[PHOTO - Ai-Ai de las Alas and ex-boyfriend (and now best friend) Miguel Vera with their children Niccolo and Sophia during a reunion in California last week.]

GLENDALE, CALIFORN1A, MAY 15, 2012 (PHILSTAR) FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo - Ai-Ai de las Alas and Miguel Vera are a couple to behold this Sunday afternoon, so sweet are they that if you didn’t know that they’re no longer “on,” you will think that they still are.

They hug, they kiss, they tease each other and, if you dare them, I’m sure they will feed each other spoonfuls of the merienda they’re sharing with their children Sophia and Niccolo at Cheesecake Factory at Americana, Glendale’s version of Beverly Hills’ The Groove, a promenade/shopping complex complete with high-end stores, all kinds of restaurants, cinemas and condo units, plus a slow-moving train that goes around the area with sight-seers.

Booths selling souvenir items line the circular promenade, in the center of which are little coffee tables under lush trees.

Ai-Ai and her children are billeted in one of those condo units while vacationing in California for almost a month now, after a show in the opposite coast (Atlantic City, New Jersey). They are with Ai-Ai’s new love, Jed Alvin Salang, the basketball-player son of a car dealer, who, at 26, is 20-plus years Ai-Ai’s junior.

It’s a leisurely Sunday afternoon and thanks to immigration lawyer for arranging my meeting with Ai-Ai and Miguel. Ai-Ai and company have just come back from Las Vegas. Jed begs off from the merienda. He’s tired, resting in their room upstairs. Sancho, Ai-Ai’s son from a relationship before Miguel, has gone back to Manila the night before. He’s a Culinary Arts graduate who sampled his recipes several weeks ago when Ai-Ai invited her friend-reporters to a dinner at her Ayala Heights home.

“We’re okay,” says Miguel during the photo shoot outside of Cheesecake Factory.

“We’re better off as friends,” confirms Ai-Ai, “than as lovers.”

They’re a happy extended family that is expanding by the day. Miguel has separated from his wife (the one ahead of Ai-Ai) and is living happily ever after with a new love. Everything’s okay — Miguel with Jed, Ai-Ai with Miguel’s new girlfriend (also separated from somebody else), Miguel with Sancho, Jed with Ai-Ai’s children (Jed has a child from a past relationship). Everybody is happy. Live and let live, love and let love.

“Masaya kami,” adds Ai-Ai. It shows.

It was Jemela Nettles who processed the extraordinary-ability visa of Miguel (including his family; Miguel now has a green card) and it’s also Jemela who is processing Ai-Ai’s application for the same visa and those of Sophia and Niccolo who are being petitioned by Miguel.

“That’s why Sophia and Niccolo are staying behind for a while,” says Ai-Ai.

Miguel has been in the States for several years now, holding a regular job and doing acting/singing jobs on the side. He was a theater actor before he left the Philippines. He has taken time out to be with Ai-Ai and their children, but not staying at Ai-Ai and Jed’s rented condo unit.

Our meeting over, Ai-Ai rushes to a nearby store to buy a pair of shoes for Niccolo to wear for a dinner later tonight. Niccolo is the same son gifted by Ai-Ai with a round-trip ticket from Manila to London to visit his girlfriend whose family has migrated there. Niccolo, 18, has been going steady with the girl since he was 15, according to Ai-Ai.

Ai-Ai should be back home by now to resume work at ABS-CBN and prepare for her Metro Filmfest entry with Vic Sotto and Bong Revilla, a joint venture among the three of them. Ai-Ai and Vic starred in Enteng ng Ina Mo, co-produced by Vic and Star Cinema and two other companies, which finished top-grosser in last year’s Metro Filmfest.

Funfare learned from other sources that Star Cinema wanted to do a Vic/Ai-Ai follow-up film for this year’s Metro Filmfest but Vic frowned on the idea. Besides, Vic has already closed the deal with Bong and Ai-Ai for their joint project which is a yet untitled action-comedy.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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