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Date Posted: 01:17:09 12/23/11 Fri
A Tale of Two coversPEOPLE By Joanne Rae M. Ramirez
This is a tale of three titleholders and two covers.
It was an early Christmas gift for the staff of PeopleAsia when world welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao posed for over an hour for the glossy magazine’s covers for its 12th anniversary. Yup covers!
For this special issue, its thickest ever, PeopleAsia wanted to pay homage to three Filipinos who had made the Philippines lead stars instead of bystanders on the world stage Manny Pacquiao, Miss Universe first runner-up Shamcey Supsup and Miss World first princess Gwendoline Ruais. The year 2011 was the first time in a very long time that three Filipinos shone bright on the world stage, casting the glow from their achievements on the rest of the country as well.
With the help of many emissaries, we were able to get the world’s pound-for-pound champ to commit to his presence at the shoot at the studio of photographer Frank Hoefsmit in Taguig. Through the cell phone of Pangasinan Rep. Gina de Venecia, whom he calls “Nanay Gina,” Manny, who represents the province of Saranggani in Congress, confirmed to me that he was going to be in our shoot at 1 p.m. on Nov. 28. He kept his word, almost to the dot, accompanied only by his bodyguards and his chief of staff.
Shamcey, through her Binibining Pilipinas handlers, confirmed her presence, too. So did Gwendoline through Cory Quirino, who holds the franchise to the Miss World-Philippines tilt.
It was a casting coup to get them all together under one roof.
But lo and behold! Shamcey’s handlers did not want her to appear in the same photo as Gwen, for reasons they would not disclose. (Shamcey and Gwen, it must be pointed out, are friends and before winning their respective titles, belonged to the same talent agency.) And according to emissaries from Manny, the champ, the gentleman that he is, did not want to exclude any of the two beauty queens from the cover.
Like Manny, Shamcey is a native of General Santos City. Like Manny, Gwen, for her part, is a GMA-7 talent. Moreover, Manny was a judge in the Miss World-Philippines pageant that saw Gwen emerge as winner.
It was a Solomonic decision for all of us and instead of choosing between Shamcey and Gwen, the editorial board finally decided, “Why not have two covers?” It was not the first time a magazine has had two covers for the same issue. It was certainly not the first time for PeopleAsia, as we once had two covers in 2004 with then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on the one hand, and her chief rival for the presidential elections, Fernando Poe Jr., on the other. (I won’t tell you which cover sold more magazines.)
Anyway, Manny the gentleman, still fresh from his victory over Juan Miguel Marquez, the scar on his right eyebrow not yet completely healed, agreed to pose for two covers, even if it would take more time.
To Shamcey, who was very demure as she posed beside him, he said, speaking in Bisaya, “Huwag ka mahuya.” (Don’t be shy.) Earlier, when Manny walked into Frank’s Studio, without noise and fanfare, Shamcey didn’t notice his arrival. Still in curlers, she was picking up something from her bag in the common dressing room when she beheld the champion’s face when she looked up. Her jaw dropped. I imagine that’s how she would have reacted had she been chosen Miss Universe.
“Sorry,” she apologized to Manny, “Na-star-struck po ako.”
To Gwen, who was more relaxed with him, he admitted coyly he didn’t give her the highest score during the pageant, but the second highest (95 percent).
Gwen spoke in French to the photographer, and in impeccable English and flawless Filipino to the rest of us.
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