"I had lots of good memories when I was in showbiz. When I joined That's Entertainment, I was able to socialize with my peers and develop my talent, more especially in acting, singing, and even in newscasting. I had fun when the members would do rehearsals. There's also a lot of pressure and stress, yet, at the end of each day, we'd go out and bond as a family."
That's from former actress Precious Hipolito reminiscing about her carefree days as part of the now defunct German Moreno program That's Entertainment.
TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE. It was in 1985 when a cute six-year-old girl joined Eat Bulaga's "Little Miss Philippines" pageant, along with another adorable contestant named Donna Cruz.
"We both became finalists, but unfortunately, we lost," Precious fondly recalled with tinge of nostalgia.
Despite falling short of winning the coveted crown, the former actress-turned-news personality said that joining the kids' pageant opened many doors for her in the entertainment industry. Even at an early age, Precious was a natural go-getter. Sensing the young talent's potential, manager Vic Mateo immediately took her under his wing.
Precious's first movie was The Life Story of Julie Vega, the bio-pic of the child star who succumbed to pneumonia in 1985. Her next film, Mga Anghel ng Diyos (1986), brought Precious the FAMAS Best Child Actress award.
Before joining That's Entertainment, Precious starred in an ABS-CBN drama anthology titled Stop: Child Abuse.
"It aired for three years," she beamed. "Then I jumped over to join Kuya Germs and his show."
TURNING POINT. Precious eventually signed up with Seiko Films and did a number of films aimed to change her teeny-bopper image.
Her flawless complexion and innate beauty weren't lost to the sharp eye of Seiko's top honcho, Robbie Tan, who is also well-known for producing sex-themed movies.
While Precious fully understood the need to undergo an image revamp from child star to mature actress, she couldn't help feeling uncomfortable about playing sexy roles. Not only that dilemma, Precious was also torn between her studies and career.
"At the time that I was in showbiz, I was continuously studying. I felt that my time is [sic] so hectic, thus, I had to choose. So, I chose the better alternative.
"Plus, Seiko Films offered me to do this sexy film entitled Igorota [remake of original movie that starred the late actress Charito Solis] to be helmed by Mauro Guia-Samonte. I almost did it because of the good storyline, but there were quite a number of scenes—nude ones—which I could not do, so I turned down the offer.
"Eventually, the project went to Priscilla Almeda, opposite Isko Moreno. So the trend was from child actress to teeny bopper to sexy actress, it made me decide to lay low and eventually leave the biz."
SHIFTING GEARS. It wasn't lack of choice that led Precious to choose her studies instead of shpwbiz. Though she enjoyed acting and being an artista, she always knew deep inside her heart that she wanted to take a different route.
"When I was in high school (OBMC), I knew then that I want to be a media practitioner, so I took up A.B. Comm Arts in UST and trained in various media agencies until I landed the job of newscasting in IBC-13."
The adrenaline rush she got in delivering the news was incomparable, according to the former actress. At last, she found her true calling in public service.
"It is pretty much an exciting experience, knowing and having to deliver the news daily. I somehow feel the sensation of being one of the first to know about the events that take place in the country, even overseas. And it's an accomplishment in itself, knowing that I am an instrument of the news; a part of the daily lives of Filipinos," she gushed.
AWAY FROM SHOWBIZ. Precious is currently managing her time being a newscaster for IBC-13's Express Balita, wife to Quezon City Councilor Winnie Castelo, and mother to their two kids—Winona, 7, and Paolo, 5.
Being married to a public official entails helping her husband to carry out his endeavors for his constituents.
She admits missing showbiz, though she's not really updated on what's happening in the entertainment circuit, particularly on the "baseless intrigues and rumors."
"Yes, I do miss showbiz. I mean, who doesn't? Anyone I know who's not in the biz anymore says almost the same thing," Precious confessed.
And when asked if she's willing to appear on a movie or, perhaps, a television show, Precious simply quipped, "Why not?"