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The photographer of the hot new coffee-table book on the country?s biggest male star reports on the star-studded launch
I JUST got a text from him the day of his birthday?imagine being in Piolo Pascual?s phone! Some people would die for the privilege! Anyway, he said I made his 2010 very special. This was because his book, ?Piolo Revealed,? was finally published and launched last December at Fully Booked.

Making a coffee-table book was one of the hardest things I had to do last year. It was a test of creativity, patience and friendship. As clichd as it may sound, nothing worthwhile comes easy. Bien Bautista, the photographer, once recounted to me the hardships of producing a book. I understood it then, but the experience didn?t come close to his stories; it was harder!

Needless to say, the birth pains were all worth it, just seeing the book materialize and the number of guests who came, not to mention the number of people who purchased the book on the day itself. As I write this, Fully Booked just called for us to deliver 50 more copies to MOA due to demand.

What made me even more elated was the presence of people who seldom showed themselves at events, but showed up early to support the book. Gabby Lopez, none other than the big boss of ABS-CBN, came in discreetly, but then again, how can you not know the guy? Ms Charo Santos was there, ageless and beautiful as ever. And would you believe that the glamorous Gretchen Barretto stunned us in her fuchsia dress by arriving early, with RS Francisco in tow? Of course Gretchen will always have the talented Patrick Rosas around for her makeup and as a posse to events like these.

And I have to give credit to Johnny Manahan and Mariole Alberto for their ability to avoid the paparazzi. You will only see them in the background of most PR photos, but they never gave the photographer a chance to catch them alone on cam.

With the years of working in show biz, the lines between friends and coworkers seem to blur. That is why Direk Joyce Bernal, as she is fondly called, was caught looking like she was worshipping Piolo?s abs in one of the exhibit photos on the wall. And no, she wasn?t intoxicated at all. With her was Erik Raymundo, who handles the affairs and schedules of Sam Milby. The two are inseparable.

I am glad Vicki Belo and Cristalle Henares were both present at the launch. The Belo group won?t be complete without Leah Salterio, who is as much a moving force in the company as Vicki and Cristalle. I just wished Ben Chan were there, too, but he was in New York that time. In his place, though, were the Bench team, Lawrence Cua, Paulo Nocum, Eric King, Marian Flores, and the ever efficient Karen Jardenil. A little bird told me Jojo Liamson was also there, but stayed inconspicuous. Without Bench and Belo, I don?t think the book would have ever seen the light of day.

The other supporters of the book were Sunlife, Banco de Oro and Clear Shampoo, whose representatives came in full force to support not only their endorser, but a friend, as well.

It also looked like a showdown of the most beautiful editors in the industry. Only Piolo?s charm can gather Joanne Rae Ramirez, Sari Yap, Anna Sobrepea and Joanne Maglipon in one place to help introduce the book to the public.

Canon printers sponsored the exhibit prints that highlighted some pages of the book. And I must add, some of the prints got stolen in the middle of all the revelry. What can I say? That was a great compliment for both Piolo and me.

I was so glad that Ms Rita Neri handled the event for us that day. Piolo and I came from separate location shoots, and she made sure I had nothing to worry about. I even had to change in the parking lot before showing myself.

For those who want a glimpse of the book, here is an exclusive for Inquirer. Get a copy for yourself, and enjoy. It?s a limited run.