imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

Quarantine days: Enjoying the radio dramas (Last of two parts)

Enjoying the radio dramas these quarantine days has filled the gap between boredom and enjoyment of millions of radio listeners over Region I.

Or rather, the whole world, as most radio stations are now on live streaming through the social media.

Fight the boredom, fellas, and enjoy the quarantine or quarantine-less days, ordinary days, holidays, weekdays or weekends!

Curiosity drove me to find out why, since 2016, radio drama stars Remy “Saripda Salvacion” Balderas, Ferdinand Feria, Perry Claro, Jovie Dupais, Teresa Calay, Jena “Kapitana Orang” Almoite Diaz, Emily “Lucia” Calica and Eddie Bona are no longer with Saleng Drama Productions Center which fed Bombo Radyo with blockbuster dramas in the likes of “Pagsarmingan,” “Dagiti Tugot Iti Dana Ti Biag,” “Saripda Salvacion” and “Laughingly Yours, Bianong.”

My research paid off, fellas.

I learned that Remy Balderas has since retired. Jovie Dupais is now an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Israel and has since created her own You Tube channel. Teresa Calay, Ferdinand Feria, Emily Calica and Jena Almoite Diaz are now drama talents of MPBC (Mountain Province Broadcasting Corporation) at DZWT 540 at Session Road in Baguio City; Perry Claro says he will be returning soon as a drama talent but did not say which drama productions center will he be working for. Eddie Bona is now with an FM station. Eddie Bona is that radio talent which filled in most antagonist roles but can easily shift to a protagonist voice in an instant.

I asked Jovie Dupais why the exodus of Saleng talents from Bombo Radyo. Her answer was simple: “It’s a long story, sir.” She did not elaborate although I prodded that much.

Bombo Radyo is now airing dramas not from Saleng but from Luvlet which stands for Luvimin and Letty. Luvimin is Luvimin Aquino, Sr. while Let stands for Letty Astudillo Aquino. They are a cordial husband and wife tandem managing Luvlet Artists and Talent Center. I happened to meet the duo in a national writing convention where they lectured on radio drama scriptwriting. They also performed a drama presentation where they starred as Gusting and Sofing in “Doming, Mabalin Amin.” Luvlet also has an array of talented artists in Johnny Quintela Alasaas (playing Leomar in Delfin Dumayas’ “Gapu Iti Maysa a Kari”), Roger Refuerzo Ramirez as Doming in “Doming, Mabalin Amin,” Mary Ann Nalica as Doming’s wife, Rosa and as Barbella in “Tres Valientes;” Luvimin Aquino Sr. as Don Solomon in Nestor Marcos’ “Kuadro Alas, Siasino Ti Hudas?” and where Ramirez also plays the role of the avenging Absalom; Loida Gubiangan Bognot as Monalisa in “Gapu Iti Maysa a Kari.” Here, Jay-R Cister Aquino plays the role of Brandon, the rebellious son of a retired police general trying to win the heart of Monalisa. Letty Astudillo Aquino, Claire Sabiano and Marvin Marquez and Janice Limpayos Denis play multiple roles to complete the cast. I also heard once the name of Virgie Peckley although she hosts some of the drama programs at DZWT 540, also based in baguio City. Dumayas and Marcos are Luvlet’s main scriptwriters/story writers.

Luvlet and MPBC nowadays are on heads-on collision in Ilocos and via worldwide streaming, vying for the listeners’ time. MPBC-DWZT 540 has the following dramas aired over DZNS Vigan starting at 1:00 PM: “Kapitan Enteng” with Joseph Binawe as Kapitan Enteng, Isagani Yalong Bollester as Badong and Teresa Calay as Banang; “Dalan Kinapudno ken Biag” hosted by golden-voiced Virgie Peckley at 1:30; “Dear Mr. Lonely” with Jhonar Rebutazo (I heard he was elected town councilor in his hometown) at 2:00 and Virgie Peckley’s “Dagiti Sarsarita Ni Lola Angela.” Dante Martinez, perhaps the most cordial, most accommodating and most conversationalist of all radio talents, is MPBC’s computer recording technician and music director while Ferdinand Feria is MPBC’s main scriptwriter.

These MPBC dramas are pitted against Bombo’s “Doming, Mabalin Amin” at 2:00 PM, “Recuerdos De La Vida” (taking over or in the tradition of Remy Balderas’ “Dagiti Tugot Iti Dana Ti Biag) at 2:30; “Super Pepita” (also played by Loida Gubiangan Bognot) at 3:00 and “Tres Valientes” at 3:30, apparently replacing “Saripda Salvacion.”

In the battle for listeners’ time, Bombo’s Luvlet has the slight edge because they have morning and afternoon dramas aired from Monday to Saturday while DZNS’ MPBC has daily afternoon dramas only (except Saturdays) but their dramas start at 1:00 PM, unlike Bombo’s Luvlet dramas which start at 2:00 PM.

 This is the reason why, during the quarantine days, we listen to Bombo dramas in the morning and then at DZNS’ MPBC in the afternoon.

Also very cordial and accommodating, aside from Dante Martinez, are his fellow MPBC talents: Jena Almoite Diaz and Isagani Bollester. They usually reply to messages unlike Virgie Peckley and Teresa Calay who are quite indifferent to their fans. Both have not responded to my friend request yet, maybe they have already responded to the maximum ceiling of 5,000 friend requests that they can no longer accommodate more. I asked Dante Martinez about it and he said they will respond in due time as the duo are cautious in accepting friend requests from people they don’t know.

If you want to see how a radio talent shifts his voice, then, you can scroll over You Tube for Jena Almoite Diaz where she posted “The Seven Voices of Jena Almoite Diaz.” She can converse with the voice of a little girl, a teenager, a mother, a poor old woman, a rich old woman and even the voice of an elf!

But the choice is yours, fellas. Both MPBC and Luvlet artists are very talented composing of veteran and newcomers. If you are a fan to the former Saleng drama productions talents, listen to MPBC dramas at DZNS or DWRS in Vigan City; if you go for new talents through Luvlet Artists and Talent Center, dial in to Bombo Radyo.

Quarantine or quarantine-less days, lock down or no lockdowns, enjoy the radio dramas, while doing your daily chores, fellas.

I assure you, it’s not only stress-reliever; it’s also morale booster as MPBC and Luvlet dramas are laden with moral lessons. I’m not pro-MPBC, I just grew up listening to Saleng dramas. There is indeed a sentimental value of vintage things which have become a part of your youth and manhood.

Our thanks and gratitude, then, to all drama artists and to Bombo Radyo, DZNS and other radio stations for entertaining us. We love you all.