Apr 23
HomeLoginBrowseNewsTV SchedulePreferenceHelp
 

Paolo Bediones: Home Alone

Author: The Philippine Star

Tucked away in one cozy corner of that cluster of (yes, very expensive!) townhouses at Woodside somewhere in Quezon City is the private domain of Paolo Bediones, one of GMA 7’s prize hosts (Extra! Extra!, S-Files, etc. ), who’s turning 28 today (he’s an Aries). Paolo is writing a weekly column soon for The STAR, called Paolo’s Pick.

Conversations dropped by Paolo’s place last Wednesday afternoon upon the invitation of Paolo who’s eager to show us his new den (which used to be a garden) occupied by a big billiard table (right photo, behind the decorative fountain in front of which Paolo is seated). The ground floor is made up of a small sala (below, left), a small dining area (below, right) one wall of which is covered by a used mirror and a small kitchen (not shown).

Paolo had just come from a taping for Extra! Extra! but he happily guided us on a quick tour of own private little world. On the second floor, Paolo has turned what used to be two rooms into just one, half of it occupied by wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling cabinets packed full with clothes, and the other half converted into a bar and music room. An organ stands on one corner, a personal computer on the other.

The master bedroom is located at the third floor, one side of it adorned with a mat (far right) on which Paolo can take a nap, with the ceiling covered by a huge painting by Dranreb Belleza. Besides his bedroom, according to Paolo, his favorite part of the house is the bathroom where he luxuriates in the tub after a hard day’s work.

He’s home alone – happily.

This is the product of blood, sweat and tears, I’m sure, and not just a gift from a benefactor.

(Catching the subtle joke) "Of course, not! I mean, who would be crazy enough to give anybody a gift like this!?! You’re right: This is the product of six years of blood, sweat and tears. "

Hasn’t any admirer, whether a rich matron or a rich gay, ever dared make any, ehem, "indecent proposal" — you know, with a cozy place like this as, ehem, an "exchange gift"?

(Turning just a bit serious) "Offer? Yes, I must admit, mayroon nang nag-offer . .. before pa. Kung sino diyan. But no, thank you, I’m the wrong guy. I just don’t feel good about accepting something na hindi nanggaling sa sarili kong pawis at pagod, especially not in exchange for, you know, something. I take great pride in my work. I make sure that ang buong pagkatao at puso ko are in my work. "

Six years of hard work. Ganoon ka na ba ka-tagal in this business?

"I started on TV in 1996, sa GamePlan, also on GMA 7, produced by Cheche Lazaro’s Probe Productions. After that, I decided to lie low for a while. It was the Bb. Pilipinas Beauty Pageant in 1998 that marked a turning point in my life. GMA offered me a hosting job for (the defunct) Mornings@GMA (replaced by Unang Hirit, the early-morning show). Then, I was transferred to the afternoon (daily) show Extra! Extra! and as co-host of the Sunday showbiz talk show S-Files with Lyn Ching (replaced by Janice de Belen). "

In the morning show, you had, among others, Tisha Silang as co-host. She was the winner in the (first) Bb. Pilipinas pageant you hosted, wasn’t she? Naging girlfriend mo pa siya, di ba? Were you the one who recommended Tisha to GMA?

"When GMA got me for Mornings, tinanong ako who I would recommend as a co-host and I remembered Tisha from the Bb. Pilipinas night, kaya I suggested her name. That was the time when the issue about her residency was brought up, leading to her being dethroned (as Bb. Pilipinas-Universe). "

In showbiz, let’s face it, money comes easy. But if you’re not careful and you don’t know how to handle it, money can also go easily. Easy come, easy go. How do you handle (your) money?

"I believe that what you do with your money reflects what kind of person you are. My parents brought me up to save, to be frugal, but be generous when I can. In all modesty, I can say that no one can question my generosity when it comes to helping people out, not just financially but with my time and other aspects of giving. What they say is true: The more you give, the more you receive. "

I know that your family is well-off and they don’t really need it. But do you help them financially or otherwise?

"Siguro ginawa ko na lang mission in life to help my family. I don’t see it as a burden or as a hassle. I am who I am or what I am because of them, my parents and my family. What little that I give them means nothing. Dapat walang mawawala sa’yo kapag nagbibigay ka sa kanila. As a son, I feel that it’s just but natural to do that. "

Being the only boy in a family of four children, didn’t you grow up becoming a Mama’s Boy, overwhelmed by the women around you?

"My parents broke up when I was young. But I guess I grew up both as a Mama’s Boy and a Papa’s Boy. Maybe because of my childhood. There was a time when I’d see my Dad only once in a while and each time, it felt as if I grew up only one day older. That’s why even now that I see him as often as I can, I still kiss my Dad the way I used to when I was a kid. That’s something I’m proud of. I’m proud of my Dad . .. for what and who he is . .. for how he brought us up . .. for how he treated my Mom. " (Paolo’s father is Rodolfo Pineda Bediones and his mother is Maria Teresa Barba, daughter of Fortuna Marcos-Barba who’s the sister of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. )

Didn’t you harbor any feelings of bitterness or resentment toward your father?

"None. No, I did not. I think I was lucky because while my parents were raising me — and my sisters — they instilled in me (us) a certain maturity and/or attitude towards life. So walang trauma, walang bitterness. I am happy with my family. Basta for me, if my Dad and my Mom are happy with themselves and with what they’re doing, then okey lang. And if I can help them in any way, I will. "

Some people I know can’t seem to reconcile you to being a Marcos. Are you close to the Marcoses?

"Close . .. hmmmm. I would say that we know each other. I’m very proud of being a Marcos and I’m even more proud of the fact that I never used my being a Marcos to get somewhere in the business. I could have done it but I chose not to. I know some people out there who would ride on their name to get somewhere but I doubt if in the end they would get satisfaction dahil hindi naman nila pinaghirapan ’yon, e, di ba? Nag-ride-on lang sila doon sa name nila; they don’t really rely on their talent and ability. It’s more fulfilling to make a name of your own through your own effort and ability and not through whom you’re related with, not who you’re associated with or whom you know. "

Aside from this beautiful house, the most palpable symbol of your success. ..

". .. you know, I’m proud of this house. When I got this, it didn’t look like this at all; it looked like something else. I told myself, ‘I’m gonna come home to this place everyday, so I better improve it, fix it according to my taste. ’ Now, the whole house reflects my personality, every nook and cranny of it. Akong-ako ang bahay na ’to. I made it look like the way I wanted it to. And you know what, the funny thing is that some people think that this happened because I’m with the network. They just don’t know what I had gone through. .. "

.. . gone through what . .. ?

". .. well, people see me on TV now but they’re not aware of what I had gone through before that. I’d auditioned for every single network in this country and I was rejected. "

Baka naman you were too good for any, or all, of them.

"Too good? I don’t think so. Some people told me, ‘Wala kang pagasa maging TV host, you’re just wasting your time. ’ Instead of discouraging me, naging challenge sa akin ’yon. So whenever I talk to students about my career, what I’ve been through and what I have done, I always point that out. I tell them not to take rejection personally, that everything in this life is a matter of attitude . .. it’s how you take it. If I took those discouraging comments about me too hard or too seriously, where would I have been?"

How did you react to those "discouraging" comments?

"I went to my car and cried. "

Di ba your dream then was to host the Bb. Pilipinas Beauty Pageant?

"That was my ultimate, ultimate dream. Sabi ko noon, ‘Makapag-host lang ako ng Bb. Pilipinas, I can die na. ’ Ganyan ka-ultimate ang dream kong mag-host ng show na ’yan. The first Bb. Pilipinas Pageant that I watched was a long, long time ago. Si Eddie Mercado pa yata ang host, e. Well, I did have the chance to host the show not just once but twice. At ’yon ang naging turning point ng career ko. "

It’s a good thing that you didn’t "die" as you wished; naging sikat ka pa. It’s a pity that they discontinued your services simply because you’re endorsing a product which is kalaban of one of the binibini sponsors.

"Ha, ha, ha, ha! How did you know?"

I know. Ganoon ba sila ka-petty?

"I do miss hosting the binibini, I must admit. But what can I do? Some people think that I’m associated with a certain product (Yes, Rejoice shampoo. — RFL) . .. Come to think of it, in that respect maybe I should be happy dahil effective endorser pala ako. The downside, of course, is nawala ’yung binibini hosting ko.

Going back to achievements, aside from this beautiful house (it’s an "achievement," isn’t it?), what do you consider your other achievements, career-wise?

"I don’t want to call them ‘achievements’; basta, I want my shows to have a positive effect on people, gusto ko mayroong relevance sa mga televiewers. Positive TV, you know. Besides Mornings@GMA, Extra! Extra! and S-Files, I was also a veejay for four months at MTV Asia with Donita (Rose). I’m now also co-hosting (with Regine Tolentino) the Digital LG Quiz. Who knows, something might come up soon?"

The movies?

"I’ve always been vocal about my desire to act. In high school (Ateneo), I did cameo roles in Dulaang Sibol. But maybe that should come later because I’m still busy with a lot of other things. And it depends, of course, on whether or not mayroong producer na interesado sa akin. "

You could be a bold actor (paging Seiko Films!). After all, you once posed nude for a glossy magazine (Metro) calendar, didn’t you?

"Forget it!"

Let’s talk about living alone. ..

"It’s lonely. I’m lonely by choice, obviously. I cook my own food, I clean the whole house sometimes. If I’m lazy, I order food by delivery. Or somebody comes to clean the house and look after it especially if I have to go out of town or out of the country for an assignment. If I had a choice, I’d have my Mom live with me and my kid sister (who studies at Colegio de San Agustin in Makati, living with my Mom). This place is way too big for one person. "

Are you a loner?

"I like spending time alone but I’m not a loner. I like to entertain. This house has been designed for, you know, entertaining friends. It’s an ‘open house’ to my friends. They drop by, sometimes to play billiards, and I excuse myself to go to sleep. They feel at home here. Parang bahay na rin nila. They hang out here, they talk, they enjoy themselves here. "

Isn’t it lonely sleeping alone?

"That’s why I have a long, big pillow which I hug in bed. Eventually, I know that I’d be sharing this bed with a warm body. The right warm body — my future wife. "

How do you spend your free time (which comes very rarely)?

"I soak in the tub. It’s a nice tub. I take time in the tub. I read — books, newspapers, anything! John Grisham books, Conversations with God, Celestine Prophecy, anything! It’s so relaxing soaking in the tub. "

Are you neigHBOrly? (Among his neigHBOrs are Kris Aquino and Mark Gil and his wife. )

"Not quite. "

Are you a good neigHBOr to Kris with whom you were once romantically linked (he as Pumpkin and she as Cheesecake)?

"You know, even if we live just a few units apart from each other, Kris and I seldom bump into each other. Hindi kami nagaabot. To be frank about it, ’yung friendship namin ni Kris was naudlot, it was nipped in the bud dahil naunahan ng tsismis sa media. Just when Kris and I were starting to get along, hayun, lumabas na ang tsismis. Na-preempt ang friendship namin, naudlot. "

Did you have regrets (as in nanghinayang)?

"Of course naman. "

Could that rudely-interrupted friendship have developed into something deeper?

"I don’t know. With Kris, you can never tell. "

So your lovelife is. .. zero?

"Well, not naman zerong-zero. I go out on dates. When you date, does that mean you have a lovelife?"

Not necessarily. Dapat siguro may commitment kahit paano. Do you have a girlfriend?

"No, I don’t have a girlfriend now. In that case, I don’t really have a lovelife. Hence, the loneliness — by choice, ha! But I do hang out with girls who — one of them, who knows? — might end up my girlfriend. Who knows?"

Is Miriam (Quiambao, his Extra! Extra! co-host) not your type?

"Mayroon nang Hans (Montenegro, Unang Hirit co-host) si Miriam. I was even the one who introduced them to each other. "

You were also the one who paved the way to television for Hans and Ryan Agoncillo (then with Mornings and now co-host of Julius Babao and Tintin Bersola on ABS-CBN’s Talk TV), weren’t you?

"At that time, I had friends and there were slots open and I was confident that they could do the job, so . .. It was just a matter of setting up a meeting and giving them a few tips and before you knew it . .. Hey, nandoon na sila! I did it because they are my friends and they have the abilities. But whatever success they’re enjoying now is because of their hard work and ability. "

Was Tisha your last girlfriend? (They broke up more than two years ago. )

"Yes, I guess so. "

Did you "live-in"?

"That was the rumor but it wasn’t true. No, hindi kami nag-live-in ni Tisha. "

Are you choosy with girls?

"Of course!"

What type of girls appeal to you?

(Thinks awhile) "Let me see. .. Ang standard ko is I will never ask anything from her that I myself am not willing to give. "

You mean something, uh, physical?

"Not really. For instance, I won’t ask for understanding from her if I myself is not willing to give her that. You know the business I’m in . .. Whoever I’m with has to really understand the nature of the business, has to be really secure with herself, has to be patient and ambitious as well, has to have her own achievements. "

Did I hear you say in an interview once that you were through (as in "graduate na") as far as girls were concerned? How old were you when you started, well, playing around?

"I’m a late bloomer, actually. It happened when I was already a ramp model . .. around 1995. I was already out of my 20s. I have been seduced by all kinds of women. "

Did you give in?

"I’d rather not say; I don’t want to be incriminated. "

How do you react to a seductress?

"Dalawang bagay lang naman. Either you give in or you don’t. "

Did you or didn’t you?

"It depends on who you’re talking about. "

How many times . .. so far?

Suffice it to say that I lost my virginity when I was 14. "

To whom?

"To whom? To somebody out there. Hi, there! I lost it at 14 and there was a hiatus. As I’ve said, I started playing around when I was out of my 20s and I’ve had enough of it. "

But you’re the marrying kind, in spite of what happened to your parents’ marriage, aren’t you?

"Oh, yes, I am! I’d love to get married and have kids, although not soon. My career is on the upswing and I don’t want to disrupt the momentum. Besides, it would be unfair if I didn’t give (my wife and kids) the attention that they deserved. "

What else do you do when you’re "home alone" aside from soaking in the tub?

"I listen to mellow songs. I do my computer or I play the organ. Music is my therapy. I also cook. Or play billiards. I watch movies on TV. Sometimes, coming from work late at night, I just sit in one corner of the sala and read. Before I know it, it’s sunrise. "

Do you collect anything?

"Paintings. Works of art. A big painting by Dranreb (Belleza) occupies the ceiling part of my bedroom. I have paintings by other artists hung on the walls. You ask me to describe my house and I tell you it’s modern/indigenous/eclectic. It’s a fusion of everything, the old and the new, the modern and the antique. "

How do you keep trim?

"My work is my workout. I move around a lot, especially Miriam and me for the tapings of Extra! Extra! But I do push-ups in the morning, around 50 push-ups, take a short rest and do another 50. Then I take breakfast. I eat anything. Luckily, mabilis ang metabolism ko. "

I remember last year in our interview before you went to Jerusalem for a taping and a Lenten retreat, you mentioned something about "searching for myself. " Have you, at last, found yourself (Eureka, Eureka!)?

"All I can say is that my life hasn’t been the same since then. Now, I don’t ever do anything unless I consider other people first. They always say, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected. ’ I thank God before going to sleep and upon waking up in the morning. I can hardly believe all the blessings coming my way. "

By the way, when you posed nude for that magazine calendar, was it perhaps part of your "search for identity"?

"I felt like I was at the crossroads of my life and career; I felt like I was facing a blank wall even if I had three shows, even if things were coming out okay. Maybe I was feeling insecure. But it was kind of ‘liberating’. Embarrassed? No, I wasn’t, although I guess I did lose the respect of some people. Would I do the same now? I don’t think so. Once is enough. I guess my intentions at that time were wrong. Maybe I was KSP (Kulang Sa Pansin) at that time. "

Which part of your body are you proud of?

"My nose. It’s different. It comes from my Dad’s side. " (Paolo is a deadringer for David Schwimmer of the hit US TV show Friends. — RFL)

You have a beautiful house, a flourishing career and much more. What would make your life more complete than it is now?

"I think it would be selfish of me to ask for more. I do think of having a lifetime partner. It can be very lonely going home to an empty house, you know. "

So how do you cope with, uh, lonely nights?

(Breaking into smile) "I sleep. Itinutulog ko na lang. "

Source: The Philippine Star