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Bianca Manalo 'HIV-positive' in new drama

MANILA, Philippines - Beauty queen-turned-actress Bianca Manalo secured her celebrity with her title role in the ABS-CBN drama "Juanita Banana" in 2010.

The former Bb. Pilipinas-Universe (2009) further went up the ladder of fame in showbiz, doing TV shows like "Karibal," "Banana Split," Aryanna," and "Kahit Konting Pagtingin."

When she co-hosted "Happy, Yipey, Yehey," she became romantically linked to actor John Prats but it didn't end well.

"Matagal na iyon [That was a long time ago] and I have since moved on," Bianca said. "I cannot say that I am friends with John because we haven’t talked for such a long time."

"It’s been more than a year since that happened. But I am happy with my life. I want to keep it private for now."

John is more open about his lady love, Isabel Oli. He told a few in media that Isabel is the woman he wishes to marry.

"No comment na ako diyan,” Bianca was quick to answer.

"Wala na akong [I have no more] involvement with him kaya [so it's] better to not comment at all. Hope you all understand."

'Offbeat drama'

Bianca is now with TV5. She will soon be taping a new drama series titled "Positive."

Eric Quizon will direct this serye, also starring Martin Escudero as an HIV-positive patient.

Others in the cast include Bing Loyzaga, Felix Roco, Rufa Mae Quinto, Mercedes Cabral, and Helga Kraft.

"This is not your usual teleserye," said Bianca. "This will be an offbeat drama that can be controversial yet informative at the same time.

"My role here is based on a real person who was also HIV-positive. I will act as a counselor for the character played by Martin Escudero. Eventually we will fall in love.

"It’s a new role in a new work environment. And I like to thank TV5 for making me their new Kapatid.

"I know that I will enjoy working with these people."

Different role

Bianca said the role immediately caught her interest when it was offered to her. She didn't think twice about it.

"The roles that I have been doing for the past 3 years were okay, but it was not as challenging as this role.

"I want to get out of my comfort zone and try something new - something I would proud of doing.

"When they explained to me the role, I was sold to it right away. Why would I pass on a very good role like this?

"Manghihinayang ako kung sa iba mapunta ang role ko rito." (I'd be disappointed if this part went to someone else.)

Bianca has also finished shooting the action-comedy-fantasy "Kung Fu Divas," with Marian Rivera and Ai-Ai Delas Alas. - Rappler.com