TV Notes
by Pablo A. Tariman

There is a good reason why Bicolanos should follow the new teleserye, “We Will Survive” which will air tonight (February 29) over Channel 2.

Pokwang in Albay. Smitten by Mayon and laing.

Pokwang in Albay. Smitten by Mayon and laing.

The setting is bucolic enough and right into the heart of Albay with scenes from Daraga Church and Cagsawa Church Ruins.

For one, one of the lead stars, Pokwang, cooks the Bicol version of laing in real life and indeed her cooking was a bestseller in one food festival.

Over merienda, she told me she got the recipe from Bicolano friends, tried it several times and perfected it just in time for the food fair. “There is something about Bicol food that is very endearing,” said she. “I am actually looking into other Bicol recipes.”

She was just in Bicol to shoot a teleserye about surviving life’s uncertainties.

Earlier, she admitted her real life is a virtual teleserye and indeed, she is a true-to-life survivor.

This probably serves her well because she believes the sad chapters in many a comedian’s life make them better actors. “I like to treat them as part of growing up. They are also good when motivating yourself for a film and TV role approximating the same life.”

In the teleserye directed by Jeffrey Jeturian, she shares life’s constant trials and tribulation with another comedian, Melai.

For the nth time, Pokwang finds herself portraying a role direct from sad chapters of her real life.

She rued during the presscon: “That’s how life is, right? No matter what we go through, whatever tragedy we face, we Filipinos will survive.”

Melai Cantiveros and Pokwang in one dramatic scene from "We Will Survive."

Melai Cantiveros and Pokwang in one dramatic scene from “We Will Survive.”

Again, we will find her shifting from comedy to drama and telling her televiewers hard times are no reason for them to lose hope.

Yes, she learned a lot from that difficult chapter in her life, lost some and won some so to speak. But in bouncing back every time she falls, she kept her sense of humor and found a happy way to earn a living.

“The teleserye will give us good vibes and some dose of inspiration,” added co-star Melai Cantiveros.

One is tempted to believe that comedy is just a façade in her reel and real life. Behind a funny woman is an actor who can look at her own life and accept it on her own terms.

Now on her 14th year in showbiz, Pokwang can now look back at her life with ease and a sense of calm that comes from a decade of relative financial stability.

Ms. Marietta Subong in real life, Pokwang is queen of her beautiful house in Antipolo City and admits to being a perfectionist. “I want everything in the house in order. But I am not the kind who will shout at household help for every minor mistake. I actually treat them as family and I talk to them before I make my decision on what went wrong. We are one big happy family such as it is.”

How she started out was simple: she is a natural bubbly person with her group and discovered she could entertain outside her friends’ circle. She was discovered in a comedy bar called “Funline” and it was a good time as any to make a good start in the showbiz world.

A few weeks later, she moved on to “Music Box” and became a regular attraction and later won a network’s search for “Clown In A Million.” One good break led to another and the rest is showbiz history.

She treats her lucky streak matter-of-factly even as she recounts how showbiz changed her life. “I was able to save to build a house, buy appliances you can only dream about before. The big change is that I was able to send my daughter to a good school.”

Indeed, life is good but what she went through before showbiz beckoned was another material for a teleserye.

Pablo Tariman with Pokwang. She learned a lot from her difficult times.

Pablo Tariman with Pokwang. She learned a lot from her difficult times.

Indeed the details of her pre-showbiz life were colorful enough to deserve a full airing in “Maalaala Mo Kaya.”

For now, Pokwang is happy how her life turned out to be. Her audiences from her comedy bar days have now multiplied many times over.

As her latest teleserye would make of it, she survived.

“We Will Survive” starring Pokwang and Melai Cantiveros, among others, airs tonight (February 29) over Channel 2.

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