Lorin Gabrielle Bektas, who turned five last August 6, looks very fashionable in her outfit inspired by Disney Channel's television musical Cheetah Girls.
Her younger sister Venizia Loran, who will be four years old come September 11, looks every inch the pop singer, like her favorite Hannah Montana.
The two adorable girls of Ruffa Gutierrez are ready to party in their Regine Tolentino-designed costumes when they arrive at Fun Ranch, beside Tiendesitas in Pasig City, today, September 6. But they know that they are there not just to have fun at their double birthday celebration.
Ruffa relates that one of the girls actually asks her, "Mom, where are the orphans?"
She tells them, "No, Lorin, Venice, they're not orphans. They're your friends."
The host-actress decided to discard the original plan, which was to have a Chinese-inspired party in a posh hotel, given the economic crisis. Instead, she let Lorin and Venice enjoy the day with a few of their friends and 20 child beneficiaries of World Vision Development Foundation.
Ruffa says, "Gusto ko malaman nila lahat ng bata pantay-pantay. Whether anak ka mayaman, mahirap, or street children, lahat ng tao sa mundo, pantay-pantay. That's what I'm trying to instill in them."
GUEST LIST. The organizer said 130 people were given invites, but the list of registered attendees has about 100 names.
Celebrity parents Tonton Gutierrez, Rocky Gutierrez, Sharmaine Arnaiz, and Meryll Soriano show up with their "bagets" in tow.
Ruffa's friends in showbiz Assunta de Rossi and Ana Roces, including entrepreneurs Mikaela Bilbao of Mikaela Salon and Amina Aranaz-Alunan of Aranaz bags, are also present.
The younger brothers of Ruffa—Raymond, Elvis, and Ritchie Paul—share the table with Bubbles Paraiso, Ehra Madrigal, and Michelle Madrigal. Viva Hotbabe Katya Santos and theater guy JM Rodriguez also make time for the kiddie party.
Lovely couple Richard Gomez and Lucy Torres are seen approaching the venue, about thirty minutes after the program.
PARTY DETAILS. The event carries three themes. Ruffa explains, "Si Lorin, gusto ng Cheetah Girls. Si Venice, favorite niya, Hannah Montana. ‘Tapos yung pamangkin ko, si David [son of Rocky], he likes High School Musical, so kahit hindi niya birthday, siningit ko na rin para maka-relate naman yung mga boys."
When it comes to food, each guest is treated to a set meal—spaghetti, fried chicken, chicken crunchies, and pizza—plus, Ogie Doggie hotdog sandwich, ice cream, and adobo flakes.
And for the giveaways, every kid present receives a rock guitar-shaped bag, which has toys and imported candies and popcorn. Most items are "purposely made for the party." The cool bonus: fun rides at Fun Ranch.
The activities on stage are mostly kiddie games, and an acrobatic show, which has Lorin and Venice gaping in awe. On the side, there's a mini-salon where kids can have their hair done, glitter tattoos, and face paint.
BIRTHDAY WISHES. The highlight is, of course, the singing of "Happy Birthday" and blowing candles on the cake.
When asked about their birtday wishes, Lorin says, "I wish that my mom gets so healthy and strong." This earns "aaaahs" from the audience.
For Venice's part, "I wish I could go to Hong Kong Disneyland." This elicits guffaws of laughter from the crowd.
The famous mom also makes a wish for her daughters: "I want the girls to be God-fearing and religious. Sana hindi sila magpaligaw agad when they’re teenagers. Sana hindi nila ako bigyan ng sakit ng ulo, [chuckles] katulad ng sakit ng ulo na binigay ko sa mga magulang ko.
"I just wish that they will really study hard para mag-graduate sila sa isang ivy league university na hindi nangyari sa akin. So lahat ng mga dreams na hindi nangyari sa akin, sana matupad kay Lorin ‘tsaka kay Venice."
Ruffa's equally famous parents Eddie Gutierrez and Annabelle Rama also give their message.
The patriarch of the Gutierrezs says, "My wish for Lorin and Venice is that they will love each other and always embrace each other. Okay?"
One of the girls quips, "Fight each other!" Everyone in the room laughs.
As for Annabelle, she also wants her apos to study hard and "maging healthy sila at maging masunurin sa nanay nila, katulad ng nanay nila [na] paminsan-minsan mabait, paminsan-minsan hindi."
She adds, "Ang regalo ko sa apo ko, yun na nga, Hong Kong [Disneyland]."
How about mommy Ruffa, does she still have other gifts for Venice and Lorin?
She replies candidly, “Eto na yung gift ko sa kanila. Please…Si mommy has to be practical..."
Lorin and Venice are truly the biggest stars of the day, especially in the eyes of the 20 underprivileged children who are privileged enough to spend more than three hours with them.
Ruffa further commits, "We're here to help in any little way we can. I hope you'll be inspired to know na lahat kami dito, gagawan namin lahat ng paraan so we can send more kids to school, so we can help more kids."
After the party, the host announces that World Vision is successful in getting sponsors for 20 more kids that day. Indeed, helping is contagious!