Bituin Escalante on inspiring young artists as a judge | Inquirer Entertainment

Bituin Escalante on inspiring young artists as a judge

/ 12:10 AM August 11, 2023

Bituin Escalante on inspiring young artists as a judge

Bituin Escalante

For singer-actress Bituin Escalante, judging a talent contest puts her “in a position to encourage other people to pursue their dreams.”

Bituin has been a judge in the “Tawag ng Tanghalan” segment of “It’s Showtime” since May this year. “But I like to be the judge of the judges, too. One time, I made a comment that I think hit even Vice Ganda (main host) himself. This was when I didn’t agree with the choice that day. While I understand that we judges could be looking for different things from a winner, the bottom line is that for us, to be put in a position to help out aspiring artists is a gift,” Bituin told Inquirer Entertainment in a recent virtual chat.


‘Healthy, supportive’

“I’ve been in a similar position, so I know how painful negative comments from judges can affect a young artist’s confidence. I want them to learn from the experience of someone like me who may sometimes be in demand as a performer and sometimes, not. This, however, doesn’t mean my career has no value. If I’d be given the opportunity to teach a technique, for example, or inspire someone who lost in the contest, then I’d gladly do it. I’d like to think I’m a credible judge because of what happened to me before,” Bituin pointed out.


The singer said she was thrilled that GMA 7 talents are now able to appear as guests on the ABS-CBN-produced noontime show. “I’ve never felt any pressure because of the network war since I’m OK to appear in both. It’s just fun to witness that talents from both companies are able to cross over, like Julie Anne (San Jose), Mark (Bautista) and Christian (Bautista),” Bituin observed. “It’s actually a healthy, friendly and supportive industry. It’s nice that this whole reshuffle on TV happened because, even as we see how ugly the name-calling can get, it’s a really supportive industry.”

Bituin, who played Candida Marasigan in the recent staging of “Contra Mundum: Ang All-Star Concert ng ‘Ang Larawan’” at the Metropolitan Theater, said she was pleased that a number of mainstream artists like Piolo Pascual, Bea Alonzo, Jericho Rosales and Paulo Avelino are now starting to dabble in theater. While Bea, Jericho and Paulo acted in the same production with Bituin as supporting cast, Piolo played lead in the musical “Ibarra.”

Story of self-examination

“I didn’t see Ibarra, but the mileage it got from having Piolo was really something. It introduced us to a new audience. The same thing happened with Bea, Jericho and Paulo. I was watching the feed from The Met channel and couldn’t help but notice the action happening in the chat box. It read, ‘We’ve never seen work like this. Ganito pala ito!’ They’re used to seeing soaps,” she observed. “Also, I was in the dressing room with the three and saw the hunger in them. They want to do more theater. Yes, there are some nice changes in the industry.”

Incidentally, Bituin is also part of Dustin Celestino Jose’s “Ang Duyan ng Magiting,” which is an entry to the ongoing 2023 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.

“Dustin already explained what the movie meant to him at the press conference, but for me, it’s a story of self-examination, of discovering what we are really fighting for. When I saw the movie during its premiere, I realized that we’re all coming from different places; and that while answers are different for each person, they’re all valid. If there ever is real unity, the first confrontation we need to have is with ourselves. For me, that’s what the movie makes you do,” she explained.

In the film, Bituin plays a lawyer “who used to be idealistic, but is now more pragmatic. She’s had so many years of fighting for all the right things, only to realize that this never did her country any good. She then starts doing things for herself. A lot of us are like that. We get so disillusioned that all the decision-making we have now only pertains to ourselves,” she said.


“To a certain degree, I can understand what my character is going through. It’s a good thing I didn’t end up becoming a lawyer because I don’t have an influence as wide and far-reaching as hers,” she said.

Speaking up

Bituin, however, agreed when we pointed out that she can also be very influential with her work as a singer and performer. “Yes, but there’s only so much I can do. I only speak for myself, even though I am also a politicized animal because that is the nature of my family. I discuss my opinions a lot and, sometimes, it goes on dangerous ground because I sometimes get impulsive. The bottom line is that it should never be about us, but about those in power. I’m never just a follower. I’ve always demanded from my leaders,” she declared.

“Ang Duyan ng Magiting” is only Bituin’s second Cinemalaya movie, with the first being Doy del Mundo’s “Pepot Artista.” She added: “I feel happy that I agreed to do this project because there are those that look so good on paper, but when you watch it, it fails to satisfy your hunger. I admitted to my director that I had apprehensions if he’d be able to translate his good writing into a good movie. During the first five minutes of the film, I said, ‘OK he’s achieved it!’ It is now in the flesh. I’m proud that I held out on doing a Cinemalaya project, and when I did say ‘yes,’ it’s for this one.”

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The 19th Cinemalaya will run until Aug. 13 at the PICC in Pasay City.

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