Eugene Domingo, MMFF Queen of Philippine Cinema

Eugene stars in three MMFF entries this year. 

Nothing does like it than Comedy Diva Eugene Domingo. The past Metro Manila Film Festivals, she appeared in a number of films, and she did it again this year, as she lends her presence and talent to three entries: Enteng ng Ina Mo, My Houseband, and Shake, Rattle and Role XIII.

Indeed, it has been a long ride for Eugene Domingo, from her humble beginnings as a bit player in the 1990s, she has emerged as one of the country's most versatile actresses both on screen and on television.

However, she got frustrated within initial foray in showbusiness that she stopped acting and went back to school and attended college. “When I started as a bit player, talagang maghihintay ka kung kelan ka kukunan,  unlike in theater where there is a schedule to follow, and walang pa-star,” she said in an interview with Philippine Daily Inquirer.

But, there was a time, when, out of sheer frustration, she stopped acting for the TV-film cameras. “When I started as a bit player, talagang maghihintay ka kung kelan ka kukunan,  unlike in theater where there is a schedule to follow, and walang pa-star.”

After college, Eugene decided to act exclusively on stage, until lured by friend, TV director Andoy Ranay, give acting a second chance. She was cast by Wenn Derramas to appear as Claudine Barretto's protective friend Simang in the primetime series, Hanggang sa Dulo ng Wala Hanggan, which ran from 2001 until 2003.

“Acting for TV was really sweeter the second time around, kasi natagpuan ko ang  grupo na may respeto sa craft, kasi they also came from theater,” she recalled. While still on her role as Simang, she was cast in Ai-Ai delas Alas breakthrough movie, Ang Tanging Ina, in 2003, where she appeared as Rowena, Ai-Ai's best friend. More film and TV appearances followed. She played as the eccentric mermaid Lorelie in Marina (2004), hosted a cooking Show, Makuha Ka sa Tikim (2005-2006), starred as a witch on the guise of a nun in Kampanerang Kuba (2006), a nanny in Ang Babaeng Hinugot sa Aking Tadyang (2008), the main host in the comedy show Comedy Bar, and as the younger sister in the Nora Aunor comeback starrer Sa Ngalan ng Ina (2011).

In films, she continued appearing as Ai-Ai delas Alas' best friend in hit comedy blockbusters, including Volta (2004), Ang Cute ng Ina Mo (2007), and Ang Tanging Ina Niyong Lahat (2008).

Her biggest break came when she was cast as the two opposing twins in the Kimi Dora (2009), directed by Joyce Bernal. The movie was critically acclaimed box office success that earned Eugene Best Actress Awards from the PMPC and Golden Screen Awards.

Her success with the box office continued in 2010 with Here Comes the Bride, Petrang Kabayo, and Ang Tanging Ina Mo. She also starred in Mamarrazi, Working Girls (both 2010), Wedding Tayo, Wedding Hindi, and Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank, the country's official entry to the 2011 Academy Awards.

Way back 50s and 60s, when the Philippine Cinema was at its brightest, it is normal for the likes of Gloria Romero, Nida Blanca, and Susan Roces to appear in 5, 6 or 7 films in a year. Nora and Vilma did the same at the peak of their careers, but no star dared to repeat the same in the succeeding decades. Except for Eugene Domingo. From her stint in Tanging Ina, Uge has appeared in no less then three films a year, and her screen appearance reached its peak in 2011, when she appeared in six films; not to mention 3 more films set for this years Metro Manila Film Festival.

Of her success, Boots Anson-Roa, her co-star in Shake, Rattle and Roll said: “I’m happy for you. You’re no Anne Curtis, but you made it!”

Eugene is happy and thankful for the success that she enjoys, ”Natuwa ako kasi tama ‘yung timing. Handa na yung utak at katawan ko. Mature na ako nung na-launch ako. Hindi ako nasisilaw sa kasikatan.”

But she also keeps in mind that everything is temporarily and ends in time. “After doing your job, you have to save, you have to invest, because yung mga  award, wala nang makakaalala niyan. Naalala mo ba kung sinong nanalo last year? Baka ako na lang nakaalala na nanalo ako. And, when that happens, sana ‘di ka mapi-feature sa “Wish Ko Lang,” kasi wala ka nang pera! ”

Domingo's acting efforts both in comedy and in drama proved worthy of emulation. Among the awards she received include: best supporting actress at the MMFF for Bahay Kubo; Gawad Tanglaw Award for best supporting actress, Foster Child (2008); Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival best supporting actress, 100 (2008); best actress at the Golden Screen Awards for Kimmy Dora; Famas Award for best supporting actress, Here Comes the Bride; MMFF and Star awards for best supporting actress, Ang Tanging Ina Mo; and best actress for Ang Babae sa Septic Tank


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