Last February 1,Martin Nievera mounted Martin Nievera XXV at the AranetaColiseum, marking—you guessed it—his 25th anniversaryin show business. With the Concert King turning 46 on February 5, the eventalso served as his birthday concert.
But, rousing as the four-hour concertwas, the question that intrigued showbiz insiders was: Who was Martin'sspecial someone at the concert?
In showbiz, it iscommon knowledge that whenever Martin stages a major concert, the girl he iscurrently fascinated with is surely going to be in the audience, enthroned in achoice seat. When he was still married to Pops Fernandez, for instance, hisladylove Katrina Ojeda would be at his concerts, sometimes seated just a rowbehind Pops.
In Martin'sFebruary 1 concert, therefore, everyone expected Katrina, now his live-inpartner, to be there. She was, after all, the ladylove for whom he gave up Pops. He couldhave flown in Katrina and their son Santino (now one-year and four months) from LasVegas, where Martin has settled.
The Big Domeengagement could not have been a small affair. There were more than 14 guests, including Regine Velasquez, Gary V., Zsa Zsa Padilla, RachelAlejandro, Erik Santos, and Jackie Lou Blanco, according to a concert goer wholost count. Not every male singer reaches 25 years in his music career; even rarer is one who gets the chance to celebrate his 25thanniversary with a show that fans still pay to watch.
But Katrina wasn'tthere. Neither was Pops. It was another girl, and her name, accordingto the grapevine, is Angie.
A showbiz insider describes the girl as "petite, nothing extraordinary, cute lang."Another source puts her age at possibly 30 and above. According to a source whowishes to remain anonymous, the girl has two kids by a man she is presumably nolonger with. She has her own house in Ayala Alabang Village, not far from thehouse where Martin stays, which is not far from the family home of Katrina, and,again, not far from the home Pops lives in with Robin and Ram, her kids byMartin.
DAUGHTER OF APRINCESS.Actually, Angie is a media magnet on her own—she is considereda real-life princess. She is said to be the daughter of a Filipina who ismarried to Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei. This makes Angie the stepdaughter ofthe prince.
Prince Jefri, 53,is the youngest brother of the 29th Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal BolkiahMu'izzaddin Waddaulah. According to the Associated Press, Jefri has "fourwives, 17 children and 18 adopted wards." He was also once married toFilipina Ayen Munji, who is now married to fellow singer and stage actor FrancoLaurel.
Prince Jefri wasthe finance minister of his oil-rich country from 1986 to 1998, but came underfire from the Brunei government, which accused him of embezzling 16 billiondollars (656 billion pesos at current exchange rates).
The AssociatedPress of December 3, 2007, reported: "Jefri reached an out-of-courtsettlement with the government in 2000, agreeing to pay back Brunei'sinvestment arm the money he allegedly used to buy hotels and other expensiveassets." The prince is said to be paying back his government to this day.
Reports say Angie has been spotted with Martin on many occasions in the pastweeks. The girl has been seen dining with him, driving for him, and stayingclose by during his tapings/rehearsals. Martin, for his part, has been seenpicking up Angie's kids from school, eating with them, as well as swimming withthem.
It is a picture ofMartin swimming with Angie's kids that Katrina is supposed to have in hercell phone.
KATRINA KNOWS. Yes, Katrina already knows about Angie, says a source from Katrina's camp. Trusted family friends reportedly told Katrina about thegirl Martin has been seeing nearly every day. Some of these friends were saidto have sent Katrina first-person accounts about Martin and Angie beingtogether.
It is not clear ifMartin and Katrina have had a proper confrontation about this. What's clear isthat Katrina knows and is waiting for Martin in Las Vegas with their son, who celebrated his first birthday last October 7. Las Vegas is where Katrinamoved from New York, because America's "Entertainment Capital of theWorld" is where Martin had his career plans laid out.
In fact, Martin hasfinally cornered a two-month gig with the Society of Seven, an all-male bandcomposed of Filipinos based in the U.S., which has Lani Misalucha for a regularcrooner. Martin will be the special guest star when the band, with Lani,performs at Las Vegas's Flamingo Hotel on February 13.
Will he get thereon time? Or will he stay here to be with the new ladylove he sees almost everyday
CAREER BUMPS. This is not the first timethat Martin, who has always dreamed of becoming known as a singerinternationally, will do shows in Las Vegas. The country's Concert King didleave the Philippines in 2003 to try his luck on the American concert scene.Since then, according to his official website, he has performed at the GoldenNugget/Las Vegas (2004) and at the Rio Hotel and Casino (2005).
But in May of 2007,his career hit a major snafu. Martin was set to stage a big show at the SteveWyrick Theater at the Miracle Mile mall, also in Las Vegas. It was to beproduced by California-based Filipino producer Gene Gamalinda.
According tosomeone who knows the producer, ticket sales proved very weak, and the producerpulled out of "a losing venture." In other words, he wanted to cut hislosses. But according to publishedreports, Martin says his producer "abandoned" him.
On May 4, 2007, aPhilippine daily put outan article titled "Martin Nievera struggles in Las Vegas show." Thearticle was sympathetic to the singer: "The singer was bold enoughto take everything on his shoulders—even if it would break his back—just topursue his dream, the source added.
"To keepthings going, Martin handles other production chores, even manually carryingsets, equipment and musical instruments off the theater stage to make way forthe next set of performers, the source added."
The same articlementioned that Martin and Katrina took over the production. Martin admittedthat he was forced to sell his cars and his watches to be able to pay hisbackup band and production crew.
According toreports, Martin has yet to recover from that financial setback—and is presentlydown and out.
Now comes talk thatMartin is hesitant about returning to Vegas, and the reason is supposed to bebecause he wants to spend time with his new love in Manila. Meantime, Katrina,who is known to be impatient and feisty where Pops was patient and submissive,is said to be hopping mad. She has reportedly threatened to go on television toexpose Martin if he does not return to Vegas fast.