CEBU CITY, JANUARY 21, 2012 (STAR) By Nathalie Tomada - PHOTO - TV5’s Sugod Mga Kapatid Sa Sinulog show at Cebu’s Fuente Osmeña Circle.]

Kapatid and Kapuso stars descended here last week to take part in what has been dubbed as the mother of all Philippine festivals — the Sinulog.

The STAR was invited to witness both networks’ roster of events that added color to the festivities.

It was the first time that TV5 joined the Queen City of the South’s religious and cultural festival held every January in honor of the Sto. Niño and has been drawing stars year after year. TV5’s lineup of activities, which included a variety-game show on Jan. 12 and free screenings for such programs as Glamorosa, PS I Love You, Pinoy Explorer and Talentadong Pinoy from Jan. 9 to 12, at the Fuente Osmeña Circle in the city’s uptown area served as a pre-Sinulog teaser.

The new player in the network battle also flew in some of the biggest names in their fold, namely, Ruffa Gutierrez, Zoren Legaspi and Edu Manzano.

Ruffa said that her siblings and parents are always present during the Sinulog. Her mom, Annabelle, who is the cousin of Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, is a Sto. Niño devotee.

Meanwhile, the young drama princesses of TV5 also shared their Cebu connection.

[PHOTO - Isabelle Daza (far left) with the Survivor Philippines: Celebrity Doubles castaways at GMA 7’s Kapuso Night at SM City Cebu]

Danita Paner can speak and understand some Cebuano words because she has Cebuano roots; her father is from the southern town of Naga.

For Cebuana Eula Caballero, she felt happy to have come home as opportunities like this rarely come by nowadays since she won TV5’s first artista search, Star Factor. Last December, she did her first film via the Metro Filmfest entry Yesterday Today Tomorrow. She’s also part of a forthcoming teleserye wherein she’ll figure in a love triangle with Jasmine Curtis-Smith and American Idol’s David Archuleta, no less.

Niña Jose, who stars in the remake of the popular ‘90s soap Valiente, revealed that she was actually named after the Sto. Niño because her mom delivered her safely after a difficult pregnancy.

The other TV5 stars at the Sinulog were Alex Gonzaga, Arnell Ignacio, Arci Muñoz, JC de Vera, Ritz Azul, Morisette Amon and Wendell Ramos.

The Kapatid’s Sinulog participation comes on the heels of various activities held last year to introduce the network’s shows and increase its profile among local viewers. Also last year, News5, the network’s news and public affairs arm, launched its regional newscast Aksyon Bisaya.

The Kapuso network, on the other hand, held a two-day mall show in two different venues. On Jan. 13, the network mounted the first mall show at Ayala Center Cebu with Lovi Poe, Isabelle Daza, Rachelle Anne Go, Jay-R, Isabel Oli, Mark Herras supplying the star power amid a downpour that didn’t, however, deter the huge crowd turnout.

[PHOTO - Ruffa Gutierrez and Claudine Barretto]

For Isabel, she said it was also her chance to visit relatives. She started out as a ramp and print model in Cebu before venturing into showbiz in Manila.

Isabelle, for her part, shared that she and her mom, former Miss Universe Gloria Diaz, are frequent visitors of the island-province. She also said that it was at the Taoist Temple, one of the city’s tourist attractions, wherein a monk told her mom, then a Bb. Pilipinas contestant, would go on to win the competition.

On Jan. 14, the Kapuso mall show went to SM City Cebu, with several Survivor Philippines castaways in attendance.

Also on hand to entertain were Solenn Heussaff, sisters Ehra and Michelle Madrigal, Bubbles Paraiso and TJ Trinidad.

Claudine Barretto, who’s also a favorite in regional shows, also came to perform before fans. She said that many of her loyal fans (“Claudinians”) were Cebuanos.

The network giant has been actively participating in the Sinulog for several years now. It particularly stepped up its participation when it started to strengthen its regional reach in 2004. According to Oli Amoroso, AVP for Regional TV, “GMA 7 has been participating in the Sinulog since the ‘80s through parade coverage. We’ve participated in the parade itself and the festivities since 2004.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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