• Glitzy celebrations and tragic losses


    From the rise of Donald Trump, the North Korean missile testing and mass shootings to the battle of Marawi, Asean and Miss Universe hostings in the local setting, the year 2017 lived up to the characteristics of its Chinese zodiac sign as the Rooster cackled with the biggest events and controversies worldwide.

    The entertainment world was no exception to the extremes predicted to take place in 2017. January in fact saw a major kickoff at the Oscars when “La La Land” was mistakenly announced as the year’s Best Picture winner instead of “Moonlight” signaling a colorful year in showbizlandia.

    Shortly after came the news of couples going to “Splitsville” in Hollywood, the most notable of which were actors Chris Pratt and Anna Farris whom the world expected to last together for a long time.

    Still over in La La Land, the most shocking news of the year carried the hashtag #MeToo on social media, which turned into a movement that unmasked the alleged sexual misconducts of film producer and executive Harvey Weinstein. Later, alleged victims of reputable anchorman Matt Lauer, director Roman Polanski and actor Kevin Spacey, among a long list of other artists, stepped forward to tell their own stories of sexual harassment.

    And as always, what happened in the US trickled down to this part of the world as social media also became a tool for young women to expose how members of several independent bands in the music scene have made inappropriate moves toward female fans. Jensen and the Flips and Sud were two of those bands who have since been dropped from their scheduled performances.

    That is not to say, however, that showbiz has not had its fair share of good news in 2017.

    The Royal Family, considered celebrities with their huge international following, was once again big in the news with the announcement of the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s third child by Prince William over the summer, and just before Christmas, Prince Harry’s engagement to American actress Meghan Markle.

    Other couples who also announced their engagements include singer Megan Trainor and boyfriend-actor Daryl Sabara and “Game of Thrones” stars Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie, just to name a few.

    But of course, the Philippines does engagements, weddings, births and baptism bigger and better these days with this look back by The Sunday Times Magazine on the year’s most talked about celebrations, while also paying tribute to the industry’s losses in 2017.

    * * *


    Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho
    Luxury was certainly the theme of celebrity doctors Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho in Paris, France no less, dubbed the City of Love.

    Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho IG.COM/VICTORIA_BELO

    The night before their big day on September 3, the couple, who already had a civil wedding in Manila, held a welcome dinner for celebrity guests aboard a 70-meter cruise ship that sailed along the River Seine.

    The following day, Belo looked every bit regal in her blush Michael Cinco bridal gown when she exchanged “I do’s” with her much younger groom at the American Church of Paris.

    Now the reception was one even Parisians themselves found awesome—a magnificent dinner party at the opulent Palais Garnier, also known as the Paris Opera.

    Among the star-studded guests who flew from Manila were Piolo Pascual, Derek Ramsay, Alden Richards, Richard Gomez, Lucy Torres, Dingdong Dantes, Marian Rivera and Lovi Poe.

    At 37, Kho is younger than Belo by 24 years. Belo was previously married to businessman Atom Henares, with whom she has two children, Cristalle and Quark.

    Anne Curtis and Erwan Heussaff
    Like their closest friends Drs. Vicki and Hayden Kho, A-list celebrity Anne Curtis and restaurateur-host Erwan Heussaff had a destination wedding way outside the country in Queenstown, New Zealand on November 12.

    Anne Curtis and Erwan Heussaff IG.COM/LAUREENMUY

    Their family and closest friends—many of them show business personalities such as the bride’s sister Jasmine Curtis, the groom’s sister Solenn Heussaff, Chesca Garcia, Karylle Tatlonghari, Georgina Wilson, Isabel Daza, Angel Locsin and Vice Ganda, among many others—witnessed the long-time couple’s big day.

    Curtis looked radiant in her custom-made wedding gown by international Cebuana designer Monique Lhuillier, while Heussaff looked dashing in his bespoke Parisian suit.

    The couple have been dating since 2010 and were engaged in December 2016.

    * * *


    Ai Ai de las Alas and Gerald Sibayan
    It may be her third marriage but Comedy Queen Ai Ai de las Alas vowed that her union to boyfriend Gerald Sibayan would be her last and “forever.”

    Ai Ai de las Alas and Gerald Sibayan IG.COM/NICEPRINTPHOTO

    The 53-year-old comedienne married her boyfriend of four years, Sibayan, 23, on December 12 at the Christ the King Parish in Quezon City. She looked every bit the princess she longed to be on her wedding day in her Frederick Peralta gown, a gift from her close friend, actress Marian Rivera.

    The de las Alas-Sibayan nuptials had a star-studded entourage led by Megastar Sharon Cuneta, Alden Richards, OPM icons Ogie Alcasid and wife Regine Velasquez, Vic Sotto and Piolo Pascual.

    * * *

    Love was definitely in the air all year with the following celebrity weddings: Camille Prats and VJ Yambao on January 7 at Nayomi Sanctuary Resort in Batangas; Rochelle Pangilinan and Arthur Solinap on August 8 in Tagaytay; Chynna Ortaleza and Kean Cipriano on November 7 in Quezon City; and Pancho Magno and Max Collins at the Manila Marriott Hotel on December 11.

    Camile Prats and John Yambao IG.COM/CAMILLEPRATS

    The K-pop world saw the wedding of two of their biggest stars, Song Hye-Kyo Song Joong-Ki, on October 31. The South Korean stars, who starred in the hit TV series “Descendants of the Sun” announced their engagements in July.

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    * * *


    There is no shortage of star power in the birthing department what with celebrities welcoming their little bundle of joy this year.

    Pia Guanio with husband Steve Mago and daughters Sky and Brooklyn

    “Eat Bulaga!” host Pia Guanio gave birth to her second daughter, Brooklyn, with husband Steve Mago on May 29.

    Kylie Padilla with son Alas Joaquin

    “Encantadia” actress Kylie Padilla gave birth to Alas Joaquin, her first child with actor Aljur Abrenica on August 4.

    Maricar de Mesa with her newborn Alianna Sky

    Actress Maricar de Mesa, meanwhile, gave birth to baby girl Alianna Sky on July 17.

    Camille Prats and John Yambao with Nala Camille

    Camille Prats and husband John Yambao welcomed their daughter, Nala Camille on September 22, following their January wedding.

    Pauleen Luna and Vic Sotto with Talitha Maria

    On November 6, comedian Vic Sotto announced the birth of his and wife Pauleen Luna’s first child, baby Talitha Maria

    Nikki Gil and BJ Albert with baby Finn

    For singer/host/actress Nikki Gil and husband BJ Albert, Christmas came early as they welcomed baby Finn on November 20.

    Kaye Abad and Paul Jake Castillo with Joaquin

    Finally, on December 22, Kaye Abad welcomed her son Joaquin the same day her husband Paul Jake Castillo celebrated his birthday.

    * * *


    In Hollywood, the arrivals of celebrity twins from A-list parents were the talk of tinseltown.

    Beyonce with twin Rumi and Sir Carter

    The music industry also celebrated Beyonce’s twin delivery on June 13. Rumi and Sir Carter are the latest addition to the growing family of the Grammy “queen,” who has 22 awards and 63 nominations to her name, and rapper/music mogul Jay-Z. Their eldest child, Blue Ivy, was born in 2012.

    George and Amal Clooney have not released any photos of their twins since their birth in July AFP PHOTO

    On June 6, Academy Award winner and formerly one of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors, George Clooney welcomed his twins with human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. They named their girl and boy Ella and Alexander.

    * * *


    Gil Portes, 71 —
    The award-winning director was found dead in Quezon City on May 24. Considered the country’s “original indie director,” Gil Portes directed critically acclaimed films such as “Saranggola,” “Gatas sa Dibdib ng Kaaway,” and “Mga Munting Tinig.”

    Soxie Topacio, 65 —
    The veteran film, theater and movie actor and director passed away on July 21 after succumbing to cancer. Topacio is best remembered in directing the highly acclaimed drama-comedy film “Ded na si Lolo” in 2009.

    Chinggoy Alonso, 67 —
    Thespian actor Chinggoy Alonzo passed away on October 15 after his battle with colon cancer. The actor enjoyed a stellar career on stage, television and the movies.

    Isabel Granada, 41 —
    The ‘80s and ‘90s darling died on November 4 in Qatar. Prior to her death, Isabel Granada—who started her career in “That’s Entertainment” —had been comatose after suffering cardiac arrest on October 25. It was later revealed that the actress suffered brain aneurysm.

    Franco Hernandez of Hashtag, 26—
    ABS-CBN’s Hashtags member Franco Hernandez died from drowning in Davao Occidental on November 11. The 26-year-old dancer—a member of the all-male group appearing on “It’s Showtime”—was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital of a nearby town where the accident took place.

    * * *


    Chris Cornell, 52­
    The Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman died on May 17. His cause of death was ruled a suicide by hanging. Cited as an inspiration for most musicians today, Cornell was behind his bands’ huge hits such as “Flower,” “Black Hole Sun,” and “Like a Stone.”

    Roger Moore, 89—
    The suave English actor who played the iconic .007 agent James Bond seven times died in Switzerland on May 23 after his short battle with cancer.

    Chester Bennington, 41—
    US rock band Linkin Park’s lead vocalist was found dead on July 20. According to police reports, he committed suicide by hanging. Bennington, who had been battling depression, was best known for the band’s hits “Numb,” “In the End” and “Crawling.”

    Hugh Hefner, 91—
    The Playboy founder reportedly died of natural causes on September 27. Considered a pioneer in the publishing industry, Hefner founded the world’s first and most popular men’s adult entertainment magazine in 1953.

    David Cassidy, 67—
    The ‘70s heartthrob died in a Florida hospital on November 21 after his year-long battle with dementia. Besides starring in the hit musical sitcom “The Partridge Family,” Cassidy also captured his audience with “Daydreamer,” “I Write the Songs,” and “Cherish” among others.

    Kim Jonghyun, 27—
    The world mourned for the death of lead singer of the Kpop group Shinee on December 18. According to reports, Kim Jonghyun, considered as one of the biggest acts of South Korea, committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. A suicide note later published by his friend musician friend Nain9 revealed he had been suffering from depression.


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