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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How Paolo Bediones survived 10 years of showbiz

One of the most frequent questions people ask of Paolo Bediones these days is “When are you and Abby (Cruz) getting married?”.

Paolo’s answer is quick and well-thought-out: “I’m not getting any younger and I know that’s the next stop. But I’m afraid it’s not yet the right time. When I get married, I want to have kids right away. But the situation these days is so scary I fear for the future of my child.”

And so he prays, the way he has been doing since that red-letter day of June 24, 2007, when he turned Christian, thanks to Abby. It was Abby, a practicing Christian all her life, who brought a hesitant Paolo to a fellowship. At first, Paolo did it to please his girlfriend. After all, he thought all that chanting and arm waving seemed strange. But lo and behold – Paolo found himself joining in soon after.

Not just that. He even auditioned for the music ministry. Today, Paolo has turned a hobby into a regular church activity. He plays keyboards every Sunday at the Victory Fellowship services at the Fort.

The change of heart is not just lip service for Paolo. You see it in the way he speaks and lives each day.

At a press party to mark his 10th anniversary in showbiz, the Survivor host gave away a bonanza or prizes for the press. Paolo himself spent for the household appliances, celfones and others he generously gave away that day.

“I’ve had a turnaround in how I view things,” he admits. “I believe that everything we have comes from God. Thus, it’s but proper for us to give and share our blessings. Those who stay long in this business are those who give back. This, I tell the Survivor Castaways who ask me for advice.”

Paolo knows it won’t be easy, especially in showbiz where temptations lurk everywhere. And he knows it.

“I stopped hearing Mass when I entered showbiz in 1996,” Paolo reveals.

But he also knows not all showbiz folk have closed their hearts and minds. Paolo proudly says he has managed to win over friends like Tim Yap over to his side.

Paolo must have shown Tim and others how this way of looking at things enriched his life.

“After Extra Challenge, I had a bout of depression. I didn’t have any program at all. And I prayed for a big project to come my way,” he recalls.

He knew that was asking for the moon. How can you top GMA 7’s number one reality show from 2003 to 2006?

But lo and behold! GMA 7 offered him the hosting job of Survivor Philippines (its grand finale is on Friday, Dec. 12).

“Survivor is a breakthrough,” he gushes. “It’s bigger than I thought it is.”

It was also a humbling experience for someone who has grown used to personal assistants. Like the Castaways, Paolo stayed in an island for 45 days. He shared living quarters with just an electric fan to keep them cool with three other people. They shared the same bathroom in the wildlife preserve.

Before cameras start grinding, Paolo attended production meetings and helped lug production equipment in various spots all over the island. Extra help was as scarce as the amenities.

But Paolo didn’t mind. He has learned to embrace simple living a year ago. He has traded his luxurious BMW for an Innova. And he doesn’t miss the BMW at all.

When he gets married, Paolo doesn’t dream of living in a big house in a subdivision. A small condo unit would be enough for him and Abby.

His other plans are not that simple, though. The guy clearly doesn’t put all his eggs in one basket.

Paolo just added two new companies on his list of business. Xinapse is a software company based in Greenhills while Xage deals on integrated technology. Paolo is also CEO of Esthetica Dental Center and Mindgram; president of Arrow Home Vis-Min and proprietor of Red Eye Studios.

On the drawing board are a hosting seminar for aspiring hosts, a hosting manual and a birthday special. The special will showcase Paolo’s musical and interviewing skills.

Paolo also dreams of working with Richard Gutierrez on TV and Sharon Cuneta, Richard Gomez and Bong Revilla on film.

If he has his way, Paolo’s next 10 years in showbiz will not just bring him more projects. They will also bring more of his colleagues closer to the Source of it all. Then Paolo would be happier, and everything for him, would be worth it.




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