Leni & PJ bring back the good old days

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star

Long before such uni-name as Bennifer (for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez when they were “on”), that started the now worldwide name-calling followed, among other Hollywood tandems, by Tomkat (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes also when they were still an item) and Zanessa (Zac Efron and Fil-Am actresss Vanessa Hudgens during their High School Musical days), and their local counterparts KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla), Dongyan (soon-to-be-married Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera) and JaDine (James and Nadine Lustre), there was Leni Santos and Rey “PJ” Abellana (father of Carla Abellana, in case you’ve forgotten) who starred in hit TV shows and movies in the not-too-distant past without resorting to a similar gimmick. All Leni and PJ did was make the public laugh and cry and swoon over their romantic escapades.

Brace yourselves as Leni (who has lived for years in the States with her family) and PJ bring back those good old days when they team up again in the forthcoming GMA soap More Than Words, now playing parents as they are in real life, with Elmo Magalona and Janine Gutierrez plus Jaclyn Jose as co-stars.

So how has Leni been these past years? Funfare pinned down Leni to find out.

Kumusta buhay sa States? How’s your family? How many children do you have? How long were you away? Are you back for good?

“I have two kids, one boy and one girl. Jannika Lereina is the older and Jeffrey Nicolo is the younger. My life in the US? Simple, quiet but a very convenient life. Simple in a way that it’s away from glamorous world of showbiz and limelight. How long am I gonna be here? It depends. For now, I’m here to do More Than Words for GMA 7 from beginning to end. When I say ‘it depends,’ it means it depends on the result of the show. Kung mag-click ulit kami ni PJ at mag-click ‘yung soap, well…”

Didn’t PJ court you? Bakit hindi kayo nagkatuluyan?

“Didn’t PJ court me?” (Laughs) “Hindi ako malapitan ng kahit sinong lalaki noon. Jaworski (tight-guarding) ang Tatay ko.” (Laughs harder) “Besides, during that time, I don’t know but my focus and priority was my career. Manhid ‘ata ako noon (sa pag-ibig). Hindi kami nagkatuluyan because he (PJ) was never my boyfriend; I was never his girlfriend.”

How different is your and PJ’s love team from love teams today? Were you as overworked then as the young love teams are now (making hay while the sun shines)?

“Well, masang-masa ang dating namin. Hindi pa-sosyal. For a love team to click, it has to be abot ng masa, not ‘forcing through.’ Love teams today are packaged differently. May pagka-experimental, not focused on just one love-teammate. With PJ and me, it was just exclusively us. Pag may ibang ka-partner ang isa sa amin, galit ang fans. PJ was identified only with Arlene (my character in Anna Liza). The sad part is when the love team breaks up because one of the partners suffers, nahihirapan bumangon.

“Yes, we were loaded with work. Puyatan talaga. We were practically living in the studio where most of the shooting was done, seldom did we shoot outdoors or out of town.”

Which of today’s love teams do you see your and PJ’s team-up  then?

“I don’t know. So far, I haven’t seen a love team like ours, na puwedeng maging Leni/PJ love team which was inspired by the characters we were playing in Anna Liza. I cannot compare our love team to any of the love teams today.”

How does it really feel to be making a comeback? Does it feel like starting all over again?

“Of course, happy and excited. Happy to be back in a field that you love so much and excited to be seeing again the friends and the people that you missed while you were away. There are so many new faces that you don’t know and who don’t know you. And, yes, starting all over again, starting from scratch again. I’m thankful to the people who trust me enough to give me a chance to act again. Marami pong salamat! I can better express how grateful I am with more than just words. Uy, plugging, hehehe!!!”

(E-mail reactions at [email protected] You may also send your questions to [email protected]. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)









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