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Happy Birthday, Kris!

Kris Aquino turns 41.

Kris Aquino celebrates her 41st birthday today. And what better gift can I offer to a star whose shows I have grown up watching than to write a little tribute to the life and career of a start that to this day remains unmatched in the industry. She began as a bankable movie actress in the 1990s, eventually parlaying her popularity and wits into becoming a successful talk show and game show host. In the early 2000s, she emerged as a critically acclaimed actress plus earning the monicker Horror Queen of Philippine Cinema. She also enjoys considerable success in the recording and publishing industries, as well as with her line of kitchen collections.

Happy Birthday, Krissy!

Birth, Childhood and Education

Kristina Bernadette Cojuangco Aquino was born on Feb. 14, 1972, the youngest daughter of Benigno Aquino, Jr. and Corazon Cojuangco, scions of powerful and landed families in Tarlac. Her father was a former senator and presidential aspirant who was martyred in 1983 at the height of the Marcos Regime. Her mother was the 11th and first female president of the Republic of the Philippines, while her brother, Benigno Aquino III was elected 15th president in 2010. Together with her family, she spent her early years in Boston, where her family was exiled during the Martial Law era.

Movie Star

After a bloodless revolution that toppled then-President Ferdinand Marcos and installed her mother as president, teenager Aquino was put to limelight. Her forays in show business began with guest stints in talk shows, television dramas, and comedies. She made her film debut in 1990, where she was cast opposite comedian Rene Requiestas in the colossally successful comedy film, Pido Dida. The film was the highest-grossing movie in the Philippines at the time, breaking existing box-office records that year. In 1991, she was crowned the country's box-office queen. The film spawned two successful sequels, Pido Dida: Kasal Na and Pido Dida: May Kambal Na. She solidified her bankability with a slew of commercially-successful true-to-life massacre films, popular during the early 1990s, such as Vizconde Massacre (1993), The Elsa Castillo Story: Ang Katotohanan, Myrna Diones Story, and Fatima Buen Story (all 1994), the last film earning her a Gawad Urian nomination. However, critics panned her acting as stiff and mechanical. But with her enormous success in this genre, Aquino was hailed by the press as Massacre Queen.

Talk Show Queen

Aquino's undeniable hosting wit landed her a talk show in ABS-CBN. In 1996, Today with Kris Aquino was launched, which went on air weekdays until 2001. The show was the first interactive talk show in Philippine TV and was touted as the country's response to America's The Oprah Winfrey Show. In 1999, she joined the Sunday afternoon celebrity talk show The Buzz, where she co-hosted with Boy Abunda until 2007, when she took maternity leave. She made her come back in 2008 but eventually left the show in 2008 after her brother was elected president.

Aquino was also host to several more talk shows: Morning Girls (2002-2004), Good Morning, Kris (2004), Boy & Kris (2007-2009), and SNN: Showbiz News Ngayon (2009-2010). In 2011, Aquino returned to daytime talk show via KrisTV, a spinoff to her 1996 talk show.

Forays in Primetime TV

Kris also appeared in a number of top rating prime time soap operas: Hiram (2004-2005), Sineserye Presents Panayin sa Sindak si Barbara (2008) and Kung Tayo'y Magkakalayo (2010).

Award Winning Actress

2002 was a banner year for Aquino's film career. After a long absence (she made her last film that time in 1995), she made a successful comeback via the family drama Mano Po, the first series of the long-running movie franchise. Her role as a submissive and weak-willed scion of a wealthy Chinese family earned her Best Supporting Actress awards in the Metro Manila Film Festival, Pasado Award, PMPC Star Awards for Movies, FAMAS Award, and KAPPT Award. She also appeared in two more Mano Po installments, Mano Po 2: My Home (2003) and Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love (2009).

Horror Queen

In 2004, Kris began starring in a movie genre where she shines the most—horror. In 2004, she was cast in Feng Shui, a film that featured Chinese influences and omen, the country's reply to the wave of Asian horrors that was very popular in the early 2000s. It earned P137 million, making it the highest-grossing Filipino movie in 2004. Her success earned her her second crown as Box-Office Queen. In 2006, she co-starred with Claudine Barretto in Sukob (2006), which depicted the Filipino superstition that one should not marry within a year when an immediate relative dies or gets married. With Sukob, Kris Aquino yet again broke box-office records—the film grossed a whooping P203 million, the first Filipino film to reach the elusive P200-million mark as well as the highest-grossing film that time. In 2007, she shared her third Box-Office Queen crown with Claudine Barretto. Aquino's succeeding horror flicks were big winners at the box-office as well. Dalaw (2010), which grossed P125 million, was the third biggest moneymaker during the 2010 Metro Manila Film Festival, while Segunda Mano (2011) was earned P126.6 million, earning the film the second spot during the 2011 Metro Manila Film Festival.

Game Show Queen

In 2001, Kris made her prime time debut via her first—and most memorable—game show, Game KNB, where her tagline, “korek,” which she quipped after a contestant made the right answer, became a popular expression among the Filipinos to this day. The game show evolved through the years and many other hosts followed Aquino, although her stint is considered the “golden era” of Game KNB. Aquino also made impact with another game show Kapamilya Deal or No Deal, the country's franchise for the famous American game show. The show's extreme popularity was the main reason why it was extended for several times until it had to be ended prior to Aquino's maternity leave. Aquino also hosted the Philippine version of Wheel of Fortune, Pinoy Bingo Night, and The Price is Right. She also hosted the noontime variety show, Pilipinas Win na Win, but had to left the show after two months per decision of the management.

Celebrity Endorser

Kris is the face of dozens of products. In fact, her endorsements alone rake her tens of millions of pesos. Since 2009, she has held the record of being the country's number one celebrity endorser, lending her name and image to some of the most recognizable products like Pantene, Olay Total Effects, Maggi Magic Sarap, Nido, and Safeguard.

Recording Artist

Kris Aquino's inspirational compilation albums, feature different singers, were also top-selling at the time of their released. Her five albums, Songs of Love and Healing, Love and Inspiration, The Greatest Love, Blessings of Love, and My Heart's Journey, all registered platinum status.

Magazine Editor

In 2007, K Magazine, where Kris is the Executive Editor, was launched. It contained snippets of everything about Kris Aquino, her love, family, passion, and inspiring stories. The magazine remains the biggest selling celebrity magazine.

K Everyday

In 2009, Kris launched K Everyday in partnership with ABS-CBN Licensing. The collection showcased cooking collection, kitchen collection, plastic collection, and stationeries, each hand-picked by her which she thought are helpful in making everyday life comfortable.

As the Queen of All-Media graces her 41st year, her star remains shimmering as ever and there's no sign of stopping.

Personal Life

Aquino was the domestic partner of actor Philip Salvador. They had a son, Joshua. In 2005 she married basketball player James Yap. In 2007, she gave birth to a son, James “Bimby” Aquino Yap, now a highly in-demand child product endorser. In 2010, she and Yap were separated, their marriage officially annulled just recently.  


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