Dingdong and Marian fulfill dream project

Jerry Donato - The Philippine Star
Dingdong and Marian fulfill dream project
A decade after their last series together, Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera grant their fans’ wish for a reunion project by starring in GMA 7’s sitcom Jose & Maria’s Bonggang Villa, which premieres tonight at 7:15 after Pepito Manaloto. From real to reel, they play a couple named Jose and Maria, whose journey will unfold when they transfer to a new house and experience a series of adventures and misadventures that will teach them valuable lessons in life.
STAR / File

The long wait to see and savor once again Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera’s onscreen chemistry is finally over. They grant their fans’ wish for a reunion project, as actors, by starring in the situational comedy Jose & Maria’s Bonggang Villa, which premieres tonight at 7:15 on GMA 7 after Pepito Manaloto.

Earlier, the documentary titled, Miss U: The Journey to the Promised Land, where Marian and Dingdong took on the host and director roles, respectively, served as the teaser to the highly-anticipated collaboration. The TV special paid tribute to the sacrifices made and love given by mothers.

With that, one can’t help but walk down the memory lane when the Kapuso stars were first tapped to topbill together the Philippine adaptation of the Mexican telenovela MariMar and followed it up with Dyesebel. Because of their tandem and talent, Dingdong and Marian did win viewers’ hearts. As the loveteam DongYan, they starred in a total of five teleseryes. Their last one was My Beloved, which aired back in 2012.

Fast-forward to present, the two are doting parents to Zia and Ziggy, and remain committed to the craft of entertainment.

“It’s our dream to work again in a project,” said Dingdong of what made him and Marian consider and accept Jose & Maria’s Bonggang Villa, in a press conference that also featured their fellow actors. “In fact, before we got married (in 2014), we told each other (and hoped) that one day, we would have a show together.”

Since he and she, as co-stars, have already tried their hand at genres such as drama, fantasy, romance, action and period-historical, they wanted to give comedy a try, which is Marian’s comfort zone. “Kaya sabi namin maganda sana kung isang comedy show ang pwede naming gawin. For us, this is a dream come true,” added Dingdong.

As for Marian, she was glad that what they started as short videos, done and produced at home, would inspire the creation of a TV show.

“Of course, I’m very thankful because I also wished to be with Dong in a project,” said she, “ang saya lang, tapos comedy pa, it’s very light.”

Aside from that, the Jose & Maria’s Bonggang Villa’s narrative is about a married couple that Dingdong and Marian can relate to.

“Ako ay isang butihing asawa na may flower shop, matulungin yung character ko dito (I play a good wife, who owns a flower shop and helps others),” she described her character Maria, the better half of Jose. “Tapos, mapagmahal din (siya) sa mga nakikita (niya), tao man yan o halaman (Then, she cares for everyone and everything).”

As for Dingdong’s Jose, he said, “Medyo may mga similarities po. Halimbawa, sa totoong buhay, takot talaga ako sa multo. Dito, eh, ganun din (We share some similarities like we are both afraid of ghosts).”

Marian, on the other hand, shared how similar she is to her character Maria. “Madami kasi kalog na asawa si Maria, palaging nandyan sa asawa niya (She and I are both funny and always there for our husbands). Ang pagkakaiba na lang ay hindi ako nakakakita ng multo. Dito nakakakita ako (But the only difference between me and my character is, she can see ghosts).”

What’s interesting to find out, too, is how such uniqueness of Dingdong and Marian’s characters will play in the couple’s journey to wedded bliss, as one may assume. Theirs will unfold when Jose and Maria transfer to a new house, “which allows (them) to get to know the other characters,” shared Dingdong. “Bubuhayin namin ang isang lumang bahay. In it, a lot (of events will) happen. Our story will revolve around them.”

The word “them” refers to the adventures and misadventures of Jose and Maria, as the information given to press members says, as well as “the hurdles they’ll go through that will ultimately bring out the most valuable lessons in life.”

Since doing comedy is right up Marian’s alley, “Alam ninyo naman kapag comedy, sobrang gustong-gusto kong ginagawa yan,” she said, Dingdong has found an acting ally in his wife.

“Mahirap po talaga lalo na yung mga unang eksena (I had difficulty finding my foothold, especially when we were taping the first few scenes),” recalled he, “parang naiilang ako… Inaalalayan ako ni Marian (kasi) siyempre alam naman natin na hasang-hasa si Marian sa larangan na ito (Marian is there to support me and knows the genre well).” Also bringing out the funny side of Dingdong is director John Lapus, who is a comedian himself.

In this particular project, between GMA 7, Agosto Dos Media and APT Entertainment, Dingdong and Marian also wear the co-producer’s hat.

“Ang naaalala ko lang ay pumipirma lang ako ng cheque at kinukuha nila (What I remember is they asked me to sign cheques),” said Marian.

The people behind Jose & Maria’s Bonggang Villa also asked Marian and Dingdong about their opinions and suggestions regarding stars who will grace the show and play this and that character, added she.

During this global pandemic, Dingdong and Marian are among the stars who have been blessed with either hosting or acting work. Their visibility keeps them in touch with their followers.

“Hindi naman po kasi I always look at every work, every opportunity a blessing,” answered he when asked if the Saturday show is an added pressure to him, given his other well-rated shows Family Feud and Amazing Earth. “‘Pag binigay sa’yo, pangangalagaan mo (When it’s given to you, you need to take care of it). Masasabi ko na napaka-swerte ko, dun pa lang bonus na yun, na natupad yung pangarap ko na gumawa ng isang show with Marian.” Through the show, he is able to create a home with the cast and the crew and fulfill every actor’s purpose to delight audiences and “sure kami na marami kaming natututunan within the set, so everything else is a bonus.”

Marian couldn’t help but agree with Dingdong by saying that “this is really a blessing to us. Every time na magkakaroon ako ng soap, o may gagawin akong project, I’m always looking forward to na mabuo yung pamilya na yun, sinasabi ko sa sarili ko na lalaki na naman yung pamilya na tinatawag ko, na kasama sila.”

Dingdong and Marian’s family of actors on the set of Jose & Maria’s Bonggang Villa includes Shamaine Buencamino, Benjie Paras, Johnny Revilla, Pinky Amador, Pekto, Zonia Mejia, Jamir Zabarte, Hershey Neri and Loujude Gonzalez. Through their portrayals, the cast members are expected to warm the viewer’s heart.


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