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Tito Sotto shows no trace of regret despite unsuccessful VP bid

RAZZLE-DAZA - Pat-P Daza - The Philippine Star
Tito Sotto shows no trace of regret despite unsuccessful VP bid
Senate president Tito Sotto and wife Helen are always the loving couple. They recently hosted a delicious Japanese dinner for the Dabarkads.

Last May 14, Senate president Tito Sotto and his wife Helen Gamboa hosted a delicious Japanese dinner in their beautiful home that was catered by Chef Florabel. It had been more than two years since I saw “Tito Sen” and Tita Helen in person.

Pre-pandemic, the loving couple would invite a small group of friends regularly to dinner to celebrate milestones or simply to bond over good food, prepared by Tita Helen herself. But because of COVID-19, we, like everyone else, had to make do with Zoom parties when someone from the “dabarkads” celebrated their birthday.

“Dabarkads” was the term Tita Dolor Guevarra coined for our group that was popularized by Eat, Bulaga. After all, three members of our eating club, Tito Sen, Tony Tuviera and Malou Choa-Fagar are synonymous with the legendary Eat, Bulaga as its host, executive producer and producer, respectively.

It was also Tita Dolor who cajoled Tita Helen to host dinner at their home to celebrate the latter’s May 7 birthday. Because Metro Manila is under alert level 1 and everyone in the group had been vaccinated, Tita Helen readily agreed to host the dinner.

Malou and I promptly arrived at 6:30 p.m., while Bechay Nakpil and Tita Dolor and her two daughters, JP and Anes, arrived minutes earlier. Tito Sen and Tita Helen warmly welcomed us, both looking good and well-rested after Tito Sen’s exhausting, three-month national campaign for the vice presidency.

Clockwise, from top right photo: Sushi and sashimi spread catered by Chef Florabell. Beautiful Japanese place setting to complement the Japanese food. Helen and Maricel Soriano are ready to sit down for dinner.

Despite his unsuccessful bid, Tito Sen showed no trace of regret or bitterness. In fact, his face was glowing and he looked as dashing as ever. Inside, Maricel Soriano and Gello Jamias were already chatting with Lala, Apples and Ciara, the lovely daughters of Tito Sen and Tita Helen. Not surprisingly, shouts of glee were heard whenever someone arrived, followed by lots of hugging. We were then led to the living area and lanai, which certified homemaker Tita Helen had decorated with beautiful fresh white orchids.

Waiting for us on the buffet table was a spread that included assorted sushi and sashimi, chicken teriyaki, shrimp and vegetable tempura, salmon teriyaki, beef sukiyaki and chicken yakitori. For dessert, there were assorted cakes, bibingka and puto bumbong.

After we made our picks, we went to the dining room to sit and enjoy the food. In keeping with the Japanese theme, the dining table was adorned with two beautiful Ikebana-like floral centerpieces. Just as we were about to start dinner, Sen. Grace Poe arrived. Later, as we were having dessert, Tito Sen and Tita Helen’s handsome son, re-elected Quezon City Vice Mayor Gian Sotto, walked in with his lovely wife Joy and their six children in tow.

Throughout the evening, everyone had loads of fun, eating and laughing as they shared their stories. Of course, we talked about the election results and speculated on who would succeed Tito Sen as the next Senate president (it’s a toss-up between two male senators). We also gossiped about showbiz happenings, fashion, relationships, the latest must-watch Koreanovelas (Our Blue, Tomorrow) and our favorite Netflix picks (The Good Liar, Lincoln Lawyer, Anatomy of a Scandal). Also shared were a couple of juicy, election-related anecdotes as well, but I can’t write about them here because doing so would result in my becoming a persona non grata of the dabarkads!

Thank you again, Tito Sen and Tita Helen, for hosting such a wonderful dinner in your beautiful home. Here’s to more unforgettable evenings in the company of precious friends and treasured family members.

Tito Sen and Helen with their lovely daughters Lala, Apples and Ciara with Maricel Soriano (third from left).

(Author’s note: The news of the passing of the queen of movies and television icon Susan Roces in the evening of Friday, May 20, caught everyone by surprise, this writer included. Tita Susan — whom we fondly called «Manang Inday» — was a beloved member of our dabarkads and had been invited to the May 14 dinner hosted by Sen. Tito Sotto and Helen Gamboa which I write about here. But Manang Inday sent her regrets because she was not feeling well. I will write about her next week to celebrate the wonderful life she lived. Rest now, Manang Inday, and be with your beloved Ronnie – FPJ.)

HELEN GAMBOA

TITO SOTTO

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