La Dulce Vita (Or, The Soundtrack of Dulce's Life)
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo () - August 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Dulce has turned “gold” not only as a person but also as a singer.

Perhaps not many people know that Dulce leads a very colorful and dramatic life which is not publicized but known to those close to her. That must be why when she sings, you can feel her heart and soul in every word of every line of every stanza of any song that she sings, doing it as if it’s the last performance of her life.

On Aug. 27, Dulce will star in a show aptly called La Dulce Diva at the Music Museum to mark her 50th birthday, with Pilita Corrales and Jed Madela as special guests, and Jo Arboleda as producer (“Dulce is my idol. I rank her with Barbra Streisand, my other favorite”).

Maria Teresa Magdalena Abellare Llamedo in real life, Dulce is married to Bernard Beltran Cruzata by whom she has two daughters, Jemimah, 13, and Abigail, four years old. She has three children from a previous marriage (to Danny Cruz) — Daniel who is with the US Navy; David, a classical bari-tenor who’s in the cast of Repertory’s Seussical; and Dana, an HRM junior.

Dulce first mounted the stage at age 2 at Villa Bulsita in her hometown Bulacao, Pardo, Cebu — “Saling-pusa in an amateur singing contest,” said Dulce.

She started recording at the age of 12 in her native Cebu 38 years ago and as a professional artist in 1978, with the theme song of Miss Dulce Amor, Ina, the Lorna Tolentino starrer. That was 33 years ago.

Dulce and husband Bernard Beltran Cruzata with daughters Abigail, 4, and Jemimah, 13.

Funfare requested Dulce to make a list of the 33 songs that comprise The Soundtrack of Her Life.

1. Gimingaw Ako — “I was two years old and I sang it as a saling-pusa in an amateur singing contest in our barrio. Hindi maintindihan ang lyrics kaya laugh ang audience at cry ako. I jumped off the stage.” 

2. Magellan — “My first audition piece during a remote broadcast of DYRF radio’s amateur singing contest. Ayaw nilang tanggapin, comedy raw.”

3. Pearly Shells — “What happened was instant memorization, pampalit sa Magellan. Rosario Bacus, a schoolmate in Bulacao Community School, taught me the lyrics.” 

4. Tugtuging Bukid — “My mother would sing it and accompany herself with a ukulele. Di namin pareho understand ang kanta kasi Tagalog.” 

5. Greenfields — “The song that I would sing kapag tumutubo na ang aming ipinunlang mais.”

6. Terminal — “In 1975, it was my all-time favorite because I met my future husband at a terminal in Frankfurt. Hahahaha!”  

7. You’re Closer To Me — “Every afternoon, I would sit sa stairs ng neighbor na may radyo, parang Dr. Love ang program. Nakatingin ako sa kalabaw na nagsi-swimming sa ilalim ng puno ng cacao.”

8. Esta Tarde Villover (Yesterday I Heard The Rain) — “Naka-puwesto kami sa Zamboanga when I was 14 years old, may customer kaming pilot kinakanta n’ya ito lagi, and I would sing naman the English version.”

 9. Damdamin“May turntable na ako noong 1976. Nag-e-emote ako sa may bintana listening to Rico J. Iniiyakan ko, kasi binigyan n’ya ako ng rose n’ung mag-duet kami sa Cebu Coliseum.”

10. You’re My Everything“Lagi kong request sa DWIZ (1978) kasi may crush ako d’un na DJ. Up to now, special request ko pa rin sa RJ FM.”

11. What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life — “Plenty memories of Cebu Restaurant in Makati. Good, bad, painful, used, confused and abused. Parang action-comedy-drama. Hahahaha!”

12.  Sleepy Shores — “Sign-off music ng DYBU FM, the only FM station then. Nakaipon ako ng P100 para makabili ng radyong may FM to listen to every night.” 

13. Excuse Me — “I loved this song even before I met AMB Junior. Lalo na when we worked together in a concert at the Philippine Plaza in 1979 with Leah Navarro and Marco Sison.”

14. Pag-Ibig Ang Guro (Imelda R. Marcos) — “This song never left my memory. I sang for FM’s 61st birthday party in Batac, Ilocos Norte, in 1978. I was supposed to be in the C130 aircraft from Laoag that crashed in Parañaque Multinational Village.”

15. Magkaibang Daigdig — “George Canseco composed this song in front of me in 1978. I know it by heart. It was recorded by Maricris Bermont.”

16. Refrain — “I fell in love with it the moment I heard it although naintindihan ko lang ang Dow Jones when I was seated in a restaurant in New York together with Nida Blanca and Rod Strunk.”

17. Don’t Give Up On Us — “To remind myself of...”

18. Nakapagtataka — “When I feel like giving up. Tapos matatauhan uli.”

19. Mandy — “Nothing significant about the song; it’s just how Mon David sings it.”

20. Kung Mahawi Man Ang Ulap — “Among the songs I recorded for film, I think this is my favorite.”

21. Weekend in New England — “Waltham, Massachusetts 1982...Gloomy days... It’s complicated...”

22. Perhaps Love“Nagsusumbong ako sa kantang ito.”

23. Walang Hanggang Paalam (Joey Ayala) — “This song sort of liberated me from hardship.”

24. Windmills Of Your Mind — “Can’t sing this with my eyes open.”

25. Memory“Mahaba na ang nilakbay nito.”

26. Ihip Ng Hangin (Norie Villena) — “Itinawid ako ng kantang ito, 1996.”

27. I Want To Spend My Life With You — “Radio drama background music. I didn’t know the title until I went to Canada in 1980 with the Baliksaya group.”

28. Ang Puso Kong Nagmamahal (Philip Monserrat) — “Idol ko si Celeste Legaspi, the artist and the person.”

29.  One Moment In Time — “How can I forget? The Cameron MacKintosh team requested this song during auditions for Miss Saigon in New York.”

30. When I Look In Your Eyes“Pang-aliw ko sa sarili. I automatically hum it even without my knowing it.”

31. As If We Never Said Goodbye — “I was asked to sing this during my darkest days. I struggled to learn the lyrics. I even had to device ways and techniques to be able to perform it.”

32. The Power Of Your Love — “When this song was ministered to me, hit me head-on and turned my life around.”

33. Ako Ang Nasawi, Ako Ang Nagwagi — “It says everything!!!”

(Note: For tickets to La Dulce Diva, call 347-1528, 0922-8816552 or the Music Museum.)

(E-mail reactions at or at You may also send your questions to For more updates, photos and videos visit follow me on http://www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

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