Meeting hunky actor Dingdong Dantes was just a dream for Maria Elizabeth Capili, Ivy Cartagena, and Claire Fernandez.
But dreams, no matter how impossible they might be, do come true.
Last March 17, and with the entire nation already preparing for the Holy Week, the three ladies finally met Dingdong Dantes in the flesh and were able to do more than just the customary meet and greet.
TEXT LUCK. Maria Elizabeth Capili or Iza couldn't believe her luck the moment she was informed by Fanatxt that she was chosen to be Dingdong's date for an entire afternoon.
"Nung una akala ko niloloko lang ako," laughed Iza during an interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) a couple of minutes before Dingdong's arrival at Circle Café in Quezon City.
Iza narrated that she wasn't expecting anything when she joined the Fanatxt promo. Although she was hoping for the best, she had this nagging feeling that she wouldn't be lucky enough to bag the prize. What kept her sending those text messages, however, were her children's wishes.
"Lagi nilang sinasabi na mag-text lang daw ako ng mag-text kay Dingdong," she beamed, "sila pa nga ang nagpapaalala sa ‘kin."
But Fanatxt's incessant prodding finally convinced the former caregiver that she was not being taken for a ride. Her doubt turned into elation before the reality of actually meeting her favorite celebrity started to daunt her.
"Ang guwapo niya, machong-macho saka ang husay niyang umarte na parang natural ‘yong acting," she blushingly enumerated Dingdong's prominent traits.
Iza's admiration started way back when Dingdong was first introduced to the viewing public as the boy-next-door named Inaki in the now defunct youth-oriented show T.G.I.S. (Thank God It's Sabado). There's been no looking back since then.
"Bata pa siya noon. Medyo chubby pa siya nun, e," she recounted vividly. "E, ngayon ano talaga siya machong-macho."
While waiting for Dingdong's arrival, PEP asked the mother of four if she's nervous or actually more excited. The answer turned out to be both.
"Pareho," she smiled. "Excited na ko pero sobrang nakaka-tense kasi hindi ko talaga ini-expect na makaka-date ko siya."
After a few minutes of holding her breath in anxious anticipation, Dingdong finally arrived with a bouquet of flowers for Iza. Dingdong played the perfect host, talking to Iza and asking questions to put his nervous fan at ease while they enjoyed a series of delectable courses.
Moments later, the two were sharing stories and laughter together like two good friends.
MEANT TO MEET. Traveling all the way from Novaliches, Quezon City and despite the sudden downpour, PEPster Claire Fernandez won't be deterred. When she arrived at the venue, Claire brought with her some clothes so that she could properly change for the special occasion.
"Once in a lifetime lang ‘to," she smiled while glancing at Dingdong who was still sharing a meal with Iza, "baka hindi na maulit."
Like an ardent admirer, Claire was constantly monitoring Dingdong's progress and projects; eyeing the young actor only in TV, movies, print and billboards.
"Matagal na niya ko talagang fan, kahit dati pa," shared the 28-year-old fan.
Lately, though, she has one favorite spot where she can see her idol in all his glory: "'Yong billboard niya for Bench [in Guadalupe], gustong-gusto ko ‘yon. ‘Pag nadadaanan ko ‘yon napapatingin na lang ako."
26-year-old Ivy Cartagena, on the other hand, wasn't supposed to meet her idol and longtime crush during that Monday afternoon. To begin with, her friend and PEP enthusiast Joy Burgart was the one supposed to hang out with Dingdong.
"May emergency kasi ‘yong lolo niya, nasa hospital," explained Ivy on Joy's ordeal. "So kailangan niyang puntahan. Gustong-gusto niyang pumunta kaya lang talagang hindi puwede," she added.
Unable to come, Joy asked Ivy to take her place instead. Being a huge Dingdong Dantes fan, Ivy immediately said yes.
".... Nakita ko kung paano siya pumorma, kung paano siya magsalita, parang sobrang lakas ng appeal niya sa akin," confessed Ivy to PEP during an interview.
Ivy's also wanted to fulfill a longstanding wish. "Iki-kiss ko si Dingdong tsaka iha-hug ko siya," she said excitedly.
KNOWING DINGDONG BETTER. Immediately after his date with Fanatxt winner Iza, Dingdong proceeded to join Ivy and Claire at their table where the two took turns in asking the Marimar leading man a couple of juicy questions they had in mind.
Innately amiable, Dingdong gamely answered all the questions raised by Ivy and Claire while occasionally injecting doses of humor to keep the conversation light and free-flowing.
After the encounter, Ivy and Claire's admiration for Dingdong went beyond the screen image.
"Napakabait niya talaga,' exclaimed Claire. "Super accommodating siya. Hindi ako nagsisisi na siya ‘yong favorite ko, sobrang bait niya," she continued.
What fascinated them was the fact that Dingdong did not exhibit any airs or the dreaded star complex.
"Hindi ko na-feel sa kanya ‘yong artista na sikat. Feel ko parang kaibigan ko lang siya. Kasi mararamdaman ng fan ‘di ba kung parang pilit lang," Claire pointed out. "Hindi ako nagsisisi na s'ya ‘yong favorite actor ko."
Ivy, who fulfilled her wish to kiss and hug Dingdong, could only nod in agreement.
Click HERE to view photos of the happy event.