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I Feel U: Andi Eigenmann and KaladKaren talk about love and why it’s worth fighting for

In the episode of I Feel U aired on September 27, host Toni Gonzaga introduced Laidee Capistrano, a mother who ventured into online business amid the pandemic. Although Laidee considers herself lucky to still have a regular job as a banking personnel, her husband was more affected by the crisis. Thus, as the source of strength in the family, she stepped up to keep the fight.

Last June, Laidee started to put up a business inspired by her daughters’ favorite condiment. “Regular Saturday morning, so nagbe-breakfast kami ng asawa ko, and then we were thinking kung ano kayang pwede naming gawing extra income. Ano kayang pwede naming gawing business since everyone is into business now. So, naisip namin ‘yung suka na favorite ng daughters ko,” Laidee said.

From one vinegar variant, Ladiee and her family made other different flavors and related products. They chose to name their business as “Capistrano’s,” their family name. “Naisip namin, we’re just sharing what we enjoy at home and what we actually enjoy eating as a family,” shared Laidee.

The whole family is involved in the homemade vinegar business. They are extra busy on the weekends and even the kids would join them in making the products. Thus, apart from earning, the business also serves as their family bonding activity.   

Putting up a business amid a crisis isn’t easy. But Laidee finds inspiration from her kids, wanting to teach them that it’s still possible to thrive despite the circumstances. More importantly, they’re grateful to God for giving them the ability to produce well and help others in the process.

 

Andi Eigenmann

Coming from a celebrated showbiz clan, Andi Eigenmann’s entry to the entertainment world wasn’t surprising. But she found more bliss in the simple province life away from the limelight. And as she opens up on her new journey, fans couldn’t get any happier seeing her happy.

Andi clarified, though that she doesn’t have bad blood with showbiz. She simply felt that life didn’t fall on its rightful place due to starting young in the industry until she felt lost and unhappy. She decided to take a break. And the thirst to find herself again led her to the island.

Now that she’s finally discovered where she belongs, Andi learned how to just keep it real. The bad times truly do not compare to the joy she found. She’s also grateful to the supporters making her feel that she made the right choice.

The island life, her dream since she was a little kid, now gives her freedom and peace. “I get to be who I want to be or who I really am without anybody judging me. Being in the public eye for so many years with everyone seeing me make every single mistake in my life as I was growing up, it’s really refreshing,” she said.

More importantly, the ‘buhay-probinsya’ led her to partner, Siargao-based champion surfer Philmar Alipayo. She has known Philmar quite a long time already even before they became a couple. She was a fan of his sports. They started out as friends for quite a while.

The island of Siargao kept pulling Andi back until she became friends with the community of surfers there. Andi won’t deny that he was attracted to Philmar’s exceptional surfing skills but more than that, they just clicked.

“We like the same things. Our conversation would grow deeper kahit hindi naman sinasadya. We just find ourselves really meshing well together, I guess. We share the same dreams and goals in life,” she added.

She was drawn to his simplicity. He doesn’t give in to pressure. Because she’s tired of the competitive showbiz life, Andi started wanting to live Philmar’s way of life as well. “Having him really makes it seem so easy. Parang, ‘If it’s really what you want, it should be something that you shouldn’t be afraid to do. You shouldn’t think of what other people thinks.’ I think that’s why ‘yung connection namin and ‘yung pagkakagusto ko sa kanya, nag-bloom.” Philmar brought out the best in Andi without even trying to change her.

Having had failed relationships in the past, Andi learned to listen more to her heart. She would admit that she was uncertain of her past relationships, however she wished them to last. But with Philmar, everything just feels right, clear, and peaceful from the beginning. She never had qualms about their love. With Philmar, it’s easy to dream about the future she’s always wanted.

“I guess I still have fears but I have no doubts and with him, I know that I can surpass any struggle in life. And I want to share my life now and the life that I will have in the future, with him,” expressed Andi.

She described their relationship as “very simple in every sense of the word.” They rarely fight over petty things and if they do, it still won’t damage what they have. They work together as partners, be it in taking care of the children and achieving their dreams. More importantly, he’s supportive of her goals and gives her freedom.

“Tumanda sa isla,” Andi enthused when asked about their biggest dream as a couple. They initially wanted four kids but her current pregnancy might be the last. Andi joked that she’s starting to feel tired of the mommy duties somehow.

They recently ventured into vlogging as a way of inspiring people and making the joys of a simple life be known to many. For Andi, success is when you feel genuinely happy. “It’s not about the job you choose to take but being happy doing it,” she added.

With everything she’s been through, Andi learned that kindness goes a long way and that she always has a choice. “I made these changes in my life because I chose to. I am happy because I chose to be happy and what gave me a successful journey through it all is because I chose to be kind to anything, not just to people. I chose to be kind to myself. I decided that love begins within myself.”

Before the interview ends, Andi got three surprise questions from Philmar. He first asked her the thing she likes most about their island life together. For Andi, they live in paradise – crystal clear water, white sand, fresh food. But the most amazing part is she gets to share all of that with him. “I won’t see and love the island as much as I do now, if I didn’t get the opportunity to see it through his eyes… It’s the life that I want and he’s the partner I’ve been wanting to have,” she added.

When she wakes up in the morning beside him, she can’t help but feel happy. Just seeing him makes her happy. Andi would admit that she had a lot of questions about her choices in the beginning. But having Philmar as her support system and the rock in her life soothes the fear.

“He told me that my happiness is his happiness and it’s the same for me. Parang in a sense na kahit saan pa kaming ilagay na lugar, hindi na nagma-matter. Kung nasa Siargao man kami o hindi, having each other is enough,” Andi stressed, when asked how she’d react if Philmar decides to stay in Manila instead.

Andi has finally found the inner peace that she always wanted to have. “My soul is so happy. So, it’s so easy for me to live humbly, to live simply, to live authentically,” she said. Her happiness is so pure it can’t be broken by any stranger.

Andi believes the love she found in the island is worth fighting for because she never felt this way before. More importantly, we all deserve love and a worry-free life.

 

KaladKaren Davila

A lot has changed in the life of Kaladkaren Davila, or Jervi Li in real life, since breaking the internet with his viral field reporting spoof three years ago. In the episode of I Feel U aired on September 27, the TV personality had a sweet travel back to his humble beginnings.

KaladKaren started in the media industry as a writer and producer. He also belongs to an organization in UP Diliman called UP SAMASKOM. The group produces annual musical variety shows. In a production that’s a parody of the 2016 presidential election debates, he was tapped to impersonate broadcaster Karen Davila as the moderator because of their similarities. He did his assignment and slayed the performance by sounding a lot like the real Karen. That was how KaladKaren was born.

However, the viral video that launched him to social media popularity was the satirical field reporting ala Karen Davila in 2017. It was an accidental fame as KaladKaren and his then-colleagues simply wanted to have a good laugh.

The incident sparked his idea to create parodies of Karen’s current affairs show, “May Puhunan.” He caught the netizens’ and even Karen’s attention, landing him a guest appearance on the veteran journalist’s radio program. It was followed by an invite from Gandang Gabi Vice, Tonight with Boy Abunda, and countless more blessings.

Looking back on his unexpected journey to showbiz, KaladKaren realized that what’s supposed to happen will happen. “Kapag mapagbiro ang tadhana, minsan hindi natin alam kung ano’ng bubulaga sa atin isang araw, may it be good or bad… If it’s written and if it’s for you, it’s gonna happen no matter what the circumstances are,” he said. Proving this is how he went viral without even trying.

He never dreamt of becoming an on-cam talent, either. He just wanted to succeed behind the scenes as a television executive. Nonetheless, he embraced the opportunity given by the ABS-CBN management. He’s grateful for the trust. This brings him back to the belief that whatever is written will always find its way to him.

As he unmasks himself of his onscreen persona, KaladKaren remains the family-oriented Jervi. He’s been a breadwinner for a long time. He started to support his sibling’s schooling after he graduated from college. His elder sister worked as a nurse but the meager salary wasn’t enough to support the family’s needs. ‘Raket’ has always been his life. And he’s proud of all his hard-earned accomplishments, especially those family-related.

Now that life is a lot more comfortable, KaladKaren only wishes for his siblings’ success in career. The youngest in the brood is currently in college. His then-struggling sister is now a nurse in Ireland.

KaladKaren didn’t have to keep his sexuality a secret. His family was aware and supportive since he was a kid. They just knew by the way he moves. He started to act more feminine and put on makeup in high school.

“Kinausap din ako ng Daddy ko. Pero ang sabi niya sa akin noon, mag-decide ka. Kung anuman ang mapag-desisyunan mo o kung sino ka talaga, tatanggapin ka namin,” he shared.

His father is also close to his boyfriend, Luke Wrightson. And speaking of his love life, KaladKaren revealed that he and Luke met in Hong Kong 8 years ago. They were both on a holiday tour with their friends. Wearing his red hair and Rihanna-inspired outfit, KaladKaren went partying with his group. That’s how he caught Luke’s attention. They had a fun night talking then. Luke decided to join KaladKaren’s squad in Disneyland the next day.

KaladKaren felt the spark between them. He knew the instant attraction will lead to a relationship. Since he’s fallen in love, he decided to work for the blossoming romance. They continued to keep in touch virtually. He’d send Luke long sweet messages and made him felt cared for.

KaladKaren waited for one major sign to prove Luke’s feelings – if he decides to come to the Philippines. He did. Two months after, it was KaladKaren’s turn to fly to Luke’s place in the United Kingdom and meet his family and friends as well.

Keeping a long-distance relationship is without a doubt full of challenges. Even if he stays with him in the UK, Luke would still be away for work as a merchant navy. Sometimes, KaladKaren finds himself anxious about the future, scared to spend the rest of their lives playing with the distance.

However challenging, KaladKaren believes the relationship is still worth fighting for. The love between them made him realize the power and beauty of acceptance. No matter who he is, there’s someone in this world loving and embracing him unconditionally. And that’s more than enough to convince him to stay.

“Marami sigurong mas gwapo kay Luke, mas mayaman kay Luke. Pero hindi ko makukuha sa kanila ‘yung nakuha kong assurance na pagmamahal, na unconditional love. So, kumapit talaga ako na parang, ‘Ito na to!’ Nararamdaman ko na,” he said.

Before the interview ends, KaladKaren was confronted by questions coming from Luke himself. He was asked who the boss is in the relationship. KaladKaren described himself as submissive, thus the boss would have to be Luke. He might be opinionated but Luke always has the final say.

He also revealed that Elton John’s “Your Song” is their relationship anthem. “Handa akong ibigay ang buong buhay ko, ang buong pagmamahal ko sa’yo. I may not have a lot of things to offer but what I’m offering you is my life and what matters in me.”

Lastly, KaladKaren was prompted to pick one significant event in their relationship. He’d go for their fourth anniversary European trip as one of their best moments together.  

There are so much more to look forward to in KaladKaren and Luke’s love story. For the meantime, they’re things slowly.