By Oliver Carnay
Ruffa's L.A. Birthday
Despite her hectic
schedule (attending yoga, lactation consultation, and other nursery preparation
for her upcoming labor), and in between "baby showers" her friends are giving
her, Ruffa took time out to be with close relatives and friends in L.A. to
celebrate at a birthday party given by her dutiful mom Annabelle Rama, held
at "Full House" Restaurant in Chinatown last Sunday (June 22).
Her father Eddie Gutierrez, and brothers Rocky
Raymond assisted her in receiving the guests.
Tita Annabelle postponed her supposed leave for Manila until June 25, a day
before Ruffa's actual birthday, so she can be with her only daughter the
day of her actual birthday.
A week ago, Ruffa transferred to her new 6-month
lease condo-apartment in Marina del Rey (in front of the Ritz Carlton), at
the tenth floor with a 360 degree glass ocean view. "It's too bright during
daytime, that's why I'm still busy re-decorating the nursery room," says
Ruffa, sitting beside me while everyone was busy eating dinner, while describing
her new place (where I almost fell off my seat when she told me the amount
of the monthly lease-payment!).
Ruffa is scheduled to go into labor at the
end of July. Brother Rocky who is staying with her at the flat is attending
her special needs while Yilmaz, her husband, is busy finishing paper work
in Istanbul before flying back to Los Angeles.
Ruffa is still overwhelmed by the love and
affection she is receiving from her supporters, especially by her immediate
family. Her face glows every time she talks about the baby. I asked, what
is her birthday wish, and she replied, "My only birthday wish is nothing
material. I just hope and pray that my baby girl comes out healthy, normal,
and happy. Paglabas niya, I hope that this is the best birthday gift that
I can give my husband (who is celebrating his birthday on July 19). Yes,
we're both under the sign of "Cancer", and I think the baby would also be
a Cancer or a Leo," she adds.
On motherhood: "Gosh, I'm sure it will
be an experience that will beat all my experiences. I'll tell you the day
I'll hold my baby, Oliver! I'm sure it's going to change my life 180 degrees.
I've already actually changed. I've been busy with the nursery (everything's
almost done!) I just have to touch it up (the baby's room) and do some color.
I've had lactation consultation, and pre-natal yoga seminar. So, anything
you can expect from an excited mom-to-be, I've been experiencing all these
Are you going to breastfeed your baby? "Of
course, darling! --- Grabe!"
Carol-Ogie and Lani
with Basil, deja vu?
Two powerful concerts were staged in Los Angeles
a year ago. And recently, they staged a Los Angeles
comeback. It was almost a repeat fate!
Lani Misalucha held her first major U.S. concert
at the posh Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena barely ten months ago,
on August 10, 2002, billed as "Flight of the Nightingale", and brought newcomer
Jed Maddela, another Ronnie Henares protégé (whatever happened
Carol Banawa, on the other hand, did her first
L.A. concert (named "Power of C") at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, with newcomer
(ABS-CBN talent) RJ Rosales as guest on August 24, 2002. Note that both concerts
were just two weeks apart. And just to mention here, Kuh Ledesma also held
her "Power of Two" concert, a day before Carol's "Power of C" in Glendale
(on August 23, 2002), with Basil Valdez at the Grand Olympic Auditorium.
Carol Banawa came
back last week, May 30, with a back to back concert with "the consummate
artist" Ogie Alcasid, at the legendary Orpheum Theatre. Carol sang medleys
of OPM hits, including her hit songs "Bakit Di Na Lang Totohanin Ang Lahat",
"Tanging Yaman", among others, together with some popular English songs.
It was a rare event that Carol and Ogie had
been able to team up on stage; as we all know, both appear on rival channels.
And not the only reason why L.A. audience had looked forward to, both have
immense talent and versatility. After "Bituin", Carol is revived back to
concentrate on the concert scene.
Ogie Alcasid, who has always the knack of
comedic flair during the show, kept the momentum
with his well-loved Ogie-hits. A true artist who has stayed his power in
the music industry by writing popular hit songs, not only for himself, but
friends in the business. Ogie "DaPogi" (as he is fondly called) brought his
new (never been released) CD album "Mga Kuwento Ng Pag-Ibig", which has 15
cuts (to celebrate his 15 years in the music industry). They were easily
sold out in minutes!
By the way, during the press conference of
these two concerts, consecutively held at Bistro Kalesa Grill in Panorama
City, Basil and Carol revealed that both are also coming up with a new album,
while Ogie's "Mga Kuwento Ng Pag-ibig" and Lani's new CD album "Loving You"
(featuring "Tila") will be promoted as soon as they return to Manila.
The following day, May 31, 2003, concert-goers
also flocked the Grand Olympic Auditorium to check out "what's new" with
vocalist Lani Misalucha (who received several standing ovations that night),
repeating some of her well-loved acts from her first major concert last time.
Surprising was how
the audience responded to one of Philippines' OPM icons, Basil Valdez,
considering he was just here a few months ago. Hearing Basil's hits, audience
thought not a bit of time was wasted from his complete act. It proved that
his music has not faded, and will stay forever in the hearts of all Filipinos.
And mind you, he could have held his own concert alone, as some people said.
It is just worth mentioning also, that Gerard
Salonga brought magic to the Lani-Basil repertoire, while at the Carol-Ogie
"Two for the Road" concert, Musical Director Jet Montelibano adapted his
creative talent in bringing a livelier concert.
The Tale of Filipino Concerts!
Why, yet, after each concert, do you hear
people whining about "why do they always experiment singing English songs
and not stick to singing their own hits? Reasons: "perhaps there will be
non-Filipinos in the audience", or "for variety purposes", or maybe to prove
that Filipino artists are "multi-talented" in singing (and copying!) English
or that their renditions could be better than the originals?
Needless to say, our very own Manila-based
artists are far thus excellent performers. But the Filipino audiences would
like to pay the worth of their money. They want to hear them sing, the same
own OPM songs they have loved, to feel those nostalgic moments again. In
the first place, you wouldn't go to a "Zsa Zsa Padilla concert" if you're
a "Kuh Ledesma" fan, right? Because you like her hits, and it would be nostalgic
to feel and hear her sing the songs you have mostly loved! Unless you like
them both (incidentally, both are staging a "Diva 2 Diva" back to back concert
on June 14 at the Grand Olympic Auditorium!).
A night you've paid for should not be wasted.
From my inquiries, some people stopped going to Filipino concerts because
they are "duped" thinking these artists will sing full English songs in their
repertoire and will just do "medleys" from their hits. Although there are
no perfect concerts, we would love to see concerts which are worth going
for. And I know, also, for a fact, that there are a lot of factors to be
considered for a concert, to be called "a hit" or "successful": marketing
wise, publicity, venue, best artist team-up, artist's power
Each year, concert-goers are getting picky,
and the concert scenes are getting narrower, in terms of L.A. performances
dates. Although, there will always be new producers to try producing shows,
the success of a concert (box-office wise), and quality sometimes suffer
versus a more intimate and heartfelt "live" concerts? Well, venue is another
factor for the dying business, but that's another topic! There are a lot
of arguable topics, but, now, should there any reason to be considered here
or we shall go on and just let this be? Paging concert producers
musical directors! E-mail comments and questions at
A Baby Shower for
Angeles-based beauty-queen maker Monet Lu and
newly appointed Commissioner of Human Resources
of Los Angeles, Mary Ann Pagsibigan-Pimenta, together with selected friends,
threw a baby shower for Ruffa Gutierrez last Sunday afternoon (June 1), at
the New Otani Hotel rooftop garden in downtown Los Angeles. The unique garden
setting was personally assisted by the hotel's catering manager, Victoria
Ruffa's parents, Eddie Gutierrez and Annabelle
Rama, along with Ruffa's brother Raymond, were also present. Fun games were
coordinated by Karen Borja and Janelle Bautista, with other former
protégés of Monet Lu. A specially designed strawberry-pink
cake (courtesy of Goldilocks) was made by creative cake designer, Carmela
Leelin. L.A. based beauty queen and actress Theresa Punsalan also helped
out with the motif.
Among Ruffa's friends who
came by for the baby shower were Manila-based columnist Tim Yap (who was
in town to cover the MTV Movie Awards at the Shrine Auditorium last Saturday),
Ricky Lo (who was also in town to interview Harrison Ford for his new movie
"Hollywood Homicide"), DJ-model Joey Mead (now based in L.A. under the wings
of Wilhelmina Modeling Agency), who tagged along his model-boyfriend Richard
Lee. Musician Paco Arespacochaga and his new girlfriend also dropped by.
Other attendees were non-showbiz friends Melanie Kai, Samantha and Ruffa's
group of friends, Sonny Madera, Bong Prada Lim, model Jared Aldon, Brenda
Sta. Ana, Dra.
Angelina de Vera, Rose Sulit, Sabina Cuyugan, Amara
Ysrael with parents, Bernadette Baldonado, Hughes family, Lily Lara, couture
designer Angelo Santos (The Bold and the Beautiful), and many others.
The event was covered by Ricky Lo's "The Buzz"
(ABS-CBN) and Kokoy Boncan from GMA 7's "Startalk", and will be shown in
Manila and on TFC soon.
Yilmaz Bektas, Ruffa's husband, begged off
to attend, as he is finishing important businesses in Turkey, but will be
in Los Angeles soon before Princess Bektas' birth sometime this August.
OLIVER CARNAY regularly writes for BALITA MEDIA, INC. ("Balita USA", "Weekend
Balita" and "Go4Women Magazine", available online at
PEOPLE'S JOURNAL (circulated in northern and southern part of California),
Philippine and other Asian Headline newspaper circulated in
Sacramento, San Francisco and its vicinities) also published in northern
and southern parts of California. In San Diego, he writes for FAME
Magazine and PHILIPPINES TODAY. In New York, he writes for PLANET
PHILIPPINES, with an online version at
He is a also contributor for BUZZINE Magazine
(www.buzzine.com), AUDREY Magazine
occasional correspondent for
www.siklab.com, PARA TODOS Magazine,
and other L.A. based publications. He is the Los Angeles correspondent of
Global Pinoy Entertainment Corporation (GPEC) which publishes S Magazine
(circulated in Manila, all over the United States and other parts of the
world) and PINOY GAZETTE (published in Hong Kong, Japan, and its
vicinities). He is an active member of the National Press Photography
Association (N.P.P.A.), Press Photography Association of Greater Los
www.ppagla.org for member listings),
and is under the directory list of the Motion Picture Association of
America (M.P.A.A.) covering movie Premieres and other Hollywood events.
More recent news and Photo Galleries of Hollywood and local Fil-Am events
recently covered can be seen at his new web site
Besides being busy maintaining his web site and writing for domestic and
international publications, Oliver Carnay manages Talents, is also a Publicist
and an event organizer. Email him at
firstname.lastname@example.org or at