"Ang bilis! It's been a roller coaster ride! Sabi ko nga, 180-degree turn talaga, e—from a simple, quiet, normal life, then all of a sudden, public na."
Carla Abellana's eyes lit up and her dimples showed as she described her yearlong journey in showbiz. (CLICK HERE to read related article.)
"You seem to have made the right choice," PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) told the 21-year-old actress in an exclusive interview held at The Peninsula Manila hotel in Makati City.
Carla said, "Yes, hindi ko talaga inisip ang lahat ng ito—itong showbiz. But I grabbed the opportunity, and thank God, ang daming magagandang nangyayari."
GLOWING BEAUTY. Her Pond's White Beauty endorsement is the most recent addition to her portfolio. "Last year pa lang po, I was already informed by my manager, twice na. Talagang sinabi kong, 'Go for it,' since talagang this is my dream. I've been a loyal Ponds user, e," she beamed.
The daughter of actor Rey "PJ" Abellana added, "So we really prepared for it, ang daming time to prepare for it. We shot out of town for the provincial TVC [TV commercial], nag-shoot kami ng Manila TVC, 'tapos nag-pictorial kami twice. Andaming preparations for the endorsement and ngayon, formally, ilo-launch na siya this Sunday."
Her beauty was glowing and she gave a sweet smile upon hearing our comment, "May isa pang nagpapaganda...?" Could it be her screen partner Geoff Eigenmann?
"Yes, he's courting me," she said. She underlined that this was no gimmick.
"The courtship formally started this year lang, the start of this year," the granddaughter of '50s star Delia Razon confirmed. "May formal na gano'n, na talagang nagpaalam pa sa barkada ko. O, di ba, kilig. Haha. Nagpaalam pa sa tatlong best friends kong girls. May approval talaga, with the blessings of our families."
THE REAL SCORE. The Kapuso star put emphasis on the "start of this year." Carla said people might be thinking that the pair, who starred last year in the series Rosalinda, have been dating since end of 2009, but the real score then was purely friendship.
"Maraming nag-iisip na, 'Ow, last year pa 'yan, sila na sila na...' pero hindi. We've been really close lang talaga. Kasi he's the type of person na hindi mo makikita as a love team partner or as a crush or as a whoever leading man. Good friend, e, he's been very honest, a gentleman, open. Siya yung type na puwede mong sabihan ng kahit ano and he would give you advice, so I'm thankful for that."
And now that the son of Michael de Mesa and Gina Alajar has started courting her, how are things so far?
She answered, smiling, "Bahala siya sa buhay niya. Haha. No, we're okay. He's in the States now with his family, nagbabakasyon. Ayoko naman kasi masyadong distorbohin kasi enjoy naman siya with his family. And he'll be back naman next week, so pagbalik niya, work na naman kami."
Any chance of the friendship going to the next level?
The Pond's lady was quick to say, "We're very close now, he's courting me pero sabi ko sa kanya, 'Bahala ka, maging patient ka, tingnan natin kung hanggang sa'n ka tatagal.' Ayoko naman sabihing walang pag-asa, siyempre meron namang pag-asa..."
"YOU HAVE TO BE PATIENT." Turning a bit serious, she said now was not the right time for love.
Carla stated, "We're not rushing things. Yes, we date, we go out. I know his family already, he also knows my family. So important kasi sa 'kin yun, e... Very conventional ako, naniniwala pa ako sa courtship.
"Alam ko sa showbiz, hindi na uso yun pero naniniwala ako sa courtship. If he's really sincere and serious about you, 'pakita niya, di ba? So, yun lang... Important din yung family siyempre, hindi lang ako yung ipi-please mo. Kailangan, di ba, pati yung family [ay] happy."
Besides, she's very happy with the status quo. A part of her is worried about the possible complications should they ever become more than friends.
"I like him as a person and I appreciate everything he does for me. In all fairness to him, nakikita ko lahat ng efforts niya, and he's really serious about me naman pero ang hirap kasi na... ayoko kasi na once committed na kayo sa isa't isa parang ayan na, diyan na papasok yung mga problema, mga issue-issue, jealousy ganyan...
"Kumbaga, I'm already happy as we are now, and ayoko sanang magbago yun because, you know, getting into a relationship would change everything. So, we'll see na lang. Kumbaga, we'll take our time na lang. Sabi ko sa kanya, 'You have to be patient, you have to understand me. Talagang hindi natin mamadaliin.'"
NEXT LEADING MEN. Her next project will be with Dennis Trillo, her co-host in StarStruck 5.
"We'll be doing Love Bug, yung pumalit sa Dear Friend. This Sunday, we'll be flying to Hong Kong at dun kami magshu-shoot," said Carla.
When asked to describe the award-winning actor, "I've worked with Dennis, okay naman siya. He's very nice, very quiet, may sariling mundo. Pero nakakatawa siya and he's this innocent person talaga, e, na mabait naman. First time namin na we'll be acting together so we'll see how that goes, I mean, yung partnership namin onscreen."
Geoff will be her partner in Sinenovela's TV remake of Basahang Ginto, which will air sometime in May. The original Mars Ravelo classic was made in 1952 and starred Pancho Magalona and Alicia Vergel.
What if GMA-7's management tells her that the projects of the Carla-Geoff tandem will be temporarily shelved?
"Okay lang, walang problema kasi sabi ko naman, nag-uumpisa pa lang ako na I know it's inevitable. Mangyayari at mangyayari 'yan na mape-pair ako with others kasi the public has to see me with other leading men. So, part din yun ng trabaho na mag-experiment yung network. Okay lang yun, walang problema. Mas maganda nga yun para more experience."
Her Pond's commercial will start airing tomorrow, April 11. Does Geoff have a part in it?
"Hindi, hindi... Sana magkaroon kami ng endorsement together. Why not, di ba?" she exclaimed, before adding: "Basta abangan niyo sa Sunday. Pinaghandaan namin nang mabuti."