REGINE VELASQUEZ: PAPA'S GIRL
Quezon City, June 14, 2002 (STAR) by Boy Abunda - I was entranced by the last two songs of Regine Velasquez in her Bantay Bata Musical Special aired over ABS-CBN Channel 2 some weeks ago. I have seen and heard the venerable Streisand do the song in Yentl a couple of times and in some of her past musical outings. Streisand sang it for a departed father, while summoning her own heartbreaking untold story about a father she didn’t know from a well guarded corner inside her heart, putting every nuance of this personal struggle into this song. Regine in a sense is luckier than her. Because that night, singing Papa, Can You Hear me, Papa can you see me… she knew that Papa was somewhere near her – intently watching his girl – just as he has all his life. Papa, can you help me not be frightened – oh yes, Mang Gerry was always there through good, flat and sharp notes, through the good and bad times – he has never left his daughter’s side. He walked with her in dark alleys and through rough roads as she joined over 200 amateur singing contests. He swam with her in the salty waters of Leyte Gulf while training his daughter in the proper way of diaphramic breathing. He carried her when she was too young, weak, frail to fight on. But even when his daughter has become the brightest star in the sky, Mang Gerry continues to watch over her. Regine has never been alone. She didn’t do it alone.
Regine has been a good, dutiful daughter. Not once have I heard that Regine, public that she is – has had differences with her father. The love and respect between father and daughter have been more constant than the music in their lives.
Even though, the night is filled with voices – I remember everything you taught me… So true, Regine, when everyone offered you a trick or two about your life and music – you chose to listen to your father.
You are where you are because you make sure that Mang Gerry hears you say how much you love him. And how he deserves it, Regine!
No amount of razzmatazz and bravura – from the lovely gowns you wore, to the minimalist make-up you applied on your face, not even the brilliant sound of the San Miguel Orchestra and the angelic voices of the chorus, neither the jewels and studied grace of the well-heeled audience you had that night could hide the vulnerable countenance of the little, frail, fair-skinned girl that Mang Gerry nurtured into superstardom and womanhood.
So that night under the stars, when you sang What Kind of Fool Am I, I could almost smell the raw passion. I saw your veins come out in your neck and you clenched your fists as you belted out:
"What kind of clown am I?
What do I know of life
Why can’t I cast away the mask
Of play and live the life
Why can’t I fall in love
Till I don’t give a damn
And maybe then I know
What kind of fool I am!"
Wherever is; he who does not yet see the beauty of your heart and face – is a bigger fool!
Regine that night stood tall in the middle of a cavernous stage, wrapped in a revealing pink gown that showed a great part of her breast but concealed her heart. But her heart was all over her voice that soared straight to the skies, where God was perhaps watching in awe, on how this brave girl from Balagtas, Bulacan, triumphant after a difficult journey, that brought her that night to the majestic stairway of the National Museum – a feat – borne out of hard work and perseverance and magnificent talent – nurtured by Regine and yes – her father, Mang Gerry!
God must have applauded with gusto – I thought I heard thunder!
Regine is at her greatest everytime she decides to be small. When she displays her vulnerability and her homegrown valiance, she shimmers like a red diamond. Everything that night blended so well – like everything was meant for her.
Bravo, Regine! The brilliant Mr. M. (Johnny Manahan) gave Regine some of the best television shots she’s ever had in her career. Maestro Ryan Cayabyab was expectedly great!
She sang for Bantay Bata. She sang for children who need to be loved and nurtured. She reminded everyone not to lose the child in each heart for there is a world that only children can see. And it’s a beautiful world.
Regine Velasquez as a performer and person who empowers and allows others to dream. This is the best part about Regine. Everytime she performs onstage, everytime she sings a song, she reminds all of us that there was a time when it seemed like no one wanted to listen. But it is that past that makes her who she is today – strong, generous, human, pained and blessed.
And Regine is lucky.
When she sang, Papa watch me fly, Mang Gerry was there watching his lovely daughter spread her wings and fly.
(Happy Father’s Day, Mang Gerry!)
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
2002 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS
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