“May Himala, Manoy!”
This is now the favorite catchphrase around GMA Network after officially announcing a November airdate for Little Mommy, a new primetime series starring Philippine showbiz’ one and only Superstar Nora Aunor and renowned actor-director Eddie Garcia.
“Himala” refers to Ate Guy’s (Aunor’s nickname) internationally acclaimed 1982 Ishmael Bernal movie, while “Manoy” (big brother in Bicolano) is the industry’s term of endearment for the 86-year-old Garcia, who proudly hails from Sorsogon.
Translated in Filipino, the phrase literally reads, “That’s a miracle, big brother,” which, without a doubt, best describes a nightly TV series casting these two legends.
This week, Ate Guy and Manoy held a very casual and laughter-filled round table with entertainment editors at the GMA headquarters in Quezon City, mostly filled with reminiscing over their storied careers.
Talking numbers, the network’s Vice President for Corporate Communications Angela Javier-Cruz was first to share that her staff’s research counted over 80 best actor (and in Manoy’s case, best director) awards to their names combined.
“The one and only Superstar, Ms. Nora Aunor further has 175 movies to her name; while equally daunting is Famas Hall of Famer Mr. Eddie Garcia, with over 300 films under his belt,” the top executive enthused.
Both humble as ever, Ate Guy and Manoy simply smiled warmly to acknowledge the adulation of friends and colleagues, instead showing eagerness in talking about the reality of working together again after so many years.
“Aba, it’s a pleasant reunion dahil ang huli naming ginawa ay ang May Bukas Pa Ang Kahapon noong 1996,” said the super cool and ever suave Manoy.
Ate Guy on the other hand confessed that despite her Superstar stature, she still gets nervous working with the legendary Eddie Garcia.
“Naku lagi kong pinapangarap makasama si Manoy Eddie,” said the 62-year-old actress, who also happens to hail from the Bicol region, in Camarines Sur’s Iriga City. “Pero sa totoo lang ninenerbyos pa din ako makatrabho siya. Sabi ko nga sa kanya kanina, ‘Ngayon lang ako magtatapat—hindi ako nakakalapit sa inyo dahil nauunahan ako ng hiya sa sobrang respeto at paghanga sa inyo’.”
“Sabi lang niya yon!” Manoy quipped as if on cue.
Both aware of the demands of taping a nightly TV series, Manoy acknowledged that in his past projects, he would sometimes pack up at 2 a.m. “Supposedly I should be done by 11 p.m., but if they need to air the scene the following evening, what can you do?” the consummate actor shook his shoulders. But, he thrives in being an actor, and like he always has, declared that work keeps him strong at his amazing age.
Manoy continues to be part of GMA Network’s top-rating afternoon drama, Half Sisters.
On Ate Guy’s part, she admitted that all-nighter tapings, which is usually the case with teleseryes, take their toll on her health.
“Nagkakasakit ako sa pagod,” she confirmed, without mentioning her former home network TV5. “Pero paano mo matatanggihan itong ganito? Eddie Garcia na tapos yung pag-aalaga na binibigay ng GMA sa mga artista nila?”
Describing Little Mommy to be “a light” drama, Ate Guy is excited to portray her Lola Annie Batongbuhay, a cool retro lola who still plays in gigs with her band. Manoy Eddie on the other hand is Don Miguel Valle, who despite his age is still very eager to learn new things in life.
Bringing their characters together are mother and daughter Tinay and Letlet. Tinay, portrayed by Kris Bernal, is a 25-year-old with a mind of a nine year old; her daughter Letlet, child actress Chlaui Malayao, is a six-year-old who plays the role “Little Mommy” to her own mother, as she tries to compensate for Tinay’s shortcomings.
Tinay is Lola Annie’s granddaughter, while Don Miguel Valle turns out to be her long-lost maternal grandfather.
According to the synopsis, “Little Mommy is a story about the poignant life journey of Lola Annie, Lolo Miguel, Tinay and Letlet—and how the elders learn to become children again.”
Little Mommy also stars Bembol Roco, Keempee De Leon, Gladys Reyes, Mark Herras, Hiro Peralta, Renz Fernandez, Juancho Trivino and Sunshine Dizon, under the direction of Ricky Davao.