A very tanned and physically fit Piolo Pascual arrived this afternoon, June 16, at the Congo Grille resto on Tomas Morato Avenue, where the matinee idol's upcoming project Noah was announced.
"It's a fantasy series, kasama ko si Zaijan Jaramilla. Makakasama ko rin ulit si Kristine Hermosa dito. I'd consider my role here as very challenging. I'm a cop in search of his home...si Zaijan, he's looking for his family. Maganda yung project. Hindi biro ang ginastos para dito," he said, smiling but looking a bit guarded.
The trailer is impressive, with the gist of the story showing great promise. Some scenes are action-packed, displaying the well-toned biceps of ABS-CBN's "ultimate heartthrob." Some characters are inspired by the Na'vis of Avatar, but Piolo called them "mga taong unggoy." The adventure is set in an island called "Noah."
Below the title is a tagline that reads "Mahahanap mo na," which prompts PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) to ask: In real life, "nahanap mo na ba ang hinahanap mo?"
The 33-year-old singer-actor said that he's still "in search of the complete happiness and what completes a person." He added, "This is closest...I guess, it is closest to my character in terms of working it out with family, working to find the person that you love."
He's one of the most desirable males in the country. He's an in-demand leading man. He's the "Papa Piolo" of most ladies. But for the longest time, he's been single.
Piolo said he has no way of measuring how far he's gone when it comes to his search. But he underlined, "When it happens it happens, when it comes, it comes. I guess pag dumating yun, that's gonna be my priority."
Given that his lovelife is still a work in progress, the editors and reporters who went to the press conference dwelt on topics about his past, present, and future leading ladies.
"ANG GANDA NI TIN." So, how's it so far working again with Tin (Kristine's nickname)?
His reply: "The first time we worked together was in sa Sandaling Kailangan Mo Ako 12 years ago. She was only, I think, she was 15 then. And working with her in Maruja a couple of months back or last year, isa lang nasasabi ko-ang ganda ni Tin, sobrang ganda ni Tin, na talagang hindi ko alam kung saan nanggagaling yung ganda niya. 'Tapos ang galing niya pa umiyak, ang galing pa niyang umarte, so suwerte si Oyo Boy [Sotto]."
But unlike his previous projects, where he was linked with his leading ladies—KC Concepcion and Angel Locsin—Piolo mentioned early on, "wala akong expectations" from his tandem with Tin, who is presently taken.
To elaborate, he explained, "Maliit ang mundo ng showbiz, e. I'm happy to be in the sequences with Tin because hindi birong maghanap ng ka-partner sa mga ginagawa mo. Masaya lang ako dahil tinanggap niya. At the same time, reunion namin ito, magkaibigan kami ni Tin when we were just starting up, so it's an advantage because wala kaming problema sa pakikisama sa isa't isa."
ON JUDAY: "MALAKI ANG UTANG NA LOOB KO SA TAO." If given the chance to work again with his previous leading ladies, who will he choose?
"I'm playing the husband of Jodi Sta. Maria here in Noah," he began. "And honestly, working with her right now [makes me go back to the] good memories when we were working as a couple in Walang Kapalit. And working again with her, pareho kaming nag-grow up. I guess in five years, nakita namin talaga na pareho kaming nag-evolve..."
Then, he segued into mentioning the name of the lady—with whom he had a successful team-up. Briefly, he said, "I guess, babalik at babalikan ko pa rin yung taong gumawa sa akin, nag-help sa akin mag-grow: Juday."
He continued, "Dalawa naman talaga yun, e. Sila talaga yung tumulong sa akin habang nag-start ako, sila talaga yung kinapitan ko to become better."
PEP issued this follow-up question: What about working again with Judy Ann Santos? Is it on the horizon?
Carefully choosing his words, he replied, "I couldn't say that it's on the horizon...You know, I never close my doors. She's still the person that I admire the most in terms of professionalism and in terms of acting. Malaki ang respeto ko diyan sa tao, malaki ang utang na loob ko sa tao."
"PRECIOUS" THINGY WITH KC. But the most talked-about lady earlier was KC Concepcion, his leading lady in Lovers in Paris.
Why didn't he show up at the premiere of I'll Be There, KC's movie with his dad?
"I promised her I would come," he said, but "na-block off na yung schedule ko—yung commercial shoot...But personally, hindi ko na inisip yung sasabihin ng tao, hindi ko na inisip kung ano ang magiging opinion ng maraming tao. She invited me to watch, if I had [the] chance I would have come."
But he admitted getting a bit perplexed about the reactions of people.
Piolo related, "Para akong masokista, binasa ko yung mga blog ng mga tao na parang grabe yung judgment...Kasi parang may nagsasabi na [kapag] pumunta ka, mali; hindi ka pumunta, mali...So para sa akin, sa'n ka ba lulugar?"
To let the matter rest, "Ang sa akin lang, I'm happy because its another movie. It's not about me and Kristina [his nickname for KC]. It's about her and her papa and grabe yung pinaghirapan, na pinagdaanan niya para sa pelikulang ito I think, you just focus on that."
And in the end, he chose not to get affected by the comments. "What we have is more precious than what people are saying, so mas bina-value ko yun..." he said.
Lastly, what happened to his supposed project with Toni Gonzaga?
"Naghihintay pa rin ako," he quickly replied. "I am still a fan. I love her comic timing, I love the way she does her characters, and I'm still hoping, siguro naman, dun...Actually hindi ko nabanggit yun kanina, I wanna do romantic comedy with Toni because I believe in her."
When asked about what's causing the delay, he said: "E, kasi, 'kabayo' din yung si Toni e, Grabe magtrabaho, e. Mali [yung 'kabayo'], don't misquote me...I'm just saying that she is workaholic...But I am sure, sooner or later, we will able to find the right time for it."