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The Ten Greatest Stars of the Philippines - Series 1

The movie industry in the Philippines has been here for more than a century. And for this, it is simply fitting to give honor to some of the greatest stars who each did their share in molding this industry, for making us laugh, cry, giggle, and even go under our seats.

The 10 Greatest Stars of Today

Back off muna sina Kim, Gerald, Marianne, o Dingdong. Though they shine the most right now, I consider only those who have been in the showbusiness for at least five years and gained considerable staying power. I also gave consideration to their awards, number of projects, and most of all, box office allure. I have eventually chosen five ac
tors and five actresses to come up with this list. And here they are:


Piolo Pascual

Having risen from obscurity, this hunky-tunk managed to get enough attention with his powerful performance in the long-running soap opera Esperanza in the late 1990s. Paring up with Judy Santos in Sa Puso Ko Iingatan Ka (2001-2003), Pascual became one-half of the most recognizable love team of Philippine Showbusiness, with box-office success from their films Kahit Isang Saglit (2000), Bakit ‘Di Totohanin (2001), and Don’t Give Up on Us (2003). Going solo from the Piolo-Juday tandem, he still managed to attain success, especially in Dekada 70 (2002) and Milan (2004), the latter becoming one of the highest-grossing Filipino films of all time. For his performance in Dekada 70, Pascual won best supporting from FAMAS, FAP, Star, and URIAN Awards, making him one of the very few people to have won four major film awards in the country. He again won the FAMAS for Best Actor for Milan.

John Lloyd Cruz

Hailed as one of 2009’s Most Powerful Celebrity by Yes! Magazine, John Lloyd Cruz successfully transitioned from his boy-next-door image into becoming one of the most critically acclaimed and bankable actors of his generation. Named as 2009’s Box Office King, Cruz was renowned for his on-screen partnership with Bea Alonzo. Their films, My First Romance (2003), Now That I Have (2004), Close to You (2006), All About Love (2006), and One More Chance (2007) made him a fixture in the Philippine Showbusiness. He was also partnered with Sarah Geronimo in A Very Special Love (2008) and You Changed My Life (2009), the latter becoming the highest grossing Filipino film of all time at P230.44 million. Cruz won the Famas Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Aga Muhlach’s brother in Dubai (2006).

Richard Guttierez

One of the most recognizable faces of the decade, Richard Guttierez is the son of 60s matinee idol Eddie Guttierez and talent manager Annabel Rama. He is the younger brother of fellow actor Ton-Ton Guttierez, beauty queen/talk show host/model/actress Ruffa Guttierez, and twin of celebrity host Raymond Guttierez. Casting himself out from the shadows of his already-established family, Guttierez earlier gained fame in television as the lead in the top-rating Mulawin, opposite Angel Locsion. The series’ popularity eventually paired them together in its movie version. After Mulawin, Guttierez followed up his success with Sugo (2005), Captain Barbell (2006-2007), Lupin (2007), Kamandag (2007-2008), Asero (2008), and Zorro (2009). He also top-billed financially successful films, like Gua Ai Di (2006), and For The First Time (2008).

Jericho Rosales

Though Jericho Rosales’ career is full of hits and misses, his image in the Philippine showbiz industry is still strong enough to make him one of the decade’s biggest stars. His appearance opposite Kristine Hermosa in the astonishingly successful soap opera Pangako sa Yo, which became the country’s highest rating drama series ever, established him as one of the primetime princes of Philippine television. With Hermosa, he also starred in Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas and in films like Forevermore and Ngayong Nandito Ka. Though his career spiraled down after his break-up with Hermosa, he successfully rebounded with Kahit Isang SAglit and I Love Betty Betty La Fea. For his performance in Nasaan Ka Man, he tied with Piolo Pascual for Best Actor during the Star Awards and earned a Famas nomination. Dennis Trillo Dennis Trillo’s meteoric rise to fame is one of the rarest in Philippine entertainment industry. He became an overnight star with his critically acclaimed performance as a crossdressing homosexual in the World War II saga Aishite Imasu (2004), which won him the Famas Award for Best Supporting Actor. He eventually found success as the leading man in Mulawin (2004), Darna (2005), Etheria (2005), and Zaido (2007).


Judy Ann Santos

Dubbed as the Philippines’ Young Superstar, Judy Ann Santos started her career as a child actress in such films as Silang mga Ligaw na Sisiw (1988) and Nasaan Ka Inay (1988). She later gained nationwide recognition in the long-running Cinderella/Prince-and-the-Pauper-like soap opera, Mara Clara (1991-1996). With he role as the eponymous heroine in Esperanza (1996-1999), Santos, became one of the most promising actresses of her generation. Eventually, she gained popularity and success with her television and movie performances, making her one of the most bankable stars in the Philippines. Her films Isusumbong Kita sa Tatay Ko (with Fernando Poe, Jr, 1998),Esperanza The Movie (1999), Kahit Isang Saglit (2000), Bakit Di Totohanin (2001), ‘Til There Was You (2003), Aishite Imasu (2004) and Don’t Give Up On Us (2006), were all winners at the box office. The record-breaking success of Kasal, Kasali, Kasali (2006) spawned a sequel in 2007 and won Santos numerous awards, including the Famas for Best Actress (she was the only actress other than screen legend Gloria Romero to win a Famas for a comedy performance).

Claudine Barretto

Known as the Teleserye Queen of the Philippines, Claudine Barretto’s career illustriously began in the early 90s, often appearing as a teen actress in a number of television series and films. Her big break came after she was cast as the struggling heiress in the hit TV drama, Mula Sa Puso (1996-1999). Her triumph continued with like Saan Ka Man Naroroon (1999-2001), Sa Dulo ng WAlang Hanggang (2001-2003), and Iisa Pa Lamang (2008). She appeared in numerous financially and critically lauded films, including Anak (2000), opposite Vilma Santos, Got to Believe in Magic (2002)opposite Rico Yan, Milan (2004) with Piolo Pascual, and Dubai (2005), with Aga Muhlach and John Lloyd Cruz. She was crowned box office queen of the Philippine in 2003 and again in 2006, after she co-starred with Kris Aquino in Sukob, the highest grossing Filipino horror movie. She won consecutive Famas Awards for Milan (2004) and Nasaan Ka Man (2005), a rare feat for a Filipino actress.

Ai Ai delas Alas

The Comedy Concert Queen of Philippine showbusiness never fails to keep her audience rolling and laughing. After more than a decade of appearing in supporting yet scene-stealing roles, Ai Ai gained ultimate success with her first starring role in Tanging Ina (2003). She ultimately followed it up with her hit album Ang Tanging Ina Nyo, and sold out concerts. She also appeared in commercially successful comedy films, like Ang Cute ng Ina Mo (2006) and Ang Tanging Ina Niyong Lahat (2008), the latter becoming the second highest grossing Filipino Film and highest grossing Filipino comedy film of all time.

Kris Aquino

The indomitable Queen of All Media, Kris Aquino has been a successful talkshow/gameshow host, actress, celebrity endorser, and recording artist. She is Yes! Magazine’s second most powerful celebrity in the country for 2009 and was thrice crowned box office queen of Philippine Cinema for her roles in Pido Dida: Sabay Tayo (1990), Feng Shui (2004), and Sukob (2006). She was a fifteen-time winner of the Star Awards for Television and winner of Famas Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Mano Po (2002). For her television efforts, she appeared in top rating TV programs like Hiram (2004) and Patayin sa SIndak si Barbara (2008). She is also the long-running host of The Buzz.

Kristine Hermosa

Considered one of the modern goddesses of Philippine showbusiness for her fair beauty and composed acting, Christine Hermosa successfully moved from teeny-bopper roles into serious drama at the turn of the decade. She became an instant star after she portrayed Ina in the phenomenally successful drama Pangako Sa ‘Yo (2000-2002) opposite heartthrob Jericho Rosales. The success of their tandem eventually paired them again in Sana’y Wala Nang WAkas (2003-2004). Hermosa also starred in memorable films like Forevermore (2002) and Ngayong Nandito Ka (2003). Perhaps, her most enduring film role to date is Faye, the fairy wife of Vic Sotto in the Enteng Kabisote film series (2004-2007).


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