By Nickie Wang/ Manila Standard Today
Maja Salvador is one of ABS-CBN’s most bankable stars. Her exceptional qualities make her career afloat even after staying in the business for already six years. She is a star in a complete package: a singer, a dancer, and an actress.
It is good to note that her talents were not discovered by any reality television search. More than half a decade ago, Maja was just a young 14-year-old whom people saw on national television in her one of the most unforgettable days. She was reunited with her father after seven years of separation.
Her reunion with her actor-father Ross Rival (Rosauro Salvador in real life), who passed away in 2007, was facilitated through efforts by ABS-CBN and seen by Charo Santos-Concio. The executive thought she saw a potential star that’s why she advised her staff to look for Maja, and then the next chapter of the story is her becoming a contract star to one of the country’s biggest television networks.
“So alam niyo na, why I’m always featured sa Maalaala Mo Kaya?” Maja candidly said when members of the entertainment press interviewed her during the provincial tour of Sisters Feminine Napkins in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro. “Kidding aside, I’m very thankful kay Ma’am Charo. Siya kasi ’yung nag-open ng windows of opportunity para sa akin.”
Maja’s recent appearance in Maalaala Mo Kaya, hosted by Charo Santos-Concio, marked the seventh time that she’s being featured in the longest-running drama anthology program. “It’s a very challenging role,” she said. Still part of MMK’s month-long Mother’s Day Special, Maja played a young woman crippled by polio when she was just two years old. Amidst the challenges, the character struggled to reach her ultimate dream of becoming a teacher.
“I want to stay like this. Hindi ko hinahangad na maging big star ako. Kasi ’pag dumating ako sa point na sobrang popular na ako, hindi ko na alam kung ano ang kasunod,” Maja explained why she is so afraid seeing her career soar higher.
In spite of Maja’s fear and reluctance, she is actually very popular most especially among the teens and the masses. Not only that they can easily relate to the charming star, these people genuinely like her because even with her status as a celebrity, she remains humble.
“I work hard kasi gusto kong maka-quota,” she uses the word “quota” to refer to the earnings she gets from endorsements, television shows and movie projects. “Dati kasi palipat-lipat kami ng bahay, kaya ako nagko-concentrate sa work para makabili ako ng maraming bahay,” she lightheartedly said but punctuated her words with seriousness.
Fresh from her three-week vacation in the States, where she toured her mother and younger brother Kirby to theme parks like Disneyland, Sea World and Universal Studios, Maja is back at work. She was excited to announce that Estrella, a horror film that also stars Shaina Magdayao, Jake Cuenca, and Geoff Eigenmann, is almost finished and ready for release sometime in July.
“Four taping days na lang kami, I can’t say anything more. Abangan n’yo na lang. We promise that it’s going to be a great film,” the 20-year-old actress assured.
Estrella is under Star Cinema and directed by former independent filmmaker Rico Ilarde. The movie is a teen horror flick that features a group of teenagers who have the ability to see ghosts.
Charming and bubbly
Last May 18, we were invited by Aileen Go, vice president of Megasoft, maker and distributor of Sisters Feminine Napkins, to accompany Maja Salvador in one of her provincial tours. The destination: Calapan, Oriental Mindoro.
Before the trip and while we were waiting for Maja for already an hour, Go told us that Maja has never been late. Some press quipped that they will blame Maja as cause of delay because we were still in Quezon City at 9 a.m. and the ferry in Batangas port will leave at 12:30. We were told that instead of going directly to the meeting place, Maja had to fetch her aunt who was waiting for her in ABS-CBN compound.
When Maja arrived and boarded the bus, which shuttled us from Manila to Mindoro, she waved hello and kissed everyone including the people whom she met for the very first time. That gesture was more than enough to appease us, she’s worth the wait.
Before she took her seat, she said, “Welcome everyone, I’m your tour guide for today. We are going to Mindoro.” Everyone laughed.
Past lunch time we arrived in Calapan City and were accommodated by Carlito and Felie Go, the owners of Citimart Group of Companies that manage Citimart Island Mall where Maja’s fans had a chance to meet her for photo opportunities and autograph signing.
After a sumptuous late lunch, we headed to JJ Leido Gymnasium where hundreds of Maja fanatics were waiting. We arrived at the venue at exactly 3 p.m. and were informed that Maja’s fans started to flock the area as early as 8 o’clock in the morning.
With the help of Go, Maja gave out 52 school bags to students. Then several photo opportunities later, Maja strutted on the dance floor and treated her screaming fans the kind of entertainment they’ve been waiting for.
Maja’s Mindoro visit is part of Sisters Feminine Napkins nationwide tour. After a successful event in Mindoro, Maja is scheduled to visit Baguio, Dagupan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Lucena, Bicol and Batangas.