I have always been taking my daughter to VTRs. In most cases, I’m also asked to do Mommy role VTR with her, until such time I get to do more castings than her. My little girl would fit into pre-school roles, but Mommy models are more in demand.
One day I got a call from Pam, a Caster for whom I did a VTR for a Golden Fiesta cooking oil. My heart pounded “A call back! A caaaalll baaaacckk!!”. I need to get hold of myself after what happened to the Tide vtr 2 weeks ago. It was a final casting and we’re a final 4. After taking turns on cam, I was the 1st one to be sent home. Ang sama-sama ng loob koh. Now that that Tide ad is out, imagine I’d get to see my face 2x in most all programs in all channels saying “Alam mo, may nadiskubre akong ikatutuwa mo!..” It was a big budgeted project that slipped off my hands.
Pam: “Miss Jazer, please come back to our office, and can you please dress as GMA?
Huh? It has been a long while since I last heard anyone referring me as Gloria Arroyo. Let me take you 10 years back. 1996, I was a flight attendant. I report for work with my hair on a bun and passengers say I look like the senator (she’s got shoulder length hair then). One day, I had a Filipina business class passenger who looked exactly like her except there’s no mole. Handing her welcome drink I asked, “excuse me Ma’am, are you the sister of Senator Arroyo?”. The smile wiped off from her face and she pointed at me. “No, you look more like her!” Para bang ako yung pinasahan niya ng inis niya being recognized as Gloria all the time. 2001 GMA became president and my OFW passengers pick on me “Hello Madam Arroyo!”
Back to 2006, I presented myself again to Pam with my ponytail tucked under my collar, armed with an eyeliner (for the mole, get?).
She did a VTR on me again as GMA and while rolling, she asked, “are you willing to cut your hair?” e ano pa nga ba? I’m actually thinking of growing my hair long again. I cut my hair every 2 years. Not this year. This year?, not this year? This year? What the heck!”Yes, summer naman e.” hmp, plastic. Then off cam, “Miss Jazer,…” (Misis na po ano) “…I really need a GMA. I’ve been casting anyone I can find but they don’t quite fit. I was even scouting for gay impersonators and combed Malate, but to no avail. My deadline is slowly eating me, then my assistant spotted you when he was reviewing the cooking oil VTR….Has anyone told you you look like GMA?” “Let me take you 10 years back…”
So I got the part. They didn’t get other people on their list. Impersonators of Sharon Cuneta, Mike Enriquez, Manny Pacquiao, among others. I got to meet Vic Prado aka Boy Abunda Jr., an active church member who previously did a noodles commercial as a Boy Abunda reporter. Soon he did the same role for Maricel Soriano’s Globe 90 cents ad. There was also 18 yr old Debbie Pedro (with her supportive, not-so-stage Dad) aka Darna, the “Ang haba na ‘o” Rejoice girl. That was costume fitting day, the same day they were shooting Golden Fiesta TVC. If you look at the label of both products Mang Tomas sarsa and Golden Fiesta cooking oil, you’ll discover that it both came from the same manufacturer. I did.
The Assistant Director gave us briefing and a bit of workshop. He wants to see if can we carry our characters well enough. The story board doesn’t require dialoge, but a hell lot of emotes. So Darna, Boy and I started talking over a bowl of puto while Direk Nick observes.
Boy: “Mrs. President, what are the actions you’re taking on your distractors?”
GMA: “I say, let the opposition unite. I think Dinky and Jinggoy look good together.”
Boy: (to Darna) “Angel, kayo pa ba ni Richard Gutierrez?”
Darna: “Hindi na po.”
Boy: “Eh Darna, san ka kumukuha ng lakas?”
Darna: “Sa mahiwagang bato ko po, ikaw din po may mahiwagang salamin din po diba?”
GMA: “Oh, maybe I can borrow your powers sometime and strengthen the economy.”
Boy: “That’s very interesting Madam”
GMA: “Would you like to be a member of my cabinet? You’ll make a good door knob.”
Darna: “Eh Ma’am, ano na po ang sitwasyon ng Pilipinas ngayon?”
GMA: “I don’t know about that, but I must say, this puto taste so good, it will attract foriegn investors.”
Direk: “OK, practice some more, the facial expressions, mannerisms, gestures, drink plenty of water, 10 hrs rest and we’ll see you tomorrow. We’ll be with Kuya Germs and Parokya ni Edgar. The concept is based on Parokya’s MTV Inuman na.”
Yup, the real German Moreno. I learned they can’t get an impersonator so they have to get the real thing. They made an ex-deal to buy slots on his late night show. As for the Parokya, if I’m only 10 years younger, I’d be so,so thrilled.
Hah, that’s the 1st “Madam” of all “Madams” I’ll be hearing from that day on.
Pam: “…please come 1 hour before call time for your hair cut.”
March 24, 2006 ‘Chibugan na’ shooting day.
I left my daughter with her Lola. I promised to be back in the afternoon. At the studio, I was the 1st talent to arrive (professional ang Lola mo). The breakfast table was ready and boy, who can resist daing and frankfurters? “Kain ka muna Ate, maaga pa naman.” Don’t mind if I do.I already psyched myself the night before and gave my hair a despedida. So sitting on the make up chair, I wasn’t very nervous. I was more contemplating on what new doo to pick from hair magazines at Fixx after this. “Ate,” the make up artist whispered. “Sana umorder ka na lang ng wig.”
“Hah!, pwede pala yun?”
“Oo, marami sa store room”
“Hindi, ino-order yun eh.”
Then I gave Pam the care bear stare.
“Pam, pwede naman palang wig, ba’t di mo naman sinabi?”
“Huh?” She was surprised herself. “Eh hindi ko naman alam eh, tsaka tinanong kita diba, pumayag ka magpagupit?”
Then on with my transformation as other talents Vic and Debbie arrive and got prepared.
Hey, hey, the gang’s all here. Parokya arrived and we’re on. The time has come for us 3 to be presented to the director. So from the make up room, on we marched to the set. Everyone welcomed us with glee. The crew, clients, other talents, all with their cameras pointing at us. Kulang nalang palakpakan. Instead of just standing there and wait for instructions, ang inyong abang lingkod felt the role very much and stepped in there and shook hands with all the Parokya members and the directors. It was a comic riot. Everyone was delighted, even me. The guy I last shook hands with is the head director wearing black and cap who I thought I saw & met the 1st time.No we didn’t start yet. Not without picture taking. With the crew, with Parokya, even with the director. I figured, I have to get used to this. A President for a day. Before the 1st take, I have to be retouched. “Utos po ni Direk Madam.” There’s that word again. “Kailangan daw kitang patandain. Actually, pwede kong gawin yun kanina pa, kaya lang, ayoko namang sirain ang beauty mo, eh nabuko tayo.” So with a brush, he lined my laughlines with a dark shade. Oh well.
On with the 1st take. Ang kukulit ng Parokya. Picture your noisy HS male classmates who doesn’t listen to the teacher. Ganun. But thanks to them, if not for their humor and loud antics, it would have been a long, boring shoot. After 3 takes, I was told to stand. Some crew need to take my chair and break off the seatback. That chair won’t do, they have to make me look shorter. They made me sit on a wooden apple crate and preserved the seatback para presidential pa rin ang dating. So we have to do all the takes over again. Sumakit legs ko ha. All the while my seat was being fixed, the parokya members seem to be quiet. Yun pala they were busy with their PSPs under the table, competing via bluetooth.
Nung una, nakakagana talaga. Imagine inihaws being replaced kada take. We were really eating then. But doing a kainan shoot for the whole day, you’d have no belly room to place it all. We were all using spitting cups after a while.
Yes, the shoot took the whole day. I promised my mother-in-law and daughter I’ll be home in the afternoon. I have never been away from my girl this long. I don’t feel easy without her in my sight. Though there’s nothing to worry about, I called the house 3x.
Pam:”Hay nako Mommy, if you want to be in this business, you better get used to it. There will be times you’ll be away from your family.”
Me: “Alam mo tama ka. Imagine, after this, sisikat na ako. How can I accept appearances and other projects? The show must go on right?” Dream-on.
3PM Eto na si Kuya Germs. The Director has to cut the Boy Abunda scene to give way to Kuya Germs who’s time is limited. He’s the most striking, most respectable figure there, in his colorful, most striking, most respectable outfit. That gave out a little air of silence. Para bang dumating yung Principal. Oh yes, he’s very friendly. Can’t argue with that. I really enjoy watching his take. Nanlalaki yung mata niya and he looks very funny. I enjoyed the part na nangaagaw siya ng ulam. I even got to sit beside him.
I noticed most of the equipment reads ‘Raymond Red Productions’. Hmmm, maybe they rented all these from Raymond Red. But why would he lend it all without being a part of it? The clapper reads Director: R. Red. No I don’t see him anywhere. I only see this ‘person in action’- the Asst. Director Nick, and that other guy in black with cap who he takes decisions from. Could he be Raymond Red? No, Raymond Red’s got long hair and this guy is old. But then again, the last I saw Raymond Red was in film documentaries 10 years ago. If he’d be old now, he’d look like HIM! Ay siya nga. Ay ang tanga ko recognizing him too late.
Whenever I sit at one corner and watch shooting of other talents, people on the set approach me. “Madam, pwede pong pa-picture?” Again it was the staff, the crew, studio runners, PAs, even the Ad agents. With all the shots, I have to bend my knees to look short. Worse, they show me the still shots with their hand trying to hack me, horns on my head, dracula faces, all anti-GMA gestures. Some even come to me with a political joke, expecting me to give a wacky GMA punchline. Hey I didn’t read the papers today, not even this week OK? Some thought I was a real GMA impersonator like Ate Glow. “Naku hind po,” I explaned. “1st time ko lang po ito, kaka-discover lang sa akin ni Pam the other day.”
Debbie’s take didn’t start til after dinner. That gave her plenty of time for her hair to curl. She was very quiet and sweet off cam. On the set, before their next take, the Parokya members were teasing her.
“Sinong crush mo sa amin?”
“Hindi, hindi, sino sa amin ang tingin mo ang mabait?”
“Hindi, sino sa amin ang gusto mong maging classmate?”
“Ganito nalang, kung mapunta ka sa isang isla,…”
Ang kukulit. Promise.
Shooting finally ended at 1130. Yeeeheyy! I can finally go home to my daughter who’s probably sleeping now. More picture-picture-an. It’s not everyday you can get to have your picture taken with GMA, or at least the next best thing. If I charged P20/shot, siguro may pang spa na ako kinabukasan. We went home with a heavy bag load of 1L Mang tomas bottles. As many as we can carry. Buti pa si Mang Tomas namigay ng produkto, my daughter never got a freebie from her shoot.
Ay, bago nga pala ako umuwi, I asked the make up artist to remove my make up. “Eh Madam, hating gabi na, malapit lang din ang bahay nyo, sa bahay ka nalang magbura ng mukha.” “Alam mo Tita, taga Makati po ako. Kung gusto mo ako makauwi ng buhay, burahun mo make up ko”. So he did.
That morning, My little angel woke up to find Mama’s hair short and all standing.
She pointed at my face: “Hahaha, hahaha, hahaha, Mama, you look funny.”
A week after easter, Hubby was the 1st to see this ad.