La Dulce vita
- Mario E. Bautista () - December 2, 2001 - 12:00am
On stage, Ducle is a live wire who belts out the most demanding songs like it’s the easiest thing to do. Off stage, her life is more schmaltzy than the soap operas we watch on TV. A battered wife, she left her three children when she could not take it anymore.

But hers is also a story of redemption. After she broke up with singer Danny Cruz and hit rock bottom, she surrendered herself totally to the Lord and let Him manage her life.

"It was in 1997 when I totally surrendered myself to the Lord and that started my salvation," Dulce says. "My separation from Danny was very bitter and he wouldn’t even allow me to see our kids. But my newfound faith in the Lord helped strengthen me. I kept on praying for our relationship to get better and the Lord answered my prayers. Danny himself soon found the Lord and is now the head of the Bethesda Music Ministry. There’s no more hostility and our friendship has been restored. He can even ask me now. Bakit noon, hindi tayo nakakapag-usap ng ganito?

And I’d tell him, ‘Because you kept on avoiding me each time I wanted to talk to you. He just refused to communicate with me then. But I’m glad that’s all over. I support the education of our kids, even if I don’t live with them anymore.

Danny’s son from his first marriage, Darwin, has also reconciled with me He felt bad when I left them. He called me up and asked me if he could call me Mommy again, because he really grew up with me. He’s also married now."

Danny has found a new romance and so has Dulce. She is now married to Bernard Cruzata and they have a three-year old daughter. But how can they tie the knot when she is married to Danny?

"Well, it turned out my marriage to Danny was null and void. You see, when we were in the US in 1981, he arranged for me to marry an American for $50 so we can prolong our stay there. But we came home when I got pregnant with our eldest son, who’s now 19, and got married here, which is not valid since I’m already married in the US.

Bernard and I were married spiritually in our Christian church, but I’m now working for the nullification of my marriage in Massachusetts to make our marriage truly legal."

Bernard is a fan of hers. "I was with the group of the late Bert Marcelo in the Hatid-Saya program when we performed for the Filipino community in Germany. He met us at the airport and claimed he’s so starstruck. He’s ten years younger than me. His family moved to a village near Brenen in Germany when he was only ten years old and that’s where he grew up. We met again after my separation from Danny. He now owns a security agency here and we live in Doña Carmen Subdivision in Fairview. Our relationship is working because we are both close to the Lord. He even drives for me when I visit my kids. He just waits for me in the car while I’m with my kids, who are now 19, 14, and eight years old. He says he is ready to make friends with Danny, but I can sense that Danny is not. But I believe in God’s own time, they will also be friends."

Dulce was only 17 years old, a neophyte from Cebu, when she was tapped to record the theme song of Lorna Tolentino’s launching movie, Miss Dulce Amor – Ina in 1978. In 1979, she represented our country in the Asian Songfest in Hong Kong and won the grand prize singing Ako ang Nagwagi .

Most of her contemporaries then have faded away but she is still very active as a singer. Just a couple of weeks ago, she was tapped to be the sole Asian performer in the Computer World Awards held at the plush Ritz Carlton Hotel in Singapore.

"It was a big high-tech production with several costume changes. Two months before the event, I decided to lose weight because I might not fit into the gowns that Danilo Franco designed for me. Through diet and exercise, I lost almost 20 lbs, and felt so fulfilled performing before an international audience."

She now topbills Sounds and Laughter Unlimited, a concert hosted and produced by Ruffa Gutierrez at Country Waffles Greenhills on Saturday, Dec. 8. She’s performing with Allan K, Jinky Llamanzares, Yam Ledesma, Selina Sevilla and Kristina Paner. Sponsored by M-Power, RP Watiwat Engineering, Hapee, Play & Display, and MMG Records, the proceeds will go to the CMB Scholarship Foundation.

"I’m excited because this is the first time I’m working with these performers and with Ruffa’s mom, Annabelle Rama, my kababayan. I’m doing some solo numbers. Then we’ll be performing together. It’ll be a lot of fun."

(For tickets, call Royale ERA at 727-2534 or Country Waffles at 722-4415)

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