Closer (Again) You and I

In 1987 Gino Padilla’s “Let the Love Begin” was released, immediately becoming a radio hit. I was in 4th-year high school. I was proud of it and was feeling secretly privileged. This is the story why.

I first met the Filipino singer Gino Padilla personally sometime in 1985, when he first arrived in the Philippines from the U.S. My Aranzamendez/Del Prado relatives in Better Living Subdivision in Bicutan, Parañaque, where I used to spend summer vacations in the 1980s, held a welcome lunch/dinner for him and his family. Lolo Nonong Aranzamendez was my side of the family, whereas Gino is a relative on the side of Lola Charing del Prado-Aranzamendez. The wife (Lola Chit) of a brother (Lolo Iking) of Lola Charing was a Padilla.

I was there at the gathering. We were excited to see Gino, who at the time was just about to dip his foot in showbusiness. After the meals, Gino graced us with a song or two on minus-one or karaoke or even a cappella. Everyone was jovial and starstruck, especially the young ones. Stories were told. Pictures were taken. Unfortunately, because Kuya Edmon and I were busy helping around, I did not manage to squeeze myself into any of the shots. Nonetheless, great memories of that day remained.

I never saw Gino in person again until 35 years after.

In January 2016, while I was on vacation in the Philippines, friend Meds Marfil invited me to watch the show of True Faith at 12 Monkeys Bar in Makati, where he with the rest of his band was a special guest at the concert of Lou Bonnevie, who was celebrating her 30th Anniversary in the scene. Among Bonnevie’s other guests were Basti Artadi of Wolfgang and, yes, Gino Padilla!

I took the opportunity to chat with Gino; and when I mentioned to him about that get-together at my Lola’s house 35 years ago, he beamed a smile of familiarity and nostalgia, saying that he could remember it fondly. After all, that was the time when he was yet to start his singing career. And in the greater scheme of things, we are somehow related by music and affinity.

Final Note
Gino Padilla released his first studio album in 1987, titled Shifting Gears, which contained the singles that he is best known for–“Gusto Kita,” “I Believe in You,” and “Let the Love Begin.”