What Cherie has come home for
- Ricky Lo () - April 24, 2000 - 12:00am

ent1Bona sera, Cherie!

With that, let's welcome back Cherie Gil who flew in last Maundy Thursday with her three children - Jay, 13; Bianca, 6; and Raphael, 2 - from Vicenza, a romantic town in Italy, about 45 minutes drive from Venice, where Cherie and husband Roni Rogoff and their kids have been staying for one year and a half now after moving there from the States (New York and Pennsylvania) where they lived for more than four years.

ent1Actually, Cherie and her family were here this time last year purposely to tape for Viva Television's telenovela May Bukas Pa (a thrice-weekly drama which premieres tonight, 6 to 7 o'clock, on IBC 13, airing Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays). They stayed for three months, but finished only about 50 percent of MBP (which also stars, among others, Dina Bonnevie, Kim delos Santos, Ann Curtis and Angelu de Leon whose "comeback" vehicle MBP was supposed to be, but was overtaken by the movie Bulaklak ng Maynila).

Intended initially to be a daily series, MBP sort of reprises the plot of Viva Films' Bituing Walang Ningning (remember the classic, oft-quoted line delivered by Cherie to co-star Sharon Cuneta, "You're nothing but a second-rate copycat!"?).

"MBP is like a reunion for me and Dina," Cherie told Funfare during a brief phone chat yesterday. "Had Sharon been included in the cast, puede na sanang Bituing Walang Ningning Part 2. My role is that of a fading star who loses not only her career but also her man to Dina, her avid fan. It's again a bida-kontrabida role, as usual."

What brought Cherie back home this time is not only the remaining MBP episodes she has to shoot but the new Viva movie, Ika-13 Kapitolo, which is being directed by her brother Michael de Mesa, also starring Christopher de Leon, Albert Martinez, Zsa Zsa Padilla and Ann Curtis.

"May pagka-horror 'yung movie," said Cherie. "I play a vengeful spirit, revived by Satan, which takes possession of Ann to get back at her father (Christopher) because of my bitterness over my unconsumated romance with Christopher."

Cherie and her kids are staying with the family of Michael and Gina Alajar in BF Homes for the Holy week and will soon move to the Rogoff's house in Residencia. Now having a concert in Spain, Roni will fly in sometime in July or August for a brief vacation and to fetch his family (the two older kids will go back to school in September).

Asked how she felt being directed for the first time by Michael, Cherie said, "Scared -- and excited at the same time. When the offer came, I was thrilled. I told myself I wouldn't miss the chance for anything so I flew back home. As soon as I get settled, I'll start shooting na. Michael has been shooting the movie already."

Yes, of course, Cherie has been missing showbiz so much -- "The work," she clarified. "It's in me. The actress, I mean."

She described Vicenza as a very quiet historical town, more tranquil than New York and/or Pennsylvania.

"My life there is far different from my life in the States. Until I got to Vicenza, I didn't realize that I didn't know a lot of things. Everyday has become a challenge to me both as a wife and as a mother. Keeping house is a learning experience. Like in the States, we don't have maids," revealed Cherie who's now more of a stay-home mother and wife, unlike before when she would travel with Roni to wherever his concerts were. "Now, most of Roni's concerts are in Europe so they don't take him away from home for long periods of time."

It was Roni's job that made them decide to move to Italy.

"You see, Roni decided to organize an orchestra in Italy, composed of young students learning how to play the violin from him. The students would follow Roni everywhere he went. Soon, the orchestra became successful, making Roni stay in Italy more often. Every two weeks, he would fly to Italy and it wasn't easy for him and the family. That was also the time I was having our (new) baby. We wanted to spend more time as a family, so we decided to move to Italy. Now, Roni can look after the orchestra and be with the family at the same time.

Living away from home has taught Cherie to value family (the one she left behind), friends and home even more.

"It has made me grow up a lot," she said, her voice turning a little sad. "Out there, I'm living a life unlike the one I lead here, away from the public. Now, I feel that I understand relationships and human nature even more, even better."

Readers' reactions

* From Olan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates: I'm a fan of Regine Velasquez and am always excited to read articles about her, even the bad ones (actually there has been no bad write-up about her). I'm very happy that her recent concert at the Araneta Coliseum was a big success. Will it be available on tape? (Note: Good news for Olan and other Regine fans. Viva Records is showing the concert as a TV special on IBC 13 in the evening of April 26, Wednesday. Better be prepared with your blank tapes.)

* From Jobb S. Gosamo (no address given): I am not a fan of Kris Aquino but Alvin Patrimonio's insensitivity is condemnable. He raped the emotion of Kris and rape is a heinous crime. (Note: Other readers are accusing Funfare of being "unfair" to Alvin by not asking him to air his side. For the information of everybody, Alvin has opted to keep quiet about the matter, knowing perhaps that in a situation like this silence is the better part of discretion).

* From Brenda B. Corpuz (no address given): If it would not be much trouble on your part, and for the sake of the grandchildren of a long-lost grandfather in the US, could you possibly e-mail me back story on Christopher de Leon's US naturalization? It registered in my mind that there was such an issue and his case might be similar to ours. My grandfather went to the US when my father was just a baby. He never came home. But when my grandmother turned 60, she tried to apply for benefits from the SSA in the US and luckily she was granted, but she got no information about our grandfather. Our grandmother died some 10 years ago. Our calculation is that if our grandfather became a US citizen, would there be chance for us to apply for naturalization in US? Our father, who could have availed of this, died a few years ago also. (Note: You may get in touch with Atty. Michael Gurfinkel, the one who helped Christopher get his American citizen, by calling 894-02-58 or 894-02-39. Look for Liza.)

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