What love has done to Karylle
() - August 17, 2005 - 12:00am
The late bloomer has come of age. Karylle is no longer the buttoned-up manang who refused to have her eyebrows trimmed for her first stage play, The Little Mermaid. She is no longer cooped up at home, crooning melancholy songs by her lonesome self.

Karylle is now at home in discos, dance clubs and party places where slow music is a no-no and upbeat numbers prevail. Sure, her necklines don’t plunge and her slits don’t soar to who knows where, but she is now more confident with her body, showing those gym-toned curves for all to see.

Karylle watchers will see these positive changes written all over her, not just in the way she dresses and talks, but in her new Universal Records album You Make Me Sing. The Ateneo CommunicationTechnology graduate walked the extra mile to make sure the album reflects the real her.

"I went to the dance club where DJ MOD (a.k.a Noel Macanaya) was performing and asked him to make a song for me," says Karylle. So bent was she on getting hold of him, Karylle joined the group on the dance floor. The result: five tracks DJ MOD penned, arranged and produced, namely Hot Spot, Remember, I Need You, If You Feel It and Lose Control.

The titles alone show that the tracks are far from mellow, sit-on-the-sofa types. You don’t for instance, stay rooted in your seat when the song Lose Control is played. And that’s just how Karylle, who had a free hand in choosing the songs, wants it to be.

"I want listeners to see the two sides of Karylle," she says.

Many people are used to her laidback, conservative side, the kind that made her breeze through her teenaged years without a single bout of rebellion. It’s the side of her that croons love songs in the album, like Ogie Alcasid’s Hindi Ko Na Kayang Masaktan Pa, Louie Ocampo’s Without You and Hiling (which she herself composed), with ease.

The other side, the one that discovered the joys of going out only last year, is what Karylle wants to explore this time. No, she wasn’t going out with Dingdong Dantes yet, simply because she didn’t see him as boyfriend material that time. They started getting cozy four months ago, when Karylle, touched by his sheer sincerity, finally agreed to be his girlfriend.

That day stands out in her memory. "It was right after my birthday," she recalls. "I didn’t celebrate it on the day itself (March 22) because it happened to fall on Holy Week. While planning the party, I asked Dingdong whether I should invited my mom (Zsa Zsa Padilla) or dad (Dr. Modesto Tatlonghari, whose marriage to Zsa Zsa has been annulled). Dingdong said I should invite both of them."

Karylle was so touched she decided that, among her suitors, it is Dingdong who deserves her love the most.

She has yet to regret her decision. Karylle is blooming like any woman in love. When she went to the US with Dingdong for the launch of GMA’s Pinoy TV recently, Karylle discovered, to her utmost joy, that her boyfriend is not only fun to be with, he is also organized and protective of her.

"I feel safe when he’s around," "Karylle coos, recalling the time when she and Dingdong traveled from Manila all the way to Tagaytay on board his motorcycle.

During their 10-day stay in the US, she and Dingdong tried something they can never even dream of doing in the Philippines: ride the train (or the MRT to Filipino commuters). Once, on a dare, they even took the jeepney to buy ice cream. But not a single person entered the jeepney after the barker announced that the lovebirds were inside.

"They thought it was an Extra Challenge episode," says Karylle, laughing.

You can’t blame them therefore, when Karylle and Dingdong hopped on a train in the US and enjoyed the hassle-free life normal people have. They also had the time of their lives playing a video game in Japan.

She introduced Dingdong to her US-based grandmother, who liked Karylle’s boyfriend in an instant.

"The first thing my grandma said when I called her up after getting home in the Philippines was that she likes Dingdong," says Karylle.

The feeling, it turns out, is mutual on Dingdong’s family. Karylle has met her boyfriend’s parents and has yet to get a nasty feedback from them.

So smitten are they with each other Karylle lovingly placed a photo of Dingdong in front of her when she was in a bad mood while recording her album. She even dedicates the title track, You Make Me Sing, a phrase she admits reflects her feelings towards the man she loves, to Dingdong.

Dingdong is not to be outdone, though. If Karylle brings Dingdong’s photo to the recording studio, the latter keeps a whole album of his girlfriend’s pictures in his bag.

"I found this out only after Dingdong showed a magazine writer who was interviewing him what’s inside his bag," Karylle says.

The ultimate thrill came, however, when Dingdong played the drums on the weekend of his latest birthday.

"He announced that he was dedicating the song to me," reveals Karylle. "Then, he didn’t take off his eyes on me the whole time he was playing the drums. I got so carried away, I shouted, `I love you, Dingdong!’ Having someone dedicate a song to you is ordinary. But actually seeing him play the drums for you is super!" explains Karylle, eyes sparkling.

Hopefully, the magic will last way, way beyond their Encantadia days.

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