RICKY LO'S "2000, A YEAR LIKE NO OTHER!"
Quezon City, Dec. 31, 2000 (PHILIPPINE STAR by Ricky Lo) - Goodbye, Dragon; hello, Snake!
Kris cried over Alvin (how could you be so, uh, "heartless"?) and so did Anjanette (did she?) over a guy who deserved not a goodbye but a good riddance. Aga and Charlene made headlines for their wedding scheduled middle of 2001 yet while Fernando Carillo/Jose of Rosalinda fame drove women – and even young congressmen, would you believe! – into a collective swoon when he dropped by for a visit without his leading lady Thalia (who would marry Sony Music big boss Tommy Mottola before 2000 came to a close).
Some went ahead of us to the Great Beyond, like Jun Aristorenas, LEA Productions lady boss Emilia "Aling Miling" Blas, Tito Arevalo and Lora Luna.
The movie industry, like its counterparts in all of Asia, got a much-needed shot-in-the-arm when the FPJ starrer Ang Dalubhasa ushered Year 2000 in with a merry ring at the box office (followed by half a dozen others as the months rolled by, such as Star Cinema’s Anak, Tunay na Tunay and Kahit Isang Saglit; Viva Films’ Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw, etc.; and Regal Films’ Laro sa Baga, etc.). The industry hasn’t fully recovered yet from the prolonged "slump" but it’s getting there, thank you!
Television was where it’s at, with ‘em superstars starring in their own shows (Bong Revilla in Idol Ko si Kap, Phillip Salvador in the short-lived Verano and Rudy Fernandez in Kasangga, all on GMA) and top stations pumping the boob tube with big-budgetted tele-series (such as ABS-CBN’s Pangako Sa’yo, etc.). The biggest show is, however, the ongoing impeachment trial of President Erap, beating all shows (no exception) in the ratings game.
2000 was a good year; 2000 was a bad year. It was an exciting year; it was a depressing year. It was a year of weddings and of break-ups, of unexpected twists and turns, of births (in and out of wedlock) that kept the stork very busy, indeed! What a year it was! What thrilling 12 months those were! 2000 was, yes, a year like no other.
But before we bid the Year of the Dragon farewell and let the Year of the Snake slither in, let’s take a last, lingering look at the events that made it a unique year. Here are our Top Ten Stories of the Year (at random order): The Cesar Montano-Sunshine Cruz Wedding
The 10-year-plus age gap between them notwithstanding, the initially "secret" romance of Cesar (nearing his 40s) and Sunshine (into her early 20s) culminated in a sunset fairy-tale wedding to the tune, according to speculations, of P8 million, prompting a publicity-seeking congressman to suggest a "probe" into Cesar’s finances (as if Cesar was stealing people’s money and squandering it). The couple honeymooned in Europe and are happily adjusting to each other, despite reports of occasional "lovers’ quarrels" (very common among newly-weds).
Others who also married were: Aiko Melendez and Jomari Yllana, Harlene Bautista and Romnick Sarmenta, Andrew E. and non-showbiz girlfriend Mylene Tan, Jan Marini and Gerard Pizzaras, Giselle Sanchez and Emil Buencamino, Agot Isidro and non-showbiz boyfriend Manu Sandejas (brother of Christine Jacob’s husband Paco), Angelique Lazo and businessman Ramon Mayuga, Lindsay Custodio and Julius Platon (son of the Mayor of Tanauan, Batangas), Niño Muhlach and Edith Mallare, and Melanie Marquez and (lawyer) Randy Lawyer. The Annulment Of Martin Nievera And Pops Fernandez’s Marriage
And it came to pass that four years after news of their domestic trouble hit the headlines, Martin and Pops were declared by the court "free again" – free to have other partners and, why not, to marry (other partners – or each other) if they want to. Although expected, the annulment was met with sadness not only by Martin and Pops but by their followers and sympathizers who wish that, heaven please, they’d get back together again in a lovelier-the-second-time-around turn. Martin has a girlfriend, Miss K, while Pops (who has gone bold and daring as an actress) has remained fancy-free.
Other couples waiting for the courts to hand down decision on their own annulment cases include Angel Aquino (from husband Ian Bernardez who’s based abroad), Geneva Cruz (from Paco Arespacochaga), Carmina Villarroel (from Rustom Padilla) and Amy Perez (from Brix Ferraris). The year’s "Noisiest Couple" was – drum roll, please! – none other than Dingdong Avanzado and Jessa Zaragoza who washed their dirty linen on national television, dragging into the mess Jessa’s family.
Luckily, Mikee Cojuangco and Dodot Jaworski nipped in the bud rumors about their "break-up" by appearing happily together on TV. Case closed. Juliana Torres-Gomez, (Dragon) Baby Of The Year
On Sept. 8, birthday of Mama Mary, Juliana said, "Hello, World!," fulfilling the ardent wish of her mom, Marian devotee Lucy Torres, that her and husband Richard Gomez’s first child be born on that day. Combining the best qualities and features of her parents, Juliana is, no doubt, the Dragon Baby of 2000, now making a name of her own as a celebrity, a little superstar in her own right.
Others who gave birth: Christine Jacob to her and Paco’s first child, Liezl Sicangco to her and husband Robin Padilla’s first boy (they have three daughters), Gellie de Belen (and Ariel Rivera) to a boy, Mikee Cojuangco (and Dodot Jaworski) to a boy, Harlene Bautista (and Romnick Sarmenta), bold star Aila Marie, Cookie Chua (and Earl Ignacio), Regine Tolentino (and Lander Vera-Perez), Jacqui Manzano (and Anjo Yllana), Victor Neri’s non-showbiz girlfriend and Sharon Cuneta to her and husband Kiko Pangilinan’s first child (Simone Francesca Emmanuelle). The Much-Awaited Comeback Of Laurice Guillen
We missed her oh-so-terribly during her five-year absence, didn’t we? Her comeback was a big splash, via a family drama, Star Cinema’s Metro Filmfest 2000 entry Tanging Yaman, which was a hit among critics and lay moviegoers alike and a big winner at the Metrofest awards (including the Best Director plum for the "comebacker," Best Picture and Best Actor for Laurice’s husband Johnny Delgado, another "comebacker"). Ara Mina Found Her Real Father
And he’s none other than – another drum roll, please! – Chuck Mathay, son of Quezon City Mayor Mel Mathay. They are lookalikes, like two peas in a pod, from their elongated chin to their tentative smile to their dimples to their manner of speaking. Ara first heard about the truth when her mom, former actress Venus Imperial, and her husband (who turned out to be Ara’s stepfather), were having a fight. When Ara first saw Chuck during the 1998 election campaign (where she joined other stars who performed at a miting de avance for Mel Mathay), she knew Chuck was "it." Lukso ng dugo, you know! Robin Padilla’s Derring-Do At The Abu Sayyaf Camp
The former Bad Boy dared where other "brave men" feared to tread – enter the lair of the Abu Sayyaf to act as a (self-appointed) emissary, but not a negotiator, of the government for the release of hostages at the start of the long-drawn real-life drama that caught the attention of other countries (because most of the hostages were foreigners). It was a good thing the Abu Sayyaf didn’t keep Robin as a hostage (like preacher Wilde Almeda and company). Robin came back, yes, empty-handed. The Big Success Of Vilma Santos In Anak
Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos scored a smash hit by playing an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) who comes home after years of working as a domestic in Hong Kong to a hostile daughter (played by Claudine Barretto). Anak was the year’s biggest hit, raking in more than P150 million, shown to capacity crowds not only from Aparri to Jolo but also in other countries (like Japan, Hong Kong, Italy. etc.). There’s hope for the movie industry, yes? The Gabby Concepcion Brouhaha
Believe it or not, actor-in-exile Gabby Concepcion made headlines by not being here. You see, there was some kind of a tug-of-war for his services between two local companies. Negotiations started but went pffft along the way, ending with Gabby’s former manager-cum-nanay Lolit Solis and his father, Rollie, renewing acerbic charges against each other. Gabby is back in his blissful anonymity in California, veering farther and farther away from the cruel showbiz spotlight. Regine Velasquez’s Us Visa Fiasco
Though not a fault of hers (so who got her into hot water, anyway?), Regine’s US visa was revoked when she was blamed (so who really is the "culprit"?) for including persons who shouldn’t be there in a group application for US visas in connection with Regine’s US concert tour. Poor girl was accused of "alien smuggling." Soon, hopefully, the US Embassy might – just might – review Regine’s case and, if found "innocent," who knows, Regine might get back her precious US visa. The Suspension Of Mtb Hosts Willie Revillame, Randy Santiago And John Estrada
It was the Calendar Girl portion of their noontime show, ABS-CBN’s Magandang Tanghali Bayan (MTB), that did them in. Found "guilty" of not treating female contestants like proper ladies, the Zany Trio was slapped with a one month suspension by the MTRCB, forcing the trio to make a tearful apology (for being "obscene") on MTB before they took a "vacation." MTB was briefly replaced (well, only its title) by a new show called Esep Esep (inspired by co-hosts Amy Perez’s favorite line in the Pera O Bayong portion). But only two weeks later, the trio was back on MTB. Happy days are here again!
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