A hideaway in Baler

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We first heard of the name Donnah Alcantara when her mother Lorli Villanueva would speak of her in relation to Baler in Quezon province, which is known as the surfing capital of the world. It appears that Donnah had left a busy career in Manila as well as in New York when someone introduced her to the art of surfing.

But Baler being quite a distance from Manila, even Lorli couldn’t make time from her businesses in New York and Iloilo to visit Donnah. Until one day, Lorli called us, asking if we wanted to go to Baler. Of course, we were eager to join her since Lorli had never before visited Donnah in Baler, while we had been there before as a tourist concerned only with the sights we had been assigned to write about, and didn’t even get to meet Donnah.

During this visit, we took advantage of the overnight stay in Donnah’s bed and breakfast place she had built and called Mahdox Surf. We were curious as to what she had left behind in her past career.

Donnah was behind the voice of Kagome in ABS-CBN and Hero channel’s very famous animation Inuyasha. “It ran on ABS-CBN and Hero for several years until I believe GMA bought the series in the Philippines and redubbed it. I was in the original Tagalog version” she recalled.

The surfing school in Baler

“I was also the voice behind Ran Kotobuki in the animation Supergals. TV shows I have consistently been part of were Biglang Sibol: Bayang Impasibol as young Sylvia la Torre directed by Jeff Jeturian; Calvento Files: Ozone Fire Tragedy as Marvin Agustin’s sister; and Maynila.”

“It was not easy for me juggling my education and TV appearances because I was enrolled in an elite girl school in the Philippines run by nuns, and they do not encourage their students in TV exposure.”

On TV, Donnah was also the voice of ABS-CBN. As far as TV commercials are concerned, Donnah did Ginebra San Miguel — Barangay Ginebra where she played the lead role; and Vaseline Shampoo as lead endorser alongside Willie Revillame’s ex-wife Liz Almoro.

Donnah recalled,  “There are quite a lot of things that are similar between us siblings, but I guess the one that would make me quite different from them is my passion for the arts. I did not only concentrate on acting but extended into other areas of the arts such as design where I, in fact, finished a degree in Interior Design. That, I practiced in New York before the world trade bombing, the event, however, was quite traumatic as I lived right in New York City and worked downtown where all the chaos happened that fateful day. It made me decide on returning to the Philippines, continue with my acting career and do business.

 “I have been very involved in the arts since I was little. I have pursued Fashion Design, gotten involved at a very young age in selling jewelry and purses out of my creations. I paint, dance and sing professionally. My sisters are doing all sorts of different wonderful things as well. Girlie is a senior accountant in New York, Denden a scientist in New Jersey, Sibyl an actress and producer in New York, Ate Girlie a professor in Germany, Penny a real estate broker and Kuya Butch a restaurateur. Each one got some artistic bug from Mama, but I guess I was the one who has a need for it in order to live.”

Added Donnah, “Everyone’s been dreaming of making it to Baler but of course, since we all live in different places, it is not easy to get our schedules together to find one date for everyone. They all look forward to visiting very soon, they envy all the photos I post on social media. Plans have been consistent, I know they will be visiting Baler soon. ”

(E-mail your comments to [email protected])

— Photos courtesy of Donnah Alcantara

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