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Others BLOG - PINOY UNTOLD STORIES - Series - Courtesy of Sir Nick.


Nung nag start ako mag work, eto yung libangan ko, magbasa basa ng mga blogs, articles, forwarded e-mails at kung ano-ano pang pwede hanapin sa internet. Mahigpit kasi firewall ng company na pinasukan ko at maliban sa symb, dito halos nauubos oras ko. :geek:

Ano ba yang Pinoy Untold Stories at sino si Sir Nick?
Hindi ko kilala si Sir Nick sa totoo lang, pero yung blog nya inaabang abangan ko. Nagsimula to nung finorward sa email ko yung mga kwento nya, sa umpisa parang fiction lang, parang blind item o chismis. Pero effective pala ang ganung style, siguro dun ako nagsimula ma hook sa mga kwento nya. Syempre, na realize ko din na blog pala talaga yung finorward sa email ko nung sinearch ko yung title ng gawa nya. Pero ganun talaga, parang si Bob Ong, mystery pa rin sa akin ang identity ni Sir Nick. Di na nagparamdam si Sir Nick, wala nang bagong obra, ang last entry sa gawa nya ay nun pang September 2010.

So ayun na nga, since napag uusapan na din kung anong meron sa mga sinulat nya, i sha share ko yung sa tingin ko eh best of the best ng blog nya.
PS. Sir Nick kung nandito ka man, ang credits ng post na ito ay sa iyo lamang.
PSPS. i visit nyo na rin yung blog nya if gusto nyo basahin yung ibang gawa nya.

  • Anak ng Jueteng!
  • Beer Worship
  • This Child of ❤️
  • Unsolved Pinoy Mysteries
  • Her Mother’s Joy
  • Beyond Sibling Rivalry
  • Oops… She Made it Again!
  • On Their Own
  • Heart of Darkness
  • Guitar Hero
  • Pinoys Love Venus

Anak ng Jueteng!

Pepe hailed from a well-off family in a town south of Manila but just like the rest of us, he still dreamed of manna from heaven. That’s why he was an avid bettor of the popular local numbers game called jueteng.

Jueteng is an illegal numbers game which had been brought to the Philippines from China. The name means flower (jue) and bet (teng). A bet is made up of a pair of numbers from 1 to 37. Most of the time, the chosen pair of numbers is meant to signify birthdays of the bettor’s family members. Sometimes, they are based on images in the bettor’s dream, with each image represented by a number.

With the lure of quick riches via a lucrative payout, jueteng’s popularity crosses social and economic boundaries. It is therefore not surprising that even a well-educated and well-respected man like Pepe got hooked into it. But unlike most folks who were just milked dry of their last peso without ever winning, Pepe was lucky enough to win.

Pepe used the proceeds of his jueteng windfall to purchase a piece of land somewhere in Zamboanga. He lived there for many years, helping the children cope with their miserable lives in that southern province.

However, it is ironic that while jueteng money led to the downfall of a Phillipine president and threatens the country’s current president, the same jueteng money was instrumental in Pepe’s efforts to improve the lives of people in that forgotten southern town.

Pepe’s heroic deeds for the children and townsfolk of that southern town of Dapitan where he bought a piece of land from his jueteng winnings have been immortalized in various films, the latest of which was Tikoy Aguiluz’s Rizal sa Dapitan.

Yes, the man we call Pepe was our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.

And yes, Dr. Jose Rizal was an avid jueteng bettor.

And you know the rest of his story.


Beer Worship

In the 80s, San Mig was a popular joint where one can enjoy a mug of cold beer. Their branch in Ali Mall in Cubao was always packed with beer-bellied office employees, especially on payday weekends. It occupied a small space right across ShoeMart.

Amidst the darkness and the smoke, very few people took notice of San Mig’s unusual decor. Hanging on the walls are cheap reproductions of oil portraits of real kings. They were all European kings. There was King Louis XIV of France. In one corner was King Philip II of Spain. Next to him was King George III of United Kingdom. Then, in one dark corner was… Oops

In one dark corner was the portrait of a man who was certainly not a king. In fact, this man even fought the monarchy after joining the army. His dignified look could pass for a king but he definitely did not enjoy a royal life. While fighting the monarchy, one of his legs was wounded while his other leg was broken by a cannonball. Then, he had to break his leg three times to make it heal well. He was also arrested twice during the Spanish inquisition. Then, he struggled for the rest of his life with chronic stomach ailment.

The Pinoy interior designer who worked on San Mig’s wall décor was probably too lazy to conduct research on the identities of the men in those portraits. Because among the portraits of those European kings, the lazy interior designer had mistakenly included the portrait of a former soldier named Inigo.

Inigo became Ignacio after he changed his name. But Ignacio did not become a king. Oh yes, he became a prince. But he never lived in a castle. Because he was a prince of the church.

Yes, that odd painting among portraits of European kings which had been hanging on the wall of San Mig in Ali Mall for years and which had been a mute witness to the antics of beer-worshipping and wife-fearing drunkards was the portrait of a saint.
The man on the portrait was a patron saint of soldiers.

No, it was not the portrait of San Mig’s namesake, San Miguel or Saint Michael the Archangel, although Saint Michael was also a patron saint of soldiers.

The man on the portrait was actually a Jesuit saint.

The man on the portrait was the founder of the Society of Jesus.

Yes, the man on the portrait was St. Ignatius of Loyola.

And every Atenean knows the rest of his story.


This Child of ❤️

She was born on the day of hearts, February 14. But her parents did not name her Valentina. Not even Venus or Aphrodite. They opted for the holy-sounding Kristina Bernadette. But she did not turn out to be a saint.
Being the youngest, Kristina Bernadette captured the heart of her father. Father and daughter were inseparable. Until tragedy struck. Kristina Bernadette’s father was sent to prison. His heart ailment grew worse there.

On February 14, 1974, Valentine's Day, Kristina Bernadette celebrated her third birthday with her father in prison. On the same day, a man was exchanging hearts with a southern belle in nearby San Juan church.

Nine years later, on August 21, the man who got married in San Juan church was celebrating his birthday with his basketball buddies. On the same day, Kristina Bernadette’s father was killed.

Kristina Bernadette and the married man never knew each other. They lived very different lives. But in 1994, Kristina Bernadette and the married man met at work. Their first meeting blossomed into deep friendship. Some said that she longed for a father figure. But the friendship blossomed into romance which went beyond control. Kristina Bernadette used her heart, not her head. She decided to live with the married man.

Kristina Bernadette’s mother was furious at the relationship. How could Kristina Bernadette’s mother like a man who celebrates his birthday every year on the death anniversary of her murdered husband? But more than this was the fact that the man's heart already belonged to someone else. In fact, he has a grown-up daughter in New York who was nearly Kristina Bernadette’s age. Despite her religious mother’s efforts to put an end to Kristina Bernadette’s adulterous affair with the man, Kristina Bernadette had her way. It didn’t matter to Kristina Bernadette that her decision prevented her from receiving church communion because she was openly living in sin.

It did not take long before Kristina Bernadette gave birth to her love child who was the spitting image of her live-in partner. But Kristina Bernadette’s son was born with Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder. Her son’s birth softened the heart of Kristina Bernadette’s mother who announced that Kristina Bernadette’s son was her favorite grandson. When Kristina Bernadette first planned to have a liposuction, her mother tried to stop her, warning Kristina Bernadette that she (the mother) was too old to take care of Kristina Bernadette’s son if something happened to her during her surgery. But as in the past, Kristina Bernadette had her way. She went on with her liposuction.

But Kristina Bernadette’s relationship with her live-in partner was not meant to last. In her Ateneo accent, Kristina Bernadette would always correct her live-in partner's grammatical lapses. Her live-in partner also got annoyed whenever Kristina Bernadette would hand him a stick of Milagrosa candle every time he used the bathroom. According to Kristina Bernadette, the candle helped drive away the stinking smell of her live-in partner's crap. Kristina Bernadette confessed that she learned this trick from her mother. And when Kristina Bernadette's live-in partner stopped pursuing his petition for the annulment of his first marriage in San Juan church, Kristina Bernadette began to express doubt about her live-in partner’s sincerity in marrying her. Kristina Bernadette's heart was hurt. Their relationship turned for the worse.

Kristina Bernadette finally realized that her live-in partner could never be her savior. She decided to leave the father of her son and her live-in partner for many years: Philip Salvador.

Yes, Kristina Bernadette is the youngest daughter of President Corazon (means heart in Spanish) Aquino and the late Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.

And yes, Kristina Bernadette Cojuangco Aquino is the full name of Kris Aquino.

And everyone knows the heart of her story.


SANA NAGUSTUHAN NYO *giggle**giggle**giggle*, MAHABA HABA ITO PERO SULIT :salute::salute::salute:


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Unsolved Pinoy Mysteries

At a tender age of 17, Marcial was a war correspondent for The Manila Times. Marcial’s war experience provided him with a treasure chest of stories which inspired him to write a movie screenplay. His screenplay was made into a movie, starring Jaime de la Rosa and a 16–year old actress named Dorothy. Helmed by renowned director Lamberto Avellana, the movie was a huge success. During the first FAMAS award ceremony in 1952, Dorothy received the first FAMAS trophy for best supporting actress for her role in the movie.

The only child of a US soldier and a Filipina, Dorothy was also a semi-finalist in the 1952 Miss Philippines beauty contest. It was therefore not surprising that Marcial got so enamored with Dorothy that he did everything to court her. Marcial even carried Dorothy’s make-up kit during movie shootings. Marcial became Dorothy’s dakilang alalay.

Dorothy studied pre-Law at the University of Santo Tomas but her booming movie career made it impossible for her to continue. Likewise, Marcial took up Law at the University of the Philippines but the lure of journalism ended his dream of becoming a lawyer.

Marcial became known for his gift of gab and political skill. This led to his victory as a town mayor at a young age of 22. Meanwhile, Dorothy became popular for her acting prowess and dancing skill. This led to her victory in several acting derbies. Marcial’s younger sister was the director of the movie which won for Dorothy her last FAMAS best supporting actress award.

But while Philippine politics and show business naturally intertwine, political kingpin Marcial and movie queen Dorothy were not destined to be together.

Dorothy married a man named Victorino who fathered her only daughter. But their union did not last. After a series of unsuccessful relationships, Dorothy finally tied the knot again with an American B-movie actor-singer. In contrast, Marcial remained faithfully married all his life to an American-educated woman who bore his only son and four daughters.

But while Marcial survived the Korean War which he covered, he did not survive the war on the home front. Likewise, Dorothy did not survive her own war at home.

Both Marcial and Dorothy suffered violent deaths. Marcial was shot. Dorothy was stabbed several times.

Committed 18 years apart, the separate murders of Marcial and Dorothy made headlines several years ago. However, both murders remained unsolved to this day. Some say that identifying their killers is not the issue because everyone, except the authorities, seems to know the identity of their respective killers. Rumors even abound that the masterminds in the murders of Marcial and Dorothy were related to them by affinity. But the real mystery lies in the fact that the perpetrators of these high-profile crimes remain scot-free to this day, despite the enormous clout which the victims’ respective family wields.

Some say that Marcial’s death was a result of his being branded a communist by the government. This is ironic because the screenplay which Marcial wrote and which won for Dorothy her first FAMAS trophy was the second in a trilogy of anti-communist movies which were produced by LVN Pictures in support of the government’s efforts to fight communism.

Dorothy’s shocking death led to embarrassing revelations about her painful personal battle. Marcial’s equally shocking death led to well-deserved recognition of his heroic political battle.

Dorothy was killed amid rows of cars in the covered and dark parking lot of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) building. Despite his escorts, Marcial was killed amid rows of airplanes in a wide open space in broad daylight while descending down the tarmac of what was then known as the Manila International Airport (MIA).

Of course, we all know Dorothy as Dolphy’s TV wife, Marsha.

And we all know Marcial as Cory’s real-life husband, Ninoy.

Yes, Dorothy Jones was the real name of Nida Blanca.

And yes, Marcial Bonifacio was the fictitious name on the passport of Benigno Aquino, Jr. on the day that he was murdered.

And you know the rest of their stories.


Her Mother’s Joy

Her mother has always been proud of her. Mighty proud. And rightly so.

In the spring of 1991, Julia Roberts graced the cover of People Magazine’s special issue featuring its annual list of The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. Together with Julia Roberts in this ultimate list of the most beautiful people were Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Madonna, Mel Gibson, Whitney Houston, Michelle Pfeiffer, Isabella Rossellini, supermodels Claudia Schiffer & Naomi Campbell and oops…a Filipina?

Yes, People Magazine’s 1991 list of The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World included a true-blooded Filipina who was born, raised and educated in the Philippines.

Unlike most beautiful Filipinas who were the products of mixed marriages and who have therefore acquired foreign physical features, this Filipina was born to a Filipina mother and a Filipino father. It is no wonder that she does not typify a beautiful woman by any standard: She is short, standing only 5’2”. She has a huge and deep acne scar on her forehead. She has that distinct Asian nose. She uses only Avon cosmetics (gasp!) and applies makeup by herself. During her pre-Inno Sotto days, her clothes were not made by known couturiers: They were lovingly sewn at home by her mother who is a dressmaker. She does not even have the right genes to inherit beauty from: Her mother was plain, even stern-looking. Her father was a dark-skinned guy with the tough facial features of a hardened military man.

Although both the first names of her mother and father means happy in two different languages, their union was not as joyous. Her mother and father were reportedly never married, making her and her only brother illegitimate children. In the mistress hierarchy, her mother was not even her father’s second woman. Her father had reportedly a first mistress who ranked above her mother. It was being talked about that she and her brother only belong to their father’s third family. And yes, the gay club performer who once appeared on national television was indeed her half-brother. She couldn’t therefore be faulted for not talking about her father. In contrast, too much has been known about her mother. Her mother was always visible, too visible for comfort.

Her mother gave her the name Carmen and raised her in a province north of Manila. However, when it was time for her to go to school, her overprotective mother brought her and her brother to Manila to give them the best education. Carmen studied in Preciosa Soliven’s Operation Brotherhood Montessori in Greenhills where she emerged as the school’s valedictorian. However, Carmen’s academic rival protested the school’s decision to award Carmen the school’s highest honors, claiming that she had better grades than Carmen. Carmen’s rival even revealed that the school’s owner, Mrs. Soliven, was only fond of Carmen because she always performed in school programs which gave Carmen an edge in extra-curricular activities. But academically, Carmen reportedly did not really rise above her rival. But it was never proven.

Lured into show business, Carmen became part of German Moreno’s inane daily afternoon TV show, That’s Entertainment, where she got paired with comedian and now Quezon City Vice Mayor Herbert “Bistek” Bautista. (Some say that Vice Mayor Bautista was so enamored with Carmen that he later refused to marry his partner despite their having a child.) As one of the countless stars of Kuya Germ’s That’s Entertainment, Carmen’s talent was overshadowed by the ridiculous mass appeal of the triumvirate of Sheryl Cruz, Manilyn Reynes and Tina Paner.

Later, Carmen made a couple of forgettable films which were big flops. Unsuccessful in local show business, Carmen enrolled as a BS Biology student in Ateneo de Manila, hoping to become a doctor. However, the lure of fame and fortune shattered her medical ambition. She followed her other dream and landed in…Dreamland! Yes, instead of comforting innocent and fresh-smelling babies in a hospital, she ended up entertaining horny, sweaty and foul-smelling drunken men in seedy bars.

When Carmen was a little girl, a local manghuhula predicted that she would be crowned Miss Universe. Her mother, legally known as Miss Imutan, was ecstatic upon hearing this. Sadly, the prophecy did not come true. However, when Carmen was 18 years old, she bagged a beauty title. But it was farfetched from a Miss Universe crown. Carmen became Miss Saigon.

Yes, the only true-blooded Filipina who was included in People Magazine’s The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1991 is Feliciano Salonga and Ligaya “Joy” Imutan’s only daughter: Maria Ligaya Carmen Imutan Salonga.

Most of us know her simply as Lea Salonga.

And most of you know about her amazing journey to West End and Broadway.


Beyond Sibling Rivalry

If your siblings are married to huge celebrities and you've just lost your chance of marrying one, would you still strive to surpass their feat?

But how could you beat being married to an award-winning actress whose mother is a beautiful actress and whose father is the original Agent X-44 of Philipine movies?

Or being the wife of Mr. Pure Energy?

Or being Mr. Megastar?

Now, aren’t you glad that you're not one of the Pangilinan siblings?

Former Penthouse Live co-host and newspaper columnist Anthony Pangilinan married Maricel Laxa, an excellent actress who is the lovechild of circa 60s actress Imelda Ilanan and action star Tony Ferrer. She is also the half-sister of 1990 Miss Asia runner-up Mutya Crisostomo Laxa.

Anthony’s brother, Senator Francis Pangilinan, was a campus figure in UP Diliman. He was the chairman of the UP Student Council in 1986. He married no less than the megastar, Sharon Cuneta.

Their sister, Angeli Pangilinan, was a campus beauty and brain while she was a student at the UP School of Economics in Diliman. Angeli married Mr. Pure Energy himself, Gary Valenciano.

REWIND: In the early 80s, teenager Edgardo José Martín Santiago Valenciano or Gary V. to most of us, fell deeply in love with a teenage girl who eventually became his girlfriend. Gary’s true love, they said. And they really looked perfect together. Their friends said that they were truly meant for each other. They were the picture of pure bliss. But not for long.

Few weeks before Gary’s first major concert in 1984, a female singer became pregnant. And Gary was the alleged father. Gary did not deny it. At 19, Gary joined the growing list of unwed teenage fathers.

Gary’s former girlfriend was shocked upon hearing about Gary’s indiscretion. She felt betrayed by Gary and the female singer. Gary’s former girlfriend was devastated.

The pregnant singer who bore Gary’s child was a former Camay girl who joined the ultra exclusive league of several generations of Camay beauties from the first Camay girl Paquita Roces to her two daughters, Maritess Revilla (Ang lahat ay napapalingon… At muling napapalingon) and Rosie Revilla to actress Rosa Rosal’s daughter Toni Rose Gayda (Kutis porcelana) to concert pianist Ingrid Sala Santamaria’s daughter Crispy Santamaria to a few others. The female singer indeed looked devastatingly beautiful in her memorable Camay TV commercial. But there was a teeny weeny objection among his friends: She was too old for the teenage and vibrant Gary whose popularity was just beginning to zoom up.

Everybody knows that the female singer who became pregnant with Gary’s child was María Anna Elizabeth Nepomuceno Pangilinan. In 1985, Gary exchanged vows with the female singer who is more popularly known by her nickname: Angeli.

Angeli retired from her singing group, Music and Magic. Angeli sacrificed her flourishing singing career and left behind her fellow Music and Magic members led by jeepney driver’s daughter-turned-nurse-turned-singer Kuh Ledesma, tenor singer-turned-Music and Magic co-founder-turned-musical director Jet Montelibano and singer-turned-comedian-turned TNT-turned-bogus political asylum seeker-turned-Michael Garfinkel endorser Fe de los Reyes. Angeli decided to become a full-time wife to Gary, baby Paolo’s Mom and Gary’s talent manager.

Meanwhile, the pain of losing Gary has left Gary’s former girlfriend in deep shock. Gary and his new bride tried to comfort her but Gary’s former girlfriend was inconsolable.

PLAY: Gary Valenciano’s most inspired and most popular composition was first heard as the theme song of a Vilma Santos movie before it became the title of an Aga Muhlach-Lea Salonga film and later, the title of a Kim Chiu-Gerald Anderson TV soap opera. The haunting melody and melancholy lyrics of this beautiful song make one wonder where Gary drew the passion and longing for lost love which every line of this song clearly evokes. Listen:
Sana maulit muli
Ang mga oras nating nakaraan
Bakit nagkaganito
Naglaho na ba ang pag-ibig mo?
Sana'y maulit muli
Sana bigyan pansin ang himig ko
Kahapon, bukas, ngayon
Tanging wala ng ibang mahal
Kung kaya kong iwanan ka
'Di na sana aasa pa
Kung kaya kong umiwas na
'Di na sana lalapit pa
Kung kaya ko sana
Ibalik ang kahapon
Sandaling 'di mapapantayan
Huwag sana nating itapon
Pagmamahal na tapat
Kung ako'y nagkamali minsan
'Di na ba mapagbibigyan
O giliw, dinggin mo ang nais ko, oooh...
Kung kaya kong iwanan ka
'Di na sana aasa pa
Kung kaya kong umiwas na
'Di na sana lalapit pa
Kung kaya ko sana
Ito ang tanging nais ko
Ang ating kahapon sana maulit muli
Kung kaya kong iwanan ka
'Di na sana aasa pa
Mahal pa rin kita
O giliw, o giliw ko, oooh...

This song was originally written by Gary in English. Ironically, the one who translated it to Tagalog was Gary’s wife, Angeli.

FAST FORWARD: Now, Gary has three grown-up children with Angeli. On the other hand, Gary’s former girlfriend is now known as Mrs. Buizon. She occasionally hosts a show on TV.

The pain has eased. Somehow. But the former lovers get to see each other regularly. They meet at her Mom’s house during important occasions: Christmas. New Year. Birthday of Mrs. Buizon’s mother. Mrs. Buizon’s birthday. Gary’s birthday. Holidays. Easter Sunday. Every Sunday, in fact.

Gary’s equally famous in-laws were witnesses to the former lovers’ meetings. But they do not mind at all.

Gary’s wife, Angeli, does not make a fuss over it.

Even the family matriarch, retired public school teacher Mommy Emma, is not bothered by it.

But the truth is, they could not prevent the former lovers from seeing each other.

Because Gary’s former girlfriend has to join her mother, siblings and in-laws during important family occasions.

And because Gary’s former girlfriend was Felichi Buizon.

And because, before she got married, Gary’s former girlfriend was known as Felichi Pangilinan.

And yes, because Felichi Pangilinan-Buizon is the younger sister of Angeli Pangilinan-Valenciano.

And none of us would probably ever know the rest of this story.



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Oops… She Made it Again!

How much are you willing to spend for a wedding dress?

Did I hear over P2 million pesos?

You would probably ask: Who in her right mind would spend that much for a dress that would be worn only once.

And your next question would be: Who in her right mind would dare charge that ridiculous amount of money for a dress?

I know someone who would.


And she is in her right mind. And a brilliant one.

Diane was born and raised in the southern city of Cebu. Her family owns a business chain. But she could not imagine herself behind a shop counter waiting for customers while polishing grandma’s earrings, broken necklaces and stolen Rolexes.

After Diane got engaged, she had to choose from mountainous piles of original wedding dress designs before she finally settled for one. This sparked her obsession with designing wedding dresses.

After borrowing money from her mother, Diane and her husband put up a modest fashion house. Within six years, Diane’s extraordinary talent has made her one of the leading bridal fashion designers in the country. Her dresses can be found only in the most expensive stores. Or if you’re lucky, on eBay.

Diane’s designs stand out: classic yet hip, stylish yet functional, romantic yet practical. It is no wonder that the biggest celebrities flock to her shop for their dress for such big events as weddings and movie award nights. One of them was an award-winning actor who commissioned Diane to do his bride’s wedding dress in 2004. The resulting wedding dress got rave reviews from fashion critics.

However, Diane’s biggest challenge came from a young female singer who phoned her in June 2004, requesting her to do the young female singer’s wedding dress as well as all the dresses of her entire bridal entourage. Earlier, this young female singer shocked her fans when she announced that she was marrying an aspiring singer who was a single father with highly questionable reputation.

The young female singer did not want to go to Diane’s shop to choose her wedding dress’ design. The young female singer did not want to catch the media’s attention. So Diane had to meet the young female singer in the latter’s house. Forty designs later, the young female singer finally made her choice.

The young female singer’s wedding dress became the object of guessing game. Showbiz insiders speculated that the young female singer would choose the best wedding dress designer around: Vera Wang. Well, if a minor celebrity like Assunta de Rossi donned a Vera Wang during her wedding to Congressman Jules Ledesma (It does not matter whether it was just off-the-rack), a much bigger star like the young female singer certainly deserved no less than that.
A roll call of celebrities who wore a Vera Wang wedding dress was more than enough to convince anyone that Vera Wang is the obvious choice for the young female singer: Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Garner, Mariah Carey, Jessica Simpson, Avril Lavigne, Thalia, Victoria Beckham, Holly Hunter, Sarah Micehelle Gellar and her alter ego, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, among many others. Yes, they all wore a Vera Wang on their wedding day.

But the young female singer did not want anyone else to make her wedding dress. It had to be Diane.
Diane could only smile whenever she read in the papers various news reports linking the young female singer’s wedding dress with other more famous designers. But she kept her silence.

With only three months prior to the wedding date, Diane mobilized her five-woman team to full-speed mode. After all, the young female singer was not an ordinary client. She was paying the equivalent of about 1.5 million pesos for her wedding gown alone. Well, this is fairly a reasonable price for a wedding dress considering that another client had just paid Diane the equivalent of over 2 million pesos for a single dress.

Then Diane received a frantic call from the young female singer. The young female singer’s request rattled the otherwise cool and composed Diane. And for a reason. Anyone would have choked at the young female singer’s outrageous demand. The young female singer had moved the date of her wedding four weeks earlier. This meant that all the dresses had to be finished - - - brace yourself - - - the next day!

Diane’s team worked for 24 hours nonstop. The task at hand was really tough. They had to finish the young female singer’s Italian silk strapless wedding dress with cathedral-length train plus her post-ceremony ultra-short lace dress, five burgundy silk crepe dresses for the bridesmaids, the mother-of-the-bride’s dress, the mother-of-the-groom’s dress and the stepmother-of-the-groom’s dress.

As expected, Diane and her team finished all the dresses in time for the wedding the next day. Upon seeing the dresses, the young female singer exclaimed, “The dresses were a dream. It was all exactly as I wanted.”

Unfortunately, the marriage was also finished before anyone could make a real singer out of the young female singer’s groom. It was a nightmare. It was not what the young female singer wanted.

You probably must have guessed by now that the young female singer who had her wedding dress made by Diane was then the bride of aspiring singer Kevin Federline.

Of course, we all know that the 22-year old former bride of Kevin Federline was then young female singer Britney Spears.

Yes, Diane made Britney Spears’ wedding dress.

With this, Diane duplicated her 2004 feat when she was commissioned to do the wedding dress of the bride of an award-winning actor who is also named Kevin: Kevin Costner.

We also know that Diane did the wedding dress of Alicia Silverstone, Natalie Imbruglia, Lea Salonga and several other famous names.

And Diane also designed the glamorous wedding dresses (yes, dresses) worn by every young girl’s role model: Barbara Millicent Roberts. (Yes, that’s the full name of Barbie Doll!)

Diane is undoubtedly the current toast of Hollywood. In fact, Diane also made fabulous dresses for Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Meg Ryan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sharon Stone, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Maria Shriver, Terri Hatcher, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Connelly, Diane Lane, Debra Messing, Michelle Gellar, Holly Hunter, Carmen Electra, Marcia Cross… The list is endless.

Just watch the celebrity interviews during the red carpet show of any big showbiz event (the Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy, etc.) and you will be amazed at the impressive list of big-name stars who are wearing Diane’s creations. Oftentimes, Diane’s dresses are worn by more stars than any other designer.

Pinoys couldn’t be prouder of this Pinay.

And Diane is a true Pinay who was born and raised in Cebu City.

And it would have been a big loss to Hollywood had Diane chosen a less stressful life behind a shop counter waiting for customers while polishing grandma’s earrings, broken necklaces and stolen Rolexes.

Because Diane is the heir to the Lhuillier pawnshop business.

Her full name is Diane Monique Lhuillier.

And most Pinoys probably know the rest of her truly amazing conquest of Hollywood.


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On Their Own

There was a time when one would not see the original Miss Saigon, Lea Salonga, without that familiar face behind her: Mrs. Saigon a.k.a. Joy a.k.a. Ligaya. That’s Lea’s mother.
And Ligaya Salonga was there wherever Lea went. Yes, they were always together. Everywhere. All the time.
But now that Lea has gotten married and she is now a Mrs. Saigon herself, Ligaya has disappeared from the picture.
Finally, Lea is on her own.

Lea’s fellow Repertory Philippines alumna, Monique Wilson, has also moved out of the shadow of her original theatre group, Repertory Philipines. Just like Lea, Rep (as it is more popularly called) honed Monique’s theatre talent since she was a small girl. Later, Monique took a theatre course in London. Upon Monique’s return, she organized her own theatre group, the New Voice Company, which was instrumental in bringing to Philippine stage those cutting-edge theatrical productions which no other theatre group would dare touch. Like The v***na Monologues.
Finally, Monique is on her own.

Lea and Monique have really come a long way from that fateful audition day for Miss Saigon in a small function room at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

At the age of nine, Lea and Monique auditioned and subsequently appeared together in some Rep musicals, the most memorable of which was Annie. Lea played the title role while Monique played a relatively minor role.

Three thousand two hundred and eighty five tomorrows later, Lea and Monique were together again for an audition for Broadway producer Cameron Mackintosh’s latest venture. It was a new musical by the same team who brought the highly-acclaimed Broadway musical, Les Miserables: Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg. This new musical is called Miss Saigon, a modern retelling of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.

The competition for a role in Miss Saigon was fierce. All those who auditioned chose their respective song carefully in order to increase their chance of bagging the lead role in the year’s most anticipated musical. And the competition was really so fierce that even friends like Lea and Monique kept their audition song a secret from each other.

The audition team of highly respected composer Claude-Michel Schönberg, maverick Broadway producer Cameron Mackintosh (producer of Broadway blockbusters such as Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, etc.) and Tony award-winning director Nicholas Hytner (also the director of such acclaimed films as The Crucible, The Madness of King George, The History Boys, etc.) trooped to Manila to search for the actress who would play the lead role of Kim in Miss Saigon’s run in London’s West End before moving to Broadway. The idea of flying to Manila came after the audition team noticed that most of those who impressed them during their audition sessions in different parts of the United States had Filipino blood in them. This paved the way for the most exciting chapter of the search for Miss Saigon’s Kim which was compared to Hollywood’s search for Gone with the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara.

Upon arrival in Manila, the audition team was astounded by the wealth of talents that they discovered there. All of Manila’s theatre and movie stalwarts showed up for the auditions. Sadly, many famous names did not make it during the initial and subsequent auditions, like Asia’s songbird Regine Velasquez, actress Rica Peralejo, belter Dulce, singer Roselle Nava, among many other familiar names.

But two young Filipina girls made it during the first audition session in Manila. Among those considered for the lead role of Kim were Lea Salonga and Monique Wilson. These two teeners have many things in common. They were both 18 years old. They both started doing theatre work with Repertory Philippines while they were little girls. They appeared together in some musicals, like Annie, The Sound of Music, among others. They were also both film actresses.

However, the similarity between them ends there. Because Lea and Monique have contrasting styles. If you saw both of them portray the role of Kim in Miss Saigon, you would come to one conclusion : Lea Salonga is a singer who can act while Monique Wilson is an actress who can sing. Yes, Lea is the better singer and Monique is the better actress. This was clearly evident during their respective audition.

During her audition for Miss Saigon, Lea sang a song composed by Miss Saigon composer and one of the audition panelists, Claude-Michel Schönberg. This song was a showstopper in the hit Broadway musical, Les Miserables, where it was sung by one of the musical’s most memorable characters, Eponine. Several years later, Lea Salonga would reprise the same audition song after she accepted the offer to play the role of Eponine in the Broadway production of Les Miserables. With this, Lea gained the distinction of being the first Asian to play the role of Eponine on Broadway. For this role, Lea had to wear a hat wherever she went in order to keep a Caucasian complexion. She also had her Asian nose transformed during each performance. In early 2007, Lea made another Broadway history when she became the first Asian to play the role of Fantine in the restaging of Les Miserables on Broadway.

In 1995, Lea also bagged the honor of singing her audition song in the hit show entitled, Les Miserables in Concert: The Dream Cast. In celebration of Les Miserables’ tenth year, this show gathered together the best actors/actresses who performed in the hit musical around the world for a concert in London’s Royal Albert Hall. Among several great stage actresses who played the part of Eponine during its ten-year run, Lea was chosen to play the part for this ultimate Les Miserables production. And Lea got to sing one of the musical’s most memorable songs which happened to be Lea’s audition song for Miss Saigon.

It must have been quite a thrill for Lea to reprise her audition song before a distinguished audience at the Royal Albert Hall in London together with the best stage performers around the world.

Lea has indeed come full circle from that fateful audition day for Miss Saigon in that small function room at the Cultural Center of the Philippines where she first sang her audition song.

As witnesses distinctly remember, Lea arrived at her audition for Miss Saigon dressed casually without any trace of facial make-up. Then there was silence in the audition room. And in her trademark crystal clear and crisp singing voice, Lea Salonga started singing her audition song.

Lea Salonga sang “On My Own” during her audition for Miss Saigon.

During the same Miss Saigon audition, Monique Wilson also came dressed casually with nary a trace of facial make-up. Then there was silence in the audition room. And in her trademark penetrating and heart-wrenching singing voice, Monique Wilson started singing her audition song.

Monique Wilson sang “On My Own” during her audition for Miss Saigon.

Yes, Lea Salonga and Monique Wilson sang the same song for their Miss Saigon audition.

And neither of them knew that the other will sing the same song.

And they both eventually portrayed the lead role of Kim in Miss Saigon’s original staging at West End’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

From thereon, they both worked their way to be on their own.

And, as we all know, the rest is history.


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Heart of Darkness

It was a highly ambitious film which was based on a book which has become standard high school reading.

It would be helmed by an acclaimed film director whose previous film about an organized crime was a huge critical and commercial success. In fact, it is probably on everybody’s list of favorite films. No wonder, everybody was expecting so much from this next film of the acclaimed film director.

The acclaimed film director needed to prove in this highly-ambitious new film that the accolades bestowed upon him were justified. That’s why he had planned on shooting this new film in the most authentic locations.

However, when a friend of the acclaimed film director learned that the acclaimed film director was going to shoot this film in various parts of the Philippines, the acclaimed film director’s friend who had shot some of his films in these places had only one warning for the acclaimed film director: “Don’t go. The monsoon rain will wreak havoc on your production.”

But the acclaimed film director was adamant. He had already scheduled to shoot most parts of his new film in Baler in Quezon, Pagsanjan in Laguna and Iba in Zambales. He would later erect a 700-foot bridge made of coconut logs with the help of 350 workers from Baler in Quezon Province. Known for their carving masterpieces, Pagsanjan folks would also later help him build the ruins of a massive structure, complete with the gigantic sculpture of a woman's face.

As the acclaimed film director’s friend had earlier predicted, the shooting of the acclaimed film director’s movie was plagued by typhoons which destroyed the film’s elaborate set in Zambales. This took a heavy toll on both the film’s schedule and budget. But the weather was just among the many culprits.

Even before the shooting began, the acclaimed film director was so disappointed that none of the big actors that he had approached wanted to do the film. In his frustration, he threw all his film trophies outside his window. His young children soon picked them up. Except for a single trophy, all were broken.

The new film’s villain was a popular veteran actor who used to work as elevator operator in a department store. He was the lead actor in the acclaimed film director’s previous film about an organized crime. The veteran actor was such a huge star that he was paid much more than the new film’s lead actor despite the fact that the veteran actor would appear only in a few scenes in the new film. In the new film, the veteran actor plays a soldier who had written a paper on The Insurrection in the Philippines.

Prior to the shooting of the new film, the acclaimed film director requested two things from the veteran actor. First, the acclaimed film director wanted the veteran actor to read the book on which the film’s story was based. Second, the acclaimed film director requested the veteran actor to lose weight.

When the veteran actor showed up on his first shooting day, the acclaimed film director was dismayed. The veteran actor had not read the book nor had he lost weight. Worse, the veteran actor even gained weight. He had ballooned to 250 pounds. The veteran actor had not even memorized his lines. In order to hide the veteran actor's bloated figure, the acclaimed film director shot most of the veteran actor’s scenes in shadows. The acclaimed film director also tolerated the veteran actor's improvised dialogue.

In addition to the veteran actor’s hefty fee, the acclaimed film director also yielded to the veteran actor’s demand that the veteran actor could shoot only on weekdays and not later than 5:30 in the afternoon. The veteran actor also expressed displeasure over the name of his character in the film. The veteran actor wanted another name. (A keen filmgoer who had seen this film when it was later shown would have probably noticed that in some parts of the film, the actors were mouthing a different name when referring to the veteran actor’s character in the film but a different name came out of the film’s audio. That’s right, the acclaimed film director brought back the original name of the veteran actor’s character in the film during the sound dubbing in post-production.)

Although the veteran actor’s co-actors found him funny and highly supportive, he earned a reputation for being difficult on the film set. Oftentimes, he was reportedly unwilling or unable to memorize his dialogue. He was also accused of making unusual and childish demands.

But that was just the beginning of the acclaimed film director’s never-ending saga.

After several days of shooting, the acclaimed film director decided to replace his lead actor. Although the acclaimed film director was able to salvage some long shots with the original actor in them, the acclaimed film director had to reshoot most of the earlier scenes that they have already shot with the film's original lead actor.

The new lead actor, who was certainly better-looking than the original lead actor, first auditioned for the lead role in the acclaimed film director’s previous film about organized crime. (The role went to the veteran actor who was playing the villain in this new film.) But the acclaimed film director was not spared of the good-looking new lead actor’s own troubles. The good-looking new lead actor, who was a political activist with a record of more than 70 arrests, became the talk of the town when he was rumored to be getting too close with another political activist: respected film director Lino Brocka.

But the new lead actor had a deeper secret: he was an alcoholic. In the film’s opening scene, the new lead actor was actually dead drunk while they were shooting the scene. As a result, the new lead actor accidentally punched a mirror and hurt his hand badly. (The acclaimed film director decided to include this accident in the final cut of the film.) It was no wonder that midway through the shooting of the film, the new lead actor suffered a near-fatal heart attack. The new lead actor’s condition was so bad that he was reportedly given the last rites by a priest.

Since the shooting had been delayed for too long and it had been way over its original budget, the acclaimed film director could not stall the shooting any further. So while the lead actor was recuperating, the acclaimed film director continued to shoot the film with the new lead actor’s brother (who looked and sounded like the lead actor) as a stand-in.

Even the supporting actors became a source of headache for the acclaimed film director. One of the supporting actors was constantly under the influence of alcohol and drugs during the making of the film. Another actor, who was reportedly in and out of drug rehabilitation centers, was also deeply into drugs. He kept on forgetting his dialogue and kept on ignoring the acclaimed film director’s instruction.

Even real Philippine Marine soldiers who were hired as film extras constantly annoyed the acclaimed film director because there were times when the soldiers had to leave in the middle of a difficult scene because they were being summoned by their military superiors to fight the rebels. Not to fight actors playing the role of rebels. But to fight real rebels.

When the acclaimed film director was about to shoot a scene which needed several American soldiers as extras, he realized too late that there were not too many Caucasian-looking Pinoys. So, he had to scour Manila’s International School, foreign embassies and even medical schools (where there were many American medical students whose poor grades did not make it to US medical schools). Even the young sons (who were practically children) of the acclaimed film director and the lead actor were just too happy to act as soldiers.

The acclaimed film director did not even know how to end the film. He did not like the script’s original ending. He wanted a fresh ending. But he did not know how to do it. Until one day, his wife came home from a trip to Ifugao in Mountain Province. The acclaimed film director’s wife excitedly relayed to the acclaimed film director that she witnessed an Ifugao ceremony where they slaughtered two carabaos. The acclaimed film director’s wife added that the Ifugaos even sent a gift for the acclaimed film director. When the acclaimed film director’s wife opened the package that she brought with her from Ifugao, the acclaimed film director was baffled. The Ifugaos had sent the acclaimed film director the heart of a freshly-slaughtered carabao. The acclaimed film director’s wife explained that the gift was the Ifugaos’ way of honoring the acclaimed film director. When the acclaimed film director asked his wife what he was supposed to do with the carabao’s heart, the acclaimed film director’s wife replied that he was probably supposed to eat it. The acclaimed film director just asked his wife to keep it in the refrigerator.
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The Ifugao ceremony which the acclaimed film director’s wife talked about gave the acclaimed film director an idea for the film’s ending. So, he immediately sent a representative to speak to the leaders of the Ifugao tribe. In a flash, hordes of Ifugao tribe members came down from the Mountain Province to participate as extras in the film. The Ifugaos literally lived on the film set along Pagsanjan River during the entire time that their scenes were being shot. The Ifugaos were very cooperative during the filming but the acclaimed film director was specially fascinated by three young Ifugao girls who were inseparable during the entire shooting of the film.

Aside from these three young Ifugao girls and a handful of adult female Ifugaos, the film’s cast consisted entirely of male actors and extras. In fact, there was only one female actress in the film. However, even those who have seen this film probably did not even notice her because she did not even have a dialogue. But a few moviegoers would probably recognize her as the same actress who portrayed the award-winning role of Nimia, the prostitute childhood friend of Elsa (played by Nora Aunor) in Ishmael Bernal’s Himala (based on Ricky Lee’s screenplay which won in the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines’ First Scriptwriting Contest). Others would probably remember her in Peque Gallaga’s war epic, Oro Plata Mata (based on Joey Reyes’ screenplay which was Himala’s co-winner in the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines’ First Scriptwriting Contest) where she played the role of a housemaid who was seen shelling dried watermelon seeds (butong pakwan) for Fides Cuyugan, Liza Lorena, Mitch Valdez and Lorli Villanueva as the quartet played mahjong amid the chaos of World War II. Yes, the only female actress in the acclaimed film director’s highly-ambitious new film was stage actress Gigi Duenas. But even if you combine Gigi Duenas’ 4 or 5 split-second exposures in the film, the single scene of the three young adorable Ifugao girls laughing and teasing each other behind the veteran actor was probably much longer and certainly more fun to watch.

But the acclaimed film director’s pleasant experience with the Ifugaos did not completely buoy his sagging spirit as seemingly insurmountable problems continued to crop up every day. The film’s shooting which was originally scheduled for 17 weeks lasted 8 ½ months. The ever-ballooning cost of making the film nearly bankrupted the acclaimed film director’s own film studio. (But the director redeemed himself later when the film made money at the box office and even won a very prestigious film award.)

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For Part 2: Here
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akalain mo.. si rizal.. naghweteng din pala. andaming kwento dito..interesting :)
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