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Entertainment

Christmas makes Martin sentimental

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil -

Martin Nievera loves Christmastime. “It is a time I can get really sentimental about,” says the popular balladeer. I guess this is something that has always been obvious to his followers. He writes songs about it. Martin’s Christmas Won’t Be The Same Without You, from over 20 years ago remains one of the most popular Christmas songs composed by a Filipino artist.

There have also been other works over the years like Can’t Stop Christmas, the Gift Gate song from a few years ago. Plus My Heart’s Song and All I Want (This Christmas) that Martin co-wrote with Louie Ocampo and which are included in his My Christmas List album.

Come to think of it, that CD was also proof of how much Martin gets sentimental during the Christmas season. All of his three sons are featured in the album. Ram and Robin sing with him in Forever I Am Yours, which Robin composed and arranged with Albert Tamayo and where the now popular VJ played electric guitar. It will be quite a while before little Santino gets to do something like that but he blabbers in Celebrate Me Home.

Martin who says he will never get married again because he sucked as a husband would also go to great lengths to make Christmas truly meaningful for his family. Take for instance last year. His gift for everybody close to him was a CD he recorded especially for them. And not just any songs, he asked them what their favorites were from among his recordings and then he wrote new lyrics expressly for them. Their lives, loves and things they do. The result was very personal. “I think it didn’t hit them until they played it later.

He once spent Christmas day in two different time zones. “I spent Christmas Eve here with my family and then I flew to the States and celebrated again on Christmas day. It was quite an experience.” Martin is doing the same this year but it will not be as hectic.

Nowadays, he is looking forward to playing Santa Claus to four-year-old Santino in Las Vegas this Christmas. That means he will be there on Christmas Eve. Take note though that that does not mean that he won’t be celebrating with his family here.

“I celebrated Christmas last week with my family, all of us down to cousins, nephews, everybody. We had the works, a party with presents and my Mom even cooked a turkey. We had fun. It was really like Christmas.” His busy schedule kept him from thinking up novel Christmas gifts like last year’s CDs. “They got T-shirts and iphones, save for my Mom, she got an i-pad and Pops a Blackberry.”

Martin’s ex Pops Fernandez, does not join the Nievera family celebrations anymore but she and Martin are friends. “Pops will always be there,” says Martin, “No matter what happens.” In fact, the two are closer than ever. “I moved her to her new place and I fixed everything.”

Pops knows that Martin likes to fix houses. “I could have been an architect. Growing up in Hawaii, I used to make dollhouses. I must have been about 11 years old and all the girls on the block had dollhouses I made for them. I made them really nice.”

Coincidentally, Pops moving to a new house sort of brought the final, final end to their marriage. “The day we sold our house was last June 28. It was our wedding anniversary. That hit me hard. I had to ask the people who bought our house to please date the check June 29. Huwag naman on our anniversary.”

Aside from Santino, the other reason Martin had an early Christmas is because he has to be in Las Vegas for shows at the Sun Coast Hotel. Check out his large billboard announcing the gigs should you be in the area within the next few weeks. Nice to know that the hard times he experienced in Vegas some years ago are now yielding good results.

After that it is back to Manila to prepare for What Love Is, his Valentine concert with Sarah Geronimo, which will be held at the Araneta Coliseum on Feb. 12. This is their first time together and Martin is really excited. “This is a new challenge and I am happiest when I am working.”

ALBERT TAMAYO

ALL I WANT

ARANETA COLISEUM

CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS EVE

LAS VEGAS

MARTIN

SANTINO

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