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Friday, December 10, 2010

Ai-Ai's next target: A Best Actress award

Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ’To, Star Cinema’s entry to the Metro Manila Filmfest.

“I think I deserve it,” she tells members of the press.

After all, playing a widowed mother of 12 who discovers that she has only six to eight months to live in Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ’To is not easy.

The challenge of turning something grim into something hilarious in the tradition of the three previous Ang Tanging Ina Mo films (which started in 2003) series is enough to make even a seasoned comedienne like Ai-Ai think many times over.

Eugene Domingo, Ai-Ai’s reel and real-life friend, again comes to the rescue.

“Master na namin ang isa’t isa,” says Ai-Ai, looking at Eugene beside her. This explains their knee jerk reactions to each other’s punchlines; the chemistry that makes their scenes look so spontaneous.

So at home are they with each other Ai-Ai and Eugene plan to carry over their friendship outside the set by producing “the really last Tanging Ina Mo movie.”

Ai-Ai is taking the cue from co-stars and real-life friends George Clooney and Brad Pitt. If they can work together and remain friends at the same time, why can’t she and Eugene?

Speaking of why nots, German “Kuya Germs” Moreno came up with an idea while attending Ai-Ai’s presscon. Why not give her a star in the local version of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame?

“I will include you in the Walk of Fame (in Eastwood, Quezon City, where showbiz bigwigs have their own star),” he told Ai-Ai. “Just promise me you’ll be in the awarding ceremony in December next year.”

Ai-Ai didn’t think twice when she replied, “I’ll start going there right now!”

Ai-Ai need not start anywhere when it comes to her priorities.

The self-confessed adopted daughter (of her paternal aunt) admits she is grateful and overflowing with respect towards the lady who looked after her. But Ai-Ai’s biological mom back in Calatagan, Batangas still reigns supreme in her heart.

”I wouldn’t have gone to school and become the actress I am now without the aunt who bought me diapers and gave me milk as a baby,” Ai-Ai relates. “Pero iba pa rin yung lukso ng dugo.”

She discovered who she really is by accident.

“My aunt’s officemates at the Bureau of Lands kept on asking me, ’Is she (Ai-Ai’s aunt) really your mom?’”

One day, the then seven-year-old Ai-Ai got sick and tired of all the nagging and asked the lady she thought was her real mom for the real score.

Her aunt’s admission that she was adopted as a baby hit Ai-Ai like a lightning bolt. That’s why she advises adoptive parents to tell the child the truth as soon as he understands. This way, the child will not be as shellshocked as Ai-Ai was when the truth hit her hard.

At first, Ai-Ai admits she can’t call her real mom, “Nanay.” It was always, “Kumain na po kayo” or something like that. Young as she was, Ai-Ai couldn’t understand why her mom had to give her away for adoption. Her real mom was crying, but Ai-Ai still couldn’t fathom why she couldn’t buy milk for her sixth child.

But blood is still thicker than water. When she grew up, Ai-Ai finally understood that her mom had to do it because she gave her word to her spinster sister-in-law. Ai-Ai’s mom promised the childless lady that should the baby in her womb turn out to be a girl, she (the aunt) can adopt the child.

Having been deprived as a child, Ai-Ai wants to make up for those lean days by giving her family whatever they need and want. She gives a monthly allowance, not just for her mom and siblings but for her aunt.

The generosity extends beyond her family. Ai-Ai wants it hush-hush. But other people are talking about how she helps send priests to school.

“I have an ATM up there,” her eyes look heavenward.

Her ATM up there has been oh-so-generous so far.

Ai-Ai has proven again that she is to showbiz royalty born when her concert, Akin ang Tronong ’To, packed them in at Araneta Coliseum.

She’s not about to take it easy, though. Ai-Ai wants to enter the independent film scene next year by starring in an indie.

“I want star in a serious role this time,” she explains.

Ai-Ai knows that like indies, animation, offers financial challenges,but she’s above that now. Ai-Ai can already try things that don’t exactly bring box-office glory. But the psychic rewards outweigh the money concerns. So she wants to try animation as well.

2011 is also special for Ai-Ai since she will hold a big birthday concert on Nov.11, or 11-11-11 at Araneta Coliseum. To her, no number combination can be luckier

Speaking of 2011, is there anything Her Comic Highness wants to change about herself to make the year even brighter?

“Probably my being that generous,” she replies after thinking hard.

But then, God will provide, she quickly adds.

So Ai-Ai will continue to turn the wheel of generosity for others. In so doing, she can’t help but turn it for herself as well.



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