GMA thanksgiving gala celebrates ‘comeback’ of showbiz

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
GMA thanksgiving gala celebrates âcomebackâ of showbiz
Dingdong Dantes,, Marian Rivera and Alden Richards
STAR / File

Kapuso stars descended on the red carpet for the first-ever GMA Thanksgiving Gala to mark the network’s 72nd anniversary on July 30.

Entertainment, TV and news personalities came together at the grand ballroom of Shangri-La The Fort with GMA executives, industry partners, politicians, beauty queens, and other special guests.

Leading the celebration were GMA Network’s president and chief operating officer Gilberto Duavit Jr., EVP and CFO Felipe Yalong, and GMA Network Films, Inc. president and programming consultant to the chairman and CEO lawyer Annette Gozon-Valdes.

Heart Evangelista with husband Sen. Chiz Escudero, Dominic Roque and Bea Alonzo and Michael V with wife Carol Bunagan.
STAR/ File

“The Gala Night was the brainchild of the people behind Sparkle (GMA’s talent management arm). We have been strengthening our roster of artists and we all wanted to get together, see each other face to face after two years,” Gozon-Valdes told The STAR in an exclusive interview.

“It was a good time to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of GMA and to give thanks for all the blessings and grace, the GMA family received during the years of the pandemic.

“It is also a statement that the entertainment industry is indeed coming back — we all like to move forward from this pandemic.”

Making the event truly special was the tribute for GMA chairman and CEO lawyer Felipe Gozon for leading GMA’s successes through the years. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it, according to Gozon-Valdes, because her father was feeling under the weather but he was watching the event via livestream.

Summing up the gala night as “successful” and “worthwhile,” the lady TV executive also said, “From start to finish, what stood out for me was the excitement everyone had seeing and talking to each other. The whole night, the camaraderie of everyone was evident.”

“One moment that also was the highlight for me was when we turned over our donation to the Kapuso Foundation. It was our way of giving back for all that we have received through the years,” she added.

Through the help of the sponsors, part of the GMA Thanksgiving Gala proceeds will be donated to the victims of the recent earthquake in Abra and the school development project at Magallanes Elementary School in Limasawa Island, Southern Leyte.

Meanwhile, the attendees came in their black, white and gold-colored gowns and tuxedo suits, following the old Hollywood glam theme. The star-studded get-together also recognized those who shone the brightest.

Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera were named the Couple of the Night. Alden Richards received the Male Sparkle Star of the Night award, while Sanya Lopez was recognized as the Female Sparkle Star of the Night. Bianca Umali bagged two trophies: Beautederm Scene Stealer Award and Belo Beauty of the Night. On the other hand, Marco Gumabao and Rhian Ramos received the Frontrow Male and Female Icon awards.

Heart Evangelista took home the Glamorous Star of the Night award. Mavy Legaspi and Kylie Alcantara were hailed Sparkle Love Team of the Night. Miguel Tanfelix and Sofia Pablo were honored with the TikTok Crowd Favorite Male and Female awards, respectively.

Also spotted at the event were Viva artists Billy Crawford, Marco Gumabao and Cristine Reyes. Gozon-Valdes confirmed their upcoming and possible projects with GMA.

“Billy will appear in The Wall which is launching soon. Marco will have a movie with GMA soon and is targeted to appear in a soap. Cristine was one of the original StarStruck members and she might appear in one of our dramas for next year,” she said.

The GMA Thanksgiving Gala had a live streaming on GMA Network’s Facebook page and YouTube account, and Sparkle’s TikTok account last Saturday. The hashtag #GMAGalaNight managed to gain 200 million unique views on TikTok as of Aug. 2.


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