They put on their palazzos, drank their zombies and hustled the night away

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MARGIE Moran Floirendo giving her thank-you speech. PHOTO BY LORNA LLANES

Saturday Night Forever” was the theme of Margie Moran Floirendo at Whitespace, as she celebrated her 60th birthday two Saturdays ago.

Two hundred of her closest friends (some flying in from faraway places like Alaska and Portofino) gamely dressed to the nines in ’70s dance attire, à la Halston, Gucci, and Fiorucci glam, exactly like when these Baby Boomers were Disco Babies at Where Else? in the early Martial Law years .

That meant spandex, beaded mini skirts, Pucci-print shifts and palazzo pants (the best were worn as jumpsuits by Maricris Zobel and Karen Santos), full makeup for the ladies and tight, shiny floral shirts under white jackets for the men.

MAURICE Arcache, Irene and Greggy Araneta, Cocoy Laurel, Inday Laurel Avanceña. PHOTO BY LORNA LLANES

Designer label denim jeans were worn by gwapitos Alex Hontiveros, Ricky Avenceña, Bobby Caballero and Mato Cruz.

The venue, with its lit dancefloor, was reminiscent of Coco Banana and New York’s Studio 54. My dance partner was Grace Tiongco, in her Oliver Tolentino mini. Full of happy, positive vibes, everyone was beautiful and young again.

“This is the only occasion that I will celebrate in a big way, because reaching the beginning of the senior stage is a milestone. I am proudly 60, because I have accomplished much, and that is why I am confidently expressing my true age. I’m no spring chicken, but I’m still a disco queen,” said Floirendo, who, indeed, was also a beauty queen,  Miss Universe 1973.

COCOY Laurel. PHOTO BY LORNA LLANES

But it was the wonderful and wild music that had everybody happily dancing the night away. Sweating to gay anthems like “I Love the Nightlife” and “I Will Survive,” people on the dance floor became one throbbing mass, jumping to the melodies and lyrics everyone knew by heart.

 

Top 40

The dance moves known as the hustle, the salsa and, of course, the swing, had dance instructors busy till 4 a.m., when the party finally ended. Two bands played Top 40 disco ditties nonstop. In our days, the disco was our gym, where we had serious workouts every evening. It was like doing Zumba for three hours straight.

Margie Moran Floirendo and Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz. PHOTO BY LORNA LLANES

You started with popular drinks of yore, zombies, punch and margaritas, which got you reeling and ready for serious socializing. The evening started after a most retro dinner that included spicy shrimp cocktail with guacamole salad, mini paellas, Caesar salad, beef tenderloin roast, skewered lamb sausage, roasted salmon, crème brûlée, salted-caramel cheesecake, warm brandy-soaked bread pudding and so much more, providing the energy to refuel while dancing.

Mitch Valdez started the evening with a monologue on the way we were in the ’70s, about rolling a joint and giving a shotgun.

WORLDWIDE Publicity at Sony Pictures senior vice president Fritz Friedman, Gretchen Baretto, Ballet Philippines chair Tony Cojuangco, Ernest Escaler. PHOTO BY LORNA LLANES

Then the famous Aldeguer sisters, Lally and Terry, danced seductively to “Love’s Theme” by Barry White. Some members of Ballet Philippines, of which Floirendo is president, did a hip-hop dance.

Then Floirendo herself did the va-va-voom tango with multiple partners in a red sequined gown, slit up to there. Cocoy Laurel, her on-screen lover in “Oh Margie Oh,” her only movie, sang “The Way You Look Tonight.”

Finally, after midnight, apl.de.ap, our Pinoy from the Black-Eyed Peas, sang “I Gotta Feeling” and dedicated his own composition, “Bebot,” to the honoree, now changed into her gold Hervé Léger beaded dress.

YONG and Ivy Almario Nieva, Nina Halley, Floirendo. PHOTO BY LORNA LLANES

“Celebrating my birthday with friends, who were ‘a blast from the past,’ my classmates, friends from work, friends from Davao and those who have been supportive throughout my life, and those who have supported my causes, is my way of saying ‘thank you.’ Watching them enjoy gave me so much pleasure.

“I am thankful to the Almighty for the fortune He gave me, as well as the misfortunes, because now, the next chapter begins. I am truly happy and blessed to have so many friends. The haiku I wrote in the invitation says: ‘No matter what the mirror tells me, it took me 60 years to age to perfection.’ I asked those that meant something to me, to party with me as I celebrate a splendiferous life, ” Margie told me the next day, adding that she was finally feeling her age, as she was sore from dancing till dawn!

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  • Maidenofdforest

    This woman has been an achiever throughout her life. I’ve come across her coming to a concert in Davao, I was at the front helm talking to her, she was without aide, no fancy dress, just herself, no airs. A grounded earthling, she just breezed without so much fanfare. All the best to you Margie.

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