In a free-wheeling Conversation, the eternal matinee idol talks about taking care of his body, having daughters but without a son, and the certainty of his reunion movie with ex-wife Sharon Cuneta.
The prime of Gabby Concepcion
CONVERSATIONS - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2019 - 12:00am

First thing first: Gabby Concepcion confirmed that his much-touted, long-overdue reteam-up with ex-wife Sharon Cuneta will finally be pushed through. They met by chance during the recent Gabay Guro event where they obliged last-minute requests for a duet. It was there where they seriously discussed the project which may be produced by either Viva Films or Regal Films, pending final negotiation. Who will finance it, Gabby didn’t tell.

“All we need is a good story, something out-of-the-box,” said Gabby, clarifying rumors that the initial plan went pffft due to disagreement over talent fees. “No problem with that, actually. Kaya hindi natuloy noon because we didn’t have a good story.” (According to reports, the ex-couple’s talent fees will be given to their only daughter KC.)

Gabby was in a joking mood.

Before he proceeded to the second floor of Relish restaurant (on Scout Limbaga St., Quezon City) for his launch as the newest addition to Beautederm’s gallery of starry endorsers, he gave Conversations a 20-minute “exclusive” which turned out to be so free-wheeling that Gabby didn’t hold back, gamely answered all the questions even those prying into his bedroom activity.

Before he was launched as newest endorser of Beautederm (pictured with the brand’s president/CEO Rhea Anicoche-Tan), Gabby energizes himself with his cup of kape barako before sitting down for a no-holds-barred interview

“Did you know that this is Obama’s favorite coffee?” he asked as he sipped from his first cup of coffee for the day.

I shrugged. “I didn’t know.”

“This is kape barako,” he cracked after two more sips. “Barako Obama! Hahaha!!!”

Every now and then, he would smell the tip of a cute bottle which turned out to be Beautederm Au Revoir Soothing Oil, one of the products he’s endorsing (also including Beautederm Papaine Soap, Beautederm Au Revoir Skin Soothing Oil and Beautederm Purifie Facial Wash).

He said that he brings that cute bottle anywhere he goes.

“One smell is enough to bring relief,” he said, adding, “I’ve tried those products before I was hired as endorser,” revealed Gabby who, at 55 (by Nov. 5), is blessed with pinkish baby-like skin, unblemished and smooth as silk. “Those products work for me and maybe they will also work for other people. Purifie is effective. As soon as you apply it, you can feel your skin stretching. If I didn’t do that, siguro marami na akong lines. Then you wash it off with the Papaine Soap.”

What is his current state of being?Gabby said, ‘Happy and wise. Di ba sabi nila, wisdom is knowing that you don’t know everything. Life is never perfect but I’m contented with what I have.’

His cell phone rang and after checking who the caller was, Gabby didn’t answer the call.

“Somebody is selling me a car,” he disclosed.

That’s the external side.

“Internally,” as Gabby put it, “I also have a health regimen. I mix vegetables that I grow in my farm in Lobo, Batangas, and I take it in the morning. I posted a video of me mixing the veggies on my Instagram and I think Miss Rhea (Anicoche-Tan, Beautederm corporation president/CEO) saw it. She asked, ‘Why don’t you try our products?’ That was it.”

While we were at it, we asked Gabby how he kept himself so trimmed and so sexy that, at his age, he can still send women’s hearts widely beating, never mind if he has survived (a veteran of) three marriages (all showbiz) before he settled down with a non-showbiz lady with whom he has two daughters. Gabby’s wife, Genevieve “Ginbee” Yatco (from a prominent family in Laguna), is so private (even if she started as a fan of Gabby) that she quietly kept herself and their children away from the limelight…and that must be what makes her “different” from Gabby’s past relationships and why he loves Ginbee dearly.

“I do everything in moderation,” shared Gabby, a familiar line we have heard from similarly-built gentlemen. “I taste everything…lahat nang inihahain sa atin ng mundo dapat tikman. Sabi nga ni Mary Fairchild…did I get the name right?...the famous lady who baked cakes in the ‘50s and who mixed all the sweet ingredients that she learned from her mother, ‘If you eat cake or pastries, you won’t get fat. Why? Because you won’t eat the whole cake.’ Just take a bite.”

Gabby would start his day with a big breakfast consisting of four eggs (poached, boiled or fried with olive oil) harvested from his farm, a little black or red rice (very seldom) or oatmeal, and black coffee without sugar.

He joked (again!). “We produce our own eggs because mayroon kaming homestead,” cracking again, “kaya parating sariwa ang itlog ko every day, always fresh, hahaha!!!”

Trivia: the farm in Batangas is different from Gabby’s resort in Anilao, also in the same province, that was (in)famous for a “creaking bed” which was the deaf-and-mute witness to Gabby’s (mis)adventures as a sought-after young man. You can imagine what juicy stories those walls would tell if they could talk! Gabby has sold that property.

 “I have a weakness for food,” admitted Gabby. “Sabi nga nila, the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” No soft drinks for him, please, just water (seven to eight glasses a day) and (lots of) coffee. “I work out to burn calories. I do the treadmill or simply walk around my farm. Brisk walking is cardio exercise, good for the heart. Forty-five minutes are enough to increase your heartbeat. Light exercises lang. I don’t over-exert myself.”

Six hours of sleep is good enough for him, plus power naps between takes on the set.

Asked what his favorite sleepwear is, Gabby laughed.

“Shorts, sometimes naked but I make sure that the kids are not around…and I lock the door. One pillow is good enough and it shouldn’t be too high, bad for the nape. Or I do away with it. The flatter the better.” (No need for an extra pillow to hug. Ginbee is beside him.)

Gabby’s children are all girls — the others are one with ex-girlfriend Grace Ibuna, one with ex-wife Jenny Syquia and one with ex-wife Sharon Cuneta.

No regrets not having a son?

“None at all. I love being the father of all girls because ang culture natin, ang mga anak na babae palaging pinupuntahan ang kanilang magulang tuwing lingo. I know that pagdating ng panahon, when they get married, they would visit me every Sunday even if they already have their own families. I never had a son so…well, you don’t miss what you never had, do you?”

No other, ehem, love child? “None that I know, hahaha!!!” 

Does he sleepwalk? 

“I don’t but sometimes I talk in my sleep. Good thing I wake up before I continue talking.”                          

Does he mention any name?                                               

“Yes, I do. Only one name but I won’t tell what name.”                                                                                

Last thing that he does before he goes to sleep?            

“Brush my teeth.”                                                                           

First thing that he does as soon as he wakes up?     

 “Brush my teeth.”                                                                   

Because he still feels like a teenager, Gabby said that he’s not bothered by stress. Neither do bashers piss him off. Did he see KC’s sexy photo on social media? Yes, said, Gabby, “I tagged it; I ‘liked’ it. Ang ganda!”                                                                   

“I am a beach person. Even just thinking of the beach in Lobo relaxes me. Maski sa shooting, my mind floats with thoughts of the beach.”                             

The secret, he added, is to “go with the flow, roll with the punches. I am an optimist. Why look at the dark side of life when the world offers so many bright things. Life has been good to me. There’s nothing to complain about; so many things to be thankful for. Not everybody is given a second chance, di ba?”      

Asked what his current state of being is, Gabby broke into a smile, baring his perfect set of teeth (that made him one of Close-Up toothpaste’s earliest endorsers).                                                                         

“Happy and wise. Di ba sabi nila, wisdom is knowing that you don’t know everything. Life is never perfect but I’m contented with what I have.”       

And he wasn’t joking.

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

GABBY CONCEPCION
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