Sunday, April 30, 2006

One-Night Stand in Bora

What do you do when you only have one night in a place called Boracay? Talk about bitin. So armed with my "last night of the world" attitude, I partied like there's no tomorrow! I didn't even get to sleep on my big bed in my big room with a terrace at the Boracay Regency. But why sleep and let other's have the fun?

I arrived in Boracay late Saturday afternoon and left the morning after. I was there to cover Century Tuna Superbods search. As the audience oohhed and aahhed at the parade of bikini-clad bodies, some of the contestants became unwittingly funny when they introduced themselves. I really don't want to be mean but one moreno guy said, "Hi, I'm (his name) and I just want to say, THE black is in!", and another girl said, "Hi, I'm (her name). I'm this and that chu chu chu and lastly I'm a badminton (pause for 100 seconds) frek!"

As in most beauty pageants, some of the contestants fumbled in the question and answer portion, though, not as memorable as the introduction part. One judge asked "Does having a fit body make you feel sexual?" to the audience and the contestant's shock. Thankfully, the contestant knew how to deal with that very awkward question, "Oh i feel sensual."

Before the announcement of winners, sexy Rachel Lobangco clad in her shiny teeny weeny bikini, wowed the crowd with her skills in firedancing. She told me it took two years of hardwork for her to learn the dangerous art of firedancing which, she says, originated in New Zealand. Another sexy firedancer stood out and his, er, her name is Jaydee. She is reputed to be the best firedancer in Boracay (she just won as champion in the most recent firedancing competition in Bora). Jaydee is gay but she has a ballet dancer's body - tall, thin and flexible. Nakaka-insecure! You can check out performances by Jaydee and the other firedancers at Summer Place, a favorite hang-out in Bora.

Of course Bora is not without the juicy gossips. Maui Taylor and Fil-German model Will Devaughn were spotted canoodling at Hey Jude! And like a butterfly, no, not Maui...Will was later seen flirting in a different bar with a different girl. Ah, Boracay!

I also learned that former senator Gringo Honasan's son, Kim Honasan, got married last Thursday at Waling-Waling resort but sadly a source told me Gringo didn't make it for obvious reasons. For the sake of our "TFC-less" kababayans, Honasan is now a fugitive and is facing rebellion charges. The government has put up a P5 million bounty for his immediate capture. It would've been very traumatic if he was arrested at his own son's wedding.

Special thanks to DJ Robbie, responsible for the good sounds and sound equipment at bars like Cocomanga's, Pier One and Summer Place, for the superb welcome Mario Dumaual, our crew and I got. While bar hopping, we also met Jude himself, bartending at his own bar, the popular Hey Jude! For our last stop, it's gotta be Summer Place! The gang was having so much fun that we partied until sunrise!

There really is something about Boracay. True, I was shocked to arrive to swarms of people that my Bora based friend jokingly said, "Welcome to Cavite!" If you want privacy, I don't think you'll get that in Bora nowadays. Still, being in this island paradise is like being in another place and time. It just has this hedonistic vibe. It makes you let go of all your worries and take all the pleasure in. I don't party in Manila but when you're in Bora, it just calls you by name.

This is my second Bora trip in two weeks by the way. Two weekends ago I was on a work-free, 4-day Boracay trip for some real R&R. I went with my sisters and cousins. It's become a summer ritual for us except for the latest addition to the group, my sister Bernadette (who came home from NY after 6 years), on her first Bora trip! We stay where we stay every year, Le Soleil de Boracay, because it's really nice and their staff is so accommodating.

As predicted, my sister didn't want to leave. We all didn't want to leave. It didn't help that the 18-seater plane we rode on our way back was like a roller-coaster ride and smelled of gasoline. We arrived Manila in a daze, from the plane, from the unlimited shots of shark attacks and kamikazes, from what fantastic memory we have of Boracay.

Going to bed that night, and every night after coming back from a place called Boracay, was difficult knowing that you have work the next day. Reality has come. Argh, moments are really just moments, whether you're in the island for one-night or three nights, a week. You still have to leave and you can only hope, that when the moment comes again, for it to last just a little longer...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Joey Marquez and other star sightings in Bora

Boracay on a Holy Week is like paradise for paparazzis. As if on cue, celebrities just love going to this island at this time and the cameras are waiting for them. Sexy stars Maui Taylor, Ethel Booba, Gwen Garci seem to have made it their "panata" to be in Bora at the same time every year. They just always find themselves in a controversy whether they are in their skimpy bikini's or not.

My cameraman was there and oh boy he was just so shocked at some of the things he saw, to quote, "Ma'am, grabe pala ang mga nangyayari dito sa Boracay." But my cameraman is not a paparazzi. Some of the things he saw will never be aired. Not in our newscast and not in this blog. Sorry. But of course I still have a "scoopful" that have, thankfully, passed the "board of censors", including a playful interview with the playful Joey Marquez.


Lino Cayetano was seen lovey dovey with girlfriend Bianca Gonzalez dispelling rumors that the two broke up after the Bianca-Zanjoe episode in Pinoy Big Brother.

Zanjoe, on the other hand, was seen "super flirting" with Pinoy Big Brother host Mariel Rodriguez.

Joey Marquez claims he and Alicia Meyer are "not so close anymore", but later, the sexy tv host was seen with Joey in the same hotel.

TV Patrol's Marie Lozano got an exclusive interview with Joey during the Holy Week and here's what the charming "Tsong" had to say:

Marie: You were also in Boracay last year.

Joey: Last year with my kids.

Marie: Parang I saw you the other day with uh, Alicia?

Joey: No! I don't think she's here.

Marie: How are you...

Joey: Me or my friends?

Marie: You and Alicia.

Joey: We're not that close anymore, we're still friends and we work together.

Marie: You were never together?

Joey: No, (smiling) I swear to God.

Marie: (Laughs) Uy Holy week ngayon, dapat no lies.

Joey: Yes, Holy week, no lies.

Marie: What do you do pag Holy week?

Joey: Pray.

Marie: Are you abstaining from anything?

Joey: I won't eat meat.

Marie: All kinds of meat?

Joey: Cooked or not cooked.

Marie: Sushi?

Joey: Tame or wild (laughter).

Marie: Kris got married, ikaw, kelan ka ulit?

Joey: Me? I just got out of marriage. I think it will take another 10 to 20 more years before I reconsider marriage. Maybe when I'm seventy (laughter).

Marie: But you're happy naman for Kris, of course you said that before...

Joey: Me? Hahahaha

Marie: Who's your special someone now?

Joey: Mga anak ko.

Marie: You're not looking for love?

Joey: For me today, love is just a painful experience so wag muna.

Marie: Heartbroken?

Joey: Hindi naman heartbroken, I'm too old for that. Siguro I just have to polish my attitude about what love is.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Anac Ti Batac (Child of Batac)

Until recently, I resented my parents for never allowing me to go to Boracay or Subic (or any other happening place) with my friends during Holy Week. If I don't have work in the office, I'm stuck in Ilocos in our old house in Batac (save for one trip to Sagada which was a "penitencia" in itself). This means doing the traditional Bisita Iglesia, Stations of the Cross, Procession on Good Friday etc. This year was no exception. So there I was with my family, praying the Rosary as we walked around town on a hot hot Friday night. The candles we were holding didn't help either. When I was little I wondered why my nose was all black when I got home after the procession, duh!

As I got older, I learned to avoid inhaling the smoke from the flames and realized that I don't want to be anywhere else. I never really appreciated where I came from even after I left to study highschool in Quezon City when I was fourteen. Then I started going home less and less and less, why should I? I'm a Manila girl now. There was even a time I had that "I-live-between-two-worlds-phase", kinda like the "Fil-ams" or any other half-breed who feel that they are neither here nor there. Of course mine is on a much smaller scale, just a simple case of being a probinsyana wanting to be a city-girl but never really accepted. As a kid growing up in Ilocos, I knew some of my classmates didn't like me and my friends because we kept speaking in Tagalog (my mom is a true-blue Tagalog speaker from Bulacan) and when I got to Manila, some of my classmates would laugh at me when I pronounced something wrong in English. The most notable word was "grasshopper" in second year highschool. I pronounced it as "grass-hoe-per" and that was one of the most embarassing turning-point-of-my-life moments (considering I was winning orations left and right when I was in Ilocos). Crissa, I know you laughed the hardest (we are friends now). Fortunately, I outgrew that inane phase when I entered college and found my niche.

Nowadays, I still get the occasional "slip of the tongue" moments when I talk faster than I think and end up laughing at myself. I realized I can never be a perfect Manila girl with an Assumptionista accent and I've long accepted that. I'm proud to speak Ilocano and I'm proud of my roots, even if I'm considered a "prodigal daughter" by some (including my parents who still live in Batac). At least I'm still her daughter. I'm looking forward to next Holy Week when I go back to Batac again, whether I'm joining the procession or eating Batac's famous empanada and longganisa with a passion. I can't wait to see family and old friends again because I know to them, I'm neither here nor there, I'm just home.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bernard and Merryl: Going Strong

I got an e-mail from Maria asking if I have more about Bernard Palanca (Rica Peralejo's ex) and Merryl Soriano (Willie Revillame's daughter and Maricel Soriano's niece) after she saw my report in TV Patrol. BJ and Merryl are now in Batangas for the Holy Week with family and friends. I caught the lovebirds at the Yes Anniversary Party last week and here's my interview with them in full. Enjoy!

Nina: Tell us where your relationship is at right now?

Bernard: It's at a point where it's still growing, but everytime it does, for every single step of the way that it grows, the better it gets, the more beautiful it becomes.

Meryll: Yeah ganon din kasi we're getting to know each other more and more. we discover things that makes us love each other more now and then parang the relationship is growing and we're very happy about it.

Nina: What's the best thing about Meryll, and whats the best thing about Bernard?

Bernard: The best thing about her is she's real and she doesnt pretend to be anyone around me. She's always herself no matter where we are and she treats me like human being.

Nina: What do you mean (human being)?

Meryll: (Laughter) You're a human being, love.

Bernard: She treats me like how someone is supposed to be treated... meaning with all honesty, complete compassion, affection, sincerity and love. She makes me.. she brings the realness out of me.

Meryll: Well, he treats me like a queen.

Bernard: You are my queen.

Meryll: Well, you are my king.

Meryll: He makes me feel so special and he lets me do the things that i want to do (aside from acting, Merryl is now also into photography). He also inspires me.

Nina: Ano naman ang say ni daddy Willie sa relasyon ninyo?

Meryll: Ok naman siya, wala naman siyang problema.

Nina: Ano ina-advise niya sayo?

Meryll: (Smiling) Wala.

Nina: Wala siyang say?

Meryll: (Laughing) Wala!

Bernard: (Laughing) Hi Dad!

Meryll: Wowowee!

Bernard: I've known Willie even before I met her, so its ok.

Meryll: So wala naman talagang problema.

Bernard: Yeah.

Nina: What are your plans this coming Holy Week, malapit na?

Meryll: Wala, we don't have plan pa nga eh (the two are now in Batangas).

Bernard: Well, actually we're still planning it.

Meryll: Yeah.

Bernard: Because we dont wanna be in Bora. We dont want to go where everyone else is going.

Meryll: Gusto sana namin somewhere peaceful.

Bernard: Somewhere very quiet and where there's water so we can wakeboard.

Meryll: (Laughing)

Bernard: I'm gonna teach her wakeboarding.

Nina: And finally, last question anong meaning sa inyo ng Holy Week kasi yung iba nakakalimutan na nila kung ano ang meaning...

Bernard: Oh no, Holy Week is really the time to reflect on...where you are, what you have, who you are and what you're given...and really to remember why you're here, why we are all here. Holy week is a very special week.

Meryll: It is the time to talk to God and just to ponder on some things and think about, you know, the blessings that you have in life and also to ask for forgiveness and talagang time to be quiet.

Bernard: And to remember what He did for pay him back by being good.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A Highland Wedding

Sorry guys, I know some of you have been waiting for my blog about the Claudine and Raymart wedding at Tagaytay Highlands. It was one of the most beautiful wedding celebrations I've ever attended. The venue was picture perfect, with the well manicured green and a view of the mountains beyond. It drizzled just before the ceremony so people had to leave their chairs and duck for cover. Fortunately, after 10 minutes or so, the strong highland winds blew the dark clouds away.

The wedding had a relaxed atmosphere with a christian pastor from the couple's church officiating. What really struck everyone were the couple's personalized wedding vows. And while both were emotional, it was the groom who made the guests cry. Raymart said something like "Exactly forty-six years ago a love story started.. and even with the death of Papa.. their love story continues in us" or something to that effect. So for those who are thinking that Claudine was insensitive to make March 27 their wedding date when Rico's death anniversary is March 29, well... March 27 is meaningful to the couple because it was also Raymart's parents' wedding date. Raymart tried to inject some humor in his vow by saying "Papa, I know you're smiling up there, Mama I know you're crying down here" but it ended up being heartwarming. Raymart ended by saying something like, "I thank God he allowed me to fall inlove with you, so that I also will fall inlove with Him...You are my joy, my life, my love, my wife."

An ABS-CBN chopper scattered rose petals over the grounds

It was a happy occasion all in all, though I overheard some people saying it would have been much more complete if estranged sister Gretchen showed up.

Anyway, I'm re-publishing an article I wrote for the free tabloid Starbliz that comes out every Friday. The article came out a week before Claudine's wedding.


They both want peace...

Kahit pilit nilang nilalayo ang sarili sa isa't isa, marami pa rin ang nagtatanong kung pupunta ang big sister ni Claudine Barreto na si Gretchen sa kasal nito sa Lunes, March 27. Well, judging from their actions, the answer is no. Gretchen said so herself. Nang ma-corner siya ng TV Patrol crew sa celebrity bazaar ni Ruffa Guttierez, ito ang sagot ni La Greta sa tanong kung pupunta siya sa wedding ng kanyang sister, "Hinde, kase I want peace in my life. I stay away from trouble, thank you!". So unless balak ni Gretchen agawin ang eksena sa Barreto-Santiago Nuptials, mas mabuti pang wag na lang siyang mag-appear. Anyway, hindi rin naman siya invited. Sa isang article sa latest issue ng Metro Magazine kung saan cover sina Claudine at Raymart, ito naman ang sagot ni Claudine sa tanong kung inimbita ba niya si Gretchen, "Can I have a peaceful wedding please?".

Marami ang nanghihinayang sa nangyari sa magkakapatid na Barreto. Let's do a quick re-cap of events. Nagsimula lang daw umano ang lahat nang tawagan ni Dennis Padilla si Gretchen upang kwestyunin kung bakit binigyan ng show si Willie Revillame sa ABC 5. Gretchen's partner is Tonyboy Cojuangco, ang may-ari lang naman ng istasyon. Medyo naging masama ang takbo ng usapan at dito umano dumating sa punto na "pinalayas" ni Gretchen sina Dennis at Marjorie sa bahay na tinitirhan nila na pag-aari niya. From this incident, lalong nagkagulo ang pamilya Barreto at naging Gretchen vs. the Barretos. Who knows baka malalim na rin ang pinanggalingan ng kanilang "tampuhan" and we can never really understand why. Madali kasing magsalita na bakit di na lang sila magbati-bati, after all, blood is thicker than water. Pero we cannot really judge them at this point. It's safer to say they have their own reasons at umaasa na lang tayo na sa bandang huli, it will be a happy ending.

In any case, inaabangan na ng lahat ang kasal nina Claudine at Raymart sa Tagaytay Highlands. Judging from the preparations and the people involved, walang dudang ito na ang "Wedding of the Year". Pero akalain nyo bang around 350 guests lang ang invited sa wedding? Sadya raw limitado ang guests at talagang ang malalapit lang sa couple ang inimbita para masiguradong solemn ang kasal.

Parehong Christian sina Claudine at Raymart kaya't okay lang na sa golf course ang wedding ceremony. Nagpagawa pa sila ng gazebo kung saan sila mag-e-exchange ng kanilang "i dos". Ayon sa wedding coordinator, neo-classic daw ang tema ng venue. Mala pelikulang Pride and Prejudice with a modern twist. Ang color motif ng kasal ay ang kulay ng spring o pastel colors. Ang sikat na designer na si Randy Ortiz ang gagawa ng wedding gown ni Claudine at suit ni Raymart, pati na rin ng buong entourage. Kabilang sa tatayong mga ninong at ninang ang dating pangulong Joseph Estrada, Susan Roces, Helen Gamboa, mga big bosses ng ABS-CBN at GMA 7 at iba pang malalapit sa couple. Para sa kanilang honeymoon, lilipad sila sa exclusive beach resort ng Amanpulo, Palawan at pagkatapos ay pupunta rin sila sa Europe.

Ang exclusive coverage ng Claudine-Raymart wedding ay mapapanood sa TV Patrol sa Lunes.