Last night, August 6, Gary Valenciano was all set to call ita day. After wrapping up a dinner date with wife Angeli Pangilinan to celebrate his 44th birthday, the singer known for his energetic performances wasready to relax and simply chill out at home.
But Angeli had other things in mind. Coaxing her husband toaccompany her to the Conway's Bar inside the Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Garywillingly tagged along expecting to meet a few friends for a small chat.
"Usually, maliliit lang ‘yong mga celebrations ko, sa bahaylang. So I thought tapos na ‘yong dinner, ‘Okay, uwi na.' Sabi ko ‘Geli, ano angmangyayari sa Conway's?'" Gary recalled asking Angeli as they breezed throughthe hotel lobby.
"'Ah, hindi, magkikita lang tayo ng mga kaibigan mo,'"replied Angeli nonchalantly.
The moment the couple stepped inside Conway's, Gary waspuzzled to discover the lights shut down while a house band was busy playingQueen's classic crowd-pleaser "Another One Bites The Dust."
PLEASANTLY SURPRISED.As the camera lights started flashing, the house band quickly shifted from arock tune to a rendition of "Happy Birthday." A blushing Gary could only letout a huge smile as he saw the chocolate birthday cake adorned with the words:"Happy Birthday Gary V!"
"I don't know what to say, talagang hindi pa ako handa," Garytold the reporters who immediately swarmed around him immediately after blowing hisbirthday candles.
At 44, Gary said he simply couldn't ask for more, although hestressed that his career as a singer and performer is far from over.
"I just hope that I can continue to do what I've been doing.Sana hindi magsawa ang tao sa akin and sana ma-inspire pa rin ang taong-bayansa mga kanta na ginagawa ko para sa kanila... Marami pa akong gustong ibigay sakanila," he said.
Incidentally, the party prepared by Star Records alsocoincides with the 24th wedding anniversary of Angeli and Gary. Garysaid they're planning to leave the country this coming September to unwindbefore returning home to prepare for his upcoming major concert on November.
"May plano kami," he excitedly said, "but not for now, medyo mga September pa, for the first time pupunta kami sa isang cruise."
Speaking endearingly about his wife—who is painted most of thetime in a negative light brought by her strict policies when it comes to hertalents—Gary agreed with the notion shared by some that Angeli is simply"misunderstood."
Said Gary, "All I can say about my wife is popular napopular siya sa mga taong nangangailangan ng tulong, 'tapos ‘pag tinulungan na‘yong tao and medyo may konting tampo sa asawa ko, siya rin ang paboritongtaong tirahin. Alam mo, sanay na kami diyan. So we just go by the word of God na‘pag bato ang tinapon sa ‘yo, batuhin mo na lang ng tinapay. Mas okay pa ‘yon."
More than being his manager and wife, Angeli is his best friend. "She's my friend, she's my lover, she's my wife,"he quipped.
As for his success and longetivity in the entertainmentbusiness, Gary credited his wife for guiding his career and saving his lifethroughout his bout with diabetes.
"I've been around for 25 years because my wife has workedwith me, not for me but she worked with me and we work as a team. Pangalawa, tobe honest with you, my heart is beating today because my wife has saved my lifemany times and she knows that. And I don't think any other wife could have donewhat she's done for me."
TRIBUTE ALBUM. StarRecords is set to release a tribute album composed of veteran and contemporary singersrendering songs originally popularized by Gary V.
The process of completing the tribute album was not easy.Aside from painstakingly gathering 25 artists to grace the project, StarRecords also had to negotiate with Universal Records to gain permission tore-record the songs. Most of the songs found in Gary's catalogue are owned by Manila Genesis.
Gary admitted feeling touched when Star Records informed himabout the project to mark his 25 years in the industry.
"I really, really want to thank, of course, Universal Recordsna nagbigay sa akin ng napakaraming magagandang pagkakataon na mag-record ngawitin na naging popular at naging espesyal sa puso ng tao. And I'm thankful toStar Records na out of their own heart they said ‘Can we do something for you?After all, you've been with ABS [CBN] for so many years.' Sabi ko, ‘Sige let'ssee what they can do.' So kumuha sila ng 25 artists para mag-record sa mgakanta, ‘yong mga na-release ko in the past 25 years."
Some of the names mentioned who participated in the tributealbum were Sharon Cuneta, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Erik Santos, Kuh Ledesma, JedMadela, Vina Morales, Christian Bautista, and Martin Nievera.
Gary has yet to hear the cover versions and he would ratherleave it at that as of the moment to heighten his excitement.
He was completely hands-off during the making of the album.Gary stressed that the thought of an artist meddling in a tributeproject designed for him or her is simply ridiculous. Although the idea wasbrought up to him by the label; probably thinking that he has some suggestions thatwould make the endeavor much better as envisioned.
"Hindi ako pumayag sa ganoon," said Gary. "Bakit akomakikialam sa isang album na tribute sa akin?"
The initial feedback relayed to him by those in charge ofthe album was very encouraging. He mentioned the names of Erik Santos and KuhLedesma as two of the names garnering rave reviews this early for theirrespective renditions.
Having experienced the ups and downs of the entertainmentbusiness, Gary relayed his heart's desire to serve as a mentor to the upcomingPinoy singers of today.