The birthday celebration of Joseph "Erap" Estrada, former Philippine president and presently the city mayor of Manila, held at Manila Hotel last night, April 19, gathered the biggest names in politics, showbiz, and business.
The biggest name in his guest list was no less than President Rodrigo Duterte (second from left).
Also present were former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (second from right), presently serving as congresswoman of Pampanga and said to be back in power under the Duterte government.
Then there was former First Lady Imelda Marcos, also presently a congresswoman for her bailiwick, Ilocos Norte, and said to be determined to bring son Bongbong back to Malacañang in her lifetime.
Bongbong Marcos was himself there. So was former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. And former Vice President and losing presidential candidate Jejomar Binay.
Here is a glimpse of the powerhouse guests.
Former Senator Loi Ejercito (left), Erap's first lady with former first lady Imelda Marcos
Former Vice President Jejomar Binay, who was the birthday celebrator's running mate in the May 2010 presidential elections, also paid his respects.
Erap lost to former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, while Binay won the VP race.
Also sitting at the head table was the man who ran against Erap in the 1998 presidential elections, former House Speaker Jose de Venecia and his wife, former Dagupan congresswoman Gina de Venecia.
Right before midnight, former senators, Bongbong Marcos (foreground) and Juan Ponce Enrile (left), showed up.
THE PROGRAM. President Duterte did not leave until the four-hour program was finished.
With all the performances of Erap's children and grandchildren, the program ended at past one o'clock in the morning.
Veteran actor Eddie Garcia recalled the early days of Erap in showbiz.
San Juan Vice Mayor Janella Estrada, daughter of Erap's son Jinggoy, sang the theme song for Diligin Mo ng Hamog Ang Uhaw na Lupa, the mayor's award-winning film released in 1975.
Meanwhile, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea was tasked to introduce President Duterte, who addressed Erap as "sir."
For his part, Mayor Estrada promised that he will make Manila the "first drug-free city" in the country.
His wish: "To finish my term, and another term as mayor. I want to bring back the old glory of Manila as the Pearl of the Orient."
He said he was also happy because his son, Senador Jinggoy Estrada, was allowed to attend his party.
Jinggoy (seen here with his Jackie Ejercito) is still under detention at the PNP Custodial Center following plunder charges.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS. Erap had over a thousand guests.
Also spotted: Bacoor Mayor Lani Mercado, whose husband Bong Revilla is also at a detention cell in Camp Crame for plunder.
Lorna Tolentino, whose late husband Rudy Fernandez was Jinggoy's barkada and said to be Jinggoy's best friend, was also present.
Tirso Cruz and wife Lynn, who are part of the close circle of friends of Jinggoy and wife Precy, arrived.
Philip Salvador, also a good friend of Jinggoy, poses with Annabelle Rama.
Among the performers were Sarah Geronimo...
...Concert King Martin Nievera and Asia’s Nightingale Lani Misalucha.
ERAP’S CHILDREN. Jackie Ejercito—known in her circles as a top party host—was in charge of putting the celebration together, which was four months in the making. She is said to be trusted by her father on the family's financial matters.
In an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Jackie said, “He wants reconciliation, that's his message for tonight.
"And then I prepared for him a documentary about his early years—his childhood, as an actor, as mayor, senator, and then when he was president, and then, mayor of Manila.”
Erap's children had a unanimous wish for their dad: good health.