Ai Ai delas Alas: "Ang tanging ina" on and off screen
- Vanessa A. Balbuena () - December 27, 2010 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Just like in a real family, especially one with many siblings, “Ang Tanging Ina” series star Ai-Ai delas Alas admitted that she also has her favorite  “children” among her on-screen brood. Except Heart Evangelista, all of the originally-cast kids reunited in the final installment of the Star Cinema franchise and 2010 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry.

Among the females, the comedienne said Nikki Valdez is her favorite, while it is Carlo Aquino and Marvin Agustin whom she dotes on more among the males. 

“Sila yung mga close talaga sa akin. Si Nikki, lahat ng problema niya sinasabi niya sa akin. Si Carlo ever since, hanap ng hanap. Katulad ng panganay ko yun, everytime tumatawag, tatanungin kung asan ako, anong ginagawa ko, kung kumusta na ako. Si Marvin naman, ang mga conversation namin tungkol sa buhay, ma-intellectual. At lahat ng pabor na hinihingi ko binibigay niya sa akin. Marami siyang restaurants eh so yung anak ko nagwo-work sa isa niyang restaurant, kasi practicum yung anak ko. Mayaman yun si Marvin, hindi lang niya pinapahalata,” Ai-Ai said during the Dec. 17 presscon of “Ang Tanging Ina Mo (Last Na ‘To!)” at the Castle Peak Hotel with her reel and real-life bestfriend Eugene Domingo. 

The rest of Ai-Ai’s children in the cast are Alwyn Uytingco, Jiro Manio, Marc Acueza, Shaina Magdayao, Serena Dalrymple, Yuki Kadooka, and twins Janelle and Bianca Calma. In this last laugh-fest, Xyriel Manabat and Owie Boy Gapuz join the gang. 

It was in 2003 when Ai-Ai cemented her royalty status with the highly-successful “Ang Tanging Ina.” She followed it up with the sequel “Ang Tanging Ina N’yong Lahat” in 2008. This year, the still-reigning Comedy Queen reprises her role as the hilarious single mom Ina Montecilio, while comedienne-on-the-rise Eugene is back as her side-kick Rowena. Here, Ina discovers that she only has a few months to live and decides that she must make the most out of her remaining time with her family.

“Sinabi ko sa sarili ko, sana pag namatay ako, hindi masakit. Kung aksidente, hindi ka makakapag-paalam sa mga anak mo eh. Basta huwag lang yung masakit. Kung cancer, konting paalam, patay na agad, para hindi masakit,”Ai-Ai answered when asked what she would do if her role’s predicament would (knock on wood) happen to her in real life. 

Eugene praised her co-star for being a true mother to everyone on set, making the experience of completing the movie a pleasurable one. “Nung una kaming nagkita sa set ulit, it felt like a reunion. So kung anuman ang napapanood niyo on-screen, ganoon din po off-screen. Walang ka-pressure pressure. We missed everybody, lalo na yung galing sa ibang bansa. Si Ai-Ai dito, talagang nanay sa set yung trato sa lahat.”

While their last day of shooting was marked with sadness and seeing her children in the film now all grown up made her wax nostalgic, Ai-Ai is also positive that the end of “Ang Tanging Ina” signals the beginning of more exciting things to come. “Lahat ng nagtatapos malungkot talaga. Pero ang buhay ng tao, dapat isarado natin ang isang yugto at papasok tayo sa isa na namang yugto na nakangiti. Ito ang tinatawag nating ‘move on’...” 

Never in Ai-Ai’s wildest dreams did she think “Ang Tanging Ina” would reach a part three. She related that Star Cinema was nervous when they came out with the first of the series in 2003, and wasn’t confident it would do well in the tills. It was unlike the confidence that producers had for her TV shows as people could watch them for free, while viewers had to line up the theaters and pay for a movie.

The two actresses said they gave an all-out performance. While Ai-Ai isn’t shy about praying for a Best Actress win come MMFF Awards Night, Eugene said she’ll be happy enough that it is doing well in the box-office. “Bonus na kung manalo man akong Best Supporting Actress. Ang pinaka-award na gusto ko, sana maraming manood at mag-enjoy.”

They also took the chance to debunk issues of Eugene turning into a swell-head and trying to upstage Ai-Ai in some scenes. “Hindi po mangyayari sa amin yun. Parang ginawa kami ni God na terno talaga kami sa pelikula. Walang sapawan. Nasa character kasi talaga niya yun na maingay at atribida, habang ako yung parang malata,” said Ai-Ai in defense of Eugene. 

Eugene added: “Hindi ko habit ang manapaw, kasi hindi ganoon ang training ko sa theater.” 

In that light-hearted afternoon presscon, Ai-Ai came in a playful Mickey Mouse ensemble. Yet the scene-stealer was Eugene, as she was pounds lighter and looking svelte than her last Cebu visit for a “Kimmy Dora” presscon in the same venue. 

“Thank you very much naman!” Eugene exclaimed when told of her noticeable improvement. “Nag-diet po ako ng isang taon. Hindi ho ako nagmadali. Nagsimula ako with jogging and then I changed my diet. Nag-South Beach diet ako. Until yung bituka ko, maiintindihan niya na konti na lang ang gusto niyang kainin. Nagpapa-plantsa din ako ng katawan, para maging firm.” 

Does her glow also have something to do with the rumors that she’s playing sweet music with director and ex-boyfriend of Krista Ranillo, Dominic Zapata?

She let out a big laugh while Ai-Ai beside her feigned surprise and ended up the one quizzing her BF on what exactly was the real score. “Bakit ngayon ko lang narinig yan? Pag-uusapan natin mamaya yan ha! Ikaw ang landi-landi mo talaga!” teased Ai-Ai, who herself admitted she was in dating mode with a foreigner. 

Later, Eugene explained: “Yung kay Direk Dom, wala naman yun. Direktor ko siya sa GMA. We go out with my college friends. I’m just very fond of him. Masayang katrabaho.” 

Directed by Wenn Deramas, “Ang Tanging Ina Mo (Last Na ‘To!)” also stars Kaye Abad, Rafael Rosell, Jon Avila, Empoy Marquez, Tonton Gutierrez, Dennis Padilla and Jestoni Alarcon. “Ang Tanging Ina Mo opened Christmas day in theaters nationwide, along with seven other MMFF entries. 

AI-AI AKO ANG TANGING INA ANG TANGING INA MO EUGENE INA
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