Why is Claudine called ‘The Optimum Star’?
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - January 19, 2016 - 9:00am

op.ti.mum 1: the amount or degree of something that is most favorable to some end; esp. : the most favorable condition for growth and reproduction of an organism; 2: greatest degree attained or attainable under implied or specified conditions – optimum adj.

That’s how Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition) defines the word “optimum.” Figure out why Claudine Barretto was introduced as “The Optimum Star” during the presscon the other day for the TV-remake of the Danny Zialcita classic Bakit Manipis ang Ulap produced by Viva Films in 1985, which is one of the many shows that Viva is producing for the TV5 Kapatid Network. Everybody was asking “how come?” but nobody bothered to ask Claudine why.

We have a Superstar (Nora Aunor), a Star For All Seasons (Vilma Santos), a Megastar (Sharon Cuneta), a Diamond Star (Maricel Soriano) --— name a title and there’s a holder of it. Except, of course, a Fading Star or a Falling Star.

For the information of the new generation of fans, the movie version of Bakit Manipis ang Ulap, written by the late Zialcita himself, stars (in random order) Chanda Romero, Tommy Abuel, Janice de Belen, Laurice Guillen, Mark Gil, Caridad Sanchez, Alex Leviste, Suzanne Gonzales, Dante Rivero, Rosemarie Gil, Ruben Rustia, Flora Gasser, Alvin Enriquez, Eddie Arenas, Ramon D’Salva, Mario Escudero, Bert Asuncion and Ester Chavez.

The TV version is just as star-studded: Aside from Claudine, the cast includes Cesar Montano, Diether Ocampo, Meg Imperial, Dindi Gallardo, Samantha Lopez, Bernard Palanca, Bret Jackson, Roxanne Barcelo, Mariel de Leon, Janelle Jamer and Ruffa Gutierrez (the only one missing at the presscon held at the Viva-owned Music Hall in Metro Walk, Pasig City).

Joel Lamangan, director of the TV version which premieres on Feb. 15, said that Zialcita’s witty dialogue will be retained, but new characters have been added since the soap will run for weeks.

“The soap does not last for only two hours like the movie,” explained Joel, “ang soap ay pangmatagalan,” so twists and turns are added to the original story of “romance, intrigue and betrayal in a family.”

Like the characters of the story, the lives of the actors are just as intriguing.

•Claudine said that she and estranged husband Raymart Santiago are trying their best to co-parent for their two children while the annulment case between them was put on-hold. “I let the kids stay with their dad for a day because he’s sick,” reported Claudine whose last soap was aired five years ago. “Nagkaroon ng solid foundation ang relationship namin. The kids have accepted the reality na iba na ang house ni Mama at iba na ang house ni Papa.”

•Hesitant to talk about his private life, Diether blushed to death when Claudine revealed that Diether has already broken up with his non-showbiz girlfriend who belongs to a prominent and influential family.

•Refusing to comment on rumors linking him to a beauty queen, Cesar described his current status as “technically single,” pending the resolution of the annulment case between him and estranged wife Sunshine Cruz (who told Funfare in a recent interview that she has no time for romance and she’d rather focus her time on her three daughters). “If I go into a new relationship, my lawyers might scold me, ‘Hindi pa tapos ang annulment. Tanga, tanga ka!!!,’” laughed Cesar.

•The word didn’t come from Bernard Palanca but a Funfare source said that he has broken up with Jerika with whom he has a love child. Jerika is the daughter of former Pres./Manila Mayor Erap Estrada and retired actress Laarni Enriquez. “He has left the condo unit that Jerika’s parents have put up for them,” added the source.

•Samantha Lopez has reportedly separated from her businessman-husband and has decided to be back for good after living for several years in New York.

So far, Bakit Manipis ang Ulap is the third Viva-produced show for TV5 to be launched after Born To Be a Star and Carlo J. Caparas’ Tasya Fantasya, the remake of the movie with Kris Aquino in the titular role and the GMA soap starring Yasmien Kurdi.

Boss Vic said that more shows are coming, including yet another remake of Caparas’ Ang Panday, popularized by FPJ, this time with Richard Gutierrez playing the iconic character.

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. You may also send your questions to askrickylo@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare. or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

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