WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Carol Banawa, Nancy Castiglione, and other TV stars we miss

IMAGE Instagram accounts of Carol Banawa and Nancy Castiliogne / File

Here are Carol Banawa and Nancy Castiglione after leaving show business. PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) got to talk to twelve former television stars who are now enjoying their life away from the limelight.



Being in show business is not forever.

Despite getting glamour and fame, some actors and actresses, after appearing in successful TV shows and movies, chose to stay away from the limelight.

These former celebrities either decided to pursue different professions, migrate to other countries, and/or focus on their family life.

Through different social media platforms, twelve of these former actors granted PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) short interviews to discuss their life after showbiz.

Can you still recall the notable projects these actors made on television or even in movies?

Here are a few updates about Carol Banawa, Nancy Castiglione, Bojo Molina, Dale Villar, Josh Santana, and other celebrities who are already enjoying their lives away from the limelight.

 

CAROL BANAWA

Who could forget the person behind the sweet voice who popularized the songs Iingatan Ka, Bakit Di Totohanin, and Stay?

However, Carol is not just a singer, but she's also a talented actress.

In year 2000, she was given a big break in film when she was included in the family drama Tanging Yaman, acting alongside veteran actors Edu Manzano, Hilda Koronel, Dina Bonnevie, and Gloria Romero, no less.

Two years later, in 2002, Carol was given a major role in a television drama—the musical teleserye Bituin. This time, she played daughter to Superstar Nora Aunor.


Carol considers these two projects as the most unforgettable acting stints that she did.

She told PEP.ph via e-mail, "I think those experiences were turning points in my career and it was such an honor and a blessing to be given the opportunity to work with such talented artists."

In 2003, Carol decided to leave show business to bring her ailing father abroad and seek medical care.

Currently, the former singer-actress is still residing in the United States.

"Right now, I am very busy with school. I am graduating in May 2018, getting my Associates Degree in Nursing and then taking the boards after that, then moving on to finishing my Bachelors and continuing on to a Master's Degree. That is the plan.

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"But of course I am also very busy as a housewife, full-time mom and also working as a Licensed Practical Nurse on the side."


Carol Banawa with her husband

However, Carol has not forgotten her passion for music.

In fact, in 2005, it was reported that Carol auditioned in the singing reality-competition American Idol.

She recalled, "All three judges, Simon, Paula and Randy, just said I had a nice voice but that I was too sweet. Haha!

"So, yeah, I didn't know what to do with that comment. It was all good though."


Carol still does shows in the United States. She sometimes performs covers of songs that she posts on Facebook.

She gushed, "My husband and I love to sing and jam. I'm lucky because he knows how to play a lot of instruments so sometimes we jam and do unplugged or acoustic versions of songs and then we post it on FB live or just record and post it. It's fun getting reactions from people!"

When it comes to local showbiz, Carol said that she still has contact with her friends here in the Philippines through social media.

In fact, she is very happy for her best friend Kaye Abad, who portrayed Carol when the latter's life story was featured in Maalaala Mo Kaya.

"We don't really talk as often but when we do, it always feels like nothing has changed. I am very happy for Kaye. I am so excited for her to be a mom!"

In 2016, she performed with her former ASAP Kapamilyas such as Jolina Magdangal and Daniel Padilla when they had a show in New York.



What does she miss most in showbiz?

Carol answered, "All the specials we do especially when it's holiday season. I love doing the Christmas specials!

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"I love doing those because everyone is there and the event turns out to be more like a reunion and makes it feel like we're not working anymore."

In 2002, Carol was tapped to perform ABS-CBN's Christmas Station ID which had the theme "Isang Pamilya, Isang Puso ngayong Pasko."


It was in 2010 when Carol temporarily returned to the Philippines to do an album with Star Music. Her last visit to the country was in 2012 when her father died.

Does she have plans of visiting the Philippines soon?

She answered with a smile, "I really can't tell right now, definitely planning to visit. When? I am not sure yet... but hopefully soon."

 

PAULA PERALEJO

Just like other young celebrities, Paula started her career in ABS-CBN's Ang TV before she was groomed to be a dramatic actress.

When she grew up as a teen, she did the shows Familia Zaragoza (1995) and Mula Sa Puso (1997).

Her biggest role came when she became a part of the 1999 iconic teen-oriented series Tabing Ilog and was paired with Patrick Garcia.

The show also jumpstarted the careers of Kaye Abad, Jodi Sta. Maria, Desiree del Valle, and John Lloyd Cruz.



When the show wrapped up in 2003, Paula's showbiz career also halted when she decided to focus on her studies.

In 2008, she finished Bachelor of Science in Philosophy as Magna Cum Laude at the University of the Philippines.

In 2013, Paula got married to Charlie Fernandez and they built their own Travel Agency.

However, she told PEP.ph through Facebook Messenger that things have changed in 2016 after giving birth to a baby boy.

"I've been more a full-time mom for the most part. I still work for our agency, but not as much as I used to."


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Paula Peralejo with her husband Charles and son.


While it took time before she became a mother, the former Mula sa Puso actress said that it was such a wonderful blessing having her own family.

She happily said, "I cannot ask for anything more. This has been a wonderful blessing for me.

"I'm glad to have traveled and done a lot while still single and married without a child, and now that we have one, I am really focusing on the importance of our role and responsibility as parents to raise our child as a citizen of the world."



Despite being busy with her family life, Paula still hasn't lost contact with her former workmates.

"I'm part of some Viber and Facebook groups where they're also there. I get to see them though very rarely, but when we do see each other, it's just like all those days when we were taping and working together."

Paula's last major public appearance was in 2013 when the cast of Tabing Ilog appeared on ASAP in time for ABS-CBN's 60th anniversary.


 

MAYBELYN DELA CRUZ

Maybelyn started as a child actress through the Kapamilya sitcom Home Along Da Riles, starring Dolphy and Nova Villa in 1992.

In her teenage years, she transferred to GMA-7 to do TGIS as part of its junior batch.


She was later given an important role in the first batch of Click, and eventually played supporting roles in several Kapuso teledramas such as Kung Mawawala Ka (2001) and Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan (2008), to name a few.


In 2008, Maybelyn married her husband Michael Fernandez, but she still continued to do teleseryes.

In 2010, she found a calling in politics after being elected as the No. 1 city councilor in Dagupan.

After being a part of Anna Karenina in 2013, Maybelyn decided to devote her time to politics.

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Right now, Maybelyn is already on her third term as city councilor of Dagupan. She told PEP.ph via Instagram conversation, "I just finished my term as National President of the Philippine Councilors League. Schedule then was real tight. Had to literally go around the country for more than three years."

Last February 2017, Maybelyn gave birth to her first child and named her Olivia.

"Right now ini-enjoy ko po ang pag-a-alaga ng baby since almost nine years in the making din siya."


When it comes to returning to show business, she is not closing her doors.

"I would love to return to acting soon. Hopefully when Olivia turns 1, I could still come back."

 

NANCY CASTIGLIONE

It was in 2001 when Nancy first ventured into acting via the teleserye Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga on GMA-7.

After several acting projects, Nancy was given a break in hosting via the Kapuso reality-based artista search Starstruck, together with Dingdong Dantes. She considers this as one of the most memorable projects she had.


But of course, the other project she will never forget was the iconic telefantasya Encantadia.

She gushed to PEP.ph via FB Messenger, "My character Muyak in Encantadia was a character I had a lot of fun with!"


The Canada-based actress was one of the hopefuls who auditioned for Marimar in 2007. She reinvented herself as the singer Nancy Jane in 2008.

After doing an album, Nancy decided to leave the entertainment industry.

How is her life out of the limelight?

"Currently, I'm a mother to my twin boys Matteo and Joaquin and their baby sister Riley who is two years old. Professionally, I'm a Business Development Manager for a company called Sharp Insurance."



Nancy has kept in touch with her showbiz friends through social media.

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"It's great to see how well they are doing both professionally and personally. Some of them have become great mothers and fathers!"

The one person she has constant communication with is her Yaya Mimi. She happily said, "We are actually in the process of bringing her here to Canada!"

Nancy divulged that she has plans of visiting the Philippines soon with her family.

Is she still open to doing projects in the country?

She happily answered, "My doors are never closed when it comes to the Philippines. I spent my entire 20's there working and for the most part, they are all fond memories."


 

SARAH CHRISTOPHERS

Sarah was part of Star Circle Batch 8 and was immediately given a major role in the 1999 weekend afternoon drama series Ang Munting Paraiso as the kikay daughter of Coney Reyes and Ronaldo Valdez. It ran until 2002.

When she grew up as a teenager, she became a part of the 2003 youth-oriented series Berks, which was top-billed by John Prats, Angelica Panganiban, and Heart Evangelista.



In 2004, during a guest appearance in the reality show Victim, Sarah announced that she had to bid goodbye to showbiz since she planned to resume her studies. She then migrated to Australia.

Currently, Sarah is doing marketing and fundraising for a charity.

The 31-year-old former actress admits to PEP.ph via Facebook messenger that she misses showbiz. "Naiisip ko din minsan kung ano ang mangyayari pag pinagtuloy ko."

However, she had no regrets.

She continued, "Nandito ang buong pamilya ko, nakapagtapos ako ng postgraduate, fulfilling yung trabaho ko na nakakatulong sa mga taong nangangailangan, nagbibisita ako ng iba't ibang bansa pag may time, at may na-meet akong Filipino dito na laki sa Canada, nine years na at ito napaka-in love pa rin!"

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She recalled one of the most memorable parts of her career, which happened during the last episode of Ang Munting Paraiso.

"I remember, finale, tapos may crying scene. Di ko na maalala kung bakit ako iiyak pero grabe kung iyak ko, hagulgul!

"It hit me na tapos na itong chapter ng buhay ko. I think it was the best crying scene I ever did.

"I was 12 when I started on Ang Munting Paraiso tapos tumagal ng almost three years yung show, naging pamilya ko sila at lumaki ako sa sa show na yun.

"Parang inampon ako ni Coney Reyes kasi wala yung magulang ko, nasa Australia sila. Naging nanay ko siya kaya ang hirap na hindi na kami magkikita sa trabaho linggo-linggo."

Just like the others in this list, Sarah is also thankful to social media that she has alloed her to remaid in touch with her friends in showbiz like Coney, Heart Evaneglista, Ketchup Eusebio, to name a few.


"I'm bad at keeping in touch sometimes, pero tatawag ako pag may birthday. Buti na lang may social media—comment and likes here and there to tell them I miss them. I think the true test of friendship is kahit di kayo naguusap ng matagal pag nagkita kayo parang kahapon lang."

Sarah went home to the Philippines in 2015 and attended Heart's wedding in Balesin. "It was lovely to catch up with her and her sisters and chill before her big day."

When asked if she's willing to return to showbiz, she answered with a laugh, "Never say never!"

However, she elaborated, "Sa ngayon, di ko nakikita na babalik ako sa showbiz. I truly miss the Philippines especially the people. Filipinos are such warm, kind-hearted, generous people.

"Sometimes, my heart yearns for my other home. Dati, bumabalik ako every year tapos magstay ako ng one to two months. I decided I needed to see more of the world, Central and South America is next on my list.

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"Babalik akong Pinas, di ko lang alam kung kailan."

 

CZARINA LOPEZ DE LEON

Czarina was one of VIVA's talents being groomed to become a kontrabida.

Her biggest kontrabida role was in the '90s teleserye Anna Karenina starring Antoinette Taus, Sunshine Dizon, and Kim Delos Santos.

Czarina told PEP.ph via Facebook that she considers that show, where she played third wheel to Sunshine and Polo Ravales, as the most memorable part of her career.

She said, "Until now, people still remember me as Naida the kontrabida. After ten years, they get to recognize pa din kaya nakakatuwa."


When VIVA stopped doing teleseryes, Czarina also decided to leave show business.

Now a mother of three, Czarina is busy with her family business.


"We do retail and wholesale of perfumes and I also sell branded bags in IG @authenticbags4sale," she said about her current work.

While she misses acting, Czarina intends to focus more on her children.


However, she's not closing her doors on doing acting projects.

"Let's see. I hope I can get to act again even in a small role when my kids are grown-ups already."

 

CHARINA SCOTT

Charina started her career as a child actress in the early '90s, playing the daughter of big stars in movies such as Sharon Cuneta, Alice Dixson, and Vilma Santos.

In television, she played the young daughter of Lovely Rivero in the short-lived drama series Mukha ng Buhay in 1996.

She continued to do a few shows as a teen actress, and was included in GMA-7 shows Ang Iibigin Ay Ikaw and Click, with JC De Vera and Denise Laurel as her batchmates.


However, when she was 14 years old, Charina decided to go to the United States and resume her studies.

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At present, Charina works in public relations.

"For the last nine years, I have worked in fashion, specifically public relations, events and social media. Currently, I work at an amazing online retailer called REVOLVE that creates the most innovative campaigns in the digital space."



When PEP.ph asked her via e-mail about the most memorable part of her showbiz career, she said that it's quite hard to remember since she was still young in most of the movies she did.

However, she recalled one big scene that she did in a 1995 movie with Ronnie Ricketts and Vina Morales.

"Something that does stick out that I still think about today is when I was filming Huwag Mong Isuko Ang Laban, the scene where we are running and a building explodes behind us.

"I remember just thinking it was so astounding, and even now, when I watch action movies and see explosions, I'm like, 'Hey, I did that!'"

Does she see herself returning to show business?

"I don't want to say no, but I don't think in the near future anyway."

 

TRICIA ROMAN

Tricia was first discovered in the late '90s through a commercial.

It was not long before she was given a stint on television and joined the youth-oriented shows That's Entertainment and Bestfriends. She also had a guest appearance in TGIS.

In 1999, Tricia was launched as part of GMA-7's long-running youth-oriented series Click, which she misses the most.

She told PEP.ph via Instagram, "I miss acting, making people happy, indirectly being part of their daily life and meeting new friends."


Even though she already left showbiz in 2007, Tricia has remained good friends with some of her batchmates in Click.

"We do see each other, especially if there are special occasions. Some of them our godparents of my children."

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Tricia attended the christening of Maybelyn dela Cruz's baby Olivia together with their batchmates Trina Zuniga, Miles Poblete, and Happee Sy.


As for her personal life, Tricia is a hands-on mom.

"I am busy taking care of my own family. I am a hands-on mother of two beautiful kids. I have a very supportive husband and adorable kids. We are happy and contented, I could not ask for anything more."


But then, if time permits, Tricia would want to try acting again, "if given a chance with a remarkable role."

BOJO MOLINA

Bojo started his career when he joined ABS-CBN's youth-oriented series Gimik way back in 1997.

He first played third wheel to Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin, until he was paired with his love team partner Mylene Dizon.


He was also part of the band Voice Unlimited with Jeffrey Hidalgo and Nino Alejandro.

After Gimik, he transferred to the VIVA stable and did the shows H2K: Hati-Hating Kapatid and May Bukas Pa, both aired in the year 2000.

Bojo's last TV series was the 2001 drama series Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin on GMA-7, where he played a kontrabida.


Even though he already left showbiz and now resides in Guam, Bojo's current work is still connected to the media.

He told PEP.ph via e-mail, "I am currently the Director of Red Dragon Agency for Sorensen Media Group, a local media company on Guam and Saipan that operates 5 radios stations (4 on Guam and 1 in Saipan) and the local affiliate of FOX6 and ABC7.

"RED DRAGON AGENCY is composed of Red Dragon Production that produces local TV programs & specials and Red Dragon Creative that handles the advertising side of the company and also is in-charge of events and promotion."

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As for his personal life, Bojo is now happily married for 15 years with his wife Jen. They also have two kids: Bryzen Oliver, 14, and Jaedyn Olivia, 9.


Bojo with his kids and wife

Even if he has already migrated in Guam, he has remained in touch with some of his showbiz friends.

"There are a few that I am in constant communication with up to now like the guys from Voice Unlimited.

"I am also part of a few chat groups that mainly has former colleagues from modelling (Cinderella batch '95) and showbiz (Star Circle alumni and alumnae)."

He also makes sure that when his showbiz friends visit Guam, Bojo meets up with them.


Bojo Molina with his wife Jen


Bojo's last TV appearance was in 2010 when he and other Gimik cast members Mylene, Judy Ann Santos, G. Toengi, and Diether Ocampo did a special five-part episode of Your Song, titled Gimik 2010.

The last time he was in the Philippines was a few months back for a business trip. "I often travel back and forth to visit family and business as well."

Is he willing to return to showbiz?

"There have been a few offers here and there. A short guesting will be nice if I am there for an extended stay (vacation)."

DALE VILLAR

Dale was first introduced to the public in 1993, after starring in a commercial.

It was not long after he was given a movie career, with Manchitchiritchit, starring Andrew E. and Maricel Soriano, as his first.


He was also part of the popular movie Kadenang Bulaklak (1994) as Donna Cruz's love interest.

On television, Dale was able to host the GMA-7 variety program SST: Salo Salo Together with Randy Santiago, and Dennis Padilla.

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After his last movie in 1995, Dale decided to stop making films.

In 2004, the Kapuso network aired its original reality based program 30 Days, which aimed to resurrect showbiz careers of those who already left the limelight and want to try acting again.

Dale joined the contest and made it to the Top 10. However, he did not make it to the final three.

He has already migrated to the United States.

Currently, Dale works as a sales manager at Mercedes-Benz in Portland, USA.



He said in PEP.ph's e-mail conversation with him, "I have been here with our company for five years.  My family life is a blessing. I have  two wonderful kids—my son is 9 and my daughter is 6. I have a beautiful girlfriend and she has two boys."


Dale with his girlfriend Megan.

Dale said that he misses doing movies, and has remained in touch with some of his showbiz friends like Andrew E., Raffy Rodriguez, and some of the other contestants in 30 Days.

He even saw the late actress Isabel Granada in Portland way back in 2011.

"I was lucky to run in to Isa about six years ago when she came to Portland."

According to Dale, he has plans of returning to the Philippines sometime in 2018 for vacation with his girlfriend.

He said about doing a TV project, "I would be happy to do a guest appearance. I would be happy to see my friends as I have so many memories with them and the country I love."

 

JOSH SANTANA

In the middle of the 2002 series Bituin, a character named Josh entered the series as Carol Banawa's new love team partner.

The Josh character was actually portrayed by Josh Santana. This paved the way for him to be introduced as a new singer in the ABS-CBN stable.

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Originally, Carol was paired with Carlo Munoz, but the network saw the potential of Carol and Josh's partnership that they ended up together in the series.



After Bituin, Josh instantly gained big projects in the recording scene.

He was able to record the theme song for Judy Ann Santos and Robin Padilla's teleserye Basta't Kasama Kita and the Tagalog version of Meteor Garden's theme song "Qing Fei Di Yi."

He remembered during a conversation with PEP.ph through Instagram, "My blessings were instantly doubled. These two songs brought me to the forefront of my showbiz race."

Josh also recorded "Dito sa Puso Ko" together with Nikki Gil, the theme song of the reality-based love team search Qpids in 2005.


The singer went on to do more albums until 2012 when he got a realization.

He explained, "I studied for NMAT and unexpectedly got a very good score. I took it as a sign for me to enter Med School. So I did!

"Last December 2016, I was conferred a Doctor of Medicine degree by my Alma Mater FEU-NRMF."


Currently, Josh is finishing his post-graduate internship rotation at the Quezon City General Hospital. "I get a chance to serve those who need medical attention yet have limited financial capacity."


Since he has devoted much of his time in medical school, Josh admitted that he has lost touch with some of his friends and haven't seen them for years.

Before he entered medical school, Josh was happy that he was able to speak to Carol when the latter visited the Philippines in 2010. Composer Jonathan Manalo played a big role in this.

"He called me up and gave the phone to her. They asked me to guess who was on the phone. I said, 'Carol?' and she was laughing. She is still the nicest girl I've ever met in showbiz."

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If time permits, Josh is very much welcome to perform again on television.

In fact, in October 2016, he performed at the "ASAPinoy" segment at ASAP with Sarah Geronimo and Gary Valenciano.



He added, "This year, I received a couple of invites from GMA and ABS-CBN. I would always try to say yes but most of the time it would have conflicts with my schedule in the hospital.

"I said, perhaps, I should focus on dealing with what's in front of me right now.

"I'm more determined to accomplish my dreams step by step and never tripping along the way because I wanted everything at the same time.

"I love showbiz and I would always keep my doors open, but I know there's a perfect time for everything."


 

IVAN GONZALEZ

Ivan was part of the third batch of TGIS, together with Anne Curtis, Chubi del Rosario, Aiza Marquez, Vanna Garcia, and JR Trinidad.

When the show wrapped up in 1999, Ivan went on to do more shows with the barkada, such as H2K: Hati-Hating Kapatid and May Bukas Pa, both aired in 2000.



He was also part of the horror movie Ika-13 Kapitulo, also top-billed by Anne.

However, Ivan decided to leave show business and focus on his studies.

In 2009, he took the bar exams and place sixth in his batch.

He now uses his real name Yves Gonzalez, and was featured in shows HOT TV and Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho for developing the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority's smartphone app.

At present, Ivan is now the Head of Government Relations and Public Policy for Uber in the Philippines.


He has also focused on building his family. He told PEP.ph via e-mail, "I hit the jackpot and got to marry my college crush Crystal Lee-Gonzalez. We have two kids, Bella (almost 3 years) and Tyler (almost 1 year)."

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Yves with his wife


Ivan counts TGIS as the most memorable part of his showbiz career. "It would still be the last episode of TGIS especially the final 5 minutes of that show, which never aired on TV."

Thanks to Facebook, he gets to talk with his batchmates from time to time.

"We have a Facebook Messenger group with the TGIS batch 3 peeps so we would keep in touch especially when there are important milestones like when Anne got engaged.

"We hung out last year when Aiza was here for vacation."

(Read: Anne Curtis reunites with ex-boyfriend Chubi del Rosario)


Is he open to returning to show business?

He exclaimed, "My mom and my mother-in-law would love that!

However, he said with a smile, "For now, I’m focused on unlocking Metro Manila’s full potential through ride sharing."


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