Celebrities at Opulence Ball 2023 recall their spookiest experiences

Charmie Joy Pagulong - The Philippine Star
Celebrities at Opulence Ball 2023 recall their spookiest experiences
Anne Curtis is every inch a goddess in her skin-baring outfit.
Photo from Anne Curtis’ Instagram account

MANILA, Philippines — Channeling their inner gods and goddesses, celebrities and showbiz personalities attended the Opulence Ball 2023 in their best mythology-inspired costumes.

The Halloween ball returned four years after it was first mounted in 2019. The latest edition was held last Tuesday night (Oct. 31) at the Marquis Events Place, BGC in Taguig City.

Opulence Ball co-producer Raymond Gutierrez, who sported a gilded armor during the affair, shared that the event was three years in the making. They were supposed to host it in 2020, but it was canceled due to the pandemic.

Richard Gutierrez goes for a gladiator look.

“The first one wasn’t really planned to be that big. (It) kinda became a big party accidentally and we are so grateful for all the support. But we weren’t prepared. So this year, we’re more mentally prepared, but still there’s a lot of setbacks, a lot of challenges obviously like securing a location as beautiful as this, the date, all the coordination,” offered Raymond.

Issa Pressman and James Reid channel the goddess and god of the underworld.

The gathering also featured fashion shows and international DJs, he added. “So just producing all of that together is a lot of challenges, but I’m surrounded by a good team. We interpreted the theme of mythology into their fashion extravaganza… This is purely just a form of creativity. Tonight, we are to express ourselves, inspire people and really just show how creative Filipinos are,” expressed Raymond, who came with his American lawyer-boyfriend Robert William.

Opulence Ball co-producer Raymond Gutierrez arrives with non-showbiz boyfriend Robert William.

Raymond’s family was also perfect in attendance. Apart from supporting Raymond, the Gutierrezes also celebrated the birthday of their matriarch, Annabelle Rama, on the same day.

Annabelle felt “like a goddess for the first time,” wearing a Regine Tolentino white piece, while Eddie Gutierrez, who was once dubbed as the Elvis Presley of the Philippines, dressed up like the King of Rock ‘n Roll.

Vice Ganda is inspired by the Greek goddess of soul.

On the other hand, Richard walked solo on the Opulence Ball black carpet in his gladiator looks. He greeted his mother, saying, “Happy birthday to my mom and this is like our second celebration and the Gutierrez family is complete here. We’re very happy to celebrate with her.” Their sister, Ruffa, also graced the black carpet, clad in a Cleopatra-themed ensemble.

Hayden Kho is the god of the sun while wife Vicki Belo’s gown has moon and star elements.

Piolo Pascual was a scene stealer in his black pants and top, covered with metallic-designed hands. It’s Showtime’s Vice Ganda came in a gown inspired by the Greek goddess of soul, Psyche, while Anne Curtis was every inch a goddess in her skin-baring outfit.

Hayden Kho embodied the god of the sun, while his wife Vicki Belo’s attire was adorned with moon and star ornaments.

Beauty queens, Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa and Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Celeste Cortesi, also showed up at the occasion in their water goddess and “celestial goddess”-themed looks, respectively.

Billy Crawford and Coleen Garcia are in matching gold and metallic brown ensembles.

Sunshine Cruz donned the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, in white, gold and silver wardrobe. She was joined by three daughters at the Opulence Ball — Angel Francheska as the mother of dragons, Angelina as siren or mermaid and Sam as Medusa.

Cosplayer Alodia Gosiengfiao dolled up like the Egyptian goddess Isis, while her husband Christopher Quimbo was the jackal-head Egyptian god Anubis.

Since it’s Halloween, The STAR asked some of the guests about their scariest experience in life.

Kaila Estrada is the modern Medusa.

Richard recounted, “We have an old house in Baguio, tapos minulto kami habang patulog kami ng mga kapatid ko. Feeling ko talaga multo yun.”

Andrea Brillantes said she once saw a ghost. The actress brought a live snake named Gizmo at the black carpet as part of her costume as Lilith, the first wife of Adam in the Garden of Eden.

“She was banished from the Garden of Eden because she didn’t want to submit to Adam… Ever since kasi nung nalaman ko si Lilith, I got interested in her story. Parang madami kasing girls na nakaka-relate din dun. I think na just because ayaw nilang maging submissive…” explained Andrea of her costume’s inspiration.

Andrea Brillantes as Lilith, the first wife of Adam.

Eventologist Tim Yap, who wore a simple human x-ray-themed top and white pants, said he came to the party in support of Raymond, who also attended his Halloween ball a day earlier. “So bilang pasasalamat, we’re colleagues in the industry, we respect each other and I love what he’s done through Opulence and I salute him and congratulate him for the things that he’s done here.”

“Hindi ako matatakutin sa totoo lang,” stated Tim when queried about his scary experience. “Sometimes, I’m just afraid of failure (and) of the unknown, but after that everything is OK na. I think you have to face your fears. That’s why Halloween is the perfect time for you to face your fears.”

Kylie Verzosa is a water goddess.
Some photos from The Opulence Ball Instagram page

Couple Billy Crawford and Coleen Garcia didn’t take on as any specific characters for the ball, but they captured the essence of the night’s theme with their matching gold and metallic brown ensembles.

Asked about their scariest experience, Billy joked, “Marrying me.”

Coleen chimed in, “There’s a lot actually. I had to leave a house that I was staying in San Juan because it was very haunted. As in araw-araw may nagpaparamdam, so marami akong mga kwentong ganyan.”

Billy added he felt it, too.

Sweethearts James Reid and Issa Pressman came in as the god and goddess of the underworld. “Halloween or not, it’s really spiders,” Issa shared on what makes her scared. “Every time I see spiders, it’s like Halloween for me. Haha!”

Rhian Ramos, on the other hand, came as Arwen, the favorite character of her boyfriend Sam Versoza in The Lord of the Rings. The latter put on a Poseidon-inspired attire.

“My scariest, spookiest experience was there was once in our house a water (container) like lalagyan siya ng water, a gallon or something. Yung may gripo sa gilid that flew across our kitchen on its own. And I only knew about it because I was on a computer tapos tumahol yung aso namin. And then, I ran to the kitchen. And nagtataka ako sa tubig and I was like saan nanggaling yun,” Rhian told this paper.

“And then, ayun nga. But it wasn’t our dog. Impossible talaga yung way na how it fell. Yung dun siya sa way na pahaba, hindi pa-side,” she said.

Kapamilya actress Chie Filomeno, who surmised that her third eye was open when she was younger, recalled, “Parang nasara lang siya kasi may time na natutulog ako, alam kong naalimpungatan ako may tao sa gilid ko. I was young and I couldn’t even shout as in like parang nasa utak ko lang yung sigaw ko. After that, wala na. Siguro din bigla ko na lang na close yun kasi ayoko talagang makakita.”

Linlang actress Kaila Estrada, who was recently praised for her acting in the Prime Video series, shared that she would experience sleep paralysis. She recalled, “There was a time na sobrang lala yung sleep paralysis ko that when I opened my eyes, hindi ko na magalaw yung body ko and then, meron akong nakita na black na parang shadow or silhouette ng babae na may mahabang buhok. Naramdaman ko siyang umupo sa tiyan ko at sinasakal niya ako and then, I just tried to wake myself up. That was my spookiest experience ever.”

Meanwhile, Kaila took the opportunity during the event to defend her co-actor, Anji Salvacion, from bashers criticizing the latter’s acting in Linlang.

“I understand that criticism is part of it, ’di ba? We welcome it because we learn from the criticism that we receive. But I think some people may have taken it too far. I really hope that we can just be kinder and nicer and more responsible in what we say online because siyempre ‘di naman natin alam yung nagiging effect yun sa kanya. So, I hope people can be nicer.”

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