The Big Apple was crowded with Filipino stars during the holiday season.
“New York-based and visiting Pinoys had a field day star-hunting,” reported Funfare’s Big Apple correspondent Edmund Silvestre. “The stars were all over — walking in Central Park and other landmarks, eating hotdog or pizza on Fifth Avenue, shopping in high-end stores, or watching Broadways shows like The Addams Family, Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark, Godspell and The Book of Mormon.”
Among those spotted were real-life couples Bea Alonzo and Zanjoe Marudo, Cristine Reyes and Rayver Cruz as well as ABS-CBN journalists Abner Mercado of TV Patrol and Krusada, and Rose Eclarinal of Balitang Europe, among others.
Yesterday in Funfare, “beauty-expert” Felix Manuel (a nurse working in NYC) reported on his meeting with Kris Aquino, Liz Uy, John “Sweet” Lapus, and Gutierrez twins Raymond and Richard (who were there with sister Ruffa and their parents Annabelle Rama and Eddie Gutierrez).
In an earlier issue, Funfare published a “scoop” about the birthday cruise of Godspell star Anna Maria Perez de Tagle whose well-wishers included Girlie Rodis and Korina Sanchez (vacationing with husband, DOTC Sec. Mar Roxas who wasn’t at the party).
According to Edmund, some of the stars like Cristine and Rayver joined the throngs of revelers at Times Square for the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop.
“Pinalusot sila sa siksikang crowd nu’ng mga Pinoy na nasa Times Square for the ball drop,” Edmund quoted his friend Edith Sampayan, a former ABS-CBN employee (ASAP, The Buzz and Maalaala Mo Kaya) who is now a New Yorker. “They were surprised and elated to see Cristine and Rayver there. Cristine said teary-eyed pa raw siya during the ball drop.”
Abner Mercado (second from right) in Times Square with (from left) R. Sonny Sampayan and wife Edith Sampayan, Rose Eclarinal and Terry Murdoch (Rose’s husband)
Edith said the No Other Woman box-office star was “very sweet” with Rayver even while they were eating halal, the spicy chicken over rice in particular, Cristine’s new favorite food.
“It was nice to see them eat like real New Yorkers on the street,” said Edith’s banker husband, R. Sonny Sampayan. “And they’re very gracious to Filipinos who recognized them and asked to pose with them for photos. Cristine said enjoy na enjoy siya sa New York except for the cold weather, at gusto raw niya mag-work dito. Mababait sila kausap at talagang ang ganda-ganda ni Cristine, balingkinitan at flawless. At ang dami nilang na-shopping from upscale stores on Fifth Avenue, shopping galore talaga.”
Pinoy fans in NYC said that also “extra sweet” were Zanjoe and Bea who were seen on a tour bus from one famous landmark to another — from Rockefeller Center to Battery Park where visitors can take a ferry going to the Statue of Liberty.
Zanjoe also reportedly spent the holidays with Bea at the Marudos’ family home in Jersey City, the second largest city in the state of New Jersey and with a large Filipino population.
Edmund was happy to see his friend Abner bonding with London-based Rose in Times Square, and later in Chinatown, with R. Sonny and Edith Sampayan, and Rose’s husband Terry Murdoch of the financial firm Barclays. They dined at the famous Tony’s DiNapoli Italian restaurant and the popular Vietnamese eatery NHA Trang Centre in Chinatown.
Abner, who now dabbles as instructor on environmental journalism at UP Diliman, had an unforgettable experience in the Big Apple that renewed his faith in his fellowmen. He dropped his wallet after having brunch with Edmund at the popular bakery Bouchon across from the Rockefeller Center’s ice rink. They proceeded to nearby NBC Universal Store, a few steps away from the eatery, to buy souvenirs when Abner realized that his wallet was missing.
“We headed back to Bouchon and asked one of its Fil-Am staffers, Jeremy, if someone had turned over a missing wallet with credit cards, IDs and less than $200 in cash,” related Edmund. “Lo and behold, the wallet was returned by a young London tourist who was still seated at the very same table Abner and his friend occupied earlier. With his cash and cards untouched, Abner profusely thanked the honest English man, who was too shy to acknowledge his own good deed.”
Cristine Reyes and Rayver Cruz (with Edith Sampayan) at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, at the Central Park, and in Times Square while waiting for the New Year’s ball drop
Said Abner, “Eto ‘yung mga moments na masasabi mo na hindi ka dapat mawalan ng pag-asa or faith sa natural na kabutihan ng tao,” said Abner. “Hindi ko ito makakalimutan habang buhay. The best Christmas ever.”
(E-mail reactions at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also send your questions to email@example.com. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.) - FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo