President Noynoy Aquino (middle) delivers his first State of the Nation Address at the Session Hall of the Batasang Pambansa. With him are Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (left) and House Speaker Sonny Belmonte (right).

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Photo: Noel Orsal

Stars did not miss President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III's first State of the Nation Address (SONA). Many were present at the Session Hall, both as guests of politicians or as politicians themselves.

PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) was witness to the historical event yesterday afternoon, July 26, monitoring the events as they happened.

Presidential sisters Pinky Aquino-Abellada, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, and Viel Aquino-Dee were present to support their brother sans Kris Aquino, who is on a vacation in the U.S. with sons Josh and Baby James.

Celebrity couples spotted by the PEP team were Leyte Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez and husband Richard Gomez, Sarangani Representative boxing champ Manny Pacquiao and wife Jinky, and Senator Bong Revilla and his wife, Cavite Representative Lani Mercado.

Also present were Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Quezon City Councilor and former teen star Precious Hipolito-Castelo, Bataan Board Member Teri Onor, Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos, and Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos.

Senator Kiko Pangilinan arrived without his wife Sharon Cuneta, but he told the press the Megastar has lent her support. Sen. Pangilinan withdrew his candidacy for the Senate president a day before the voting.

Former President Joseph Estrada arrived with his wife Loi Ejercito-Estrada. Former President Fidel Ramos also came to witness the historic address. Reports said the two former presidents snubbed each other although they were only a seat apart.

Actress Assunta de Rossi, veteran actor Rez Cortez, and Pinoy Idol winner Gretchen Espina came as guests. Assunta is the wife of Negros Occidental Representative Jules Ledesma. Rez accompanied ex-President Estrada. Gretchen is the daughter of Biliran Representative Rogelio Espina.

No-show were former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and  husband Mike Arroyo. Reports said the two flew to Hong Kong the previous evening to have Mr. Arroyo's aortic aneurysm treated.

Many attendees dolled up just to attend the SONA—many wore their best jewelry to match the gowns especially made for the occasion. The event had a red carpet that featured guests wearing clothes crafted by the best and the brightest fashion designers in the country today.

Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez, for instance, walked the red carpet wearing a new light blue gown created by Randy Ortiz.

"Of course, this is a historical event, so you have to be properly dressed for the occasion," she told PEP.

Similarly, Assunta de Rossi walked the red carpet in a new yellow gown created by Avel Bacudio. Manny Pacquiao's wife Jinkee wore a pink beaded gown created by Pepsi Herrera.

Other designers with creations at the SONA were Patis Tesoro, Dita Sandico-Ong, Edwin Tan, Edgar San Diego, Uila Cruz, among others.