Vilma finally on Maalaala
() - April 26, 2006 - 12:00am
"She’s a winner!" said Charo Santos-Concio, host of the unbeatable top-rated drama series Maalaala Mo Kaya (Thursday nights on ABS-CBN). "She’ll beat them all in the awards race."

Charo was talking about Vilma Santos’ landmark performance in Regalo, the two-part 15th-anniversary presentation of Maalaala airing on May 4 and 11, in which Vilma plays Daisy Hernandez in a real-life drama about a devoted wife and a dedicated mother with a special child.

It was easy to believe Charo especially when the trailer of Regalo was shown at yesterday’s lunch presscon announcing the special which took one year (not two years as reports have it) to shoot, no thanks to the conflicting schedules of Vilma and Olive Lamasan who directed it.

From that trailer, I can’t but agree with Charo that Vilma is a winner – all the way! – even in that scene alone showing Vilma prodding her dying special child (portrayed by newcomer Maja Salvador, daughter of Ross Rival) to come on, breathe along with me...don’t die on me!...hugging Maja close to her chest in a vain refusal to, you know, let her go.

It’s a vintage Vilma Santos performance, packed full with so much emotion that perhaps only the stone-hearted won’t be moved, especially in the succeeding scene where, hesitantly resigning to her daughter’s final farewell, Vilma delivers the clinching dialogue: Bakit kapag ang asawa ay namatayan ng asawa, ang tawag sa kanila balo o kaya ay biyudo o biyuda? Kapag naman namatayan ng ama o ina ang isang anak, ang tawag sa kanya ay ulila. Ano naman ang tawag nila sa inang namatayan ng anak?

That scene is absolutely heart-tugging and there’s more of similar scenes in the two-part special for which, according to direk Olive, Daisy Hernandez herself (a native of Lipa City where Vilma is the mayor on her third and last term) wrote some of the dialogues in the story that Vilma herself chose as possible movie material (but, said Vilma, "no regrets that it ended up a Maalaala special").

Regalo
(with Ricky Davao as Vilma’s husband) is the 777th episode of Maalaala which has lasted longer than the ABS-CBN executive (now retired) who, 15 years ago when Charo broached the idea of hosting the drama series, told her, "Wala kang alam sa telebisyon; ang alam mo lang ay pelikula."

Before moving to ABS-CBN where she’s now executive vice president and channel head, Charo worked with Regal Films and then put up her own movie production (Vision Films) which produced some of local movies’ most memorable dramas, one of them the Vilma Santos starrer Kapag Langit ang Humatol directed by Laurice Guillen.

Since its first episode (directed by Maning Borlaza), Maalaala has served as breeding ground for most of today’s finest young directors led by Olive Lamasan herself and including Mac Alejandre, Wenn Deramas, Rory Quintos, Gilbert Perez, Laurenti Dyogi, Erick Reyes and Jerry Sineneng.

The good news is that before the year ends, Olive might direct Vilma in a movie to be produced by Star Cinema.

"Olive was supposed to do a movie with Sharon (Cuneta)," said Vilma, "but Sharon is giving way to me." (Sharon has settled for another director.) "Sharon jokingly told Olive, ‘Kung hindi lang ako Vilmanian, lagot ka sa akin’."
Briefly Noted
• It’s final: Precious Lara Quigaman has replaced Gretchen Barretto as Bong Revilla’s leading lady in Bong forthcoming movie, Kapag Tumibok ang Puso, Not Once But Twice (formerly entitled Pusong Pusoy), directed by Wenn Deramas. Gretchen initially accepted the offer but changed her mind when she read a text message sent by Bong’s wife Lani Mercado to six friends, asking them in a survey, Kung ikaw si Lani, papayagan mo ba ang asawa mong si Bong Revilla na gumawa ng pelikula with Gretchen Barretto? (Gretchen and Bong have, well, "a past," you know). Lani has sent Gretchen flowers as a gesture of apology. For a while, it was rumored that Regine Velasquez was being considered for the role.

• Text message sent to Funfare by Melissa Mendez: After three years of obeying God (not to plunge into another relationship), He has brought me a man who will marry me. He is coming over on May 4 to propose to me with an engagement ring with him. He’s a Japanese-American who lives in Hawaii. Happy ako. Praise God!

• Maricel Laxa graduated last April 22 from UP with a master’s degree in Family Life & Child Development. I’m sure Maricel’s husband Anthony Pangilinan and their children Ella, Donny, Hannah and Benj are on Cloud 9 with Maricel who, along with the rest of the Pangilinans recently survived perhaps the biggest trial in their lives when Benj underwent a heart surgery in the US.

• By this time, Mark Gil should be home from China where he and director Maryo J. delos Reyes attended the Shanghai Film Festival where Maryo’s film Magnifico was shown together with Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, Crying Ladies and Tanging Yaman.
Martin a father again soon!
I want to congratulate my good friend Martin Nievera who will be a father again soon. His girlfriend, Katrina Ojeda (inset), is pregnant.

Funfare
’s Las Vegas DPA relayed this piece of good news yesterday as a rejoinder to this corner’s recent story that Martin and Katrina have reconciled after almost three years of separation reportedly caused by Cutie del Mar (who is actually just Martin’s good friend, insisted those close to Martin).

In the earlier Funfare report, the DPA said that Katrina and Martin keep separate homes in Las Vegas where Martin did a successful concert series last year.

Martin has two children with ex-wife Pops Fernandez, Ram, 16, and Robin, 19.

Since their marriage was annulled three years ago, Pops has been romantically linked to a few eligibles, including Brad Turvey, Piolo Pascual and now Jomari Yllana (whose own marriage to Aiko Melendez had been annulled; Aiko, now pregnant, is now married to commercial model Martin Jickain).

The Funfare Las Vegas DPA didn’t say if Martin and Katrina have any plans to get married. They are both eligible.

Maybe after Katrina gives birth?

(E-mail reactions at rickylo@phil-star.net.ph)

BONG REVILLA CHARO DAISY HERNANDEZ FUNFARE LAS VEGAS MAALAALA MARTIN VILMA VILMA SANTOS
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