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Sunday, July 31, 2005


ABS-CBN's Monster party

Inquirer News Service

SAN FRANCISCO—Talk about pulling out all the stops.

The final leg of ABS-CBN's "Kapamilya Summer Caravan sa Amerika" last weekend, July 23, was an exercise in good old-fashioned extravagance.

Let alone a huge five-star cast, the double treat—"The Buzz" and "Asap Mania '05" staged live at the Monster Park in South San Francisco and telecast in Manila a few hours delayed—was attended by top-level network executives from both sides of the Pacific, led by brothers Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III, chair and chief executive officer, and Rafael "Raffy" Lopez, managing director of ABS-CBN Global.

That it was a thank-you party for subscribers of The Filipino Channel, which airs ABS-CBN programs in North America (also in Asia Pacific, Australia, Europe and the Middle East), was the official announcement. What it turned out to be, was a show of force.

Downtown at the 7,000-capacity Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, rival station GMA 7 proceeded with its own scheduled show to court clients for Pinoy TV, with which it hopes to challenge TFC.

The Kapamilya spectacular at the open-air Monster, formerly Candlestick Park, drew a slightly smaller crowd than that which turned up the previous week for Round One in Pasadena's Rose Bowl Stadium, but it was still more sizeable at about 30,000 than the covered Civic auditorium could hold.

Certified magnets

Though "The Buzz" and "Asap" were certified crowd magnets, the network's creative team did not let marquee value alone make the day. The program was a sequence of one show stopper after another, featuring veteran performers Gary Valenciano, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Kuh Ledesma, Vina Morales, and guests Nora Aunor, Rachel Alejandro and David Pomeranz; bright newcomers from Star Magic (the Kapamilya talent center)—Joross Gamboa, Roxanne Guinoo, Nikki Gil, Toni Gonzaga, Vhong Navarro, Iya Villania; singing champions Sarah Geronimo, Sheryn Regis, Rachelle Ann Go, Mark Bautista, Christian Bautista and Erik Santos; Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos.

"The Buzz" crew came in full force: Boy Abunda, Kris Aquino (with James Yap), AJ Dee and Chocoleit.

Needless to say, the carefully assembled cast covered all age groups and pop tastes.

That a good time was had by all would be an understatement (the merciless summer sun was thoroughly ignored by screaming spectators for the most part). It was an event that would be difficult to erase from memory.

When at last the sun went down, a brilliant moon rose in a hurry to catch up with the singing-dancing stars onstage.

From the bay, an icy wind blew. And still the show went on.

Emmie G. Velarde