For the umpteenth time this year, young and seasoned Star Magic artists once again assembled for a grandiose Kapamilya event and spread Yuletide cheer (and even kilig!) during the Star Magical Christmas 2023, held on November 19, Sunday, at the Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City.
Dressed in holiday-inspired costumes in adherence to the “Everything Christmas” motif of this year’s staging of the annual gathering, the attendees – including ABS-CBN executives and bosses; Star Magic artists and their handlers, managers, and loved ones; and event sponsors and partners – strutted down the white carpet beautifully adorned with Christmas ornaments.
As they merrily displayed their custom attires, each of them also brought toys along with them, which they put inside the huge transparent gift box situated at the end of the pathwalk. These toys, either preloved or brand-new, according to hosts Jhai Ho and Alora Sasam, would be donated to the children under the care of Bantay Bata, the child-welfare program of ABS-CBN.
While there were celebrities who paraded solo, there were others who turned the wonderful shindig into a family and barkada affair as they walked the white carpet either with their loved ones or friends in the industry. Among those who came in groups were the Star Magic Freshies, composed of former Kapamilya child stars who charmed us with their costumes that resembled the People of Whoville from the classic holiday movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
The trio of Angela Ken, AC Bonifacio, and Hadiyah Santos looked cute as they transformed into “Frozen” characters Anna, Olaf, and Elsa, respectively. The “nation’s girl group” BINI endeared us with their cuteness as they brought to life Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with Stacey portraying the Disney Princess and Jhoanna, Aiah, Colet, Maloi ,Gwen, Sheena, and Mikha as the adorable seven dwarfs. Our “best boys,” BGYO, on the other hand, stole our hearts when they showed up in cute “All Things Pasko” costumes, with Gelo as Santa Claus, Nate as Christmas tree, Akira as reindeer, JL as gift, and Mikki as snowman.
We were also delighted to see celebrities who came with their kids. Riva Quenery brought along her daughter Athena, Goin’ Bulilit alumna Trina Legaspi wore matching reindeer onesies with her husband Ryan Jarina and firstborn Kaela, Carla Guevarra-Laforteza was escorted by her sons Basil and Oreo, while Senior High actress Desiree del Valle had a fun moment on the carpet with husband Boom Labrusca and their son Alexander. Siblings Eian Rances Jenny Miller were twinning in red and green candymen ensembles, while Analain and Ashton Salvador looked adorable in their chosen costumes.
The stars of “Tabing Ilog: The Musical” and Senior High, as well as Pinoy Big Brother alumni from various batches, Dreamchasers of idol survival reality competition program Dream Maker, and Tawag ng Tanghalan alumni also graced the white carpet in either small batches or pairs.
Of course, every Kapamilya event wouldn’t be complete without the presence of our favorite loveteams and real-life couples, who didn’t fail to serve kilig vibes anew. Among them are ZacHam (Zach Guerrero and Seham Daghlas), KoDrea (Kobie Brown and Andi Abaya), LoiNie (Loisa Andalio and Ronnie Alonte), FranSeth (Francine Diaz and Seth Fedelin), and DonBelle (Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano).
Jhai Ho and Alora also had the chance to have a little catch-up with some of the artists, namely, real-life couple Jane Oineza and RK Bagatsing, Vina Morales, Maymay Entrata, Darren Espanto, Jake Cuenca, Gerald Anderson, Joshua Garcia, and FranSeth. Besides, they were able to ask Senior High stars Andrea Brillantes, Juan Karlos Labajo, and Kyle Echarri, as well as Can’t Buy Me Love headliners Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano regarding the successes of their respective shows.
Moving on to the event proper that was hosted by the tandem of Dimples Romana and Eric Nicolas, the audio-visual presentation for “Share the Magic Campaign” was then shown, which featured the outreach programs executed by some of the Star Magic artists to the charities, advocacies, individuals, or groups that they chose to help.
In the end, three groups stood out for their “Exceptional Magic Sharing.” Snagging the 3rd Place and P30,000 were Alexa Ilacad, Nonong Balinan, and Eric Nicolas who extended help for the cancer treatment of their friend and veteran headwriter for comedy of ABS-CBN Sherwin Buenavida. Pira-Pirasong Paraiso stars touched a lot of hearts when they visited the rescued cats and dogs of Pawssion Project, thus making them 2nd Place winners and providing them with P50,000. Taking home the 1st place trophy and a whopping P100,000 was the “Fractured” stars FranSeth, Raven Rigor, and Sean Tristan who shared joy to the kids of Ephesus Home for Girls in Guiguinto, Bulacan.
Head of ABS-CBN TV Productions and Star Magic Director Laurenti Dyogi delivered his welcome remarks, wherein he looked back to the 30-year showbiz success of the premiere talent agency. The talent managers, through a video, also reminisced about the significant things that happened to Star Magic in the previous year, which include the notable performances and recognitions of the artists, remarkable shows and events, trailblazing collaborations and partnerships.
Chief Operating Officer for Broadcast of ABS-CBN Cory Vidanes sent a video message to express her pride and gratitude to the Star Magic family. She congratulated them for all they have achieved and accomplished this 2023, and commended them for always challenging themselves to be the best and give their best.
“Thank you, thank you very much for working so hard to give excellent performances that inspire audiences and make our stories and experiences most meaningful. But most of all, I would like to thank you all for being good-hearted role models that continue to inspire and give hope to all our audiences worldwide,” she said.
Then she added, “Thank you very much for your loyalty and love for Star Magic and for ABS-CBN even at our lowest, you never left us. You stood for us. You’ve inspired us to continue fighting to serve because, like us, you never gave up and you never let go.”
Metro Magazine also presented its own winners for that night through the polls they launched on social media. Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano were hailed the “Metro Fan Favorite Artist” for the male and female categories. BINI clinched the “Metro Fan Favorite Most Creative Group Costume” award, while Chie Filomeno was hailed the “Metro Showstopper” for her stunning sultry Christmas angel costume.
But the most important highlight of the Star Magical Christmas 2023 was the conferment of Loyalty Awards to seven Kapamilya stalwarts who have been Star Magic artists for more than two decades.
First off is Ketchup, who has shown his brilliance as a versatile actor in the past 21 years. “Just do whatever works, kung ano ang magwo-work sa inyo. One thing for sure, mas gustong katrabaho ng mga [production staff and crew] ‘yong magaling makisama kaysa sa magaling na artista,” the Can’t Buy Me Love actor told the younger artists in his speech.
Next is John “Sweet” Lapus, who has been entertaining us with his comedic chops for 22 years now. He wasn’t able to contain his emotions as he delivered his speech, wherein he reminded everyone about the value of loyalty based on his own experience. At the same time, he also appealed to the superstars of Star Magic to use their influence to help the talent agency survive and, “hopefully, here to stay”.
“Let us all aspire to be a good person. Our talent will get us to the door, but our character will keep us to the room. Tandaan, ang mabait [ay] mapupunta sa langit, hindi ang talented. I believe, it is only when we have an excellent talent and admirable attitude that all of us Star Magic artists can say that we are Tatak Star Magic,” John ended her speech.
Also astounding us with her talent for 22 years already is Jane Oineza, who reminisced about her journey and milestones in the industry, as well as thanked everyone who has helped and guided her to get to where she is at present, in her speech.
The Nag-aapoy na Damdamin star stated, “Ikaw ang gagawa ng sarili mong path. Ikaw ang magsusulat ng sarili mong istorya. Nakakapagod, pero hindi susuko. Don’t treat anyone as your competitor because your biggest and hardest competitor is yourself. Kaya ipagpatuloy n’yo lang na pag-aralan at paghusayan ang iyong craft. And ang pinaka-importante is patience, hardwork, consistency, and a good attitude.”
Former child star Igi Boy Flores was also appreciated for his 23 years of sharing his talent, especially in comedy. The The Iron Heart actor had this to say to the younger generation of Star Magic artists: “Ang talent, pwedeng ma-develop ‘yan. Ang itsura, kayang gawan ng paraan ‘yan. Ang katawan, pwede kang mag-diet, pwede kang mag-workout. Pero ‘yong character, napakalaking factor ‘yan […] Maging grateful tayo lalo sa mga ginagawa natin.”
Seasoned character actress Carla Guevarra-Laforteza was also recognized for her 24 prolific years in Star Magic. She reiterated Jane’s statement about having “no small roles, only small actors,” as well of John, regarding the power of referrals in order to help the younger artists and the talent agency. “Kahit na anong role ang ibigay sa inyo, namnamin n’yo ‘yan. Make the most out of it because that’s what makes you the artist that you are,” she remarked.
Meanwhile, 25-year-awardee Andrei Felix, who, from being an actor went on to become an in-demand TV and events host and sports commentator, wasn’t able to attend the event to receive his award because he’s currently in Malaysia. But he sent a video message to express how grateful he is to his Star Magic family and promised to make it up to them. He also said, “I hope I’m doing something right and I can serve as an inspiration to the younger generation.”
Last, but definitely not the least, is Desiree del Valle, who’s also been in the industry and Star Magic for 25 years. In her speech, she also looked back on her journey and thanked everyone who has helped her get to where she is at present. She also imparted some of the valuable lessons she learned along the way, such as “showbiz is the survival of the fittest.”
Of course, every Christmas party would be complete without raffle games, in which 50 box sets of Star Magic catalog and whooping cash prizes were given away to the members of the Star Magic family. ABS-CBN Chairman Mark Lopez and actors Jake Cuenca and Gerald Anderson also pledged money that were raffled as well.