Fatherhood is not for every man – but once it comes, it becomes a lifetime mission worth experiencing. Such was the case of 42-year old businessman and LGBTQ advocate Wilbert Tolentino who embraced his role not just once, but twice!
Tolentino is the Philippines’ first gay ambassador as he represented the country in the Mr. Gay World search in 2009. He is also the first national director to bring home the Mr. Gay World title.
(a) The birth of his daughter Claire Abigail when he was only 19 years of age pushed him to work harder.
Tolentino’s bright outlook hides all the pain and heartaches he experienced in life. It was also at this time when he felt that he was not comfortable with his sexuality. Coming “out” was not something that was easily accepted by his conservative family at that time and there were tears and arguments.
(a) But life brings more pleasant surprises to Tolentino. Just a few months ago, he became a father once more to a newborn son, which he named Willard.
Friends told him that fatherhood has changed his personality. Tolentino agrees, saying that he now feels calmer and more composed knowing that there is this bundle of joy waiting for him at home.
Moving forward, for many Pinoy parents, the “firsts” are always celebrated — whether it’s baby’s first kick, first word, or his first smile. Some mark the occasion with a cake or a photo with those milestone cards (flat lay, of course). And when he finally gets to his first year of life, it’s only a matter of choosing whether you want an intimate or grand party. But surely, you will all wish to have the grandest one. (a)
In the case of this Father Fab, entrepreneur Wilbert Tolentino, who runs a chain of health spas, entertainment centers, and an online web marketing company, decided to hold one party for his son’s baptism and first birthday. He felt that a party for royals was perfect for the theme; after all, his son’s name is Willard King.
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“I wanted an event that was entertaining and will leave guests in awe,” Willard tells SmartParenting.com.ph through email. “I wanted to make sure that they’ll leave the party with great memories,” he added. (a)
Wilbert had one month to prepare for the party held at The Oasis Manila in Quezon City, last March 2018. He worked with his beauty queen friends, Jamie Castillo of Kisses and Smiles Events. The royal party had ended with 400 guests, with the help of several suppliers.
The pavilion where the party was held was set up to look like a castle, complete with pillars and banners.
(a) Guests were welcomed by royal jesters — stilt walkers, jugglers, mimes who dressed up as knights, and street magicians.
Upon entering, boys were provided with shields, swords, and crowns, while girls were given tutus and tiaras. They were led to a “knight’s long table” adorned with more crowns and gold goblets filled with chocolates.
In the middle was an elevated stage with a set of stairs leading to a carriage with life-sized horses. It was one of the highlights of the party—adults and children could sit inside and take photos.
Another highlight was the customized 6-layer cake, which used projection mapping technology to project videos and images of Willard and his family on the surface of the cake. (a)
Guests were entertained with a song and dance number balloon twisting, magicians, and games. The adults also participated in a number of games and took home cash prizes amounting to Php160,000.
Instead of having a photo booth, Wilbert hired a roving photographer and also had a separate photographer and videographer for the same-day-edit video that was shown at the party. (a)
Willard’s celebration was obviously on a grand scale — definitely not your typical first birthday party. Wilbert admits it costs a whopping Php2 million to execute. But he doesn’t have any regrets, knowing that all the guests went home happy.
“I just want him to know that I will do everything to fill his life with so much happiness and love. He is loved by many,” Wilbert says. (a)
“Because of him I am trying to be the best version of myself and I hope he grows up as a fine man who is willing to help and share his blessing always to others,” he also shared
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