Growing up in the 80’s gave me the advantage of watching “That’s Entertainment” every afternoon. Those were the days when Leah Salonga was still a struggling teenage artist (she is now a world class performer and she will always be remembered as Kim in Ms. Saigon). Who would ever thought that Sheryl Cruz and Romnick Sarmenta would part ways? You thought Aljon Jimenez would end up with Ruffa Gutierrez? He is now happily married to Manilyn Reynes. Ramon Christopher broke Tina Paner’s heart when he left her for Lotlot De Leon. Lotlot and Monching looked good together and they seemed to be always in love until they separated after more than a decade of being husband and wife. Now, the ex-couple is supporting their eldest daughter’s showbiz career. Mind you, Janine Gutierrez is even prettier than Lotlot during the latter’s younger days; I hope this young lady be given a chance in showbiz. Ruffa Gutierrez and Zoren Legaspi’s on-again and off-again relationship ended permanently when Ruffa’s schedule and priorities diverted her out of local showbiz. Now, Zoren has two wonderful kids with Carmina Villaroel who seemed to be very much in love with then Rustom Padilla (now known as Bebe Gandanghari). Aiko Melendez was dubbed as the young Hilda Koronel. Years later, who would have thought that she would become a politician? From being a shy young lady who was an underdog when Aga Muhlach split up with her, she became “palaban” with all the people who “oppressed” her. When ex-husbands Jomari Yllana and Martin Jickain cheated on her, she did not play martyr and she immediately thought of annulling her unproductive marriage. Jennifer Sevilla and Ian Veneracion looked good together. But the there was no off-cam romance between the two of them. (Hey, I still have a huge crush on Ian! Hehehe)
I had a high school classmate who tried showbiz. He also tried “That’s.” Glutathione was not yet existing as a whitening product during the mid-90’s so he was into chemical peeling to whiten his skin. His schooling was also affected by his “That’s” schedule. From what I remember, he belonged to the same group as Gladys Reyes. He was absent every Thursday and I would be glued to “That’s” in the hope that I would see a glimpse of my classmate’s face on TV.The next day at school, I would tell him if I saw him or not. Being a star (no, I don’t use the term “starlet”), he obliged himself to be properly groomed all the time. He changed the way he talked with his classmates and though I found it superficial, I enjoyed having an encounter with a struggling artist. When he was still a “nobody,” he had all the liberty to eat hopia or drink sago’t gulaman at the school canteen. Not anymore when he thought that drinking chocolate was more “susyal” than drinking sago. When asked if he thinks he could make it in showbiz, he confidently said “Yes, kaya yan. Sana nga.” I admire him for his perseverance but not every artist could be another Christopher de Leon, Aga Muhlach or Piolo Pascual. My classmate got some “pambida” roles for some low-budgetted films; he never made it to the top. Still, I admire him for his guts, his passion for the arts and believing in himself.