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‘Boracay Bodies’ host Phoemela Baranda relishes return to reality show genre

Phoemela Baranda (MNS Photo)

Phoemela Baranda (MNS Photo)

MANILA, Apr 10 (Mabuhay) — Whether as host or competitor, Phoemela Baranda admits that she has always been attracted by reality shows.

In 2004, she and Ethel Booba both competed and won a series of tasks for the right to replace Miriam Quiambao as the new co-host of GMA’s reality series “Extra Challenge”. Four years later, Phem, as she is fondly known in the industry, became a participant in ABS-CBN’s “Pinoy Fear Factor”, the local version of the popular reality show, and flew all the way to Buenos Aires, Argentina to take part in the show’s series of challenges.

In 2011, she found herself guest-hosting and competing against fellow “Extra Challenge” alums Ethel and Miriam when they competed in the first season of another ABS-CBN reality show, “I Dare You”.

Fast forward to another two years and reality bites Phem once again as she has been tapped to host TV5’s newest reality competition series, “Boracay Bodies”. Here, the sought-after TV host not only finds herself frolicking in the one of the world’s most famous white sandy beaches but also being envious of the contestants who will compete for the cool P1 million total grand prize.

“Ang laki ng premyo so I won’t mind if TV5 asked me to compete instead of just host,” Phem told InterAksyon during the recent press conference that launched the series. “But even as a host, I actually had a great time with the show’s cast as reality shows have a way of bringing people closer together as in our case.”

Referring to participants Wendy Valdez, Luke Jickain, Victor Silayan, Helga Krapf, Brent Javier, Krista Miller and Ethel Booba, Phem admitted the seven straight days they shot the series allowed all of them to get to know each other better. If anything, the week-long holiday also reunited her with Ethel, her co-host in “Extra Challenge”, and allowed both of them to catch up with each other and renew their friendship.

“Ethel and I have always been friends, even back then. We never had a problem with each other on that show,” she noted.

Now in her 30s but still possessing the whistlebait figure that made her a top ramp and commercial model and landed her in the list of FHM Philippines’ 100 Most Sexiest Women from 2003 to 2007, Phem admits that she’s not getting any younger and would love to settle down soon.

After a stormy on-and-off relationship with rock guitarist Ira Cruz (Passage, Bamboo), Phem admits that she’s very happy now with her current boyfriend, a professional photographer who also happened to be a friend from way back before they decided to take their relationship to another level.

As for her career, Phem said she’s now handled by Viva Entertainment and hopes that her new management can find her more exciting projects like “Boracay Bodies”. Although she is more known as a host, Phem has occasionally acted on film and television and would like to get more acting projects.

“Actually, I do have an offer to star in an independent film. Kaya lang may matindi siyang love scene so I’m not sure kung kakayanin ko. But yes, I’m very open to acting again as it is also something that I enjoy doing,” she said. (MNS)

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