As much as she wants to give her “24 Oras” co-anchor Mike Enriquez a call and ask how he’s doing amid his leave, Mel Tiangco just couldn’t bring herself to do it.
“Sorry, but I don’t know [his current condition] … Nahihiya akong tumawag, but I really want to. He might think, ‘Ano ba ‘to, pati ako tsini-tsismis.’ And I might only get sad if he says he’s not so well,” she told reporters at a recent press conference for the 20th anniversary celebration of the GMA 7 drama anthology “Magpakailanman.”
After undergoing a kidney transplant last year, Enriquez returned on air in March in time for the coverage of this year’s national elections. But the broadcaster is currently back on leave.
“The last time we talked was before he took a leave. He told me that he needed to have something tested,” related Tiangco, who can’t help but feel shocked when she sees malicious fake news about her colleague.
Another topic brought up during the interview was the longstanding rumors about her supposed rivalry with fellow broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez. “There was never anything with me. And I don’t know where that comes from … We met each other in Rome (while covering the canonization of Pope John Paul II). She went up to me, calling out my name,” she said.
“When I see things like this, I’m like, ‘Ganito pala? Ako mismo nagugulat,’” she added.
Although there’s no bad blood between the two, Tiangco said she can’t do an interview on Sanchez’ YouTube channel, “Rated Korina.” Because of Karen Davila’s recent appearance on Sanchez’ page, some observers wondered if Tiangco could do the same.
“You know the problem is that I can’t appear on any other network or platform. That’s very strict, it’s in my contract,” Tiangco explained.
As part of the “Magpakailanman’s” 20th anniversary, the show will offer two special episodes. The controversial life of Maegan Aguilar—the singer-songwriter daughter of OPM icon Freddie Aguilar—will be a two-part special titled “Listen to My Heart” (Nov. 26) and “Love Me for What I Am.” Playing Maegan is Sanya Lopez.
Meanwhile, in her first “Magpakailanman” appearance, Bea Alonzo will breathe life to the experiences of Lezlie Hombre, who found herself vulnerable to malevolent forces and entities while reeling from the death of her mother and the infidelity of her husband. Titled “Haunted Soul,” the episode airs on Dec. 10.
Sincerity of storytelling
Asked what she thought helped the show last for 20 years, Tiangco said it’s the sincerity of the storytelling. “We offer something sincere to the televiewers. These are real stories. All of us have stories that can be featured. We have our own challenges, we have our own stories and triumphs. The viewers identify with these,” said Tiangco, who’s hands-on when it comes to the show’s script and casting.”
“What I want is not just to entertain the audience. We want them to be inspired and have realizations. I want to uplift people,” she added. “We want to leave them with something they can look back to. In its two-decade run, “Magpakailanman” has adapted countless stories. Is it challenging to continue finding new material? “It’s a challenge for us to keep on looking for beautiful stories to share with our viewers … There are people who message us. We look for things that trend online. Social media also helped us to tap more people and stories … We look for whatever is touching and inspiring; something that will uplift people’s lives,” program manager Elaine Lozano said.