"Mabuting-mabuti" was how Tom Rodriguez described his "friendship" with Carla Abellana.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) had the chance to listen to his interview with reporter Morly Alinio, and chat with him afterwards.
He looked dashing in his checkered blazer last Sunday night, March 29, at the celebration of Belo Medical Group's 25 years in Manila Polo Club.
Morly did not beat around the bush, and asked him on the spot if he's planning to take whatever he has with Carla to next step, which is engagement.
Tom quickly clarified, "Ah, fast forward!
"Masyadong advance po 'ata yung balitang 'yan, mismo.
"'Di, wala, it's too early for anything remotely close to that."
Is he getting to know Carla more?
The Kapuso actor happily responded, "Of course, of course!
"And then, siyempre, personal wish ko para sa sarili ko yung mga ganoong bagay for the future."
How about tampuhan or selosan with Carla?
Quite awkwardly, Tom replied, "No, no, no... I think we have a strong enough friendship na we know each other and, wala, we don't argue."
Tom stressed that his set-up with his screen partner "for now" is more than okay.
He added, "I'm very, very fortunate, very, very lucky.
"So far, wala na ako mahihiling.
"Everything I've prayed for, God has been so kind enough to bestow upon me.
"Kaya ako, I'm just enjoying and giving back to Him and, at the same time, gusto kong alagaan kung ano man yung ibinigay Niya sa aking regalo ngayon."
And obligingly, he shared his message for Carla: "Thank you for always being there for me and I hope that will continue to go on."
Morly asked Tom one more time how he feels about fellow artists like Dingdong Dantes, Marian Rivera, Heart Evangelista, to name a few, tying the knot, and if he and Carla are going there soon.
Tom's answer was almost the same: "Dami nga, dami nga. That's... that's too soon.
"Marriage is a serious thing.
"For other people na na-mention, they had to build that kind of relationship over a long period of time and I can only hope na I will go in the same path din one of these days.
"Pero not anytime soon, it's too early for now."
THE REAL DEAL. As soon as PEP got to chat with him exclusively, we asked Tom: You guys date each other ba talaga?
Sounding matter-of-factly, he said, "Yeah."
We asked him to clarify Carla's statement on not having a label and what that means.
Tom explained, "Yeah, yeah... it's not naman for us, it's more of wanting to protect it, what we have.
"When you give something a label, para bang... 'pag binigyan mo ng konsepto kasi, something may... nagkakaroon ng preconception.
"Not for us, but for the people involved, the people around."
In other words, there will be less expectation and pressure from people.
He continued, "Kasi ultimately, it's between the two people talaga who will know talaga, who will know what it is, kung ano yung talagang mayroon kayo."
A label, he said, "it's how people perceive it."
But even more important is they both know where they stand.
"I, we wanna keep it more open, open-ended na they draw from it what they will, but we know what it is."
We asked if it is like putting things in a box.
He remarked, "Yeah, kasi if you put it in a box...
"Sabi nga, there will be the expectations, they'll wait: When are they gonna split? Are they having problems? Are they like this?
"There will be other people's preconceived notions.
"Whereas for us, it should be a relationship between two people."
He ended, "Hopefully, that's what ideally we like to be achieved."