At 10:30 p.m., the Attica Bar and Lounge at A Venue Mall in Buendia, Makati, was jam-packed but very quiet—only the faint instrumetal music could be heard.
A few minutes later, the room roared with "surprise!!!" The lady who had just arrived was indeed surprised. "Oh my god! Oh my god! I didn't expect this..." she exclaimed.
What ensued next was the seemingly endless hugging and greeting, "Happy birthday, Amalia!"
Yes, Amalia Fuentes turned 69 last August 27, and her family and amigas decided to throw an intimate party last August 30.
When PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) got the chance to talk to her, she said her heart was full of gratitude.
"I'm so blessed that I have all these friends because, it is very important that people know what you are. People are aware that you are very receptive to family, and I'm so lucky lang that I have all of these. I'm so blessed, I can't ask for anything more."
Her family and friends had nothing but praises for the birthday lady. Below are their wishes and messages:
Liezl Martinez: "Message for my mom, good health, happiness and peace of mind, especially sa mga nagyayari lately, sa brother ko. I just wish her peace of mind, kasi ano naman, e, we are all here, behind her."
Liezl is the unica hija of Amalia.
Geric Stevens: "Wish you all the happiness in the world. I hope you know that we're all here for you and we all love you. And to enjoy your birthday, and be happy, and that we'll always love you and always be here for you..."
Geric is Amalia's son with estranged husband, Joey.
Alfonso Martinez: "Hi, Lola. Happy Birthday! I love you very much, and I hope that you have many more birthdays to come, and the things but happiness and stress-free. And, you know, all of us are always here for you and love you. Happy Birthday."
Alfonso is the former actress's grandson. The lola admits she loves to spoil him and give him money.
Delia Razon: "Hi, Amalia! Happy birthday to another Leo, you know naman we love you. I represent the whole LVN and we love you. Be good always, and take care of yourself, love."
Delia and Amalia were showbiz contemporaries. The former was a contract star of LVN Pictures, while the latter belonged to its rival, Sampaguita Pictures.
Elwood Perez: "Congratulations to the last movie queen of Philippine movies. Another milestone for the last movie queen of Philippine cinema."
Direk Elwood is a multi-awarded director.
Annabelle Rama: "More blessings, tuluy-tuloy pagyaman mo, at sana wag mo na intindihin yung mga problema ni Joey [Stevens, ex-hubby]. Concentrate na lang dun sa mga anak at apo mo na nagmamahal sa iyo at yun, happy birthday."
Annabelle is one of the celebrator's amigas.
Dolly Anne Carvajal: "Happy birthday, my dear Mama Nena. Thanks for living me like your own. When I look at you, I see the kind of woman I want to be. I can't thank and love you enough."
Dolly considers her "Tia Nena" her "second ma." She's also a close friend of Liezl.
Deborah Sun: "Good health, long life para kay Ate Nena. And sana, yung dumadaan ngayon sa buhay niya, lahat ng mga problema niya, malampasan. Happy birthday, ate Nens!"
Deborah is also an amiga.
Jackie Aquino: "For the birthday of Tita Amalia, I'd like to honor her. Aside from her being beautiful outside, physically she's also very beautiful inside. She is very humble, she is very intelligent, and she cares for so many people—for all the small people in the office, you know, she cares for all of them. She's very gracious, and I would like to say all these things for her birthday, and I wish for all desires of her heart. I wish her happiness, and I wish her good health and longer years. And I hope people let her be happy. And for all her cases, I would also say that I hope she gets justice for all of them, and for all the people that giving her troubles, stay away."
Ms. Amalia "used to be the leading lady of Butch [Jackie's dad]," and is now a board member of MTRCB (Movie and Television Review and Classification Board), where she got reconnected with Jackie.
The birthday lady is now faced with controversies—the most recent is the libel case filed by her ex-husband against Geric. But she's unfazed. With the love and support of her family and friends, she knows that she can handle any kind of turbulence in life.
"I'm really so blessed that I have a good son, a good family...Because this is something that money cannot buy, and so now, my prayer is all thanksgiving because there is nothing in the world that can ever compare to having a good family, a good life with my loved ones," she said in a very regal manner that's distinctively Amalia Fuentes.