GOING UP the third floor of the Kojak Bldg where the La Madera Gastronomic Hub is housed—the venue of the recent press launch of GMA’s newest primetime series Juan Happy Love Story—was an ordeal for early bird Lolit Solis.
Located on Sct. Castor St. corner Tomas Morato, the place bears no imposing signage. It has a side entrance that leads to a narrow staircase that one is born lucky enough to escape unscathed should there be a stampede.
Still gasping for breath even as she was already settled on a floral-cushioned wooden chair, Lolit—with arched eyebrows—hollered: “Naku, hindi senior citizen-friendly ‘tong place na ‘to, ha?!”
Truth be told, said the genuinely nice Marian Domingo of GMA’s corporate communications, La Madera was recommended by a marketing friend—actually a try-out—since most, if not all the network’s events, are held either at the studios or at the dining hall of the network’s main building.
Challenging the event staff, cynicism took the better of Lolit: “Naku, mapaakyat n’yo kaya si Tita Glo (Gloria Romero who plays Lola Mameng)? Wish ko lang.”
Moments later, guess who was coming from behind? The Queen of Philippine Movies—and of Philippine Television—Gloria Romero!
Ever regal in bearing, the eighty something Tita Glo—much to Lolit’s surprise—was all smiles and hardly panting. Lolit just grinned sheepishly.
But why Lolit had to be around when she considers early evening hours way past her bedtime was all because of JHLS’s female lead star Heart Evangelista.
“Siyempre, may pinagsamahan kami sa Startalk at napakabait niya sa aming lahat,” Lolit said.
Personally, I could vouch for that. When my tabloid write-up in defense of a female co-worker incurred the vengeful ire of a Kapuso actress—for which I got suspended for four Saturdays without pay—Heart felt for my plight. She simply listened to my story without making unjust comments about the sanction.
Heart was friends with every staff member regardless of designation. Gifted with a talent in painting, Heart is herself her own work of art in human form.
* * *
Even way before he graced many a Viva TV project, AJ Muhlach was already one of the prized possessions of TV5.
AJ—which stands for Adrian Justine—is the younger brother of former matinee idol Aga and cousin of erstwhile child wonder Nino. From the recent generation of the Spanish-German Muhlachs to have cracked open the showbiz nut, AJ has successfully managed to chart a career sans capitalizing on this ancestral advantage.
AJ’s entry was via the boy band XLR8 then with regular exposures on GMA’s now-defunct Party Pilipinas until the year 2011 when brighter career prospects with the Kapatid Network began to pour in torrents. He was a mainstay of PS I Love You, Bagets Just Lucky, Sunday Funday and Hey, It’s Saberday! in 2012.
AJ has since become a “suki” of the romance paperback-based Wattpad Presents on Saturday nights.
He just wrapped up work for Tasya Fantasya where he played Paeng, the enamored family driver who fought yet lost to his boss over their common love interest.
Apparently in the Carlo J. Caparas’ teleserye, not much serious acting was required of AJ. But if the viewers thought he had limitations, they would be in for a frantic surprise as AJ—in an outdoor scene where Tasya (Shy Carlos) unabashedly yet nicely declined his persistent courtship—delivered a subdued yet intense performance worth any acting coach’s keen attention.
Meanwhile, with the warm reception accorded to the loveteam of Tasya Fantasya’s major stars, Shy Carlos and Mark Neumann, viewers can’t wait to see them reunited in a serious drama, perhaps via a TV adaptation of any of Viva Films’ Sharon-Gabby blockbuster movies.
The sooner, the better.