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Friday, February 15, 2008

Kris Aquino

Kristina Bernadette Cojuangco Aquino-Yap (born February 14, 1971 in Quezon City) is a prominent television and movie personality in the Philippines.

She is the youngest of the five children of former President Corazon Aquino and former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., a popular opposition senator during the Ferdinand Marcos regime. The name of her siblings are Maria Elena, Aurora Corazon, Benigno III (Currently a senator from 2007 to 2013, former congressman of Tarlac), and Victoria Eliza.

In recent years, Aquino has been labeled the Philippines's "Queen of Talk," due to her success in hosting talk shows. She was crowned as the 2004 Box Office Queen for her hit movies such as Feng Shui and So... Happy Together.

In 2006, she regained the same Box Office title for her movie Sukob, which is said to be the highest-grossing Filipino film of the year.

Early Life:

In the infamous 1978 parliamentary elections where her father was a candidate, the seven-year-old Aquino wooed the crowds as a stand-in for her imprisoned father at campaign rallies. The young campaigner was featured on the front page of NYT and on Time Magazine. Aquino spent most of her elementary school days in the United States because the Aquino family was in exile. After the assassination of her father in 1983, Aquino returned to the Philippines and was a precocious presence in rallies against the Marcos regime. In an interview with the documentary Kontrobersyal, Congressman Teddy Locsin Jr. revealed that Ninoy Aquino named her youngest daughter Kris because she was born at the height of a major crisis.

After the 1986 revolution that removed President Ferdinand Marcos from power, the teenaged Kris stepped into the limelight, starting with guest spots on television dramas and comedies, as well as talk shows. Finally, she made her film debut with actor-comedian Rene Requiestas in the comedy Pido Dida. This movie was a blockbuster hit and made Kris the box office queen for that year.

Aquino afterwards had a commercially steady, though critically panned career and managed to score an acting nomination for The Fatima Buen Story. She starred in a film based on a true-life murder, the Vizconde Massacre. Its financial success and successive crime films of the same vein in which she starred in gained her the nickname "Massacre Queen" by newspaper critics.

Aquino studied High School at Colegio San Agustin, Makati and graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1992 with a degree of Bachelor of Arts in English Literature.

Television Career:

Aquino started her career on TV at ABS-CBN. Being young then, she was the starrer of the short-lived comedy show Luv Ko Si Kris.

It was not until 1994, that she did Nandito Ako with action star Philip Salvador that started one of Aquino's very controversial love affairs. Aquino became pregnant and had a child, Joshua.

With her movie career slowing, Aquino shifted her sights on a television career as a talk show host launched through Kris produced by Viva Television on Channel 4 (at that time named PTV, this was transferred to GMA Network which has partnership with Viva and after Viva's contract with PTV ended). But it was in GMA Network showbiz oriented talk show Startalk where she co-hosted with Boy Abunda and Lolit Solis that her hosting capabilities were noticed.

After her GMA and Viva contracts expired, she went back to media conglomerate and GMA Network's rival ABS-CBN which noticed her undeniable hosting wit, offered her a contract and launched Today with Kris Aquino, one of the most successful talk shows of the 1990s. She started hosting The Buzz on 1999 together with close friend Boy Abunda. On year 2001, when game shows became very popular in the Philippines, ABS-CBN tapped her to host Game KNB? to compete against IBC-13's local franchises of The Weakest Link and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. In January 2003 to May 2004, she hosted yet another successful morning talk show that was supposed to last for 2 weeks but lasted for 16 months entitled Morning Girls with Kris and Korina alongside popular media personality Korina Sanchez. Not all of Aquino's television endeavors were hits; notable failures include Balitang Kris, which lasted for one season. For several years, she hosted The Buzz, a showbiz gossip/talk show with Boy Abunda and Cristy Fermin for the same network, as well as Pilipinas, Game KNB?, a game show which focuses on trivia. She officially left The Buzz and Pilipinas, Game KNB? after she gave birth to Baby James. According to her, she had to give up her hosting stint on the said shows to give more time to her baby. It was also assumed that she does not want to go back to The Buzz because she no longer wants to work with former co-host Cristy Fermin.

Aquino is the highest paid TV Host in the Philippines, thus, making her the 'Queen of Talk and Game Shows'. She is also one of the Filipino actresses who are sought after by companies for product endorsements. At present, she is an endorser for a popular corned beef brand as well as for San Miguel Corporation and Smart Communications. Her commercial for San Miguel became the most remembered television commercial and was said to have a 99 percent audience recall. She was paid a total of P20,000,000.00 for the endorsement. She also recently signed an endorsement contract with Facial Care Centre, a direct competitor of Belo Medical Group. Kris decided not to renew her contract with Belo Medical Group. It was uncertain as to whether her decision to transfer to Facial Care had something to do with the issue regarding James' alleged sexual encounter with a receptionist from Belo Medical Group.

Aquino was bestowed the title of "Commercial Princess of the Philippines". Said title was given to her for having numerous of TV and print appearances in Filipino media and for being one of the highest paid commercial endorsers in the Philippines, being at par with Sharon Cuneta.

She hosts the Philippine franchise of Deal or No Deal, which is part of ABS-CBN's primetime lineup. It ended its first season on February 23, 2007. The second season of the said game show started on June 11, 2007. She also hosts Boy & Kris, a morning talk show that replaced Homeboy, together with Boy Abunda, and Be Bench, a model search show together with Piolo Pascual. She is also expected to host Weekends with Kris, a lifestyle show. Nestor Torre, a known critic of the Philippine Entertainment industry, pointed out that Kris took a lot of risks when she chose to give up her two former shows. The critic pointed out that giving up The Buzz and Pilipinas, Game KNB? deprived her of the major exposure that those two popular shows afforded her. Torre also noted that it is much more difficult to successfully launch new shows than to resume hosting programs that are already popular.

Movie Career:

Aquino got her start in movies with the help of Regal Films, one of the oldest film outfits in the Philippines. Her early film includes the Pido Dida series, where she was paired with comedian Rene Requiestas and earned her first box-office queen award. She later on shifted into other roles, notably with massacre films such as The Vizconde Massacre, Myrna Diones Story, Elsa Castillo-Ang Katotohanan, and Humanda Ka Mayor. Despite her being a big draw in the box office, her acting skills were considered stiff and mechanical. She was dubbed then as "massacre queen" because of her portrayals in massacre movies which was the vogue during the time.

She first drew praise for her acting when she earned a nomination from the Gawad Urian award-giving body, composed of film critics, for the film The Fatima Buen Story. She eventually won a supporting actress award for the film Mano Po (2002 Regal Films), where she portrayed a weak-willed and submissive scion of a wealthy Filipino-Chinese clan. This was her comeback movie after her long layoff from movie acting.

But Aquino's most commercially-successful movies in her career are: Feng Shui, a Star Cinema production that featured Chinese influences and omen. Feng Shui, which was made during the wave of "Asian-style horror" flicks that spread throughout the continent since 2002's The Ring, made P180,218,395. It was the highest grossing Filipino movie of 2004, and the second most successful movie overall next to Spider-Man 2 which made over P225 million and earned Kris her second box office queen title. "Sukob," another horror thriller which she starred with Claudine Barretto in 2006, is the highest grossing Filipino film of all time surpassing Tanging Ina, Anak & her own starrer, Feng Shui.

Like anyone else, Aquino had her share of box-office bombs. Her 2003 movie with actor Robin Padilla, You and Me Against The World, flopped at the box-office right from the start. Made for P25,000,000 and released immediately after Aquino won acting awards (for her performance in 2002's Mano Po), You and Me Against The World made only P4,389,005. The film's producers lost an estimated P23,000,000, even with home videos accounted. Because You and Me Against The World failed to attract an audience, several movie theaters pulled the film out and replaced it with another film. Some theaters were reported to have done this on the movie's 2nd day of play.

Personal Life:

Aquino is known for her troublesome relationships. In the mid-1990s, she was involved with a Purefoods basketball player, Alvin Patrimonio, who was then married. In her relationship before Purefoods Chunkee Giants player James Yap, she was involved with then ParaƱaque mayor (ex PBA basketball player and actor/tv host Joey Marquez), who she later split with in a tumultuous ending, alleging that Marquez pointed a gun at her face, and gave her a venereal disease. She made her admission in an exclusive tell all interview by former co-host Korina Sanchez on the ABS-CBN newscast TV Patrol. Such admission became the highest-rating news segment in the history of Philippine newscast that even those in the workplaces paused from their work to hear Aquino's' story. Aquino filed charges of grave threat, illegal possession of firearms, grave coercion and less serious physical injuries against Marquez, but the former eventually dropped charges against the latter.

She is now married to PBA 2006 MVP superstar James Yap of Purefoods. They had their civil marriage in July 2005. The following year, she announced on The Buzz that she was pregnant. In early 2007, their marriage was rocked by the revelation of a former receptionist from Belo Medical Group named Hope Centeno that she had a relationship with James, which he vehemently denied in an interview with Korina Sanchez.

On April 19, 2007, she gave birth to her first son by Yap on 5:52pm (UTC +8) in Makati Medical Center in Makati City. The baby boy's real name is James A. Yap, Jr. but is affectionately known as "Baby James". She also had a relationship with actor Philip Salvador to whom she had a son named Joshua. Aquino also released her first album, entitled "Songs of Love and Healing", which contains inspirational songs from various artists. The album turned Double Platinum in just 8 months. Also, Aquino release again a new album titled "Love and Inspiration", that features again some of previous various artist. The album turned Gold in only 2 weeks. The both albums are produced by Universal Records Philippines.

Kris is known for causing enormous suffering to the contestants who appear on her game shows. She once asked a young man when he opened his Christmas presents: before or after the holiday. He replied that since he was agnostic, his family did not observe Christmas. Kris screamed at him and said he should be ashamed of himself for not believing in God. She then expressed her wish that he lose the game, which he then did. When she asked a woman what she did for a living, and heard "Late Night Call Center Representative," Kris said, "Is that why you're so fat and pimply?"

Business Ventures:

Being successful in her TV and movie career, Aquino ventured into several businesses. She owns Lena Restaurant in partnership with several celebrities, and Roberto Antonio, an upscale flower shop in partnership with Boy Abunda. She established a boutique ad agency in partnership with Boy Abunda but also including Nonon del Carmen and Agnes Maranan, and have decided to call it MAD (an acronym for their surnames, Maranan Abunda Aquino del Carmen).