You’d think someone like Gabby Concepcion may be too big and too veteran to accept a corporate guesting. But, yes, he did Fabila Gala Night at Discovery Primea in Makati. Fabila may be a hardly known name to the multitude, but it stands for Freeport Area of Bataan Investors and Locators Association, a strategic community of 81 foreign and local business enterprises inside the Bataan Freeport Area. One of the association’s two vice presidents, Martin Han, says that the 81-member companies “contributed P2 billion to the national coffers last year and employed about 26, 000 workers, including Bataan residents.”
Well, it’s no wonder Fabila could afford Gabby. In fact, it wasn’t just Gabby that the association was able to afford to entertain but about 200 CEOs, COOs, and managers of the member-companies, as well as movers and shakers from the nearby economic zones in Subic and Clark. Fabila also afforded Rey Valera and Marco Sison.
Many showbiz idols possibly earn as much, if not more, at the end of every year from their corporate guestings than from their regular shows and those that involve ticket-selling and tiring promo appearances. Many of them have mastered a routine for corporate gigs, so they can accept two to three company or association events a week for additional income.
We don’t hear much from, or about, comedian-singer Mitch Valdez, but many moons ago, she confided to this columnist that no one should worry that the likes of her may not have a showbiz career anymore just because they have no publicized engagements.
“We need publicity only for shows and guestings that sell tickets. There’s actually a sort of underground economy for entertainers like me: we earn from engagements that only a specific group of people know about and are allowed to watch,” she disclosed.
But some press people do get exclusively invited to certain corporate events. And at the Fabila gala night, this columnist was among only five press guys invited. That’s how we ended up discovering that despite already 51-years-old going on 52 (in November) Gabby is still very much a big hit to women–even to those who are half his age. Although they stayed-put in their seats, many of them gestured to him to go down from the stage and join them for a selfie. Gabby indulged them in the guise of audience participation: he would ask each of them to sing a line or two of the song he was crooning. It didn’t matter to them that in a live performance, Gabby isn’t much of a singer.
Gabby looks even better than the 43-year-old Gabby who came back in 2008 from about more than a decade of sojourn in the US after his marriage with Sharon Cuneta failed. A failure that was followed by at least two relationships that also failed despite having brought forth a daughter each. Today Gabby is also more voluble, more charming, more ready to please the crowd. And please the women, he did, while the men, perhaps, smugly envied him.
But Gabby had been a businessman in the US, so he also appreciated what the men an women of Fabila are into.
“The gala night was themed ‘A New Beginning: Riding the Wave of Economic Growth of Central Luzon Area’ because the group now wants to be an important driver of economic growth in Central Luzon. That’s quite a challenge as that region is composed of — provinces,” the actor admiringly said. Before he left the event, he had a chat with Bataan Governor Albert Garcia and Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. vice chairman Francisco Delgado III who were the night’s guest speakers as well as with Fabila president Patrick Martinet, vice presidents Jose Ruben Tayco and Martin Han of Qualitek Delta Phils, the gala night sponsor.
“They were fine men. They made me feel as if I were one of them and they liked me too as their entertainer,” confided Gabby.