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Tuesday, May 05, 2007


By Ricky T. Gallardo
Which one will be the next big star?

EIGHTEEN wannabes, one goal. Who will the network gods annoint? ABS-CBN’s Star Magic recently launched its 15th batch of showbiz hopefuls in a special meet-the-press event. All ten boys and eight girls scampered for vacant seats beside the invited media guests to be able to get their interviews and everyone sounded so eager in answering our questions.

From the list of 18, we saw great potential in a few, and hopefully, luck will come in to play its part in giving work opportunities to the rest. Most of the hopefuls have mixed races and we perfectly understand that. We wouldn’t have much column space to introduce everyone so we’ll just pick our best bets.

Puma de Borja says he has Persian blood. He exudes confidence that doesn’t border on arrogance unlike others in his batch. He is a big soccer fan and likes swimming and working out. From our conversation, we sensed that he is spontaneous and can be funny. We think he should be cast in light romance and comedy sitcoms.

Isabelle Abriera is only 14 but she’s tall. In a few years time, Isabelle will surely be a good bet to represent the country in international beauty pageants because she talks sense and her level of sincerity is high. We think she can be a good leading lady material in both television and film.

We thought Jon Avila looked so familiar and we were right when he told us that he was the first ever winner in a body beautiful contest sponsored by a canned tuna brand. His name then was Jon Mullaly. The most senior of this batch at 21, Jon looks much better in person and he possesses a wonderful baritone voice, which we reckon he can use to his advantage. Compared to other priority talents of ABS-CBN who cannot even speak basic Filipino and whose sexual orientation is always in question, Jon is exuding with effortless masculinity.

Tim Espinosa first caught our attention in a gay-themed digital film last year. Although the film was boring, he registered quite well on screen. This former talent of beauty expert Bambbi Fuentes is now in the Star Magic stable and his advantage lies in the fact that he can sing and dance.

Jenna Estrella has one of the most beautiful faces in this batch. Sweet and endearingly fragile, we hope Jenna can be given the right projects so her career can take off.

Marvin Raymundo looks naughty but he is charming once he talks to you. He denies being mischievous though and assures us that he is a good boy. With PR man Keren Pascual as his co-manager, we are sure that Ben Chan will have no choice but to put him on one of those big Bench billboards very soon.

Benjamin Besa’s birthday falls on Independence Day and he says he values freedom to choose whatever profession will make one happy. Towering at over 6 feet, Benjamin can surely do good in fantaserye roles that require good height and good physical attributes.

We observed that may teenagers aspire to be in the entertainment business because of the many perks that come with being famous. Some look at show business as a means of being alleviated from their current social status while a few said that they are bent on helping support their families if they make it big. Still others think that the business is a big playground where they can meet beautiful people and be recognized by the entire nation.

ABS-CBN has opened its doors to these hopefuls. We hope that the network will do its best in giving these youngsters the right projects and not just make them hope and wait for their time to shine.

‘Eat Bulaga’ inspires

We caught the Dabarkads segment of the leading noontime show Eat Bulaga last weekend and we were moved by the stories of the contestants who happen to be cancer survivors. Most got emotional sharing their experiences and all of the lucky contestants who made it to the final round were very positive and hopeful.

The ensemble of hosts, led by Allan K, also did a very good job in giving these survivors their chance to tell their stories, and inspire the viewers. Allan K also lost some of his loved ones to cancer and he couldn’t help but be moved by the resilience of these contestants, who incidentally are all women.

We have seen this segment a few times and we must commend the production team for always coming up with truly deserving contestants: from gasoline boys and girls to kangkong harvesters to pedicab drivers to senior-citizen couples.


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Severino O. Frayna Jr., Benjie Dela Rosa
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