Regine for real
by the staff of PDI
PDI, July 13, 1997

A few years ago, interviewing Regine Velasquez meant a plain and simple one question-one answer exchange. Not anymore. Today, Regine can chat up a storm about her continuously thriving career, her long-cherished dream of earning a fine arts degree, her stage boo-boos, etc.

This is the Regine the Lifestyle staff finds - candid, brimming with anecdotes complete with a broad gestures and reenactments, and confident enough to laugh at herself. That she is able to keep a sese of humor on the stormy night of the interview is a feat in itself.

Braving traffic and flooded streets, she finally makes i to the Inquirer office in Makati from her new home in Quezon City after nearly four hours. She arrives at about 10 pm, well after the original appointed time of 7. (Of course, her father, known to everyone simply as Mang Gerry, is in tow.)

After apologizing for her tardiness, she launches into such animated prattle that it is near midnight when the interview ends.

No topic perks up more than her relationship with singer Ariel Rivera that went pfft two years ago. Though it was brief interlude, the controversial romance seemed to have had such an impact on Regine: She spends the better half of Playtime recalling that part of her life. Maybe she just finds it therapeutic. After all, this is her first time to talk at length about the failed realtionship.

Regine insists she doesn't feel any bitterness. If she had to go through it again, she says she would because being in love is a wonderful feeling. But she admits - with a laugh - that her ego took a dive when Ariel broke off with her on the phone.

Falling in love seems to have helped in molding her character. Regine has gained wisdom and maturity from the experience, and now advises other girls who have been dupmed by their boyfriends to learn to let go. Love, she says must be given freely. "You shouldn't beg for somebody else's love. If that person doesn't want to, fine. I know it's painful. It's easier said than done..."

She is proud of the fact that no matter how much she ached to talk to Areil after that devastating breakup, she never did. One day, she was all set to curmble and call Ariel but found to her complete surprise that she couldn't remember his number anymore. She took it as a sign to move on.

These days, Regine, 27 isn't exactly looking for a new boyfriend. She feels secure in the love of her family and the support of friends. Finding a romantic partne has never been a priority anyway. Asked when she'll start panicking, Regine replies, "When I'm 40, I guess."

It's easy to see why she's feeling no pressure. She has a busy life. Her career is going great guns. Her records have penetrated the Asian market. Her latest album, "Retro," has sold thousands of copies in Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, even China. She's in demand for TV and lounge show. This weekend , she performs a two-night concert at Folk Arts Theater.

She has also rediscovered the movies. Rather, the movies have rediscovered her. After a string of teen roles a while back, she scored a winning turn in the remake of "Wanted: Perfect Mother" opposite Christopher de Leon. Now, much of her time is taken up by movie assignments.

Regine also performs for VIPs, the latest being Prince Charles. Up next: A special show for supermodel Claudia Schiffer.

The good news is all the success hasn't gone to Regine's pretty head. She's still a probinsyana (a person who came from a province) at heart and doesn't apologize for it. "My being probinsyana is where I got my values. I don't ever want to change that."

Is it true that u once had a throat operation?
Never. I was supposed to have it, but that was when I was younger. I was only 16 when I had nodules. I went for a check-up at Makati Med. The doctor freaked me out because he said, "We have to operate. It might affect ur voice because ur nodules..." You know, like ur just staring and u didn't notice tears running down ur face.

What caused the nodules?
I was not using my voice properly.

Your technique was wrong?
Well, not really wrong, but I wasn't using my voice properly. After a while, I was able to develop a technique that wouldn't be that strenous to my throat. For a month, I would go to my doctor's clinic three times a week. At Dr. Almeda in Bel-Air. Little by little until it healed, & until now it's still fine.

What did the treatment consist of?
Scraping and then they put you in an ultraviolet thing for half an hour.

Was it painful?
No, it's just hot.

How about the scraping?
It does hurt because it makes u choke. They have this thing that they put inside ur nostrils, it looks like cotton buds. They put it all the way down there, it's long. The feeling is weird. They they took me to this thing...' ur like being electrified.

Who taught you to sing properly?
I had a workshop with Ryan (Cayabyab) about five years ago. But after it happened, I was more careful. I wouldn't shout anymore-I call it shouting when u belt so much. I was trying to prove to everybody that I could sing. All the songs I would sing before. Even the song, "Bahay Kubo," I was shouting it. I'm not like that anymore. Slowly, slowly, slowly, I developed a technique that is less strenuous to my throat.

Even if u belt?
I got a technique. They call it like falsetto, but for the ladies it's like head tone. My placement will come from here ( points her head), so the throat is not used so much. When it's high pitched alreay I use the head-on my nose. After a while my head aches.

Every concert?
Mostly that's what I use. I've gotten used to it. Before, I would always use my throat. Now, when I sing, and it's high I can feel the vibration here, then the placement is right. Everytime I sing that's what I always remember. I'm so used to it that it comes out naturally.

So u think ur a much better singer now?
I don't think I'm a much better singer now. I just think I've developed a technique.

Is it true that everyone is said to be plastic in showbiz? Like when a fan says, "Hi, remember me?" Then the stars says, "Of course I remember u," even if u don't. Do u do that?
No, I'm the sharp type (Laughs) I don't like getting too close to the fans. I'd like to have distance, space. I see some stars, theyr'e sooo friendly with their fans, as in they're even go out of their way...I mean, I would also. I would also do that but I would lose my privacy because anywhere u go they're always there.
I hope it's not bad, my saying this. I know that the reason I'm here is because of them, but I'm the person who really value what little privacy I have. I want to have at least distance. Not like ignoring them. I say hi to them and that's it. I wouldn't really go out of my way, like, "Oh yeah, I know you!" when I really don't. But I do remember some of them.

An entertainment columnist once said nobody in showbiz is "sweet" anymore.
Because everyone is sharp now.

Not just that. Sweet as in chaste, virginal...
It's not a trend nowadays (Laugh) I guess for me what's really important is to show ur real self. Trying to be sweet when ur not. It's disappointing for everybody. You're so sweet and then ur mocking everyone.

So what's the real Regine like?
This. (Laughs)

Are u still sweet and innocent?
You mean a virgin? Ha, ha, ha, ha. Never mind. (Laugh) He knows ( points her father).

Was he there? Did he chaperone you that night?
Bi, (Laughs) Well, nowadays I guess it's the ' stars or young kids in general are more liberal. For them sex is nothing.

Are you liberal-minded?
When I talk, yes. But in truth, not really.

So ur a probinsyana?
I guess if u ask me if I am sweet or virgin, that's what I'm going to answer-probinsyana. I still have the same values that my parents have.

You've been saying that to the press since you were introduced by ur manager, Ronnie Henares.
Uh-hmm. There's nothing wrong with still saying it. Up to now, I'm still a probinsyana even though I've gone through a lot and I've been in the business for 10 years. I haven't changed in the eyes of my true friends and my family. I'm still the same.
I'm very secure with that. Even if they'd say, "Eee, gross until now ur still a probinsyana," I don't care. 'My being probinsyana, is where I got my values. I don't ever want to change that.

Do you still see (ur former boyfriend) Ariel and his (girlfriend) Gelli (de Belen)?
I don't. The last time I saw Ariel was when I did this show with Kuh Ledesma, "Piso para sa Pasig," (One peso for Pasig) and this was like four months ago. Before that, I didn't see him for nine months.

How was it like seeing him again?
We didn't see each other after we broke up. And then after a month, I saw him in a fashion show. When I saw him it's like, "Oh, hi!"

Did u put up a front?
Yeah, because I didn't want him to see me weeping. I didn't want him to see that I was hurting.

But were u?
Of course I was! It had been only a month, right? I didn't want him to see me crying. Even when we broke up on the phone, I didn't cry. It was only after I put down the phone that I started crying. After a month, we met each other. I was talking to him; after that, I really broke down.

In front of him?
No. I knew it would be difficult for him to see me that way.

How did u feel when others were calling u names?
That was painful.

Uh-hmm. "Ana." That was the most difficult part. People calling me names, people misjudging me. I felt very, very much alone even though I knew that I wasn't because I had my friends, I had my family. But at that point, I felt everyone was my enemy. It's bad enough that I was drifted apart...
He was the one who broke up w/ me. I never said that before. I said only that "we talked about it" because that's what he said.
When we broke up, he started talking before I did, right? He said "We talked about it, we decided to just become friends." I saw that on TV. So that's what I also said. (Laughs) It's only now that I'm able to talk about it because I'm over it.

What's ur advice to girls who are dumped by their boyfriends?
What I did. I'm proud of myself. I didn't run after him and I wouldn't want to. You shouldn't beg for somebody else's love. That kind of love should be given to u freely. That's how it is. It's like respect: You have to earn it. Love is not something you ask for. If the person doesn't like u anymore, then fine. I know it's painful. It's easier said than done. Let's say, I begged for his love and ten I got him back, what will I look like? Actually he doesn't really love me. What he'll give me is pity-which I don't want. I want love 'cause I'm giving him love.

Do u really use ur head a lot?
Nowadays I have been using it a lot. (Laughs) Sometimes when ur in a situation u'd feel u don't have any choice.

Are u happy using ur head?
Yes, very much and I'm glad I am. If I handled things differently, I would have regretted some stuff that I did. So I'm glad I handled things the way I did and I'm kin'a proud of myself that I was able to get out of that situation. Actually, I'm the type who runs away from my problems.

Before. I don't like confrontation. As much as possible if I can get pass it, I would. I don't like getting into fights. This time I knew I couldn't run away from my problem, I couldn't run away from the pain.
As a matter of fact, when we broke up...about March or April two years ago, I even had a concert with him in the States in October or Novermber that year. That was the very first time I saw them (Ariel & Gelli) together which was very painful because I felt I was okay. It was really difficult the first time I saw them.

Was he ur first boyfriend?
Yeah, He was not really my first love but he was my first boyfriend. In other words, we shared something.

That was the most intense so far?

But the last time u saw him, no big deal?
No big deal. I was able to get out of it. I moved on. I faced my problem. Because I know I can't get away. I'm not going to be hyprcrite. When ur being broken off u'll be thinking, "S- -t, is he coming back again. I know he'll realize that I'm the one he loves. (Laughter)
That's true right? We hope for that. I was still hoping he'll come back that he'll call me and tell me, "Oh, it's u! It's u!" (Laughter)

Did you wait for the call?
I did! But I never paged him, I never called. I didn't do anything.

Even if u really wanted to?
Yeah. But u know what's funny? After a while, I think 4 months-I kept waiting and waiting and waiting. Until one day, I was holding the phone, I was looking at it and I wanted to dial his number, and I couldn't remember it. So I felt that it meant something. God told me don't stoop urself down I think I deserve so much better.

Wasn't it bad for ur ego that u were dumped?
It was bad for my ego, believe me, it was really bad. Saka siyempre 'yung feeling ko, "S-t si Regine Velasquez na dump?" (Laughter) Kahit papano may ego rin ako. I've been in this business for a long time so siyempre you kinda think about that.
It was really bad but I had to learn and mend it. Kasi feeling ko, I was broken. Although he didn't get anything from me, thank God.
For the record?
Oo. He, he.

Was it true he wanted you to live 2-gether and u didn't agree which was what led to the break-up?
No. He knew I didn't want pre-marital sex. We talked about it from the very beginning. Remember that time when you (to Leah Gatdula) called up and asked me if I was pregnant? I felt so bad. And I was crying to him and he asked, "Why are you crying?"
"They're saying that I'm pregnant," I told him.
"Why are you crying when you know it's not true?" he said.
Then I said, "Yeah, ur right, we're not even doing anything."

But he gave u the idea of living together?

No. He never asked me. Even he hurt me, I never say anything bad about him because he never forced me into doing anything. He never did.

He's a gentleman?

Yeah. He never forced me.

Do you think there are still guys now who would not go for pre-marital sex?

Depends on the girl. You always say, "I don't have a choice." And I understand when ur in the heat of passion…my father is there (laughs) When you're in the middle of it…I always think of my father (Laugher) Very unromantic really.

In the heat of passion you see your father's face?

Yes, isn't that weird? (Laughter) Sometimes, you can't help it. Especially you're really in love w/ the person, of curse you really want to…

Really want to show it?

Yeah, coz that's the only last proof to show that you love the guy. You want him to be happy. But I was not ready , so I said no. "Those girls out there…Girls, hello! You have every right to say no. I've learned that. That's your choice. You always have a choice even ur in whatever situation. All choices have consequences. Depends on the consequence and the choice you made.
If it were to happen now, would you have made the same choice now?
Yes, coz I think as long as u r still a maiden, it's your privilege to say no. Once you get married, you can never say no! (Slams the table) Right? (Laughter) Isn't that true? Once you get married, that's part of your obligation. So as long as your not yet signing any contract…no! (Laughs)

Through all these was your dad by your side?
My whole family was by my side.

Are u very close to ur dad?
I'm very close to both. Equal degree. When I was younger, I was closer to him coz we were always together. I got closer to my mom, lately. Like when u get hurt, it's the girl who'll be with you to console w/ u. I got closer w/ my mom because of that incident.

You didn't get bitter at all?
No. If I have to go through it again. I would. I had a wonderful time with him. "That's what I've always been saying. It' felt good. It was my first time to have a boyfriend, I experienced a lot. I have some questions like, "Should've done it this way? Or that way? What is it? Do I have to say sorry? What must I do?"

His mom was so nice to me. She was always feeding me because she thought I was thin at that time. She sooo kind. On my birthday she even called me up. Even his brothers and sisters are nice to me.

Baka they want to bring home a decent girl?
She's (Gelli) a decent girl. I guess she was just misunderstood. Like me. Who are we to say that she's not?

How long did it last?
Almost 4 months. He was my first boyfriend and I was afraid to take chances. I was always comfortable to where I was. I have a family who loves me very much. I didn't really need anybody, until I met him. I'm glad I took that chance because if I hadn't I wouldn't have experienced how wonderful it was. I wouldn't be what I am now. I'm glad to say that I already have character.

Do you have a love life now that you already have character?
No. I'm waiting for the right person to come along. I'm not the kind of person who jumps from one relationship to another. I don't mind waiting for a long time as long as I know when that person comes along, it's the one.
Why will I get involved w/ someone if I knew we're not going to end up together? Don't u think that's ridiculous? Just to say, "Hey, I'm over with Ariel so I have another boyfriend!" What the heck is that for if I don't love him?

Do u have prospects?
I get to meet a lot of men, but they're not making any move.

Maybe because ur father is always around.
With Ariel. He was always there. It's really up to them. If their intentions are really clean, there's nothing for them to be scared of.

What kind of guy do you go for?
Before, I want a guy who's kind, but now I don't have any criteria. Usually it doesn't follow. So, I don't want to wish for it. Like w/ Ariel , the reason why I got hurt is because I thought it was him. I thought it was gonna be him. And I was actually offered.

Yes. And u can even ask my father. He talked to my parents. He was planning so many things that's why I was really hurt and surprised.

What could have been the real reason?
I don't even wanna find out.

You must have speculated.
No. When we talked on the phone, he said he was still in love with her, so what can I say?

How do you feel when you see her (Gelli) , hindi ba kumukulo ang dugo mo? (Ur blood doesn't boil?)

No. It's her blood who's boiling. (Laughs) She's really angry at me.

You see he a lot?
Uh-mm. She doesn't wanna talk to me.

At 27, don't girls like you feel insecure that ur not attached yet?
No. I have so much ahead of me, right? I have my career. You know, I've talked to a lot of married women. I'd say to them, "You know ur so lucky ur so young and u have a child." And they'd tell me, "Are u nuts?" then I'd ask them why. They'd tell me, "Because your so lucky. At ur age u still have ur career, u've experienced a lot and I'm sure you'll experienced a lot more. When you get married everything will vanish 'cause you always have to consider ur family." I mean it's not bad to think of ur family but, u didn't have time for urself? I'm sure there's a lot of woman who's pretty much like that. I guess I am lucky.

At age do you think are you going to panic?
When I'm 40, I guess.

That long?
This is the '90s -women are getting married in their 30s, sometimes 40s. It doesn't matter.

What attracts you to a guy initially, w/o thinking?
I'm not the type of person who'll get attracted if he's handsome. As a matter of fact, I never liked Ariel. I felt that he's too windy because he's Canadian. But he's not. For me first impression is not important. Next to it is more important. Because if u meet a guy, of course best feet forward. You really don't know what are their intentions. What's important to me is I get to communicate w/ him and the value he has with his family. Like w/ Ariel, I fell in love with him because I saw how much he valued his family. I felt we had something in common. Family is also very important for me.

Are you the type who'd give up your career if you'd find the right guy?
Yes. Let's say if I get married and he doesn't want me to - my husband who's a doctor (giggles) or senator or president or prince (laughs) -for me to sing…

Your going to sing for him.
Yeah. I'm sure I'll miss it. Of course I'll go with him whereever my husband wants us to be. It's should be that way , right?

Any plans of concerts?
I have a concert on July 18 and 19 at the Folk Arts Theater called "Retro."

After the album?
Yeah. Last year I recorded an album also called, "Retro." Since retro is "in" nowadays, I decided to have a concert with the same concept. I'll be singing mostly old songs.

Are u confident you'll get an SRO crowd?
I'm not confident. Thai's why I'm asking for ur help right now. I'm kinda nervous because I haven't been doing big concerts lately.

What more do you want to do?
I really wanna be able to finish my studies.

When did u drop out?
After high school.

But you're so articulate. Have u been so articulate?
No, I think it comes with age. (Laughs)

You mean when you were 17 you were not like that?
Not at all.

How did you become articulate?
I guess from TV, (Laughs) from people I meet. As you all know, I've been going outside of the country to promote an Asian album so most of the time I speak in English.

Do u read a lot?
I don't really read a lot, but I do read magazines like fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle, and Cosmopolitan.

Ronnie Henares packaged you, taught u social graces and everything?
They taught me to develop my own taste.

Yes. I was from Bulacan. What do I know of clothes.

But you're so daring now with your wardrobe.
Nowadays, I feel sexy. (laughs)

But it just shows that u got taste because you don't overdo things.
It developed.

You mean these things came from others?

No, not really. Ronnie Henares and his wife (Ida) packaged me to have this image. Ida taught me how to mix and match-u shldn't mix if both clothing is printed. Little by little I learned to do it myself.

Then u looked through the magazines.
Yes. They help a lot, even makeup tips you get from there. I also love to watch fashion show.

If you will pursue ur studies, what do you plan to take up?
Fine arts.

You draw well?
Hindi na nga ako masyadong nakaka-practice.

You think you can still get into that?
Right now, I don't' think so. I'm so busy. I'm just looking ahead. I don't want to think na kawawa naman ako-ako na lang ang hindi nagtatapos, kasi mga kapatid ko malapit nang matapos. (to think that I am the only one who hasn't finish schooling)

What abt. Ur career?
The opportunities are bigger now that we have the money. I can always go to New York and study film or fine arts there. Or I can go to Europe and study painting. At least I have choices. I can afford it now.

You travel?
I travel a lot now. It's so nice to be here in this business. Can u imagine, I'm doing the thing that I love the most w/c is singing (laughs), and I'm being paid. I get to travel for free. I can bring my family with me.

Where do u think ur career will go from here? Where do you ant to bring it.
Tough question.

You can pack Folk Arts Theater. You've had concerts before for VIPs ur records are sing well. Where do u think u wanna be?
I've discovered I can also act even a little. And the feedback of my acting is pretty good. So now, I'm exploring that.

You have movie lined up?
Yeah. They're paying me also, ha? I'm actually getting paid. (giggles)

What sort of roles would u want to do?
I like doing feel-good movies.

Boots Anson Roa?
Why not? Roles like that of Meg Ryan. You wouldn' t notice, but she really get nice roles.

What movies are u doing right now?
I have a movie, "Honey Nasa Langit na ba Ako?," with Janno Gibbs. I am a ghost in this movie. It's about two people who are very much in love w/ each other. My character meets an accident and then dies. Janno's character is devastated and I wish I can help him fix his life. I try to encourage him to live his life. It's really nice and cute.

It's a happy kind of sadness. Your crying w/ one tear.

How did u cry?
I didn't blink my eyes (laughs) You motivate urself.

What did u think of to be able to cry?
Before, I used to think of the sad moments. But now it doesn't work anymore. When ur sad ur not really crying. You are just hurt deep inside. I learned a technique. Vina Morales told me, when I guested in "Spotlight" before, "Don't emote so much coz sometimes when u get emotional, the tendency is you don't get to feel like crying. It shows in ur eyes but tears are not dripping."

Doing kissing scenes is fine w/ you?
Yeah. Imagine, I'm 27 and doing cutie stuff, "my parents are strict." I'm not 16 anymore. Donna has done some scene w/ Jason Everly and I won't? (laughs)

How did u feel when u kissed Christopher de Leon in the movie, "Wanted: Perfect Mother?"
I was so agitated with my director. They wanted a near and far shot of it. It was such a short moment and "CUT!" and I said, "Direk, I haven't enjoyed it yet." (laughs) I mean hey come on it's Christopher de Leon. And I didn't feel his beard. (laughs) I was kinda scared there for a while. I get itchy w/ beard.

Have u kissed other men w/ beard?
Ariel was the only person I got to kiss.

How were u brought up? U didn't' seem to be a close family. Don't u have a problem child?
Cacai was so stubborn. But she listens to me. She just answers back when she knows she's right.

Do u answer back?
I do, too. I'm stubborn. Remember I'm a Taurus? If I know I'm right I'll answer back. I'm sure they would feel bad w/c I don't want.

So no problem child?
I remember I mentioned it to my father one time. "I know that we are very lucky for having such wonderful parents, but u have to remember also that u have good kids." I do appreciate why we are good kids-it's because of them. Look how old we are now and no one in the family has gotten pregnant or in to drugs. I always thank my parents for everything they have done for me.

Aren't u threatened by Cacai's modest success in the music industry?
No. I was the one who encouraged her. Both of us did (points to her dad). My father saw that she has a great potential.

(To Mr. Velasquez) Do you always come w/ ur kids?

How is it now that they have different engagements? Who's the first one?
We have one car for each.

You have a driver?
I don't want to drive in this country.

What happened to the Asian release of ur album?
"Retro" is doing well in Asia. We got the figures. I got it from my personal manager. In Indonesia, Taiwan, Korea, over 10,000 copies. Except for Singapore it only sold less than 10,000 copies. The country is actually very small.

Mr. Velasquez: In Korea, almost 50,000

Regine: In China, they were so surprised 'cause there was a lot sold there. The first album we sold 100,000 copies in China.

Mr. Velasquez: No, in only one province. In China, it sold 250,000.

Isn't' it Retro is under an international label?
But I'm still under Polycosmic Records. My album is being released throughout Asia but I'm under Polycosmic and there is no such thing as Polycosmic Int'l. So royalties I'm getting locally and internationally is the same. It's weird.

How about in the States?
It's only in Asia. Hopefully someday. I'm aspiring that I'll be discovered there. Look what happened to Kuh. After a long time-4 yrs.---she's able to release her records.

Lea Salonga?
Yeah, So Kuh's the second. If they became successful there, that would open doors for the artists.

Who do u think is ur greatest rival (abroad)?
I don't know I'm being sold as an international artist. Maybe Whitney Houston coz my album is under international division, not local.

Even among the locals u don't really have a rival?
I do have.

Gelli de Belen?(laughter)

Under ur age?
Jamie Rivera, she's married, although she's making a comeback now. Lea , on the other hand started before me, so she wasn't really my contemporary. But when she grew up she's almost my peer. Pops Fernandez was ahead of me.

What about Jaya?
I am ahead of Jaya, but her career was very fast. I started 1986 and my career started to pick up in 1990.

Do u still get nervous when u go on stage?
Oh yeah. That's part of it. You can never get rid of that. I always have butterflies in my stomach. It's hard. When the concert starts, you don't know if ur going to puke, take a leak or something. (laughs)
You feel hyperventilating.

It's not like TV or movies. A concert is live. If you have some mistakes you have to do something about if. You can never change it. How can u not get nervous?

Bu u handle it very well?
Mistakes? Ha ha.

What was the greatest boo-boo u made in a concert?
That's very difficult. My half-slip fell down, I tripped. Is that counted?

Half-slip ? where?
Amateur days. I was singing, "Bakit Ako Mahihiya" (Why Should I Be Shy") I was sooo conceited. Just so my half-slip won't fall I had to spread my legs apart. The half-slip wasn't mine, it's from my mom's. I won the first prize in that contest. The prize was a gas range and a sack of rice.

In my professional , it's the "Narito Ako" concert. I was so excited coz it's my first major concert at the FAT. The tickets were sold out even the P2.00 tickets were sold out! After singing, "Urung Sulong" I tripped. Good thing is I'm far from the stage already.
Another is, one time in Carnegie Hall (New York), it was so formal, and I was dancing and I kicked my feet and my shoe flew. You know what I did? I kicked off the other shoe. Suddenly they're having fun. It's when I broke the ice.

Where did u learn to ad lib? Where did u learn to do those things?
Well, if ur in that kind of situation and u have nothing else to do but to do the ad lib. Be quick and try to be funny or spontaneous.

What's ur everyday life like?
If I'm not doing anything I just stay in my room and watch TV. I have a cable now. Moving up in the world, man. Coz there's no cable in Bulacan.

Favorite channels?
HBO and Cinemax

Where do u live in Bulacan?
Tabang. I still go home to Bulacan; it's just that I have a half way house here in Quezon City. Coz it's hard to travel everyday. Sometimes my shooting ends at 7 am and I have a shooting that day also if I'm in Bulacan it's doubly hard.

Who lives with you?
My father, sometimes my mom, sometimes my whole family. My brother stays w/ us because the school is a lot near here. My sis. Cacai is also there, but on weekends we go back to Bulacan. My mom and my twin sister's there coz they study there.

Why do u think people don't tried of you?
Bec. I'm nice and beautiful (laughs) Just kidding. I have geogeous body (laughs) I guess they saw how I started, and they saw how hardworking I was and still am. I've always given them what they wanted to hear. Plus when I perform I give it my best, I give my 100 percent sometimes 200 percent. Everytime I do a show, whether it be small or big ones, I feel that it's my last performance already. Probably they see that in me. I'm glad they appreciate it. **

The Forbidden Love of Regine
by Bing Villahermosa
Jornal ES, July 18, 1997

The pain of a love lost is gone and she now can talk nonchalantly about it, even joke about it.

Her face is once again aglow and her smile as sweet as it has ever been obscuring the fact that just two years ago her life was in tatters following her parting ways with her significant other.

In a recent interview with E&S in her new house in Quezon City, Regine Velasquez projected a strong woman who just breezed through a most difficult trial. "There's no crisis in my life, I'm now okay," she smiles.

Her failed relationship was her biggest test in life, the singer says as she bares her soul talking about the pain she suffered, her career, her family, and her dreams.

I'm very much healed, that's why I can freely talk about it. I would say I have become a stronger person, I have grown not only as an artist but also as a person. I would say I handled my situation wisely, at least I have a personality because people called me a bully, snake, unlike before they couldn't write anything bad about me because I was living a clean life," she laughed.

She said the most difficult time for her then was facing people who disdained her.

"It's hard because they criticized me without even asking me. It was unfair because I'd never done it before. It was my first time, I was courted and I fell in love. At that time I felt alone, no one went to my side, and I don't want to burden my family with my own problem so I dealt with it alone, I fixed myself, healed myself. I ignored eveyone who had grunges to me because I can't talk at that time and I thought if I would speak I would only hurt the people involved considering I was angry, so I kept silent for a while. After healing myself it was time for me to face everybody."

After her painful experience would she welcome another love this soon? "If he is the right guy, who would never leave me," she said. "I would even be willing to give up my career for a husband worth doing it for.

I never had a trauma because that relationship was a lovely relationship. It was fun and memorable. Although it was the only one, but then it had to end, it's only up to there. It can't stay longer. I was thinking if it stayed longer, it would be more painful, nonetheless, I had a wonderful time with him. I hope he had a wonderful time with me, too. And why would I deprive myself of that thing when I know how wonderful it can be."

Switching to the topic of family, Regine said she was happy she was able to support her siblings financially. "In my family, I think I'm contented I was able to give them a good life. I'm proud to say that I was able to support the studies of my sisters and brother. Cacai finished already, Jojo is doing well with his Dentistry course while the twins are graduating with HRM degrees. That's my biggest achievements in life, and investment, too. As for me, I really want to go back to school. I've been planning that for a long time already, but I can't find time to do so, I'm so busy with my career. My only regret in life is being unable to finish studies. But that's fine, you really have to sacrifice some things to become successful in other things, right? If I finish my schooling before then I wouldn't 'be what I am now because in this business you have to start at an early age because of the competition, you have to prove your skills so they will cultivate their trust in you. Nonetheless, I'm happy, but I get embarrassed coz they've all finished studying unlike me, but I can always come back. I think my chances are bigger now that I have my own money. I can study in Europe if I want to.

Regine is bristling with excitement about her first major concert this year because for the firt time she will be directing her own show. Dubbed "Retro," which is the title of her album released last year.

"This is different from my previous concerts. Aside from the fact that I conceptualized it and will be directing it, I will be having back-up singers and 18 dancers, plus a lot more surprises," she gushed.
"Indeed this is different , there's visuals in it unlike before - it was plain music and me."


The Call of The Songbird
by Apol Lejano
Agenda Magazine, 1997

At 16, Regine Velasquez endured a change of image and emerged as a superstar. Now, recovering from a wicked encounter with love and the realization that the father she adores is all too human, The woman rediscovers the fighter within.

"Game!" Regine proclaims, announcing the interview's beginning; she might as well be describing her mood that July afternoon.

Before that perky exclamation, Regine had her pictures for the magazine taken by Jun De Leon, one of her favorites. Though she blushed like a proper "dalagang Filipina" when we told her that she was looking "Yummy," her body having filled out in all the right places after gaining weight on a trip abroad, she nonetheless agreed to don some flimsy costumes - including a daring green body suit with a neckline cut down to the navel.

When we laughed at the sight of her, flapping her arms at the art's director's request, but doing it so awkwardly she called to mind images of The Ugly Duckling, she laughed just as hard as the rest of us once she realized what was wrong. One point even found her shouting "Profanity" as she laughingly mimicked a crew member who was sassing Jun. From the other room, her assistant Patti poked an alarmed head into the studio to shush her. But the rest of us didn't care, delighted that the prim, frail, and proper princess that Regine appears to be was on a break that afternoon. Or may even have left for good.

Woe the fan who thinks show business is all about glamour: Regine and I are making our way through the early evening throng in Harisson Plaza. Dressed as she is in ripped jeans and a ratty T-shirt nobody seems to notice that a superstar is in their midst. We could have passed for two girlfriends out shopping, except that in my hand held up to somewhere in the region of her neck, just below her mouth, is a black tape recorder, whirring away, capturing the soft but animated singsong voice, products of one of the most famous sets of vocal cords in these parts. An interview conducted while a star is doing last minute shopping for her parents' anniversary gifts is not the ideal, but with Regine, you have to take what her schedule allows.

Earlier inside her Chrysler van, she told me about a Regine Velasquez quirk: an abhorrence for airplanes. "You Know," she began, "I hate taking long plane rides. I hat the feeling of sleeping in a plane because your body becomes so comfortable you system starts to believe it's home - and then you wake up and you're still on the plane! I hate that. I hate airline food. A plane's smell makes me dizzy. I hate everything about it."

This is excruciating talk to hear from someone who has a performance catalog a quarter of an inch thick, listing concerts in various parts of the U.S.A., Canada, and Asia; who spent May hopping from one Asian country to another promoting an album, stayed in the Philippines shooting the movie, Honey, Nasa Langit Na Ba Ako? in June, stayed some more in July for a concert, then went off again in August for Canada and the States.

But listening to Regine talk, you know, it's going to take much more than awful airline food to stop her from going where fans await. "I loove performing. The feeling is different when you're onstage... it makes you high... like...this is how I describe it: It's like you're dreaming, you're floating. You see all these people listening to you, watching your every move, appreciating you. And you get a feeling of fulfillment. You say to yourself, This is It. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life."

At the Rustan's department store where we go, it is an army of salesladies who have perfected the art of discreetly staring which makes up the bulk of Regine's audience.

"You know what," she says, putting down a Kenneth Cole bag she's thinking of buying her mom Teresita, "when I started out in the business, I wasn't at all complicated. As a matter of fact, I was soo simple...I was so simple it was yucky." She continues, "It's as if, you couldn't write anything bad about me. I was too wholesome for own good. I was too clean. Then I, you know, I experienced stuff. Things. Because of this, I gain my character."

Regine's short monologue was inspired by a question on whether she would accept a blind date and an answer that went, "No way, man, no way. Because, I don't really enjoy that. I think it's so corny and its..." A pause and then she continued, "It's really hard to be in this business coz you always have this notion that 'Oh, you just want to go out on a date with me because I'm Regine Velasquez. You just want to be seen with me.' I know for a fact that there's a lot of people you are like that. I don't want to sound conceited but it's true, right? Even to the men I know who's sincere, I sort of still feel that way. Because it's really hard to trust. Very difficult."

So it would be easy to assume that the life's experience Regine talks about, her things" and "stuff" that built character, is none other than the breakup of her much-talked about romance with a fellow singer two years ago. She herself admits that, "That was my worst time ever. I felt that nobody wanted to listen to me. It was very difficult. Of course, I'm an artist, I had to perform. But I was having a hard time. It was hard for me to face everybody and actually perform because I would always be scared of somebody who might mock me or even threw a tomato on me."

But she frowns at the suggestion that this is her sole source of character-building elements and says, "When I say 'experience', it's not just the falling-in-love thing. It's my life ever since I was a child. Like, I come from a poor family, right? Now, I realize that there are beautiful lessons it gave me."

In a country that went crazy over another rags-to-riches singer-actress Nora Aunor, the Bicol railways' most famous water-seller-who hasn't heard the tale of Regine, the Bulakena who made good? Her story, which began way back when she was six years old and discovered that she had a gift for song, continued to her joining various amateur contests before being spotted by the public eye after winning in Bagong Kampeon (The New Champion) in 1986, and reached a high point in the past years, as she worked to conquer Asia, is the stuff pop-culture legends are made of.

Regine's remembrance of her early days is particularly telling: "When I was starting, everybody was telling, 'Oh, you're so good,' 'You'll be known,' 'You'll get somewhere.' I didn't get conceited over it, but I had confidence. I knew that I would be able to get what I wanted. Plus, I was a determined child. I did not stop. My amateur singing contests, I'd always lose. But that didn't stop me from trying again. I was reaching for something, so I was not easily put down.

But even the most self-possessed 16-year-old naturally be overwhelmed by a new world where everything seems expensive and everyone is fah-bulous. Except for the talent, the young Regine was wholly the product of handlers. She says now, "When I started, I was always directed. My every move, every song, indeed they would tell me to do something. Even down to what clothes I should wear."

But with the growth of character has come the rediscovery of the stubborn child within. Regine is fostering the child's growth through efforts to direct her own concerts. "I'm enjoying the freedom of not having anybody tell me what to do," she says. "I'm the boss here, but that rarely happens."

Last year, Regine directed Isang Pasasalamat (A Gratitude, show) at the U.P. Sunken Garden. In July, she did Retro concert at the Folk Arts Theater. Although it could have stood some fine tuning, the show had high points, like a 70's medley which the purple-wigged singer began by jumping out of gigantic mirror ball. The audience seemed to have no complaints. At the end of the second night, they were stomping their feet and screaming "More!" Even Mr. Showmanship himself, special guest Gary Valenciano, seemed impressed, shaking his head and exclaiming, "Ten years ago, ladies and gentlemen, all this girl knew how to do was to sing."

The passing of a few more years should see a Regine more comfortable flexing her muscles.

I visit her at the High Moon recording studio a week before her mid-July concert. Band rehearsals started at 4 p.m. At five, the tardy keyboardist made an appearance while Regine and the rest of the band were already well into practice. "Oh, Ding is already here." Regine said with just a hint of sarcasm, "can we now start?" Ding is handsome today - you just showered?" Then, at the man's obvious discomfiture: "No, Ding, it's okey. Take it easy."

This is typical of the budding director. "I'm not at all a control freak," she says, "but when I did Retro, I wanted to control everything. Not really control, but I wanted to see everything. I wanted to know how everything would look exactly. I kept apologizing to [the crew]. I was saying, 'I'm sorry. I'm not usually like this.' But I just wanted to see for myself what was going to go on."

But the same new-found need for control makes her unhappy about what she has oft-referred to as "the Asia thing." Translated, "the Asia thing" is a contract with PolyEast Records to produce her albums and market these throughout Asia. With the company, she has released Listen Without Prejudice, My Love Emotion and Retro.

Pausing before a counter of leather goods. Regine remains true to her showbiz calling and says, "To have conquered the Philippines is really a dream-come-true for me. To be discovered by the Asia market is a bonus. I never really intended to go out of the country. I'm very thankful to them because I was able to be known outside my country."

But a few probing questions reveal her frustration. Distractedly going through a rack of collared shirts for her dad, Mang Gerry, Regine says, "I know I can do better. I can do so much. But I feel like they're not giving me a chance." Turning a bit petulant, she says, "They're so sharp, I'm sharp when I get there because I think, I am not a nobody. And if their challenging me in singing, I think I know how to sing." Recovering, she continues, "You know, I don't have a say in an album's production. I felt frustrated because I felt like I'm being put in a box."

She adds, "They want me to be like a teenager. They want me to look pretty, always smiling. But I abhor that, because I've grown older. And when I sing, I don't obviously sound like a teenager, right? I don't want to pretend that I'm 18 when I'm not. I'm already 27."

At home Regine is still very much the favored daughter. She has bought a new townhouse in Quezon City which she shares with her sister, singer Cacai Velasquez. But Regine describes it as being merely a "half-way house." It is literally that, for the sisters stay in QC only on busy days when they have business in the metropolis, to save them from suffering the heavy traffic on the North expressway, en route to the family residence in Bulacan.

Like many from showbiz, Regine is the family's breadwinner. But don't expect a Macaulay Culkin act from this kid. "[I never used the fact that I made money] to get my own way. I try so hard to avoid that because I chose to do this. I was not forced into it. I chose to help my family because I did not want my brother and sisters growing up poor."

A natural storyteller, Regine becomes even more engaging when talking about the Velasquezes. We are now back in Regine's van, on the way to Makati. Outside, there is the usual heavy traffic, aggravated by rain pouring down from angry skies. But even with the load of clothes and makeup dumped on the back seat, it is comfy inside the vehicle, with the windows closed to keep the cool gusts from the airconditioner in, and the tension emanating from the swell of impatient motorists out.

Obviously made nostalgic by the weather, Regine tells a story: "You know, one time when we were still younger, we didn't have water and we were not allowed to fetch water from our neighbor. What we did is we took a bath under the rain, including my parents. We even had a soap. The rain was really pouring down -just like this."

She continues, "About two months ago, the twins [Diane and Decca] and I were chatting, we were in Quezon City. Then it was raining, we were going home to Bulacan, and my best friend gave me this rubber swimming pool. We blew in with air using a compressor, then we filled it up with water, we placed it outside while it's raining, and we were just in that thing having a real fun chat. I had a grand time!"

A caveat to the interviewer: once Regine starts talking about her family, it's hard to get her off the subject. We spend a good half-hour talking about why she feels her dad is Superman and what mom does with Vicks Vaporub to make her feel good.

On dad: "I used to think of my dad as Superman. Now, I realize his weaknesses and saw it. I know now that he's just human; he makes mistakes. And the more I realize he's my idol. When I'm down he always gives me a reason to move on...He taught me everything I know.

On mom: "I love it when I get sick and she's giving me attention. She's not the type to fuss, but sometimes she'll take off my shirt and wipe my back with a hot towel, then she'll rub me with Vicks. It's so simple, but it's the nicest thing anyone's ever done to me."

By the time we finish, we're parked in front of the magazine's Makati offices. I get off and wave goodbye, hours worth of the singsong voice in the two cassette tapes I hold in my hand. I know I'm in for a hell of a time transcribing, but I don't mind. I form another caveat for the Regine Velasquez interviewer: Don't be put off when she finishes a statement and demands for more questions with an inquiring, commanding, "What else?" as she is wont to do. It is but the singer rediscovering her voice.