Pains and gains of 2019

The labandera is ready for 2020.
by Bibeth Orteza
Jan 6, 2020
Bibeth Orteza recounts the pains and gains of 2019 for her family, including the showbiz industry. "We’d gone through so much last year," she says.
PHOTO/S: iStock

Hello, po. Welcome ulit sa Labandera Chronicles.

It’s 2020. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It’s 2020. One-fifth of the century is over.

Career-wise, 2019 wasn’t bad for the family. I did two movies (Last Fool Show, directed by Eduardo Roy Jr., and Resback by Brillante Mendoza, which still has to be shown; and two for iWant TV, Manilennials by Erica del Mundo and Uncoupling by Dwein Baltazar); acted in two plays (Silent Sky, for Repertory Philippines, written by Lauren Gunderson, directed by Joy Virata; and Dolorosa, for Tanghalang Pilipino, written by Peter Mayshle and directed by Jenny Jamora); translated an English play into Tagalog for a National Artist, and wrote Katsuri, the adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, directed by my husband Carlitos Siguion-Reyna, for Tanghalang Pilipino.

Carlitos Siguion-Reyna


Carlitos directed Coriolano for Tanghalang Pilipino, from there won Best Actor from PhilStage’s Gawad-Buhay for his first Torvald in A Doll’s House Part 2, written by Lucas Hnath and directed by Cris Villonco. After directing Katsuri, he came out as Anne Curtis’s dad in an episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya, and is currently in the cast of Ang Probinsiyano.

As associate editor for Lifestyle Asia, my daughter Aya travelled to Singapore and Paris, interviewed then Miss Universe Catriona Gray for the December issue cover story of her magazine, and most of all, while watching the Westlife Concert at the Araneta, got called on stage for Westlife to sing to her and have a selfie with her and the audience behind them.

Aya Siguion-Reyna


My son Rafa had a brief role but a recurring appearance in Nang Ngumiti Ang Langit on ABS-CBN, and did three plays—Baka Naman Hindi, adapted from the farce A Flea in Her Ear, adapted by Beer Flores and directed by Dennis Marasigan; VLF Revisited’s Edgar Allan Hemingway; and Ang Huling El Bimbo. He had another short appearance in the Carlo Aquino-Maine Mendoza movie Isa Pa With Feelings, and is in the cast of the adaptation of the Korean movie A Hard Day, starring Dingdong Dantes and directed by Law Fajardo.

Rafa Siguion-Reyna


And yet into our lives last year, some rain had to fall. We lost the family matriarch, Armida Siguion-Reyna, in February. While she was discovered to have colon cancer, it wasn’t cancer that took her, but pneumonia.

We didn’t only lose the film and TV industry’s beloved Tita Midz, but other friends as well: University of Makati President Tommy Lopez, President Erap’s former Executive Secretary Eki Cardenas, the well-loved Mel Chionglo, the venerated Eddie Garcia, the star of the Muhlach clan Amalia Fuentes, Jacqui Magno, Gary Lising — (Philippine Entertainment Portal) paid tribute to most of them, please check “Eddie Garcia, Amalia Fuentes, Pepe Smith, other celebrities who died in 2019.”

2019 also saw traffic going from bad to worse. We had waterless days all over the metropolitan area, not even the gated villages were spared. We had box-office hits, likewise major losses. The APT-produced Sunday Pinasaya on GMA-7, the only recent Sunday noontime show that toppled ABS-CBN’s long-running ASAP, also got scrapped for reasons not so clear to this labandera.


Yes, we’d gone through so much last year. So, so much, that virtually nothing scares us now.

Bring it on, 2020. We’re ready for you. So ready, we can afford to relax and offer you this really cool salad I was lucky enough to find on Google and prepare for a small dinner in the city we just left.

Asian Slaw:

Combine bite-size crunchy red apples with julienned jicama — singkamas — with chopped scallions, chopped red onions, and mint leaves. Toss in a salad dressing of rice vinegar, patis, salt, and a little sugar (I use Stevia).

Try this, pag hindi naman kayo napasigaw ng "HAPPY 2020!"

Asian Salad

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Bibeth Orteza recounts the pains and gains of 2019 for her family, including the showbiz industry. "We’d gone through so much last year," she says.
PHOTO/S: iStock
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