Alfred named one of 2019 TOYM

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star
Alfred named one of 2019 TOYM
Quezon City (5th District) Rep. Alfred Vargas: Honored to be in the company of great achievers (in public service)

When Quezon City (Fifth District) Rep. Alfred Vargas got a phone call a few days ago that he was named one of the 2019 TOYM (Ten Outstanding Young Men) awardees, he couldn’t believe it.

“My hand was shaking as soon as I hung up,” recalled Alfred a day before he and the other awardees were honored last night at the Manila Hotel. “For a while, I thought it was fake news.”

It was understandable.

“I was surprised when the Quezon City Jaycees nominated me,” admitted Alfred (now on his last term). “There were 100 of us. The number was trimmed down to 67, then 15 and finally just 10.”

As an actor, Alfred has received awards but the TOYM honor is something else, given in the field of public service.

“It’s the highest and most prestigious award for young men in the country. As a public official, I have been sacrificing a lot…no regrets. Na-feel ko ngayon na nasulit ‘yung mga pinaghirapan ko, ‘yung pagpupuyat, ‘yung kakulangan ng oras sa pamilya, saka sa ibang bagay.”

Aside from Q.C. residents (particularly those in Novaliches, his turf), Alfred offered the award to his wife Jasmine Espiritu and his late mom, lawyer Susana Dumlao Vargas, who wanted Alfred to be a lawyer and was disappointed when he joined showbiz.

“She didn’t talk to me for two weeks. When she saw me on TV, she relented. She congratulated me. She said that okey lang na hindi ako nag-abogado, but she advised me to take up post-graduate studies. That’s what I am doing now. Next year, I will graduate with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration in UP. I also thanked Yasmine for being understanding and supportive in my projects such as housing and the passage of the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (in memory of his mom and other cancer victims).”

Alfred is honored to be in the company of such TOYM awardees as the late Jessie Robredo, Ninoy Aquino, Loren Legarda, Jessica Soho, Kara David and Ryan Cayabyab.

Abby & Jomari resume ‘rudely-interrupted’ teenage romance

Abby Viduya and Jomari Yllana in Sydney where they attended the wedding of Jomari’s cousin: Love is lovelier the second time around, indeed!

Is comebacking actress Abby Viduya (a.k.a. Priscilla Almeda) a home-wrecker?

That must be what people thought after a woman accused Jomari Yllana of abandoning her and their two little children (one a year old and the other months old) and hinted that the cause was “another woman” identified as Abby. (Jomari claimed that he continues to support the woman and their children.)

Abby is resuming her showbiz career after years of leading a private life in Canada with her three children (the eldest by the ex-boyfriend she met in New York and the two others by another ex-boyfriend, also a Filipino, whom she didn’t marry but lived with in Canada).

“I want to make it clear that I wasn’t instrumental in Jom and his girlfriend’s breakup,” Abby told The STAR in an exclusive interview. “As far as I know, they broke up last year yet, at the same time that I broke up with my boyfriend. So when Jom and I got back together again, we were both free na, pareho na kaming single.”

Twenty years ago, Abby and Jomari met when they starred in the Regal flick Gwapings (together with Mark Anthony Fernandez and Eric Fructuoso). They were both 15.

“He was my first boyfriend,” confessed Abby, “but I’m not sure if I was his first girlfriend because I knew that he started having girls when he was only 13.”

They went their separate ways when Abby was signed up by Robbie Tan’s Seiko Films as an ST (Sex Trip) star and Jomari did more films for Regal before he became a freelancer. Then Abby quit showbiz and lived in Canada.

“In 2015, Jom friend-requested me on Facebook. From then on, we were in touch as friends.” (Jomari had broken up with wife Aiko Melendez with whom he has a son and was romantically linked to other actresses including Ara Mina and Pops Fernandez.) “Guapo, eh, kaya maraming naging girlfriends.” Asked how many boyfriends she herself has had, Abby laughed, “I have lost count, hahaha!!!”

They reconnected last October when Abby came back from Canada, as good as new (she’s the newest addition to the Ang Probinsyano cast).

“We met and, since we are both free, we decided to give it a try. I came into the picture when Jo and his girlfriend had broken up na.”

Their first official date was in Sydney where they attended the wedding of Jomari’s cousin.

“We stayed there for a few days, getting to know each other again.”

No, they are not living-in. Abby lives with her sister in Parañaque City where Jomari also lives.

“I’m okay with his mom and he’s okay with my family. Both families are happy for us.”

Any marriage plans…soon?

“We are both 43, but Jom is a few months older than me. At our age, we are serious with each other. But for now, we are taking baby steps muna, enjoying each other’s company.”

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

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