Raymond Launchengco isn't just a balladeer.
For those who were born during the late '70s to the early '80s, he is best remembered as one of the lead stars of the popular movie, Bagets.
Back then, Raymond was considered one of the hottest teen idols of his era.
His other co-stars in the movie included William Martinez, Yayo Aguila, Aga Muhlach and Herbert Bautista, to name a few.
Through the years, the Bagets stars kept in touch and strengthened their friendships through annual reunions and other occasional get-togethers.
BAGETS REUNION. Raymond narrates, “You know, yung Bagets reunion na ‘yan, that has been happening for 25 years.”
“We’ve been having reunions every year.
“It just never stops because you know, we’re friends, and we miss each other.”
The Bagets star continued, “Ako, I keep telling this to the guys... that what we have is really special.
“The films that we had are very special... if that’s it for us, then so be it.
“I mean, we always have that. We will always have our special friendship with each other, we don’t really need anything else.”
What strengthens their friendships even further is the encouragement and support that they extend to each other's activities.
For instance, Raymond has been very supportive of his friends Aga Muhlach and Herbert Bautista, who are both running in the forthcoming May 2013 elections.
“I will always support my friends because I know them," he asserts.
“I believe in them.
“I will always support them if I am asked to... yes!!!”
NO TO TV, MOVIES? Last year, Raymond also appeared in the movie Of All The Things with Aga and Regine Velasquez. Does he have any plans of going back to TV or doing movies soon?
“You know, I like watching TV... I came out in TV5, I did some cameo roles in Bagets... ako naman yung teacher.
“Pero parang hindi ko yata kaya yung lifestyle dun, e.
“Alam mo yun?... yung magte-taping ka ng 24-hours.
“The thing is, I am really a singer... pag nagte-taping ka ng 24 hours, puyat ka... hindi ka makakakanta.
“So, I think that’s the compromise of being a singer,” he confesses.
This year, as a fitting celebration of his 30th anniversary as a singer, Raymond is coming up with a special Valentine's Day concert on February 12, at the Music Museum.
DIRECTING. He may not have been as visible onstage or in front of the cameras these past years, but that doesn't mean Raymond hasn't been active in the entertainment industry.
Not many people may have heard of it, but Raymond has directed several shows, concerts, product launches and other high-profile events in Manila's ever-busy live performance circuit.
As Raymond shares, “I really don’t do as many shows because most of the time now, I find myself directing.
“I was busy directing shows here in Manila.
“I do corporate events, I do concerts, launches... all that stuff.
“Sometimes, I get a little bit too busy to sing, which I am missing.
“When I go abroad, it’s mostly to perform.
“Just like last December, I was with Joey Albert and Gino Padilla in Missouri, Oklahoma and Branson.”
But the renowned balladeer confesses that when he does get the urge to perform, it's bound to be just one particular date.
VALENTINE'S CONCERT. “If there’s a certain time of the year that I'd like to perform, it’s Valentine's Day,” he stresses.
“Because these are the songs that mean the most to me...
“Songs that sing about life and love...
“It’s a perfect time for a balladeer like me.
“So, Valentine's is the natural choice for a singer like me.”
The balladeer also shared that this is the first time in two years that he’ll be doing a concert in Manila.
VALENTINE'S SURPRISE. How does Raymond spend Valentine's Day with his wife?
“If I am not doing a show, we celebrate it differently.
“We don’t like to go out but we like taking turns every year doing something for each other at home... like if it’s my turn, I like to cook.
“So, I cook something fancy for her... I ask her to leave the house.
“Then, I’ll decorate the house, fill it with candles and stuff like that.
“Next year, it’s her turn.
“This year, we’re gonna celebrate it at the ballroom of Dusit Thani Hotel because we’re both gonna be working,” Raymond huffed excitedly.
SECRET TO A HAPPY MARRIAGE. Asked for his secrets to a lasting relationship, Raymond pauses wistfully and quips, “It's really nothing as dramatic as that.
“Maybe once in a while... but it’s really a simple process of just committing yourself all over again.
“Every single day, when you wake up in the morning and look into each other’s eyes and you see each other’s muta or the children come in... you fall in love with them all over again.”