Ethel Booba gets shot at redemption with ‘Wowowillie’ hosting gig

Ethel Booba poses for InterAksyon during the blessing ceremony for the Wowowillie Studio on Friday. (Analy Labor/InterAksyon)

It was no surprise that many of the questions during Wednesday’s press conference for the launch of “Wowowillie” were addressed to

Ethel Booba, a surprise addition to the show’s bevy of female co-hosts.

Willie Revillame, the main man behind “Wowowillie”, told her pointblank: “May talent ka, gamitin mo ng tama. I am giving you the chance uli. Sana, huwag mo na sayangin!”

The singer-comedienne arrived very early for the presscon — a good sign that she was taking this shot at redemption seriously. This might be the last chance she’ll get to revive her career.

Ethel used to be the funniest woman on television. She shot to stardom a decade ago as one of the hosts of “Extra Challenge”, a reality adventure show whose phenomenal success owed much to her comic antics. But her career went south even before the show ended in 2006, thanks to the notoriety she achieved with her tempestuous personal life.

Thanks to “Extra Challenge”, the word “pasaway” became synonymous with her with its original positive connotation — naughty, yes, but mostly adorable. But when she becamepasaway in real life in a reckless, self-destructive way, the public stopped laughing and turned away.

Is she ready to turn over a new leaf? Ethel is confident that her talents as an entertainer remain as bountiful as the bosom that gave her her stage name.

“Nasisira lang naman ako when it comes sa love life ko, eh. Pero ngayong binigyan ako ni Kuya Willie uli ng chance rito, excited na akong mag-work uli. At maintriga,” she quipped.

She added, “Celebrity na ba ang peg ko now? Ano ang ipinangako ko? Sabi ko, magiging mabait na ako. Hindi naman ako salbahe. Natuwa ako nung tumawag sa akin si Kuya Willie. Sabi niya, pumunta raw ako sa kanya. And ito na pala ‘yun.”

Ethel did not exactly disappear from showbiz. Besides the occasional TV guestings, she became a fixture on the comedy bar circuit and, as she put it, “May mga booking pa rin naman sa mga shows here and there.”

She recalled the first time she worked with Willie. That happened on a taping of “Extra Challenge” in Bali, Indonesia where the main host, Paolo Bediones, had to leave after only one day. Willie had come as a guest but pinch-hit for Paolo.

“Ang ending, siya ang naging host, at ako ‘yung gumawa ng mga challenge. Pinag-bungee jumping niya ako. Sabi niya, tanga nga ako, eh. Pumayag ako. Pero ‘yun ang isa sa nagkaroon ng highest ratings na episode ng show. Kaya ako ngayon, pasalamat na lang sa mga gaya ni Kuya Willie. Na naaalala kaming mga minsang nakasama niya,” she said.

For Ethel, “Wowowillie” marks not only a reunion with Willie but also a return to the TV channel where she actually got her start. The year before “Extra Challenge” launched her career, Ethel had made her TV debut as a singing champion on the ABC-5 talent contest “Sing Galing”.

So, can we expect to see the nasty rumors about her laid to rest from here on?

“Pagdating naman sa trabaho ko, hindi naman ako pasaway. Nagiging pasaway lang ‘pag naloloka sa pag-ibig. Pero ngayon, wala muna ‘yun. Napagod na muna ang puso ko. Tama, sarili ko naman ang isipin ko. Alam n’yo naman ang pagka-tao ko. Na hindi naman ako masamang tao. Pasaway na kung pasaway. Sa puso.

“Sa trabaho eh, raket na lang nang raket. Para maka-ipon pa. Lahat ng kanegahan, tapos na, burado na. Ibang Ethel Booba na ito. Pero ‘yung istura ‘yun pa rin, ha? Parang may kalong lang na puwet ng bata sa dibdib. tattoo sa buong likod. Basta!”

Ethel declared on Saturday during the premiere telecast of “Wowowillie”: “I’m back!”

Willie then told her, mindful of the 70 countries and territories reached by global channel Kapatid TV5, “O say hello around the world.

She quipped, funny as ever, “Around the world, hello!”

If Ethel can continue to be at her best behavior, Filipinos everywhere might want her to greet them “Hello!” everyday from now on. 27, 2013 



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