the first ‘Survivor Philippines’) when he said: ‘Don’t say anything bad against anybody.’ At the end of the day, the important thing is you know yourself and your friends know who you really are."

Life in the island is hard but he somehow missed it when he came home. "For sometime, I can’t sleep on my own bed. I miss ‘yung matigas na higaan namin, then I’d wake up automatically at 4 a.m. to see kung may apoy pa ‘yung bonfire namin."

So what’s GMA’s plan for him now? "May offer na to do a soap but GMA Artist Center, who’s managing me, told me na patapusin muna itong ‘Survivor’ in February before I go into acting."

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Pokwang is being launched to solo stardom in "A Mother’s Story," Star Cinema’s first salvo for 2012 that opens right after the Metro Filmfest. She plays Medy, a TNT (tago ng tago) in the US who is forced to come home after her child (Xyriel Manabat) gets sick. She also finds out that her son, Rayver Cruz, is alienated from her. The story is reminiscent of Gov. Vilma Santos’ all time hit, "Anak," where she played an OFW in Hong Kong estranged from daughter Claudine Barretto.

Director John D. Lazatin says Pokwang is their only choice for the role of Medy. "The story starts as a comedy and ends up as something touching and dramatic," he says.

How does Pokwang feel that her movie will be shown right after Ai-Ai de las Alas’ filmfest entry, "Enteng ng Ina Mo"?

"Naku, malaking pressure talaga. Basta ginawa ko lahat ng kaya ko, galing sa puso ko. Sana, huwag na lang kami pagkumparahin ni Ms. Ai-Ai, kasi mas drama itong movie ko. At naka-identify naman ako kasi naging OFW talaga ako in real life when I worked in Japan and Saudi para mabigyan ng magandang buhay ang family ko. Lahat ng real experiences ko as a mother and as an OFW, like namatay ‘yung anak kong naiwan ko rito sa ‘Pinas habang nasa abroad ako, nagamit ko para sa mga emosyong pinakita ko rito sa ‘Mother’s Story.’ Lahat ng mga kasama ko rito like Beth Tamayo, Nonie Buencamino and Daria Ramirez, nagpakapagod pati sa sequences shot sa States, para mapaganda ang pelikula."

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So far, nine housemates have been evicted from "Pinoy Big Brother Unlimited." The first ones evicted were Diane Aquino of QC and Lordwin Claveria of Quezon Province. In the next eviction night, voted out was Casey Austria of Albay, with Reg Pineda of California forcibly ousted due to some violations and Jaz Manabat of QC making a voluntary exit as she misses her loved ones. In the third eviction night, Lyn Elimanco also made a voluntary exit to be at the wake of her late mom in Surigao, while Mark Luz was evicted by force due to various violations. In the fourth eviction night, those who were sent home were Erica Arlante of Bacolod and Seth Cox of California.

Big Brother has announced that there will be no more evictions for the rest of 2011 so the rest of the housemates are sure they will spend Christmas and New Year inside Kuya’s house. Last Sunday, they had a nomination night with a Christmas twist. Instead of being nominated for eviction, the chosen housemates will receive special Christmas gifts. In "UnliNight," the three lucky housemates are Joseph Biggel, Eting and Kigoy. In "UnliDay," their counterparts are Pamu, Steph and Seiichi.

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There’s no doubt Pablo "Boy" Logro is the most visible celebrity chef on GMA today. Aside from hosting the toprating "Idol sa Kusina," he now hosts a new daily morning show, "Kusina Master," a 15-minute cooking show that starts airing on Monday before "Eat Bulaga." What’s the difference between the two?

"’Idol sa Kusina’ is preparing dishes for family gatherings," he says. "’Kusina Master’ naman is para sa mga ginang ng tahanan at ‘yun mga nagsisimula pa lang mag-aral how to cook dahil it gives step-by-step food preparation tips. Every day, I have one or two celebrity students na tuturuan ko magluto."

When we visited him at GMA’7’s Studio 6, his guests were Rachel Ann Go and Kyla. Now 56 years old, married and with four kids, how did his love for cooking start? "By accident lang. ‘Di ko akalain mapapasok ako dito. Hanggang Grade 6 lang ang natapos ko sa Biliran, Leyte. Tapos, nagpunta ko sa Manila at naging houseboy ako sa isang Chinese restaurant. Dun ako natuto magluto. In 1982, nakuha kong cook sa Sultanate of Oman. I worked there for 10 years and learned cooking from French, Italian and Thai chefs."

He now operates his own culinary school in Cavite, Chef Logro Institute for Culinary and Kitchen Services or CLICKS. "Ako ang pinakamura sa culinary schools sa atin and hands-on ako sa pagtuturo along with three of my children who are also chefs," he says.

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Newlywed Kyla is one of the guest co-hosts of Chef Boy Logro in "Master Sa Kusina." So how is it to be married?

"Masarap, we’re still discovering each other kahit na six years kaming on before the wedding."

Does Rich Alvarez snore? "No, he doesn’t. Kaya lang, ‘pag tulog na siya, nadadaganan ako ng isang leg niya, hindi niya alam hindi na dumadaloy ang dugo sa paa ko sa laki’t bigat niya."

Will they have a baby soon?

"No, kasi our plan is to have our honeymoon in Europe in June. Kung mabubuntis ako, baka mahirap na kami mag-travel by then." How many kids do they want?

"Just two, mahirap kasi magpalaki ng bata. Kung puede nga lang, sana ‘yung first namin, kambal na agad para isang pagbubuntis na lang."

Do they stay with her in-laws?

"No. Even before the wedding, nagpagawa na si Rich ng own house niya, so doon kami. But I get along fine with my in-laws, mababait silang lahat and they teach me how to cook kasi adobo’t pasta lang ang kaya kong lutuin. Once, nagkare-kare ako, dumaming sabaw, naging parang sinigang. I’m happy Chef Boy Logro will teach me to cook more dishes."


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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