The Philippines, together with the rest of South East Asia, will be in for a rollercoaster ride of comedy, drama—and yes—even suspense as local show business’ one and only Gutierrez family opens the doors of their private lives to the public, via an upcoming reality show on cable TV. Aptly titled, It Takes Gutz to be a Gutierrez, what with the family’s often controversy-ridden existence in the entertainment industry, the series will be aired on the E! Entertainment Channel before the end of the summer.
Patriarch Eddie Guttierez; his uber feisty wife Annabelle Rama; their equally famous children Ruffa, twins Raymond and Richard and their brothers; as well as grandchildren Lorin and Venice (Ruffa’s daughters with ex-husband Ylmaz Bektas), are set to live under the close watch of the camera, to complete a six-episode show, which will start rolling on the family’s vacation aboard a cruise ship to sail all over Asia.
At a press conference to announce the project on March 6, five of the most recognizable faces from the clan took the spotlight at The Holiday Inn Makati, clearly all excited over being the Kardashians of the country. (The controversial Hollywood clan has had several seasons of their own reality show on US cable TV for a number of years).
“Ngayon pa lang sinasabi ko na, I cannot speak straight English, kaya Taglish nalang ako. Pero ang saya ko talaga na sama-sama kami sa project na ito,” prattled the proud Visayan, Rama, in her trademark accent. “Sabi nga ni Ruffa, mag-English daw kaming lahat; ang sabi ko naman, ‘Ruffa, reality show nga ito!’ Kaya ito ata ang unang reality show na magkakaroon ng subtitles,” she added, drawing laughter from the crowd.
“I’m so happy and proud,” she carried on. “Hindi ko akalain na aabot ang beauty ko sa international TV! Sa wakas, masusuot ko na ang lahat ng mga alahas na gusto ko; hindi na nakatago sa cabinet! At ang tagal ko doon sa Cebu na naka-daster lang ha; ngayon buhay na buhay ang mga couturier sa akin.”
For the occasion, Rama wore a flaming red Rajo Laurel number, accentuated with ginormous glittering jewelry—a sign that viewers can expect anything but simple and ordinary in following the lives of this beautiful—and unapologetically ostentatious—celebrity family.
“A lot has been said about the Gutierrezes, but at the end of the day, we’re just one happy family that happens to be in show business. People will get to know who we really are [in this series]. They’ll see us just being real, and what they see is what they get,” former beauty queen, actress and TV host Ruffa Gutierrez explained during her turn at the mic.
This was short lived, however, as her famously outspoken mom took the spotlight again to the delight of the audience.
Rama stressed that there will be no cuts or second takes while shooting the series, under the sharp eye of Emmy Award-winning director Mike Carandang.
“Lahat ng tao nagtataka, ‘Bakit ang tahimik ni Annabelle? Walang Twitter, walang inaaway?’ Nagtatanong sila ng projects ni Ruffa, ni Richard, namin, pero ako tahimik lang.
Kasi nung binigay sa akin ni Ruffa ang kontrata para dito, No. 1 doon: ‘Annabelle Rama—bawal mag-iskandalo, bawal mang-away’!” she jokingly added.
As the family’s talent manager (or “Mommy-ger” as Ruffa once called her), Rama revealed, “Lahat kami ngayon walang kontrata. Dati sa GMA naka-contract kami ng 11 years, pero ngayon, wala na, kaya libreng-libre na kami. At sabi ko nga kay Ruffa mag-shooting kami sa Istanbul para makita ko ang sampalan nila ni Ylmas!” she threw another punchline.
Not new to controversy and gossip, the Gutierrez family told their fans to “expect fireworks,” and to witness the famous “Ruffa and Annabelle fights.”
Another possibility in the show is the welcoming of a new addition to the clan in Sarah Lahbati, Richard’s longtime girlfriend who is now back in showbiz after a much talked about hiatus.
Richard shared that Sarah will indeed be joining them on the cruise, but was evasive when asked if they already have a child—the rumored reason for the latter’s sudden leave from work in 2013.
Raymond, meanwhile, expressed excitement to be part of the show, having already taken to social media to spread the word, with the help of his society friends.
Dad Eddie revealed he is also “game” to let the camera in to their private lives, as he has always been in front of it, as far back as his days as the “Philippines’ Elvis Presley.”
“I’ve done movies and TV shows but being in a reality TV show is something new to us. I want to thank Annabelle for bringing up our kids to be who they are today, and you can expect much more from the lady in red,” he promised, complementing his over-protective wife.
The Gutierrezes are also co-producers of the show, together with One Mega Group’s TV 100.