Singer-actress Ciara Sotto and longtime boyfriend Joe Oconer are planning to tie the knot next year.
Ciara herself relayed this information to PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in a one-on-one interview in Beijing. The daughter of veteran dramatic actress Helen Gamboa and ace comedian and former Senator Tito Sotto is currently in China to shoot the sequel of Regal Entertainment's annual Metro Manila Film Festival entry, Mano Po.
The two lovers were engaged last March during an out of town trip to Laguna in which Ciara confessed being caught flat-footed by Joe's unexpected proposal. To build up the romantic moment, Joe made Ciara stroll the vast open field while talking aimlessly to keep his girlfriend from being suspicious.
"Tapos sabi ko 'Ay may party yata dito, nakakahiya naman.' May flowers sa table then sabi niya 'Baka nga.' Tapos biglang when we got to the table sabi ko, 'Oh no, parang iba ito,'" Ciara recalled the moment.
Ciara's intuition proved to be accurate. Joe asked for her hand in marriage before saying, "I should have done this a long time ago when we met."
NOTHING'S FORCED. Though it took Joe four years to muster enough courage to finally propose, Ciara in hindsight believes that the relationship was heading smoothly in that direction. The singer-actress took note of the fact that everything between them felt natural right from the start when they first met during one of Eat Bulaga's U.S. visits.
"We weren't even trying," said Ciara. "Nagpunta ako sa tabi niya [Joe], ito pa si Paolo [Ballesteros] and gitna pa ko. Wala lang, ang bilis ng pangyayari and parang kilala ko na siya bigla... He's really sobrang bait."
Ciara is confident that settling down would not affect her drive for work. The singer-actress is still trying her luck in the international scene. In 2007, Ciara left the country to perform in Las Vegas. She was also chosen to sing the Philippine National Anthem in Manny Pacquiao's boxing match against Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez early last year.
"Talent naman doesn't have anything to do with your status, like if you're married, separated or you have a child, di ba?" she argued. "That doesn't make you less of a person or a performer, and he knows naman that I'm married to my career even before I met him [Joe]."