Departures and arrivals mark the Year of the Pig
CONVERSATIONS - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - December 29, 2019 - 12:00am

Unless an earthshaking event jolts our existence in the last three days of the Year of the Pig, showbiz denizens can bid 2019 goodbye…and, as they would always say…good riddance.

It was a year marked by departures and arrivals.

In July, Eddie Garcia died in a freak accident on the set of a GMA TV series (discontinued) when he tripped on a wire and hit his head on the pavement. He was 90 and could have lived to 100…or longer…and continued to entertain the public as he had been doing for more than half century of his life. The accident prompted Eddie’s stepson, Party-List Rep.  Mike Romero, to file a bill for the protection of showbiz workers.

Barely three months later, Amalia Fuentes succumbed to complications from pneumonia. That was more than three years after she suffered a heart attack while vacationing in Seoul that left her bedridden for months and wheelchair-bound recovering when she passed away. She was 79.

Other departures: Tony Mabesa (Eddie’s co-star in the critically-acclaimed Rainbow Sunset that won both of them Best Actor), 84; Armida 'Tita Midz' Siguion-Reyna; Mona Lisa, 97; Gary Lising, 78; Chokoleit, 48; Bentong, 55; Pepe Smith, 71; Brian Velasco (of Razorback); Cynthia Zamora, Josephine Estrada and Jojit Paredes (all in the US); Lito Legaspi; Jose Mari Gonzales; Pepito Vera- Perez; Augusto Victa; Chito Arceo; Gina Lopez; Jacqui Magno; Carlos Celdran; Rudy Francisco; Mico Palanca, 41; and Cesar Apolinario, 46.

The stork was exceptionally busy. Born to Korina Sanchez and former DILG Sec. Mar Roxas were twins Pepe and Pilar, February. Among those who have given birth: LJ Reyes (to baby Summer Ayanna), Jan. 4; Andi Manzano (to Corazon Amelia), Jan. 19; Miriam Quiambao (to Elijah), Feb. 16; Rochelle Pangilinan (to Shiloh Jayne), Feb. 24; Say Alonzo (to Austin), March 5; Marian Rivera (to Jose Sixto IV, nicknamed Ziggy), April 16; Nadine Samonte (to Austin Titus), April 28; Rica Peralejo (to Manu), June 9; Georgina Wilson (to Thor), June 20; Karel Marquez (to Kobe), June 19; Camille Prats (to Nolan Cristiano), July 10; Andi Eigenmann (to Keliana Alohi), July 23; Gwen Zamora (to Cooper John), Aug. 15; Dani Barretto (to Camilla Marguerite), Sept. 13; Saab Magalona (to Vito Tomas), Sept. 16;  Chynna Ortaleza (to Salem), Sept. 25; Divine Lee (to Blanca), Oct. 1; MJ Marfori (to Aerin), Nov. 7; Mariel Rodriguez-Padilla (to Maria Gabriella), Nov. 16; and Kylie Padilla (to Axi Romano), Dec. 9. Rumored but never confirmed to have given birth: Julia Montes, with Coco Martin as the father. (Anne Curtis is expected to give birth to a girl, her first child with husband Erwan Heussaff, in Australia sometime in March next year. Anne’s sister-in-law Solenn Heussaff is giving birth to her and husband Nico Bolzico’s first child anytime now.)

Until a welcome “ceasefire,” the Barretto family feud hogged the print and TV/radio headlines for almost one month. It was a real-life teleserye with juicy twists and turns that exposed the family’ dirty linen, dragging into the mess businessman Atong Ang and even Pres. DU30 who tried but failed to reconcile the quarreling Barrettos (Gretchen, Marjorie and Claudine, plus other members of the family) when he dropped by at the wake of the clan patriarch Miguel Alvir Barretto.

But before the Barretto brouhaha, all eyes and ears were focused on the year’s sensational love triangle involving Bea Alonzo, Gerald Anderson and Julia Barretto. Did Gerald “ghost” Bea and try to court Julia? So many unresolved issues and unanswered questions. Meanwhile, Bea…and Julia…claim to be fancy-free and Gerald is busy with his new duties as Ambassador for Youth in Public Service after being recently appointed by the Philippine Youth-KASAMA (Kabataang Sama-Samang Maglilingkod or Youth Serving Together).

Hands down the year’s Box-Office Tandem is that of Alden Richards and Kathryn Bernardo whose first movie together, Star Cinema’s Hello Love Goodbye, edged out Kathryn and boyfriend Daniel Padilla’s starrer The Hows of Us to be the Biggest (Local Movie) Hit of all time, grossing more than P1B worldwide. Enough said.

Young blood dominated the local elections in May, led by Isko Moreno (Manila), Joy Belmonte (Quezon City), Vico Sotto (Pasig City) and Abby Binay (Makati City). There are other likewise newly elected young government officials but the four mayors are looked up to as “pop stars” because of their dynamism, aggressiveness and initiatives.

“Missing” (by choice) from the showbiz scene but continued to be talked about was John Lloyd Cruz who would surface here and there, sometimes looking “different” (disguised?), and expose himself on social media seemingly in high spirits. JLC and Ellen Adarna were based in Cebu (Ellen’s turf). They have a son named Elias Modesto. They have broken up after more than two years of togetherness.

Wedding bells merrily rang for: Disney star Anna Maria Perez de Tagle and Fil-Am aerospace engineer Scott Kline Jr. in L.A., June 29; Vhong Navarro and scriptwriter Tanya Bautista in Japan, Nov. 28; Gerphil Flores and lawyer Brad Libanan at the Manila Cathedral, July 21; Dani Barretto and non-showbiz boyfriend Xavi Panlilio, April 23; Aicelle Santos and Mark Zambrano in San Juan, Batangas, Nov. 16; Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla and beauty queen Angelica Alita in L.A., Dec. 15; Rodjun Cruz and Dianne Medina at the Manila Cathedral, Dec. 21; Lou Ann Dy and Carlo Gonzales (secretly married civilly).

Engaged: Matteo Guidicelli and Sarah Geronimo, Sam Pinto and Anthony Semerad, Gwen Zamora and David Semerad, Juancho Trivino and Joyce Pring, and Angel Locsin and Neal Arce.

Breakups: Pia Wurtzbach and Marlon Stockinger, Catriona Gray and Clint Bondad, Gerald Anderson and Bea Alonzo, Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia, Benjamin Alves and Julie Ann San Jose, and Ellen Adarna and John Lloyd Cruz.



(E-mail reactions at For more updates, photos and videos, visit or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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