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Giselle Sanchez
Giselle Sanchez

Zoomin with Jomari

I was eating by myself right before a hosting gig in Cebu when a handsome guy went up to me and said, “A beautiful lady should never eat breakfast alone.” It was Jomari Yllana! Suddenly, a group of foreigners approached us, asking if we’re celebrities. It turned out everyone was looking at us at that moment. Jomari told the foreigners I was “The Oprah Winfrey of the Philippines.” Without missing a beat, I quipped “And he is the Brad Pitt of the Philippines.” Later, Jomari would tell me, “How I wished you said Paul Newman, Giselle.” I didn’t get it then but after research, I learned Paul is not considered among the greatest actors of his generation, but he is a successful celebrity racer as well. Paul finished second overall in the 1979 Le Mans, …

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Understanding the Philippine Red Cross

Two weeks ago I got a call from senator Richard Gordon, asking me to become ambassadress of the Philippine Red Cross. “Don’t concentrate on the title, concentrate on the job,” the Philippine Red Cross chair said. Suddenly, I had a flashback of the time I saw the senator on TV carrying bodies on stretchers in the aftermath of the Yolanda disaster. I told myself, “If I accept this title and do this gratis, I will have to get my hands dirty.” But then a line from the Bible came to mind: “The first greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as you love yourself.” So after three seconds (that’s how fast my neurons work), I said yes, and accepted the …

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A helping hand for Dick and Matutina

I used to laugh all the time watching comedian Matutina do her thing on “John en Marsha.” Born Evelyn Guerrero, Matutina became a household name for her grating voice. She became scarce following the cancellation of the show. Recently, I learned she needs financial help having been confined in the hospital where she is scheduled to undergo thyroidectomy. Matutina is conscious but can’t talk. She is on oxygen support. She communicates only through writing. Another colleague facing hard times is Dick Israel. The awarded actor is now destitute with his house recently razed by fire. Making matters worse, half his body is paralyzed following a stroke in 2010. Coming to Matutina and Dick’s aid is Damay Kamay. The foundation was formed by a group of artists after actor Julio Diaz was rushed to the hospital early this …

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‘Magtanggol’ wows at UP Film Center

Film critics, students and moviegoers applauded director Sigfreid Barros Sanchez upon screening of his political-suspense thriller “Magtanggol” at the UP Film Center last Friday. In his keynote address, Sanchez dedicated the movie to the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). “I believe the film is relevant to present times because everyone has an OFW relative. This is the story of the Filipino worker. This is the story of the Filipino family. This is your story,” he said. Senator Juancho Magtanggol (played by Tom Rodriguez) is known as the “hero of the OFWs.” He often handles the difficult cases of OFWs who suffer in the hands of abusive employers. Juancho and his paraplegic brother Anton (EJ Falcon) even travel abroad for this end. But one day, the senator himself is tagged as principal suspect in the …

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Laughing my heart out

I was able to work with “The Master” of Comedy Manila Alex Calleja at a recent gig and was duly impressed. His humor, though simple, was quite a hit even with AB audiences. In fact, even former president Benigno “Noy” Aquino III stayed to watch his set. Part of Alex’s routine is an imagine conversation with his father that went: Alex’s father: “Alex, bumagsak ka raw sa math?!” Alex: “Ano po itay? Hindi kita marinig dito sa kinatatayuan ko.” Alex’s father : “Bumagsak ka raw sa math! Sumisigaw na ako, ’di mo pa rin ako marinig?” Alex: “Dito po kaya kayo, palit tayo ng lugar...” (After changing places) Alex: “Ako naman po magtatanong. Nakita po kita madaling araw lumabas sa kwarto ng maid natin. Anong ginawa mo doon?” Alex’s father: “Tama ka nga, Hindi din kita marinig. Oh, eto …

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Why Mocha and Arnel support Duterte

I was in Cebu recently when I bumped into two of the busiest artists in showbiz today namely sexy singer Mocha and comedian-singer-TV host Arnell Ignacio. The two were among performers at President Rodrigo Duterte’s thanksgiving party. All along, I thought their airfare and accommodation were paid for by Duterte but I was wrong. The two shelled out hard-earned moola to attend the shindig. They didn’t even accept payment for their performances. “I have been a volunteer ever since Duterte started his campaign,” Mocha proudly shared. “I volunteered mainly to honor my late father who was killed in an ambush years back. He was a court judge in Pangasinan. He was like Duterte, he was fighting for reforms.” Arnell, on the other hand, told me, it was curiosity that initially attracted him to …

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Filipinos shine at Soho International Film Festival

In between staging comedy shows in New York a few days ago, I was invited to the opening night of the prestigious Soho International Film Festival (SIFF) at Village East Cinemas. The opening film was “Coach Of The Year” by David Stott. The film’s stars including Harris Doran, Melissa Archer, Hunter Gomez, James McCaffrey and Kevin Brown were all present at the event but I wasn’t paying much attention to them. Rather, I was awed by the presence of film director Elwood Perez who was there for the international premiere of “Esoterika: Maynila.” During our short talk, I asked him why he made himself scarce for some 20 years. He said, “I thought I just keep on repeating myself. My interest in doing films was revived with ‘Otso.’ I couldn’t say no …

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Playing catch-up in NY

You’d be surprised with who you’d bump into while in New York. During our recent visit, we were quite happy to see old friends  Beth Tamayo and Samantha Lopez. Of course, you all remember, Beth and Sam. Before migrating to the US, Beth was among the country’s more popular showbiz stars, with several movies and TV shows under her belt. Sam, on the other hand, was known to most as “Eat Bulaga’s!” Gracia. Beth admitted life in NY is no bed of roses. “Here, you always have to hustle. Everything is expensive so, it is normal for most to juggle two, three jobs at the same time,” she shared. Beth attested to having gone through several jobs during her stay in NY, some of which she didn’t imagine she would do. “I worked as …

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A parade of stars

I was fortunate enough to join the recent Philippine Independence Day Parade in New York as representative of the Torre Lorenzo Development Corporation. It was a blast. I was able to hobnob with stars like Apl.de.Ap, KC Concepcion, Ogie Alcasid, James Yap, Yassi Pressman, Joey Albert, and Nanette Inventor. The parade is an annual undertaking organized by the Philippine Independence Day Council of New York. This year’s theme celebrates Filipino solidarity, inasmuch as it also honored our forefathers via an exhibition of faith, culture and traditions. Ambassador Mario Lopez de Leon Jr., Philippine Consul General to New York, wanted to make the parade as festive as possible. Indeed, he is going  out with a bang as his term ends this month. KC was quite thrilled to take part in the event. Posting on Instagram …

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Celebrities against slavery

“A sia’s Got Talent” star Gerphil Flores has  posted on Instagram  an infomercial featuring herself with other celebrities including comedienne Ruby Rodriguez and fashion editor Tim Yap. The effort is part of the Buy Out Slavery campaign, which is meant to spread awareness about modern-day slavery. It is a project organized in collaboration with the CNN Freedom Project and Not For Sale, an organization that provides enslaved laborers and at-risk communities with safety and stability, education and economic opportunities. Other celebrities that have pledged their support for the campaign are Boy Abunda, Aiko Melendez, Pia Guanio-Mago, Ely Buendia, Basti Artadi, Rovilson Fernandez, Marc Nelson, Patrick Garcia, Meryll Soriano, Laureen Uy, Princess Violago, Francine Prieto, Walter Demesa, Joel Trinidad, Jonathan Yabut, Armi Millare, Rep.  Sherwin Gatchalian, siblings Jerika and Jake Ejercito and yours truly. We …

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