MANILA, FEBRUARY 2, 2012 (STAR) FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo (PHOTO - David Archuleta. Inset: Perci Intalan, head of TV5 Creative and Entertainment. — Photos by Ver Paulino)

Yes, it’s true.

American Idol alumnus David Archuleta confirmed what he announced during his My Kind of Christmas Tour in Salt Lake City in December last year that he was going on a two-year leave from the music industry.

“I will serve a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints,” he said at a presscon at the EDSA Shangri-La yesterday after he signed a contract to do a soap for TV5.

He arrived on a PAL flight at 5:30 yesterday morning from L.A., obviously jet-lagged from the 12-plus long haul but was nevertheless as engaging as he has always been during his visits to Manila. His first was in 2009 when he did a concert with his namesake, AI champ David Cook, followed by two more only several months apart for a solo concert and for an album promo.

David is here for more than two weeks to shoot for the soap that will premiere third week of February, with Jasmine Curtis-Smith and Eula Caballero as his leading ladies and L.A.-based G Tongi as his mother (G also arrived yesterday).

In the soap titled Nandito Ako (with David himself singing the Ogie Alcasid-composed song in Tagalog), the soap, directed by Mac Alejandre, will run for five weeks.

Perci Intalan, TV5 Creative and Entertainment head, told Funfare that David will deliver bilingual dialogue (English mixed with a few Tagalog words) in his role as a Fil-Am singer in search of his mother. An acting greenhorn, David took a crash course in acting in L.A. before he flew in.

[PHOTO - American Idol alumnus David Archuleta with two copies of The STAR carrying stories about his concerts during his previous visits here. He charmed movie reporters at yesterday’s presscon for the soap he’s doing for TV5.]

“David’s character spends five years in the Philippines before going to the US, kaya nakakaintindi siya ng Tagalog pero hindi siya nakakapag-salita,” explained Perci. “He will attend a story conference (set for today), record the theme song and do pictorials. And then he starts shooting the next day.”

Asked how much TV5 was paying David, Perci was mum, saying, “Mahal but it’s worth it.”

TV5 executive vice president/COO Bobby Barreiro, who was also present at the contract-signing together with TV5 president/CEO lawyer Ray Espinosa, described David as “mabait na bata.”

Fearing that David would be mobbed during the mostly outdoor shoot, TV5 offered to assign a few bodyguards to him but David declined.

“He arrived with only one companion,” added Perci. “Walang entourage.”

After the shoot, David said that he wouldn’t be doing any other showbiz-related projects since he would buckle down to his mission to serve God.

“I made the promise even before I decided to come to the Philippines,” assured David.

Raquel a ‘debutante’ at 40

“I’m eighteen with 22 years experience. Thanks to modern medical advances such as antibiotics, nasal spray and Diet Coke, it has become routine for people in the civilized world to pass the age of 40, sometimes more than once.”

With this “confession” on the invitation, Charice’s mother Raquel Pempengco will celebrate her 40th birthday debut-style in her Laguna hometown. That’s what wheelchair-bound Charice came home for.

• The 18 Roses will be offered by Robin Sorosoro, Lito Mendoza, North Alviar, Councilor Jimbo Alcabasa, Rhap Salazar, Makisig Morales, Sam Concepcion, Gian Barbarona, Kyle Balili, Manny Salazar, Mj Aventurado, Asi Ybera, Ronnel Barromeo, Romeo Padicio, Robert Relucio, Redjie Relucio, Lestat Nathan Pempengco and Carl Ceiven Relucio Pempengco.

• For The 18 Wishes: Irene Alvarez, Vannessa Opinia, Lourdes Padicio, Aprille Caringal, Lea Osejo, Jennette Vitales, Lucy Lapidario, Lilibeth Alejandrino, Chona Fajardo, Marie Frauline Torres, Jackelyn Aldueza, Julieta Sanchez, Jerlie Geneciran, Aida Salazar, Courtney Blooding, Phen Ocampo, Radioza Relucio and Charice Pempengco.

• For The 18 Candles: Julius Michael Gernandiso, Marina Tan, Carl San Luis, Nita Nadera, Appin Pinkihan, Hilda Capuli, Sean Santos, Mark Anthony Guevarra, Anne Bernadette Bonita, Beverly Dayo, Bernard Dan Angeles, Luisito Tolentino Jr., Kristine Joyce Decena, Francis Favoreal, Christine Marie Toledo, Karissa Villa, Giella Valin and Jm Constantine.

The Cotillon: Raquel Pempengco/Robin Sorosoro, Lestat Nathan Pempengco/Anne Margareth Opinia, Carl Ceiven Pempengco/Phen Ocampo, Radioza Relucio/ReinHart Sanchez, Paula Sanchez/Redjie Relucio, Robert Relucio/Irene Alvarez, Reggie and Engr. Ferdie Hernandez, Grace and Glen Aldueza, Jessie Rose and James Cancisio, Joice and Ron Samson, Clarrissa Arganca and Erick Trinidad, Lourdes and Romeo Padicio, Rose and Joel Licsi, Maricel and Mark Louie Sanchez, Carla and Bernard Bariring, Aprille Caringal/Mj Aventurado, Emem Pulido and Gj Baldonado, and Kimmy Bariring and Jerome Geneciran.

• For The 40 Gifts: Boy Abunda, Karen Davila, Charo Santos, Kris Aquino, Kristine Babao, Michelle Gankee, Dr. Vicki Belo, Pinky Oledan, Lucy Ongkauko, Cris Liamo, Elsie Chua, Bum Tenorio, Rep. Dan Fernandez, Gov. ER Ejercito, Mayor Calixto Cataquiz, Mayor Arlene Arcillas, Annabelle Regalado, Marissa Galang, Councilor Jimbo Alcabasa, Jose Alcabasa, Benson Ong, Grace Mendoza, Dra. Len Alcabasa, Marina Tan, Robin Sorosoro, George Aldueza, Domingo Sanchez, Ronnie Geneciran, Cathy Matira, Grace Aldueza, Cherry Arganda, Jobert Sucaldito, Jessie Rose Cancisio, Joice Ann Santos, Wilma Marasigan, Belen Urbina, Lestat Nathan Pempengco, Courtney Blooding, Carl Ceiven Pempengco and Charice Pempengco.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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