Family ties that bind are, indeed, the strongest. We may all get caught up in our own busy lives, but at the end of the day, family is all that matters.
After years of working as an investment banker in Singapore, our eldest son Bryan Prieto has come home to work in the family business. It is wonderful to have him home, and for us to be a complete family once again.
My other “family” units are growing, too. First, there’s my TV5 family, or what I consider to be my show-biz family. With our soon-to-air “Extreme Makeover Home Edition Philippines,” I am now part of the Kapatid network. It was fun to be part of the TV5 Road Show at the NBC Tent, with all the newest and brightest stars clad in flaming red.
“Extreme Makeover Home Edition” is in the final stages of taping the shows for our first season. We were recently in Nueva Vizcaya, and co-designer Joby Belmonte and I had a hilarious immersion experience. Don’t miss this when we start airing in March!
The homes we are building are in partnership with another of my family units, my Smart Infinity family. The PLDT/Smart Foundation has sponsored 18 Gawad Kalinga homes to be built on government-donated land. Additionally we will be upgrading 10 more GK homes, complete with furniture and appliances.
I am so thrilled to be part of the Smart Infinity family, especially as it has always supported the charities I support. It’s a telco with a big heart.
Its latest offering, the iPhone 4S, is another feather in its cap. The amazing unit is now available to Smart’s postpaid subscribers at various plans that all come with voice minutes, SMS and data. For prepaid subscribers, check out the iPhone 4S at Smart’s retail stores across the country (visit www.smart.com.ph).
At the iPhone 4S launch, Doy Vea, Smart’s chief wireless advisor, told me more Pinoys can now access the Internet just by using their iPhones, as it is almost like a small computer, with a camera and video recorder to boot. The clincher, of course, is the flexible plans of Smart that allow users to get value for what they pay.
Also at the launch was Smart endorser Anne Curtis and her beau Erwan Heussaff. This young, gorgeous couple has become “family” as well, since Anne and I are like sisters, being brand ambassadors for Olay, and Erwan and I are the stars of a new ice cream bar that will be launched this week.
Don’t tell anyone, but I am actually old enough to be Anne’s mother. At my age, I naturally prefer “sister,” but you get the drift. I represent Olay’s Wrinkle Relaxing Cream, while Anne promotes the whitening cream.
Anne is riding a great wave right now, fresh from her successful concert, “Annebiyosa No Other Concert.” At the SM Makati launch, where Watson’s offered special promotions of Olay products, I told her that Erwan and I are hoping to ride a bit of that wave when we launch RFM’s newest product, set to take over the ice cream bar world.
Now that I am part of the RFM family, I have yet another link to the Concepcion family. At the 50th birthday of Selecta boss John Concepcion, we shared a fun weekend in Punta Fuego with the clan’s second and third generations.
John’s lovely wife Peachy prepared a sunset dinner party at their cliff-side home, complete with fireworks. She prepared an amazing, stop-motion photo-video, starring daughter Sam and the entire clan. Daddy John was floored by the creativity of it all, but it was no surprise to the guests as he is a creative genius himself.
The Concepcions truly have a lot of reasons to celebrate. Joe and Raul Concepcion, the twin patriarchs, recently celebrated their 80th birthdays in grand style. The Makati Shangri-La Ballroom was filled with their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends who have been part of the lives of these remarkable twins.
The elegant dinner was filled with nonstop entertainers and wonderful videos of the twins’ inspiring life journey. Their legacies give great pride to the Concepcion clan.
Among the numerous cousins, I happen to be closest to Joey, JoeCon’s eldest, and his awesome wife Marissa. We have shared many dinners and scuba-diving trips in the past. They also support a lot of my charities.
Another “family” that never fails to lend support is my Bench family. Generous owner Ben Chan is a regular donor to the annual Red Cross Charity Gala.
Coca-Cola Originals by Bench
Bench’s latest tie-up is with Coca-Cola in celebration of the beloved beverage brand’s 100th birthday in the country. The two pop icons reunited to bring about a co-branded, fun, apparel line—Coca-Cola Originals by Bench.
The launch featured a larger-than-life runway party, “The Coca-Cola Big Youth Blowout,” which culminated in a power-packed reveal of Coke’s new league of Happiness Ambassadors—Enchong Dee, Julia Montes, Kathryn Bernardo and Joseph Marco.
The foursome performed a finale dance number as all the models worked the catwalk. A stunning flash mob dance-off featuring 10 teens from various school and youth organizations wowed the audience to cap off the first-ever digitalized Coke-Bench fashion show.
Both Enchong and Joseph, along with PR giant Keren Pascual, are part of my travel family. We all met in Paris last year and will be together in Hong Kong next month.
Part of my travel family are birthday girl Malu Gamboa and fave designer Rajo Laurel. Malu recently celebrated her natal day at Skye Lounge at the Fort, with her family and friends in full festive gear.
At Skye, we bumped into Kris Aquino, another Olay girl. Kris was enjoying drinks with Apl.de.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas. She had just arrived from Japan where she celebrated her birthday.
And then there is my real family. Mixed-media artist and aunt Mav Rufino opened her 17th solo exhibit “Romanza II Dreamscapes 2012” on last Feb. 22 at The Peninsula Manila. Check it out!
I’d like to end this week with condolences to the family of former Ambassador Kokoy Romualdez, dad of my brother-in-law Philip and sister Sandy. Tito Kokoy was always so much fun to be with, and we will all miss him terribly.