Perhaps the sweetest thing on the sands of Punta Fuego last March 5 to 7 were Be Bench finalists and ABS-CBN talents Regine Angeles and John James Uy, who spent most of their time under the sun cuddled in each other's arms. The two admitted that they are exclusively dating.
Regine said she did not initially think she would like John James romantically. Speaking to PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) during Day 2 of Camp Nivea in Nasugbu, Batangas, the 24-year old model-actress said she first felt that John James, two years her junior, was "too young" for her.
She also refused to fall for his charms during their stint in Be Bench, the 2007 ABS-CBN model search for the apparel company, in which Regine and Carl Guevarra were declared winners.
"Hindi ko sineseryoso. Una, naninibago ako. Kasi una, alam ko lahat ng baho niya. Alam ko kung gaano siya ka-playboy. Sabi ko, 'Tantanan mo 'ko, please!' Ginagano'n ko siya, pero pabiro. Tapos yun pala, parang, siguro na-challenge siya dun, or I don't know. Kasi sanay raw siya na yung babae ang naghahabol, e siya, nilalayuan ko siya. 'Layuan mo 'ko, ang tanda ko sa 'yo.' Ginagano'n ko siya. Ewan ko kung ano nakita niya," Regine narrated.
But John James was persistent. Regine said the model-actor pursued her again two years later. This time, she did not turn him down.
On October 29, 2009, Regine and John James were both at the ABS-CBN compound for a special press conference for Star Magic talents who had just celebrated or would be celebrating their birthdays. Regine's birthday was in October, while John James's was in September.
PEP attended that press conference and even had an interview with John James. (CLICK HERE) There was nothing going on with the two celebrities then. PEP did not see them talking closely together, only civility passed between them.
Regine told in detail the next events that made them more than just friends.
"I was supposed to do hosting for Wowowee...taping during that time. So dapat may pull-out ako dun sa presscon ng 4 p.m. 'Tapos at the last minute, siguro 30 minutes before, kinansel nila ako. Kasi si Mariel [Rodriguez] parang nagte-tape yata for PBB. So, nairita ako, umuwi ako. Umalis ako ng presscon, hindi ako nagpaalam sa lahat.
"Punta ako ng Talent Center. Maya-maya, tumatawag yung RM [road manager] namin, hinanap ako. Sabi, 'Nasa'n ka? Hinahanap ka ni John sa Wowowee.' Sinundan niya 'ko. 'Tapos chika-chika kami. 'Tapos after nun, sabi ko, uwi na ako. 'Tapos pag-uwi ko, tinext niya 'ko. Sabi niya, 'You wanna hang out later?' Ayun nga, nanood kami ng sine."
Regine told PEP the two of them watched The Hurt Locker, the winner of the Best Picture award in the recent Oscar Awards.
"Sa Gateway kami nanood. Tapos lahat ng tao, kunwari nasa Gateway kami, sasabihin ng mga tao, 'Ma'am, sir, bagay kayo.' Tapos bigla na lang niyang sasabihin, 'Oy, bagay raw tayo.' E, lagi na kaming sinasabihan ng ganun. Pero dedma kami, parang, 'Ano ba, magkaibigan lang kami!' Nakakatawa!"
After the movie, Regine said John James still asked her to go on a "gimik." But she had to refuse.
"Sabi ko, hindi ako puwedeng gumimik bilang may flight ako the next day going to Bora [Boracay]. Kami ni Wendy [Valdez], dapat aalis lang kami. Kaya lang hindi siya natuloy dahil bumagyo. Na-move siya ng November 1," she said.
The canceled flight then gave John James another opportunity to ask Regine out again. And when she refused his offer, he would ask Wendy to help him.
"The next day, October 30, nagyaya na naman siya," Regine said. "Sabi ko, 'Ayoko, may flight ako bukas, ang kulit mo.' Tapos, pina-text pa niya si Wendy sa akin na parang, 'Tara na alis na tayo.' Marami raw kami. Labas kami ulit, marami kami."