Robi Domingo’s holiday season is definitely extra warm and fuzzy because he and sweetheart Maiqui Pineda are now celebrating as an engaged couple. To recall, he got down on one knee during a trip with their friends and Maiqui’s family to Japan – right there at the world’s busiest intersection called Shibuya Crossing – last Halloween.
Now, everyone is asking how he pulled off such a grand gesture in the middle of a busy street. Like all things in love and life, it took perfect timing, and a bit of humor when things didn’t go as planned. Robi spilled the deets in his recent guesting on Janine Gutierrez’s vlog.
In the video, Robi was asked to take on the most searched questions about him, one of which is about his engagement. Clearly, he’s basking in the so-called ‘engagement high’ or the feeling he describes as invigorated focus and determination, “In a sea of uncertainties, there is one major certain in your life, and that’s your partner.”
He said the pandemic helped him realize how aligned their goals and values are, reinforced by the kind of disposition Maiqui showed when she encouraged him to use his platform for other people during the election campaign period.
He mentioned he was ready to pop the questions as early as March this year but waited first to finish his hosting stint for Pinoy Big Brother. However, Idol Philippines came immediately after. When he finished the reality show, his squad planned a vacation in Las Vegas, which he saw as the perfect chance to propose. But even the trip had last-minute changes, bringing them to Tokyo instead – and that’s when he envisioned a proposal scene in Shibuya.
With a specific location in mind, he had to do what needed to be done: ask for Maiqui’s parents’ blessing. “That’s the most difficult part of the journey – asking the parents for their daughter’s hand… For the guys, macho-choke ka talaga tapos iiyak-iyak ka,” said the otherwise outgoing guy who talks for a living. With his sincere intentions to observe “the proper way to ask for the hand,” he braved it through.
The Pinedas gave him the go signal and even agreed to witness the proposal and help him prepare for the trip in two weeks. But there’s one thing they doubted, which is his choice of location.
Risky, yes, but isn’t it what love is all about? Besides, Robi already envisioned the proposal transpiring as a teleserye-like romantic scene. “Expectations versus reality,” he said at that point in the interview as he detailed the events from his ocular to the moment he popped the question.
“Nag-ocular ako, eh. One minute and 15 seconds for the stop light, 45 seconds for the green light. Expectation, sasabihin ko kay Maiqui, ‘Maiqui, can you go with me? We are at the crossroads of our lives… You know I love games. And I’m ready to enter this game of life full of purpose, filled with goals and challenges with you. I want you to be part of it. Game ka na ba?’” he narrated.
As how Robi imagined, Maiqui must reply, ‘Game na!’ Then, he would say, “Maiqui, you only have about 30 seconds to make one of the biggest decisions of your life.”
“Then, pagdating sa gitna, I’ll open the box, ‘Will you marry me?’ ‘Yes’ Photo, photo… sweet moment, and then alis na.”
That was the expectation. Here’s the reality:
“Nag-red light na. ‘Maiqui, can you come with me?’”
However, Maiqui was too stunned all she said was: “Why? Why? What’s gonna happen?’”
Running out of time, Robi quickly said, “Maiqs, can you just remove your mask kasi wala na akong oras?’” followed by the poetic piece he rehearsed. “Binilisan ko na, ‘Maqui, we are the crossroads of our lives… Game ka na ba?’” Her answer: “I guess?”
Robi continued the anecdote, “Okay, hindi ko na pwedeng i-take two ‘yun kasi wala nang oras, eh. ‘Maiqui, come here.’ Punta sa gitna. Pagbukas ko ng box, ‘yung ring naka-ganun [angled].”
He fixed the ring and asked once again, “I repeated it, ‘Maiqui, will you marry me?’ I was looking at her pero nakatingin din ako doon sa timer.”
The light turned green.
“’Maiqui, say ‘yes’ or else we’re gonna die.’ And she said, ‘yes,’ suksok, takbo, wala nang sweet moment.”
Robi jestingly said they could’ve died had Maiqui's answer been delayed longer, and that he was scared for the lives of their friends Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, Joshua Garcia, Ria Atayde and Zanjoe Marudo who were with them in that trip.
When they reached the sidewalk, he jokingly told Maiqui, who just then became his fiancée, “’Maiqs, kung tinagalan mo pa, ‘no? Bukod sa wala na tayo dito kasi nasagasaan na tayo ng mga Hapon, I think parang karga de-konsensiya ko pa ‘pag nawala ‘yung biggest stars ng ABS-CBN. Mawawala ‘yung KathNiel, mawawala si Ria, Zanjoe, Joshua. So, parang kasalanan pa natin, Maiqs. Buti na lang nag-yes ka.”
And that’s how they officially became bride-and-groom-to-be.
Apart from the ‘kilig’ engagement stories, he also answered questions about his education, saying he studied Health Sciences at Ateneo de Manila University. He was supposed to take Psychology at UP Diliman because UP Med School was his ultimate goal but the timing didn’t allow it as he was still inside the PBB house when the prerequisite subjects started.
He mentioned the teen housemates must undergo a series of briefings to help them transition back to reality but he skipped that and instead attended his first class the morning after their Big Night. He then juggled college and showbiz.
His dream was to become a doctor but, as fate would have it, he would learn to find his niche in hosting. He recalled guest-starring in Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson’s “My Girl” as part of his post-PBB contractual assignments. Although a good experience, he was ‘traumatized’ he thought acting isn’t for him. At the time, MYX was looking for their next batch of VJs. He auditioned and the rest, as they say, is history.
Robi admitted he felt insecure about not being able to pursue a career in medicine. “Especially when my classmates were going to med school na and I was inside the PBB house doing some spiels, sabi ko, ‘Ano bang punto ng buhay ko?’ When they got their white coats already, I questioned myself. Sabi ko, ‘Ganito sana ‘yung plano ko no’ng bata ako, eh.’”
But, as he matured, Robi realized he is exactly at the right place and even if he wasn’t able to achieve his childhood dream, he found a new purpose in helping other people and making them happy.
Join Janine and Robi in their beefy conversation about love and life by playing the video!