SOFIA Gonzalez, the eldest daughter of Tacloban City Mayor Cristina Gonzalez and ex-Mayor Alfred Romualdez started recording her debut album for Viva Records yesterday. One of the songs she did is her own composition, “Love Hurts”. How can she write a song about love when she herself admits she has never fallen in love in her entire life?
“Love is relatable naman even if you haven’t been in love yet. But actually, I’m in love pala, with food!” she laughs. “I got the inspiration for the song from my friends who fall in love then break up with their boyfriends and come to me to open up about their heartbreaks. I’m their shoulder to cry on and judging from their stories, parang ang daming lalaking manloloko.”
How long does it take for her to write a song? “‘Love Hurts’ natapos ko in 5 minutes. It was late at night, I was bored, so I wrote it. I have finished two other songs.”
How come she’s using her mom’s family name and not her dad’s? “Romualdez kasi is more identified with politics, while Gonzalez is better known in showbiz. My mom is known as an actress-singer then. She’s using Gonzalez and also her dad, my lolo, Jose Mari Gonzalez, who’s also an actor-singer.”
So will she also be an actress-singer? “No. I don’t know how to act. I tried in Youtube but it’s awful.”
Who among today’s young actors would she like to have as a ka-love team? “No one. I don’t really care about having a loveteam. I want to focus on my music muna. I don’t have formal voice lessons but I was a member of our school choir for one year. I learned to play the ukelele, guitar and the piano without taking any formal lessons. I just learned from Youtube.”
Who are her favorite singers? “Locally, Yeng Constantino. She’s really my idol as she also composes her own songs and plays the guitar. If ever I’d get to do a duet with her, siguro I’d cry. I also like the styles of KZ Tandingan and, abroad, Ariana Grande and Adele.”
Sofia just turned 17 on August 22, she’s in 10th grade, and talking to her, it’s easy to see she has a good head on her shoulders. She professes to be conservative. “People are shocked when they learn that at 17, I haven’t tried drinking anything alcoholic kasi sa bars daw in Manila, girls younger than me can drink. But I don’t even have a night life. Whether here in Tacloban or in Manila, I prefer to just stay home at night watching TV, movies or Youtube, doing social media and eating. I watched ‘Stranger Things’, all 8 episodes, in just one sitting. I love romcoms. I’ve seen ‘500 Days of Summer’ several times.”
Isn’t she scared of being bashed on social media? “You know, since it’s been announced that I signed up with Viva, biglang dumami ang friends ko. Even my sister Diana gained friends. She asked me: Who are all these people following me now? So far, wala namang namba-bash, but if ever there’d be bashers in the future, I’d just ignore them. I won’t even read them at all.”
She had a very traumatic experience at the height of typhoon Yolanda. “We were staying home when the rains started and we moved to our other house which was on higher ground. But even there, the water reached us. It went up so fast. It’s good my mom brought life jackets and we had to wait for two hours until the water subsided. What happened afterwards is even more traumatic when we had to go out na, seeing all the dead people lying in the streets. I can’t forget a little girl who’s asking for our help and we didn’t know what to do. We had to undergo counseling and therapy because of that experience.”
So what insights did she gain about it? “You should learn to value your life more, don’t take it for granted, because you can die any minute.”
Does she know Gwen Zamora, who used to be her older brother Raymond’s girlfriend? “Yes. We got along fine and I still follow her on Instagram. She just greeted me on my birthday.”
Does she know Gwen is getting married to Jeremy Marquez next year? “Yeah? My brother has no girlfriend up to now. Actually, I felt sad when they broke up.”
What’s her guiding principle in life? “Always have God in your life. My mom always tells us that. You can be rich and famous but if you don’t have God in your life, you’d never be happy.”
CHALLENGING AND SECRET ROLES IN CHARO'S MOVIE
CHARO Santos says the most challenging part of her role as Horacia in “Ang Babaeng Humayo” is when Direk Lav Diaz required her to disguise herself as a man while planning to take revenge on Michael de Mesa who sent her to jail. “I asked him if he’s sure na ako ang kina-cast niya in such a role,” she says. “And he said, disguise nga, eh. Suot lalaki ka, magpapanggap ka. So pinag-aralan ko 'yun. Paano kumilos ang lalaki, pati pag-upo, na hindi model o beauty queen ang dating. I told him kapag soft ang dating ko, call my attention. After a while, nawala 'yung apprehension ko kasi ang kaeksena ko, si John Lloyd Cruz na ang role naman is a transgender prostitute. Nakadamit lalaki ako, nakadamit babae naman siya.”
They had to keep their roles a big secret for the longest long time. People didn’t even know John Lloyd is in the movie. “That was really part of Direk Lav’s plan. Not to reveal about John Lloyd’s presence in the film so as not to pre-empt its premiere screening in Venice. Kasi sobrang kakaiba naman talaga ang ginampanan niyang role. At napakagaling niya. Once he puts on his make up as Hollanda, in character na agad siya at hindi mo na makakausap. Babalik lang siya as John Lloyd kapag nag-shower na siya and put on men’s clothes again.”
Produced by Lav’s Cine Olivia (named after his sister who perished in a car crash) and Cinema One, “Babaeng Humayo” is distributed by Star Cinema and opens in theaters today. It’s Lav’s shorted masterwork at only 3 hours and 47 minutes running time. How did Charo feel when it was not chosen as the country’s entry to the Oscars?
“It’d have been really great if we were the one chosen but then, iba-iba ang panlasa ng tao and I can accept that. Kung hindi napapanahon, hindi napapanahon. Kung nauukol talaga, e di mas okay. But I just go with the flow and move on.”
But “Babaeng Humayo” could still be nominated in the Oscars if it would have a regular theatrical screening in the U.S. and all the critics who praised it in Venice and started the Oscar buzz about it will help them. Here’s keeping our fingers crossed that this would still happen, for the sake of the movie and for Charo Santos.
SAD AND HAPPY NEWS FOR ANNABELLE
OUR condolences to Annabelle Rama and family for the passing of her eldest sister, Pura, 78 years old, who resides in Australia. “She was here two months ago and pinutol ang mga daliri niya sa paa because of gangrene caused by diabetes,” says Ms. Rama. “Awang-awa nga ako kasi nagpaalam na siya sa akin. Hindi na raw siya tatagal.”
On a more positive note, Annabelle is happy because their family’s reality show, “It Takes Gutz to be a Gutierrez”, continues to rate high and E! Channel now wants them to shoot the next season after the final episode ends this week. “I told them rest muna kami, kasi lahat sina Richard, Ruffa, Raymond puro so busy sa ngayon. Maraming nagkagusto sa mga apo ko, ang mga anak ni Ruffa na sina Lorraine at Venice. Lorraine is like a model, so tall and slim. Si Venice, maganda ang mukha, but may tendency na tumaba. Sabi ko sa kanya kapag kain siya nang kain, sige ka, gusto mong maging kamukha ka ni Jun Lalin?”