THE TRUTH ABOUT RICA

MANILA, NOVEMBER 15, 2003  (STAR) FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo - First things first:

1. Is it true that Rica Peralejo’s boobs are getting smaller...

2. ...that she’s living-in with her boyfriend Bernard Palanca (whom she calls BJ – for Bernard Jr.), and...

3....that she has junked her "title" as Bold Queen in favor of being a "Horror Queen"?

"Yes, it’s true," confirmed Rica, "my boobs did get smaller and that’s when I started doing taebo. Dati, 35" or 36"; now, it’s only 33". I realized that when you grow slimmer (105 lbs. – short of six – evenly distributed in her 5’3" frame), pati boobs mo lumiliit din."

Salamat po, (Dr.) Vicki Belo?

Laughed Rica, almost choking on her dalandan juice during this lunch chat at Taste of L.A., "No, wala akong ‘Salamat po, Vicki.’ Pero mayroon akong ‘Salamat po, taebo!’ Walang binago sa katawan ko."

But no, she vehemently denied, she and Bernard are not living-in – yet – even if Bernard has become like a boarder in the Peralejo household where he’s considered a member of the family, in the same way that Rica is similarly regarded by Bernard’s folks.

"In fact," said Rica, "BJ is in our house more often than I am. He even sleeps there – I mean, we all sleep together in one big room, he and I together with other members of my family. Ganoon kami ka-close. BJ practically lives in his van which is well-equipped (with all the amenities, including a sound system and the works) and since parati siya nasa bahay namin, I’ve been telling him to rent the house beside ours. He might. We have a gym at home so BJ and Paolo, my sister Paula’s boyfriend, are always there. Gym sila nang gym while I’m out working. When I’d call, ‘Nasaan ka na?’, BJ would say, ‘Nasa bahay n’yo.’ Mas madalas pa siya sa bahay namin kaysa sa akin."

In her latest movie, OctoArts’ Malikmata (directed by Joey Javier Reyes), Rica (temporarily?) junks her "bold" image and plays a young woman born with a gift to see things before they can happen, somewhat clairvoyant. It’s not really a horror film in the strict sense of the word "horror" but showbiz-watchers have started (maybe jokingly) calling her the new "Horror Queen."

But, yes, it’s true, again Rica confirmed, "I’m tired of doing bold roles. I’m bored doing bold roles, ho-hum! That’s why I was excited when OctoArts offered me Malikmata. Naiiba. Octo has been planning a project for me and it’s only now na nag- jibe ang schedules namin. Besides, dream ko talagang ma-direk ni Joey Javier Reyes."

Going back to BJ...

He and Rica are into their third year of going steady, a "feat," considering that in the beginning, recalled Rica, "I hated him. Kulang na lang isumpa ko ‘yan sa pagka-ayaw ko sa kanya."

Oh, yes? Why?

"We were doing Sa Huling Paghihintay then and I thought he was a bad boy. Ang dami kasing tattoo, e. Feeling ko rin, akala niya I was easy to get. Excuse me, ‘no! Nagkakamali siya. I thought, ‘Ayoko, paglalaruan lang ako niyan.’ I didn’t know that he was serious."

First, Bernard courted those close to Rica – her sister and her parents – before he, you know, poised for the "kill."

"How did he finally win me? Aba, e, araw-araw ka ba naman regaluhan, araw-araw ka ba naman suyuin at halos pagsilbihan, araw-arawin ka ba naman, ‘no? He’s also romantic. He loves writing love notes, maski sa tissue paper. BJ is fond of surprises; he’s very passionate. He can wear tsinelas and get away with it. Ang ganda ng paa niya! I’ve seen the feet of many men pero iba ang paa ni BJ. Basta, ibang-iba. Ang linis-linis even though he himself cleans his toenails and fingernails, never siyang nagpapa-manicure o nagpapa-pedicure. Ako pa naman, may fetish sa magagandang paa."

One thing that Rica has also discovered about Bernard is his being cry baby.

"Iyakin ’yan. Mababaw ang luha. He’s somewhat possessive and jealous but I can take it. That’s what we usually quarrel about, his being jealous and possessive."

Does she think Bernard will make a good husband?

"I can see that. He’s very good with kids and dogs – very responsible. At ma-serbisyo. With him, I’m a queen. Kulang na lang subuan niya ako."

Doesn’t Bernard look, uh, undernourished?

"Well, it’s because he neglected his health before and he admits it. He used to do drugs, everybody knows it, and he was alcoholic. But he has changed; reformed na siya. Now, the smell of alcohol makes him puke."

Today, Rica is leaving for a month-long (Nov. 15 to Dec. l5) concert tour of the US (Alabama, Texas, Washington DC, Virginia Beach, San Francisco and L.A.), the first time she’ll be away from Bernard that long. But no problem. Bernard and his fellow Hunks (Piolo Pascual, Carlos Agassi, Diether Ocampo and Jericho Rosales) are also slated to do a US concert tour (first two weeks of Dec.), so he and Rica might reunite in San Francisco to celebrate his birthday on
Dec. 3.

Is Bernard faithful?

"I’m sure."

Is she?

"I’m very sure!"

After she decided to go steady with Bernard, she refused to entertain even the slightest flirtation from anybody.

She and Robin Padilla starred together in Buhay Kamao. You wonder, did Robin, you know, send her "feelers?"

"No, he didn’t. I respect him; he respects me. He even said na ako na lang daw ang natitirang matinong babae sa showbiz. Besides, ayoko sa may-asawa. I don’t want to break a family baka makarma ako."

So how soon will she and Bernard talk about settling down?

"In due time. I’m only 22 (Bernard is 27). Why hurry?"

Briefly Noted

• Back from the US where he earned an AB in Music & Humanities from the University of Southern California (with graduate studies in Film & Television Production, including Foreign Language and Child Development) is singer Lex Amores, now a freelance vocal artist of ABS-CBN and GMA. Lex recently conducted a vocal artists’ workshop and seminar. He’s busy finishing the first of a series of children’s books. You can call him at 415-2051, 0919-3109363 or 0919-8858891.

• Remember Julie Ann Fortich (whose one good film was Gil Portes early work Sa Piling ng mga Sugapa, inspired by Rod Reyes break-into a drug den while pretending to be an addict)? A former contract star of Agrix Films, Julie Ann is itching for a showbiz comeback. She’s engaged in the "corporate giveaway business." She lives in Cavite with her two beautiful daughters and she commutes everyday to either Makati or Las Piñas to meet with clients.

• The Jesus Family Church (JFC), in cooperation with United Agape Bible Fellowship, proudly presents The Real High, a concert that guarantees high-impact challenge to youths toward achieving renewed life and victory over selfish indulgence, 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 21 at the United Agape Bible Fellowship, Filipinas Avenue, United Parañaque Subdivision 5, Parañaque City. Admission is free.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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