Gabby Eigenmann feels recharged after his long vacation in the U.S. with his family.
“I consider it as one of the best vacations in a long time. Di ba, madalas kaming umaalis ng bansa?
"Last naming nag-States, two years ago yata, nag-L.A. kami, West Coast, then ito, ibang experience, East Coast naman,” he told this writer during a quick chat at the PPL office.
He, his wife Apples, and their four children were able to drop by Florida before spending Christmas and New Year in New York.
"I love Miami! Ang sarap, beach kami. Ninamnam namin ang init kasi nga, pagdating namin ng New York, ang lamig."
But the highlight of his trip was watching a game of his favorite NBA team New York Knicks at the Madison Square Garden.
It was one of his childhood dreams.
“Pagpasok ko pa lang sa lobby, na-mesmerized ako, iba ang feeling, e. Akala mo panaginip lang, nagkakatotoo.
"'Tapos, may isang store run na specific, isa lang ang binibenta, which [are] New York Knicks items, napabili ako, gumastos ako kaagad."
He also spotted and approached legendary Knicks player Walt Frazier for a wefie.
Gabby remarked, "Mabait naman."
When he had this picture taken, the Kapuso actor said he was a bit teary-eyed.
“Kinukunan ko lang, hindi ko napigilan, parang dun na nag-sink-in, naiyak ako. Bata pa lang talaga ako, fan na ako ng Knicks.
"Nakita ko kasi yung team na yun na palagi silang underdog. Napaibig ako sa team na ‘to."
LOVE AFFAIR WITH KNICKS. He became a fan 20 years ago.
"Noong pa-high school ako, di ba, pinapalabas noon ang Home Alone, mga bata pa tayo nun, The Plaza, ang pinaka-specific dream ko kapag nagpunta ako ng New York.
"Check in ako sa The Plaza, kapag manonood na ako ng game, magha-hire ako limousine, fantasy ko, panaginip lang talaga.
"Hindi man siya nangyari na ganun, but for me, I went all the way, pumasok sa loob ng Madison Square nang mag-isa, pag-apak ko pa lang sa lugar na yun, iba, dream come true talaga."
It was however unfortunate that the Knicks lost the game when he watched.
But the good thing, his Instagram posts reached a friend who's working in NBA as therapist.
Smiling, Gabby said, “Nakabalik ulit ako sa Madison Square at nakapanood pa ng game for the second time.
"Yung first Filipino na nagtatrabaho sa NBA is a therapist of Knicks, si Erwin Valencia.
"Natuwa siya na favorite ko nga ang Knicks, noong malaman niya na dream ko talaga.
"It’s a dream to watch, but it’s a fantasy to meet and get to know the players and have pictures with them.”
But because he was given an ID, he had access to the family room, where the cagers' family usually stay.
"Apparently, kung nanalo sila noong gabing yun, natalo ulit, e, ang sakit, di ba? Pero kung nanalo sila noong gabing yun, it could be easier for me to meet a lot of players, kasi happy. Kaso natalo, I was only able to see a few, nakapagpa-picture.
"So sobrang saya!"
With Mindaugas Kuzminkas
With "unicorn" Kristaps Porzingis.
Gabby continued, "Then si Erwin, after, binigyan pa niya ko ng bag na puro merchandise ng Knicks, e, talagang nagku-collect ako kaya iba talaga, natuwa ako.
"After kong magpa-picture sa isang player, tinawag niya ko. Nagta-tagalog din, e.
"Sabi ko, saan kaya kami pupunta, lumabas kami at bumalik kami sa court. Nagpa-picture ako sa gitna ng basketball court mismo.
"Iba, iba ang feeling. Nahiya lang ako, gusto ko sanang humiga. Nahiya na ako,” he said laughing.
He thanked Erwin for such "awesome experience."
“Napakalaki ng pasasalamat ko kay Erwin at nakakaaliw na may isang Filipino na nagtatrabaho sa NBA. I think, siya yung pure Filipino talaga na nagtatrabaho run at, siyempre, yung kaklase rin ni Apples na nag-hook up sa amin.”
Add to this, Gabby said it was also the first time his entire family went to New York.
“Ang dami kong natanggal sa bucket list ko sa isang trip na yun," he ended.