Manuntag tapped as Philippines' rep at Sinatra 100th-B-day fete

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star

BREAKING NEWS: Arthur Manuntag has been chosen to represent the Philippines, actually for Asia, at the Sinatrology marking the 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra.

By this time, Arthur and his wife Kathryn must have left to participate in what is described as “a once-in-a-lifetime event,” with five concerts in Czech Republic — Dec. 9 in Prerov-Moravia; Dec. 10 in BRNO, Dec. 12 in Ostrava; and Dec. 13 two shows in Prague.

“I will be performing with 11 artists from different parts of the world,” Arthur told Funfare before his departure. “We will be backed by the famous RTV Bigband.”

I’m sure that Arthur will impress the audiences with his Sinatra imitation, so “very Frank Sinatra” that if you close your eyes, you will think that it’s Ol’ Blue Eyes singing before you. Arthur is gifted with the rare talent of sounding like several singers, which he gladly does in his concerts.

“It’s such a wonderful blessing to represent not just our country but Asia as well,” said Arthur.

When Arthur and Kathryn applied for visa, Czech Ambassador Jaroslav Olsa Jr. learned what the purpose of their travel was.

“The next day,” said Arthur, “we got a call from the embassy that Ambassador Jaroslav wanted to meet us, some kind of a courtesy call. We had a grand time talking about Sinatrology. According to him, I was making history in Europe daw because I’m the first Asian to be doing a pop show in his country where the music is mostly classical. He mentioned that his dad was also a pop singer. He will fly daw to Prague to watch our concert and he’s bringing his dad along.”

It’s a memorable gift to Arthur who marked another milestone last Nov. 24 with his family and friends at the Hard Rock Café in Makati City.

Colombia’s Luz Marina Zuluaga when she won Miss Universe in 1958. Right: With reigning Miss Universe Paulina Vega Dieppa, also from Colombia, when they appeared as guest in a TV show last April.

In Memoriam: 1958 Miss U Luz Marina Zuluaga, 77

Here’s a sad news from Funfare’s “other beauty expert” Celso de Guzman Caparas:   

1958 Miss Universe Luz Marina Zuluaga of Colombia passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 2, in the central city of Manizales. She was 77. According to a report, she fainted and was never revived. 

Zuluaga has been thought of as the Grace Kelly of Colombia since she defeated 35 other delegates and crowned as 1958 Miss Universe in Long Beach Municipal Auditorium, California, USA, on July 25, 1958. Because of her historical victory, the government and the people showered her with love and amenities and looked up to her as a national heroine. Her government declared her as tax-exempt for life, built a 10-bedroom mansion with a 24-hour security, gifted her with an emerald ring and was immortalized on three stamps (this correspondent owns two sets of mint Zuluaga stamps, featured in Funfare on May 26, 2004.). Five national songs were composed in her honor, a lipstick was named after her by Max Factor and a number of babies born that time were also named after her.

In the 1975 Miss Universe pageant held in San Salvador, El Salvador, Zuluaga was a member of the panel judges. The Philippines’ Chiqui Brosas placed fourth runner-up to Finland’s Anne Marie Pohtamo.

It took 56 and a half years before Colombia had its second Miss U winner, Paulina Vega Dieppa, who will relinquish her crown to her successor on Dec. 20 at The Axis, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Among the 81 delegates is the Philippines’ Pia Wurtzbach who is said to be among the early favorites. 

When Paulina went back to Colombia last April for her homecoming, she and Luz appeared as guests in a TV show. 

Here’s a post in the Miss Universe Organization’s Instagram “Our hearts go out to the family, friends, and fans of Luz Marina Zuluaga, Miss Universe 1958, who sadly passed away on Dec. 2. Beautiful inside and out, Luz was the first Miss Universe from Colombia. She will always be remembered. We love you, Luz!”

— Celso de Guzman Caparas

(E-mail reactions at [email protected]. You may also send your questions to [email protected].)

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