Maja and Awra: Fun game-show masters in ‘Emojination’

Actors Enzo Pineda and Pepe Herrera played against Alexa Miro and Michelle Vito at the premiere telecast of the Sunday late afternoon TV5 show.

Hosting a game show seems natural and easy for actor Maja Salvador, who now hosts TV 5’s Sunday late afternoon show, Emojination, which premiered last Sunday, 14 May, at 5 p.m.

She actually has a co-host, the young and gay actor-singer Awra Briguela, 19, who may yet mature to be as relaxed and engaging a host as Salvador, a showbiz veteran of two decades now.


Salvador has another show slated to premiere on 27 May but on another network, GMA 7. It’s the sitcom Open 24/7 which she topbills with Vic Sotto, Jose Manalo and a bunch of the network’s Sparkle stars.

That show was introduced to the media some weeks ago at Vertis Seda Hotel, and earned a lot of publicity due to Sotto, one of the hosts of the country’s longest-running noontime show Eat Bulaga which suddenly became very controversial due to the Jalosjos family’s attempt to run the show their way after silently producing it for the past 43 years.


Antonio P. Tuviera’s APT Productions, which has been a content supplier for TV5, is behind Emojination. Tuviera is the man that the Jalosjos family allegedly pressured last year to retire as president of Television and Production Exponents, Inc., more popularly known as TAPE, the block-time producer of Eat Bulaga, so the Jalosjos children could run the show themselves.

APT also manages talents, and one of them is Briguela who, at the “Emojination” mediacon, gleefully announced that he is thankful to have been “adopted” (“inampon“) by ATP.

Like Salvador, Briguela started his showbiz career on ABS-CBN back in the day when the media-entertainment empire had yet to be disenfranchised as a radio-TV network. Salvador and Briguela were together, in fact, in the early years of the long-running Coco Martin series FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano (2016-2022). Briguela was only 12 at that time and Salvador 28 (though she was only 14 when she started in 2003).

Emojination is a game played by two teams of two members each. They play four rounds of quizzes and tasks, two of which require them to guess words whose clues are flashed on a videoboard of text and pictures. The words are from a movie, a song, a proverb in Filipino, or a somehow famous “hugot” line.

The premiere telecast had actors from ABS-CBN’s current series Iron Heart in which Salvador played the girlfriend of the title character portrayed by Richard Gutierrez. Salvador’s character Cassandra was killed in the series’ first two weeks, though it happily marked Salvador’s return to her mother studio of 18 years, which she left in 2020 to cast her lot with TV5.

Actors Enzo Pineda and Pepe Herrera played against Alexa Miro and Michelle Vito at Emojination‘s premiere telecast. The ladies won, but all four actors were fairly good in completing the texts of contemporary “hugot” lines.

Tomorrow’s contestants are actors Nash Aguas and Iggyboy Flores versus the high-earning vloggers Kimpoy Feliciano and Christian Antolin.

Salvador said she has offers to do drama shows with certain TV networks, but the exhausting long hours of work are prompting her to turn down the offers. “Ayokong magmukhang harassed na harassed sa kasal ko (I don’t want to look harassed during my wedding)!,” she blurted out.

She continued to be tight-lipped, however, about when she will marry PR-marketing man Rambo Nunez, who is her partner in the talent management company Crown Artists Management.

Miss Universe Bahrain in Pinoy hands

The Pinoys’ nationwide fascination with global and national beauty pageants is beginning to pay off. Our people are now being commissioned to conceptualize and manage beauty pageants in rich countries that desire to have their own Miss Universe winner. After all, we have produced four Miss Universe titlists since the 1960s: Gloria Diaz, Margie Moran, Pia Wurtzbach and Catriona Grey.

The third edition of Miss Universe Bahrain, i.e. Miss Universe Bahrain 2023, is all set to begin, and this year an an all-Filipino team is spearheading the campaign, led by Josh Yugen, the national director of the Dubai-based Yugen Group of Companies.

Brillante Mendoza is set to be the director of the show telecast, at a date yet to be announced. Mendoza is the only Filipino so far to win best director for a full-length feature at the Cannes International Film Festival, and he has a long list of awards from other global film competitions.

Mendoza is still very much in the Philippines since the Yugen Group has yet to let him know when he should fly to Bahrain to begin his work there. Recently, he hosted a private screening of Sandwich at his cozy home garden in Mandaluyong.


Sandwich is directed by one of his young protégés, Jao Elamparo. Mendoza is the film’s creative co-producer with Vivamax.

It’s a very bold film that can be shown without cuts only on the Vivamax streaming platform. The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board would surely mangle it for its long sex scenes before it would get shown in theaters.

Mendoza has two other upcoming projects that will be shown in Philippine cinemas, hopefully this year: Pula, starring Coco Martin and Julia Montes and Bangsamoro featuring Piolo Pascual and Baron Geisler.

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