Ai-Ai: It pays to be positive!

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star
Ai-Ai: It pays to be positive!

Ai-Ai delas Alas and Hobe boss Bobby Co (center) with some of the Mr. Universe Tourism, a new male ‘beauty contest,’ during Ai-Ai’s contract renewal as Hobe endorser.  — Photo by RICKY LO

How did Ai-Ai delas Alas get into the company of some of the Asian hunks competing in the first Mister Universe Tourism (to be named at the grand finals tomorrow night, Oct. 15)? By coincidence, that is.

Ai-Ai was at West Avenue Suites last Wednesday to renew her contract as endorser of Hobe (Chinese for “good noodles,” a brand of bihon) with Hobe boss Bobby Co and some of the candidates (around 30 in all) who were billeted at the suites (owned and managed by Alex Martos) happened to be at the same function hall preparing for a pictorial. Somebody suggested that Ai-Ai should pose with the boys for a souvenir. Click!!! And that was it. No, the “misters” are not endorsing Hobe but they might as well be.

Ai-Ai has been answering questions about her and Gerald Sibayan’s December wedding so Funfare refrained from squeezing the matter dry. (The complete entourage published in this corner a few issues ago; three-day honeymoon in Japan to be followed by a longer one in February next year, a gift from Antonio “Mr. T” Tuviera, one of the principal sponsors.)

We congratulated Ai-Ai for being a popular endorser and her friends attributed it to good karma. You see, on her way to the top, Ai-Ai hasn’t stepped on anybody’s toes and she continues to exude good vibes.

Regal Matriarch Lily Monteverde and daughter Roselle (second from right and rightmost) during the contract signing of Misses World Philippines (with manager Arnold Vegafria (leftmost), from left: First Princess Glyssa Leian Perez, Miss Eco Phl Cynthia Thomalla, Miss World Phl Laura Lehmann, Reina HispanoAmericana Filipinas Winwyn Marquez and Miss Multinational Phl Sophia Sonoron

“Why be negative when you can be positive?” said Ai-Ai (who, in case you haven’t heard, will wear a Frederick Peralta gown, a gift from her BFF Marian Rivera, a veil sponsor with husband Dingdong Dantes). “If you are positive, tuloy ang blessings.”

Aside from Hobe (it’s her third year with Bobby Co who disclosed that sales have been going up 50 percent every year), among Ai-Ai’s other products she’s endorsing are Country Bankers, Maggie, Handy Picks and The Belo Clinic’s “tightening” procedure.

Asked what other products she wanted to endorse, Ai-Ai said, “Yung pambahay, pang-linis. Ngayon, karamihan sa endorsements ko ay food. Talagang pang-housewife.”

Other popular endorsers: Susan Roces, Vilma Santos, Maine Mendoza, Heart Evangelista, Marian Rivera, Angel Locsin, Liza Soberano, Sharon Cuneta, Kathryn Bernardo and Nadine Lustre.

Scriptwriter-director Maning Borlaza directed superstars, including Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos who has fond memories about the director ‘na may pinaka-magandang legs’ —Photos by VER PAULINO

Maning Borlaza: Hombrebueno

Hombrebueno means “good man” and that happens to be the middle name of scriptwriter-director Emmanuel “Maning” Borlaza who succumbed to a heart attack early Thursday morning, Oct. 12. He would have turned 82 on Nov. 5. At the time of his death, Maning was vice-chairman of MTRCB (Movie & Television Review and Classification Board).

“Maning had a temper,” said MTRCB member Bibeth Orteza. “He could really be matampuhin. But he was best described by his middle name: Hombrebueno.”

Maning started in the ’50s as a scriptwriter at Sampaguita Pictures before he graduated to directing movies which numbered around two dozens, including several Vilma Santos starrers (Dyesebel, Darna, etc.), Sharon Cuneta starrers (Bukas Luluhod ang Mga Tala, Bituing Walang Ningning and Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin), Blusang Itim (Snooky Serna), Eva Fonda 16 (Alma Moreno) and another Dyesebel (1996, with Charlene Gonzalez in the titular role).

“Maning was like a kuya to us,” remembered Marichu “Manay Ichu” Maceda, daughter of Sampaguita Starmaker Dr. Jose R. Perez. “He was patient and he was fond of telling us stories with lessons culled from folk wisdom from Liliw, Laguna, where my lola, Mommy Vera, had roots. For many years, he was head of our Scriptwriting Division together with (the late director) Chaning Carlos.”

According to Vilma, the last time she saw Maning was at the wake for Manunuri Mario Hernando (whose 40th day after his demise will be commemorated today at the St. Paul’s Church, Timog Avenue, Quezon City tonight).

“Magkatabi kami,” recalled Vilma, “at ang dami naming napag-usapan including my first FAMAS Best Actress for Dama de Noche which he directed and my movie Lipad, Darna, Lipad…at mga movies ko na sa kanya ang screenplay. We talked about the problems of the movie industry, including problems in my personal life noon na alam na alam niya. Adviser ko siya sa buhay ko.

“Sad news. Kung saan man ako ngayon at ang status ko sa career, recognition na nakuha ko, malaki ang parte niyang si direk Maning Borlaza. Ang dami kong ginawang movie na siya ang director. I will definitely miss him.”

Vilma added this trivia: “Siya ang direktor na may pinaka-magandang legs!!! Alam niya ‘yan at ipinagmamalaki niya.”

More from Bibeth…

“When Carlitos and I were newly married, soon after Hihintayin Kita sa Langit was shown, Maning asked me for a good enough picture of Carlitos. I gave him a 2”x2”. Then, once in a showbiz event, Maning talked about his greatest loves; he nudged me and said, ‘Watch this.’ He laid out photos of the men he loved in life, and Carlitos’ was among those. Ang tawa ko!

“Years passed.

“The DGPI gave Armida a Gawad Direk; her escort was our son Rafa, then 16. Maning turned to Carlitos and said, ‘Ayoko na sa tatay. Ang anak na ang gusto ko.’ He turned to Armida, whom her grandkids called Mahal, and said, ‘Hindi na kita Mommy. Mahal na ang tawag ko sa iyo. Ang tawa naming lahat.”

And here’s MTRCB’s official statement, from MTRCB chief Maria Rachel J. Arenas:

Today we lost a friend, a mentor, a colleague, a critic, a writer, a director, a pillar of the local film industry, Honorable Emmanuel H. Borlaza, endearingly called Direk Maning to some and to us, he is our beloved Vice Maning. For almost two decades, he served the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board as a Board Member and later as Vice Chairperson of the Board.

Vice Maning is an exemplar of the norms of conduct and high standards of ethics in public service. He discharged his government duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, competence and loyalty. He exhibited patriotism and justice in all his actions, living a modest life and upholding public interest over personal interest.

Vice Maning will be remembered as we continue to carry out his aspirations and dreams for MTRCB and for our local film industry.

The wake for Maning is at the Loyola Memorial Park in Parañaque City where the burial will be held tomorrow, Oct. 15.

Miss World Philippines winners sign up with Regal Films

Regal Entertainment has a growing list of Millennial Babies. Film production is in full blast as well, giving that much-needed breaks to film acting newbies.

The other day, Regal signed up a bunch of beauty queens, all grand winners of the recently concluded Miss World Philippines. The group is led by Miss World-Philippines Laura Victoria Lehmann, who used to be a UAAP courtside reporter before she joined the beauty pageant.

Teresita Sen Marquez, a.k.a. Wynwyn Marquez, has also joined the Regal millennial roster. Named Miss HispanoAmericana Filipinas, she is scheduled to compete in Bolivia.

Now also a Regal Millennial Baby is Sophia Senoron, crowned Miss Multinational Philippiines; Glyssa Leiann Perez, First and Cynthia Thomalia Miss Eco Philippines.

Fresh faces, beauty and brains, these Miss World-PH winners will be featured in Regal’s upcoming film projects.

Meanwhile, Regal’s next offering, This Time I’ll Be Sweeter, starring Barbie Forteza and Ken Chan and directed by Joel Lamangan, opens in cinemas nationwide on Nov. 8.

(E-mail reactions at [email protected]. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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