Bago nakilala ni Samantha "Sam" Lewis ang boyfriend na si Enchong Dee, hinanap niya ang photos ng actor sa Google.
“I was researching for photos. If you know Google photos, [may] pop-up of a certain events kunwari, ganyan. I was scrolling down and I saw his photos.
"Oh my god, he was there! If there was a chance, I would have met him way before,” salaysay ni Sam sa exclusive interview ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal).
“But it never happened. Probably, I just saw him. Wala lang ‘coz I never really met him before.
“Actually, I messaged him one time ‘coz I was making a report for MAC," na ang tinutukoy niya ay ang cosmetics brand kung saan siya ay connected.
FIRST MEETING. Nagkailala daw sila sa isang event ng manager ni Enchong na si Keren Pascual.
“But there was this one event that Tito Keren did PR [public relations] for.
“So,Tito Keren’s talent was there and he was invited also but he had shooting that day for Once a Princess.
"But it was packed up early that’s why he got to make habol pa sa event, and I was a model pa then.
“Normally, I don’t stay for like socializing pa after. Kasi when my call time is early, I just wear whatever is comfortable. Just plain me, you know, in my backpack.
“I was wearing boots kasi comfy siya. After the show’s done, I just had whatever I wore this morning and my boots.
“Parang iisipin ko, do I really have to socialize na hindi naka-outfit? Kasi other people were wearing cocktail dresses. If it’s more formal, long dresses.
“So parang I wasn’t sure if I will go back pa to say hello to some people.
"So when I was walking on stage, a friend of mine, she was like shouting, ‘Sam! Sam!’ How can I talk, I was walking on the runway?
“Sige, I thought. I would go back na lang at say hi to her. I went back to talk to her and I ended up talking to another friend, also a PMAP [Professional Models Association of the Philippines] model. And she’s super madaldal din.
“Kuwentuhan kami and a common friend of ours, Nico Raval, came up to me.”
Raval introduced Enchong to Sam.
“This was last year or more than a year ago,” pag-alala ni Sam.
RESERVED GUY. May spark ba agad no'ng nagkakilala sila?
“Actually, it was funny kasi I would have thought he would be more open, more outspoken.
“But he was more reserved. Ako pa yung nahiya kasi he’s so quiet,” sagot ni Sam.
Nag-exchange ba sila ng contact numbers?
“It didn’t happen right away actually. The first question was, ‘What’s your Instagram name?’ ‘Are you an Instagram person?’”
Nung sinabi ni Sam na nasa Instagram siya, hiningi ni Enchong ang Instagram name ng dalaga.
“I guess he’s more of a social media person. I guess some guys think it’s too forward to ask a girl’s phone number the first meeting,” sabi ni Sam.
“So it didn’t happen straight right away,” dugtong niya. “I got a message from him two days later na parang, ‘Hi. I hope I didn’t keep you out.’ He vibered me.”
Hindi rin daw sila agad lumabas ni Enchong dahil busy ang aktor sa kanyang mga taping.
Pero pag may time naman, lumalabas sila para manood ng sine, kumain sa labas, at magkuwentuhan lang.
Sabi pa ni Sam, “Siyempre, to know more of each other. Until now naman it’s a learning process pa rin naman.”
FIRST DATE. Ano ang masasabi ni Sam sa unang pagkakataong nag-date sila?
“I was really nervous. But I think I gave him a heads up na pag hindi ako nakakain, that means I’m nervous. Pag hindi nakain yung pagkain, please don’t force me. So he knows na about me.
“I think he did nothing that night. I felt so bad though. Parang nakaka-concious kasi.
“He would asked me questions about anything, like a normal conversation. He didn’t make me feel like I’m dating an artista. Walang ere or anything.
“Feeling ko ang dami kong nadaldal sa kanya. Feeling ko buong buhay ko naikuwento ko na sa kanya.
“Sa kanya naman, I had to slowly learn. I would ask him questions. He would make kuwento. I’m not the type of person who would ask a specific question or whatever.
“If you wanna tell me something about anything like your job, yourself or whatever on that day, I listen. Pero I won’t specifically ask him na parang 'what’s this?”
ADJUSTMENTS. Paano sila nag-a-adjust sa isa’t-isa lalo na sa oras?
Nasa modeling si Sam at si Enchong ay busy sa showbiz career niya.
“Whenever we have time, like ako, when I was doing modeling, my time was more flexible. Kunwari, if he’s free in the middle of the week, we meet up.
“But now, when I started working with Mac, it’s a corporate job. It’s office hours. So, if we have time, after my office.
“Siyempre, he’ll think of my schedule also. After kunwari sa office, he’ll say he’ll pick me up. We can go have dinner, watch a movie.”
Mahirap ba magkaroon ng busy boyfriend?
“It’s a bit difficult,” pag-amin ni Sam.
“But I mean, parang that’s your compromise if you really want the relationship to work. Kahit na kunwari after office, instead of me going home para mag-rest na lang, dahil I have work the next day, no.
“Kasi gusto ko rin siyang makita. Kapag nagyaya siya, sige lang, push.
“Pero pag kasama ko naman siya, hindi mo mararamdaman yung oras.”
ONE YEAR. Kailan naging officially sila? This year lang ba?
“No, last year, we were officially together March. One year na kami,” sabi ni Sam.
Ito na ba ang pinakamatagal na relationship ni Enchong?
“I don’t know. Like I said, I don’t ask,” sagot ni Sam.
“Kung makuwento niya sa akin yung tagal ng past relationship niya, then saka ko alam.
“Hindi kasi ako nagtatanong lalo na about the past kasi parang he’s okay with it. If he doesn’t wanna talk about it, I don’t insist.”
ENCHONG AS BOYFRIEND. Paano ba si Enchong as a boyfriend?
“Mabait, siyempre,” sambit ni Sam.
“Mapagbigay sa pagkain, hahaha, joke lang! That’s why we first clicked kasi parang both of us are like trying new places.
“Parang when we started nga, e, funny kasi we exchange photos of kung ano yung kakainin namin.
"Kunwari hindi pa nag-lunch yung isa, we send photos of food. Which is parang a first dahil I didn’t usually do it before.
“But yun ang isa sa mga nakakapagkasunduan namin, food. Hindi siya matipid when it comes to that. He always makes me libre.”
ARGUMENTS. Nag-away o nagkatampuhan na ba sila?
“That’s part of the relationship. Wala namang perfect relationship na always happy. Arguments do happen,” pag-amin ni Sam.
“But it’s a part of a healthy relationship. May mga tampuhan hindi maiwasan but we work it out.
“The good thing about the two of us is we’re open talking about it. From the start, deal na namin yung open communication.”
GIVE AND TAKE. Ano ang gusto at ayaw ni Sam kay Enchong?
“I don’t think there’s anything specific. Kasi whatever happened during the day affects din yung mood of the person,” sabi ni Sam.
“Kunwari, if he’s okay or not, tired or stressed about anything, 'tapos kunwari sinumpong ako or whatever, hindi niya ako papatulan.
“Kunwari namu-mroblema pa siya at ako pa dadagdag na may sumpong siyempre magkakaroon ng a little bit a friction. Nothing specific naman.”
Wala pa namang major fight?
“No,” sabi ni Sam.
“I’m not the type of person na parang cool off 'tapos magbabalikan. And if it’s not working, magku-cool off naman. No.
“We try to fix things. If it’s repairable, let’s fix it na. Kung hindi, it’s better to stop the relationship na.”
UNCONVENTIONAL RELATIONSHIP. Paano ide-describe ni Sam ang relasyon nila ni Enchong?
“Unconventional? You never know what’s coming. Yeah, I dated celebrities in the past.
“Yung oras nung partner ko before mas hawak niya compared to Enchong right now. Iba talaga pag artista ka.
“You think na you’re free on this day then something comes up like a mall show or shoot or whatever so it’s different.
“That’s why for us din, it’s hard to plan dates or something like that. It’s more of impromptu or spontaneous.”
THE FUTURE. Paano nakikita ni Sam ang sarili sa piling ni Enchong sa mga susunod na buwan o sa susunod na taon?
“I don’t know,” kinikilig niyang sagot.
“Mas okay na you take one day at a time. Kasi parang we don’t know din kasi what the future brings.”
Wala pang nababanggit si Enchong tungkol sa settling down?
“Right now, we're both focus on our career. We’re both 27. But then, hindi naman talaga pinag-uusapan ang kasal,” sabi ni Sam.
“Like when Ate Olga was here, kuya AJ’s [Dee, Enchong's brother] wife at si Mama Tess [Enchong and AJ's mom] , may running joke siya na parang, ‘O, Sam, puwede na ba kayo ni Enchong na magka-kids?’
“But they already have toddlers. Natatawa na lang ako na parang, 'wait lang Tita.'
"Wala pa talagang usap or anything.
“Kunwari kapag na-bring up ng another person, it’s not like na we're totally evading [the question]. It’s not like, ‘Let’s sit down and talk about it.’”
ENCHONG’S FRIENDS. Nag-artista na ba si Sam o may nag-offer na ba sa kanyang mag-artista?
“Actually, before when I moved na to Manila, when I started modeling part time. Kasi I was still in school pa at that time. I don’t know why I got into an audition for a soap in ABS CBN.
“I just found myself there. I was nervous kasi obviously I don’t act. Obviously, I’m camera shy. I tried my best.
“I was in UP [University of the Philippines] na that time. I don’t wanna miss my classes. So, I had to turn it down.”
Paano pag kasama ni Sam ang mga friends ni Enchong?
“It’s fine,” sabi ni Sam.
“I’ve met Rayver [Cruz]. I’ve seen him more than Gerald [Anderson].
“I’ve met the other Star Magic artists. First time I was introduced to the public, it was in front of the camera.
“We’ll watch a movie or do karaoke, mga regular stuff lang naman, like ordinary people do.
"Hindi naman yung nakakailang. But when they start talking and telling stories like a trip abroad for ASAP na sila-sila ang magkakasama, I let them.
“Kasi I like people watching, I listen to their kuwento. Nag-i-smile lang ako when they’re telling a story na something funny.
"I don’t know the story. I’ll try to imagine what happened sa story.
“I like seeing Enchong do kulitan with his friends. Pag kami lang with his family and my family, mas nakikita ko yung mas kulit side niya when he’s with his friends.”