Manila, August 11, 2003 (STAR) FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo  - "I’m surprised how Lorin has changed the way I look at life. I never thought I could change so much."

That‘s what brand-new mom, Ruffa Gutierrez (who now prefers being called "Mrs. Yilmaz Bektas" or simply "Mrs. Bektas"), is telling Funfare readers in her latest text message from her and Yilmaz’s lovenest in Marina del Rey, Los Angeles, one week after she gave birth (by normal delivery) to Lorin Gabriella at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the same city.

"Yilmaz and I are just so happy," I could imagine Ruffa gushing. "Everything‘s just so perfect! Yilmaz assisted me during the delivery; he held my hands. He also cut Lorin’s umbilical cord. I’m breastfeeding Lorin (which is Kurdish word for lullaby and not love as earlier mentioned). Yilmaz and I don’t get tired looking at Lorin’s face. She’s so pretty! She sleeps between Yilmaz and me. I feed her and it‘s Yilmaz who makes her burp."

Ruffa, er, Mrs. Bektas described their Marina del Rey condo as "super full". Her parents, Eddie Gutierrez and Annabelle Rama, brothers Elvis, Rocky and Raymond (Richard‘s twin), and a yaya are always there, even if the Gutierrezes have their own home in Beverly Hills. Mama Annabelle is "supervising" Ruffa in her new, very-much-welcome real-life role as a "nursing mom".

As soon as Lorin’s papers and documents are fixed, according to Ruffa, she and Yilmaz are bringing Lorin to Istanbul where they’ll settle down temporarily. "As I’ve been saying, I will stay wherever Yilmaz’s business brings him. Lorin and I will be going with him anywhere he goes." (Going to Istanbul with the couple are Lolo Eddie, Lola Annabelle and Ruffa’s brother Elvis.) By virtue of jus soli (citizenship by place of birth), Lorin is an American citizen, just what Ruffa wants her to be.

Because (especially) Yilmaz and Ruffa are guarding the privacy of their daughter, they won’t have any photos of Lorin published. Even GMA 7, which has exclusive rights to the coverage of Ruffa’s activities in exchange for revocation of her contract (to do soaps, etc.), was not allowed to take video shots of Lorin. Oh, well, if your baby is an instant multi-millionaire upon birth (gifted with a staggering $1 million, roughly P55 million, by her paternal grandmother), you too wouldn’t take chances, would you? You can never tell, knock on wood! Mahirap na, ‘no?

But Ruffa promised to have Lorin photographed when they come home (to the Philippines) for the Christmas holidays.

"By then," said Ruffa, "Lorin should be taking small steps already, di ba?"

Yeah. Grabe, ‘no?

Kenyan is Miss Earth

Several weeks ago, Gerry Diaz, chief correspondent of the Mabuhay Beauties Message Board, filed a "scoop" to Funfare about the dethronement of Bosnia Herzegovina’s Dzejla Glavovic as Miss Earth "due to her failure to comply with the stipulations in her contract," thus paving the way for Kenya’s Winfred "Winnie" Omwakwe, the first runner-up, to take the crown. (The new winner, Miss Earth 2003, will be chosen before end of the year, also in Manila.)

Omwakwe finally flew in last Monday, Aug. 4, from Kenya, emerging from the 12-hour flight, with a brief stopover in Dubai, as fresh as a daisy, according to Gerry who did an exclusive interview with Omwakwe (who was formally "crowned" last Thursday, Aug. 7) at the sprawling office in Wack Wack, Mandaluyong City of Carousel Productions which is behind the Miss Earth search and its local counterpart, the Miss Philippines pageant.

Following are some interesting facts about Omwakwe culled by Gerry from their interview:

• Omwakwe belongs to the Luhya tribe which is one of the biggest among Kenya’s 42 tribes.

• Her reaction to being the new Miss Earth: "I was stunned and couldn’t believe it. But then I saw the congratulatory messages in my e-mail and I received calls from all over. That’s when I was convinced it wasn’t a hoax."

• After the Miss Earth pageant last year, Omwakwe went to Canada to take a vacation and to look for a school where she can take up a nursing course. In Kenya, she studied Physiotherapy, a six-month course which led to her interest in nursing. "There’s a shortage of nurses in my country," she disclosed.

• She’s an orphan. Her father died when she was 10, followed by her mother two years later. It was her older brother and older sister who have been acting as her surrogate parents.

• Omwakwe, 21, qualified as her country’s representative to the Miss Earth contest after she finished first runner-up in the 2002 Miss Tourism World Kenya pageant. It was the first beauty contest she ever joined.

• Asked if she could fall for a Filipino and marry him, Omwakwe smiled and said, "Why not? It’s possible!"

Briefly noted

• Besides The STAR, also invited by Sony Music to interview Ricky Martin in Singapore (for the Asia promo of his seventh album, Almas del Silencio, composed of all-Spanish songs were Aubrey Miles (for MTB) and Inquirer’s Tim Yap. It was Aubrey’s first assignment to interview a foreign artist. I peeped into her prepared list of questions (for her allotted seven minutes with Ricky) and one of them went this way, "Why is your nickname Kiki?" Well, to answer that question, simply because Ricky’s full name is Enrique. Unlike in the Philippines, Ricky’s nickname doesn’t have any bad meaning.

• On the way back to Manila (on SQ Flight 72), I bumped into Rafael Rosell IV at the Changi Airport. Rafael was on the last leg of a long flight from Norway where he took a two-week vacation, flying first to Copenhagen (one hour) and then to Singapore (12 hours) before proceeding to Manila (three hours and a half). Rafael was bathroom-fresh, smelling of cologne. It turned out that he took a quick shower at Changi and changed clothes. His parents, who used to stay and work in Norway (where Rafael and siblings grew up), are now based in Abu Dhabi but now vacationing in the Philippines where they’re reuniting with Rafael.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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