Michael and Dawn as a happy couple whose marriage is threatened by a life-changing disease (a ‘guessing game’ who between them is afflicted)
Michael V. takes on the ‘4-pronged challenge’
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - July 19, 2019 - 12:00am

Multi-tasking is not new in showbiz.

Michael V. (fondly known as Bitoy) is doing in Family History what other actors (including the late FPJ and Eddie Rodriguez, and Ronnie Ricketts) have been doing — that is, taking on what can aptly be called as the “four-pronged challenge,” meaning writing, producing, directing and starring in a movie. An herculean task, isn’t it?

Set for nationwide release on July 24 (Wednesday), Family History marks the return of GMA Films which is co-producing it with Bitoy’s own Mic Test Entertainment. From the title, you might think that the movie is straight drama. Actually, it’s not.

“’Yon ang dating,” said Bitoy during the presscon. “The formula is just bright. Tamang-tama ang timpla. There are scenes that will make the audience laugh and laugh, and then cry at the same time. Since I am the director, I see to it that the comedic element is present. Hindi mawawala ang comedy sa lahat ng ginagawa ko.”

Cast as Bitoy’s leading lady is Dawn Zulueta whose last movie appearance was in the 2017 family comedy Meant To Beh with Vic Sotto. In Family History, Bitoy plays Alex dela Cruz, a happily married man who finds himself at a crossroads when a life-changing disease hits the family and challenges his marriage to May (Dawn).

The movie’s trailer simply hints at who is ill and neither Bitoy nor Dawn would tell even when they were pressed by the movie press.

“Basta,” laughed Bitoy, “mabubuhay siya uli.”

How has his being a “multi-tasker” been so far (with his wife Carol Bunagan supporting him as executive producer)?

At center are Michael V. and Dawn Zulueta during the presscon for Family History, with other members of the cast including Miguel Tanfelix, Bianca Umali, Kakai Bautista, Paolo Contis, Ina Feleo, Mikoy Morales, Jemwell Ventenilla, Nonie Buencamino and Vince Gamad. In special cameo roles are Dingdong Dantes and Eugene Domingo.

“Ako magastos,” admitted Bitoy, “ang misis ko matipid.” (The couple didn’t say what the movie’s production cost is.) “If I don’t like something, I want it changed at once. She would stop me pero ako rin ang nasusunod,” adding with a laugh, “she talks sense into my hard head. Matigas ang ulo ko, eh. She’s around to make sure that I accomplish my vision. I am expensive, magastos, marami akong requirements.”

Dawn said that as soon as she read the script, she didn’t have any second thoughts about doing the project.

“I like the story. About family kasi, eh. I was surprised to see Michael’s sensitivity as an actor. Dapat hindi ako magulat because as a comedian he’s very creative. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that he’s also a good drama actor.”

As a nod to the movie’s theme, the movie press asked Bitoy and Dawn what made a long-lasting marriage.

Bitoy: There should be love, trust, respect and honesty. (Carol and I) have been married for more than 25 years. Money is important in every family but material things don’t make a happy family. Basta magkasama kayo, masaya na. Happiness in togetherness is important.

Dawn (married to former Congressman Anton Lagdameo for 21 years; they have two children, Jacobo Antonio, 13, and Ayisha Madlen, 10): I agree. What’s important is not just quality time but also quantity time. You know, spend time with your family as much as you can, especially with the children. They are children for only one-third of their lives and young adults for 20 percent of their lives, kaya sayang if you miss out on those times when you are supposed to be making memories with them which they can bring through the years.”

That’s why Dawn hasn’t been doing soaps which take a lion’s share of her life…away from her family.

What would make Dawn say yes to a teleserye, if and when?

“Maybe a really, really good one,” she conceded.

Meanwhile, Dawn is busy with the promo for Family History (graded “B” by the Cinema Evaluation Board) including mall shows and guestings in Bitoy’s GMA shows like Pepito Manaloto and Bubble Gang.

St. Philomena Festivities slated Aug. 2 to 11

Here’s a reminder for showbiz devotees of St. Philomena.

The Universal Living Rosary Association and Universal Archconfraternity of St. Philomena are inviting everyone to the novena in honor of St. Philomena on Aug. 2 to 10 preparatory to her feast on Aug. 11 at the Santuario de Santa Philomena, Most Holy Redeemer Parish, Del Monte Avenue, Malac Street, Masambong, Quezon City. Novena prayers are scheduled at 6 p.m. and Mass at 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and at 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Celebrants are Bishops Daniel Presto of San Fernando (La Union), Enrique Macaraeg of Tarlac, Florentino Cinense (Emeritus) of Tarlac, Mel Rey Uy of Lucena, Deogracias Iñiguez Jr. (Emeritus) of Kalookan, Ernesto Salgado (Emeritus) of Nueva Segovia, Louie Galbines of Kabankalan, Filomeno Bactol (Emeritus) of Naval, and Leopoldo Jaucian of Bangued on Aug. 2 to 10, respectively. There will be a solemn procession at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 11.

Also on Aug. 11, there will be Masses at 6 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Celebrants are Rev. Fr. Alvin  Soriano, Rev. Fr. Alfredo Rollon, Rev. Fr. Orlando Aceron, Rev. Fr. Michell Joe  Zerrudo, Rev. Fr. Honorato Nadua Jr., respectively.

The highlight of the special occasion is the 10 o’clock a.m. Mass by Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona, O.C.D., D.D., of Caceres.

There will be anointing of the Holy Oil and veneration of the Holy Relics of St. Philomena after each Mass.

Fr. Orlando Aceron, O.P. and Fr. Michell Joe Zerrudo are spiritual directors of the Universal Living Rosary Association and Universal Archconfraternity of St. Philomena with address at 430 Mayon St., Quezon City.

(For details, text 0918-5470605 or call landline 365-1011.)  

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

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