An award welcomes Jolina home
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo () - November 16, 2006 - 12:00am

• This is the first photo of Elia Jesu Reyes to come out in any newspaper. Doesn’t he look cute? At only a week old, Elia already shows a combination of the best qualities of his parents, Rita Avila and director Erick Reyes. He weighed 5.5 lbs. at birth, delivered by Caesarian section at 3:03 p.m. last Friday, Nov. 10, at the Medical City, with Dr. Martin Manahan as attending physician. Rita lost her first baby (miscarriage) two years ago.

• When Sen. Ping Lacson announced his bid for the mayoralty race of Manila in next May’s elections, he (purposely?) didn’t reveal who his running-mate would be, generating a guessing game. Could "it" be Cesar Montano (photo), long rumored to be Ping’s choice? When contacted by Funfare, Cesar was surprised. "Ako ba?" he asked. The truth, said Cesar, is that he hasn’t decided up to now and, if ever, it might be a no. "I’m not ready for politics," he said. Famous last words? (Another actor rumored to be running for vice mayor in hotly-contested Manila, as incumbent Danny Lacuna’s running-mate, is Manila Councilor Robert Ortega.)

• Sad to hear that Dr. Vicki Belo (photo) and her confidante/Girl Friday of seven years, Vangie Kua, have parted ways. Was Vangie fired or did she resign? Vicki is mum on the matter. What could have caused the rift? The root of all evil? As far as I know, Vicki treated Vangie not just an employee but more as a younger sister, a bosom buddy, a trusted friend and a member of the Belo family. Parting is such sweet sorrow? Well, we’ll make conclusions once the concerned parties start opening up – that is, if they ever will (since they continue to respect each other even now that they have called it quits).
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How nice to come home from a back-breaking concert tour of Europe and find an award waiting for you.

That’s what happened to Jolina Magdangal when she flew back from Europe – she bagged the coveted Serviam Award, a special citation given by the CMMA (Catholic Mass Media Awards) to "individuals in mass media who have given much of their lifetime to endeavors that help alleviate the plight of the less fortunate and the helpless, and inspire others to uphold the Christian values."

"I’m overwhelmed," Jolina told Funfare.

The citation reads:

The Catholic Mass Media Awards Foundation elevates Ms. Jolina Magdangal as a Paragon of a Socially-Conscious Performing Artist for consistently making herself a model of responsible behavior and her active participation in humanitarian projects benefitting the youth, the needy and the hopeless.

Jolina turned 28 last Nov. 6.

"I consider it a lifetime achievement award," said Jolina. "It’s one of the most important awards I’ve ever received, probably the best birthday gift I’ve ever received."

Inspired by the award, Jolina has just launched a project (recently "scooped" by Funfare) that seeks to help cancer patients by donating cut hair to an entity that makes wigs for cancer patients.

"Cutting my hair was difficult decision for me," admitted Jolina who nurtured her locks for 20 years before she agreed to have 14 inches of them cut. "Now that my treasured hair has been cut, I want it to be meaningful by launching this project. I’m encouraging women out there to donate their cut hair. Ten inches are the maximum length. Anyway, short hair is now the fad. It’s more practical and easier to maintain."

Meanwhile, Jolina described the four-city European concert tour as "tiring but fulfilling." Dubbed as Kumustahan 2006 (and produced by Star Events, Inc.), the tour served as an outreach program for OFWs in Europe. The entourage also included Nanette Inventor, Rico J. Puno, Francis Magalona and Bituin Escalante.

First stop was Amsterdam where the concert was held at the Pepsi Stage along Arena Blvd., attended by Romeo Arguelles, Philippine Ambassador to Amsterdam, and other VIPs.

"The place boasts of old buildings and modern and traditional windmills," said Jolina who took a quick sight-seeing in Amsterdam.

Next stop: Vienna. The concert was held at the Matsumae Budo Center at Guthail Schroder Gasse, followed by a cocktail-dinner hosted by Ambassador Linglingan Lacanale. During her free time, Jolina visited the breathtaking hills of Vienna and some of its historic sites, such as old churches (the St. Leopold’s Church among them), and art museums.

Third stop: London where, Jolina noted, "There are many Filipinos who speak with a British accent." The concert was held at the Battersea Events Arena. There was hardly a dry eye in the audience when Jolina sang her parting song, Sana Ngayong Pasko. Jolina’s dad, Jun Magdangal, took shots for a Jolina music video at the Buckingham Palace and the Big Ben in Central London.

Last stop: Milan where the concert was held at the Mazda Palace. It was in Milan where Jolina turned sentimental when her co-artists and the production staff gave her a surprise birthday bash. Prior to the finale, the lights were put off and only cellphones and flashlights were left on. And then the mostly young audience sang Happy Birthday and smothered the Birthday Girl with flowers and cakes on stage.

"I again celebrated my birthday on the Gulf Air flight from Milan to Manila," said Jolina. "The flight stewardesses and crew gave me a blowout, complete with a cake and champagne."

And then, barely shaking off jetlag, came the CMMA special award.

"Could I ask for more?" asked Jolina.

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