Former EB Babe opens up about life in Cebu with blended family
(The Freeman) - October 15, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Lian Paz, former member of Eat Bulaga’s all-female group EB Babes, opened up in a recent interview with Pep.ph about her life in Cebu and how she came to build a happy blended family with her Cebuano partner.

“Akalain mo ba na magiging kami at tatanggapin pa ang dalawang anak ko,” the 32-year-old former dancer-actress began of her love story with John Cabahug, 33, a businessman and former basketball player of the University of the Visayas.

Lian shared to Pep.ph that she and John went to the same school in Cebu from sixth grade to first year high school. Her family lived here for at least five years when her dad, working as a medical representative then, was assigned in Cebu. They returned to Manila in 2001, and she would not see John again for a long time.

She became an EB Babe from 2006 to 2009, and acted in television shows such as TV5’s “Lipgloss” and “Enchanted Garden.” She also had a supporting role in GMA Network’s “Prinsesa Ng Buhay Ko.”

Lian would make headlines after her controversial split from actor Paolo Contis after a four-year marriage. It was in 2012 where they confirmed their decision to separate, and the custody of their two daughters, Xonia and Xalene, went to Lian.

As she recalls it, it was in early 2013 when she would unexpectedly cross paths again with her former schoolmate.

“He messaged me on Facebook asking if he could get me as their endorser for their beauty product business. Pumunta siya sa Manila para formal meeting. Ganun din father and stepmother niya. So since magkakilala na kami nung mga bata pa lang, super dami lagi kami napapag-usapan,” she shared.

“We became best friends. Lagi na kami nagkikita dahil ginagawa niyang pari’t parito sa Manila. Biyahe siya from Cebu to Manila to visit me and the kids.”

Lian said she felt his sincerity while he was wooing her. “He doesn’t take me out alone on a date. Lagi niya isasama mga anak ko kaya ako nahulog sa kanya. Yung respect niya to me as a mother, and he’s very fond of the kids. Inaya ako sa Cebu naman to visit.”

When they became a couple, John encouraged her to study in Cebu. She finished a two-year culinary course, learning how to cook various cuisine as well as kitchen management. It was in early 2015 when Lian brought her kids to Cebu to settle down here for good.

She said John further proved his love for her when he embraced her daughters as his own. When Xalene was accidentally bitten by her dog last month and had to be rushed to a hospital, it was John who was by the girl’s bedside, holding her hand to comfort her as she was anticipating the pain of an anti-rabies vaccine shot.

The tender moment was captured in a photo that Lian posted on her Instagram account. When a netizen asked if Xalene’s biological father was Paolo, Lian pointed out, “Anak ko lang po and thank God may Daddy na siya.”

Lian begged off when asked by Pep.ph about Paolo’s role in their lives. What she made clear was that Xalene and Xonia have known no other father figure but John. “Kasi they were just 1 and 2 [years old] nung makita ni John; and 2 and 3 years old when nakasama ni John. Kaya talagang siya ang nakasanayan kasi nasa amin ang mga bata. Everything about sa kids, ako lang. Thankfully, when John arrived, inako niya yung responsibility.”

Together with John’s 14-year-old daughter Lexi from a previous relationship, they’ve formed an unconventional yet harmonious brood with Xonia, 9, Xalene, 8, and their youngest, Niña, 4.

“Close siya sa mga bata kasi lahat ng kailangan ng mga bata – not just financially, but yung time with them, school events, extra-curriculars – he sees to it na makakapunta siya. Kumbaga, he makes time. We are a blended family, but we are one. Nakaganda rin na dumating baby namin ni John kaya nagkaroon talaga ng strong connection ang mga anak ko and his daughter.”

Lian said those who know John since he was a teenager are glad to see him grow up into a family man. “Lahat ng teachers namin di makapaniwala na napaka-responsible niya kasi sa Bisaya pa, ‘sipat kaayo’ na siya. Makulit, pilyo, ganun.”

In their eight years together, Lian said they’ve built a tried and tested relationship. But it hasn’t been easy. “Kasi talagang dapat both ang mag-e-effort. You have to water each other. Hindi kasi kami nagtatagal ng away. Hindi naaabutan more than a day. We choose to talk things through and compromise. Iba din yung lagi kami hingi ng guidance kay Lord. We always tell each other to be passionate sa relationship namin with God. Ganun din lagi paalala namin sa mga bata.”

Since moving to Cebu, Lian has no longer been active in showbiz. Currently, she’s been helping out John with his health drink venture.

“Okay po ang life namin here sa Cebu. John’s family is into businesses dito. They are teaching me and I’m helping out. We can’t say we have a perfect relationship, but what’s good is we grow together as individuals, partners, and parents.”

She is hoping to tie the knot with him someday, although she knows the annulment process in the Philippines can be painstakingly drawn-out.

“But God is never late. He is always on time on everything,” said Lian. “Kaya I leave it to Him. He’s in charge of my life, our life.”  — VAB

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