Saturday, July 4, 2009

Love in Happy Land

"Love in Happy Land"
Sun.Star Davao, July 4, 2009

On Monday to Friday mornings, GMA’s “Unang Hirit” viewers can’t get enough of the reigning Reyna ng Kalsada--the indefatigable Love Añover as she dishes out the latest traffic situation, updates consumers on the prices of basic commodities and conducts interesting man-on-the-street interviews on current issues. Her infectious laughter and funny antics are guaranteed to perk up anyone’s day.

I first met Love in 2000 when she came to the city as a segment producer of the “Probe Team”. We assisted multi-awarded TV broadcast journalist Cheche Lazaro, Love and the crew during their Davao shoot when I was still with the Davao City Tourism Office.
Although we have not kept in touch until recently, I remained to be a silent fan of hers through the years. There is something so “real” about Love’s persona. Despite reaching celebrity status, she has remained unaffected and continues to be down-to-earth and “jologs” as can be.

When I heard that she was one of the cast members of GMA’s latest children TV show, “Happy Land”, I took the opportunity to get re-acquainted with this amazing lady from Leyte.

Please share a little background about yourself. How were you discovered by Probe Team’s Cheche Lazaro?

My full name is Lovella Basibas Añover. I was born and raised in Leyte by my parents Jose and Lydia Añover. I moved to Manila when I was in high school and studied college at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines finishing AB Filipino, minor in Mass Communication.

During my college days, I was required to intern at the Probe Team for two months. Fortunately, before I graduated, I was hired by Probe to work starting out as a production assistant then editor, writer, reporter and senior producer.

I was discovered by Twink Macaraeg as a segment host when I acted as the emcee of the Probe Productions, Inc.’s Christmas party in 1999. In 2000, the “Pasakalye ” segment of Probe was born. Ito 'yung segment where I will use the big bombastic microphone to interview people, be it mayaman o mahirap, jologs o sosyal to get their opinion.

This was fun because I was able to tackle the simplest to the most controversial issues in society--environment, politics and anything under the sun. Me kasamang humor ang paggawa ko ng mga segment. I think nanalaytay sa akin ang pagiging isang Pinoy. Kasi 'di ba kahit anong problema ang dumating idadaan lahat sa tawa?

What were the other programs that you’ve been part of?

Aside from “Probe Team” and “Unang Hirit”, I’ve been part of GMA’s “Front Page”, “24 Oras”, “Lovely Day”; and “Love Life” on QTV 11.

In 2004, I also launched my self-titled debut album which was jam-packed with novelty songs with a mass favorite "Bumprr to Bumprr" talking about traffic.

I likewise became a reporter on a radio program called Saksi sa Dobol B, a daily morning radio news program on DZBB where I delivered stories on the segment Magandang Balita in 2004.

Was “Lovely Day” your first children’s show? How was it working with kids?

“Lovely Day” started as a good news show. I loved the concept kasi 'di ba sa dami ng puro negative na news sa mundo at sa Pilipinas, it is refreshing to watch something positive. Very inspiring and masaya!

Eventually, “Lovely Day” was changed to a children’s TV show. I must say that for the five years that the program aired from 2004 to 2009, I had so much fun! We were also able to air good stories but this time, geared towards kids. It was cool to work with kids. Feeling ko rin kasi lalo akong bumabata or baka mas bata pa ako kina Gabby, Bea, Chrisitian, BJ Jacob.

It was so nice to work with them because I was able to see how's it like to adjust myself sa ugali ng mga bata. I am not yet a mom but my co-hosts have taught me how to deal with children, how to discipline them and have extreme patience.

Why do you think you seem to be a favorite choice for hosting children’s TV shows?

I believe I am really a kid at heart. I have a happy and positive outlook in life. I am the eldest in the family so I know how to deal with my little sister and brother. Plus, I love being around with kids. They're real, innocent and sweet. When they laugh, para kang iduduyan sa saya. They can be tactless and yet so funny. Basta, gift from God talaga ang mga bata.

Tell us something about the cast and concept of your latest children’s program, “Happy Land”.

Happy Land is the very first children show where characters are so raw. We based our stories from reality.

Two adorable kids lead Happy Land’s cast of characters. Nine year-old Patricia Gayod plays Anna, Buboy’s loving sister who acts as a mother to Buboy while their Nanay works as a domestic helper in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, six-year-old Jermaine Ulgasan plays Buboy, a quick-witted kid who’s very dependent on his older sister. They are being raised by their strict but loving aunt, Tita Auring, played by veteran theater and TV actress Joy Viado.

Through Anna and Buboy’s story, the show intends to present reality to child viewers -- discussing social issues with no pretense or sugarcoating. Happy Land also seeks to address the issue of OFW-ism by helping its main characters cope with OFW parents, and hopes to impart Filipino values and character education to both children and adult viewers.

Hopefully, Happy Land will inspire young viewers to discover happiness despite the bad things in life.

What do you think are some of the unique elements of the show?

Happy Land combines animation, digital technology, and live-action photography. Aside from the narrative, the show will likewise teach basic pre-school subjects like Language and the Alphabet, Math, Science, and General Knowledge through independent segments.

In addition, the show has an animated creature: Mingming, the tenement’s resident black cat who will lead the children on their journey through Happy Land. Kid viewers will also get the chance to meet “Bulatelino,” an intelligent, talking earthworm who will teach kids anything and everything about Science.

Youngsters will learn more about geography as Popoy and Cocoy, Happy Land’s mice duo, bring them to all sorts of places through their segment “Mga Dagang Gala.”

How does it feel to work with Bb. Joyce Bernal for the first time?

Of course, I am very proud to share that Happy Land is directed by acclaimed film and television director, Bb. Joyce Bernal. I couldn't ask for anything more. She's a very talented and great director. Isa siya sa mga pwede mong tingalaing director of her time. Ibang level ng learning ang pwede mong makuha sa kanya and I can't wait sa mga susunod pa naming shoots.

How does it feel playing the role of Ate Belle?

Oh, I am so in love with Ate Belle! She's the friendly repairwoman who owns Bahay Butingting that serves as the children's portal to Happy Land, a fantasy world where knowledge thrives and problems are systematically solved. She's a very kind ate and neighbor who is always there to lend a helping hand.

Ate Belle can mend everything from broken irons and refrigerators to broken hearts and dreams.

'Yung endearment niya sa mga bata ay pamatay. I think the viewers lalo na 'yung mga bata will feel like ‘Oh, really, it's good to be nice to people’ because it is a great feeling to help.

I've been dreaming of this show for so long already because I grew up watching Batibot. I learned a lot from that show. I feel blessed to be part of Happy Land. I know and believe that this show will help a lot of parents, teachers, schools, ates and kuyas in teaching their kids.

Please invite the viewers to watch your show.

Mommies, daddies, kids, ates, kuyas and everyone -- never miss watching Happy Land every Saturday, 9:30 am-10:00 am via GMA. You'll definitely have a fun-filled and enriching 30 minutes. Let's enjoy learning together and discover Happy Land!

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