Up to the end, the Year of the Tiger has been a period of growling events and pulsating newsmakers in Philippine show biz—some wild, some victorious, some tragic.
Seemingly like the tiger, the media-savvy stars were contradictory in behavior: intimidatingly fearsome yet warm-hearted, temperamental yet calm.
The coronavirus in all its mutations is very much around, but sadly, many celebrities are shrugging off its real menace that continues to affect public health. Cinemas, whether in malls or stand-alone, have been allowed full capacity; still, health protocols remain in place, like wearing of face masks, keeping hands sanitized, and physical distancing—the last ignored, however, when authorities are not looking, or even when they are. Consider the crowds at the Metro Manila Film Festival.
The year 2022 was ushered in with the noisy election cavalcade. Biases and prejudices, some to the point of pedantry and absurdity, were on full display. It was the time when most show biz denizens were politically awakened.
A clear divide emerged between the celebrity supporters of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Leni Robredo in the May elections. Even before the top two presidential candidates formally declared their run, there was already bitter, if not petty, mudslinging among their fans.
Nora Aunor, Andrew E., Dulce, Randy Santiago, Vivian Velez, Gary Estrada, Bernadette Allyson and others were openly campaigning for and endorsing the son of the late dictator, while Celeste Legaspi, Jim Paredes, Jolina Magdangal, Nikki Valdez, Sharon Cuneta, Regine Velasquez and others were actively and conspicuously rooting for Robredo.
Other movie, TV and theater stars made known their support for the other candidates for prez—Ping Lacson, for example, was backed by Vic Sotto and Ciara Sotto, the brother and father, respectively, of Lacson’s running mate, Tito Sotto. Among Manny Pacquiao’s supporters were Angelica Jones, Eddie Gutierrez,and Annabelle Rama; Isko Moreno’s rooters included Jay Manalo, Billy Joe Crawford, Rez Cortez, Aljur Abrenica, Lou Veloso, and Vivian Velez (who left Marcos Jr. to join Moreno’s camp).
Leody de Guzman’s campaigners included writer Jeffrey Lubang and progressive artists, like Young Critics Circle’s Nonoy Lauzon.
The traditional thinking that the arts should be nonpolitical was debunked when artists from all media aligned for or against a particular candidate. Celebs didn’t have qualms calling a spade a spade despite the gray areas of discretion. Yet, there would only be two choices, except if one boycotted the polls because of the one-track-mindedness of the selection. The options weren’t as clear and delineated.
Would you believe that sex cinema was on the rebound in 2022? Expect Viva Entertainment then to relentlessly produce its brand of titillating films in 2023, resurrecting the skin flicks of the 1980s, but more daring.
Its weekly turnout of sex-oriented films swept the nation, and those Filipinos in diaspora fantasizing on their own brown-skinned bomberas and bomberos were made happy by the cheesecake and beefcake supplied mostly by the talents, male and female, of the controversial manager Jojo Veloso.
Is Vivamax a bane or a boon? It depends on one’s perspective.
There were also almost-daily doses of celebrations, some birthdays but mostly weddings, like Hale’s front man Champ Lui Pio and Claire Nery, singer Morrisette Amon and David Lamar, Kristoffer Martin and Allsya Celine Banzon, Geoff Eigenmann and Mara Flores, Wilma Doesnt and Gerick Parin, Lucho Ayala and model Emma Rueda, Lindsay Custodio and Fredrick Cale, Ynna Asistio and Bully Carbonell, Donita Rose and Felson Palad, former child star Serena Dalrymple and Thoma Breddilet, and Allysa Gibbs and Anton Cruz.
There were likewise sad stories, like the short-lived marriage between Carla Abellana and Tom Rodriguez—and the breakups: Juan Karlos and Maureen Wroblewitz, singer Moira de la Torre and Jason Hernandez, Zeinab Harake and Skusta Clee, Kylie Verzosa and Jake Cuenca, Ana Jalandoni and Kit Thompson, Barbie Imperial and Diego Loyzaga, and Trina Canzada and Carlo Aquino.
Death was big news in 2022. The passing of movie queen Susan Roces, versatile actress Cherie Gil, and singer Jovit Baldivino made up occasions for grief in show biz and beyond.
The APO’s Danny Javier likewise left a void, as did that enduring national treasure Sylvia la Torre.