What's a typical day for you now since you got back from Brazil?
() - November 4, 2011 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Everyday, I have to go to Araneta in Cubao, since that’s my pick-up place. If I have to go to shoots or I have engagements, that’s where I meet my supervisor and get my clothes. After that, I go to the places where I need to go. I had one official rest day since I arrived. But lately, the schedule has relaxed a bit since I’ve had two Sundays free.

Your wish after Miss Universe was to get lots of sleep and watch a movie. Have you done that already?

Nakapanood na ako ng sine, once pa lang since I arrived. ‘No Other Woman.’

Describe how it felt to be standing on stage with millions all over the world watching, while waiting for your make-or-break question?

Nakakakaba syempre, because you don’t know what’s gonna be asked. I wasn’t expecting to go that far. It was nerve-wracking, but you don’t have any choice. The question is going to come, so bahala na.

During Bb. Pilipinas International Dianne Necio’s recent send-off for China, what advice did you give her?

I told her not to feel pressured by what other people say na kailangan ganito, kailangan ganyan. Be calm and enjoy because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sabi ko sa kanya, whatever happens, it’s still her own happiness. Just be yourself. Let’s hope and pray that it is destined for you, but if not, you’re still a winner. At least you got to enjoy everything and make new friends.

Why architecture?

At first, I didn’t want to study architecture. I wanted to be an engineer. During that time, I applied kasi in UP for Architecture, while in other schools, I applied for Civil Engineering and Economics. In the end, I decided to study in UP. Eh Architecture yung nilagay ko doon. I was thinking of shifting after my first year, but I came to enjoy it.

What one architectural wonder most fascinates you?

Works of Calatrava, especially his bridges. There are also the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, Norman Foster. I can’t pinpoint specific buildings, but those are the architects that I admire.

What kind of house would you design for yourself?

My dream house is simple. I want it small, walang masyadong ornaments. It will have only what I need. I want to have a small library and a small media room. I just want it light and comfortable.

Did you aim to top the board?

No. I just wanted to pass.

After being a topnotcher, you still want to study and then study some more. What else would you want to learn about?

Ever since, I was really curious about things. I want to know why, bakit ganyan ang mga bagay-bagay…I have a lot of questions. The more I learn and study, the more I realize that there’s so much more to learn. Di ba, iniisip natin na if a certain person like a teacher, is in-charge, then he knows everything. I don’t think that way. People who are not intelligent think that they know everything. But it’s those people who are intelligent who know that there’s so much more to learn about life and the world. I easily get bored with common, ordinary things. I always look for something new. So it’s through learning that I feed my curiosity and thirst for knowledge.

You were the type of student who barraged the teacher with a lot of questions?

Mahilig ako mag-clear up. I remember during one of my review classes, naawa ako sa teacher kasi we were bombarding him with questions na, ‘Why like this, when I read in ganyan?’ Dumating sa point na pati siya, naguluhan na rin. He had to exit the class to clear his thoughts, but he went back naman. He said he was happy because at least daw, he knew we were listening, he knew we were very interested. Ako naman, it’s not my purpose na pahirapan o pahiyain yung teacher. I was just really curious because I read something different. Bakit hindi pareho? So what does it mean? I believe kasi that learning is not about just getting the high grade or pleasing your teacher. Laging sinasabi sa amin sa school, the teachers are not higher than you. They’re just ahead or steps apart from you. There are things that teachers can also learn from the students. So you have to question and challenge each other with your ideas. Hindi dapat, ‘Ako yung teacher, ito yung tama.’ It’s a discussion.

Do jokes about your last name offend you?

When I was a kid, yes of course. But when I got older and entered college, it seemed too shallow na. Ako na lang yung natatawa when people made fun of it. I wasn’t known before, so kung tatawagin yung pangalan ko, magtatawanan lahat yan. One time, I was getting my driver’s license or passport yata noon. It was my turn so my name was called. ‘Supsup!’, and then everyone was laughing. But when I stood up, they fell silent.

Let’s talk books. What are your favorite reads?

I’m a fan of Agatha Christie. And the Harry Potter series got me really hooked. Actually, I read anything under the sun. My friends lend me books that they want me to read, since we share a lot. I don’t really have a specific genre, na ito lang yung gusto kong basahin. Once na ipahiram sa akin, binabasa ko yun.

How about movies?

Bihira kasi ako manood ng movies, eh. I liked I Am Sam, Erin Brokovich, Dead Poets Society. I like inspiring films.

You’re a self-confessed kuripot. The rare instances you allow yourself to splurge, what do you buy?

Wala talaga. I don’t like spending kung hindi ko kailangan. I feel like, I don’t need it, so why buy it? My happiness doesn’t lie on material things, but on experiences. If I’m going to spend, it will be more on travelling. (FREEMAN)

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