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MANILA, Philippines--Singer-actress Karylle showed how to turn a personal setback into a stirring accomplishment; how she emerged from the hurt and inspired all who may tread the same path. Sunday Inquirer Magazine interviews this admired celebrity for its Valentine's issue on Feb. 8 and learns more about the inner strength, determination and wisdom that drives her to overcome and triumph. Interview by INQUIRER.net editor Gerry Plaza. Video taken by INQUIRER.net production specialist Janie Octia.


Cover Story
Karylle Unbound

By Gerry Plaza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:30:00 02/08/2009

Filed Under: Entertainment (general), Celebrities

SHE?S all smiles against the backdrop of this popular KTV bar she owns and manages. There?s hardly a trace of that painful ordeal only a few months back when show biz headlines trumpeted one agonizing chapter in her life.

When all is said and done, Karylle emerges a victor, unbound from all the restrictions, the intrigues and hurt that a very public love life brings. Now raring for a revitalized career in music recording and production, she?s been getting much of the centerpiece projects of ABS-CBN as one of its contract artists.

She?s moved on and the road ahead offers a fulfilling journey, but Karylle sees no momentous changes just yet. ?Life?s pretty much the same,? she says. ?Maybe people are just taking more notice and paying more attention. For that I?m very, very thankful. For people who?ve known me for a long time, nothing?s really changed.?

Still, Karylle acknowledges, getting over her break-up with fellow TV-movie star Dingdong Dantes had not been easy. There were times when she found herself thinking of what could have been. Recalling the happy times and mementos still tug at her heart, she admits. Fortunately, she adds, supportive friends and some reliable literature have helped her cope with the heartache.

She has found one more guaranteed cure for heartbreak, reveals Karylle, one that came out of the blue when she was on her way to a routine facial at a skin care clinic. With her thoughts still reeling from the past, she found herself in an unusual place for anyone to be on an early weekday afternoon.

?I found myself in church alone,? she recalls. ?It?s not something I?ve ever done or experienced before.? It was then that she discovered the power of prayer, which turned out to be a key factor in her healing and survival.

?Praying is a big deal,? says Karylle. ?I thought, this should be part of a routine of some sort. I felt so much better afterwards.?

Having a strong relationship with God, she says, should take precedence over anything else. ?You?re thinking of what you need, and you want to bug your friends on the phone?but at that point they were at work. So I thought, I have no one to call.?

Adds Karylle: ?You know, we don?t realize it but it?s right there in front of us. Prayer. God. Isn?t it so plain and simple? This is what you?re looking for. Kung saan-saan ka pa naghahanap ng sagot (why look elsewhere for answers).?

Before the break-up became public, Karylle confides that she joined a retreat at the Assumption House in Baguio City late last year. It was there that she discovered her self-worth, she says.

?There was this exercise where you are supposed to draw a tree. And you?re supposed to write on the fruits all the the good characteristics you have. Like, I?m beautiful, whatever. Basta ilagay mo lahat doon. It?s for yourself. Self-esteem usually crashes in times like (this break-up). When the facilitator saw my tree, it was very healthy, with lots of branches, lots of fruits. And she said, ?Ah, you?re going to be okay.? So that was how I knew I?d get over this. Those are the things I told myself?that you have to look past everything else, see what good you have in you and build on that.?

Sticking with one?s gifts and blessings as a person really helps, Karylle notes.

?Because why is it that we Pinoys always say, ?ang tanga-tanga ko talaga,? ?ang taba-taba (I?m so stupid, I?m so fat).? Why do we do that? It?s so wrong. It?s like we can?t accept our good points. Simple lang nga, like telling somebody, ?Ang ganda mo (you look pretty) today,? and she?d say, ?Hindi.? Hindi matanggap, eh. So these are the things that I?ve tried to change.?

Her lush tree, the facilitator said, indicates her self worth. ?It starts from there,? says Karylle. ?You do have worth and you?d want to progress, expand, get better.?

Since the retreat, Karylle has accepted the pain and its purpose, and has come to terms with her destiny. She now considers the heartbreak a blessing in disguise.

?No, ?blessings in the skies,?? she quips. ?Everything that happens to a person happens for a reason. You just know everything comes to pass and then you?ll realize that it brings about something really good. ?

That ?something really good? might as well describe her career, that has turned out to be nothing less than phenomenal in recent days. Shortly after she left GMA 7, the TV network where she has worked with her erstwhile love team as a host and singer-performer, she moved to rival network ABS-CBN where her hitherto untapped acting talent was quickly put to a test.

Karylle has since been appearing in the network?s ?I Love Betty La Fea? as Jericho Rosales? love interest. She is also set to appear in the upcoming remake of the Susan Roces-led thriller ?Maruja.? Her first lead role is reportedly in the works?a drama with the working title ?Ikaw Lamang? opposite Rosales and Cristine Reyes.

Awards have also started coming. Karylle?s co-production, the indie film ?Ligaw Liham,? recently bagged Kidlat Tahimik?s Bamboo Camera award for Best Film at the University of the Philippines.

The singer will soon be launching her first album under EMI Music that features four original compositions. Karylle says she considers this upcoming album, untitled as of this writing, her biggest accomplishment as an artist.

?I?m particularly proud of this album. I wrote and produced the music. One is ?Minamahal Kita,? one is still untitled and the other is ?Wala na ba ang Lahat???

?Minamahal Kita,? which was used in the ?Ligaw Liham? movie, was reportedly a song she dedicated to her ex-boyfriend, a speculation she neither confirms nor denies in the interview.

She seems more inclined to talk about her blooming career and her decision to become more open to other options. ?I used to be very particular about the things I?d do,? says Karylle. ?But it?s very limiting. Now, to be more adventurous, I try not to ask too many questions until the day itself para kung may reklamo man (so even if I have complaints), it would be too late. I?m just trying to be more open.?

Karylle, however, admits that being romantically paired with her co-stars, particularly Jericho Rosales, remains a strange predicament. ?I guess it?s normal because this is entertainment. People try to connect the dots as much as they can. But personally I find it really strange, especially since you try to befriend people you work with (without thinking of romance).?

It can be embarrassing, she confides, citing one show biz talk show when the hosts asked the couple what song they would sing to each other, given their supposed blossoming romance.

?It was like I couldn?t even look at the person I was going to have a duet with?we?re not exactly that close. So we just tried to say, hey, let?s just sing and ignore all that teasing going on around us,? says Karylle.

Almost just as strange for this young celeb is how people keep coming up to her for advice on love and heartbreak. ?I think for some (who have had a similar experience), my story has helped a lot. That?s why I still talk about it.?

And not only talk but write about it, it seems. Karylle reveals that she plans a blog for people seeking her advice.

?In a big sense, I find that a bit scary,? she says. ?I?m very particular about the advice I give. Apart from my own advice, I?d also like to have a professional?s point of view because I really believe in that. I?m open to outside help, like redirecting people and showing them whom to call, what their contact numbers are, what are the possible places to go on retreat, and so on.?

Becoming an inspirational author is not that far-fetched. Karylle, it turns out, impressed author Sean Covey with her storytelling during the book launch of the ?7 Habits for Happy Kids? at the Every Nation Leadership Institute at The Fort Global City in Taguig City last year. During the open forum, Covey identified Karylle as one who could produce a ?7 Habits? book for twentysomething quarterlifers.

Taking Covey?s cue, Karylle says people should learn better habits from her experience.

?Try to stay away from anything that will bring about something negative, and replace it with something good,? she suggests. ?Because if you have a bad habit, you can?t just say I?m gonna stop it. You have to replace it with something else.?

Her best advice, however, comes from personal grief: Having a romance isn?t really all that matters, says Karylle. ?I guess I just want to do other things. The focus is not anymore on the whole love thing. It has shifted, and that?s a big sign.?

Copyright 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




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