The ‘Diamond Star’ and ‘Asia’s Diamond Soul Siren’ glitter anew

If Maricel Soriano is known as the “Diamond Star,” singer Nina was once labeled “Asia’s Diamond Soul Siren.” Both “Diamond” idols are glittering anew these days with busy showbiz projects.

Soriano’s appearances in the drama series Pira-Pirasong Paraiso and Linlang created so much admiring noise for the comebacking actor.

Her last TV stint was in ABS-CBN’s The General’s Daughter back in 2019, a project topbilled by Angel Locsin (the series was her last job before she decided to go into a prolonged hiatus with husband Neil Arce, whom she married in 2021).

Soriano’s multi-episode guesting in Paraiso, a co-production of ABS-CBN and TV5, is over.

She portrayed an imperious, mysterious grandmother to a clutch of supposed orphaned sisters who were made to believe by their evil adoptive parents that their biological parents died in a vehicular accident.

Soriano has been playing a major character in Linlang, which still streams on Prime Video and is headlined by Kim Chiu, JM de Guzman and Paulo Avelino.

Soriano also has a tearjerker movie, In His Mother’s Eyes, opening in cinemas today (29 November). She topbills it along with bosom friend Roderick Paulate and young actor LA Santos, for whom they portray biological mother (Soriano) and foster gay mother (Paulate). Santos plays a young man with autism, while Soriano and Paulate portray twins.

Soriano, now 58, began to be deservedly hyped as the “Diamond Star” in the 90s due to her ardently followed movies, TV shows and endorsements.

She was just in her 20s then and was the top of the heap of young stars dubbed as “Regal Babies,” who were built up by producer “Mother Lily” Monteverde.

Though Soriano was initially attached to fellow Regal Baby William Martinez both on-cam and off-cam, she went on to shine with other leading men, including Edu Manzano who became her legal husband in 1987.

By that time, Manzano had quietly divorced Vilma Santos, whom he married in the US in 1980.

Three-night concert

Nina, meanwhile, headlines with Ogie Alcasid the final part of the three-night concert “Yulestar” on 30 November to 2 December.

“Yulestar” seems to be the first Pinoy concert with a Christmas motif this year. With former Vicor-Blackgold Records dancer Calvin Neria as stage director for all three shows, each night has a different set of top-rated seasoned singers.

The first night will have Angeline Quinto and Joey Generoso as featured stars and Ice Seguerra as their guest performer.

Seguerra will also be the guest in Nina and Alcasid’s concert, but with almost completely different sets of songs for the two nights.

The concert series has been put up by the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association to raise funds for its projects that mainly assist PMA alumni who are no longer able to support themselves or their families.

The second night (1 December) will feature three major names in OPM:  Jose Mari Chan, Christian Bautista and Roselle Nava. They’ll have as guest performers the Kilyawan Consortium of Voices.

Nina was dubbed the “Diamond Soul Siren” beginning in 2005 when her album “Nina Live” was certified “diamond” in sales by the Philippine Association of the Record Industries. Until 2012, an album was declared “diamond” when it had sold more than 400,000 copies (since then reduced to 150,000).

PARI also declared Nina the first female OPM artist to receive a diamond certification.

Her male “diamond” counterpart is Jose Mari Chan, who achieved the distinction way ahead in 1989.

The Yulestar concert series can brag of four PARI-certified “diamond” singers. Aside from Nina and Chan, Bautista and Quinto have an album each certified as “Diamond” by PARI.

Meanwhile, Seguerra, Generoso and Alcasid have had albums that were given “Platinum” honors by PARI. A “platinum” tag on an album is lower than that of “Diamond.”

Chan has three albums certified “Diamond”, led by his Christmas album “Christmas in our Hearts” which has sold millions of copies worldwide.