Mel Tiangco’s ‘Powerhouse’: A peek into the lives of the rich and powerful

She is arguably one of the best newscasters in the country, and even her numerous awards and citations pale in comparison to the respect and credibility she has gained from her colleagues in the industry. But, if given the chance, Mel Tiangco says she would gladly give it all up in exchange for a happy family.
During a pocket interview for her newest show, Powerhouse, the veteran newscaster was asked; “If God had asked you to choose between a successful career and a happy family, which would you pick?”
“Hands down, I would choose family,” was her quick and honest reply.
“Because nothing could be more fulfilling than having a happy and whole family.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy and thankful for my children and for everything that I have achieved, but having a successful family means that your husband could provide for you and that all you have to do is take care of your children—now tell me who wouldn’t want that kind of life?” she reasoned out.
It is this same fascinating twist between success and life that makes Powerhouse more than just a showcase of the most extravagant houses in the country. From the most successful and influential newsmakers and tycoons, to celebrities, artists and icons, these personalities open the doors of their homes and hearts to reveal their most private thoughts as they answer the questions no one dared to ask before.
According to its program manager Nena Celle Dumol, their goal is to show how powerful people live. “We wanted to humanize those who make the news. That they’re not just about business or politics; they too, have concerns similar to ordinary people. This is also a great opportunity to learn from their failures and success.”
Since its pilot episode on February 28, Powerhouse has already featured some of the country’s most influential personalities including Mayor Guia Gomez of San Juan, celebrity doctor’s daughter Cristalle Belo Henares, power couple Sen. Manny and congresswoman Cynthia Villar, controversial political figure Gov.Chavit Singson, fashion guru Rajo Laurel and Mr. Go Negosyo Joey Concepcion 3rd.
Viewers have described it as a more cerebral version of MTV’s Cribs—often marveling the viewers with the expanse of the houses that it features and combining it with the fiery brand of journalism Mel Tiangco has been known for.
The weekly public affairs program, conceptualized by GMA News and Public Affairs’ Senior Program Manager Jaileen Jimeno, also features their quirks, habits and past times to show that even the most powerful people do let their hair down once in a while.
With each episode, she has managed to ask these personalities some of the most controversial, interesting and even awkward questions despite being the guest at their own homes. Whether it’s Singson’s riches and salvage accusations, Mayor Gomez and the “querida” issue; or Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s “women” (in an upcoming episode), the show extracts never-before-heard details to help viewers understand how the personalities of these icons are reflected as homemakers and builders.
“It helps that they’ve already dealt with the controversy, have moved on with the issue, or even accepted and made peace with themselves; so it makes it a lot easier for a journalist like me to ask them these tough questions,” she explained.
Aside from the home of Senate President Enrile, Tiangco revealed they will also be visiting the houses of Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Megastar Sharon Cuneta, business icon Washington Sycip and Feng Shui expert Marites Allen.
She also hinted about wanting to do episodes on Ilocos Rep. Imee Marcos to ask her about her “missing years;” Tingting Cojuangco and her romance with Peping; and even Kris Aquino.
So far, the host says every visit was memorable, but it was the houses of Kristina Ponce Enrile and Gomez that left the most impression.
“The Enrile’s residence stood out not only because it was the only one with a church inside, but because it was also the only house I’ve seen without any doors,” Tiangco recalls.
As for Gomez, Tiangco says she was struck by the cleanliness and simplicity of the home of the woman who had always been recognized as San Juan’s First Lady.
If given the chance to visit the houses of international personalities,
Tiangco said she’d rather choose to chat with Queen Elizabeth instead of the new royal couple.
“But I would even be more interested in a conversation with Camilla Parker Bowles—now that would be fascinating interview,” she quickly adds. “Who wouldn’t want to know why Prince Charles fell in love with her?” she asked
Her version of her own Powerhouse?
“I want to have Joey Concepcion’s very spacious and relaxing lanai, the traditional structure of Sharon Cuneta’s house and of course Mother Lily’s million peso jade vases!” she exclaimed.
Trust, credibility, style and substance are the distinctions of Tiangco, making her the perfect choice to reach the heights of society, while getting to the bottom of her subjects’ individuality. Her witty demeanor warms up seemingly distant personas, resulting in an exchange of ideas worth learning from.
Powerhouse airs every Monday, 10:30 p.m., on GMA News TV Channel 11.