March 02, 2007

Love in the wrong places

Something Like Life
March 2, 2007

FOR weeks now, the issue has been a permanent fixture of most conversations, be it at the beauty salon, the MRT, even among the elite café society. I’ve tried to avoid saying anything about it but at some point in time, one cannot help but weigh in on the latest problem besetting Kris Aquino. It really is just impossible to escape the maddening shoptalk and gossip. After all, to paraphrase my editor who so succinctly put it, this is a Kris world we live in and the reality is that she is probably the biggest celebrity in the country (pregnant fat jokes aside)—and the highest paid, if the rumor mills are to be believed, what with all her product endorsements. True, she commands a high price for these endorsements, but she knows she can deliver. And government operations would have probably stalled a long time ago if it were not for the huge amount of taxes she has paid over the years.

At ABS-CBN Publishing, I am told that her magazine 'K' outsells many of the publications in its stable. It may puzzle a lot of folks why anyone would even want to read about — or listen to — someone like Kris. But the truth is, the public wants to know every inch of her colorful life, they are not tired of hearing about her, and the media are only too willing to squeeze every bit of blood out of the rumors swirling around this celebrity. This is how much Kris has permeated the consciousness of the Filipino people. In a way, she is this nation’s own Paris Hilton, only smarter, even though she would like to believe she is more Oprah. Anything she says is believed by the public, and any product she sells is bought in earnest. Now isn’t that scary?!

But seriously, wasn’t it only yesterday that Kris, a snippet of a girl, was mounting platforms and campaigning for her dad and the opposition against the ruling Marcos dictatorship? Wasn’t it only a few years ago, that she was constantly in the face of her mother, the Madam President, even as the latter tried to conduct the business of the nation?

Now Kris is all grown-up, with a string of scandalous affairs behind her, herself a mother to a precocious pre-teener, and married to a much younger and now even equally controversial man. Dare I say, boy? For didn’t James Yap look awfully scared seated beside Kris during the Korina Sanchez interview, while he stumbled all over his poor self explaining his supposed non-indiscretion? (So why the mysterious coldness between him and Kris on her birthday? why did he say sorry? and more importantly, why did she forgive him? For what? Not doing the nasty with a former Belo Medical Clinic receptionist? Oh, pshaw!) Imagine a provincial hick getting hitched to a big star like Kris, but getting caught with his, ahem, pants down literally. I would be scared too if I were him. He stands to lose a lot — and I’m not just talking about profitable product endorsements — if Kris walks away from this marriage.

I can understand why everyone just can’t stop talking about Kris. She’s the kind of person that never fails to bring out the celebrity junkie in us. I mean this is no stupid woman. She is a bookworm, highly intelligent, well-spoken, and managed to graduate from a prestigious university despite her busy artista schedule. She also has the pedigree to boot. She comes from a respectable family, her father a politician now gone whom many consider to be a hero (I don’t), and a mother, the former president. She belongs to one of the most contentious political and landed families in the country, and could—even if the elections were held right this minute—beat out everybody to become senator.

At the same time, however, she does grate on our nerves with her squeaky voice, quirky fashion statements (a gown on a noontime show?!?!), non-stop yakking, her reveling in the issues that make her infamous (good or bad, it’s still publicity), and why, despite her brain, chooses to be an artista. Not to mention, her constant poor choices in men. Somehow we just all want to bop her on the head and tell her, “Kris, honey, wake the F... up! This man just ain’t good enough for you!”

But I guess that is part of the reason we are all obsessed with Kris. (Remember a similar Korina Sanchez interview where she told all about her relationship foibles with erstwhile lover Joey Marquez? Yes, the interview that all made us go… eeew!) We can’t help but empathize with the rollercoaster of Kris’s love life. She reminds us too much of ourselves. That’s why we all secretly wish that she will finally be happy with someone. We need to know that the man that she chooses as her lifelong partner will really love and take care of her, instead of just abusing her or taking advantage of her.

We admire her for the courageous choices she makes even if we know it’s in defiance of all things conventional and against all the advice her friends and family have probably given her. (She is an Aquarian, after all, like myself, which is why I understand her completely.) For sure, she has thought out the possible consequences of her decisions, especially with regard to the men she chooses to have dalliances with, but in the end her heart will always win out. Poor Kris, like many of us, is just a fool for love. And like her, we will do anything stupid for it, even if it means our personal sacrifice, shame and humiliation. (In the same way, that girl Hope Centeno was as much a fool, dying to be loved, and thrilled at the prospect of being given some attention by Kris’s husband. Gaga girl, a blowjob doesn’t mean anything other than sexual release for a man, so quit deluding yourself.)

But Kris is still young, after all. At her age, she is very much enamored with the idea of being in love, not so much as thrilled at living in its actual state. This is an emotional woman who has so much to give to the man she loves and when she does, she loses herself completely. She will do anything for her man and will go to bat defending him at all cost (in Kris’s case, even using her own PR machinery to spin their own truths).

So she looks for love, yes, sometimes in the wrong places. Her mistakes are magnified because she is a celebrity. But we’ve all made poor choices and suffered for them. Who hasn’t been hurt by the people we love? The question is if we are willing to forgive, and go on doing so until we wake up to the fact that the man we thought we’d spend our lives with isn’t really worth spit. We will hold on to the relationship for dear life, even though our conscience already tells us to give it up. We will keep ignoring the warning bells that are going off in our head in the supreme belief that things will turn out for the better. And that he will change. But one day, we will wake up and realize that our mothers and our friends were right all along. Hopefully, it won’t be too late.

Nevertheless, one must admire Kris for her bravery. And you know that no matter what happens, she will still pick herself up, as she has shown in the past, and move on. She won’t stop trying. She is a believer in love. And I’m sure that someday, she will get it right, and she will find the man who will be her equal in all respects. Courage, Kris.

(My column, Something Like Life, is published every Friday in the Life section of the BusinessMirror. Photo of Kris from the web. Photo of James from


Anonymous said...

kris intelligent? do you know what you are saying? ask her teachers in admu. she almost didn't graduate. basta ateneo matalino na? you have to remember, erap is also an atenean. tip: the school doesn't make the person.

Stella Arnaldo said...

tip: just because a person isn't on the dean's list doesn't mean he/she isn't intelligent. and i couldn't care less whether that person is from ateneo, up, la salle (w/c i graduated from btw, so if anyone should have a beef against kris, it should be me), ust or phil. normal college. and the point is, she did graduate didn't she? erap, on the other hand, didn't.

but pls. don't undermine the intelligence of erap as well. he did manage to lord over san juan for quite a time and quite efficiently so, became a senator and co-authored the bill removing the u.s. bases from the phils, and even became president. just because a person didn't graduate from college doesn't mean he isn't intelligent either. i've seen erap in action...he is charismatic and witty...a sense of humor always denotes some level of intelligence.

like i said, about kris, either you love her, you hate her, or both.

thanks for visiting my blog.

Anonymous said...

nice of you being light about this comment...

but charisma != intelligence

charisma comes from affluence, fame.

if a person can move a mob it doesn't mean he has brains. it just means that suckers are everywhere. more so in the slums.

effective formula:
1. corruption
2. poverty & hunger
3. no education
4. overpopulation
5. crime
6. opportunistic "charismatic" moneyed few

lather, rinse, repeat

Stella Arnaldo said...

what i wrote was, wit (sense of humor) equals intelligence.

i'm not affluent nor famous, but i think i have charisma.

don't forget to use conditioner.

Stella Arnaldo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.