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How Charice made Ali cry

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Charice and her mom Raquel Pempengco with Muhammad Ali during a tribute to ‘The Greatest’ in Phoenix, Arizona, on March 28 — PHOTO BY MILLIE GURFINKELFUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo
April 02, 2009 12:00 AM 

Curtain-raisers:

• Kim Atienza (photo), now non-political and hosting two shows on ABS-CBN (the weather report on TV Patrol World and Matanglawin), has a question: “Why are they tearing down my billboards on Quirino Avenue and South Super Highway when they are not political at all? I am shown in Bench green tees advocating environmental awareness (‘Save the trees, save the nest’) and holding a rufous hornbill (kalaw). I have long renounced politics.”

•  Is a smear campaign being waged (by whom?) against a TV executive? The network big boss has denied that the TV exec has “squandered” P500-M on “wrong” projects that’s why he has been “axed” (daw). The truth is that the TV exec is on leave and will assume a new post when he comes back.

•  Could it be true that Dr. Vicki Belo is being matched with a dashing Cebuano from a prominent family in the city, who is separated from his wife? If the doktora frequents Cebu, it shouldn’t be just to check on the branch of her clinic inaugurated last week.

* * *

As Funfare reported in a “scoop” two weeks ago, Charice flew to Phoenix, Arizona, from L.A. where she shot her scenes for Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel to perform at a tribute to Muhammad Ali on March 29 (along with, among other A-list performers, Josh Groban, Bon Jovi, Jordin Sparks, Quarterbacks John Elway and Steve Young, Forrest Whitaker, Bo Derek and Big Fat Greek Wedding star Roy Firestone).

“I was nervous and excited and I couldn’t help but cry when Ali hugged and kissed me,” Charice told Funfare. “Ang saya-saya ko po at ang bait-bait niya.”

When she sang, it was Charice’s turn to make Ali teary-eyed.

“Napaluha siya nang kantahin ko ang I Will Survive (the Gloria Gaynor hit song). I went down the stage and approached him while I was singing. Nakita kong naluha din ang wife niya. Then, niyakap niya ako at hinalikan. Muntik akong matunaw sa excitement!”

Charice sang two other songs, Beyoncé’s Listen and the Michael Jackson signature song Billy Jean.

“I did the Ali Shuffle while singing that song at doon siya napangiti. I was told that he doesn’t smile daw dahil nga may sakit siyang Parkinson’s Disease.”

Now a certified jet-setter, Charice is leaving again (with her mom Raquel), this time for Italy where she’s appearing in a TV show. She’ll be away for one week.

More about Monina

Funfare’s recent item about Monina Yllana drew a rejoinder from Celso de Guzman Caparas, this corner’s “other beauty expert” now working in Saudi Arabia.

The aunt of the Yllana brothers Anjo, Jomari and Ryan, Monina was 1963 Miss Philippines and the country’s representative to that year’s Miss International contest (where she finished one of the 15 semi-finalists). She’s now Mrs. Augusto Fernando and based with her family in Virginia, USA.

Here’s more info about Monina from Celso:

One of the seven Pink Camay Girls in 1961, Monina was the Philippines’ fourth delegate to the Miss International contest (after Editha Vital in 1960, Pilar Arciaga in 1961 and Cynthia Ugalde in 1962).

Using Monina Moran as her screen name, she was introduced in Umasa Ka Mahal Ko (1961), topbilled by Leroy Salvador, Carmencita Abad, Myrna Delgado, Armando Cortes, Gloria Sevilla, Tony Fortich and Teody Belarmino. It was our entry to the 9th Asian Film Festival in Seoul in 1962.

In the Miss Philippines 1963 search, Monina bested among others, Sylvia Gumabao (1963 Miss Philippine Press Photography) and Gina Alonzo (best remembered as Roma ang impakta in Si Darna at ang Impakta, 1963, with Liza Moreno as Darna; and Lucila ang babaing tuod in Darna at ang Babaing Tuod, 1964, with Eva Montes as Darna).

BF Resort Village in Las Piñas City named a street after Monina Yllana and other Filipina beauty queens including Gemma Cruz, Gloria Diaz, Margie Moran, Cynthia Ugalde, Margarita Romualdez, Myrna Panlilio, Caroline Masibay and Ma. Asuncion Spirig.

What’s up?

•  Here’s Fr. Joey Faller’s healing schedule for this month: April 3, 12 noon, at Export Bank, Sen. Gil J. Puyat Ave., Makati City, and 7 p.m. at the Metropolitan Hospital, Masangkay St., Sta. Cruz, Manila; April 4, 9:30 a.m., at Kamay ni Hesus, Lucban, Quezon, and at 5 p.m., an anticipated Mass at the KNH’s Rosary Hill; April 5, 6 a.m. at ABS-CBN, 8 a.m. at NBN Channel 4 and 9:30 a.m. at SM North EDSA; April 6, 9:30 a.m. at KNH; April 12, 9 a.m. at SM Bacoor, Bacoor, Cavite; April 13 and 18, 9:30 a.m. at KNH; April 19, 8 a.m. at NBN Channel 4; April 20, 9:30 a.m. at KNH; April 21, 9:30 a.m. at Buklod ng Pag-Ibig, Balete Drive Ext., Quezon City; April 24, Pitogo, Quezon; April 25, 9:30 a.m. at KNH, and 5:30 p.m. at Graceland Estates; April 26, 9 a.m. at SM Bacoor, Bacoor, Cavite; and April 27, 9:30 a.m. at KNH.

• Last call for the audition of girls five to eight years old for Davis Films’ indie movie, today starting at 5 p.m. at the ground floor of Highway 54 (in front of SM Megamall). Applicants must bring two photos, one close-up and one full body.

• Tirso Cruz III is also an April born (yesterday, April Fools Day). Also, my friend Dr. Henry Yu of Cebu City, April 3.

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