Twinkle, twinkle


Jullie Y. Daza

On a warm summer night, what nicer place to hold a party than under a starlit sky, on a terrace overlooking a slope of hill outlined in fairy lights?

The hilly slope is positioned between Quezon City and Marikina, and it’s the 14th home to da one and only Mader, Ricky Reyes to you. Alta Vista, as the name implies, affords a romantic view, with a home that is huge, close to palatial, a grand staircase winding cinematically, like the ones you see in a movie set in some faraway country, each step twinkling under a thousand crystal teardrops dripping from a constellation of chandeliers. Chandeliers being an integral part of the Aquino-Reyes household, kindly look up at the ceiling – a newly painted ode to the angels who watch over the household. 

Tonight, Mader and her guests — beauty queens, entrepreneurs in and out of the beauty business, showbiz celebs — celebrate her 74th birthday (April 12), also her 47th year in the beauty business. The party, complete with live entertainment, could well have been the brainchild of her partner, Cris Aquino, an astute businessman whose travel agency is only one of his achievements. More than anyone else, Cris knows what makes Mader tick: She’s a philanthropist, she has saved thousands of kids from cancer, with Hans Sy she has built a halfway house for young PGH patients. There’s another story, however, as shared by Mader with her enchanted guests, one that goes beyond concrete and crystal, for here beats the heart of hearth and home.

In all their years together, Mader begins, “there has never been a single argument or quarrel, not in this family.” The couple and their daughters, Jamie and Stephie, eat their evening meal together, every night without fail, and at bedtime they pray the rosary together.

For the party, Mader has asked guests to come in “summery colors, bright and flowery.” But she’s the exception, garbed in her usual all-black, a huge cabbage rose woven into one shoulder. On her left ear, a diamond star. Around her throat, a trio of dainty necklaces sparkle with diamonds and emeralds.

Always one for drama, Mader announces: “I have disposed of all my properties.” Mader, please throw another party to explain what you mean!