Manilyn Reynes started out in showbiz at the tender age of ten.
Thirty years later, she is still a regular face on television.
Lately, she has been recognized as a comedienne courtesy of her weekly situational comedy show on GMA-7, Pepito Manaloto: Ang Tunay na Kuwento.
Originally titled Pepito Manaloto, the show is now on its second book, a spin-off from the first one.
The story is now situated years after Pepito (Michael V.), who is the husband of Manilyn’s character Elsa, won P700 million in the lottery.
Moreover, the show is now presented as if the Manaloto family is in a “reality-show.”
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) visited their set last Thursday, December 6, at Casa Milan, Fairview, Quezon City.
MANILYN, THE ACTRESS. According to Manilyn, she is not necessarily more comfortable doing comedy.
She said, “Of course, gusto ko rin mag-try ng drama. If you see naman every now and then, I do drama din. Gusto ko rin.
“Kaya lang siguro lately, lalo na nung dumating itong Pepito nga, parang since eto yung regular na nakikita ng tao, they always think na komedyante, sa comedy lagi.
“Pero kung ako, honestly, gusto ko. Kaya kapag pinagso-soap ako, gusto ko, e.”
Manilyn’s last two soaps were Daldalita and Marimar—neither of which were heavy drama.
At 40, she no longer hesitates to play mother roles.
“Comfortable ako. Kasi 16 na yung panganay ko, e.
“Kaya with Jake [Vargas], okay lang.
"E, kung maging taller man sila sa ‘kin, e, maliit naman talaga ‘kong nanay.”
Referring to her real-life sons, Manilyn said, “Si Kyle, matangkad, e. Si Kyle is ano na ngayon, e, magpa-five-nine.
“Si Kirk din lagpas na sa akin, yung gitna.”
What would make her say “no” to a mother role?
Manilyn replied, “Wag naman sigurong ten years younger than me. Ibig sabihin, trenta, wag naman.
“Pasok naman siguro kung twenty-one, provided na babyface naman yung bata.
“Wag naman yung matangkad na nga sa ‘kin, mature-looking pa.
“Kasi kung sa Bakekang, I played the mom of [the late] Marky Cielo, di ba, na taller nga, pero hindi naman mukang bente-uno, di ba,” she explained.
Of all the projects she has ever done, which one is she most proud of?
“Siyempre yung mga Shake Rattle and Roll ko. Lima–Shake 2, 3, 4, 5, and then 8 yung last ko. Yung ’LRT,’ with Keempee. Pero years ago na rin yun."
She added, “Minsan May Isang Ina, kasi dun ako nanalo ng Best Child [Actress].
“Basta I see to it, kahit napakaliit ng role ko sa kahit anong pelikula, I really give my all.
“Kasi ako naman, at the end of the day… dun, metikuloso ako, no matter how small,” she declared.
Having lasted this long, what can she say is the secret of her staying power?
“Uhm, siguro ano lang… pinagpapala lang ng Diyos.
"Kasi siguro ang mga tao ay hindi pa nagsasawang panoorin ka.
“So I feel so blessed and I feel so lucky na hanggang ngayon ay nandito pa rin ako.
“Siguro, yun nga, e, kung magpapakabait ka, naniniwala ako dun na bibigyan at bibigyan ka naman.
“So far, hindi pa naman ako pumapalpak sa... hindi pa naman ako nagiging bad,” she said, sweetly.
From a child star, to a teeny-bopper, and now playing a mother, she seems to have a place in showbiz at every age.
“No,” she refuted. “There was also a time na awkward. Kasi yun nga, e, kapag nagdadalaga ka, awkward stage talaga.
“Hindi talaga alam ng producers at kahit sino kung saan ka ilalagay, e. Totoo talaga yun.”
But she admits she never had a screen kiss—not even with her former boyfriend and leading man Janno Gibbs.
“Never. Never, wala.”
She said that it was a conscious decision.
“Sinasabi ko talaga kay Direk, even until now.
“Kasi feeling ko lang… ibig sabihin, hindi ko naman nilalahat na kapag may kissing scene ka, e, ganun nang ganun na lang.
“Siguro sa akin lang na ayaw ko,” she firmly stated.
Manilyn also stayed away from mature dramas though she did romantic movies.
“Meron na cute-cute lang. Na you can get away with kissing scenes.
“Puwede ko namang sabihin, ‘Direk, wag na lang po, sige na,’” she said in her sweetest tone.
“Kunyari na lang, ay natapilok, hindi natuloy.”
The other leading men which she would have had kissing scenes with, aside from Janno, are Keempee de Leon and Ogie Alcasid.
Manilyn has long been married to former actor Aljon Jimenez and they now have four kids.
But at this point in her career, she still thinks that kissing scenes just don’t work for her.
Manilyn said, “Pero kung ngayon, siguro kahit sa mature level na ganun, hindi na siguro.
“Hindi naman bagay sa akin. Feeling ko, parang hindi lang talaga.
“And I’m not comfortable,” she insisted.
KONTRABIDA ROLES. If she will be given a choice on the kind of roles she will portray, Manilyn wants to try playing a kontrabida.
She relates, “Gusto ko nga. Pero ayaw nila. Kasi daw yung fez [face] ko. Hindi daw kasi... masyadong maamo daw.
“Gusto ko ngang maglaro, e. Ang sarap maglaro, e.
“Sabi nga ng manager ko [Olive de Jesus], merong offer, e. Pero hindi naman regular... guesting.
“Sabi niya, dapat meron akong gagawing guesting sa ibang network.
“Pero medyo bad kasi nang-aapi ng bata, ganyan. ‘Ay, parang wag muna ah, ayaw ko muna,’” Manilyn recalls her manager telling her.
She elucidates, “Kasi early this year yun, e. Pero sabi ko sa kanya, ’Pag meron, gusto ko, a. I wanna try naman.’
“I think naman sa isang guesting ko, sa isang ganyan, hindi ka naman maba-brand na... hindi ka naman mata-typecast na [kontrabida]. I don’t think so.
“As long as nakikita naman nila na ang dami mong ginawa kaya na hindi ka bad.
“Parang pang-twist lang, panglaro lang.”
Her child-like face, which makes her look like she was still ten, is hindering Manilyn from portraying villain roles.
She continues, “Kaya lang, yun lang siguro, ang daming sinasabi na, young-looking pa rin.
“So they have to put a lot of make-up to make me look more mature.
“Tapos kailangan daw yung hindi sweet. Oo nga naman. Paano?
“Kasi yun nga, the way I talk kasi, di ba, parang ganun pa rin.
“Pero sinabi ko, acting naman yun, ’no, syempre iba yun!
“Tapos wino-worry naman ng manager ko, ‘Paano yung mga bata na nanonood sa ‘yo?’
“Actually, at saka sinasabi ko na nga yung real age ko para lang makuha ako.
“Ano ba, ang tanda ko na, ‘no, ano naman kung ganun?”
Does this mean she’s getting bored of her usual roles?
“Hindi naman ako sa nabo-bore.
“Kaya lang siguro mas may twist, sarap din every now and then na bumabali,” said Manilyn.
Manilyn wishes to break from the mold of her usual sweet mother roles.