Mr. M says he was ready to leave showbiz, but GMA Network gave him an offer he couldn't refuse

by Rachelle Siazon
Jul 13, 2021
Mr. M on becoming a Kapuso: "I feel very buoyant, very light, lalung-lalo na nung nakilala ko yung ibang executives. Napaka-friendly, napakabait, and very astute yung mga tao na na-meet ko so far. Besides being good people to work with, I hope we can develop as friends."
PHOTO/S: GMA Network

"Parang nabuhay ako uli."

Ito ang masayang paglalarawan ni Johnny Manahan sa pagsisimula niya bilang Kapuso.

Si Manahan—o mas kilala sa entertainment industry bilang Mr. M—ay tinitingalang star builder at director sa loob ng 51 taon.

Ngayong Martes ng umaga, July 13, opisyal na inanunsiyong si Mr. M ay kinuhang consultant ng GMA Artist Center (GMAAC), ang talent management arm ng Kapuso network.

Anim na buwan ding nagpahinga sa showbiz si Mr. M mula nang siya ay magdirek ng musical-variety show sa TV5.

Tanong ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), naisip ba niyang iwan na ang showbiz at mag-enjoy ng kanyang pribadong buhay?

Sagot ni Mr. M, "Yes, there was a time I really thought I would just leave it all behind and just become a grandfather, play with my apos.

"But after a while, parang, you need to do something. Hindi ako mapakali pag wala akong ginagawa.

"I guess, I missed it. I really miss the business, so here I am again—refreshed after a rest.

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"Let's see what I can do."

Bilang freelancer, walang balakid para kay Mr. M na maging consultant sa GMA-7.

Kasagsagan nitong pandemya nang may mga kaibigan daw siya sa GMA-7 na lumapit para hikayatin siyang mag-ober da bakod.

"Sabi ko, 'Sige, let's talk," ani Mr. M.

Diin niya, "I think mahirap tanggihan yung offer nila. Maganda yung offer, nilatag nila yung mga gagawin ko, yung gusto nilang mangyari.

"Natuwa naman ako sa mga plano. So, that was an easy thing to do."

Minsan nang nakuwento ni Mr. M sa PEP.ph na likas siyang "trooper" pagdating sa pagtanggap ng trabaho.

Ito rin ang sinabi niya ngayong siya ay isa nang Kapuso.

Sabi niya, "It's work. I go when there's work, where people need us."

Sa tuwing siya ay may big career move, paano niya nalalaman kung tama ang gagawin niyang desisyon?

"Sometimes, I don't know," napapangiting pag-amin ni Mr. M.

"Alam mo yung feeling na medyo kabado ka. Hindi mo alam kung anong gagawin mo, papaano ba, takot ka...

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"When that happens to me, I know that's the right time. Pag takot ako, I go, I jump into it. That helps. You don't think about it, you just jump.

"After a while, you'll know that you're in the right direction."

Nakapanayam ng PEP.ph at piling entertainment media reporters si Mr. M via Zoom Call ngayong Martes.

MR. M REVEALS HIS MANDATE IN GMA

Inilahad dito ni Mr. M na kasama sa mandato niya bilang consultant ng GMA Artist Center ang pagpili kung saang teleserye nababagay ipasok ang homegrown artists ng network.

Sabi niya sa Philippine Daily Inquirer, "I think that's part of my mandate. Because I asked them what I can do.

"Ayun ang sabi nila. Pwede ako dun makisawsaw, kumbaga, kung sino pwede ilagay sa iba't ibang teleserye."

Nagpasalamat si Mr. M sa tiwalang ito ng GMA sa kanya.

"To ask me that, I appreciate that. I really appreciate that coming from GMA," sabi niya.

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Ngayon ay may kalayaan daw siya, hindi lang sa pag-train ng artista, kundi pati sa mga gagawing proyekto ng mga ito.

"Yes. They have a very good system na. Ganda ng latag ng sistema nila.

"I just want to see if that really works once it's put into action. They gave me a wide scope.

"Si Attorney Gozon nga, baka yung isang [variety] show, baka meron daw akong inputs, meron akong suggestions.

"Sabi ko sa kanya, 'Sure, Atty. Gozon, I will only be so happy to help out.'"

Sa ngayon, mas tututukan daw ni Mr. M ang pag-discover ng bagong homegrown talents ng GMA Artist Center.

"What we're doing is we're looking at their setup of artists. See if anything can be improved in the operation of the Artist Center.

"But overall, I suppose, what they want to do is develop a new breed of GMA artists, a new breed of ambassadors of GMA. Yun ang main goal."

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Bahagi raw nito ang pag-improve ng "issues ng styling" at "issues ng image."

NOT OUT TO COMPETE WITH OTHER GMA EXECS

Ayon kay Mr. M, may dalawa siyang katrabaho mula sa dating home network na makakasama niya sa GMA Network.

Hindi pinangalanan ni Mr. M kung sino ang mga ito.

Nilinaw lang niyang wala siyang intensiyong makikumpitensiya sa ibang GMA executives sa pagpasok niya sa network.

"Meron kaming naisama dito sa organization ng GMA na galing sa dating organization.

"So far, two people from the other side, they were able to bring them to help us.

"Nagustuhan naman nung mga executives itong mga tao na ito. Because we told them, 'We're not here to replace anybody. Consultants lang kami.'

"But if they can bring a couple of people to make the system smoother, kasi mga experienced na itong mga taong ito.

"So, sumang-ayon naman sila. They're [management] very friendly, actually."

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BACK TO GMA WHERE HE FIRST STARTED AS A SINGER

Naikuwento rin ni Mr. M sa mediacon na maituturing na pagbabalik ang paglipat niya sa GMA Network dahil dati na siyang nagtrabaho rito.

"Dati-rati nagtrabaho ako sa GMA for a number years. During martial law.

"Wala pa yung building na 'yan. Dalawang maliit na studio [pa lang noon]," saad ni Mr. M.

Nang tanungin kung kailan siya nagtrabaho sa GMA, sabi ni Mr. M, "Nineteen-forgotten. Buhay pa si Mr. Bob Stewart."

Ang tinukoy ni Mr. M na Bob Stewart ay si Robert Stewart na siyang founder ng Republic Broadcasting (RBS) Channel 7, na ngayon ay kilala bilang GMA Network.

Sabay sinabi ni Mr. M na naging singer siya noon sa RBS.

"Actually, first thing I did in GMA was singer ako. Meron akong folk song dun at kumanta kami sa isang programa kay Uncle Bob.

"And that was what I can remember na earliest memory ko ng GMA.

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"And then, of course, working with my mother in her talk show at GMA. Also with the great Lino Brocka in a couple of specials I did there in GMA."

Ang ina ni Mr. M na si Elvira Manahan ay kilalang socialite at host ng Two For The Road, na umere sa ABS-CBN mula 1967 hanggang 1972 bilang daily late-night talk show at umere rin sa GMA bilang weekly show mula 1979 hanggang 1980s.

Sa PEPtionary report ng PEP.ph, ikinuwento ni Mr. M ang pagsikat niya bilang TV director nang mabigyan siya ng big break sa IBC 13.

Nang lumipat si Mr. M sa ABS-CBN noong 1984, bitbit niya ang idinireheng top-rating sitcom noon ng IBC 13, ang Chicks 2 Chicks, na naging Chicka Chicka Chicks sa ABS-CBN mula 1987-1991.

Maraming hinulma si Mr. M na sitcoms at variety shows sa ABS-CBN. Co-founder din siya ng Star Magic, ang talent management arm ng ABS-CBN, na itinayo nila ni Freddie M. Garcia noong 1992.

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At ngayon, makalipas ang humigit-kumulang apat na dekada mula nang siya ay nagkaroon ng part-time stints sa GMA-7, balik Kapuso si Mr. M.

"Parang nakabalik rin ako. Bilog ang circle of life kung tawagin," sabi ng nirerespetong star builder.

Masaya raw siya sa bagong yugtong ito ng kanyang karera.

"I have this passion for training young artists. Gagawin namin lahat to hone yung mga personalities nila, yung authentic self nila.

"I feel very buoyant, very light, lalung-lalo na nung nakilala ko yung ibang executives. Napaka-friendly, napakabait, and very astute yung mga tao na na-meet ko so far."

Looking forward daw si Mr. M na makilala ang iba pang GMA people pati na ang GMA artists.

Aniya, "Besides being good people to work with, I hope we can develop as friends.

"That's what I hope to become—friends with the artists, friends with the people behind the scenes.

"Because that's how the magic comes. When you invest, somehow the magic comes."

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Mr. M on becoming a Kapuso: "I feel very buoyant, very light, lalung-lalo na nung nakilala ko yung ibang executives. Napaka-friendly, napakabait, and very astute yung mga tao na na-meet ko so far. Besides being good people to work with, I hope we can develop as friends."
PHOTO/S: GMA Network
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