Back to breathtaking Bacolod
Being an Ilongga at heart who speaks Hilgaynon fluently, I did not pass up the chance to visit Iloilo’s “Sister City,” Bacolod, when GMA 7 invited me to join their celebration of the Masskara Festival in the ‘Sugar Capital.’ It was definitely a weekend of sugar, spice and everything nice.
The Kapuso Network went all-out, and on festive mode. Regine Velasquez and cohost Alden Richards regaled the Bacoleños with their special episode of the reality-talent search “Bet ng Bayan.” The jampacked Western Visayas regional showdown was held at the People’s House. They were joined by the board of judges, Kuh Ledesma, Louie Ocampo and Allan K.
Reg told me her advice to the contestants: “It’s normal to feel nervous. I still get jitters before every performance. But instead of letting it get the better of you, you must make it challenge you.”
The Songbird talked about her adorable baby. “All he eats is sinigang so that’s a staple in our meals,” the proud mom said. “He also loves the beach. But even when we’re abroad, he calls the beach Boracay. He is turning 3 in November.”
The ulirang anak in Reg misses her dad. “It felt quite weird celebrating his birth anniversary without him,” she said, sighing. “But we were happy at the gravesite.”
Reg, the loving wife, is forward to a trip to Maldives with hubby Ogie.
Yummier than Bacolod’s chicken inasal, Alden said that the good breaks coming his way are “surreal.” Working with Regine in “Bet ng Bayan” and portraying Jose Rizal in “Ilustrado” are his dreams come true. Next on Alden’s list is to have his own bachelor’s pad, so he won’t have to sleep in hotels when he can’t go home to Laguna.
When I told him that he reminds me of a young Aga Muhlach, he showed me a picture of Aga as Jose Rizal. I didn’t know that Aga was also supposed to play Rizal many movie seasons ago, but the project was shelved.
The Kapuso mall show at SM City Bacolod was filled to the rafters. The cast of “Strawberry Lane,” Bea Binene, Jake Vargas, Kim Rodriguez, Sunshine Dizon and Sheryl Cruz led the merry-making.
I teased Bea about what kind of marriage proposal she would want from Jake, if and when the right time comes. She said that she’d want it to be sincere yet “nakakahaba ng hair.”
Jake said that Bea can get very childish at times, but it does not make him love her any less. Kim, who is privy to Bea and Jake’s LQs (lovers quarrel) is thrilled when she’s on the set with
the cute couple.
Sunshine is ecstatic that after a four-year hiatus, GMA 7 has been giving her the right projects. Her hubby, John Timothy Tan, understands the nature of her work. All he asks for is an early cut-off time during tapings so she can also fulfill her “wifey and mother duties.” Shine says that motherhood and marriage have made work not seem like work anymore. Now, she’s inspired, knowing that after work, she has her family to come home to.
Sheryl is in no rush to fall in love again. She is civil with her ex-husband, Norman Bustos. Their 13-year old daughter, Ashley, stays with Sheryl during school days and visits her dad in the United States during vacation. Aside from her TV projects, Sheryl also launched her fourth album, “Sa Puso Ay Ikaw Pa Rin,” which includes three Japanese versions of OPM songs. She is busy being happy as an independent woman.
Mobbed by fans
“Hiram Na Alalala” stars Kris Bernal, Rocco Nacino and Lauren Young were mobbed during The Kapuso Meet and Greet at the People’s House. They ignited the revelry with the Charter Day Countdown.
Kris admitted to being quite intimidated by costar Dennis Trillo. That’s why she made sure to level up in the acting department so she can keep up. Lauren is not closing her doors when it comes to joining beauty pageants like her sister, Miss World Meagan Young. But she says she wants to exhaust all the possibilities in show biz first.
Since “Hiram” deals with trauma, I asked Rocco about his worst trauma. He told me that it was his Mom’s battle with the Big C. It has made him health-conscious. He still wants to be in tip-top form even when he becomes a senior citizen.
All in all, GMA 7’s Masskara festivities made “The City of Smiles” beam even brighter. Ka sadya guid as they unmasked the Negrense Kapuso’s fun and free-spirited side.
Damo guid na salamat to my cool friends from GMA 7, Rica Torres and Jojo Aquio, my dear Tita Cris Belen for such a fun weekend in Bacolod and to the wonderful staff of Kundotel Goldenfield for their warmth.