Jolina Magdangal Biography, Music, Family, Net Worth and Awards
Jolina Magdangal-Escueta (born Maria Jolina Perez Magdangal on November 6, 1978) is a Filipina actress, multi-platinum recording artist, fashion icon, television host, entrepreneur, and the Philippines’ Queen of Pinoy Popular Culture or simply, Pop Icon.
Jolina Magdangal was formerly dubbed as the 90’s Teen Queen,
Princess of Hearts and Multimedia Superstar. Today, she is called the Queen of Pinoy Popular Culture for her enormous contribution in the Philippine showbiz industry, particularly in the popular culture.
Jolina Magdangal Personal life
Jolina Magdangal was previously linked to her leading man, Marvin Agustin. They were fondly called “Mother Jolens” and “Father Marbles”. In November 2011, she married Rivermaya’s drummer Mark Escueta. On July 15, 2013, they announced that they are expecting their first child. Their son was born in February 2014.
Early career (1992–1995)
Magdangal started her singing career at the age of nine as a member of Ryan Cayabyab’s 14-K. In 1992, she was discovered by talent manager and television and film director Johnny Manahan and was asked to audition for Ang TV on ABS-CBN. Later, she signed with ABS-CBN Talent Center (now called Star Magic) and made her television debut on the said youth-oriented variety show. During the show’s half a decade programming, the time 4:30 in the afternoon was “[synonymously associated] to the antics of [the said] phenomenal show, from ‘Emyuskee’ to [Magdangal’s own segment] ‘Payong Kaibigan'”.
Armed with vibrant personality, Magdangal was later seen on several sitcoms and variety shows, such as: Abangan Ang Susunod Na Kabanata, as one of the main cast; ‘Sang Linggo nAPO Sila, as an extended host, and; ASAP, as one of its pioneer hosts.
In 1995, Magdangal debuted in the movie industry as one of the supporting cast in the musical-romance-drama film Hataw Na top billed by Mr. Pure Energy, Gary Valenciano and Miss Universe 1993, Dayanara Torres.
The making of a Queen of Pinoy Popular Culture (1996–2009)
The decade of 1996 to 2009 marked as a significant breakthrough of Magdangal’s career, as public clamour on her intensified even more. In 1996, she was given her first leading role as a bubbly and colorful teenager in the youth-oriented television series Gimik alongside Judy Ann Santos, Marvin Agustin, Rico Yan, Diether Ocampo, Giselle Toengi, Mylene Dizon and Bojo Molina. Not only was the show itself a success, it also became the launching pad for the careers of the main cast that eventually led to its motion picture adaptation, Gimik: The Reunion in 1998.
Following the success of Gimik and after appearing in the Judy Ann Santos-title-role-breakthrough-primetime-television-drama Esperanza, Magdangal was cast in the equally successful sitcoms Onli In Da Pilipins and Richard Loves Lucy, both in 1998.
Perhaps one of the most significant turning point in Magdangal’s career was her team-up with love team partner Marvin Agustin. The Marvin-Jolina (or MarJo in this social network generation), was the “most admired, most followed and most loved team ups of their generation”.
The tandem was first seen in the big screen in the 1997 twin bill FLAMES: The Movie followed in Kung Ayaw Mo Huwag Mo in 1998 alongside the tandem of William Martinez and Diamond Star Maricel Soriano.
One of the most notable product of the Marvin-Jolina team up was the 1998 multi-million box office hit, and now considered a classic, Labs Kita… Okey Ka Lang? which gave us the immortal line from Bujoy (played by Magdangal): “Oh yes! Kaibigan mo lang ako… and I’m so stupid to make the biggest mistake of falling in love with my bestfriend.” This line made Magdangal as the Mother of all Friendzone lines. Also, the film’s immortality was again proven in 2017 when it filled up two cinemas at U.P. Town Center during the premiere of it’s digitally restored and remastered version by the ABS-CBN Film Restoration Project.
On the following year, the team up once again showed their capability in attracting crowd via another box-office hit Hey Babe!. Also, on the same year, the perennial love team top-billed the successful primetime drama-comedy television series Labs Ko Si Babe aired from August 2, 1999 to November 10, 2000.
At the conclusion of Labs Ko Si Babe, Magdangal was given her own sitcom Arriba, Arriba! where she stayed from 2000 to 2002.
Simultaneous to her successful television career was numerous movie assignments. In 1996, after only having supporting roles, she was given her first movie lead in Ang TV The Movie: The Adarna Adventures where she played the classic magical bird, Ibong Adarna. Aside from the Marvin-Jolina big screen collaborations, Magdangal also led the cast in the comedy-drama-fantasy film Puso ng Pasko playing the role of a magical fairy. The said film was Star Cinema’s official entry to the 1998 Metro Manila Film Festival winning 3rd Best Picture while Magdangal was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress category.
In the new millennium, Magdangal was paired with Robin Padilla in the action film Tunay na Tunay: Gets Mo? Gets Ko! and played the role of a young and rich Chinese girl trying to escape an arranged marriage. The movie not only received positive reviews, but was also successful in the box-office, eventually, Padilla and Magdangal was named by the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation as the King and Princess of Philippine Movies of the year 2000.
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In 2002, Magdangal top-billed the fantasy-romantic-comedy film Kung Ikaw Ay Isang Panaginip. The said film “showcased [Director Wenn Deramas’] penchant for the downright absurd […] which [featured] the typical [Magdangal]-character falling for a billboard model, [and was] framed like a typical romantic comedy, complete with a predictable love triangle and other stereotypical issues, but is differentiated by its extremely playful take on fantasy-based love.” The movie tested Magdangal’s solo capability in attracting movie crowd and was positively affirmed when she, for the second time, received the title Princess of Philippine Movies in recognition of the film’s box-office success. In the same year, Magdangal was cast in the family-oriented movie Home Along Da Riber alongside comedian Dolphy, which was an entry for the 2002 Metro Manila Film Festival.
Apart from acting, Magdangal also excelled as a recording artist in this decade. She was the first Walt Disney recording artist in the Philippines with the release of her debut album A Wish Comes True in 1996. And in 1999, she released her first Star Records (now Star Music) album Jolina which was certified 7x Platinum for reaching over 280,000 sales. The said record was also declared by the Philippine Association of the Record Industry as the best-selling album of the year 1999.
The record produced the Magdangal-original hit “Laging Tapat” and her version of “Paper Roses”. On the following year, Magdangal released an all-revival album On Memory Lane, which, after three days of its release, was certified by PARI with a Gold Record status. Eventually, the album was certified 6x Platinum for achieving over 240,000 sales and was dubbed as one of the finest local albums ever produced in the Philippines. Magdangal was praised in her work for On Memory Lane for delivering a “polished and self-assured” interpretation of the songs from the 50s and 60s. Today, the sales of Jolina and On Memory Lane, when converted to the present thresholds, each can be considered both achieving a Diamond Record status.
In 2002, Magdangal showed her maturity development via the album Jolina Sings The Masters’. The album consisted a collection of songs from famous composers in the country whose works have become contemporary classics in the industry. Here, Magdangal explored adult emotions in the works of the Masters.
Magdangal also released several movie soundtracks and has been the voice behind the classic theme songs of various movies, television programs and radio station, making her the Undisputed Movie Theme Song and Soundtrack Queen (or Theme Song Queen). Most of her theme song hits came from her own movie soundtracks such as “T.L. Ako Sayo” a duet with Marvin Agustin and “May Masisilungan Ako” a duet with Maricel Soriano both from the movie Kung Ayaw Mo Huwag Mo; “Tameme” from F.L.A.M.E.S.: The Movie; “Hintayin Mo Lang” from Ang TV Movie: The Adarna Adventure; “Kapag Ako Ay Nagmahal” from Labs Kita… Okey Ka Lang?; “Mahal Mo Ba Ako?” from Gimik: The Reunion; and “Chuva Choo Choo” from Hey Babe!. “Kapag Ako Ay Nagmahal” and “Chuva Choo Choo” were even revived in 2016 and used again as theme songs in the television series FlordeLiza and the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival entry Beauty and the Bestie with Vice Ganda.
Moreover, Magdangal was the voice behind the classic theme songs “Baby Love” from the movie of the same title, “Minsan Sa Ating Buhay” in the classic film Magic Temple, and the cinema finale version of “Mara Clara” from the movie of the same title. Aside from movie theme songs, she also sang the theme song of various television programs such as “Alas Singko Y Media” (Alas Singko Y Medya), “Walang Imposible” (Wish Ko Lang), “Alinlangan” (Super Twins), “Pasko Ng Kapuso” (Christmas Station I.D.); and was even the voice of a radio station’s jingle “For Life!” with Jimmy Bondoc (WRR 101.9 For Life!), and many more.
In 2002, Magdangal left ABS-CBN and transferred to its rival network, GMA Network (GMA 7). During the first half of her decade-stay at the said network, she was immediately given projects designed for a star of her status. She became part of the Sunday variety show SOP and its replacement, Party Pilipinas. Also in the same year, Magdangal led the cast of the youth-oriented television weekly series Kahit Kailan. Even though her character Frankie only entered on the Book 2, the story revolved in the said character and was paired to James Blanco.
However, on the third season, Magdangal left the show to do her first GMA 7 primetime drama series Narito Ang Puso Ko where she played the lead role of a long-lost granddaughter of a wealthy Dona. The drama series ran from 2003 to 2004 and was directed by Eric Quizon and Gina Alajar; while Magdangal was supported by the country’s award-winning and top artists, the likes of Raymart Santiago, Amy Austria, Rosa Rosal, Eddie Garcia, Ariel Rivera, Dina Bonnevie, Raymond Bagatsing, and Carmina Villarroel.
In 2004, Magdangal filmed her first movie under Viva Films, Annie B.. According to reports, the movie’s original concept was intended for a first time collaboration of Magdangal and the Superstar Nora Aunor and was initially entitled Anak Ni Annie Batungbakal. However, the concept did not push through and the story was revised. Part of the supporting cast were Dingdong Dantes and Jordan Herrera as her love-triangle, and Gloria Romero, Amy Austria, and the-then new comer Sarah Geronimo. Annie B. did not fair well in the box-office, and critics believed that it was because of the lack of publicity.
Magdangal’s hosting talent was further developed at GMA Network by several hosting jobs. From 2004 to 2007, she was tapped to host the most popular and successful talent-search/reality show Starstruck (Kids, Season 2, Season 3 and Season 4). The said talent-search produced the names of Miguel Tanfelix in the Kids edition, and Mike Tan, Ryza Cenon, LJ Reyes, Megan Young, Marky Cielo, Jackie Rice, Aljur Abrenica, Kris Bernal, among others. With the success of the show, in 2005, GMA Films produced the movie Lovestruck with Magdangal having a special role. Adding up to her hosting achievements were her stints as a co-host in the longest running morning show in the Philippines, Unang Hirit, from 2005 to 2009, and in Dear Friend alongside Marvin Agustin from 2008 to 2010.
Her hosting jobs earned her nominations in various award-giving bodies and winning two Best Talent Search Program Host trophies in the 18th (shared with Luis Manzano and Jodi Santamaria) and 21st (shared with Dingdong Dantes and Raymond Gutierrez) PMPC Star Awards for Television for StarStruck Kids and StarStruck: The Next Level, respectively, and one (1) Best Morning Show Host award (shared with the co-hosts) in the 22nd PMPC Star Awards for Television for Unang Hirit.
While Magdangal was busy with all her hosting jobs, she was able to released three albums under GMA Records, Forever Jolina in 2004, Tuloy Pa Rin Ang Awit in 2006, and Destiny in 2008. Forever Jolina was the first ever release of the then newly set up GMA Records. It received a Gold Record certification and produced the single “Bahala Na” in which, with its MTV directed by Louie Ignacio, Magdangal won the Female Favorite Artist during the 2004 MTV Pilipinas Awards. While in the latter two albums, the following singles were produced, “Maybe It’s You”, “Hanggang Kailan”, and “Will of the Wind”.
In between these hosting and recording engagements, Magdangal, in 2007 and 2008 was cast in two films, the horror-thriller film Ouija and the romantic-comedy movie I.T.A.L.Y.. Ouija, was the first full-length movie project of Magdangal and her natural rival Judy Ann Santos and was also their first horror movie. The movie received positive reviews and was a recipient of several awards and nominations. On the other hand, the film I.T.A.L.Y. was filmed in three different continents: Asia, Europe and Africa.
Also, Magdangal top-billed another two successful primetime television series, I Luv NY in 2006 and Adik Sa’Yo in 2009, both with her long-time onscreen partner Marvin Agustin. I Luv NY was a reunion project of the Marvin-Jolina tandem sharing lead roles with the then emerging love team up of Jennylyn Mercado and Mark Herras, and was the first Philippine TV soap taped in New York City. While Adik Sa’Yo is another romantic-comedy series directed by Joel Lamangan.
The challenging years (2010–2013)
However, at some point in her stay at the Kapuso Network, her becoming less busy was already hurting Magdangal’s fans, and in the showbiz industry, it is a normal understanding, but not all the time accurate, that when a star gets lesser engagements, the artist is already on the verge of what they called as Laos. This was clarified by Magdangal by saying: “Laos? Hindi ako naka feel na walang walang wala na talaga eh. Hindi ako nawala sa TV. Yung iba nagasawa, nagpahinga, nawala. Ako, nandiyan lang. Hindi man bonggang-bongga, pero hindi ako nawala sa eksena.”
True enough, Magdangal, even with only supporting roles, was still seen in the 2010 primetime television series Grazilda as a fairy god mother, and as the main antagonist in Iglot (2011) with Marvin Agustin and Claudine Barreto, and in Mundo Mo’y Akin (2013), respectively. Aside from the said supporting roles, she was the lead host along with Jean Garcia on GMA News TV’s Personalan and one of the mentors in Protégé: The Battle For The Big Artista Break in 2011 and 2012, respectively, the former gave her and Garcia a nomination for Best Public Program Host in the 27th PMPC Star Awards for Television.
The resiliency of a certified star
It is an obvious fact that in the showbiz industry, there is no such thing as permanent. Just like any other artist, there will come to a point that a star, however brightly shining it is, will soon dim. Here, the real test of a star’s character will be tested. After all, a certified star is not measured on how they fall, but on how the stood up and made a comeback. A successful second coming always measures a star’s resiliency status, just like how the biggest names in the industry overcome the same. For Magdangal, there was no hiatus, just slowing down.
And in 2014, after giving birth to her son to Rivermaya drummer Mark Escueta, she made a “killer comeback”
After Magdangal left for the last 12 years, she made a homecoming at her first network, ABS-CBN, but this time, no longer the outlandish teen, but a more experienced and matured star.
Right away, we found her in a comeback project reuniting her with solid love team partner, Marvin Agustin, in the afternoon soap FlordeLiza directed by Wenn Deramas. Magdangal considers the same to be one of her greatest and most demanding work in terms of acting. In the said afternoon soap, Magdangal played the role of a mistress but with a different depiction of the typical mistress characters. For her effective portrayal, Magdangal was nominated Best Drama Actress in the 29th PMPC Star Awards for Television.
Already an established host, she was finally back in the Sunday variety program ASAP showing her hosting and singing skills in her own segment Love Songs & Stories (LSS).
In 2016, she was given another hosting project via the morning show Magandang Buhay together with her co-artists from Your Face Sounds Familiar, Karla Estrada and Melai Cantiveros. The morning show is proving its staying power as it continuously receiving awards from various award giving bodies and is a consistent top rater.
8 years after her last album, at the last quarter of 2016, Magdangal went back to her first love of singing. She officially released he comeback album Back to Love in 2016, and after two weeks, PARI certified the same with a Gold Record status. Magdangal, as well as the album, received positive reviews from critics and she was even awarded the Best Female Recording Artist of the Year in the 8th PMPC Star Awards for Music.
As of posting time, Magdangal is busy hosting Magandang Buhay and ASAP. Also, she is one of the judges in the Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids (TNT Kids) airing at It’s Showtime.