Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Not 'Just Julia'

My girl Julia Barretto at the grand presscon of her most recent teleserye, the afternoon drama And I Love You So. I can't wait to see her act again, this time on the big screen in the teen slasher flick Bloody Crayons.
The only people who say that Julia Barretto is mataray or a snob are those who don’t really know her. 

I can say that with impunity because I’ve known her for years, and the girl that I know is nothing like what other people make her out to be. So I decided to write this blog entry as my belated birthday gift to Julia—she turned 19 last March 10—and to set the record straight. 

Julia is easy to get along with. 
I remember watching her on the teleserye Walang Kapalit, which aired in 2007, long before I met her in person. She played the young Melanie Santillan opposite Sam Concepcion, who played the young Noel Borromeo. 

As the story progressed, the characters grew up and Julia’s aunt Claudine and Piolo Pascual took over those roles. At the time, I was very impressed with Julia’s acting ability—at all of 10 years old, she struck me as precocious—and her chemistry with Sam. In fact, part of me wanted Melanie and Noel to stay young so Julia and Sam could keep playing them. Hehe. 

Fast forward to five years later, the year I was assigned to cover a dance rehearsal for the 2012 Star Magic Ball. I didn’t know that she and some of my friends were joining the cotillion that year, so I was pleasantly surprised to find Julia sitting with my good friend Jane Oineza in a corner of the dance studio. When Jane noticed me in the doorway, she waved me over and introduced me to Julia. She turned out to be very accommodating and easy to talk to. Not only did Julia agree quickly when I asked her for an interview, but she also answered all of my questions. I honestly felt like I was talking to a friend I had known forever instead of a celebrity I had just met. 

As I wrapped up the interview, I told Julia, “It was nice meeting you. I hope we can hang out at the ball.” Her response? “Nice meeting you too. Yeah, of course! See you there!” 

Julia and I did hang out at the Star Magic Ball. I spent most of that night table-hopping and taking notes as part of my job. But I made sure to drop by Julia’s table, where she was seated next to Jane, and later that night we all ended up at the photo booth with Khalil Ramos and Sofia Andres. Check out a video I made featuring our photos below (switch to full screen mode for a better view):

My friendship with Julia grew from there. We got more chances to bond when she was included in Star Magic Circle 2013. I would visit her and her batchmates at work whenever I could. Eventually some of us started going out in one group, which their fans eventually christened J-Force because its members—Janella Salvador, Julia, Julian Estrada, me and Jon Lucas—all had names beginning with the letter J. We also chronicled most of our bonding sessions using the Keek app.

We made a lot of happy memories as J-Force, which brings me to my next point. 

Julia is accommodating 
One evening in 2013, Julia, another J-Force member and I were walking down Bonifacio High Street when we were approached by some guys who wanted a photo with Julia. She obliged and we went on our way until we were stopped by more people, all of whom wanted photos with Julia and the other J-Force member we were with. After both of them nodded their assent, I stepped aside and watched as the fans rushed forward excitedly. 

Honestly, I think Julia and the other J-Force member would have been justified if they’d said no. Even celebrities are entitled to a little privacy, especially when all they’re trying to do is kick back and relax. But in Julia’s case, not only did she accommodate everyone who asked for an autograph or a photo with her, but she did so patiently and with a smile to boot. 

While they were all posing, a crowd formed around them as more people realized that there were celebrities in their midst. My eyes darted nervously from one autograph hound to the next as I realized that they had no bodyguards, so if things got out of hand, I would have to get all of us to safety by myself—and I wasn’t sure little old me could manage that. 

Wanting to avoid that, I stepped forward and discreetly tugged on Julia’s arm. When she turned to me ever so slightly while posing for yet another photo, I whispered, “Jul, I think we should leave. Lumalaki na yung crowd and I’m afraid na baka magkagulo if we stay any longer.” Eventually, she and the other J-Force member allowed me to lead them away, but they waved goodbye to their fans as I did so. Julia later explained why she did that. 

Julia said, “Our fans don’t see us around often, and if all they want is an autograph or a photo, we should give it to them na. We owe them a lot din naman in return for their support.”

Long story short, we ended up stopping for fans a few more times after that, at Julia’s insistence. 

Julia is like that with practically everyone. My Filipino-British best friend Tim Macardle, who was an extra on And I Love You So, told me that Julia was very nice to him on set. In fact, when he asked her for a photo after taping one day, she obliged him and even chatted with him for a few minutes. When Julia’s car and driver arrived to take her home, she even wished Tim a happy birthday before leaving. Is that how a snob behaves? I think not. 

Julia is caring and wise. 
Soon after Julia and I became friends, I figured out that she’s actually more mature than I am. That’s saying something, considering that she’s 12 years younger than me. I don’t even think there’s a number for all the times she’s given me advice on dealing with my problems. 

Like when some guy broke my heart in 2013:

Or when she wished me a happy birthday last year: 

As you can see, Julia didn't make it to my party, but she made up for it with this message. Months before my 30th birthday, I told her I was seeing a therapist, which I think is why she felt compelled to text me this reminder. Sweet, huh?

People have said all kinds of things about Julia. The documentary ABS-CBN produced for her debut painted a picture of Julia as a star in her own right, apart from the constellation that is the Barretto family. But I think there’s so much more to her than being an actress, endorser and magazine cover girl. She’s not just Julia—pun intended. She’s also a devoted daughter, sweet sister, loving friend, and all of us who know the real her are very lucky indeed.

Did you like this post? Sound off in the comments!

Main photo by Nimfa and Sany Chua for Jules Explains it All.


Sam Concepcion was all smiles at his Stages Sessions gig because, as he put it, he got to be himself on the 26th Street Bistro stage and sing songs by artists he looks up to, such as Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke and Troye Sivan.
My mother and I had a standing invitation to join the people of Stages Talents at a Stages Sessions event for a while now. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s when one of the artists they manage does an acoustic performance at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s 26th Street Bistro in Bonifacio Global City. Some of the artists who have had their own Stages Sessions include Christian Bautista and Morrissete Amon. Their shows were among those my mother and I had been invited to. Because we love good music, we accepted both those invitations. Unfortunately, something would always come up, rendering us unable to go.

So when I found out that Sam Concepcion was slated for his own Stages Sessions on March 13, I decided to make sure nothing would get in our way this time.

I’ve had the highest respect for Sam and his talent since his Little Big Star days. (The image of him performing “Hanging By a Moment” by the rock band Lifehouse on the show is still burned into my brain a decade after the fact.) I even took voice lessons at the Trumpets Musicademy when I found out Sam’s old coach Lani Ligot worked there too. Sam and I have also known each other for quite a while. I used to hang out with him and the other Gigger Boys back in the day. Ergo, I figured I owed it to Sam—not to mention his managers Audie Gemora and Carlo Orosa, two of the nicest people in the business—to watch him do his thing at the 26th Street Bistro.

I told my mother about Sam’s show days before it was scheduled to take place so she could make arrangements for us to watch it. My mother manages both our schedules these days. Because of my mental health disorder, I get overwhelmed when I have to do that myself. Knowing how much watching Sam would mean to me, my mother made sure that not even wild horses could keep us from watching his show. I was petrified that something would go wrong at the last minute, but thankfully nothing did.

The only thing that stressed me out on the day of Sam’s show was the insane traffic on EDSA. Sam was set to take the stage at 5:00 PM, and at 4:45 PM, our cab was going so slowly due to the traffic, a snail could’ve beaten us to BGC. I was panicking because I didn’t want to end up missing another Stages Sessions show, but Mom calmed me down by reminding me that in showbiz, hardly anything starts on time. I wasn’t sure if I believed her, but since there was nothing I could do about our situation, I decided to listen to Sam’s new album Bago instead.

Since he began his showbiz career, Sam has released an EP, a bunch of studio albums, and even appeared on the Asian version of the Kung Fu Panda soundtack. But of everything in Sam’s catalog, Bago is his best yet.

His 2013 album Infinite marked his first stab at adopting a more mature image, but Sam truly came into his own—as a recording artist and, I’d wager, otherwise—on Bago. Good thing my mother and I made it to the 26th Street Bistro just in time for Sam’s set, or we wouldn’t have seen just how much he’s grown.

We arrived just as two girls were finishing their own set, and Ate Jas Rocafort, who has worked with Sam for as long as I can remember, met us at the door. The place was packed by the time my mother and I got there, but Ate Jas was able to find us two seats right in front of the stage. I was a little mortified when I found out that those seats belonged to Sir Carlo and another guest, which meant that he had given up his seats for us. But after Ate Jas assured me it was OK, I sat back and waited for Sam to take the stage. When he did, I was blown away.

He bounced onstage with so much swag, which kept him firing on all cylinders throughout his 12-song set. But don’t take my word for it. Watch all of Sam’s performances from his Stages Sessions below. (Yes, I filmed the whole set.)

I was planning to catch up with Sam after the show ended, but I only had a few minutes alone with him—during which he wrapped me and Mom in one-armed half-hugs and thanked us profusely for watching—before he was beseiged by his fans. (One of them even traveled all the way to BGC from Batangas just for the show. How’s that for devotion?) I did get a selfie with him before Mom and I left, so it’s all good.

This was all Sam and I had time for after his set, a quick selfie and some small talk. But it's OK. The look on his face when he got offstage and saw me and my mother in the crowd was priceless. Hehe.
Besides, knowing that Sam appreciated our presence was enough for me. Plus it made me really happy to see him up there, totally in his element, singing songs he says he really likes—including two cuts from his latest album, which is truly SAMsational. Hehe.

I’m looking forward to your next gig already, Sam. Whether it’s a mall show to promote Bago, another Stages Sessions set or even a full-blown concert, my mother and I will be there. Count on it!

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Love yourself

Tippy dos Santos performed at Fisher Mall last March 5 to promote her self-titled debut album under Universal Records. It made me so proud to see her up there, singing songs written especially for her by today's top composers.
Before you ask, this isn’t about Justin Bieber’s massive hit of the same title. It’s about someone who I think really deserves more recognition for her many talents, especially her singing. I’m referring to actress, MYX VJ and now recording artist Tippy dos Santos. Tippy recently released her self-titled debut album, and to be honest, it’s about time she did.

Tippy started out as a theater actress, performing in productions by the Ateneo Children’s Theater, Repertory Philippines and Trumpets Playshop. She even competed in the World Championship of Performing Arts in 2008 and made it to the grand finals, bagging three gold, one silver and one bronze medal in various categories. She has also enjoyed a steady stream of movie and television work, most of which were with the Kapamilya network and its film arm, Star Cinema.

Unfortunately, although Tippy truly has what it takes to be ranked among the industry’s best and brightest, she hasn’t really made it yet. That said, with the release of Tippy dos Santos, the 21-year-old makes her best case yet for true stardom. The album could do for Tippy what The Revenant did for Leonardo DiCaprio. If it finds the audience it deserves, Tippy might finally clinch the spot that has eluded her for so long. The album is packed with catchy, R&B-inflected pop jams, each of which deserve a spot on anyone’s playlist.

When I found out that Tippy would be performing select songs from her album at Fisher Mall on Saturday, March 5, I hightailed it there with my mother. Even though there was hardly any traffic, part of me didn’t think we would get there on time, but we did—a few minutes before Tippy was due onstage, to be exact. Since we had some time to spare, my mother and I visited Tippy in the holding area, where we chatted with her and her mother, Tita Happy.

It was then that I finally had the chance to tell Tippy about my mental health problem and what I’ve been going through for the past ten or so months. She and Tita Happy expressed their concern, which I really appreciated. I would have loved to spend the whole evening catching up with Tippy, but she had to hit the stage after a while. So my mother and I left the holding area to find seats in the Fisher Mall atrium. We ended up sitting next to Tippy’s fans, the Tipsters. Shoutout to them for being such fun seat mates!

Prior to the show, I had only listened to one song from the album (the carrier single “Parang Wala Lang”), so watching Tippy sing the rest live was a real treat for me. I spent the entire evening filming Tippy with my mother’s smartphone, so check out my videos below.

After the show, I bought a copy of the album and lined up to have Tippy sign it for me. When it was my turn, Tippy took her time signing, so I had to stand there waiting while she was scribbling away. That prompted Tita Happy to tell me afterwards with a laugh, “Ang haba yata ng sinulat niya para sa ‘yo, ah!”

When my turn to get Tippy's autograph came, I could tell she was surprised to see me standing in line. Even so, she bent her head over my copy of her album to write a dedication while I wondered what was taking her so long when she knows how to spell my name. Haha!
It wasn’t until after my mother and I bid Tita Happy, Jackie and Tippy’s father John goodbye (Tippy was still really busy posing for photos and signing autographs when we left) that I was able to open my copy of Tippy dos Santos to check out what Tippy had written.

If for some reason you can’t make out Tippy's handwriting, here’s what she wrote: “Julian, my love, thank you for being such a good friend. Remember, life is better when you love yourself!”

I was pleasantly surprised that Tippy wrote something like that, although I shouldn’t have been, considering that we’ve known each other for a long time. In that time, I’ve never known Tippy to be anything less than caring—aside from startlingly talented, that is—and I’m grateful for everything she’s done for me. Now that she’s embarked on this new chapter in her career as a full-fledged recording artist, it’s my turn to do something for her.

Tippy dos Santos the album is available everywhere good music is sold, like Astroplus, iTunes and Odyssey. If you love your ears, do them a favor and treat them to Tippy’s music. You’ll be glad you did.

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Always be my bespren

Gerald Anderson consented to an exclusive interview for Jules Explains it All on the day he celebrated his 10th anniversary in showbiz with a special production number on ASAP. Thanks, bespren!
Gerald Anderson and I first met in 2006, at a press conference shortly after the finale of Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition season one. I was the first reporter who sat down with him that day, and for some reason we hit it off. Maybe because I was the only one present who was close to him in age—he was about 16 then, and I was 21—so he probably felt like he could relate to me more. 

Whatever it was, I’m thankful, because that day I ended up making a friend for life. I’d do anything for Gerald, and I know he’d do anything for me. 

So on the day of his recent birthday prod on ASAP, I secured permission from his handler Nhila Mallari to interview him in his dressing room. When Ate Nhila gave me the all-clear, I got in touch with my photographer friend Allan Sancon and asked him to do the interview for me. When Gerald found out the interview was for my blog, he opened up the way he probably would have if I was the one doing it.

In 2012, word broke out about a controversy involving Gerald and two other celebrities. That took me completely by surprise, but I decided to go and get the story straight from him. I felt confident he would open up to me, and sure enough, he did. It’s been four years since that conversation, and I’ve never breathed a word of it to anyone. I suppose that’s why Gerald feels comfortable telling me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

So for this interview, I told Kuya Allan to ask Gerald about the ten most memorable moments of his career thus far in celebration of his 10th anniversary in the business. Gerald rattled off a list of his projects and other things, and I added my own commentary to it. 

Check out “our list” below. 

1. Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition and the Kimerald love team - “Unang-una yun, siyempre,” Gerald said. It’s only right that the teleserye ng totoong buhay was the first thing that came to mind. After all, it was the show that “made” him and Kim Chiu, who became his onscreen partner for the first half of his career. Their partnership became known as Kimerald, and they were a force to be reckoned with until they parted ways in 2010. However, they reunited briefly for a couple of one-off projects, including the Star Cinema ensemble movie 24/7 in Love. Kim and Gerald have different onscreen partners now, but the door remains open for a full-fledged Kimerald reunion someday, in the movies or on TV. I’d like that, wouldn’t you? 

2. The Kimerald movies – Like Gerald, I have a special place in my heart for the movies he made with Kim. I imagine they’re special to him because their popularity as a love team was at its peak when they were making those movies. Whenever I think of First Day High, I’ve Fallen For You, Paano Na Kaya, and their last movie as a love team, Till My Heartaches End, I remember all the memories he, Kim and I made together. For instance, the premiere night of Paano Na Kaya was the first one I went to as a guest, not a member of the press. Gerald himself invited me and I was seated next to the rest of his barkada. After the premiere, we all went to the after party to celebrate. 

Gerald, me, and Kim Chiu at the after party of the Paano Na Kaya premiere night. This photo doesn't quite capture how much fun we had eating Chinese food and talking about the movie, but I decided to use it anyway.
3. Sana Maulit MuliHis first real teleserye with Kim. Before it aired, most people still saw them as little more than reality-show graduates. Those same people also wondered if Kim and Gerald had what it took to headline a show on the Primetime Bida block. I loved this show because I thought its time travel concept was unique, and thankfully audiences agreed with me. It became such a success that its finale earned a 40.6% nationwide rating and TBS, a Taiwanese network, bought the rights to it. They changed its title to Chances and began airing it in Taiwan in 2008. I remember that while all this was happening, I was thinking, “Way to silence the naysayers, Ge!” 

4. Tayong DalawaWho can forget the moment when Gerald, playing JR Garcia, cradled his fallen brother (played by Jake Cuenca) and screamed, to no one in particular, “Solider down!” I loved that scene so much that for a time, I made that line my ringtone. Hehe. At the time, the role of JR was his most demanding one in many ways, especially physically. To prepare for their roles as members of the armed forces, he and his co-stars trained alongside cadets at the Philippine Military Academy. Once, Gerald and I were talking about the time he spent there, and when I told him I was a Citizens’ Army Training (CAT) officer in high school, he confessed that Tayong Dalawa made him wish he had been able to do the same. “Baka naging mas madali sa akin yung pag-adjust sa regimen sa PMA if nakapag-CAT rin ako,” he said ruefully. 

5. On the JobIn most of his previous projects—particularly the ones he did when he was starting out—Gerald relied heavily on his good looks. But he changed gears when he signed on to play the role of hired killer Daniel Benitez and realized that pretty-boy posturing wouldn’t help him pull it off properly. Gerald did his own research on hitmen, life in prison and thought about what he could do to look more like his character. He even went so far as to tell the director Erik Matti that he wanted to shave his eyebrows. How’s that for dedication? Trivia: I put up a scene from On the Job in my Star Magic Workshops Advanced Acting Level 1 class. I was assigned to play Joel Torre’s character Mario “Tatang” Maghari, the mentor of Gerald’s character. When I told Gerald about it, he said, “Ay sayang, kung si Daniel yung character mo matutulungan kita.” It's cool, but I hope I get the chance to play a character Gerald has played soon! I’d love to be “mentored” by him. Hehe. 

6. Halik Sa HanginThis romance-horror movie was directed by Manny Palo and written by Enrico Santos, and it saw Gerald help Julia Montes transition to more mature roles. A love scene between them made it to the final cut of this movie, and Gerald told reporters during a press conference that he took very good care of Julia while filming the love scene. Moreover, Halik Sa Hangin is on this list because according to Gerald, it required him to dig deeper than usual. “What’s tough about my role is that it requires a whole range of emotions,” he said at the time. 

7. Awards and citations – Winning awards isn’t everything, but there’s no denying that it feels good when an award-giving body sees fit to give you one. For Gerald, it’s just another sign that his hard work on his projects has paid off. He earned his first acting award in 2010, when the Philippine Movie Press Club awarded him the Best Single Performance by an Actor trophy for his performance in Maalaala Mo Kaya: Lubid. His portrayal of a young man with Tourette’s syndrome also earned for him the SISA Choice Awards’ Outstanding Featured Male Character in a Drama Program and the Gawad Tanglaw Best Actor awards. Gerald has since won more awards for his subsequent work, all of them driving home the point that winning is sweet, but the knowledge that he worked hard for what he won is even sweeter.

8. Being able to help others – I’ve always said that when you’re famous, you have to do something with your fame—something besides pose for photos and sign autographs. To his credit, Gerald has made sure to put his name behind worthwhile causes, like cancer awareness and helping kids with special needs. Every year since he entered showbiz, Gerald has celebrated his birthday with the children of the Cancer Warriors Foundation. When he brought to life the mentally challenged titular character in the advocacy-serye Budoy, Gerald spent time with the kids of Cottolengo Filipino. He was so touched by the experience that he decided to include them on the guest list for his yearly birthday party. Gerald truly has a heart of gold, doesn’t he?

Gerald with one of the kids from Cottolengo Filipino, Inc. at his birthday celebration on March 7, 2012 at Jollibee in C5, Libis. The Cottolengo kids are close to Gerald's heart because he spent time there preparing for his role in Budoy.
9. The Gerald Anderson Foundation – Speaking of birthdays, Gerald turned 27 this month. True to form, he used his 27th as a platform from which to raise funds for his latest project. Gerald, with the help of his family and some friends, put up a foundation that trains dogs to be used in search and rescue operations when calamities strike. I know this is something that’s truly close to his heart. Not only is Gerald a dog lover, but he has been known to help total strangers in times of trouble. (Remember what he did for his neighbors when Typhoon Ondoy struck in 2009?) When I found out about this, I seriously considered asking Gerald and his team to train my two golden retrievers. Wouldn’t that be cool? What do you say, Cheesestick and Muffin? Want to become superhero dogs? Haha!

10. Always Be My MaybeIt’s no surprise that Gerald put this on the list, because I don’t think any movie of his has been met with more enthusiastic reviews. As of this writing, the movie has made P100 million at the tills. I think ABMM's success is down to a combination of Direk Dan Villegas’s skillful handling of the material and Gerald’s chemistry with his leading lady Arci Munoz. I’d actually like to see them in another project together, provided the right script comes along—and if Direk Dan is available to helm it again!

As I was writing my commentary on each item, I realized that it’s been ten years since Gerald and I became friends. Although we don’t see each other as often as we used to, I know that when I do run into Gerald again, we’ll pick up exactly where we left off. There are a lot of maybes in this world, especially in showbiz, but my friendship with him isn’t one of them.

Did you like this post? Sound off in the comments!

Interview and main photo by Allan Sancon for Jules Explains it All.
Special thanks to Nhila Mallari of Star Magic.

Poor unfortunate soul

It took me a while to choose a photo for this post, but I went with this one from the JaDine In Love concert. I think there's a lot of strength radiating from Nadine Lustre in this photo, so it seemed perfect given the current situation.
Twitter’s 140-character limit on our tweets really sucks. It forces you to compress your thoughts into such a tiny space and sometimes, that doesn’t go over well at all. Especially when you have so much to say on a certain topic, like I did with the article published by lifestyle web site Preen last night about Nadine Lustre.

Everyone knows that Nadine is one of my favorite girls. We hit it off well at Julia Barretto’s debut last year—I spent most of the night hanging out with her and some of our common friends—and we’ve been tight ever since. So yes, I have to admit the piece in question didn’t sit well with me when I read it last night.

If it had been published before I was diagnosed with and entered treatment for my mental health disorder, my first reaction would have been to fire off a series of angry tweets directed at Preen and writer Jacqueline Arias. My disorder makes me unable to manage my emotions properly. I get angry really easily, and when I do, you better watch out. A volcanic eruption ain’t got nothing on me.

However, I was diagnosed in May 2015, I’ve learned that I should try not to give in to my impulses, especially when reacting to something upsetting. So I just held myself in check and, when I calmed down, decided that tweeting either Jacqueline or Preen would be a waste of time.

I’ve learned that there are some things you just shouldn’t dignify with a response—and in my opinion, that article about Nadine is one of them. It's so not well-written at all. It’s a supremely poor attempt at snark. Why waste 140 characters on something that's not worth even a single one? Yes, what Jacqueline Arias wrote is upsetting, but the better reaction, IMO, would’ve been to turn the other cheek and focus on other things instead. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference.

If you absolutely must react, say something once and then move on, which I think is what James himself did. That's what I meant to say in my tweets and all I tried to get the fans to do last night, when I tweeted about calming down and reading StarStudio instead. I realize now that my attempt to divert the fans’ attention was clumsy at best, and for that I apologize.

I also don’t have anything against the JaDines who got mad at me last night. They’re perfectly entitled to feel however they want to, and I know they were upset over the article so they said some things they probably didn’t mean.

I’m just surprised that Preen took the article down and issued an apology. I was sure they would stand by their content and their writer. That’s normally what any publication would do. But I guess the reaction to what Jacqueline Arias wrote was just overwhelmingly negative—and personally, I can’t blame the fans for reacting the way they did. They felt compelled to speak up in defense of Nadine because they love her, that’s all.

I just have to wonder how Jacqueline Arias is feeling atm. I’m not too worried about Nadine, to be honest. She’s a strong woman and she has James to lean on besides. It’s just that as a writer myself, it’s kind of easy for me to put myself in that poor unfortunate soul’s shoes. Others may say she had it coming and part of me agrees, but something people need to understand is that for a writer, if your editors don’t stand by you or your story and yet saw fit to publish it, that’s very sad.

Anyway, since Preen took the article down and issued an apology, the point is moot and academic now. I think the best thing to do at this juncture is to accept their apology for what it is and move forward.

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Main photo by Nimfa and Sany Chua for Jules Explains it All.

Sunday, March 06, 2016


Jane Oineza on Kris TV with her Always Be My Maybe co-star Arci Munoz. They dropped by the Queen of All Media's show to promote their movie and talk about life and love in general as well.
I’m starting to feel like ‘tis the season to drop bombshells, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. First, James Reid and Nadine Lustre came clean about their relationship at the end of their recent Araneta Coliseum concert. Then a few days ago, Jane Oineza guested on Kris TV to promote her movie Always Be My Maybe. In one segment of the show, Jane confirmed to Kris Aquino that she and De La Salle Green Archer Jeron Teng had called it quits. You can watch that segment below:

I actually wasn’t able to watch the episode when it aired because I was still asleep at the time. I’m an insomniac, so I end up going to bed in the wee hours of the morning and rarely wake up on time for Kris TV. Ergo, I had to settle for a YouTube video instead. But had I known that Jane was going to talk about Jeron that day, I would’ve set every alarm clock in my house to make sure I could watch her do it live. But I digress.

I have to say that I wasn’t as susprised as everyone else was by news of their breakup. I started to feel like something was amiss between her and Jeron late last year. But I wasn’t able to touch base with either of them to find out if my hunch had any merit to it—I was busy trying to recover after being diagnosed with a mental health problem last May, and they had their own full plates to deal with.

I was able to raise Jane a few times on Viber while she was on vacay in Dubai, but I didn’t feel like that was the best platform on which to ask her the questions I really wanted to ask. We just made plans to catch up over dinner with our BFF Jan Enriquez when she got back to Manila. So it was that when the three of us were seated around a table in the Bonifacio Global City branch of Army Navy earlier this year, we talked about everything under the sun—including my diagnosis, and, of course, the breakup.

Jan and I, as well as our mutual friend France Sajorda, have been privy to most of the details of Jane and Jeron’s situation. As you may know, it was Jan who first introduced them to each other and France served as confidant to both of them. But we decided to sit on those details for months, only sharing what we could without breaking Jane’s or Jeron’s trust. We did that because we value our friendships. As for Jane, I think the reason she never really confirmed a relationship with Jeron one way or the otheronly sharing bits and pieces in interviews and on social mediawas because she wanted to protect what they had without building too high a wall, you know what I mean? Which, if you think about it, is also understandable.

Going back to the Kris TV segment, I liked how the Queen of All Media handled the interview. She was honest about her own friendship with Jeron and his family. Kris and Jeron’s mother Susan Teng are ninang sa kasal to celebrity stylist Boop Yap-Tanedo, who married businessman Kevin Tanedo last year. However, Kris was totally diplomatic in her approach. Kris remained sensitive of Jane’s feelings while grilling her about Jeron. I think that’s why Jane opened up to her, since Kris made her feel at ease even when the interview ventured into emotional territory.

One of the things I liked best about this interview was that she dropped a lot of quotable quotes, especially this one: "If it’s not meant to be, then hindi talaga siya mangyayari. And siguro, may mga bagay rin na mas deserve mo or mas deserve ng ibang tao. So yun, yun yung lesson learned."

She later added, "Kailangan mo munang maging OK sa sarili mo. Kailangan mo munang maging buo bago mo ma-i-sha-share yung sarili mo sa iba. Kasi kapag kulang ka rin naman, sayang rin."

My girl may be able to shed copious amounts of tears at the drop of a hat when she has to, like when she’s taping a heavy scene for a movie or teleserye, but Jane's not overly dramatic in real life. When she goes through something painful, she doesn’t cry about it. That’s more my style. Haha! But seriously, I do think Jane has been handling this situation in the best possible way—with class and pragmatic thinking. I like that she’s able to see the good in goodbye. I think everyone out there who has gone through or is going through something similar would do well to try and follow Jane’s example. The end of a relationship, however beautiful it may have been, shouldn't be the end of your world. It should be the jumping-off point from which you create a better one. Jane's doing just that. She's focusing on her career, so I think you should all keep an eye out for Bloody Crayons, her next movie under Star Cinema.

As Taylor Swift once said, “She lost him but she found herself, and somehow that was everything.”

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All media courtesy of this YouTube channel.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Definitely Janie

In the romantic comedy Always Be My Maybe, Jane Oineza gives advice to Gerald Anderson's character. I can attest to Jane's advice-giving abilities. I don't know what I'd have done if she hadn't been there at critical moments in my life.
Jane Oineza and I have been through a lot together. We’ve seen each other through happiness and heartbreak a thousand times over. I’ve memorized the way her eyes light up when she’s happy, and the way the corners of her mouth turn down when she’s not. I have to say I prefer the former, so I was glad to see that expression on her face when she told me that she had been cast in the movie Always Be My Maybe.

Jane broke the news to me while I was riding shotgun in her van as she wove expertly through the clogged streets of Metro Manila—oh yes, she was driving! Jane, our friend Jan Enriquez and I were looking for a place to eat and had just decided to head for Bonifacio Global City when talk turned to Jane’s career. That was when she brought up her role in the romantic comedy starring Arci Munoz and Gerald Anderson.

At the time, Jane had barely begun work on the movie, so she couldn’t tell us much about it because there wasn’t a lot to tell pa, aside from the fact that Dan Villegas was directing it. Besides, we had other, more personal matters to discuss over dinner. Hehe. So when the grand press conference of Always Be My Maybe rolled around, I made sure to send a representative—my photographer friend Allan Sanconso I could find out more about my BFF's latest project.

At said press conference, Jane revealed that she had been cast as Telay, whom she described as the best friend-slash-assistant of Gerald’s playboy character Jake. Most of Jane's scenes were with him, so she really got a chance to know and learn from him on the set. “Ako yung nagbibigay ng advice kay Jake sa mga times na kailangan niya nun, pero from a girl’s point of view,” Jane explains. “Isang eksena lang ako with Arci, pero super fun niya kasama and bilib ako sa work ethic niya. With Gerald naman, sobrang bait niya. Cool siya kasama, talagang parang tropa-tropa lang kami.”

Jane told reporters that she considered Always Be My Maybe a breath of fresh air, at least as far as her filmography is concerned. “First time in a long time ko gumanap ng boyish na role. Isa yun sa mga gusto ko sanang gawin noon, and ngayon nagawa ko na. This movie is something new for me kasi it’s very light, and sanay ang mga tao na makita ako mag-drama,” she explains.

Jane may have started on the kiddie gag show Goin’ Bulilit, but her subsequent career was largely built on heavy drama. She’s known for her star turns in several gut-wrenching Maalaala Mo Kaya episodes (one such episode even garnered her a nomination for an international acting award), as well as her most recent teleserye Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita. This latest movie of hers means a lot to Jane because it allowed to stretch herself creatively and break out of her shell a little bit—and what actor or actress wouldn’t welcome an opportunity to do that?

One of the more, uh, interesting moments of the grand presscon came when Jane was asked about the status of her relationship with Jeron Teng. Specifically, she was asked for her opinion on when a relationship should be called a “maybe.” She replied, without hesitation, “Siguro yung hindi niyo pa napaguusapan kung ano ba yung status niyo, kasi dapat malinaw sa inyong dalawa kung ano ang meron kayo.” (Pak!)

So when she was pressed for comment on kung ano ang meron siya with the De La Salle University Green Archers standout, Jane didn’t even blink—she knew exactly what to say. “OK naman kami. Busy kasi siya, busy din ako. Gusto muna namin mag-focus sa careers namin. Like siya, last year or last two years na niya sa UAAP. I’m not sure, about that, pero sure ako na friends kami. Walang maybe. Sure na friends,” she said.

As a friend to Jane and Jeron, I can tell you all that her answers mean that they’ve talked things over and decided that the best thing for both of them right now would be to focus on their careers. It’s not my place to agree or disagree with their decision because it doesn’t really involve me, but for the record, I’d like to say that I support it. After all, both of them have a lot on their respective plates right now anyway.

Jane at the Always Be My Maybe premiere. The movie has been met with success, and Jane attributes that to the working environment on set. "I was really having fun. Sobrang bait ni Direk Dan at parang barkada lang kaming lahat."
Fast forward to the Always Be My Maybe premiere night, to which I also sent Allan Sancon, who caught up with Jane after the screening. He got a video interview with her, and when I watched it back, I saw that she was bubbling over with the kind of excitement that I’ve seen when she’s talking about a really good book she’s read. But I digress.

“Sobra akong proud sa buong film,” she gushed. “Gusto kong i-congratulate everyone behind the movie. Very proud ako sa kanila. Natuwa din ako sa reaction ng mga nanood. Nakaka-overwhelm na affected sila sa mga lines na sinasabi mo. Nakikita mo na natatawa sila, umiiyak sila. Super sarap nung pakiramdam na nakikita mo na yung pinaghirapan mo, appreciated ng ibang tao.”

The people who appreciated Jane’s performance in Always Be My Maybe should keep an eye out for her next project—another movie under Star Cinema. But this one will be a change of pace for her yet again.

“I’m doing Bloody Crayons, it’s a barkada horror movie and we’re all very excited. Nag-cam test at storycon na kami. Olivia ang name ng character ko, and boyfriend ko sa movie si Diego Loyzaga,” she shares. “Ano to, uh, patayan siya. It’s a slasher movie.”

I’m really happy that Jane has a lot lined up, career-wise. It sucks that I can’t see her as often as I’d like to because she’s really busy, but I’d rather she be busy with work than idle. Being busy equals success, and as a friend, there’s definitely nothing more important to me than seeing Jane succeed.

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All photos by Allan Sancon for Jules Explains it All.
© Jules Explains it All
Maira Gall