Freeman Cebu Entertainment

The 2015 newsmakers

- Ricky L. Calderon - The Freeman

Happy New Year! As a way to welcome 2016, let us take a look at the year that just ended.

Easily the biggest newsmaker of the year is the tandem of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza. The magic of the pabebe wave when Alden waved at Maine in the July 17 telecast of the top-rating “Eat Bulaga” started a phenomenon and the Kalyeserye took the showbiz world by storm.

Alden and Maine became so popular that it shored up the ratings of “Eat Bulaga” triple that of the ratings of its rival “It’s Showtime.” The longest-running noontime show beat its competition to the pulp. No more contest. Truth to tell, the production behind “It’s Showtime” didn’t know what hit them and despite efforts to keep their numbers afloat, its ratings were reduced to single digits, which they never really recovered from.

The AlDub tandem made history by filling up the Philippine Arena, became a global phenomenon by trending on Twitter and got 15 new endorsements in just five months after the love team was accidentally launched in “Eat Bulaga.” And more endorsements are coming their way. So successful is the tandem, that Alden and Maine were added to the cast of the filmfest entry “My Bebe Love” which is now raking in money at the box-office. With Vic Sotto and Ai Ai de las Alas as main leads, “My Bebe Love” is said to have earned P214 million in just five days. And Maine even won the MMFF 2015 Best Supporting Actress award.

“Heneral Luna” may have failed to qualify as the Philippine entry to the Best Foreign Language Film of the Oscars but its producers have bragging rights for making a good earning at the box-office. The historical flick that boasted no marquee names was predicted to lay a big fat egg, but turned out to be a big hit. Credit goes to word of mouth endorsement by viewers and the campaign on social media, “Heneral Luna” picked up momentum to become the biggest earning indie film in Philippine history. General Antonio Luna’s exploits as a hero were finally revealed, giving him the importance he truly deserved. The movie’s release was very timely since we are holding our national elections next year and we hope that those who watched the movie will be enlightened with their choice of our country’s next president.

Pia Wurtzbach’s winning the Miss Universe crown ended the Philippines’ 42-year drought in the prestigious pageant. But it was a controversial win after host Steve Harvey made the mistake of declaring Miss Colombia as the winner which he then corrected on air. Many opined Pia was robbed of her spotlight. But she was the rightful winner. She may not have had the chance to do her walk as the new Miss Universe but hey, she has the crown! And that is more important. No matter how controversial Pia’s victory was, she is still the Queen.

The year began with the visit of Pope Francis, the very popular head of the Catholic Church. But this was followed by the Mamasapano massacre that led to the death of 44 Special Action Force cops in Maguindanao. No one wanted to take responsibility for the debacle and the misery of the bereaved families were confounded when President Aquino decided to skip the arrival of the cadavers and chose instead to attend the blessing of a car factory.

A Senate inquiry was made to look into the unfortunate incident that involved suspended police chief Alan Purisima (a close friend of President Aquino) but nothing came out of it. As the Mamapasano massacre marks its first anniversary in a few days, the families of the slain policemen have yet to get the justice they deserve.

There is an observation that there is already a changing of the guards in the teen department of the Kapamilya network. Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo are no longer as hot as they used to be. The new love team to watch is that James Reid and Nadine Lustre in the so lovable kilig serye “On the Wings of Love.” JaDine had a successful concert at the Kia Theater a few weeks ago and a forthcoming concert already has its tickets sold out.

Those tying the knot in 2015 were director Paul Soriano and Kapamilya host-singer-actress Toni Gonzaga who exchanged vows in a Methodist church. However, showbiz observers say Toni’s star lost its luster after she got married.

Heart Evangelista and Senator Chiz Escudero got hitched in the exclusive Balesin Island. Other celebrities who tied the knot were Yeng Constantino and Victor Asuncion, Diana Zubiri and model Andrew Smith and John Prats and Isabel Oli.

There was also baby boom in showbiz, certainly the most talked about being Maria Letizia Dantes, the firstborn of Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera. Former sexy star Cristine Reyes also gave birth to her firstborn Amarah which she shares with boyfriend Ali Khatibi. Adding to the baby boom were Melissa Ricks who gave birth to daughter Kiera Kelly and couple Ciara Sotto and Jojo Oconer who had their firstborn Vincenzo Xose.

If there were good news, there were also sad news. Many showbiz personalities went to the Great Beyond. Liezl Martinez, wife of actor Albert Martinez and daughter of former movie queen Amalia Fuentes, succumbed to a lingering bout with cancer. Also joining Our Creator were singer-comedienne Elizabeth Ramsay, TV host Susan Calo Medina, singer Roel Cortez, You Tube sensation Jam Sebastian, Alamid band member Gary Ignacio, comedian Ritchie D’Horsie,  stage actor Junix Inocian, young actress Julia Buencamino, veteran actress Lucita Soriano, Pocholo Montes, singer Jimboy Marquez, Masculados Dos member Ozu Ong, fashion designer Gerry Katigbak, Nolyn Cabahug,  and director Willy Milan. May their souls rest in peace.


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