A Million Thanks from Pilita

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star

Nearly everyone at the Fiesta Pavillion last Thursday evening were of one mind that the vehicle traffic going to the Manila Hotel was horrible. As a result, the well-heeled guests had to hurry through the excellent seabass and steak dinner and baked alaska dessert. Days later, I still feel it would have been great to have been able to savor every bite. But then Pilita Corrales and her guests were waiting. 

Despite that though, everybody was glad they showed up because served up by the Mare Foundation and Viva Live was a satisfying combination of elegant surroundings, delicious food and beautiful music that made the nightmare trip worth it. The occasion was A Million Thanks, the duet concert starring Asia’s Queen of Song Pilita.

A Million Thanks was inspired by Pilita’s recently released Duets album. It features her singing popular Filipino songs with some of today’s biggest names. The Mare Foundation thought it would make a good fundraising event for its charity work that includes medical aid to the needy, most notably for the free dialysis centers in Manila. And they thought right. The Fiesta Pavillion, grand as ever, was full and Pilita, gorgeous in gowns by Pepsi Herrera and Fanny Serrano and her guests gave inspired performances. 

With Louie Ocampo as musical director and Calvin Neria as director, A Million Thanks turned out to be a tribute to Pilita’s illustrious career as a song artist. It touched base with her various achievements as café society performer, Lover, her days on the TV show Your Evening With Pilita, Hernando’s Hideaway with the 80-something Nicky and Angie of the Wing Duo, her Spanish beginnings with Historia De Un Amor, her breakthrough hit A Million Thanks To You and her hit-making streak with original Filipino songs like Saan Ka Man Naroroon. 

In return, Pilita talked about her guests, the music icons who sang with her in the album and who turned up to sing their duets live in the show. Basil Valdez with Kapantay Ay Langit; The CompanY whose first TV appearance was in the Pilita and Jackie show with Pagdating Ng Panahon; Chad Borja and the Cebuano standard Usahay to mark Pilita’s growing up years in Cebu; Joey Albert, all the way from Vancouver with Tell Me; Sarah Geronimo with Forever’s Not Enough; and Martin Nievera whom Pilita discovered with Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin. Regine Velasquez, another Pilita discovery had to be out of town that night. But she also made it to the show by singing her duet of You Are My Song through video.

Two numbers proved to be the most memorable though. One is Pilita’s touching duet of Ugoy Ng Duyan with her daughter Jackie Lou Blanco. The ladies truly moved the audience and reminded us of what a singer Jackie Lou might have been if she had not concentrated on being an actress. The other one was certainly the piece de resistance of the whole event. This was Pilita’s duet of his song Kahit Na Magtiis with President Mayor Joseph Estrada. His full baritone never sounded better.

 Check out Pilita’s Duets, which is now available in music stores. It also includes Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko with Sharon Cuneta and Ipagpatawad Mo with Vic Sotto. Now also available on reissue is a three-disc set made up of some of her hit recordings of Filipino classics like Minamahal, Sinasamba; Paano Kita Lilimutin, Puto’t Kutsinta, Bughaw Na Buhangin, O Maliwanag Na Buwan and others.



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