The cast of TV5’s Hapi Together reveal their "major major" life mistakes


The cast of TV5’s Hapi Together: (from left) Long Mejia, Keanna Reeves, Soxie Topacio, Leo Martinez, Nova Villa, Carla Humphries, Princess Ryan, and Jon Avila.


TV5 is revitalizing its daily primetime viewing with the premiere of new shows this week. From Monday to Friday, viewers will be treated to new programs. One of them is the sitcom Hapi Together, which premieres tonight, September 7.

TV5 hosted a press conference for Hapi Together last September 1 at Max’s Restaurant on Scout Tuazon in Quezon City. Present were the show’s cast: Leo Martinez, Soxie Topacio, Nova Villa, Carla Humphries, Jon Avila, Princess Ryan, and Keanna Reeves.

Cast members not present at the press conference were John Estrada and Kean Cipriano. Hapi Together is directed by Al Tantay, with a script written by Joey Reyes.

In Hapi Together, veteran comedians and directors Leo Martinez and Soxie Topacio play brothers engaged in a long drawn-out family feud.

"Magaling pala kami mag-away!" Soxie Topacio commented on working with Leo Martinez. "Actually ngayon lang kami nag-work together. Ngayon lang, first time. Nagkikita kami sa mga meetings, sa mga plays, pero ngayon lang. So, yung mga eksenang nag-aaway kami, alam mo, maganda. Maganda ang mga away namin."

Leo described their brand of comedy: "Ang comedy namin, kinukuha lang namin sa script at sa character. Hindi sa mga nangyayari sa mga buhay namin sa tunay na buhay namin. I guess hindi namin gagamitin yung aming private life para lang makakuha ng laughs."

Nova Villa, also a veteran comedian, was all praise for Long Mejia.

"Si Long, matagal ko nang kasama. Kahit sa kabilang istasyon [ABS-CBN]. Long is Long. Hindi ko siya nakitaan ng pababago. Ganun pa rin siya. Isang mabait na tao, gentleman. Comedian, bastos, manyak. Andun na lahat. Pero, masasabi kong mabait na kaibigan, napakamatulungin. That’s Long," said Nova with a smile.

Carla Humphries played a joke on John Estrada: "Siya ang may crush sa akin! Talagang hinahangaan ko si Kuya John bilang artista. Guwapo naman si Kuya John, pero siya ang may crush sa akin. Joke lang. Yun po," she said.

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"MAJOR MAJOR" MISTAKES. With beauty queeen Venus Raj’s famous line in mind, reporters asked the comedians to reveal their "major major" mistakes in life.

Nova Villa remembered her long career in showbiz, and how she had mistakenly given it up years ago.

"I’ve been in showbiz for 40-plus years. On the 30th year, dumating sa akin yung pagod na pagod na ako. Yung ganun," she said. "Hanggang dumating na talaga yung pagod na pagod na ko. Na sabi ko, ’Lord...’ Tip ito sa inyong lahat, ha? Sa mga artista rin. I prayed and sabi ko, ’Lord, I’m so tired na. Puwede kaya kahit isang show na lang?’ Yung ganun."

Her prayer was answered when she lost her shows in ABS-CBN. But she eventually regreted her wish.

"Until I found out, na-discover ko sa sarili ko bilang artista, I miss acting, I miss showbiz. Yung ganun. Aside from, I need money. Yung ganoon. So pala, ’wag mo palang dasalin yun. Naku, ’wag na ’wag!" Nova said.

Director Soxie Topacio remembered his bout with gambling.

"Ako nagkaroon ng major major," he said. "There was a day in my life when I found out I was addicted to gambling. Bingo lang ito, pero almost every day, nasa mall ako. I spent around P3000 to P5000 a day. Yung mga meeting, hindi ako um-attend kasi may bingo ako. Nagbubukas ako ng mall, e. Nagbubukas ako ng mall hanggang sa ako rin ang nagsasara ng mall."

He said he struggled with the habit for two to three years. He gave it up after he had to sell his car.

"Siguro noong naibenta ko na yung kotse ko, dun ko na na-realize, ’Hay, naku!’ Kaya ngayon, pag nasa mall ako, pag nadadaan ako sa may bingohan hindi ako tumitingin. Kasi alam ko, ano e, baka mahilig ako, e," he said.

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Sexy comedian Keanna Reeves quipped, "Sa akin, yung mga mistakes, general na siya, hindi na major. General general na siya," she laughed.

Keanna echoed Nova Villa’s story. "Kasi every day pumupunta ako ng Baclaran nung kasagsagan pa [ng showbiz career ko]. Sabi ko, ’Lord, baka naman lahat ng kita ko, mapunta lang sa hospital. Magkasakit ako.’ Sabi ko, ’Magpahinga naman ako Lord. Magbakasyon naman ako sandali.’ Tapos hanggang pinabakasyon nga ako, dalawang taon. Tapos, binawi ko. Sabi ko, ’Lord, joke lang ’yon.’ Kasi tinotoo Niya."

Long Mejia said he regrets spending too much when he was still a sought-after comedian.

"Ako yung naging masyado akong magastos noong nakarang panahon," he said. "Talagang akala ko, lagi akong may project, lagi akong may show. Kaya pagkakuha ko pa lang ng suweldo doon, talagang wala na, good time good time na. Meron pa namang a-diyes, beinte-singko, talent fee na ulit. Dami kong show, lalo na sa kabilang istasyon. Nung mawala, ito na, dun na ko nag-isip, teka, tagilid."

Long now plans his expenses. "Ngayon, medyo gumagastos pa rin sa mga barkada, mga kaibigan, pero medyo kontrolado," he said.

Leo Martinez said he does not regret anything.

"Ako, tulad ni Venus, wala akong major major," he explained. "Naisip ko na yun, bago ako tumuntong ng full-time sa showbiz, vice president ako sa advertising, tapos sabi ko, ayoko na mag-advertising kasi gusto ko mag-showbiz na lang. So at that time, ang alam ko noon, teatro lang at TV. Wala naman akong pelikula.

"Kaya there was a time na nagsisi ako kung bakit ako umalis doon sa advertising na vice president na ako, kumikita na ako. Hindi masaya ang advertising sa akin noon kaya... But after several months, nakakuha na ako ng mga assignments sa pelikula. So after that, yun pala yun. I stuck to my decision... hanggang ngayon happy naman ako."

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Carla Humphries regrets not being "aggressive" when she was still in ABS-CBN.

"Siguro po yung pinaka-major major ko na pagkakamali ko sa buhay, in my 22 years of existence, yung hindi ako naging palaban. Akala ko, pag nagkatrabaho, best na maging mabait ka, naging magalang ka, bibiyayaan ka ng break. Na-realize ko na pag hindi ka nagsalita, hindi ka mapapansin. Ma-o-overlook ka. So, nalaman ko na kailangan, pag gusto ko talagang mag-succeed sa isang bagay, kunwari ako showbiz, dapat ipaglaban ko. Dapat hindi ako maging safe, dapat hindi ako maging tahimik. Dapat maging agresibo po ako," Carla narrated.

For a long time, Princess Ryan had no idea that she could dance. "Siguro ang regret ko ano, nung ma-discover ko na marunong pala akong sumayaw, tapos yun nga, maraming nakaka-appreciate nun lalo na sa kabilang channel. Nagulat lang sila noong umpisa pero hindi talaga nila ako tinulungan para mas mabenta ko yung talent na ’yon na pagsasayaw... Dapat nag-aral ako," she said.

Last to speak was Filipino-British model-actor Jon Avila who regrets not speaking Tagalog as a kid.

John said, "Siguro ang biggest regret ko is that hindi ako nakadalaw noong bata ako sa amin. Siguro mas maganda kung nagta-Tagalog ako sa mga family ko kasi I remember...meron akong mga relatives dito sa Pilipinas pero hindi kami magkaintindihan kasi mas malalim ang Tagalog nila sa province. Yun lang ang regret ko sa buhay ko, na hindi ako nag-Tagalog nung bata ako. Yun."

HAPI TOGETHER IN A NUTSHELL. Geronimo/Nimo (John Estrada) and Ismael/Mael (Long Mejia) are seamen whose friendship has stood the test of time. Chick magnet Nimo opts for a straight path to success. Braggart Mael does anything to course through the shortcuts.

While processing papers to board a ship, Nimo and Mael rent a room at the mansion of the Cayugyogs on Maligamgam Street, owned by unlikely couple Chavit (Soxie Topacio) and Genevieve (Keanna Reeves).

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The two best buds learn about a long drawn-out family feud between Chavit and his brother Atong (Leo Martinez), a talyer owner who lives in a shanty nearby with his wife Nympha (Nova Villa), a karinderya operator who often gets too schmoozy, and rebellious daughter Hillary (Carla Humphries).

Meanwhile, Bono (Kean Cipriano) joins his brother Mael in Manila after failing school in the province, while Winston (Jon Avila), a mysterious boarder at the Cayugyog mansion, brings an interesting subplot to the sitcom.

Hapi Together premieres on TV5 at 8 p.m. this Tuesday night, September 7.


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