Not the girl she used to be
(The Philippine Star) - April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Life has never the same again for Carla Abellana, a year after she joined showbiz. The world her dad Rey Abellana and grandmother, Delia Razon handed down to her, not only as a family legacy, but as training ground for character, has turned Carla’s world upside down.

“My life turned around 180 degrees,” she says. Like a blushing maiden who has finally gathered the courage to face the world, Carla no longer stays cooped at home while others her age paint the town red.

Yes, she had friends back then. She socialized. But the old Carla would rather stay home and be with her family than go out and party or see a movie.

“I’ve come out of my shell,” she relates.

A year after she left her comfort zone, Carla also got herself another avid suitor: Geoff Eigenmann. This time, he’s pursuing her, not for the cameras, but for real.

Yes, you may stop speculating now. Carla admitted that her original leading man has finally expressed his feelings towards her only last month. Now, he is formally courting her.

In a one-on-one interview at the Manila Peninsula Hotel for Pond’s White Beauty, Carla said Geoff is trying to win, not just her, but the entire family as well. Carla has become a familiar presence in the Eigenmann family’s gatherings, especially in Ryan Eigenmann’s recent wedding to Cathy Bordalba.

And Carla likes the fact that he not only puts his best foot forward. He shows her all sides of his personality when she’s around.

“We’re friends more than anything else,” says Carla. They don’t put up any front when they’re together. What they see is what they get.

Does that mean Geoff has a good chance of winning her heart?

It doesn’t follow.

“It’s hard to tell for now,” Carla replies. She just asked Geoff to be a little more patient, more understanding. Carla insists she’s not hard to please, anyway.

She prefers the traaditional Filipino way of courtship. “Kulang na nga lang, harana!” Carla smiles. And if Geoff — and other swains who want to win her heart — are against it, sorry, Carla won’t have it any other way.

She would like the guy to prove himself first. And no amount of friendly persuasion can make Carla change her mind.

Her Lola Delia raised Carla the Filipino way, especially on such values as humility and respect for others.

“My Lola always reminds me to be humble and to always be nice to everybody, even to the crew.”

Her grandma is not her only source of good, old-fashioned values. Carla says her dad, Rey Abellana, reminds her to value hard work and family.

That’s why, given a choice, Carla would rather go to a family affair first if it conflicts with a shooting or taping.

“Family always comes first,” she explains. As it should, as much as possible. Carla has tapings to attend to, shoots to go to, meetings to think about. And she can’t help but miss some family occasions.

Carla has no reason to feel guilty about being absent, say, for a niece’s kiddie party because she has to tape for a show. “I’m working for the family, anyway,” she explains.

Carla was again away from her family last weekend when she flew to Hong Kong to tape Love Bug, her new romance-drama with Dennis Trillo.

Incidentally, Carla is the new endorser of Ponds, chosen certainly for her pinkish-white glow.

They dangled an offer Carla was waiting for: An endorsement for the product she has been using since high school.

“That was the time I got conscious about boys, and how I looked,” recalls Carla. So she followed her Lola Delia’s example by dabbing her face with Pond’s Cleanser.

That, she swears, is her only beauty regimen.

“I don’t go to the dermatologist. I don’t get facials.” She said that she will never use a beauty product just because everybody else does.

“My Lola taught me to keep it simple. So I just apply Pond’s cleanser on my face before I sleep.”

Her other beauty secret is basic: Drinking liters of water.

No wonder Carla has retained that schoolgirl complexion.

Yes, in her beauty regimen as it is in daily life, Carla sticks to the basics.

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