“It’s Showtime” opened Thursday with a touching tribute to co-host Jhong Hilario, who celebrated his 46th birthday on the noontime program.
While the grand celebration is scheduled on Saturday, Hilario’s long-time friend and co-host Vice Ganda opted to share his gift ahead as the latter will not be able to join the episode this weekend.
The comedy superstar led the singing of “A Friend” by Keno, saying the lyrics reflects his enduring friendship with Hilario, whom he also credited for always lifting his spirits in challenging times.
Hilario spoke similarly of Vice Ganda, as well as the other mainstays of “It’s Showtime.” He explained that, often, the hosts’ happy demeanor on stage hides problems they struggle with in real life.
“Minsan, may mga problema tayong nararamdaman, pero hindi naiintindihan ng mga tao na, tayo, pinipilit natin magpasaya. Kahit may mabigat tayong nararamdaman, ginagawa natin ang trabaho natin, ‘yung makatulong sa mga may sakit, makapagpasaya sa mga madlang people. Minsan, ‘yung problema na ‘yun, totally nakakalimutan mo na dahil ang saya-saya natin.
“Thank you, guys, dahil meron akong pamilya na sobrang mahal na mahal ako, and sobrang naa-appreciate ko ‘yun. Hanggang mawala ako rito sa mundo, naa-appreciate ko lahat ng ginawa niyo para sa ‘kin, para makapagpasaya sa madlang people,” Hilario said.
The dancer-actor also shared his birthday wishes, among them getting to see the smiles of the “madlang people” who for now still need to wear face masks due to the pandemic.
His second wish has already come true. Hilario’s daughter, 1-year-old Sarina, had been nursing a fever this week. On the morning of his birthday, Sarina was on her way to recovery.