Rain or shine, fabulously dressed people—from showbiz, fashion, politics and high society, to the corporate world—trooped to the Blue Leaf Events Place, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, last Saturday, June 21 to celebrate the birthday of one fab lady, Sharmaine Ruffa Gutierrez.
“Romantic,” “beautiful,” “enchanting” are the three words to describe the mood of the party.
Every guest was greeted on the red carpet amid flashes of camera bulbs. Upon entering the doors of the Silk Pavilion, people were instantly enthralled by the beauty and grandness of the set-up. The middle area, which served as the dance floor, was enclosed with sheer curtains, and inside were square beds, made especially for the event. Hot pink and green were the colors of the night.
Cynthia Almario, the person in charge of the production design, told PEP (Philippine Enertainment Portal) that the theme was inspired by Sex and the City, an idea pitched by the birthday lady’s closest friends.
“BIG TIME” GUEST LIST. The room was jampacked with an interesting mix of people.
One table had the elegant Tingting Cojuangco chatting with high-society columnist Maurice Arcache, and the social butterfly Tessa Prieto-Valdez bantering with the party scene’s resident guests, Pepper Teehankee and Anton San Diego. In the same spot were news personality Karen Davila and her husband DJ Sta. Ana, chef Margarita Fores, and Ilocos Governor Bongbong Marcos.
In the VIP area were Dr. Vicky Belo, the party’s sponsor, with boyfriend Dr. Hayden Kho, celebrities Richard Gomez and wife Lucy Torres, John Estrada and girlfriend Priscilla Mereilles, and Phillip Salvador.
Another group was composed of the Queen of RP Movies Susan Roces, director Boots Plata, talent managers Dolor Guevarra, Shirley Kuan, and June Torrejon, Ethel Ramos, with PEP and YES! editor-in-chief Jo-Ann Maglipon, Ricky Davao, and Sheryl Cruz.
Some seats were occupied by young showbiz beauties like KC Concepcion, Anne Curtis, Heart Evangelista, Angel Locsin, Rhian Ramos, Bianca King, Iya Villania, Ehra Madrigal, Michelle Madrigal, Bubbles Paraiso, Isabel Daza, and Megan Young.
It was also hard to miss the good-looking brothers of the celebrator, Richard and Raymond Gutierrez, including heartthrobs JC de Vera, Sam Milby, Billy Crawford, Paolo Paraiso, Marvin Agustin, Mateo Guidicelli, and TJ Trinidad.
Showbiz couples made it, too—Agot Isidro and Manu Sandejas, Maricel Laxa and Anthony Pangilinan, Aiko Melendez and Patrick Meneses, Phoemela Baranda and Jojo Manlongat, Iza Calzado and Jerry Garcia, and soon-to-be wed Cheska Garcia and Doug Kramer.
Jessa Zaragoza and Dingdong Avanzado were also spotted, and shortly after they left, Rufa Mae Quinto entered the hall with buddy LJ Moreno.
The elusive Dody Puno, who is presently linked to Gretchen Barretto, also made his rare appearance in the big showbiz event that night. But La Greta, who is Ruffa’s friend, was noticeably absent.
Fashion circuit’s popular names also made time for Ruffa’s party—1999 Ms. Universe first runner-up Miriam Quiambao, Bb. Pilipinas-World Maggie Wilson, designers Rajo Laurel, Charina Sarte, and Mich Dulce, including fashion show director Robbie Carmona, Vince Uy of Preview magazine, Carla Sibal of Mega magazine, make-up artists Jigs Mayuga, Steven Doloso, and Xeng Zulueta, including designers Rajo Laurel, Charina Sarte, Kate Torralba, Mich Dulce, among others.
The beauteous friends of the birthday lady also came—Donita Rose with husband Eric, Nadia Montenegro, Ana Roces, Almira Muhlach, Assunta da Rossi, Vina Morales, Beth Tamayo, Rachel Alejandro, Geneva Cruz, and Joyce Jimenez.
And of course, Ruffa’s dad Eddie Gutierrez and her mom Annabelle Rama were very visible, hopping from one table to another. The handsome brothers of the host-actress—Tonton, Monching, Rocky, Elvis, and Ritchie Paul—were also present.
All in all, there were more than two hundred names in the guest list and the attendance registered more than half.
EVENT’S HIGHLIGHTS. In place of a program was a game. The mechanics was simple: Seven friends would ask a question via a video presentation, and seven guests would be asked to answer. Raymond and Donita hosted the game.
Now here are seven fascinating things you should know about Ruffa:
1) What does Ruffa wear to sleep at night?
Ruffa answered in jest, “It depends on who I am with in bed.” But normally she wears “big shirt.”
2) Who is her Pinoy crush?
Aiko answered, “Aga,” but Ruffa said it’s Gabby.
3) What was the first commercial of Ruffa?
Johnson’s Baby Lotion.
4) What was the usual cause of Ruffa’s spat with her mom Annabelle?
5) What’s the favorite expression of Ruffa?
Before, it was “Grabeh.” But now, she uses “oh my god” more often.
6) What’s the favorite designer dress of Ruffa?
7) Who’s the favorite Sex and the City character of Ruffa?
The seventh question was, “Saan ikinukulong si Ruffa kapag nag-aaway sila ni Yilmaz noon sa Istanbul?”
Ruffa chose not to answer it.
After the game, Tessa Prieto-Valdez and Anton San Diego had a quick Q & A with Ruffa. When asked about what she wants for her 34th birthday, the birthday lady answered, to be “continuously happy and blessed.”
Before the party officially began, Dr. Vicki Belo, the lady responsible for the grand night, delivered her message to the newest endorser of Belo Medical Clinic. “I hope you appreciate your party. You’re enjoying it,” the beauty doctor said.
She added, “I’d like to thank you so much for going back to Belo. And I promise that for every birthday, you’ll be younger and beautiful.”
BIRTHDAY WISHES. “Good health,” “successful career,” and “happiness” are the unanimous wishes of the former beauty queen’s brothers and closest friends.
Eddie wants his only daughter to be wise in choosing Mr. Right. “If she ever falls in love, I want her to choose the right guy. And since she’s my one and only daughter, I want her to be completely happy,” the patriarch of the Gutierrez family said. He added, “At isang lalaking magmamahal din sa mga anak niya.”
Annabelle wishes Ruffa “good health, more, more blessings, more work.” She also gives an advice, “At sana makakuha siya ng lalaking magmamahal sa kanya at magmamahal sa mga anak niya. Advice ko lang sa kanya, dahan-dahan sa pagpili ng magiging boyfriend niya kasi ayaw kong mangyari sa kanya yung dati. Sabi ko nga, yung lalaki na magmamahal sa kanya, magmamahal sa mga anak niya.”
With all those sincere wishes from the people who matter to her and who love her, Ruffa told PEP she couldn’t ask for anything more. “Alam mo, wala na akong mawi-wish sa buhay ko because I feel that I am blessed,” said the Belo endorser-actress-TV host.
She continued, “Sobra-sobrang binigay ng Diyos sa akin the past year. Yes, napaka-traumatic ng napagdaanan ko, you know, the past couple of years, pero sabi nga nila, kung malas ka sa pag-ibig, suwerte ka naman sa career mo. At sa personal life ko, tahimik din naman, so for everything that I’ve been through na malungkot, may kapalit naman na mabuti. I think because deep down inside, I’m a good person.”
The mother of two is also thankful that even if she’s part of an industry that's rife with intrigues and controversies, she has no enemies. “Buti na lang lahat ng tao mabait sa akin. Wala akong kaaway. I think that’s so important, di ba? Natutulog ka sa gabi na mahimbing. Walang nagwi-wish sa iyo ng masama.”
With that positive outlook, plus her family's unwavering support, her enduring friendships with a lot of people in and out of showbiz, and her dedication to her job, Ruffa can expect more "fabulous birthdays" in the years to come.