MANILA, AUGUST 27, 2011 (STAR) FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo (PHOTO - UST Rector Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., and Dr. Vicki Belo who was given the university’s Quadricentennial Award for Exemplary Service together with Vivian Que-Azcona (president of Mercury Drug Corporation) and Josephine Ty-Chua (founder of Century Savings Bank and owner of Legaspi Import and Export Corporation))

It was one rare moment when Dr. Vicki Belo cried in public.

In celebration of the Pontifical and Royal Catholic University of Santo Tomas’ 400th anniversary this year, a high Mass was held on Aug. 8 at the Santissimo Rosario Parish Chapel, officiated by UST Rector Fr. Rolando dela Rosa, O.P.

The Mass was followed by a special ceremony in which Vicki and two other alumnae were recognized and awarded with the prestigious Quadricentennial Award for Exemplary Service which is given only every 400 years.

[PHOTO - UST Rector Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., and Dr. Vicki Belo]

The two other awardees were Vivian Que-Azcona, president of Mercury Drug Corporation, and Josephine Ty-Chua, founder of Century Savings Bank and owner of Legaspi Import and Export Corporation.

They were chosen for their great support of the school’s vision and mission through their own initiative and kindness to the community.

“I couldn’t control myself,” Vicki told Funfare, “I really cried. I felt vindicated being recognized by my alma mater.”

During trying times when her detractors spread rumors that she’s not really a certified doctor (hindi naman talaga siya duktor), Vicki said that it was UST that stood by her. “I have received many awards but this is the most meaningful because it comes from my alma mater.”

Known as the Ambassador of Beauty and “Doctor to the Stars,” Vicki obtained her degree in medicine from UST in 1985. Since then, she has been lauding UST as “one of the best medical schools in the world.”

[PHOTO - Vicki with (from left) ex-husband Tom Henares, adoptive mom Nena Belo, daughter Cristalle Henares, UST Rector De la Rosa, Andrew Gan and Fr. Isidro Abano, O.P.]

In her acceptance speech, Vicki compared UST to her adoptive parents who fostered her with world-class education and a deep sense of morality in the practice of medicine.

Her adoptive mother, Nena Belo, was present at the ceremony together with Vicki’s daughter Cristalle Henares, ex-husband Atom Henares and father-in-law Larry Henares.

How Way Back Home made AJ’s father cry

Like Dr. Vicki, Gerry Perez couldn’t help but cry also in public when he attended the premiere night of Star Cinema’s Way Back Home a few days ago.

You see, Gerry’s son AJ Perez, who died in a car accident last April, was the original choice for the role that went to Sam Concepcion. Besides Sam, the movie directed by Jerry Lopez Sineneng also stars Enrique Gil, Kathryn Bernardo and Julia Montes.

[PHOTO - AJ Perez’s dad Gerry with Enrique Gil (left) and Sam Concepcion during the premiere of Star Cinema’s Way Back Home]

“I am touched that they dedicated the movie to AJ,” said Gerry, a former PAL flight attendant. “They even named Sam’s character AJ. I’m very proud of the stars and those behind the movie.”

Asked about Sam’s performance, Gerry said, “He did very well. I hope that he will be given more projects, movies, teleseryes so that his star will shine bigger and brighter.”

Those who attended the premiere noted the similarities between Sam and AJ.

“Did you know that AJ’s first TV commercial had Sam’s dad as AJ’s father?”


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