As a showbiz fan growing up in Cebu, Kimberly Sue Yap Chiu used to watch her favorite stars celebrate their birthdays only on television. Back then, the pretty chinita could only wonder how it feels like to celebrate one's arrival into womanhood in grand fashion.
Last night, April 26, the 2006 Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition big winner finally tasted how sweet such moment is for any debutante.
Joined by her ABS-CBN family and close relatives, Kim Chiu celebrated her 18th birthday at the classy Glass Garden in Pasig City.
Kim revealed to PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) that she was more unnerved at first than thrilled. "Una ayoko kasi nahihiya ako," Kim admitted candidly.
"'Tapos nung sinabi na kaagad nila, nung handler ko, sabi niya ‘Minsan lang may nabibigyan ng ganitong chance, kunin mo na. At least ma-experience mo lang naman siya.' 'Tapos 'ayun, tinanggap ko na. Masaya pala," smiled Kim.
DREAM COME TRUE. For the special occasion, Kim's friends and showbiz colleagues, particularly the young Star Magic stars, came in full force to celebrate with the debutante.
It was indeed a grand celebration right from the start, complete with red carpet treatment for all the guests. At exactly 8:50 in the evening, Kim, who was wearing a baby-pink gown, descended from the majestic staircase, leaving everyone inside the venue in awe.
Waiting for Kim was her father, Mr. William Chiu, who took the honor of accompanying his lovely daughter to the podium.
In an earlier interview, Kim's father said that he still did not approve the idea of his daughter accepting suitors, much more having a boyfriend.
"‘Wag muna ngayon," he said, "hanapbuhay muna. Padamihan muna pera niya bago magpaligaw. Madali lang ‘yang ligaw 'pag madami ka nang pera."
In a tender moment between father and daughter, Mr. Chiu served as Kim's first and only formal cotillion dance partner.
The evening of course would not be complete without Kim's love team partner Gerald Anderson. Kim and Gerald first met in Pinoy Big Brother where they first displayed their good chemistry. After their PBB stint, Kim and Gerald instantly became one of the most popular young love teams, as proven by the success of the teleserye Sana Maulit Muli and the their first movieteam-up, I've Fallen For You.
Kim and Gerald will soon be seen in the local adaptation of the hit Korean telenovela, My Girl.
Now that Kim is already 18, is Gerald thinking of seriously pursuing his screen partner to make their reel romance real?
"Naku depende po sa kanya kung gusto niya. Pero 18, dapat puwede na," beamed Gerald, oblivious of Mr. Chiu's sanction.
What made the evening extra special for the celebrant was the presence of her relatives, which rare, according to the young star, due to geographical distance and conflicts of schedule.
"Minsan hindi talaga sila nakukumpleto. Ngayon lang dahil birthday ko, sabi pa nga nung ibang auntie ko na nandirito hindi daw sila makakapunta. Dalawa lang daw sa kanila kasi may ginagawa daw sila 'tsaka ‘yong iba nagbakasyon kaya naintindihan ko naman kasi lagi naman kaming ganun," explained Kim.
Overwhelmed by the support of her home network, Kim was reduced to tears while giving her message.
"Thank you dahil binigyan ninyo 'ko ng ganito kalaki at ganitong kaengrandeng debut na hindi ako makapaniwala na magkakaroon ako ng ganito. Dati pinapanood ko lang siya sa TV pero ngayon ako na 'yong nagdi-debut," she said, unable to control her emotions. Drowned out by the applause of all her guests and wellwishers, Kim humbly punctuated her message by saying once more, "Thank you... thank you so much."
Kim's debut, aptly titled My Girl Turns 18, will be telecast on May 4 at 9:30 pm on ABS-CBN.