Once upon a time—September 11, 2004, to be exact—a princess named Venizia Loran Bektas was born. "Ipinanganak ko siya three weeks earlier [her due date was September 29]. I was praying, 'Sana 'wag September 11.' Pero ayun, she was born September 11. She was so tiny, 5 lbs. Parang mouse..." said the former Miss World Second Princess Ruffa Gutierrez.
Three years later, a healthy and charming Venice would smile at the guests attending her Disney Princesses-themed party at the T.G.I.Friday's resto-bar in The Fort.
THE GUEST. Annabelle Rama, the queen of the Gutierrezs, was the first to arrive. When asked about her birthday wish for her apo, Ruffa's mom said, "Paglaki niya, maging mabait siyang anak sa nanay niya. Mag-aral siyang mabuti. Maging Catholic siya. Yun lang."
Among the early birds were talent manager Shirley Kuan, Ramon Christopher and his four children (with Lotlot de Leon), and the Gutierrez patriarch Eddie Gutierrez and son Raymond.
Ruffa's close friends in showbiz also brought their chikitings to the party—Almira Muhlach and her three daughters; Ana Roces and unica hija Daniela; Nadia Montengero and her youngest daughter; Anna Abiera and kids; Mylene Dizon and son Tomas; Giselle Sanchez and daughter; Alma Concepcion and son Cobie; and Sharmaine Aranaiz, who is presently pregnant.
Gretchen Barretto and Joyce Jimenez both arrived solo, while Donita Rose was with husband Eric Villarama, son JP, and brother Paul.
WHERE'S BABA? In a report posted by PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) on September 10, Annabelle mentioned the possibility of Yilmaz Bektas's arrival. But the Turkish tycoon obviously did not make it. When PEP asked Venice about his dad, she said, "In space."
According to Ruffa, the kids asked her this question several times, "Is Baba coming?" And she patiently answered them with, "Kasama pa rin si Kokey." Then her tone got a bit serious, "They miss him. Sana 'wag niyang kalimutan that his two girls love him, and I'm sure he loves them, too."
FOOD AND FUN. The ambiance of the party was very relaxed. It was devoid of any grand decor and trimming. Kiddie songs were played in the background just set the mood. There were no fancy costumes as kids came in their most comfy outfits. The result: a riot of fun.
The buffet table had one of Friday's signature pasta dishes BC Fredo, Caesar's salad, buffalo wings, chicken quesadillas, and mozza balls for adults. The kids, on the other hand, enjoyed a plate of spaghetti, chicken strips, and fries.
Fun began at 4:25 p.m. Kids (and some of the moms, too) actively participated in games such as Hi and Hello, Longest Birthday Greeting, Bring Me, among others. The game winners received pingpong sets (for boys) and kikay kits (for girls).
Capture the entire festivities by clicking this GALLERY .