Last Jan. 17, we boarded the 7 p.m. flight to Cebu for a Sinulog weekend, which has become something of regular for me, thanks to the Kapuso network for the invitation to witness its effort in the Queen City of the South annually. We stayed overnight in Park Lane Hotel near the Ayala Center and moved to Radisson Blu, adjacent to SM City Cebu, the following day.
That weekend (Jan. 18-20), GMA Network flew its top prime time stars led by Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr
., who plays the lead in the currently running series called Indio,
and Primetime Queen Marian Rivera
, star of the top-rating Temptation of Wife,
and Dingdong Dantes
, main attraction in the soap opera Pahiram ng Sandali
, to Cebu to be part of year’s celebration of the Sinulog Festival.
On Friday (Jan. 18), Marian, who is also FHM
’s cover girl for the magazine’s 150th
issue, was joined by the rest of the cast of Temptation of Wife—Dennis Trillo
, Glaiza de Castro
, Michelle Madrigal
, Bettina Carlos
, and Rafael Rosell—
in the Kapuso Mall Show at Gaisano Capital-Casuntingan, Mandaue City at 3 p.m. and at 5 p.m. in the Kapuso Night at the Ayala Terraces Cebu where the crowd was thrice more than what I had seen previously for any Kapuso show in the city.
We were seated on the first row fronting the stage at the Ayala Terraces. Then event host Anna Maris Igpit
and her Cebuano co-host called in Rafael Rossel
who immediately plunged into a number. The crowd became restless, screaming his name while others content themselves with simply shrieking drowning out the song, while he went downstage to shake the hands of the audience crowding the barrier set by security of the mall. The guards were helpless against the force of the crowd turning into a mob.
Rosell sang another sing and after it he went into a short pep talk on stage, and upon the crowd’s urging to remove his jacket, he did and threw it up in the air towards the crowd. It landed a couple of meters from me while two of the crowd were pulling the jacket from each other with all their strength that threw the other members of the media down to the ground. I was nearly knocked down, but I was able to wrestle away from the two jacket-hungry members of the audience. When finally, the girl who was seated beside me, won the ownership of the jacket, Rosell, unaware of what he sowed upon the crowd, was already backstage.
I had to leave the audience and position myself at the right wing of the stage, the other members of the media that flew from Manila to Cebu following me.
It was a scary experience, really. It was one for the books. I didn’t know Rafael Rosell could ignite a crowd into a mob just by removing his jacket.
The rest of the Temptation of Wife
stars did their numbers and applauded passionately by the audience—Glaiza de Castro, Michelle Madrigal, Dennis Trillo and Marian Rivera who were swarmed by gay men in the crowd who joined the dance contest with her. Photo sessions punctuated the number, but Rivera accommodated gladly the request of her gay Cebuano fans.
Bettina Carlos joined Igpit in hosting the event.
Rosell said during a brief chat before the show at Alejandro’s at Crossroads in Banilad that he was surprised at how the Cebuanos welcomed him. “That means they are watching the series,” he said.
Rivera was swarmed with autograph seeking fans with their copies of FHM
. Said one member of Cebuano media, “It seems FHM
copies have sold out here in Cebu!”
On Saturday (Jan. 19) Dingdong Dantes arrived with Lorna Tolentino
, and Max Collins
. They met members of the Cebuano press at Café Laguna in SM City Cebu before proceeding to the 3 p.m. Kapuso Mall Show at Gaisano Grand Fiesta Mall, Tabunok.
Meanwhile at Gaisando Grand Mall in Mactan at 4 p.m., Pahiram ng Sandali’s Kristoffer Martin
, Paroa: Ang Kuwento Ni Mariposa’s Barbie Forteza
, and Forever’s Isabel Oli
gave Cebuanos a treat via a Kapuso Mall Show.
But the real excitement was at the SM City Cebu with he cast of Indio
featured in a show at the mall’s Event Center.
Bong Revilla appearing in a provincial gig for the first time was a treat to Cebuanos who troop to the mall regularly. He came on stage after Jennylyn Mercado
, Ehra Madrigal
, and Rhian Ramos
entertained the audience rubbernecking to have a glimpse of the stars in the crowded food court’s center stage.
But, the young Cebuanos jumped and screamed as Alden Richards
came out to sing a song. Alden plays a young Simeon/Malaya, the character played by Revilla in Indio
. When Bong started throwing posters and shirts to the crowd on the basement up the ground floor, it was nearly pandemonium.
At The Majestic on the mall’s third floor, a crowd was waiting for the stars. The diners wondered what could be happening but when they saw the stars come in one by one, they couldn’t help but take their digital cameras out of their bags in the hope of snapping a photo of one of the stars, and most of them did actually.
On Sunday (Jan. 20), at The Sinulog Grand Parade along the major streets of the city, Bong and Rhian joined the parade in the morning, while Alden and Ehra took over in the afternoon. They rode an Indio
float designed by dear friend Rollie de Leon
and constructed in Cebu for the occasion.
Revilla is much delighted to see how the Cebuanos felt in this kind of sortie for him, which is not political at all. And he didn’t regret having said “yes” to the network’s top gun to join the Sinulog celebration with the rest of the Kapuso stars.
In some parts of Western Visayas particularly in Kabanlakan City, Negros Occidental, the Sinulog Sa Kabanlakan: Kapuso Fiesta were festive as well with Indio’
s Alden Richards and Forever
’s Isabel Oli
gracing the even before proceeding to Cebu along with comic duo Moymoy Palaboy
. Both returned to Manila immediately after.
GMA Central and Eastern Visayas Station Manager, Ann Marie O. Tan
, said, “January is a busy month for us Cebuanos as this is the time of the year when we come together as one with pride for our beloved patron saint, Senyor Sto. Nino. And I am very positive that my fellow Cebuanos were thrilled that GMA Network joined in the fun and excitement brought about by this one-of-a-kind festival.”
The full details of the Network’s participation in the 2013 Sinulog Festival will be featured in the two-part special of the weekly travelogue “Let’s Fiesta” airing on Feb. 10 and 17 via the Network’s regional stations in Bicol, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Dagupan, Ilocos, GenSan, Bacolod, and CDO.