When Eugene Domingo embarks on her new role as a game show host, she won't just explain the rules of Magic Numbers—she will also take part in production numbers that she describes as "buwis buhay."
Her friend, Noel Ferrer, teased Uge (Eugene's nickname) by saying that his ward will be wearing a tanga and will be using a harness for this show.
Viewers will have to wait and see until February 27 if she will actually do all these stunts. But given Uge's enthusiasm for her projects, it won't be surprising. Moviegoers have already seen her cross a muddy field and withstand "tsinelas torture" for Kimmy Dora.
During the February 15 press conference at Katre restaurant in Quezon City, Uge expressed her gratitude for being chosen to host TV5's Sunday variety game show called Lucky Numbers.
"I feel lucky to be offered this kind of game show on a Sunday afternoon. It's the best option on a Sunday afternoon. Alam naman natin na ang mga nagdo-dominate pag Sunday ay ang mga variety shows na ASAP [ABS-CBN] at Party Pilipinas [GMA-7].
"Maganda ang step ng Kapatid Channel na huwag nang gumawa ng ganun. Natutuwa ako na pinuwesto nila ang Lucky Numbers pagkatapos ng [show] ni Joey de Leon na idol ko.
"Pagkatapos ng Lucky Numbers, dun naman ang variety show ng mga bagets," she said.
This refers to the plan of TV5 to change its Sunday programming starting February 27. Joey's new show will be a game show called Pinoy Samurai while the teen-oriented musical variety show will be called Fantastik.
Uge will have a co-host in this game show but her identity is still under wraps. She describes her co-host as "very talented and very familiar."
In the final portion of the show called "Big Money Challenge," the contestant will be given the chance to select briefcases containing various amounts of money and dreaded X marks. Unlike other game shows that have ladies carrying the briefcases, there will be ten hunky guys who will bring the black cases.
"Meron tayong sampu na tatawagin nating mga L-boys, lucky boys, ha! Ang mga L-boys ang magbibigay sa atin—sa akin siguro—ng pampagana," she said with a smile.
ON BEING COMPARED TO KRIS AQUINO. Since this will be the first time that Uge will try to host a game show, how will she react to comments pitting her against TV host-actress Kris Aquino?
Uge pointed out: "Hindi ko naisip na competition ako ni Ms. Kris Aquino. Iba namang timeslot siya and we all know na napakaraming game show na siyang nagawa."
Kris recently began hosting the Philippine franchise of the popular game show The Price Is Right on ABS-CBN.
Uge later added, "Hindi naman natin matatanggal 'yan kasi nakakapag-excite sa industriya natin ang comparison. But with all due respect to Ms. Kris, ang dami na niyang game shows na pinasikat at kahit ako ay humahanga. We are just offering something new and different. Asahan mo Ms. Kris, hindi namin iniisip na kakumpitensiyahin ka."
Does she feel that she can compete head-on with Kris when it comes to hosting?
"Hindi!" said Uge with a laugh. "Alam mo, iba-iba naman ang estado ng bawat artista, e. Ang sa akin lang, kung meron man akong kakalabanin o kukumpintensiyahin, sarili ko kasi kailangan ang sarili ko. Lagi ko kasing sinasabi na 'kaya mo ba 'to? Ito kaya mo pa ba 'to?'
"Ako lagi ay humahanga sa mga nauna sa akin, sa mas senior sa akin, sa mga mas eksperinsiyado kaysa sa akin. Sa akin lang, may bago kaming putahe, subukan n'yo kami."
WILL SHE ACCEPT AN EXCLUSIVE CONTRACT? Uge has been dubbed as the "Crossover Queen" because she is allowed to star in TV projects on ABS-CBN, GMA-7, and TV5.
What will it take for her to become an exclusive talent of a TV network?
"Ibili n'yo po ako ng apartment sa New York," she quickly answered.
"Hindi nga! Three years lang naman ang exclusivity, di ba? Kasi mahilig po akong mamasyal sa New York. E, ang mahal-mahal naman ng hotel. Ang hirap din namang makitira, nakakahiya rin naman. So, kung bibigyan ako ng apartment sa New York, sige, bring it, let's do this. Akin naman na yun, babawiin ba yun?"
Will she really accept an exclusive contract in exchange for her own apartment?
"Three years lang naman, di ba? Apartment sa New York saka sa London, para kung Europe ka man o Amerika meron kang bahay."
Why New York?
"Mahilig kasi akong manood ng Broadway shows," she admitted. "Saka marami akong mga theater friends na dun na naka-base at dun na nagtatrabaho, nami-miss ko sila. Minsan akala mo ang laki-laki mo na, pagdating mo dun, ganun ka lang kaliit."
Has she already received an offer to become an exclusive talent?
"Oo naman, lahat naman ng artista ino-offer-an ng exclusive contract," she said.
"As of this moment, ayokong magsalita ng tapos, pero nag-e-enjoy ako na tumatawid sa iba't ibang channels para iba't ibang tao, iba't ibang mga director. Ganun din ako sa totoong buhay, di ako mapapakali, kailangan lumalayas ako."
Uge points out that she does not regret being a freelancer even though she could have received a huge amount in exchange for it.
"Sa awa ng Diyos, wala akong regrets, dahil siguro sinusunod ko yung puso ko, e, kung anong gusto ko. Hindi ako yung, 'Sige na kunin mo na 'yan kasi malaking pera.'
"Hindi naman talaga yung pera. Minsan [mas importante] ano ba talaga yung gusto mo, ano yung interes mo, saan ka pa mapapakinabangan, saan ka makakatulong.
"Most of the time, I am happy that I am making the right decisions."
UPCOMING MOVIES. Aside from hosting her own game show on TV5, Uge is also busy shooting several mainstream movies and indie films.
This July, she will be starring in the Cinemalaya entry Ang Babae sa Septic Tank. This will be directed by Marlon Rivera from a screenplay written by Chris Martinez.
Uge revealed, "Di ba, uso na sa atin ang indie filmmaking? Yung mga aspirations ng filmmakers, ni-represent namin in such a way na satirical.
"This year natapos na tayo sa "Gunaw" [her episode in My Valentine Girls], tapos meron tayong Who's That Girl? Meron tayong Joey Reyes film with Toni Gonzaga. Wala pang final title but it will be produced by OctoArts and Star Cinema. And also Kimmy Dora 2.
Uge describes her film with Toni by saying, "It's about the clash ng characters sa family. Maganda yung istorya, tungkol ito sa isang magpapakasal at isang magpapa-annul."