Pilita’s moment at ASEAN gala dinner
Am I the heart-over-head type of a woman? Yes, I am. When I fall in love, talagang todo-todo, walang preno. That’s why when I fall, I fall flat on my face. —Pilita Corrales in a STAR interview, circa 2008
In a sterling career that spans more than half a century and that has survived fast-changing trends and the influx of new talents, Pilita Corrales has, to use her own words, “fallen flat” on her face many times not only in the name of love but also in the pursuit of excellence that has ranked her above the rest, so durable and so enduring that the moment she bends backward to hit a high note (her un-copyrighted trademark widely imitated but never equaled), she holds the audience on her palm.
People suspect that the “bending act” is a gimmick.
Sunday night at the gala welcome dinner for ASEAN delegates, Pilita didn’t fall like what happened during a 2006 concert in Sacramento, California, where she miscalculated the length of the stage and fell. But she did bend backward. While singing Ikaw, Pilita must have moved US Pres. Donald Trump who promptly requested Pres. DU30 to sing along with her. The song is Pres. DU30’s favorite and he sang it with feelings.
Pilita sang one more song (Stardust) solo before she joined the finale with Lani Misalucha, Jona, Jed Madela, David Ezra Cruz (Dulce’s son), Elha Nympha, Darren Espanto, Baihana and Sam Shoaf.
“I have actually sung with dignitaries and other VIPs here and abroad,” Pilita told Funfare, “and I always consider it a big honor. When Erap was president, I sang Kahit Na Magtiis, his favorite song with him. That song with Erap was included in one of my albums.”
Two weeks ago in San Francisco, Pilita likewise so touched a California politician during a concert that he declared a “Pilita Corrales Day” right then and there, presenting her a certificate.
“There are already several ‘Pilita Corrales Days’,” shared Pilita. “There’s one in Chicago, one in Sacramento and another one in L.A.”
Pilita is expected to draw more ah’s and oh’s tomorrow night, Nov. 17, at the An Evening with Pilitaconcert at The Theatre of Solaire Resort & Casino starting at 8 o’clock, with special guests daughter Jackielou Blanco, son Ramon Christopher, granddaughter Janine Gutierrez, and the Wing Duo. (For tickets, call Ticketworld at 891-9999.)
The 2008 “confession” quoted as intro to this piece should help people understand why when Pilita sings, she draws (humuhugot) from a reservoir of emotions built up by loving too much and not always too wisely, including (as she revealed to Boy Abunda on his Tonight show recently) “enduring 10 years of hardship with an abusive partner” whom she didn’t name.
“I would say that I have fallen flat on my face sa pag-ibig…twice,” admitted Pilita in that 2008 interview. “But I am the type who springs back fast and easily. I try to get up the next day no matter how much it hurts. I think that’s what singing does to me. It helps me bring out all my emotions…the hurt and the anger. Singing eases the pain considerably because you bring it out in the lyrics, in the words, in the melody.”
And she easily gets carried away by her singing and the infectious reaction of the audience.
“During that Sacramento incident,” recalled Pilita two years after it happened, “I fell not only on my face but also on my back, on my shoulder, on all parts of my body! There was no harang (barrier) on the stage and I walked right off it while singing. I fell from a height of about 10 feet and I was on heels! I was X-rayed and examined and fortunately, I didn’t suffer any broken bones. But I had to undergo therapy when I came home.”
Thankfully, Pilita hasn’t been “falling flat” for a long time now, happy that she is with husband Carlos Lopez whom she described as “my greatest love” and being a doting grandmother to her grandchildren (three from Jackielou and Ricky Davao, and four from Ramon with Lotlot de Leon, both separated from their partners). “Carlos is one man who doesn’t stop me from doing anything,” continued Pilita (whose first marriage was to Gonzalo Blanco, Jackielou’s father with whom she lived for less than a year). “If I want to go to a concert, I go. He gives me all the love and attention and all the care that I’ve been longing for all this time.”
A true student of Life, Pilita said that she hasn’t stopped learning…lessons, that is.
“I learn from everything that happens every day. We never stop learning. I thank The Lord for every new day…that He allows me to be still here, singing, and to be happy at this time of my life.”
Turn back the hands of Time and, according to Pilita, she won’t change anything or undo whatever she has done in love and in her career.
“Oh yes,” Pilita had said then and she’s saying it now, “if I were to change anything, it would be my age. I want to be 18 all over again. Ang saya! You know, falling in love all the time, and all those suitors offering me everything, including a Mercedes Benz na hindi ko tinanggap,” ending the sentence with a laughter that sounds as melodious as her singing voice.
Actually, Pilita is ageless and timeless, feeling younger as time goes by.
I want to end this tribute piece by saying, a million thanks to you, Pilita. To quote a line from her song (composed by George Sison), The day you came along with your song, my heart began to sing…