Last Saturday, I sat inside the grand ballroom of the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino. Beside me were Jasmin, my wife, plus four of our closest friends—doctors Ron Eullaran and Ronnie Medalle with their wives Raycia and Stephanie. We watched Pacquiao. No, it wasn’t Manny—he was readying for his trip to Los Angeles—but a lady named “PacMom.”
She’s like her son. Or rather, the son’s just like the mom. Nanay Dionisia is a superstar. On stage, she’s feisty and popular—just like her favorite son. During the Ai! Ai! Ganda! Mommy Dionisia! show three nights ago, she boogied, strutted, twisted, and whirled like an 18-year-old debutante with her red underwear visible as her blue dress swayed open.
Mommy Dionisia sang “Usahay.” Then, addressing the crowd in Bisaya, she belted out an Imelda Papin song which she confessed was her lullaby tune many years ago to baby Manny. Never mind if her voice was nowhere near the likes of Sinulog performers Pilita Corrales or Dulce, she thrilled us. For on stage was the mother of our planet’s most famous Filipino.
To me, the incredible part was midway through her dance routine when her partner gripped her arm and leg and catapulted Mommy Dionisia’s body around and around—as if she were a carousel floating and gliding on air. She’s 60 years old!
Wow. She wowed us. Now I understand why Manny is “ShowManny.” He’s a showman. Because she is. He’s his mom’s son. She brightens when the spotlight is shone—just like MP. She sings. He does. Her footwork—for a senior citizen—is astonishing, just like his. She’s forever-smiling. She’s full of overconfidence. She delights in standing ovations. Mommy is Manny. Pacquiao is Pacquiao.
The rest of the show? Steph, Raycia and Jasmin enjoyed it the most because of hunks first-named Derek and Jon. How about Ai-Ai? To us, she appeared unrehearsed as she often missed her singing lines and owned a voice that was too ear-piercing. The star of the night? He—or she—was Vice Ganda. He was brilliant, humorous, lively. But what made his hour-long comedic act rotten and distressing was how he’d randomly call up onstage members of the audience and would insult them. One embarrassed man, after over 10 minutes of relentless humiliation, stormed the stage and wacked the comedian’s hand to get back to his seat. Otherwise, the entire program—this type of comedy/celebrity show, a first for Jasmin and I—was fun and funny.