Quezon City Councilor Aiko Melendez looks slimmer and happier nowadays.
Taking a respite from her duties as a public servant, Aiko along with Rica Peralejo and Carlene Aguilar were officially launched as the new face of Marie France earlier today, January 23, at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati City.
Aiko revealed excitedly the number of pounds she recently shed: "More than twenty pounds! Half my size, I guess."
For all her enthusiasm, the mother of two also revealed that she's not yet sitting on her laurels as far as her initial success in fighting the bulge is concerned.
"If I had it my way, I would want it mga twenty pounds pa," she confessed to PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and YES! magazine. "Because you know how it is when you're on TV, di ba? You gain ten pounds, so parang just right for TV."
According to Aiko, maintaining a slim figure for her is a constant uphill battle marked with hits and plenty of misses.
"There was a time that after I gave birth with Andre, I really gained a lot of weight and then nag-lose na naman ako. Then after mga two years nag-gain naman ako and whenever I gain weight, triple my size," revealed Aiko.
ENJOYING PUBLIC OFFICE. Now on her third and final term as councilor, Aiko revealed that she's entertaining the idea of seeking higher office, although everything is still indefinite at the moment.
"Madaming taong nagku-convince sa akin to run for vice-mayor but I have an option also to run for congress," said Aiko.
She continued, "So those two years that I [still] have as a councilor, I guess I'll just make the most out of it kung ano ‘yong responsibility ko for now, and naniniwala naman ako na ‘yong mga tao ang naglagay sa ‘kin dito, and if they want me for a higher position, they will be the one again to put me in that position."
Despite the continuous flow of showbiz offers, Aiko said she'd rather concentrate on her current role as a public official more than anything else.
"This is my priority now," she said candidly. "I've always said this in my past interviews na in showbiz, I've gotten what I wanted na, e... I mean, acting is a passion for me but politics is one thing that I love doing talaga. Ibang fulfillment and this is one thing I wanted to take care of."
SINGLE AND DATING. For all of her success in the field of acting and politics, Aiko views her lovelife as the one area where she's still groping for some luck. It is of course common knowledge that Aiko was married twice—first with actor Jomari Yllana, followed by model Martin Jickain.
"I guess ayoko muna siyang i-rush!" she laughed about her love life. "Kasi doon ako nagkakamali lagi. Ang Waterloo ko yata is lovelife, so I want to take my time right now and enjoy going out with friends, meeting new people, and this is an experience na hindi ko na-experience for so long, so I want to take my time now."
Taking her sweet time of course doesn't necessarily mean putting a possible new love on hold.
She admitted, "I do not deny the fact that I go out on dates, but group dates. Nothing really serious pa."
ALL'S WELL WITH MARTIN. After months of bitter animosity that even reached the courtroom, Aiko and ex-husband Martin Jickain are now on speaking terms.
"After my birthday [December 16], sobrang civil na kami ngayon unlike ‘yong tensiyonadong eksena sa courtroom, wala na ‘yon," said Aiko with a sigh of relief.
"Ngayon, we text each other without thinking kung may galit pa ba kami sa puso or anything. We have to be civil for our kid [Marthena], e, and I think I've always said na ang kid namin will always bind us kasi forever na nandiyan ‘yan. So, kung hindi man kami nag-work out as husband and wife at least maintain the friendship di ba? Just for Marthena."
Aiko also clarified that the controversial visitation issue raised by Martin in the past is now settled. Also, Aiko argued that it wasn't her desire to cultivate an estranged relationship between Marthena and her father.
"'Yong visitation is every Sunday and then special occasions and I allow him to see Marthena," Aiko said.
She added, "Yon nga e, sabi ko nga sadly we had to go through the court cases pa when nagkaroon lang talaga ng miscommunication. Sabi ko nga, if there's one person na madaling kausap when it comes to mga anak anak, ako' yon.
"Kasi even with Jomari at that time, ako pa 'yong nagpu-push na kitain niya 'yong anak niya and I'll do the same thing with Marthena kasi walang kinalaman 'yong mga bata. Kung ano man ‘yong pangit na pinagdaanan namin, labas ang mga bata doon and walang magiging problema sa akin si Martin pagdating doon."