By Satur P. Apoyon
After the glittering culmination of the l9-week reality show in Pinoy Big Brother Double Up edition on Saturday night, February the l3th, another star was born for General Santos City in addition to Gerald Anderson and other popular Gensanites.
Melissa Cantiveros, a dark horse among the 26 finalist housemates of the third regular season of ABS-CBN PBB Season that opened on October 4, 2009, handily bested over four all-male rivals in the Big Five grand prize of Pl million and and a P2.5-million worth of house and lot plus other additional giveaways.
Melai, 2l, was declared grand prize winner by the network president Charo Santos-Concio with a total text votes of l,226,695, 32.08 percent over the second placer’s 27 percent.
The fast-talking diminutive and curly-haired English major student of the Mindanao State University-Gensan Campus gasped for words what she would say for her announced victory in the penultimate part of the program of the reality show held at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino Stadium. All she could say was “I love you kaayo (very much)!”
Melai who was born on April 6, 1988 in Calumpang, General Santos City emerged in the Top l0 among auditioners of the contest at the Lagao Gymnasium in that city some l49 kms. south of here last April 26, 2009. That was her ticket to the final batch of 26 out of about 70,000 entrants from other regions of the country as well as those in Milan, Madrid, Dubai, Tokyo and San Francisco, USA.
In the first round, Melai was almost unnoticed by the auditioning team led by Director Laurenti Dyogi. But when the natural born comedienne started showing his mannerism and comical antics in the next round, she ended in a shortlist of regional qualifiers.
In the two houses of Kuya or Big Brother, Melai was assigned to House B where beauteous housemates in the real physical sense overshadowed her presence. But still she tried to be heard in her simple and natural way.
When she was shuffled to House A, Melai became noticeable when she showed compatibility with a male housemate, Jason Veron Marasigan Francisco, of Oriental Mindoro. They soon became closer and closer everyday, especially when they were tasked to play the roles of mother and father of baby Dengue, a comical mascot of a baby girl created in the looks of Melai.
Since that episode, there had been no dull moment in the House of Big Brother — and the contestant from faraway Gensan was loved by the texting supporters and unknown fans.
With her innate comical ways and excelling in most of the House tasks, Melai zoomed to popularity including the unseen camera crewmen and editorial hands of Big Brother up to curtain time.
Before Melai, Gensan was also popularized by movie and tv current hearthtrob Gerald Anderson, third placer in the past PBB Teen Edition, who is also a son of the seaport growth area in the Southeastern Mindanao coast by the Sarangani Bay and Celebes Sea.
Internationally famous boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao, lately joined by her ballroom-dancing and singing sixty-year old mother Nanay Dionisia in the Manila entertainment world, is also promoting the image of Gensan along with Nonito Donaire who just won via technical knockout in the third round against Mexico’s Manuel Vargas in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Melai is unmistakably coming up with a big step to the country’s movie world and television industry along with her new real life sweetheart and cinematic love team.
As a creative artist, I am envious but proud of you, Melai! (PNA)