As early as 2006, Eula Valdes and director Paolo Herras were already talking about working on a film about fortune tellers, a topic that fascinates them both. Back then, they were working on the indie film Rekados, which became a Cinema One Originals entry that year.
In 2008, Eula starred in Direk Paolo's film, the Cinemanila entry Manghuhula. The film tells the story of a fortune teller named Messina (Eula) who is driven out of her town for always predicting the death of other people. But she returns to her hometown to save her daughter (played by Glaiza de Castro) from being manipulated by a syndicate (headed by Emilio Garcia). Manghuhula will open on September 9 at SM, Robinsons and Gateway Cinemas.
Produced partly through a grant from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Manghuhula is directed by Paolo Herras. The film was first screened in 2008 as part of the Digital Lokal section of the Cinemanila International Film Festival.
Since she plays a fortune teller in this indie film, members of the press asked Eula if she believes they can actually predict the future.
She shared that a manghuhula was able to predict that she would transfer to a rival TV station. "Sabi, aalis ako ng Dos," says Eula during the press conference of Manghuhula last Monday, August 24, at the Gusi restaurant on Sgt. Esguerra St., Quezon City.
At that time, the actress was shooting The Wedding with ABS-CBN so she thought that the prediction was wrong. "Akala mo hindi magkakatotoo kasi nagte-taping ka, e," recalls Eula. "Ang usapan nga namin nun kasi na-shelve yun, e. Naka-two taping days pa lang ako nung na-shelve."
As predicted, Eula indeed transferred to GMA-7 and has starred in three teleseryes already: Kamandag, La Lola, and All About Eve.
"Tapos nung na-shelve, nagbakasyon pa 'ata ako nun, e. Tapos biglang tumawag yung GMA-7, sabi ko, gusto ko i-try naman sa GMA-7. Unang show ko sa kanila [ABS-CBN] na regular, Ready, Get Set, Go, 1999 pa 'ata yun. Kapag tinatawagan ako ng GMA-7, laging meron akong ongoing na show. Tapos, 'pag medyo patapos na, meron na ulit kasunod. Kaya nauudlot. Finally, 'eto, dahil nga na-shelve, gusto kong i-try nung tumawag sila."
She also revealed that she was supposed to be part of the GMA-7 remake of Rosalinda, but she could not accept the role because the timeslot of The Wedding would be the same as the Kapuso show.
"Dapat 'ata kasama ako sa Rosalinda, pero magiging magkasabay ang airing, so hindi puwede," says Eula.
ON FORTUNE TELLING. Does she rely heavily on what seers tell her?
"Hindi naman, kasi ayokong mag-rely sa hula naman talaga. Gusto mo lang makarinig ng magandang mangyayari. Pang-aliw lang. Basically, gusto ko lang makarinig ng magandang sasabihin," she says.
What if they predict not-so-good things about her future?
"Wala pa naman," replies Eula. "Hindi, kasi ako kapag medyo tagilid, sine-set ko yung mind ko na, 'Hindi, nasa akin yung [desisyon].' Kung hindi man maganda yung outcome, positive pa rin yung iniisip ko na baka bound to happen to, for greater things to come. Di ba, hindi naman all the time... Kasi nga, merong wheel of fortune sa buhay, haha! Siguro, kailangan 'tong mangyari."
In matters of the heart, Eula would rather not discuss the status of her relationship with husband Richard Litonjua. But she stressed that they are both happy even though they are not together physically. "Happy siya dun, happy ako dito," she says simply.
UPCOMING PLAY. Eula says that performing onstage is "good for her soul." For this reason, she has agreed to topbill the Tagalog version of the play A Streetcar Named Desire. Titled Flores Para Los Muertos, she portrays Blanche in this play that will be staged at the Cultural Center of the Philippines starting October 2.
"First straight play ko ito, kasi Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal yung una ko, musical, e. Sobrang kinakabahan ako! Tinawagan kasi ako ni Tata Nanding [Josef] na gawin yun. At saka nung ginawa ko kasi yung Zsa Zsa, nag-vow ako sa kanila na maghe-help ako kung kaya ko. Umoo ako sa kanila kahit na hindi ko pa nakikita yung script. Nung nag-briefing kami, susmaryosep! Kinabahan ako, ganito pala kahaba yung linya dito."
Flores Para Los Muertos will also star Anna Abad Santos, Mailes Kanapi, Neil Ryan Sese, and Mario Magalona.
Eula says that she will not accept any TV project while doing this theater production to be staged by Tanghalang Pilipino.
"Wala, wala. Ayokong mag-gamble. Ayokong maglagare. Nung ginawa ko 'tong last run ng Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, ginawa ko na yung naglagare ako ng The Wedding 'saka All About Eve. Bumalik nga yung paninigarilyo ko, e. Kasi siyempre, sa taping, naiintindihan nilang may play ka, pero mas iintindihin nila yung cost nila na kailangan mo munang tapusin 'to. Tapos kakanta ako kinabukasan. Talagang sinabi ko sa sarili ko na hindi ko na gagawin 'tong maglagare, kasi ayokong may mag-suffer."
(Click HERE to learn more about the play starring Eula Valdes this October.)