SONA 2018: Celebrities we always look out for

Alexa Villano
SONA 2018: Celebrities we always look out for
In the Philippines, after all, celebrity and politics don't just mix – they often exist in the same sphere

MANILA, Philippines – The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is the one of the many events in Philippine politics where we’re reminded that here, showbiz and politics are a natural bedfellows. 

While the SONA is, as its name suggests, intended for the President to give updates on the country’s progress and his future plans, it’s become innevitable for the glitz and glamor before (and sometimes, even during) the main event to take the spotlight. 

The so-called SONA red carper, in particular is where the glitz and glamor goes into overdrive with celebrities-turned-politicians and even celebrities themselves showing up in their best (and under the Duterte administration, humble) garb for the yearly event. 

We focus on 6 personalities from showbiz that we always look for during SONA.

Heart Evangelista 

Why she attends the SONA: Heart is married to Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero and is considered to be among the most fashionable in the entertainment industry. 

Her outfits, while usually understated, are typically fashion highlights during the political event. 

The actress is currently taking a break from showbiz work and is busy working on her website and fashion collaborations. She announced in May that they were expecting their first child, but last June announced that she lost the baby.


All set for the 17th Congress' session and #sona2017

A post shared by Love Marie Ongpauco Escudero (@iamhearte) on


Jinkee Pacquiao

Why she attends the SONA: Jinkee is another constant during the SONA, accompanying her husband, boxer-turned-politician Manny Pacquiao, during the annual event. Jinkee herself entered politics as Sarangani vice governnor but she has since retreated back to private life to focus on taking care of their 5 children and businesses. 

While she is no minimalist – what with her closet full of luxury items, bags especially – she tones it down during the SONA. 



Lucy Torres Gomez

Why she attends the SONA: Lucy currently represents the 6th district of Ormoc in the 17th Congress. She stepped in to the political scene after husband Richard Gomez was disqualified from running for the same post. Richard is currently mayor of Ormoc.

Lucy has longed been considered one of the most beautiful faces in showbiz – she was a TV host, actress, and model before stepping into the political arena. During last year’s SONA, Lucy was accompanied by daughter Juliana.



Vilma Santos Recto

Why she attends the SONA: The Star for All Seasons has been present in the last two SONAs as the 6th district representative of Batangas. Prior to joining Congress, she was governor of the province.  

Her husband, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, also attends the SONA but they often enter the plenary hall of the Batasang Pambansa separately.

Although she been busy with her work as representative of Batangas, Vilma finds time to attend select celebrity gatherings and commits to one movie a year if her schedule permits.

VILMA SANTOS. Vilma has been present in past State of the Nation Addresses along with husband, senator Ralph Recto.  Photo shows the couple with son Ryan Christian at the 2017 Gawad Urian awards. File photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler


Alfred Vargas

Why he attends the SONA: Alfred currently represents the 5th district of Quezon City. He manages to balance his work as congressman and actor. He is currently part of GMA 7’s Kambal Karibal, and has done movies in between.  

SONA ATTENDANCE. Alfred Vargas and wife Yasmine during the 2016 SONA. File photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler


Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt Romualdez

Why she attends the SONA: Yedda represents 1st district of Leyte. A former Binibining Pilipinas International titleholder, Yedda holds a nursing degree and was active in the modeling scene before she married former congressman Martin Romualdez.

Yedda has also started her own projects, one of them a livelihood program for women, where they create the “Imelda suman.” 




While fashion and celebrity aren’t – and should never be – the focus of the annual State of the Nation Address, it’s these personalities that add a little more oomph to what is usually a serious and sometimes, controversial political event. Who are your favorite celebrities during the SONA? —

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Alexa Villano

Alexa is one of Rappler's Lifestyle and Entertainment reporters, covering local entertainment news to a wide range of topics from beauty pageants to reality shows.