MANILA,  August
5, 2004  (STAR) KITCHEN SPY By Heidi Ng - What was supposed to be a Father’s Day article about Mr. Pure Energy Gary Valenciano and son Paolo Valenciano turned out to be an article solely on the young theater actor, teen heartthrob and Penshoppe image model. Paolo seems bent on making a name for himself, not just in the world of showbiz, but in life itself. High on emotional intelligence, this college guy has both feet on the ground. He may be young, but the interview gave me the impression that there is so much more to this kid than just good looks.

On the outside, he is your average teenager who loves the beach, especially Tali and Boracay, mountain biking, jet skiing and camping. He is a huge Star Wars fan and collects toys, such as Death Star, the Millennium Falcon, Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing fighter ship and light saber. His collection includes toys from Lord of the Rings and the Marvel super heroes. He is a movie buff and collects these expensive toys. He admits to getting upset when he loses some toy parts, like when he moved from their old Antipolo home to their new one in Valle Verde to be closer to school. He has lost guns, ships and even broken a light saber while playing with his brother Gabriel.

Like a normal teener, he goes out on gimmicks at Absinth or Temple with his best friend Khalil Kaimo, son of newscaster Mari Kaimo, and Enzo Marcos, among others. His barkada loves music and sometimes play groupie to rock band Severo.

Normal, huh? However, in the last quarter of 2003, personal upheavals drove him to the lowest depth of misery he has ever known in his young life. "That was the time I couldn’t feel any lower," he shares.

He adds, " I started going out on gimmicks then, but now I am super good boy. I can go out without getting drunk, and I have made friends in church who check on me every other day."

It may sound cheesy to some but for this guy, maturity came after some major heartaches. Now, he has learned to forgive and to accept things. He shares that there is more depth to his life now.

"You only live once, so why waste your life about senseless things? When I go to bars and I hear people talk, they only talk about gossip," he says, obviously dismayed.

There was a time he was what he himself calls a lukewarm Christian who has no personal relationship with Christ. But now, he says, "I never feel alone. If I feel bad, I just pray na lang to let Him make me feel better. I read the Bible; that uplifts my spirit and then I am ready to go!"

God, indeed, works in mysterious ways. For Paolo, it took a heartache to make him realize there was so much more to life than living it on a day-to-day existence. It is amazing how grown-up his reflections are.

He adds, " I see friends and they are just happy for the moment, but when you wake up next morning, you are down na naman."

He realizes that sometimes, he becomes a laughing stock because of his newfound zeal and conviction about his faith but he does not care; he just wants to be happy.

In his father’s last concert at Music Museum, God talked to him through Gary Valenciano’s music. It was the first time he saw it in a brand- new light. He now understands when people tell him that his father Gary has touched them through his music and concerts.

"I now know the truth so it is not as fun anymore because all those unimportant things are just for temporary happiness," he says.

His dad calls his crisis and turnaround a "refining crisis to reach a defining moment." For this, he has his church friends and devout parents Gary and Angeli Pangilinan Valenciano to thank.

What is it like being Gary V’s son?

Paolo admits that there is pressure, more so because he is a shy person.

"But you have done a lot of Trumpets plays?" I asked.

"Oh, that is because I totally forget who I am when I do plays. I play the character and not Paolo Valenciano, so it is easier for me, not like acting on TV."

Until now, he does not know how he survived acting in commercials, such as Alaska Powdered Milk, Bioderm, Coca-Cola, Colgate and Del Monte.

His ultimate dream is to be a film director. He watches movies, uses toys to recreate scenes from a movie or reenact some of them. But of course, he loves singing. Local bands Bamboo and Rivermaya are his favorites.

And now, since he lives away from his family to be closer to school, he has to find time to cook for himself. He has to learn to fend for himself, and cook dishes, such as chicken breast with garlic butter, spicy squid with lots of Tabasco and more dishes with garlic that remind him of home.

You see, dad Gary V. loves anything with lots of garlic. Today, he shares some dishes his father likes, in honor of a great entertainer who has endeared himself to countless Filipinos. But for Paolo, Gary V. is first and foremost his dad – and a very special one!

Given that Paolo is juggling school with work, these recipes are easy and quick to prepare. Bon appetit!

Paolo’s Baked Tahong

30-40 pcs. tahong; 1 box grated Quickmelt cheese; 2 cloves garlic; 1/2 bar melted butter

Preheat oven to 300° Fahrenheit. Boil tahong. Drain and set aside. When cooked, remove the upper part of the shell. Combine melted butter and minced garlic. Spoon butter-garlic mixture over tahong. Top each tahong with grated cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Paolo’s Pizza

2 medium-sized pizza dough; 115 g. hot and spicy pizza sauce; 1 big can sliced mushroom; 1 head minced garlic; 1 bar Quickmelt or mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated; 1 small bottle hot sauce

Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. In a bowl, mix together pizza sauce, hot sauce and garlic. In pizza dough, spread evenly on the wet mixture. Top with cheese. Arrange the salami and mushroom on top of the cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Gary’s Fave Buttered Scallops

1 k. scallops 2 Tbsps. melted butter; 6 cloves garlic, crushed; 1 small head broccoli, half-cooked; 1/2 Tbsp. oyster sauce; 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Sauté garlic and scallops in olive oil until scallops are cooked. Pour in oyster sauce. Add in the broccoli and butter. Cook for five minutes. Serve.

* * * Erratum: The contact numbers of Simonette delos Reyes—Ferraren of California Funnel Cakes Café are 523-6067 and 0916-5896598

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Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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