MANILA, Philippines—The red carpet had been rolled out as early as 6 p.m., or even much earlier. Photographers, cameramen and show-biz scribes roamed the lobby of the AFP Theater waiting for the first batch of celebs to grace this year’s 29th Star Awards for Movies, mounted by the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) last Sunday.
Not a surprise, the celebs didn’t start arriving until more than an hour after the call time. And a lot of them weren’t exactly what you would consider “stars”—well at least not anymore, or not yet.
The more famous ones such as Piolo Pascual, Kim Chiu, Iza Calzado, Toni Gonzaga, Zia Quizon, Karylle and Gary Valenciano—who all happened to be either performing or hosting the awarding rites—were already in the dressing rooms backstage.
The bulbs only really started flashing when Kapamilya child star Xyriel Manabat walked in looking adorable in her white dress.
And then they started trickling in. Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Neil Coleta, Janine Gutierrez, Hayden Kho, Tippy dos Santos, Markki Stroem, Luis Alandy, Marco Alcaraz, Carlo Aquino, Janice de Belen, Isko Moreno, Yul Servo and Eddie Garcia—they worked the sea of clicking cameras around them, while answering the night’s most pressing question: “Who are you wearing?”
Albie Casiño came in with rumored girlfriend Dawn Balagot in tow. No biggie. And then a few seconds later, Jaclyn Jose stepped on the red carpet, standing a few feet away from the young actor. For a while there was a stunned silence, and then a collective gasp from the sidelines.
Jaclyn isn’t particularly shy in expressing his disdain for the father (Can we actually call him that?) of Andi Eigenmann’s daughter Ellie. And it would have been really awkward had she bumped into Albie. Well, unluckily, or rather, luckily, reporters cornered the veteran actress for an interview, preventing the encounter.
When we pointed out that Albie came in ahead of her, Jaclyn said: “Ah talaga? Buti hindi ko nakita! At hindi ko siya gustong makita! Buti na lang na-late ako ng konti!”
What if they cross paths in the theater? “Naku, Diyos ko po! Sana huwag kaming pagtabihin—not tonight! ‘Di ko na lang siguro siya titignan. Baka ipikit ko na lang ang mga mata ‘ko!” said Jaclyn, who was there to present an award. She was also nominated for best supporting actress for the movie “A Secret Affair.”
Then it was the actor’s young turn to be grilled. Asked how he felt about Jaclyn not wanting to lay eyes on him, Albie replied: “I respect that. It’s not comfortable for anyone involved.”
Just when we thought no one else could top what just happened, BB Gandanghari arrived in the arms of her “Halik ng Tarantula” leading men Jet Alcantara and Jovic Monsod. “I feel like a glamazon!” she said of her sparkly, gold ensemble.
The program itself had its share of both awkward and funny moments. Before introducing a set of awards, the spiels of hosts Piolo and Kim—for some reason—started with references to Chinese zodiac signs. And then Piolo declared: “It’s Year of the Snake, so expect the unexpected!” Followers of the Kim-Gerald-Maja brouhaha might read differently into that.
Together with Piolo, Zia was picked to receive a special award for being one of the night’s best-looking stars. A couple of minutes after her name was announced, Zia was still nowhere to be found. And when she finally did, the singer appeared genuinely confused—she thought she was accepting an award for his late father Dolphy. And so cautiously and hesitantly, Zia went on with her speech, thanking those who supported and believed in his father—while holding what we believe was a beauty gift pack.
Meanwhile, Manila vice mayor Isko Moreno made of his recent detention for allegedly engaging in illegal gambling. As he accepted the Darling of the Press award from the PMPC, Isko elicited laughter from the audience as he jested: “Sa letrang B!”
Midway through Gary Valenciano and son Gab’s feverish production number of singing, rapping, dancing and drum-playing, the audience suddenly burst into shrieks. It wasn’t directed to the performance onstage though, but to the arrival of Nora Aunor, who entered the theater with a trail of chanting Noranians, ready to cheer and support their idol to win the best actress trophy for “Thy Womb.”
But to the dismay diehard fans, the night belonged to Angel Locsin who won for her performance in the Star Cinema drama “One More Try.” Despite their disappointment, they stayed put and even clapped for Angel. No walkouts this time.
When all the awards have been given, the fans rushed to the stage to have their photos taken with the stars, while the press sought quick interviews from the winners. Some celebs, on the other hand, just couldn’t wait to get out of the venue through the backdoor.