Celebrity couple Bong Revilla and Lani Mercado only had a few minutes to spare for the media last Saturday night, September 25, at the Diamond Ballroom of the Manila Diamong Hotel.
The two were busy entertaining the many VIPs who attended Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla's birthday party.
Senator Revilla turned 44, and among the well-wishers were Bong's friends in showbiz and politics—Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, Phillip Salvador, Jestoni Alarcon, Rez Cortez, Bobby Andrews, Benjie Paras, German Moreno, Regal Films' Mother Lily Monteverde, Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco, former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera, and Rizal Gov. Jun Ynares.
Bong's relatives were also all accounted for: his father, Ramon Revilla Sr.; sister Andrea; children Bryan, Jolo, Inah, Gianna, Loudette, and Ram; son-in-law Vince; and grandchildren Gab and Alexa.
The celebrator was clearly happy that many people remembered his birthday. "Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga nakaalala," he told the press.
He also thanked his wife Lani, who stood by his side during the whole interview.
"Of course nagpapasalamat ako sa aking kaisa-isang maybahay sa kanyang pag-asikaso, for giving me a party. She woke up three a.m. in the morning."
MR. AND MRS. LEGISLATION. But Lani quickly commented that she woke up early for her job as a congresswoman of Bacoor, Cavite, and not to prepare for the "simple" birthday party.
"Baka akalain nila ganun kalaki 'tong party na 'to, e, three o' clock pa lang gising na ako," she smiled. "International Coastal Clean-up Day [ngayon], tapos opening ng Bacoor Festival, kasabay ng kaarawan ni Senator Bong."
The press then asked the couple if their relationship has changed since both of them now work in politics.
Bong joked, "At least, ang pagkakaiba ngayon, malaki. Dahil dati, ang katabi ko, lola. Ngayon, congresswoman na."
Lani said they now talk more about their work than about personal matters. "Malawak na ngayon yung mga topics na pinag-uusapan namin. Kasi pag nasa mundo ka ng legislation, minsan ang pinag-uusapan namin, legislation."
Bong agreed. "Every time na magkikita kami sa bahay, ang pinag-uusapan namin, batas. Oo, tuloy pa rin... Bago nga matulog 'to, batas pa yung dini-discuss naman. Puwede ba tama na 'yan? Leave that in Congress."
Lani piped in, "Ako naman ang asikasuhin mo. Siya ang nagsasabi nun."
Lani, a newbie to politics, said her husband always helps her with legislation matters.
"He guides me, kasi mas may experience siya kumpara sa akin, mas malawak ang kanyang nalalaman," she said.
She added, "Siyempre, sino ba ang mas mataas, senador o kongresista? Siyempre senador. So, kanino ako, who will guide me? It's him.
"I only inform him of what's going on in Congress. So, more or less, nalalaman din niya kung papaano niya gagawin yung tama naman niyang dapat gawin."
Bong said he likes the idea that they work together.
"Malaking bagay yung pagiging kongresista niya. At least, yung mga batas na mahalaga sa kongreso, tayo naman makapag-follow-up sa Senado. Kasi hindi naman puwede sa kongreso lang, e. Lower and Upper House."
SILVER ANNIVERSARY. Bong and Lani's 25th wedding anniversary is coming up, so the press asked them for an update on the special event.
"Next year, nagbabalak kami. Binibigyan namin ng preparasyon yung aming 25th anniversary. Gusto namin bumiyahe together," Lani revealed.
Bong and Lani got married three times: first in Glendale, California, then in a civil wedding in Manila, and finally in a grand church wedding at the Imus Cathedral in Cavite.
During her previous interviews, Lani said she and her husband have plans to hold another wedding at the same church where they first got married. (CLICK HERE to read related story)
Lani revealed that the plans are not final. "Mukhang nagbabago ang plano. Mukhang bibiyahe kami elsewhere... Pag-uusapan namin ng ano... Kasi marami kaming options na pinagpipilian namin ngayon, kung ano ang dapat naming gawin," she said.
Bong remarked, "Kasi, nakailang kasal [na kami]. Halos lahat yata ng simbahan, pinakasalan ko na siya!"
Lani laughed. "OA ka. Kailangan din sa Taj Mahal at sa Baguio," she told Bong, referring to the recent "weddings" of newlyweds Robin Padilla and Mariel Rodriguez.
Turning serious, Lani told the press where she wants to hold her royal wedding ceremony.
"Siguro, ano, Sistine Chapel. Sa Europe naman. We are planning to go on a trip and this is one of the options... 'Yan ang mahirap iplano. Kasi magastos doon," she said.
The Sistine Chapel is the best-known chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in the Vatican City in Rome.
"Bahala na," Lani added. "Mas romantic kapag biglaan."
PROUD FATHER. Bong commented that he was happy his 73-year-old father, former Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr., was able to make it to his party.
"Actually, yun yung isa sa mga wish ko na talagang ginrant ng Panginoon. Kita mo, mas healthy siya ngayon. Ang ganda, he looks younger na. Hindi mukhang may sakit. Nakakatuwa," he said.
The senator said he thought his dad would not appear at the bash.
"Hindi, kasi nagsu-shooting ako nun," he explained. "Galing ako sa shooting the other day. Hindi ako... hindi ko siya naimbitahan. Dahil ang plano ko talaga, pupuntahan ko siya today.
"Sabi ng daddy ko, 'Hindi ako pupunta sa birthday ni Bong kung hindi niya ako susunduin.'"
So Bong said he drove to Cavite to get his dad. "Ginawa ko, sinundo ko pa siya sa Cavite. Talagang ano... talagang... Alam mo naman, very sensitive. Kailangan talaga special attention."
But Bong was happy that his dad looked very pleased.
"Oh yeah, he looks really happy. Nung nakita niya ako kanina, umiiyak siya. Sabi ko, 'Ikaw pa, Daddy, hindi kita puwedeng kalimutan. Makalimutan ko na lahat.'"
AGIMAT. Aside from his work in the Senate, Bong said he was also busy on his new film, Agimat.
"Agimat, napakaganda. Yun lang ang masasabi ko," he enthused.
"Basta abangan niyo ang pelikula na 'yan. Kakaiba. Totally different sa Panday, iba rin naman ang maibibigay ng Agimat na ito."
The press asked him if this was the movie where he and Vic Sotto were supposed to work together.
"That will come, pagka ano. Hindi pa yung... Agimat muna. Mahirap i-ano," he said, groping for words.
Later, he clarified his statement, "Agimat muna ngayon. Maaaring maglaban ang Agimat at Enteng Kabisote. Maaaring magsama."