Major party weekendBy Lea Salonga
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Two very dear people in my life celebrated their birthdays last weekend: my mother Ligaya, and favorite leading man Aga Muhlach (both born under the sign of Leo, which means you’d better be ready for just about anything).
Aga marked his day at the Top of the Citi restaurant, its kitchen commanded by chef Jessie Sincioco. I had had a taste of chef Jessie’s delicious food before, when she was still with the Le Souffle group. She has since gone solo and can also be found at Amorsolo Place in Rockwell.
But back to the party. Top of the Citi was dimly lit with candles in glass lanterns all over the long dining table. Aga’s guests (show biz, non-show biz) sat throughout its length. I’m not exactly sure about the seating arrangements, but everyone found themselves with friends.
I was late, having come from a rehearsal. I spied director Rowell Santiago (Aga’s director on the new TV5 show, “Pinoy Explorer”), Gary and Angeli Valenciano, Sharon and Kiko Pangilinan, Anton and Dawn Lagdameo, Dolly Ann Carvajal, Julius and Tintin Babao, Eddie, Annabelle and Ruffa Gutierrez, Albert, Liezl and Alissa Martinez, KC Concepcion, Angel Locsin, Senator Bong Revilla and Willie Revillame; Aga’s wife Charlene and kids Luigi, Andres and Atasha; TV5 execs Ray Espinosa and Bobby Barreiro.
The dinner selections were incredible! Assorted appetizers included salad and cochinilla wraps, lobster bisque, sea bass with foie gras and linguini, steak and wild rice pilaf, frozen grapes to cleanse the palate and a selection of desserts. Later, some lechon and potato chips were served to guests who were still there past 2 a.m.
Once enough alcohol and food had been consumed, the party began in earnest. Anyone and everyone who identified themselves as singers stepped up to the mic to dedicate a song or two to Aga. Gary, Sharon and yours truly sang selections in English and Tagalog (the band had books of lyrics on hand). Albert Martinez got up as well to sing a couple of songs. The main attraction was Gary and Willie in a percussion battle, crossing drumsticks as if in a sword fight. I’m hoping someone caught that on video—it was quite a sight.
I left at about 3 a.m. and the joint was still jumping! I’m sure everyone had a wonderful time. Good friends, great food and incredible entertainment. What a party!
Thank you, Aga, I had a fantastic time!
I gotta hand it to my mother, who shared her special day with a few hundred people at the Alabang Town Center.
We started that Sunday with an early lunch at Resorts World (Ginzadon and Passion occupy the same space as the hotel is undergoing renovations). Gerard and myself, plus our spouses and children, yayas in tow, partook of great Japanese, Chinese and Korean fare. Among the favorites were salmon belly teriyaki, loads of sashimi, sirloin steak wrapped in lettuce, ostrich with broccoli, and crispy noodles topped with seafood. A few of us grabbed some coffee, as the day was still not over.
I went home to take a quick shower. Gela Laurel-Stehmeier was already there, setting up her makeup table. Soon, we received our call from stage manager Epoy Isorena: It was time to head over to the ATC activity center for a quick sound check. By 6 p.m., we were ready for our show.
Oh, what fun that was! I sang a bunch of songs from the ’90s, many of them I’ve only tried in the context of drunken karaoke: “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain, “Change the World” by Eric Clapton and “You are Not Alone” by Michael Jackson. I ended the set with “Mama” by the Spice Girls, dedicating it to my mom. I asked the audience to sing along.
Happy 30th, mom (heh heh)! Love you!
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