For the 2018 Lenten season, the longest running noontime variety program Eat Bulaga will once again share stories of love, hope and redemption.
Unlike last year, the AlDub love team of Alden and Maine have separate Lenten Specials this 2018. Maine will be part of "Taray ni Tatay" while Alden stars in "Carinderia Girl."
The six-episode special will kick-off on Holy Monday, March 26, with "My Carinderia Girl" and "Haligi ng Pangarap," directed by Linnet Zurbano and Adolf Alix Jr., respectively.
Starring Ruby Rodriguez and Kenneth Medrano, "My Carinderia Girl" tells the story of an older woman who falls in love with a much younger man. Despite the criticisms they received, the two will prove love is accepting and knows no age. Joining this episode are Pauleen Luna, Luane Dy, Sinon Loresca, Tommy Penaflor, and Kim Last.
In "Haligi ng Pangarap," Alden Richards shares the small screen with Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto, Joey de Leon, and Tirso Cruz III in a story of a father whose faith, patience, love and dedication were tested when his son figured in a debilitating accident.
"It's a story of acceptance and forgiveness. There's no perfect family and we all go through difficult times in life. But if forgiveness is strong, we will learn to understand each other more," Alden said.
The young actor added that he's thankful to have finally been given the opportunity to work with Cruz. "Tito Tirso is one of the respected actors in the industry. Working with him is already an honor. I learned so much from him and I experienced firsthand his acting prowess. He's such a great actor."
On Holy Tuesday, March 27, child star Ryzza Mae Dizon will showcase her acting chops in "A Daughter's Love" opposite Superstar, Ms. Nora Aunor. This episode is about a grieving mother who went through depression. Her daughter will do everything to make sure that their family will weather the storm.
Ryzza said this is one of her most challenging roles to date.
"At first I got really nervous because I might mess up with my lines, but Ms. Nora told me to relax. She guided me in my role and treated me as if I'm her real daughter. I'm very happy that I got this chance to work with the Superstar," she said.
In an interview with Nora shown in a behind-the-scenes video for the Eat Bulaga Lenten Special, Nora revealed why she agreed to accept this role. “Sa totoo lang kaya ko tinanggap ang episode na ito dahil sa kanya,” she said, referring to Ryzza.
“Love ko yun, e. Mahal na mahal ko si Ryzza. At napakagaling niyang umarte. Hindi lamang siya magaling mag-host sa isang show kundi talagang bilib ako sa kanya. Mabait pero talagang magaling.”
Directed by Ricky Davao, "A Daughter's Love” also stars Pia Guanio, Miss Millennial 2017 Julia Gonowon, Lui Manansala and Ana Roces.
Another treat for viewers on Holy Tuesday is Real Florido’s “Pamilya”. This family drama is about a prodigal son who returns home to his father. This episode is headlined by Ryan Agoncillo, Paolo Ballesteros, Baste, Jake Ejercito, and veteran actor Ronaldo Valdez.
Meanwhile, on Holy Wednesday, March 28, comedic duo Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola, with Miggy Tolentino, take center stage in "Hating Kapatid," a story of friendship and the things one is willing to sacrifice to keep that special bond forever.
Manalo said the story somehow reflects his personal relationship with Bayola. He said they've known each other so well that he treats the latter as his own brother. "We finish each other’s sentences. We see each other every day but more than what you see on TV, we have a deep trust and confidence on each other.”
LA Madridejos directs “Hating Kapatid”.
Capping Eat Bulaga Lenten Special is Alix’s "Taray ni Tatay," starring Vic Sotto and Maine Mendoza with Allan K, Jimmy Santos, Anjo Yllana, Rita Avila and with the special participation of Kendoll (Tenten). It tells the story of a single father who kept his sexuality and other family secrets from his daughter.
Maine recalled that she had a hard time getting into her role after months of not doing any acting project. She said Vic helped her adjust. "It was frustrating at first because there were scenes that I cannot do on my own even if I'm very focused and motivated. Bossing made me feel comfortable on the set and guided me in finding the story behind my character."
Asked why viewers should watch this year's Lenten Special, Maine said the stories reflect the everyday struggle and uncertainties of people. She said it will remind us that there is hope, light and love even in the darkest hours and testing times.
"In the time when we often take for granted the love and trust of the people around us, it's nice to pause sometimes and re-examine the life we live and just be thankful for the gift of family and friends.
Eat Bulaga Lenten Special will air from March 26 to 28, 2018 on GMA Network.