What ABS-CBN Ball attendees say they’re ‘forever grateful’ for


Actress Kim Chiu is grateful that her big sister, Lakam, who was hospitalized early this year, was able to attend the 2023 ABS-CBN Ball with her.

Actor Enchong Dee said he was happy to have had the chance to represent the country in an international film festival this year by way of Richard Somes’ “Topakk,” while Robi Domingo was thankful that ABS-CBN has “successfully rebranded” from being a broadcast network to being a storyteller and content provider, “but has remained to be in the service of the Filipino, despite the absence of a broadcasting franchise.”

They were just some of the Kapamilya talents who donned their best outfits and walked the red carpet that was set up at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel on Saturday night. They agreed that the party’s theme, “Forever Grateful,” suited the general sentiment of Kapamilya talents whose last network-organized get-together was held four long years ago.

‘We are still here’

“Grateful is a big word,” said Kim, who wore a silhouette gown by Francis Libiran that night. “I have so much to say ‘thank you’ for, even the small things like the smiles of the people I run into. Rather than dwell on the negative things, it’s better to just focus on the more important stuff. At the end of the day, I’m blessed that I still have work and that I’m able to eat three times a day.”

“I’m also thankful that despite everything that happened to ABS-CBN, we are still here, we’re still doing what we love doing. As a result, our reach has gotten wider with all the networks and platforms that we are partnering with,” she told Inquirer Entertainment.

Enchong, who flew to Switzerland to participate in the 76th Locarno International Film Festival in August, said he was grateful for the opportunity to witness people of different nationalities all looking up to Filipinos when it comes to filmmaking. “I’m also grateful that I’m still standing here, despite the things that happened this year, not just to me personally, but also to the network. This is a night to celebrate the efforts of everyone in the industry, every Kapamilya, Kapuso and Kapatid, as well as all the other networks and platforms,” said Enchong, who wore a Boom Sason suit.

Rough years

Robi had to explain why he walked the red carpet solo this year. “As much as we want Maiqui (Pineda, his fiancée) to be here, she is immunocompromised, so we said she should just relax,” said Robi, who wore a suit by Vin Orias. “Her request? Just like the movie of Kathryn (Bernardo, ‘A Very Good Girl’), she wants me to become a very good boy. I have to call her after the program when I get to my room.”

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, who walked the red carpet with fiancé, actor Sam Milby, said she was grateful to be his date this year. “My first ABS-CBN Ball was before I won Miss Universe. Now, I’m here with my fiancé,” she recalled. “Also, I’m grateful that we have had a very eventful year together, especially because we were able to travel a lot. Admittedly, at the beginning of our relationship, it wasn’t the case. This time, we’re visiting new places together. That’s really wonderful. In fact, we’ll be traveling to Canada in two weeks for a concert.”

Daniel Padilla —PHOTOS BY EUGENE ARANETA      

Sam, who wore a suit by Edwin Tan, added: “I agree with Cat. Also, it’s been a rough few years for our network, the whole country and, actually, the world. I’m just happy that we’re all surviving. It is also great to have this night dedicated to ABS-CBN Foundation.”

With this, Sam meant that the ball is more than just a night of glitz and glamor, it also gives them the opportunity to pay it forward. A portion of the funds collected from sponsors and online voting will be given to the foundation.

Kathryn Bernardo
Kathryn Bernardo

Meanwhile, it was interesting to note that despite his success as an actor, Donny Pangilinan is more grateful for “that good circle I can go back to—my family.”

The onscreen partner of Belle Mariano added: “Despite everything, I’m happy that our supporters are always there; that we are able to do amazing projects like this one (‘Can’t Buy Me Love’), which is super different from the previous ones we did.”

Like Donny, Belle said she is thankful for her “own circle,” as well as for their supporters. “I’ve been reading a lot of their tweets about our show’s trailer. They’re really amazing!” said Belle, who wore a Michael Leyva ball gown.

Actress and social media star Maymay Entrata said that while getting married to Canadian boyfriend, Aaron Haskell, is still far from her mind, she is thankful that, “The person I love also loves me back.”

Another reason to be grateful for, said Maymay, is the chance to be able to help the foundation. “We’ve experienced typhoons and floods. This is the least we can do to help our kababayan,” said the actress, who wore a fully-beaded Neric Beltran piece.

Meanwhile, Paulo Avelino, Kim’s leading man in the psychological-thriller “Linlang,” said: “I’m actually very grateful for a lot of things: at this point in my career, I could still work on projects I want; at this point in my life, I can still do things I want and love doing.”

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JM de Guzman, who has been very vocal about his battle with various mood disorders, said he is thankful that, “I’m still breathing and fighting a good fight; that I am still able to work and entertain people; that I’m now able to help take care of my family.” JM is also in the cast of “Linlang.” INQ

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