KC tells it as it is

CONVERSATIONS - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star
KC tells it as it is
Enjoying her time on her YouTube channel’s Kitchen Collabs.

“I am a one-man woman!”

With that straightforward admission, KC Concepcion flatly debunks the “fake news” perpetuated by social media that her life has been an endless cycle of dating.

“In fact,” she continues, “I don’t date a lot,” especially not during the interminable pandemic, oh no! “I’m not one of those girls who, you know...Hindi ako ganoon. I want to make sure that when I go out with somebody, I will enjoy talking to him. I like people with a good energy. Pero for now, I’m locked down like the rest of the world.”

With dad Gabby Concepcion.

So, honestly now, is she single or, ehem, “double”?

She hesitates as she freely talks about her love life (zero at the moment, or so she claims).

“I am...ah...” Yes, happily alone and to stretch the cliché farther, but not lonely. Definitely!

With mom Sharon Cuneta and stepdad Sen. Kiko Pangilinan and half-siblings Frankie, Miguel and Miel. ‘Siempre, it’s a little bit different (relationship with siblings) because of the wide age gap... They are mas younger than me, hindi ko pa rin magamay kung paano makikipag-bonding sa kanila.’

KC’s love life is supposed to be just the “appetizer” in this Conversation requested by Cornerstone Entertainment, Inc., KC’s talent management company, to drum up for KC’s YouTube channel series Kitchen Collabs but it turned out to be the “main course” as KC generously serves platefuls of her private life no-holds-barred.

The Cornerstone girl asked in advance for a list of questions but I told her it wouldn’t be necessary, nothing controversial, but you know KC, when she’s at ease with the person she’s talking to she does it with the smoothness of long-playing mellow music. Interesting!

She initially talks about Kitchen Collabs, conceptualized during the pandemic with the help of knowledgeable friends, among them US-based celebrity chef Jordan Andino who hosts a show on Food Network.

While locked down, I would eat mostly instant noodle,’ reveals KC. ‘It was nakakasawa. I craved for real food so I learned how to cook.’ Below, with half-sisters Garie (Gabby’s daughter with ex-girlfriend Grace Ibuna) and Cloie (Gabby’s daughter with ex-wife Jenny Syquia). ‘I am very close to them,’ says KC. ‘We check on each other regularly. Cloie has just got engaged and I’m excited to meet my future brother-in-law.’

“During the lockdown (first in her condo, then somewhere in Lipa, Batangas),” related KC, “I was eating mostly instant noodles until I had enough of it. I wanted real food. I was tired of taking care of my pet dog, at takot na takot ako sa pandemic. I am living alone at wala akong kasambahay. So I ordered delivery from Attitude Seafood Restaurant and they sent me Seafood Curry. So I told the owner, ‘Ate, please teach me naman how to cook it para hindi na kita istorbohin when I crave for it.’”

To make a long story shorter, KC asked her ate to go on Instagram so they could share the recipes with other locked-down people and their families.

“A lot of people like me don’t really know how to cook and I want them to also learn. My friend Jordan invited me to guest on Instagram live. During the video call, he taught me how to prepare all kinds of recipes, and more. He taught me kung paano babalatan ‘yung hipon, kung paano bubuksan ‘yung crab...all the details. It soon became like our bonding time while cooking with people eavesdropping on the conversation of two friends.”

It clicked. Soon, Kitchen Collabs was born and the following grows and grows, looking forward to “eavesdrop” Saturday mornings at 11 when KC chats with her celebrity guests while sharing recipes, among them Pokwang, Judy Ann Santos, apl.de.ap (Allan Pineda Lindo), Marc Nelson, Karla Estrada, Tintin and Julius Babao and Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez.

Has KC ever cooked for her dad, Gabby Concepcion, who was locked down in his farm in Lobo, Batangas?

“His place was medyo malayo from where I was but guess what, last night (Tuesday night), we finally saw each other in Makati after several months, our first meeting since the lockdown, and we had Spanish dinner at a restaurant. Ang cute nga! We just took a leisurely walk to the restaurant while trying to catch up. He’s back at work (on his GMA soap First Yaya with Sanya Lopez as replacement for Marian Rivera) at nagpa-swab na siya. He and the cast will be locked-in and I won’t be seeing him until they are done with the shoot, probably in December.”

And that was when the “appetizer” became the “main course.” (Hahahaha!!!)

Asked what they talked about, KC was direct to the point, holding back nothing.

“Everything! I’m very close to him; he’s my best friend, my confidante. No secrets between us. Grabe! Para ko na siyang boyfriend, eh! I am blessed na mayroon akong Tatay na maraming alam sa girls, hahaha!!! From him, nalalaman ko ang mga sekreto ng mga lalaki. Papa will always be the ultimate matinee idol, the ultimate ladies’ man, so obviously he knows what he’s talking about so humihingi talaga ako ng payo sa kanya.”

Like what advice, tips?

“I’d rather not tell baka malaman pa ng mga guys at mag-i-ingat sila, hahaha!!!”

Is her love life really as colorful as it is pictured to be?

“Hindi naman! As I just said, I am a one-man woman. I guess when I get into something...everything is like...well, I really make kulit if I am there, so if I get into a situation with somebody, I’m very honest, very transparent.”

What about her mom, Sharon Cuneta? Are they in touch?

“Yes, of course. I always text her. Ganoon naman kami ever since, eh. Hindi talaga siya (mahilig) tumawag sa phone, but she’s always there naman.”

And the other members of her family (actually, two families: Sharon and KC’s stepdad Sen. Kiko Pangilinan; and Gabby and his wife Genevieve “Ginbee” Yatco)?

“To be honest, siempre it’s a little bit different kasi the children (mom’s side) are, well, malaki ang agwat namin sa isa’t-isa...16 years between Frankie and me, almost 20 years between Miel and me, and almost 24 years between Miguel and me. So it takes a bit of adjustment. I lived with them for only six years after my mother remarried my stepfather, then I left the house and went abroad (Paris) to study. My sisters and I do video calls but since they are mas younger than me, hindi ko pa rin magamay kung paano makikipag-bonding sa kanila.

“My mom naman and her family have their own schedule, they have their own ganap, and my Papa also has his own ganap. It’s a very interesting situation to be in the middle of two families na hindi magkaka-pamilya... ‘yung pamilya ng Tatay ko at ‘yung pamilya ng Nanay ko. Pamilya ko sila pero hindi sila magkaka-pamilya, so medyo balancing act talaga siya for me. It’s a different situation and I try to stay as neutral as possible.”

You seem to be handling it well, I tell her. Congratulations! Keep it up!

“I try to have harmony na lang para sa lahat although hindi maiiwasan ‘yung mga nakalipas. But past is past, di ba? We only have today and the future. As Papa said, ‘Support is individual in a situation like this.’ He said that not having a perfect family happens to people who can handle it but that doesn’t mean the kind of family I grew up in will also be like the family that I will have of my own. Siempre, gusto ko rin ibahin ‘yung sa akin. I will give my own family what I don’t have while I am thankful for what I have growing up. Hindi naman ako napabayaan ng Mama ko and at the same time my communication with my Papa continues. What matters is we forgive each other.

“Me and Papa, we became close maybe because we are making up for lost time. It’s such a wonderful feeling to have unconditional love, that even if you haven’t seen each other for years, hindi kayo nagkasama ng maraming taon, what matters is what you are doing today to nurture the relationship.”

And Gabby’s wife Ginbee?

“She’s so wonderful! I am comfortable with her. She’s really kind and generous. She encourages me and my dad to bond. I really thank her for that. I told her, ‘Tita, you’re not the typical stepmother.’ She helps my dad and me with our schedules.”

What about her half-sisters Garie (Gabby’s daughter with Grace Ibuna) and Cloie (Gabby’s daughter with ex-wife Jenny Syquia)?

“I’m closer to them than I am to my other siblings. We regularly check on each other. Cloie has just recently got engaged and I’m excited to meet my brother-in-law. Not all siblings are close. I’m sad to see families where the children are not okay with each other. I told my siblings, ‘Look at my life. Learn from my mistakes.’ I think naman that I’ve done well. For whatever reasons, I have made good choices. Sabi ko, ‘I’m not perfect, take what you like and change what you don’t like.’ If they emulate me and respect me, or being proud that I am their oldest sister, I will be thankful. I can’t do it alone. Kelangan magbatuhan ng positive energy. I can do only so much to bring harmony to our lives. I will do my best and it’s up to them to reciprocate.”

Asked to describe her life now, KC thinks for a while.

“I would say...ah...I think my life is like an unopened box full of surprises. I haven’t opened it although I have an idea what is inside. It’s a gift waiting to be opened, waiting to be unboxed!”

KC from A to Z

To help us know KC Concepcion better, Conversations asked chemist Pinky “Achi” Tobiano (photo) to play the Alphabet Game with her best friend.

Pinky’s impressions of KC are in italics enclosed in parentheses.

A — Anilao (KC loves the beach)

B — Beach

C — Cornerstone Entertainment (We are both part of this group)

D — Dreamer (We plan to do her own farm soon with Bed and Breakfast)

E — Exciting (That’s KC, exciting!)

F — Fornasetti (We both love Fornasetti)

G — Goal-driven

H — Happy heart (KC has such a happy heart and she always sees the good in people)

I — Ice cream (We both love eating ice cream)

J — Joie de vivre

K — Kitchen Collabs

L — Love (She deserves all the love and Achi super loves her)

M — Magnanimous (KC has a genuinely big heart and is very generous)

N — Naughty

O — Outrageous (We both love this perfume from Frederic Malle, it is our favorite)

P — Pajamas

Q — Queen of love

R — Romance

S — Sexy

T — True Love

U — Unique (Her designs in Avec Moi show how unique her style is)

V — Vivacious

W — WWF or World Wide Fund for Nature (KC and I support this organization)

X — Xany (She is overly energetic when she loves something, like her Kitchen Collabs)

Y — Yankee Candles (KC loves candles; she is truly a romantic at heart)

Z — Zebra (KC and I love zebras and we both are supporters of WWF)

(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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