Happy Homecoming

Manilyn Reynes

There was a time when Manilyn Reynes owned her place in local TV and cinema. Dubbed the “Star of the New Decade,” the multi-talented, multi-platinum recording artist and multi-awarded actress considers her reign very fulfilling.

With a career spanning more than three decades, the singer-actress, who honed her skills via the iconic 1980s talent show “That’s Entertainment” has remained in the public eye, doing GMA Network teleseryes as well as the comedy show “Pepito Manaloto” while quietly keeping her role at home as wife and mother.

It’s a role that has made her the woman that she is—secure, grateful, and effortlessly affable.

Portraying Marta, the loving but firm mother to Barbie Forteza’s character Happylou in GMA Network’s newest primetime series “Inday Will Always Love You” now, Manilyn is quite right
at home, literally and figuratively.

The series, after all, is mostly shot in her beloved hometown, Cebu.

The Play! pool caught up with Manilyn, and talked about her rise to stardom, her erstwhile title as the “queen of horror films” and about a personal miracle she attributes to the Sto. Niño.

Is this your first time to do a project that’s being shot in Cebu?

Naay movie sa una pero not like now nga dugay ang shoot.

How has the experience been so far? This looks like a homecoming of sorts.

Lahi ra gyud because naanad naman ko nga akoang trabaho is in Manila and akoang dialect is dili atoa so this time I really get to say what I want to say. Also, I would frequent Cebu because my Daddy is sickly naman.

What are your memories of Cebu growing up?

Nahibong baya gyud ko pag-adto namo sa Sirao (Garden) and Temple of Leah. Kadaghan na baya gyud diay’ng lugar nga bag-o diri! It’s really good nga naa ta’yingon ana nga lugar diri kay sa una bata pa intawn ko I remember (Basilica del) Sto. Niño and Magellan’s Cross and wala gani ko kaabot og Bantayan! Tinuod! And sila (castmates) nag-shooting sa Bantayan. Nangluod gyud ko.

You mentioned the Sto. Niño…

Daghan ko’g personal experience with the Child because bata pa ko, sa Manila ko gipanganak pero days old pa lang ko gidala na ko balik dinhi hangtod ko nag 10 years old. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this but clubfoot man ko. My left foot was kind of deformed, dili siya flat. Ever since, ako makaingon gyud ko nga naay Ginoo because I would always ask for Sto. Niño’s help nga makalakaw ko og straight. Unya sa una kay masina baya ko anang uban nga mag boots, kanang pang-majorette unya dili man ko makasul-ob ana. I remember they’d let me wear those kung fu shoes or what they also call Indian shoes. And then ila gyung gipangitaan og paagi nga ma-straight akong tiil. Sa lain lang nga paagi kay napaso man akoang tiil sa upos sa sigarilyo and there was no other way for me to flatten my foot so I had to somehow force it to balance it. Naayo ra gyud siya eventually.

What do you remember about life back then?

It was happy childhood although I didn’t have that much playmates then kay at the age of 10 nibiya na ko for Manila. I remember playing jackstones sa ubos sa amoang balay and dili lang gyud ko laagan adto sa una kay kung mogawas unya init kaayo kay sungguhon man ko. Inig uli nako masuko akoang Mama so kusion ko.

Do you still have family in Cebu?

My sister still lives here. And moanhi baya gyud ko because naa baya ta’y duties, like with my Daddy. We used to have a house in Forest Hills. Mommy and Daddy live in a different house now.

And how’s your life now?

I am a very happy married woman with three boys—a 21-year-old, next is 15 and the youngest is six—of course with my husband, Aljon (Jimenez) who is also my manager.

How has motherhood changed you?

Wala gyud kaayoy na-change. Even kadtong dalaga pa ko I’ve been the work and then house kind of person. Ingon ana man gihapon ko. It’s just that now mas focused ko on a lot of things because daghan baya ta og atimanonon. I enjoy motherhood. I really love it.

What’s an ordinary day like for you?

In the morning, with my husband, we’d send the kids to school as well as in the afternoon we fetch them. Within the day if we have the time, we go boxing or sunning and kaon-kaon ginagmay (laughter). Lami baya gyud ikaon ha! Dili sa giingon nga gusto na gyud nato nga mo-slim ta ha because ever since dili baya gyud ko slim. But anyway I see to it nga mogamay lang gud ta gamay. Usahay mag pizza lang gihapon but I make sure nga I do something to burn the calories, like I run, I box, and I spar with my husband.

You have a number of hit songs. Which one is your favorite?

“Sayang na Sayang,” of course.

You will always be known as the original Philippine cinema’s scream queen. Do you miss doing horror films?

Oh, yes! I do miss it very much. Of course, the most memorable is my first horror film—‘yung third episode ng “Shake Rattle and Roll II,” which is “Aswang.”

How was the experience of working on that film?

Lahi man gud because Tito Peque (Gallaga) and Tito Lori (Reyes) were both systematic. I mean you’d know when you’re needed for this shot or for this angle and you’d know that they’ll take a close shot of you because they have a shot list. Having that shot list really made a difference because wala pa ko’y nakatrabaho nga naay ingon ana, like from every movement and angle makahibalo ka asa gikuhaan. And then kung modagan na mi, naa nay scoring daan. They’d play this background music while we are doing those running or chase scenes.

How was Peque Gallaga as a director?

Back then ingon sila nga medyo terror lagi kuno because strikto lagi and all. Pero no, he was not. In fact sa kadaghan nga horror films nga amoang gibuhat we have become really good friends hangtod karon.

Among the current local horror films, which do you commend?

Wala na kaayo ko katan-aw sa uban so dili ko maka-answer which ang nindot.

Among the new actresses, which one do you consider has the most promise?

I have worked thrice with Barbie Forteza and she is very professional. Wala gyud ka’y madunggan nga reaction from her if she’s asked to do those critical scenes. Wala gyud kay madunggan niya nga dili ko ani uy or I don’t like this. Dili siya moreklamo. You know when she works she really delivers, and when she delivers it’s all throughout.

What is your advice to young stars? You have been in show business for a long time so you know how it is to be standing in their shoes.

Never get tired of sharing your talent. If singing man gani na or acting, ayaw lang gyud og kakapoy. If they’d still ask you to perform, go lang. Kay gihatag man na nimo as a gift. It’s just right that you share it.

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