10 Celebrities Who Got Their Start on Eat Bulaga's Little Miss Philippines
Who else remembers Ice Seguerra in the pageant?
The Little Miss Philippines pageant of Eat Bulaga! is set to make a comeback this 2019. Since the pageant began in the 1980s, the Little Miss Philippines has given kids a great start on their careers. Some even eventually established themselves in the entertainment industry as actresses, TV hosts, and beauty queens—including Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray herself! It has been five years since the pageant went on hiatus, and we're all excited to see who the new contenders will be. Before that though, we take a look at some stars that we first saw in Little Miss Philippines.
Here are 10 graduates who were able to make a name for themselves in showbiz:
Gladys Reyes joined the Little Miss Philippines pageant in 1984 during the first-ever edition of the Eat Bulaga! pageant. After joining Little Miss Philippines, Reyes was given a few small roles in movies but it was in 1992 that the then 15-year-old got her big break on television. She was tapped to play the main villain in ABS-CBN's afternoon drama series, Mara Clara, alongside Judy Ann Santos. Her portrayal as Clara was so well-applauded that it made Reyes a perennial kontrabida in most of her TV shows. It was also through this show that she formed a close friendship with Santos—and where she met her future husband, Christopher Roxas.
After Mara Clara, in 1997, Reyes transferred to GMA-7 and VIVA, which allowed her to appear in the youth-oriented series TGIS and the primetime shows Ikaw Na Sana and Ganyan Kita Kamahal. In 1999, Reyes returned to ABS-CBN to play kontrabida to Claudine Barretto in Saan Ka Man Naroroon and Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan. Since then, she has been tapped by both ABS-CBN and GMA-7 to play the kontrabida. Reyes' last teleserye was the primetime series TODA One I Love. She also continues to host her talk show MOMents, aired on NET 25.
Ice Seguerra, formerly known as Aiza, started his career as a contestant of Little Miss Philippines in 1987, where he won fourth runner-up. Despite not winning the pageant, Ice's career as a child star flourished when he was tapped to become a regular in Eat Bulaga! He was also able to do sitcoms with Vic Sotto, like Okay Ka, Fairy Ko! among others.
In his teenage years, Seguerra pursued a career in music, with his single "Pagdating ng Panahon" topping Philippine charts in 2001. In 2005, he did his first teleserye titled Hanggang Kailan, starring Lorna Tolentino, Alice Dixson, and Christopher de Leon. This was soon followed by a role in ABS-CBN's 2007 series, Ysabella, where he played Judy Ann Santos's best friend.
In 2007, Seguerra became more open to the public about his sexual identity, eventually marrying longtime partner Liza Diño in 2014. The couple have been very active in government service, with Seguerra becoming chairperson for the National Youth Commission while Diño is the current chairman of the Film Development Council of the Philippines.
Jessa Zaragoza joined Little Miss Philippines in 1987, using her real name Richelle Ann Loyola. Fun fact: She was a batchmate of Ice Seguerra. Years after her Little Miss Philippines stint, Jessa became a member of That's Entertainment. She then became part of several movies and TV shows such as GMA-7's Villa Quintana in 1995.
In 1997, Zaragoza launched her first album titled Just Can't Help Feelin'. Her popular songs from that album include "Di Ba't Ikaw" and "Bakit Pa?" The popularity of these two songs led to Zaragoza starring as lead actress in TV shows and in movies. In 1999, GMA-7 tapped Zaragoza to top-bill the first network-produced series, Di Ba't Ikaw, where she figured in a love triangle with Jao Mapa and Jomari Yllana. The series aired from May to October 1999. In that same year, she top-billed the movie titled Bakit Pa?, where she was paired with Troy Montero.
At present, Zaragoza continues to do the sitcom Pepito Manaloto in GMA-7, while doing occasional guest appearances in ABS-CBN's ASAP and other musical-variety shows. She also recently headlined a concert titled Just Right with Richard Poon on June 8.
Francine Prieto joined Little Miss Philippines in 1988, using her real name Anna Marie Falcon. After, she joined That's Entertainment. In 2003, Prieto also joined Binibining Pilipinas, where she reached the Top 12. She then joined the GMA-7 sitcom All Together Now in the same year.
Prieto was tapped to do teleseryes with the Kapuso network. Her biggest role in a drama series was the role of Avria in the primetime series Etheria: Ang Ika-Limang Kaharian ng Encantadia. Prieto's last teleserye was the afternoon series Haplos in 2017 but she will be returning to TV as part of the upcoming GMA-7 afternoon series, Hanggang Sa Dulo Ng Buhay Ko.
Camille Prats joined the Little Miss Philippines pageant in 1990. She may not have won the pageant, but her exposure earned her a stint in ABS-CBN's kiddie gag show, Ang TV. In 1995, Prats played the lead role in the movie Sarah... Ang Munting Prinsesa, a Filipino adaptation of the 1985 Nippon anime, Princess Sarah, which aired on ABS-CBN. When Prats reached her teenage years, she was cast as the lead actress in the youth-oriented series G-Mik, together with Sarah... Ang Munting Prinsesa co-star, Angelica Panganiban.
In 2005, Prats started to veer away from her Princess Sarah image to do mature roles. By this time, she transferred to GMA-7 via TAPE Inc.'s afternoon series, Kung Mamahalin Mo Lang Ako. This was followed by several more teleseryes with the Kapuso network, including a leading lady role in the 2006 adaptation of Captain Barbell, starring Richard Gutierrez. You can catch her in the upcoming GMA-7 talk show, Mars Pa More, with Iya Villania. Mars Pa More is the revamped version of Camille's GMA News TV talk show, Mars, with Suzy Entrata, which ended earlier this 2019.
We first saw Pauleen Luna in the 1995 edition of Little Miss Philippines. However, she did not make it to the grand finals. This didn't stop her though from pursuing a showbiz career. In 2002, Luna began her career as a teen star when she became part of ABS-CBN's Star Magic.
After being introduced in the youth-oriented series Berks, Luna received a major role in the primetime series Marina with Claudine Barretto in 2004. Luna was also part of the sitcom Bora and the reality love-team search, Qpids, in 2005. That same year, she became a full Kapuso and one of the co-hosts of Eat Bulaga! She eventually married co-host Vic Sotto in 2016.
Luna also had a supporting role in the afternoon series Now and Forever: Agos while being part of the prime-time series Etheria: Ang Ika-Limang Kaharian ng Encantadia. In addition to this, she was included in the QTV weekly series My Guardian Abby with Nadine Samonte.
Julie Anne San Jose
Check out the throwback clip Julie Anne San Jose posted of her performance when she joined Little Miss Philippines in 1998! She also came back in 2005 to join QTV's singing competition, Popstar Kids, where she made it to the grand finals. GMA-7 continued to groom San Jose and other finalists of Popstar Kids via the singing group Sugarpop.
San Jose continues to be one of GMA-7's prime singers up to this day. The Kapuso network gave her the chance to show her acting chops when she was assigned to top-bill several Kapuso teleseryes such as Kahit Nasaan Ka Man (2013), Pinulot Ka Lang Sa Lupa (2017), and My Guitar Princess (2018). At present, San Jose is part of GMA-7's musical-variety program Studio 7. She is also preparing for her concert at the Solaire titled Julie Sings The Divas on July 20.
Kim Domingo joined the Little Miss Philippines pageant in 2000, where she placed fourth runner-up. After, Domingo landed a bit role in the GMA mini-series titled Munting Anghel, top-billed by then-child actress Isabelle de Leon.
In 2014, Kim became popular because of her "Twerk It Like Miley" Dubsmash video. This paved the way for her to be discovered by GMA-7 bigwigs who offered her to sign an exclusive contract in 2015. Since then, Domingo has been a regular cast member of the comedy gag-show Bubble Gang. Being a Kapuso, Domingo was able to play major roles in teleseryes such as Juan Happy Love Story (2016), D' Originals (2017), and Super Ma'am (2017). Domingo is now busy doing her upcoming afternoon series titled Hanggang Sa Dulo ng Buhay Ko, starring Kris Bernal, Megan Young, and Rayver Cruz.
Ella Cruz joined the Little Miss Philippines pageant in 2005, however, she did not reach the grand finals. Through this contest, the GMA-7 management noticed her, and she was tapped to play the young Angel Locsin in the 2006 fantasy series Majika. A year later, Cruz played the lead role in the fantasy series Super Twins, along with Nicole Dulalia. Nadine Samonte played the superhero counterpart of Cruz in the series. She then played the younger version of Marian Rivera in MariMar in 2007.
In 2012, Cruz was praised for her portrayal of the young Cristine Reyes in the ABS-CBN drama series Dahil sa Pag-ibig. The Kapamilya network then decided to give Cruz a title role in the early primetime series Aryana, which ran for eight months. In 2015, Cruz left Star Magic to transfer to VIVA Artists Agency. Since then, she was able to do guest appearances in drama anthologies of ABS-CBN, GMA-7, and TV5.
Cruz is also known for doing dance covers. Her dance videos of "Twerk It Like Miley" and "Dessert" became viral hits online.
Ryzza Mae Dizon
Ryzza Mae Dizon joined the Little Miss Philippines pageant in 2012. She was eliminated at first, but got a callback for the wildcard round. She was eventually crowned as Little Miss Philippines that same year. Dizon was then immediately included in the Eat Bulaga! roster of hosts, and was given her own talk show titled The Ryzza Mae Show.
She also appeared in several Metro Manila Film Festival movies with Vic Sotto such as 2012's Si Agimat, Si Enteng, at si Ako, 2013's My Little Bossings, and 2014's My Big Bossing. In 2015, Dizon headlined the daytime series Princess In The Palace with Eula Valdes and Ice Seguerra. Dizon remains to be part of Eat Bulaga! up to this day.