MANILA - Screen veteran Amalia Fuentes drew laughs on Tuesday night as she went off-script during a tribute to the late film director Gerardo de Leon at the 37th Gawad Urian Awards in Quezon City.
Fuentes, who credited De Leon for honing her acting, turned emotional as she remembered the filmmaker on the occasion of his birth centenary.
"Nakakaiyak, kasi siya ang dahilan kung bakit naging magaling akong artista," she said. "Hindi naman magaling na magaling, ha, kaunti lang!"
Realizing she had deviated from her script, Fuentes apologized to the audience as well as to her escort on stage, actor Piolo Pascual, apparently for taking her time.
She went on to recall the memorable works of de Leon, including "Sisa," "Diego Silang," "Noli Me Tangere," "El Filibusterismo," and "Ifugao," adding that she considers him the "ultimate director" for producing such classics.
The speech took a comedic turn when Fuentes, after saying she is honored to lead the tribute, commented on Pascual who was standing beside her.
"Matagal ko nang pinangarap na makilala siya at makasama!" Fuentes quipped, getting shrieks from the audience. "Kaya kahit hindi na ako puwedeng leading lady ni Papa P, puwede na rin sa akin ang papel niya ngayong gabi!"
In a candid moment that had the audience cheering, Fuentes said she kissed Pascual and commented on his scent, before briefly leaning on the actor's shoulder.
"Kaya ang masasabi ko lang... Mabalik tayo kay Gerry de Leon! Naiiba na yata ang tema ko," Fuentes said, laughing.
Wrapping up her speech, the actress said: "Manong Gerry, isa kang tunay na alagad ng sining... Ayun na, tapos na. Wala na, 'di ba?"