Lea and the colors of Christmas
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo () - December 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Partly done with the promo for her latest album, Lea Salonga…Your Songs (released by Sony Music), Lea is leaving for L.A tonight with husband Rob Chien and daughter Nicole to spend Christmas there, but they’ll be back to spend the New Year here. (Rob is connected with Ambient Media which is the co-producer, with Star Cinema, of RPG: Metanoia, the first ever local animation in 3D, one of the eight entries in the 2010 Metro Manila Filmfest.)

In all her years (she’s turning 40 on Feb. 22 next year), Lea said that she spent three white Christmases (in England and in New York) and she has never had a blue Christmas.

“My Christmases have always been surrounded with love and with family and friends, whether or not I was single or now that I’m married. I’ve always spent Christmas in three continents (Europe, North America and Asia). Any difference? Well, Christmas in the Philippines is certainly the most unique; we spend the longest Christmas season in the whole world, for many people starting as early as September. It’s the most festive.”

Since she doesn’t cook, Lea said that she leaves the chore to her mom, Ligaya Salonga, here and to Rob when they’re abroad, mostly Japanese cuisine (Rob being half-Japanese). “I do most of the eating,” she laughed.

By now, Lea is done with her gifts for her loved ones.

“I make a list kung anong bagay sa bibigyan ko. I know some of my relatives so well that I already know what to give them — you know, maybe something for the kitchen or something they can use when they travel.”

During the Funfare one-on-one last Monday afternoon after the presscon for her album at The Pen, Lea begged off when asked to reveal what her gift for Nicole is lest she spoil the suspense. Clue: Nicole loves clothes; she’s a little fashionista. For Rob, Lea prepared a special gift.

“I gave Rob a nice watch,” her eyes sparkled. “There’s a story around it. You see, Rob has lost two wedding rings, one, in Germany. We were both very tired. He took the ring off when he washed in the shower and he forgot all about it. When we called the hotel, it was no longer there. We had new ones made, one for him and one for me, and he again lost his. He was working out in the gym and since he has lost weight, he didn’t notice that the ring slipped off his finger. He said, ‘What if I just wear a wedding watch instead of a ring?’ I thought about it, so I got him a really nice watch which is also my advance wedding-anniversary gift for him.”

And what is Rob giving her?

“I don’t know yet. Surprise! I won’t know until we get to L.A.”

 From the way Lea talked about Rob, it was very clear to see that there’s no truth to the blind item (in a showbiz talk show...not Startalk nor The Buzz nor E-Live!) that something was wrong with their marriage, an empty yarn that Lea simply shrugged off.

“There are things that you kind of just let roll off your back and one of them is a rumor like that, which is baseless. I remember one reporter, long deceased, who wrote really nasty things about me. The only way to deal with those rumors is, well, not to be affected by them and just to remain calm. But when something is an out and out lie, then I get pretty upset — you know, why are you inventing stuffs like that…don’t you have anything credible to write about?”

Has Rob learned to also simply “let things roll off” his back and not be affected by showbiz tsismis?

“You know, Rob is not used to going out with me. I get spotted in public, so we’re not often seen together in public. He’s not comfortable in that kind of situation. Some people can misconstrue and misinterpret certain things.”

One rumor that kind of upset Lea involved Sharon Cuneta (who, according to reports, showed up two hours late for the taping of her defunct ABS-CBN show, prompting Lea, who was invited as guest, to leave).

“I have no idea where that rumor came from. Sharon has never been unkind to me and neither have I been unkind to her. We have always been on great terms; we hug each other when we meet, the last time having been three weeks ago when we both guested on Ai-Ai delas Alas’ concert at the Araneta Coliseum.”

In that concert, Sharon made a “serious” joke about Aga Muhlach that the audience didn’t find amusing (but Sharon has since clarified things and made the proper apologies).

Speaking of Aga, yes, said Lea, “There are storylines being thrown around for a movie with me and Aga. It will be our third team-up if and when, after Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal and Sana Maulit Muli,” but it’s presumably not the same as the mothballed follow-up (to Kung Ako Na Lang Sana) movie of Sharon and Aga by Star Cinema.

Back to Your Songs…

The album carries some of the songs that Lea sang during her special concert last year consisting of “most requested songs” she and company gathered from suggestions from the public, such as Lady Gaga’s Poker Face, Beyoncé’s Halo and Amy Winehouse’s Rehab; power ballads like Making Love Out of Nothing At All and Open Arms; OPM love songs like Kahit Isang Saglit and Sana Maulit Muli; and musical-theater numbers from Les Miserables and Wicked.

“It’s probably the most diverse repertoire I’ve ever sung through and because of that, it was also the most fun.”

Incidentally, aren’t she and Rob planning to have another child (since Nicole is turning five in May next year)?

“We’d like to. But Rob and I are extremely busy people and maybe we’ll have to squeeze that plan into our tight schedules. I think we can really have time for that and, why not, start trying next year.”

* * *

Although boyfriend-less, Pops Fernandez won’t be spending a blue Christmas this year, her second such Christmas after she broke up almost two years ago with Jomari Yllana.

“I may not have a boyfriend but I have two men in my life,” said Pops, referring to her and ex-husband Martin Nievera’s sons Ram and Robin who, not long from now, might have to live away from home with their own respective families. “So you see, I am not loveless at all.”

She has left the house in Ayala Alabang she used to share with Martin and is spending her first Christmas in her new place. Martin might drop by for a Christmas hello as he always does when he’s around but he won’t be sleeping over.

“I’m happy with my life now,” said Pops who is looking forward to a busy 2011, and beyond, now that she’s being managed by Annabelle Rama who invited reporter-friends to an intimate Christmas dinner-raffle at City Best Restaurant and to announce Pops’ Valentine concert titled iValentine U set for Feb. 12 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel grand ballroom, with special guests Regine Velasquez (her first concert after she became legally Mrs. Ogie Alcasid yesterday), iCandy (Ehra Madrigal, Bubbles Paraiso, Carla Humphries, Arci Munoz and Michelle Madrigal) and G-Force (with Ryan Cayabyab as musical director and Al Quinn as stage director). The concert is produced by the Gutierrezes’ own Royale Artists Management. (Ticket prices are P6,000 for VIP with dinner, P4,000 silver with dinner and P3,000 regular with dinner. Call 727-2534 or 727-2536.)

On the same date, Martin will have his own Valentine concert with Sarah Geronimo and it’s the second time for him and Pops to be so pitted with each other. The first was a few years ago when Martin had a solo concert at the CCP and Pops at the Old Ultra (or was it the other way around?) but audiences had the rare chance of watching both shows, thanks to the giant monitors installed onstage in both venues, enabling Pops and Martin to do a duet “by satellite.”

What’s up?

Fresh from her album promo tour in Singapore and Thailand, Lou Bonnevie (photo) is back to put up her own food business with some partners, a fast-food franchise called Obento Express (at the Third Floor of St. Francis Square, Ortigas Center, back of Megamall) which specializes in very affordable “Jap-Pinoy” food (best-sellers include Chicken Teriyaki and Tofu Steak with Pork Sukiyaki and Thai Bagoong, freshly-cooked before your very eyes.

Caritas, the church of the poor, has launched a feeding program for poor children through the Hapag-Asa Program. The Caritas Christmas Feeding Card was instrumental in helping raise funds for Hapag-Asa last year. In Metro Manila, 200,000 children aged zero to five are wasting from hunger and three out of every 10 Filipino children are malnourished, according to statistics. The Church’s response to the problem is Hapag-Asa, an integrated Nutrition Program implemented in the parishes. Various organizations, institutional partners, families and local government units are working together to ensure the continued good health of the children beyond the feeding period. The parents undergo an education, spiritual formation and livelihood skills-training to improve their lives. Entrepreneurial assistance and guidance are also extended. In 2009, 12,180 children were enrolled in the Caritas Hapag-Asa Feeding Program.

(E-mail reactions at rickylo@philstar.net.ph or at entphilstar@yahoo.com)

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with