Videoke with Dulce, Leo, Ricky and pals | Inquirer Entertainment
Only In Hollywood

Videoke with Dulce, Leo, Ricky and pals

By: - Columnist
/ 02:04 AM August 30, 2015

RICKY Davao and his backup quartet (from left), Dulce, the author, Leo Valdez and Janet Nepales. photos courtesy of  Ruben V. Nepales

RICKY Davao and his backup quartet (from left), Dulce, the author, Leo Valdez and Janet Nepales. RUBEN V. NEPALES

LOS ANGELES—Where do I begin? Paraphrasing the title of that mushy movie theme song is a cheesy way to begin this piece on my recent homecoming. But it’s tough indeed to decide on how to sort through the many images and moments of my trip home that proceeded at a fast pace, like a time-lapse video. But I made sure to pause, however briefly, and savor each moment.

The following are just a sample of those instances where I looked up from my cell phone or put down the camera, took a deep breath and committed these images to my mind. I recall these fleeting moments in a rambling fashion, as in a feverish dream:


Me, dueting with Dulce, she with the powerful voice and one of Asia’s best singers? But there I was a in a plush function room of the luxurious Discovery Primea in Makati, croaking along with Dulce, as she dictated the lyrics of “Misty” to me. She and her husband, Bernard Cruzata, were among the first guests to arrive at this reception hosted by fashion designer Francis Libiran and his manager, Arsi Baltazar.


Performance level

Right away, Dulce picked up the mic, much to the delight of the trio of musicians who then accompanied her on “I Won’t Last a Day Without You.” The belter set the fun tone of the evening with pals. Later, even when the musicians have left and it was videoke time, Dulce sang at “performance level.”


She belted out such songs as “Careless Whisper,” “I Will Survive,” “Wind Beneath My Wings” and dueted with Jeffrey Hidalgo (“Endless Love”) and Vic Valenciano (“Pussywillows, Cat-Tails”).

Even in such a casual setting, Dulce and Leo Valdez electrified everyone in the room when they performed “Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas.”

Leo himself was at his “West End” best, even as he was just enjoying this night with friends. The equally powerful belter crooned “(Where Do I Begin?) Love Story” (which probably explains that lead sentence in my mind), “Kahit Isang Saglit” and “Just Once.”

Ricky Davao was the evening’s surprise—I didn’t know he could sing and dance well (he does mean Elvis Presley moves on “Blue Suede Shoes”). The actor also had the pleasure of dueting with Dulce for the first time on two songs: “La Vie en Rose” and “My Foolish Heart.”

“It was a dream come true!” Ricky exclaimed later. “I’m a big fan of Dulce and Leo. It was like singing with the gods.”

Ricky sang Tagalog lyrics to several English pop standards—another surprise. It turns out that his friend, writer Pete Lacaba, who has been translating English songs to Tagalog, often invites Ricky to perform in the project “Salinawit.”

Dulce’s husband Bernard wasn’t going to be outdone. He belted out “Never Ever Say Goodbye.”

Richard and Phoebe Lim, our Golden Globe Awards night guests early this year, who own the beautiful Eskaya Resort and Spa on Panglao Island in Bohol, enjoyed every minute of the impromptu musical numbers.

RACHEL Alejandro  sang, accompanied by Carding Cruz Jr.

RACHEL Alejandro sang, accompanied by Carding Cruz Jr.

Poor neighbors

On another memorable night, this time at Nelia Silverio’s house, after a sumptuous dinner she herself prepared, guests gathered around the piano being played by Carding Cruz Jr. of the famous Cruz musical clan. Rachel Alejandro led the singing. I dared to croon “Strangers in the Night,” with lyrics coaching by Mary Anne Gomez. Poor neighbors of Nelia.

In hindsight, I wonder—how did we manage to let Celeste Legaspi get away without singing? Celeste, who came with husband Nonoy Gallardo, is more excited these days about “Ang Larawan,” the film adaptation of the musical based on Nick Joaquin’s “A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino.” She’s producing it with my kumare Girlie Rodis.

The images we’ve seen so far from the movie directed by Loy Arcenas look very good.

We toasted Anton San Diego, who miraculously survived a helicopter crash, on his second life. For posterity’s sake, we posed for a “class picture,” which included other guests, Millet (whom I haven’t seen since the 1980s) and Robert Mananquil, Carlos Santamaria (Rachel’s husband), Francis and Arsi.

I also can’t wait to see “Heneral Luna,” director Jerrold Tarog’s epic on Antonio Luna, played by John Arcilla. At Purple Yam Malate of Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan (who are both in New York, attending to their Brooklyn branch), several key figures behind the film talked about the challenges of mounting a period epic.

The serious discussion was broken by jokes dished out by the engaging company: producer Ed Rocha and his wife Annie, executive producer Fernando Ortigas, executive consultant Vincent Nebrida, marketing director Ria Limjap and line producer Daphne Chiu.

Another joke-filled evening was spent with our former record industry colleagues, including concert impresarios Renen and Celinda de Guia, Nonoy Tan, Tato Malay, Rudy Tee, Narciso Chan and Vic Valenciano.

I finally got to visit Sonya’s Garden in Tagaytay. No less than Sonya Garcia herself gave us a tour of her relaxing paradise. The fun combination of Sonya, who’s quite a lovable, quotable character, Bessie Badilla and my wife Janet kept us in stitches.

As we munched on a delicious lunch of flowers and vegetables, I asked Sonya about the poisonous plants in the area. “I save them for philandering husbands,” Sonya cracked with a serene smile.

Shuttle ride

On a de rigueur trip to Boracay, we had to tear ourselves from the comfort and posh features of the new The Lind Hotel in Station 1 and take a tricycle back to the port, hop on the ferry and take a shuttle ride to Kalibo, Aklan.

The trip was so worth it—to see again Ligaya (nee Delgado) and Ritchie Sublett, who used to work for the ABC network in the United States, in their Handumanan Home, planted with vegetables and trees, was easily one of this homecoming’s highlights. With our friend Rene Durian in tow (he charmed the Subletts with his humor), we settled for what was probably one of the longest, yet very enjoyable, lunches I’ve ever had.

The Subletts welcomed us with what they humorously described as their “Downton Abbey”-style reception line.

Back in Boracay, we watched the sunset on the beach, bare feet buried in the sad and sipped wine. Warm, gentle breeze fanned us. Gradually, the moon appeared in the sky. I closed my eyes. A man sang and played the guitar. I resisted the urge to ask the performer to play the guitar while I sang “Strangers in the Night.” This moment was meant to be savored, not destroyed by my caterwauling.

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TAGS: Boracay, Dulce, Heneral Luna, homecoming, Leo Valdez, Ricky Davao, videoke

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