MANILA -- September 9 became doubly special for singer-actor JM de Guzman, one of the lead stars of ABS-CBN’s latest drama series, “Pamilya Ko.” Aside from the pilot episode of the late afternoon series, that debuted Monday and immediately became a trending topic on Twitter, De Guzman quietly marked his 31st birthday on the set.
There was no big party, nor did De Guzman plan any grand celebration for his special day. He was expected to work on the set of the telerserye in Marikina, where the cast tapes three times a week. Yet, his “Pamilya Ko” co-stars did not let the day pass without giving De Guzman a small celebration.
By late afternoon, the cast gathered on the set to watch the pilot episode all together, then threw a small party for De Guzman, with lots of food for the celebrant. De Guzman’s co-star, Sylvia Sanchez, prepared food for the actor as well as the entire cast.
Actress Ria Atayde’s presence in the celebration was inconspicuously noticed. After all, she is also Sanchez’s daughter, so it was not surprising for her to visit the set. Yet, she is also the rumored girlfriend of De Guzman.
His dentist-aunt, Maricel De Guzman-Polintan, as well as his cousin, Cameron, likewise dropped by with cakes, boxes of pizza and burritos. Moreover, De Guzman’s loyal fans also came to greet him, brought gifts, cakes and more food to the set.
De Guzman was undoubtedly happy and thankful to all those who remembered him on his birthday. He was loaded with work since Sunday, when the cast of “Pamilya Ko” promoted the soap on “ASAP.” After that, De Guzman went straight to Baguio to perform in a concert with Ian Veneracion. He merely slept in his SUV on his way back to Manila. As he reached the city, he went straight to taping for “Pamilya Ko.”
Still, De Guzman did not complain. The fact that his schedule is loaded with work is indeed a big blessing for him. That he is consistently busy with lots of showbiz activities in his calendar is really something to be thankful for.
Last August 31, De Guzman also had a small concert at Zirkoh in Tomas Morato. Last week, he attended the red carpet preview of “Pamilya Ko” in Trinoma and the audience was in tears while watching the week-long episode. His family was also in attendance. They were all proud about De Guzman’s latest acting accomplishment.
Not a few who attended the special preview remarked that “Pamilya Ko” is De Guzman’s best work to date.
“After watching the advanced screening of ‘Pamilya Ko’ last night, the show easily became the best Filipino teleserye I have ever seen,” remarked Polintan on her Facebook account. “The story is well written and very realistic, with so many lessons to learn from.
“It is a story of family with problems we can all relate to. The acting was really very impressive and perfect, subdued and soooo effective. I cried several times, especially in the hospital scene of JM and Ms. Sylvia Sanchez which was applauded several times. This was for me the most memorable scene. I think this is the best work yet of JM de Guzman.
“Juan Miguel De Guzman’s acting has evolved through the years and I could not be more proud after watching the preview.”
In “Pamilya Ko,” De Guzman plays the character of Francisco “Chico” Magbunga, a guy who grew up with his grandparents, played by Noel Trinidad and Perla Bautista. It is the latest teleserye of De Guzman following “Araw-Gabi,” shown last year.
Playing his other siblings with fruits as nicknames in “Pamilya Ko” are Jairus Aquino as Percival or “Persi,” Kiko Estrada as Bernardo or “Beri,” Maris Racal as Peachy, Mutya Orquia as Cherry, Raikko Mateo as John Paul or “Pongky,” Kira Balinger as Lemon and Kid Yambao as Apollo or Apol.
Also in the cast of “Pamilya Ko” are Arci Munoz, Rosanna Roces, Irma Adlawan, Marco Gallo, Alyssa Muhlach and CX Navarro as young Chico. Creative manager of the series is Mel Mendoza-Del Rosario, with Raymund Ocampo as director.
De Guzman, who shares the tent with Marquez and Sanchez in the Marikina set of “Pamilya Ko,” regularly bonds with his co-stars even when they are not taping. They visit the farm of Marquez in Batangas. On the set, De Guzman and Marquez listen to music together. Meanwhile, Sanchez often brings food to the set even when there is no occasion.
De Guzman is expected to celebrate his birthday with his immediate family sometime this month. Apparently, there are three other September-born members in his family aside from him – his grandma Lydia who’s turning 81 this month, his dad Ronniel who is a desk editor at a daily newspaper, and his aunt Gigi De Guzman-Pau.