Darna and Other Idols by Marra PL. Lanot by Marra PL. Lanot - Read Online

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Darna & Other Idols

by Marra PL. Lanot

Copyright to this digital edition © 2012 by Marra PL. Lanot

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner

whatsoever without written permission by the author and publisher, except in the

case of brief quotations for critical articles and reviews.

Some of these profiles have appeared in the following newspapers, magazines, and

journals: Mr.&Ms., Pelikula, Planet Philippines, The Leader, The Philippine Starweek,

Sunday Inquirer Magazine, and The Philippine Star.

Published and exclusively distributed by


7th Floor Quad Alpha Centrum Building

125 Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong City

1550 Philippines

Sales and Marketing: marketing@anvilpublishing.com

Fax: (+632) 7471622


Cover design by Ariel Dalisay

Photo of Marian Rivera as Darna on cover, courtesy of GMA-7

Book design by Joshene Bersales

ISBN 9789712729201 (e-book)

Version 1.0.1

For Jose F. Lacaba, Kris Lanot Lacaba, Francezca C. Kwe,

and my parents Serafin Lanot & Gloria Licad Lanot


Marian Rivera as Darna, Etc.

Gina Alajar with Fire in Her Blood

Osang Off Cam

Ali Sotto Speaks

Ryan Agoncillo: Host with More

Lucy and Richard: The Dance-Sport Duo

Vilma and Ralph: Almost a Fairy Tale

Maita Gomez in Her Element

Ryan Cayabyab, the Music Man

Kerima Polotan Never Stops

Being Edith Tiempo

Lualhati, Paano Ka Ginawa?

Bobby Tañada: A Man of Principles

Rene V. Saguisag: Cool Man in the Hot Seat


My special thanks to Karina Bolasco for waiting, to Gilberto R. Duavit, Jr., Ricky Lo, Terra Daffon, Popoy Caritativo, Lualhati Bautista, Noel del Prado, Nick Pichay, Gina Ravelo, Rita Ravelo dela Cruz, Malou Choa-Fagar, Nic Tiongson, Jo-Ann Maglipon, Rol Peña, and Lucy Torres for generously extending a helping hand, and to Jose F. Lacaba, Kris Lanot Lacaba, Francezca C. Kwe, and Gloria Licad Lanot for their love, understanding, and support.

I would also like to thank the following persons and institutions for the photos of the following subjects:

Rosanna Roces by Romy Florante

Lucy Torres, Richard Gomez, and Julianna, courtesy of Yes!

Lualhati Bautista, courtesy of Net 25

Rene Saguisag, courtesy of The Leader

Marian Rivera as Darna on cover, courtesy of GMA-7

Author’s photo by Kit Kwe

Marian Rivera

as Darna, Etc.

Hers is a face that’s angelic and yet may turn she-devilish when piqued. Her body needs no add-ons. In fact, her natural curves helped land her on the cover of countless publications, including the latest Yes! magazine’s special on the 100 most beautiful stars. She also graced the cover of Preview magazine for being one of its 100 most beautiful Pinays of 2009. She was FHM Philippines ’s top sexiest Filipina of 2008.

Marian Rivera qualifies, indeed, as the perfect fantasy of the Filipino male, because she blends well the look of innocence and sensuality. She doesn’t have to expose her cleavage or wear a skimpy swimsuit in order to look sexy. Even in a dowdy blouse and skirt, she’s a turn-on. Because she’s simply sexy, period. She was born Marian Gracia Rivera on August 12, 1984, in Madrid, Spain.

Named after her grandfather Mariano, Marian is the only child of Amalia Mallari Rivera and Francisco Javier Alonzo Gracia. (Note that the mother’s surname Rivera comes after the father’s name Gracia, a practice followed in Hispanic countries.)

Amalia used to work as an overseas Filipino worker in Spain, where she met and married the Spaniard Francisco. When Francisco couldn’t keep himself from being unfaithful, Amalia left him after two years, and brought her child Marian home to Bayanan, Bacoor, Cavite. Grandma Francisca took care of Marian while Amalia took off again until she got a job as an airport attendant in London, and found another man.

Both father and mother would send Marian financial support for her education and daily needs. Grandma Francisca naturally spoiled Marian, but at the same time taught her to do housework, and raised her with a strict, conservative, middle-class upbringing.

Up until high school, Marian would visit her father in Spain. A restaurant proprietor, dad Francisco would pay for her two-way air fare. Marian stopped her yearly visits when she reached college because she wanted to focus on her studies. Since Marian’s favorite subjects were logic and psychology, she obtained her AB in Psychology at the De La Salle University–Dasmariñas.

Marian, being an observant girl, wanted to understand human behavior and relationships. Even as a student, this pretty mestiza was receiving movie offers, which she declined. Every now and then, she would do ramp modeling, and endorse commercial products for print and television, such as Skyflakes crackers, and Skin White Lotion.

She did a three-month practicum at the National Hospital for Mental Health. After college, she conducted special education for disabled youngsters or children with special health conditions, behavioral disorders or learning disabilities.

Working as a SpEd instructor turned out to be quite difficult for Marian. She found it physically and mentally taxing, spending long travel hours, preparing lesson plans, and evaluating students’ progress.

Through the advertising production company Tape Inc., Marian appeared in GMA 7’s afternoon telenovelas Kung Mamahalin Mo Lang Ako, Agawin Mo Man ang Lahat, and Pinakamamahal, all opposite Oyo Boy Sotto, who, incidentally, nicknamed her Yan-Yan. It was Tina Delposo, assistant to talent manager Popsy Momsy Caritativo, now Marian’s manager, who said that Tony Tuviera of GMA wanted Marian to team up with Oyo Boy Sotto.

Not one to act like a primadonna, Marian wasn’t picky about her roles. At such a young age, she even acted as mother in the Philippine-Malaysian drama series, Muli, for GMA 7, as well as in the TV fantasy Super Twins.

Then came the search for the title role in MariMar, the Mexican telenovela, starring Thalia, which became a phenomenon in local television in 1996. Marian auditioned and got the coveted role, and struck up a highly bankable team-up with Dingdong Dantes. This Number 1 soap opera was followed by top hits Dyesebel and Ang Babaeng Hinugot sa Aking Tadyang.

In 2006, Regal signed up Marian for eight pictures, including romantic comedies Desperadas, True Love, and My Best Friend’s Girlfriend.

Today, Marian is the tenth star to revive the top-rated adaptation of Mars Ravelo’s komiks novel, Darna. Marian seriously worked out for the role, and took lessons in wushu for her action scenes.

She enjoys not only acting on TV and in the movies but also having music and dance albums to her name. Under Universal Records are Marian Rivera Dance Hits, Retro Crazy, and her single Sabay-sabay Tayo. Today, she has more than two dozens commercial endorsements.

Marian claims she does not have hereditary acting talent and has not joined any acting workshop. She watches a lot of foreign movies, but has no favorite movie, actor, or director. She says she’s very open to advice from her directors and from her co-stars like Maricel Soriano in the movie Bahay Kubo.

Marian signed TV and movie contracts against Lola’s and Ma’s consent. Later, unable to dissuade her, they grudgingly permitted her to enter showbiz. "Gusto ko namang makaranas ng hirap, explains Marian, iyong ma-enjoy ko ang pinagpaguran ko." She refused to receive allowances from home. She rented a small condominium unit, hardly owned appliances, washed the dishes and her clothes, rode a taxi. Now, she owns two cars and buys anything she wants.

Hard work also earned her honors, such as Best New Female TV Personality at the 2006 20th Philippine Movie Press Club Star Awards for Television; Favorite Television Actress at the 1st Annual Fil-Am Visionary Awards; FAMAS German Moreno Young Achievement Award; and Actress of the Year at the PEP Forum Awards.

She has brought her mother to the set of Darna somewhere in Bulacan so that her mom can see for herself that Marian’s work is not a bed of roses. Her mother has seen how acting entails practice and concentration, memorizing lines, quick costume changes, etc. "Ang hirap palang maging artista," her mother commented.

The downside of showbiz, furthermore, is eternal intrigues. Marian has been rumored to have had issues with Angel Locsin, Kristine Hermosa, and Katrina Halili, all of which, of course, she denied. Marian haters have accused her of grabbing juicy roles from others, of stealing rumored boyfriend Dingdong Dantes from Karylle, of appearing in sex-scandal videos on YouTube, of possessing no acting or dancing talent, of being a taray queen.

And what do her Darna co-workers have to say about Marian Rivera? Celia Rodriguez: "Mabuting bata, mahal ko ’yan. Caridad Sanchez: I can see she has improved a lot. She has a lot of potential. If she’s serious with her craft, she can really be considered an actor."

Adds Caridad: Her time will come. Ricky Davao: "Masaya siyang kasama. May natural talent. Magaling sa comedy, sa timing. Masipag. Malaki ang potential. Malou Choa Fagar: As a person, Marian has always acknowledged Mr. Tony Tuviera as the person who gave her a break. Tumatanaw siya ng utang na loob. She’s also malambing. As an actor, she tries to improve her craft. She’s able to accept comments/criticisms. She uses them to her advantage."

The location site is a big Fiftyish-looking house in Bulacan in a big, big yard, with old trees and an unused swimming pool. During a taping of Darna, Marian, holding a crutch, does pay attention to the director, is not conscious of the camera, knows timing, is good with reaction shots which have no hint of