A surprise gift for birthday boy Aga
Today (Monday) is the birthday of my dear friend Aga Muhlach, so allow me to pay homage to him. I’ve known Ags long before he joined the biz. His sister Arlene, cousin Liezl and I used to leave him on the dance floor because he wouldn’t stop dancing once he started.
I cherish the time we watched Michael Jackson’s concert in Singapore, along with other friends. He could afford all the MJ souvenirs he wanted but he badgered me into giving him one of the MJ shirts I bought. It was his way of making lambing as a friend.
Even if we don’t see each other often, Aga makes his presence felt when he knows I need moral support. Every time I get embroiled in a controversy, he would call or text to cheer me up and cheer me on. Since he has everything that money can buy, I thought of giving him something priceless today. I asked some of his biz friends to share with us fond anecdotes about Aga.
It’s impossible not to be charmed by Aga. Everyone he meets is instantly enthralled. His drop-dead gorgeousness is just a bonus. What really endears him to people is his genuinely good heart. Happy birthday, Morning (Aga’s nickname)! Thank you for keeping our bond intact through the years. You were meant to be my friend. The smiles of the people around you are a reflection of your kindness.
I fondly call Aga Agaton. I love him dearly. He’s such a lovable person and a very good actor—he’s one of my favorites. Marunong siya sa buhay, which makes him a good example for others in the industry. Kaya lang kuripot siya. Hahaha! My son Ryan is his godson. When I ask what he’s giving Ryan as a gift, he just says, good advice. That’s more meaningful daw.
I’ll never forget my first trip with Aga to Boracay in the summer of 1989. Our boat capsized on the way there from Caticlan. It was Friday the 13th and there were 13 of us—and we were
going to stay at Fridays. It was scary for a while but it turned out to be one of our happiest and most memorable summers.
When I did “When Love Begins” with Aga, it didn’t feel like work because he made sure that even if we were shooting a film, it was important to still make it fun.
Aga will always be my favorite ka-love team. We have great chemistry at lagi siyang masarap kakuwentuhan. I also learned so much from him about acting and parenting. I look forward to our next project together.
I was often a guest in his sitcom, “Oki Doki Doc” and he was always buyoy (a speech impediment), but in a charming way. We would all laugh, do a retake… or the director would leave it be because cute naman ang pagka-buyoy niya. It’s always a happy set with Aga around.
When we were filming “May Minamahal,” there was a scene where I had to punch him. You could tell by his reaction that he was really hurt but, ever so polite, Aga did not complain.
Instead he gave me the sweetest smile, showing off his dimples. Aga has always been such a gentleman to all his leading ladies. That’s his secret. No wonder most of us fell in love with him.
During the midterm campaign, I would use his bathroom while he was still asleep. One time, I was looking for oil to put on my hair before taking a shower. His lawyer had given me something for my hair, which I didn’t know was wax. When Aga woke up, he saw that my hair was so stiff because I had used all the wax. Naiyak siya sa kakatawa.
One fine Wednesday afternoon after watching a Broadway matinee with one of my best friends, we headed for Times Square to meet up with the TFC (The Filipino Channel) rep, to shoot some video materials for “The Voice of the Philippines.” I was to do a 360-degree shot, with me turning around looking at my surroundings. So I turned … and spotted Aga—filming for
“Pinoy Explorer,” it would turn out. I stopped what I was doing, ran over to say “hi” and gave him a hug. I think his crew was a little shell-shocked. We chatted briefly, took a few photos with my friend and our respective crews. I invited him to my Café Carlyle gig. He said yes.
Now, with Aga, “yes” is no guarantee. So I made kulit. His assistant Ian was super helpful. Aga confirmed and said he would watch my show Thursday night. I wrote down the dress code, performance time, etc.
Since he was filming the whole day that day, he texted to say he would arrive medyo late. Again, with Aga, medyo late could mean, “I may not show up.”
In the middle of my third song, I spotted a familiar silhouette in the back, wearing a black suit and thick-rimmed glasses—very well put together—and holding a glass of Scotch. He was standing in the back because he had arrived late. The show was sold out, so there were no more chairs. Tinarayan pa nga ng maitre d’, sabi niya, “You’relate, sorry, no seats available.”
I eyeballed him during the show, asking if he wanted to sit. He said he was OK, so he stood for the duration of the performance.
Turned out, one of the songs in my repertoire, “The Greatest Love of All,” was his late mom Anita’s favorite. This was something I hadn’t known, so his sharing it with me later gave me
chills. He also said he had to get on Facebook to post about it.
After the postshow meet-and-greet with friends and fans, he bought me dinner and drinks. He sat there staring at me with this weird look, as if it was the first time he’d ever seen me. I asked, “What’s wrong with you?”
After the compliments, about how much he enjoyed the show, he said with seeming finality, “I truly am not a singer… I will never sing again.” Or something like that. I nearly choked on my burger.