MANILA -- Celebrity siblings Lea and Gerard Salonga pulled off a surprise party for their mother's 80th birthday Sunday night at the Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila in Taguig.
The siblings, along with more than 100 guests as accomplice, were successful in staging their plan -- never mind if they had to name-drop a very important person.
The decoy was an early dinner at the coffee shop of the hotel six days after Mrs. Ligaya Salonga's actual birthday on August 14.
Gerard, his wife DJ and their kids Antonio and Carmen arrived first, followed by Lea, her husband Rob Chien and their daughter Nicole. Minutes later, their mother joined them.
Mrs. Salonga sensed something was afoot since nobody was ordering. "Everybody just kept on looking at the menu," she said later. "So I told them if you don't want to eat, I'll order."
But she was thrown off when a uniformed lady with a two-way radio approached their table and told her that a VIP was in the hotel and wanted to meet them. Immediately, the elder Salonga got her bag, stood up and instructed everyone to go up.
The family was escorted to the Bonifacio function room of the hotel, where more than 100 guests were waiting. Mrs. Salonga got the surprise of her life when she entered the room and everyone sang "Happy Birthday."
Her two celebrity children couldn't hide their excitement upon seeing the successful surprise.
"I don't feel I'm 80," enthused an overjoyed Mrs. Salonga. "It's just a number."
Planning for the party started last July, even when Lea left for London for a show.
The star-studded party was attended by celebrity couple Aga Muhlach and Charlene Gonzales, "The Voice of the Philippines" coach Bamboo Manalac, "The Voice Kids" finalist Esang de Torres, Nyoy Volante and wife Mikkie Bradshaw, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo and Cris Villonco.
Also in the party were recording executives Rudy Tee and wife Myrna with Narciso Chan, Preciosa Soliven, talent managers Sandra Chavez and Celeste Feliano-Pacana, ace photographer Raymond Isaac, and fashion designer Rajo Laurel.