MANILA, Philippines – Cacai Bautista turned emotional as she expressed gratitude to Mario Maurer for their strong friendship amid the intrigues surrounding their relationship.
In an interview with "Showbiz Inside Report" aired Saturday, the comedienne-actress said she did not expect to form a close relationship with the Thai superstar, given his stature as an international celebrity.
"Naiiyak ako kasi sobrang bait niya talaga sa akin. Hindi ko kasi akalain na magiging magkaibigan kami na ganito eh. Kasi 'yung mga tao... Porket ba komedyante na chaka hindi na pwedeng magkaroon ng kaibigan na sikat na superstar, na international star?
"Siya lang 'yung nagpatunay na wala talagang pinipili 'yung totoong pagkakaibigan, kahit ano ka pa. Marami akong kaibigan, pero 'di ba, sino ba mag-aakala na ako lang, si Cacai lang [ang magiging kaibigan ni Mario]," she said of her "Suddenly It's Magic" co-star.
In November, during an interview on the comedy talk show "Gandang Gabi Vice," Bautista and Maurer said they have become close friends over the course of filming of "Suddenly It's Magic," his first movie produced by a Philippine entertainment company.
In the Rory Quintos-directed romantic-comedy, Maurer was paired with actress Erich Gonzales. Bautista also appeared in the film in a supporting role.
Following the recent spread of rumors romantically linking her to the 24-year-old actor, who is 10 years her junior, Bautista admitted that she had been hurt by certain reactions to their supposed relationship as a couple. Among them, she said, were allegations that she is only using the Thai heartthrob to boost her popularity.
"Minsan natatawa ako, minsan nase-stress ako. Wala naman ako pakialam kahit ano pang sabihin -- 'ambisyosa,' 'ilusyonada.' Pero 'yung sasabihin nila na I'm using Mario to be popular... Kasi hindi naman showbiz 'yung friendship namin eh. Totoong friendship iyon 'no," she said.
Bautista said she has apologized to Maurer for the intrigues surrounding their friendship. "Pero siya, deadma lang siya. Sabi niya, 'I don't have to worry. Stop worrying. You're my sister. I want you to be happy," she said.
Rumors of the comedienne's supposed romantic relationship with Maurer surfaced after the singer posted a series of photos on image-sharing site Instagram showing her with the Thai actor, his friends and family members.
The photos were taken during Bautista's trip to Thailand in February, less than a month after Maurer and his long-time girlfriend actress Gubgib Sumontip confirmed that they had broken up.
In her "Showbiz Inside Report" interview, Bautista related that her trip to the country was not entirely intended as a visit to her film co-star.
"Every year kasi, itong mga barkada ko, pupunta kami out of the country, so Thailand naman [kami ngayong taon]. Hindi ko naman siya (Maurer) ino-oblige na, 'O, pupunta ako, kitain mo 'ko. 'If ever na you're free, we can meet. I hope to see you,' sabi ko. Sabi niya, 'I hope to see you po.'
"Finally the next day, third day [in Thailand], text niya, 'What are you doing today?' Sabi ko, 'I'm just waiting for your text and your call. Tapos iyon, sabi niya let's meet up sa oras na 'to," Bautista said.
The singer-comedienne recalled that Maurer arrived sweaty at their meeting place. According to Bautista, the actor explained that he had to ride a motorcycle to avoid traffic. "Sabi niya, 'I don't want to keep you waiting, I don't want to be late,'" she said.
Falling in love?
Maintaining that she and Maurer are only friends, Bautista said they nonetheless exchange words of affection by saying "I love you."
Asked whether their relationship may lead her to develop romantic feelings for the actor, Bautista said, "Siyempre, sumasagi 'yun sa isip ko. who wouldn't fall in love for a guy who's really nice, who has simple dreams?"
"Everybody would fall in love not only with the Mario who is a superstar, but Mario as the person that he is. Parang, wow. Ako rin, may ganoon din. Pero sa ngayon gusto ko maging steady 'yung friendship namin," she said.
Once again turning emotional, Bautista extended her message to Maurer, thanking him for assuring her of their friendship.
"Thank you for being a friend. I know you don’t want me to worry anymore, but [it's just] because I want to protect you. I love you po," she said.
"Whatever happens, I will still be your friend no matter what, even if you're not Mario the star anymore, I promise you that. Thank you so much," she said.