As GMA Network turns 72, grateful celebrities recall their milestones as a Kapuso
Who would have thought that the launch of dzBB, GMA Network’s first AM radio station in March 1950, would eventually turn that station into the multimedia giant it is today? So it’s just fitting for the company, fondly called the Kapuso Network by its loyal followers, to celebrate its string of triumphs 72 years later.
In a glittering—OK, sparkling—evening of fun, excitement and heartwarming nostalgia, the network held its first-ever GMA Thanksgiving Gala at Shangri-La The Fort last July 30 attended by its biggest stars and most influential personalities clad in sophisticated outfits that harked back to the Golden Age of Hollywood.
GMA president and chief operating officer Gilbert Duavit Jr., executive vice president/chief financial officer Felipe Yalong and GMA Films president Annette Gozon-Valdes led the attendees who paid special tribute to GMA chair and CEO Felipe Gozon for leading the company through the decades.
For the guests and kibitzers who were lucky to be around, the glitzy gala was the perfect venue to watch stars, each as dolled-up and dressed to the nines as the next, stroll by and work the runway.
Declared Sparkle Stars of the Night in the special awards handed out that evening were Alden Richards and Sanya Lopez, while Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera were named Couple of the Night. It also didn’t come as a surprise that Heart Evangelista won the Glamorous Star of the Night award.
For Gigi Santiago-Lara, GMA senior assistant vice president for Alternative Productions, there’s something about lasting stardom that goes beyond good looks.
“More than looks or talent, it’s the character that determines an artist’s longevity in the industry,” Gigi told us in a Q&A. “Artists with great character make an excellent impression on everyone they meet. On the other hand, negative interactions leave a lasting stain that takes forever to erase.”
In an separate article (watch for it in Inquirer Entertainment soon), we asked Gigi, along with other executives in charge of GMA’s different departments, to talk about how they turn regular people into larger-than-life celebrities, as well as take stock of the network’s triumphs, innovations and milestones as they look forward to the next 72 years.
To piggyback on the night’s key themes of thanksgiving and nostalgia, we asked the Thanksgiving Gala’s most gorgeous lookers what they consider their most memorable moments and career milestones with GMA. Below are their answers:
When I became part of GMA, they supported all of my endeavors. Hindi po nila ako nili-limit and they always believe that I can do more. And that’s the reason why “AlDub” and “Hello, Love, Goodbye” happened. So I’m very happy to be where I’m supposed to be—with GMA.
What comes to mind right away is the show “Rosalinda.” It was my first series, my first lead role and my overall first show biz experience. It felt surreal, and I was under a lot of pressure. But it challenged and pushed me to my limits. I will never forget that show. It was because of “Rosalinda” that I was also given my first award for television.
Other memorable moments would also include working with the likes of Direk Maryo J. delos Reyes, Direk Joel Lamangan, Bb. Joyce Bernal, Cherie Gil, Lorna Tolentino, Gloria Romero, Gabby Concepcion, etc.
The ultimate milestone in my career with GMA would definitely be playing the role of “Lally” in “My Husband’s Lover.” It was an iconic role in such a fantastic series, for which we received a lot of recognition, not to mention an Emmy Award nomination.
Doing “LaLola” was definitely a highlight for me. It was my first-ever title role and a test of my ability in both drama and comedy. It was around the time I turned 18, and GMA even took care of my debut. I felt the station’s support, trust and belief in me. It was very meaningful to me.
JULIE ANNE SAN JOSE
My most memorable career milestones with GMA include my time with “PopStar Kids,” having a Diamond Record, doing a series of concerts both here and abroad, having a New York billboard for Spotify, and winning a New York Film Festival silver award for the “Limitless” musical trilogy. I’m grateful to GMA for giving me the opportunity to do what I love doing.
If we’re talking about milestones, that would be “Encantadia” because it’s a one-of-a-kind role, and it really opened many doors for me. But when it comes to my passion as an actor, perhaps “Love You Stranger” is the hardest and most complicated role I had to prepare for, so it also means a lot to us.
I’ve only been with GMA for almost two years this coming October. And my biggest and most memorable milestone is doing “Love You Stranger”… this is it. But in my short time with them, dito sa series na ito talaga ako pinaka-invested sa story when it comes to TV shows.
Direk Ben is one character that I truly connected with. It was my first time to be locked-in for that long—and I was blessed to be with Gabbi in it. We shared so many memories over the entire two-month span. I also consider the fan reaction to it a milestone for me. They really love the show the same way we love it. So, I’m looking forward to more milestones with GMA in the future.
I would consider doing my first GMA soap “I Left My Heart In Sorsogon” most memorable. First, I was able to work with Heart Evangelista, who’s someone I truly admire and wanted to work with. Secondly, because the network acceded to my request to work with her. More than that, we were given a primetime spot. So it truly was an honor and a privilege to have been able to do that.
Getting chosen to portray Danaya in “Encantadia” in 2016 was a career milestone for me. It wasn’t something I was expecting to get—for me, OK na sa akin kahit anong role ang ibigay nila basta mapasama lang po sa “Encantadia.” That’s why I was so happy when they told me that I got the part. It opened doors and changed the course of my career, for the better.
Every project that I’m given, I see as a milestone for my career—and each of them is definitely filled with memorable moments. I am very much in love with the path that I am going through, as well as the roles that I’ve been portraying—from “Sahaya,” “Legal Wives,” “Halfworlds” for HBO, and another upcoming huge project.
My passion for acting has blossomed, and I love what I do. I will never forget how I started, how I was an “extra,” when no one knew who I was at all. I will never forget commuting from south to north just to line up for auditions … to endure long lines outside the building.
I will always remember the feeling of landing my very first role where I had a name in the show. I am very grateful to my home network, GMA, for trusting, loving and supporting me. As I have been saying, I will always and forever be proud to be a Kapuso.
I can’t say most memorable because every project comes with a lot of special moments shared with your costars. One of my career milestones has been being part of “The Clash” and hosting it as the Clash Master since Season 2, and now we’re getting ready for Season 5.
At first, I didn’t believe that I could host, but they believed in me. Now, I enjoy hosting as much as acting or performing. I’m very thankful to GMA and Sparkle for all the opportunities and the trust.
My most memorable moment or milestone with the network has been the fact that I’m still here celebrating with GMA on its anniversary. I’ve been here for 10 years already, so I think I’ve gone through so much. Dito talaga ako nag-grow and learned a lot as an actor, as an artist. Recently, I won international acting awards, and all of that is because of GMA, because of their patience and support for me. I’m very proud to be a Kapuso.
So far, the biggest milestone would be my first series, “My Love from the Star,” simply because of the gravity of the role. Of course, it was based on a hit Korean series, so that in itself was already big, but then to do a remake of it was an even bigger thing.
To this day, a lot of Kapuso fans still recognize me as Matteo more than any of my other roles. It also gives me motivation because I hope to be given another role like that one day and perhaps get known for that role more than I’m known for being Matteo.
In terms of breakthrough, like making certain or incremental progress, I would say it’s “Love You Stranger.” I feel like the show, out of all the shows that I’ve done, has given me the most confidence in becoming an actor. I hope it’s something that I can carry over to my next shows and that, hopefully, “Love You Stranger” is the start of something good for me.