A rare moment with Ruffa
SUPREMO - Tim Yap (The Philippine Star) - July 12, 2014 - 12:00am

It had all the elements of a reality show.

A setup that involved real-life “actors” that had to manipulate a situation with the desired effect, check. Accomplices that would support the scenario to add to the believability of the moment, check. A subject who didn’t know what was gonna happen to her, check. And a venue that was gonna be the perfect setting for the night’s surprise — check, check, check!

What people don’t know is that more than guts, it takes careful planning for Ruffa Gutierrez to do anything and everything — whether it’s an island-hopping trip or a themed dinner night out with friends, Ruffa is constantly on her phone, coordinating everything. She never leaves anything to chance. In other words, she’s a control freak.

Imagine her surprise when 30 or so of her closest friends gathered inside Outer Sanctum, this new secret venue within the compound of the Edsa Shangri-La. This used to be the reception area of the Chi Spa, but once I saw it with its own driveway, walk way and iconic architecture, the eventologist in me lit up and I knew we had a perfect venue for the event that I had planned in my mind. Plus the girls and guys can have a SPArty right after, I thought to myself.

It took only a few days to gather the cast and crew to launch this — everybody was a phone call away to action. Patrick Schaub, the hotel’s young and energetic GM, pulled all stops to carry it on effortlessly. Simon Cote, director of F&B, had prepared pasta and carving stations while I called upon my good friend Manny Osmena for his multi-awarded Manny O wines to be part of the fete. Trish Panlilio, whose Papillo Statio decked Outer Sanctum with pink balloons, completed the look and Cristalle Belo Henares brought in the giant multi-layered cake filled with different snaps of Ruffa through her Belo campaigns shot in recent years.

The big reveal

I had scheduled a meeting with Ruffa for an endorsement which we  needed to sit down about. In the middle of the “meeting,” hotel executives would come and invite her to tour the property, which would lead her to Chi Spa, and then when the cat is in the bag, surprise!

Executing an actual surprise is actually harder than planning it. It was hard to keep a straight face when you know what’s gonna happen. Tita Annabelle Rama, Ruffie’s effortlessly scene-stealing mom, and Jimmy, Ruffa’s assistant were the accomplices and they were on the ball. I felt like the director of a reality show, whatsapping away messages to make sure everything and everyone was in their right place.

In the end, everything went well — the vibe was happy, the speeches were touching and heartfelt, the birthday girl was touched. All the daddy’s girls shed a tear or two when Tito Eddie —  said, “You’re my only girl,” to her dear daughter. So there was drama (the good kind) and lots of comedy. The only thing we forgot was a video camera to record it. That’s why I’m writing it on this space for posterity.

There is so much beauty in the unexpected, the spontaneous and the unplanned that sometimes you just go have to go and let yourself flow. Who knows you might just walk into your own surprise happy ending?

* * *

(More prizes and surprises on my twitter and Instagram, @officialtimyap.)

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