“You to me are everything, the sweetest song that I could sing, oh baby,” crooned Ryle Santiago, as he serenaded debutante Kira Balinger with The Real Thing’s “You to Me are Everything” during the celebration of her eighteenth birthday at Discovery Primea, Makati last Friday evening.
The Hashtags member and Kira’s date to last year’s Star Magic Ball was Kira’s last dance. “You’ve turned into such a gorgeous young lady,” he said in his message to her. “Someone who is raised well by her parents. And I know na kahit papaano, magiging mabait ka. I pray that your career will be very good, very successful, because I know that’s what you deserve. Sana lagi kang makinig sa parents mo, and sa akin.”
Ryle revealed something that Kira told him when they first met. “Gusto niya sinasabihan siya ng tao na proud sila sa kanya,” he shared. To Kira, he said “I’m proud of you. I’m very proud of you. Sa lahat ng narating mo and everything that you’re still going to do.”
While fans have been hoping for something more between the two, they have always maintained that they are—at this point at least—just really good friends. Now that Kira is of legal age, perhaps there can be some hope towards something deeper. As Kira’s elder sister said, “Ngayong eighteen ka na, Kira, you can love freely, but slowly.”
There is definitely no rush, though what was evident during Kira’s debut is how close she is to Ryle’s family. In fact, Ryle’s mom, actress Sherilyn Reyes-Tan, was part of Kira’s linternas, or 18 candles.
In her speech, Sherilyn shared how she watched The Story of Us and took note of Kira. “Siyempre, ikaw palagi ‘yung topic, ang gandang bata. Even Tito Chris (Sherilyn’s husband) said, ‘You know this girl, she’s really going to make it big.’ And then we found out that you’re friends na with Ryle, and then you have a special friendship with Ryle.
“My wish for you is that all your wishes come true, as well as the wishes of your parents for you.” She also revealed how her son asked that her wish be his wish instead. “Pinapasabi ni Ryle na wish ko na sana makapagpaalam ka na nang maayos na kung puwede ka nang maligawan ng ayos, para maka-bonding ka naman namin ng madalas.”
Sherilyn went on to share how good an influence Kira has been to Ryle. “Because of you, my son is happy. Because of you, mas bumait ‘yung anak ko, mas sumipag,” she said. “Sana maging mas close pa kayo ni Ryle. Sana mas pumayag pa si Mommy. Happy birthday, Kiwi!”
Before stepping off the stage, Ryle’s little sister had a heartwarming message for Kira as well. “Ate Kiwi, you are born with a heart that is strong to carry. Happy belated birthday, Ate Kiwi. I love you!”