(STAR) CONVERSATIONS With Ricky Lo - Love at first bite: Lovi Poe as a witch about to give Paulo Avelino a killer kiss in Regal Films’ Aswang (photo).

What happened was what Paulo Avelino least expected.

When he sired a child out of wedlock, Paulo thought that his career had ended (you know, how fans put so much premium on single-blessedness). It turned out that it was just about to start. After lingering on the boy-next-door level, Paulo reinvented himself (thanks to his manager Leo Dominguez’s guidance) and began projecting a daring (and “baring”) image, starting with that “come-and-get-me” pose for the Bench billboard and followed by derring-do in tackling off-beat roles (such as the gay-friendly characters he and Rocco Nacino play in Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa).

Now a Kapamilya (from being Kapuso), Paulo is, so to speak, spreading his wings as an actor, getting flying colors for his performance (take note of his effortless acting in a recent episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya with KC Concepcion in a poor-boy-meets-rich-girl plot).

In his latest movie, Regal Films’ Aswang (opening nationwide on Wednesday, Nov. 2), he plays an assassin who finds himself in an aswang-infested village, with the most beautiful aswang (played by Lovi Poe) falling for him. Love at first bite.

Paulo is “attached” (to the mother of his child). If he were fancy-free, would he fall for Lovi?

“Hindi siguro,” said Paulo. “I treat her like a sister and she treats me like a brother. We want to keep it that way, especially because we have the same manager.”

Asked the same question, Lovi gave the same answer. It’s a brother-sister thing between them.

Is she still “connected” with former Ilocos Rep. Ronald Singson (now serving term at a Hong Kong prison)?

“Uhm, not really,” said Lovi, despite rumors to the contrary.

Already with a Best Actress award to her name (for Sagrada Familia, as the daughter molested by her own father while her mother works abroad), Lovi is proving to be a good cut above her contemporaries, plucky enough to, yes, “dare and bare” (“When the role calls for it”) and posing in skimpy leotard with an elephant in Thailand for the cover of FHM.

How does she think her father FPJ Da King would react if he were alive?

“He’d probably be happy for me but I don’t know how he’d react to the things that I’ve been doing.”

Does she “talk” to Da King when she has to make a decision, especially if it’s a difficult one?

“Not really. I’m very spontaneous, somewhat impulsive, and it’s after I make a decision do I pause and wonder, ‘Tama ba ang ginawa ko?’ Always, tama naman.”

Da King’s widow, Susan Roces, said that she wouldn’t really mind working with Lovi who said that she felt “really honored,” adding, “after all, Susan is the Queen of Philippine Movies.”

To find out how they jibe, Conversations decided to put Paulo and Lovi to the “Who, What, Where, When, How” test.


• Who is the biggest influence in your life?

Paulo: God. I ask for His guidance in making decisions.

Lovi: My mom (one-time actress Rowena Moran).

• Who would you rather be if you were somebody else?

Paulo: David Beckham. A great athlete with a beautiful wife (former Spice Girl Victoria Adams). He has everything a man can dream of.

Lovi: An ordinary student taking up Medicine.

• Who’s the most unforgettable character that you’ve ever met?

Paulo: Vice Ganda. He’s very hilarious. I guested on his show (Gandang Gabi, Vice, Sunday nights on ABS-CBN). Napakasaya! Has he ever made advances at me? Never!

Lovi: My non-showbiz friend (unnamed) from grade school. Our friendship is tried and tested. She’s the friend who stands by me in anything I do.

• Who do you look up to as role model?

Paulo: Edward Norton.

Lovi: I haven’t actually found one.

• Who do you consider your best friend?

Paulo: I have two, both non-showbiz. One is my dentist, Dr. Aaron Cabalu; and the other is my climbing instructor, Iggy Deocareza.

Lovi: I have a lot of best friends.


• What makes you mad?

Paulo: I can’t think of any. I’m cool, slow to anger.

Lovi: The smallest things, really. When things don’t turn out the way that I expect them to.

• What’s your biggest fear?

Paulo: Losing a family member or a loved one.

Lovi: Heights. Yes, I have a phobia for heights.

• What’s the most daring thing that you’ve done as an artist?

Paulo: When I posed in my underwear as a Bench endorser.

Lovi: So far, my love scenes with Jake (Cuenca) in My Neighbor’s Wife.

• What do you like most about yourself?

Paulo (Thinks hard): Parang wala, eh! Oh wait, I think what I like about myself is my perseverance to reach my goals.

Lovi: My being forgiving, to a point na minsan ay bad na.

• What don’t you like about yourself?

Paulo: My inconsistency.

Lovi: My temper. I’m not the type who stores things up and then mag-i-explode.


• Where is your Achilles’ Heel?

Paulo: I guess if my family is dragged into showbiz intrigues and controversy. So far, it hasn’t happened.

Lovi: When my private life is being intruded into.

• Where are you most comfortable?

Paulo: On the beach with friends. I can be myself and relax with the breeze.

Lovi: Anywhere as long as I am with the right company.

• Where do you think is the ideal, most livable place?

Paulo: Baguio City or Bontoc, Sagada (Mountain Province). That’s where I spent most of my childhood. My mom is from Bontoc.

Lovi: The Philippines, no contest.

• Where is your heart at the moment?

Paulo: With my family.

Lovi: With me. It’s in the right place.

• Where do you want to go when you want to be alone?

Paulo: The beach.

Lovi: In my room, preferably with friends watching DVDs. Happy na ako sa ganoon.


• When did you realize that you were famous?

Paulo: Parang hindi pa rin; parang wala pa rin, eh! Hindi ko pa maramdaman talaga.

Lovi: Uhm, gosh, you know it has never gotten to me. I’m in the stage where everything seems so surreal and I don’t believe them.

• When are you in your best mood?

Paulo: When I get eight to 10 hours of sleep. Less than that, I’m medyo a bit cranky…but only to my friends and people who really know and understand me.

Lovi: When I don’t feel fat. There are times when I do and that’s when I panic.

• When did you first fall in love?

Paulo: When I was 14. I was in high school then. Sorry, but I have forgotten what her name was.

Lovi: When I was in Grade 4. And then when I was in college — yes, with the same guy. Yes, that long!

• When are you happiest?

Paulo: When I feel loved.

Lovi: When people appreciate the things that I do.

• When are you most vulnerable?

Paulo: When I’m very tired and things don’t seem to work. Do I shout? No. I just keep quiet. Or I pray.

Lovi: It just comes, especially when I least expect it.


• How has stardom changed you?

Paulo: In a lot of ways. I have matured considerably. I’ve been in this business for only a few years and I’ve learned a lot of things, hindi lang kalokohan kundi pati values that I will treasure for life.

Lovi: A lot! There are people who didn’t really care about me before and they do now. I have no more privacy.

• How do you pray?

Paulo: Most of the time, I just close my eyes, I meditate and I talk to God.

Lovi: I connect to God through my mind. A non-verbal way of praying.

• How do you deal with intrigues and tsismis?

Paulo: If the tsismis is true, being an honest person I always tell the truth as much as possible. Otherwise, dedma lang; hinahayaan ko na lang.

Lovi: Before, I would get affected. Now, manhid na ako.

•How are you away from the limelight?

Paulo: I’m the same person that I am in public — quiet and shy.

Lovi: What you see is what you get. I am in private what I am in public. I wear no mask at all.

• How do you see yourself 20 years from now?

Paulo: Hopefully, mayroon na ako maski man lang isang award. Sana maging katulad ako ni Christopher de Leon, multi-awarded and a respected actor.

Lovi: You know what, 20 years from now I hope I should have achieved even half of what my idols had. But you see, I’m not the type who plans way ahead. Politics? I doubt it.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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