Being away for so long makes Gabby Concepcion feel like a newbie all over again.
"Medyo kinakabahan ako ngayon, e," a nervous Gabby told the entertainment press earlier today, April 4, during a special press conference prepared by ABS-CBN for the comebacking actor at the 9501 restaurant.
"Hindi na rin ako sanay, pero I'll try to answer all your questions the best way I can para, at least, I can address your questions properly. Para open na lahat. Wala na akong itatago. Wala naman akong gustong itago. At least, mabukas lang ‘yong bagong buhay ko dito sa Pilipinas."
REUNION OF SORTS. The event was conducted to officially introduce Gabby as part of the Kapamilya Network. It was revealed during the presscon that the former matinee idol is set to appear in an episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya and a movie under Star Cinema.
There are also talks of a soap opera reportedly with Claudine Barretto, but ABS-CBN representatives said that the details are still sketchy at this point.
But other than Gabby's upcoming projects, the press conference also served as a reunion of sorts for the goodlooking actor with the entertainment press, particularly reporters who are very close to Gabby and haven't seen him for 13 years.
"I'd like to stay for good," revealed Gabby who arrived from the States last Sunday, March 30, via Philippine Airlines Flight PR 105.
Despite the number of projects lined up for him, Gabby said that his stay here in the Philippines is still indefinite; owing to the obligations he left in San Francisco, California.
"Wala ho talaga akong intensyon to stay very long. Gagawin ko na lang ang best that I can while I'm here. Try to avoid all the intrigues habang nandito ako. Ayoko naman talagang to stay here for good kasi gusto ko ding...matagal ko nang panaginip tumira doon [sa Amerika]."
However, Gabby is not entirely closing his doors and he acknowledged the fact that he is still feeling his way back after being gone for more than a decade.
Heaving a sigh, he offered, "Pero depende. Ngayon sinasabi ko ‘yan dahil kararating ko lang. Pero baka magustuhan ko na rin, so hindi ko alam sa ngayon."
A product of the ‘80s, Gabby happily shared that there will be a small reunion party tomorrow with some of his closest friends in the industry.
"Meron pa kaming get-together," he smiled, "'yong mga artistang nakasama ko, mga naging kaibigan ko."
MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME. Contrary to the rumor that he is staying in a high-rise hotel, Gabby clarified that presently, he is living together with his parents. Gabby is quite vocal about his father Mr. Rolly Concepcion's delicate health condition, which he says was the main reason he decided to return home.
The scene at the airport, according to Gabby, was very emotional. "Unang kita ko sa kanya noong nasa airport siya, ako rin gusto ko ring maluha o maiyak pero siyempre pinigil ko na lang. Pero alam mo, medyo mababa ang luha ko," he said.
Being away for 13 years made Gabby appreciate all of his father's efforts to defend him against issues when he was still active in show business. "Siya yong pumapader ‘pag may problema," he fondly recounted before adding endearingly, "kaya lahat gagawin ko para sa kanya."
He finally had the chance to reveal his father's true condition. "Meron siyang heart enlargement," he confessed.
Only recently, some people contested that his father doesn't look ill at all as previously announced. That observation prompted others to think that the actor was just using his father's alleged health condition to mask his real intention, which is simply to resume his stalled showbiz career.
"Well, he wants you to know that he's okay. Pero 'yong body niya talaga is very weak," Gabby said.
He explained further: "Tatlong arteries niya is clogged, hindi na puwedeng i-bypass. Madalas siyang humihinga nang malalim, plus meron pang ‘yong mga additional problems like arthritis, meron siyang diabetes, and all of that."
Seeking medical health abroad is also not possible. According to Gabby, air travel will only aggravate his father's already fragile condition.
"Hindi na puwede siyang lumipad, natatakot siya," he said. "'Yon rin ang sabi ng mga doktor kasi 'yong pressure nung eroplano, baka bumigay ‘yong heart niya. Nahihirapan siyang huminga maski noon kaya ayaw niyang lumilipad ng eroplano."
MENDING FENCES. Since day one of his arrival, Gabby has repeatedly mentioned his desire to mend fences with people he might have slighted in the past.
When he left the country in 1995, there were a lot of issues and conflicts, which he failed to address, mainly because he was making a hasty retreat. Several years after those controversies and now feeling more mature, Gabby wants to straighten all the unresolved issues he left behind.
"'Yon nga 'yong balak ko habang nandito ako, makita ko 'yong mga kaibigan ko sa showbiz noon. Maganda ‘yong feeling. Talagang gusto kong makipagkita na, makipag-ayos na. Tanungin ko na rin sa kanila kung ano ang pagkukulang ko dahil ilang beses ko nang inuulit sa TV, para na nga akong sirang plaka na I'd like to apologize for all my mistakes I've done in the past. Kung nasaktan kita at hindi ko alam na nasaktan kita, I want to know para magkaroon tayo ng closure," he humbly said.
And speaking of closure, ex-wife Sharon Cuneta recently said that there wasn't any in their much-publicized fallout and separation.
Surprised, Gabby said simply, "'Yang bagay na 'yan, kami na lang ang mag-uusap."
But in keeping up with his current mantra, he said that he's very much willing to initiate the move to finally put a closure in their ill-fated marriage.
"Open ako," he sincerely revealed. "I'm here to solve things, to mend things, to make friends not to make enemies. I'm here to fix not to break," smiled Gabby in closing.