entertainment, news, Philippines, public affairs, television

Tony Calvento: The Original ‘Imbestigador’

Tony Calvento, best known as a columnist and host of the ABS-CBN crime series ‘Calvento Files’, passed away yesterday. (Photo credit: Tony Calvento Facebook Page)

Gus Abelgas, the Tulfo brothers and Mike Enriquez were not the first Filipino hosts to showcase gruesome murder cases on television.

Before they came into the viewers’ consciousness, there was Tony Calvento and his ‘Calvento Files’. The program aired on ABS-CBN from 1995-98, during which it popularized the crime docudrama genre on Philippine television.

On Monday, October 9, Calvento passed away from multiple organ failure, his family announced. Funeral services will take place from October 10-13, after which his remains will be cremated on October 14.

Calvento enjoyed a distinguished journalism career. He rose to fame as a columnist for the People’s Journal, before gaining even greater recognition as the host of ‘Calvento Files’ in the mid-1990s.

Most of the stories on ‘Calvento Files’ were adopted from his column on People’s Journal titled ‘Hotline’. Although its run on ABS-CBN was short, it managed to earn a number of accolades, most notably the 1999 New York Film Festival for best docudrama.

‘Calvento Files’ was also adopted into a film produced by Star Cinema in 1997. The film, which was directed by Michael de Mesa and Laurenti Dyogi, featured a screenplay by Ricky Lee with some input from Calvento himself.

After the show ended, Calvento moved over to Pilipino Star Ngayon, naming his column after the aforementioned ABS-CBN program. He remained with the Star Group until his passing.

Individually, Calvento won numerous awards for his journalistic work and his role in crime investigation. And his influence as host of ‘Calvento Files’ was then passed on to other shows that were based on his docudrama style.

Today, the Calvento legacy was passed on to his son Sonny Calvento. The younger Calvento made his presence felt as director of ‘Nabubulok’, which entered the Cinemalaya film festival in August of this year and whose story was influenced by the elder Calvento’s crime stories in his columns.

Tony Calvento may be gone physically, but spiritually his legacy will live on. May his soul rest in peace.

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entertainment, news, Philippines, television

No Surprise: Aljur Abrenica Joins ABS-CBN

It was a transfer three years in the making.

On Monday, July 31, former GMA contract artist Aljur Abrenica officially joined ABS-CBN in a deal that was of no surprise to everyone. Welcoming him on the Kapamilya camp are ABS-CBN executives and producers Laurenti Dyogi, Deo Endrinal and Cory Vidanes.

A GMA contract artist and a ‘StarStruck’ alumnus for 11 years, Aljur’s tenure with the network has had some ups and downs. While the early part of his career was a fruitful one with a few successful projects, the last few years saw his stock drop dramatically.

In 2014, Aljur filed a petition to rescind his contract with GMA Network in hopes of restarting his career. Although Aljur and GMA settled the dispute nearly two years later, it was clear that his popular appeal was waning.

Proof of that was Aljur’s final GMA project ‘Once Again’. Paired alongside Janine Gutierrez, Aljur’s swan song turned out to be a bust, as ‘Once Again’ lasted only 59 episodes and was completely overwhelmed by the LizQuen-starred ‘Dolce Amore’.

Aljur was given no further projects by the network following the failure of ‘Once Again’, and his contract officially expired in March 2017. A few months later, speculation run rampant when Aljur suddenly appeared inside the ABS-CBN compound, hinting at the possibility of joining the network.

Although Aljur has yet to ink an exclusive contract with ABS-CBN, the network said a few projects and appearances are lined up for the actor. That said, it is likely that Aljur will be seen on ABS-CBN noontime shows ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘ASAP’, and talk shows such as ‘Tonight with Boy Abunda’ while his upcoming projects are being planned.

There is also a possibility that Aljur and brother Vin will be seen together, but that will be for another time. In any case, Aljur’s decision to join the network should help resurrect his career, given that ABS-CBN has had a reputation of reviving an artist’s declining fortunes.

It remains to be seen if Aljur will be the latest in a series of Kapamilya reclamation projects, but with the right mindset, he could be on the path back to success. Good luck.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television, variety show

Pastillas Girl Skit Gets MTRCB’s Attention

‘Pastillas Girl’ is in hot water.

A meeting between the MTRCB’s Gender and Development Committee and the show’s director Norbert Vidanes, executive producer Mark Rejano, and business unit head Reily Santiago is set to take place this October 13. This was in response to numerous complaints from concerned citizens regarding the ‘Nasaan Ka Mr. Pastillas’ segment.

Among those concerned were the women’s group Gabriela, who requested the MTRCB for an investigation regarding the skit’s alleged exploitation of women. They claim that ‘Pastillas Girl’ (Angelica Yap in real life) is being pimped by various interested men, something that Yap and her mother vehemently denied.

The letter, which was sent to the executives of ‘It’s Showtime’, as well as ABS-CBN TV Production Entertainment head Laurenti Dyogi and Gabriela Secretary General Joan Salvador, is as follows:

Further to the Memorandum of Understanding dated 28 March 2012 by and between our Agency and various television networks and entities, including ABS-CBN Corporation, as well as the official letter we received last week from the party-list alliance Gabriela, not to mention some feedback from the general public, we are impelled to invite your authorized representatives for the program ‘It’s Showtime’ to a dialogue with the Special Sub-Committee of our Gender And Development (GAD) Committee on 13 October 2015, at 10:00 a.m., at ground floor conference room.

‘Nasaan Ka Mr. Pastillas’ was supposed to be ‘It’s Showtime”s answer to the explosively popular ‘Kalyeserye’ of ‘Eat Bulaga’, starring Maine ‘Yaya Dub’ Mendoza and Alden Richards. Instead, it only worsened the gap between the two shows, while critics to the segment continued to increase.

That said, the ‘Magpasikat’ spirit that has epitomized ‘It’s Showtime’ for six years is now a thing of the past. What the viewers see at this point is a desperate and frustrated program that is offering skits with negative results.

It’s another big blow for ‘It’s Showtime’, and for a show that is losing its grip, this is a painful and difficult sight to see.

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