DIRECT LINEBoy Abunda – The Philippine Star

November 30, 2021 | 12:00am

The Brooklyn Bridge in New York has always been a memorable place for Anton Antenorcruz not only because strolling across the bridge makes a great walking tour with unparalleled view of the city skyline but also because by fascinating happenstance, Brooklyn Bridge reminds him of happy moments of a romantic past.

Anton and I attended the 11th edition of The Outstanding Filipinos in America (TOFA) Awards, founded and executive produced by our friend Elton Lugay, held at the Carnegie Hall last October. He was among the guest performers, while yours truly took the honor of hosting the event. It was also an opportune time to catch up with the former Tawag ng Tanghalan (TNT) finalist, who, right after the well-meaning occasion, gladly agreed to do an interview for Batalk Channel’s The Interviewer on my YouTube Channel regarding life, love and career.

It was Anton who performed Pagbigyang Muli in a short film-music video, starring Arnold Reyes and Ely Cellan for Boy Abunda Originals on my YouTube Channel. According to Anton, the Jonathan Manalo composition also tells part of his life story.

“Tito Boy, growing up, hindi ako perfect. I committed so many mistakes that I shouldn’t have done. There were also things that I did in my past relationships like I used to beg for another chance, it came to a point na talagang luluhod ako to ask for forgiveness. So, I recalled ‘yung ganun (experience) while doing Pagbigyang Muli,” said the balladeer, who also revealed that the songs he used as contest pieces in Tawag ng Tanghalan perfectly described some of his romantic affairs.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

The important lessons you learned in life.

“Above all, talagang ‘yung pagmamahal ko sa sarili ko and love for my family. Those times when I was broke, I had no one to run to and I was not on good terms with my parents, I set aside my pride. I called them up and when my mom answered the phone, I didn’t say anything but I cried, humagulgol lang ako. So, I realized talagang walang ibang matututunan na tama kung hindi mo kasama yung pamilya mo at hindi mo mahal ang sarili mo.”

When it comes to your career, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?

“I think, (to be able) to show my true self. As much as possible, I will show to everyone the real me and by doing that, people will appreciate me more.”

You are public and you are proudly gay. Kamusta ang buhay?

“Honestly, Tito Boy, it’s difficult because I remember when I joined a contest on TV in another network, I knew that I was gay but during those times, I was not that open yet so I tried to keep it to myself. I did what I thought was right — I denied it — and I just went on with the contest. And unfortunately, I was eliminated. Then someone told me, ‘Hindi ka kasi nagpakatotoo.’”

Meaning, hindi ka nagpakatotoo kasi hindi mo sinabi ang totoo that you were gay?

“Something like that but I’m not sure if it was just my interpretation to what was said to me na, ‘Nararamdamam kasi namin na hindi yan yung totoong ikaw. Ilabas mo yung totoong ikaw.’ Although, I knew they had no idea that I was gay. From then on, I decided to loosen up and I promised myself to let them see the real me. Then, I joined TNT in Showtime although hindi ako ganun na maglaladlad but I told myself that if ever someone would ask me about it, then I won’t lie.”

Were you asked?

“I was asked and I answered their question properly.”

And perhaps it didn’t affect you in any way because you did very well in Tawag ng Tanghalan. At sumobra pa dun ang usap-usapan because nahalungkat yung panahon na nagpakasal ka; that you were in a relationship. How did it affect you during the contest?

“Sa totoo lang Tito Boy, malungkot ako na naungkat s’ya ulit pero thankful ako kasi nung time na nangyari yung wedding para bang na-prepare na ko sa controversy. So when I joined TNT, it was like I didn’t care anymore whatever controversy was hurled against me.”

Do you regret having gotten into a marriage at a young age?

“I don’t regret it because I learned a lot from it but I think it affected my decisions now.”

How?

“Like now, there are many people asking if I want to marry again. If you ask me now, parang ayoko na but I’m not closing my doors kumbaga kung i-ask ako, why not kasi masaya pa rin naman pero kung hindi, okay lang din.”

Were there instances that you performed on stage and people no longer looked at you sa lente ng gender pero sa lente ng galing mo as a singer?

“I’ve felt that kind Tito Boy and I’m so thankful because sometimes I tend to put myself down because of my gender. There’s this thought in my mind that people might not like me since ganito ang identity ko, that I’m different. Again, it’s just me because I can feel that it’s only right to be open to people, to the fans. It’s important that they know everything about me. I’m so happy that many people continue to appreciate me for my talent.”

If you were to pray right now, ano yung hihilingin mo sa Diyos?

“I hope this (singing career) will continue. Sana mas makita ng tao ‘yung talent ko, yung totoong ako at sana ma-appreciate nila yun.”

(To watch the full interview, visit the Boy Abunda Talk Channel or batalk channel on YouTube.)





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