In the traditional Filipino time, the launching of this year’s MMFF (Metro Manila Film Festival) at the Gloria Maris Restaurant in Greenhills, San Juan City, started an hour late.
First personality to arrive was Press Undersecretary Robert Rivera. The ever-smiling Usec was host of the night together with Ms. Boots Anson-Roa who was one of the early birds. Another early bird was Pepsi Guerrero, the third emcee.
Hosts for the night: Press Undersecretary Robert Rivera and Ms. Boots Anson-Roa
While waiting for the program to formally start, live music was provided by “Bakit Ako Mahihiya” composer Pablo Vergara on the guitar with the vocals of Joan Lim while Bong Leyva was massaging the keyboard.
Mother Lily Monteverde and MMFF Executive Director Rolando Josef
Here’s the unofficial chronology of arrivals: Dominic Du, Manny Nuqui, Mark Meily, Leo Martinez, Joel Lamangan, Press Secretary Dodie Limcaoco, showbiz writers Jun Nardo and Mario Bautista, movie reporters Nelson Canlas and Mario Dumaual, Victor Villegas, Ric Camaligan of SM Theaters, OMB Chairman Ronnie Ricketts with Dinky Doo, Jr., Mr. Orly Ilacad, Wilson Tieng, Senator Bong Revilla and Marlon Bautista of Imus Films, Phillip Salvador, Mother Lily Monteverde, Dolphy, Buboy Villar, Manny Valera and film editor and director Efren Jarlego.
Performers for the night was led by Rhap Salazar who sang two Michael Jackson songs. Rhap is a Junior Grand Champion of WCOPA (World Championships of Performing Arts) last year and, like Charice, Rhap also graced the the Ellen De Generes show.
Francine Prieto, Say Alonzo, Orly Ilacad
Francine Prieto followed with a rendition of Akon’s Right Now. It was a surprise for many that Francine could sing although some were turned off when she related her mother’s illness (stage 3 of ovarian cancer). Francine profusely thanked Orly Ilacad for the assistance given her.
Next to go up the stage was Say Alonso of the PBB fame. Even before performing, Say professed her gratitude for being invited to the event. The Big 3 Sullivans of Mar Lopez gave the audience an unscheduled indigestion due to their hilarious act.
Press Secretary Dodie Limcaoco and Faith Cuneta (center)
Juris rendered a beautiful song before Faith Cuneta then Geoff Taylor of Star For The Night. Faith was obviously the favorite of the waiters who waited in line with their cellphones for an informal pictorial with Faith.
Dolphy being mobbed by showbiz reporters
Dolphy was ambushed by the press for an unscheduled interview. The great comedian wasn’t given the opportunity to at least get a seat. Reportedly not feeling well, Dolphy left the event in a haste.
Phillip Salvador, Bong Revilla, Leo Martinez, Ronnie Ricketts
MMDA Chairman Oscar Inocentes presided in the distribution of cheques representing the cash awards for the recent festival. Pepsi Guerrero, a dead-ringer for the late Joe Cantada, branded the night Our Own Oscar Awards.
Upon arriving, Buboy Villar’s eyes kept on moving around to check on people he had to greet. The diminutive tv and movie personality gave Leo Martinez a high five and hugged Phillip Salvador as if seeing a long lost friend.
Ronnie Ricketts, Boots Anson-Roa, Dodie Limcaoco, MMFF Executive Chairman Maricor Imperial (seated)
Dinky Doo acted as photographer for his boss and friend Ronnie Ricketts. Unfortunately, his first shot was amiss. “Eh first time ko kasi ito nahawakan saka pasmado pa ang kamay ko.” In fairness to Dinky, the lightweight camera was difficult to control because it was as light as a feather.
More on Dinky, “Araw-araw may raid kami. Syempre alam mo naman yan (pointing to Ronnie) masipag.” Asked of bodyguards, “Walang bodyguard. Kami lang dalawa. Pero syempre me dala rin kami.”
Ric Camaligan and his guests from Banco De Oro: Cherry Lyn Dionido, Irish Cruz, Mary Claire Coronado
Before leaving, Ric Camaligan was heard telling Wilson Tieng, “Pacquiao pass daw,” referring to his three guests from Banco De Oro Universal Bank. The Solar Sports top honcho just smiled.
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