MANILA - Alex Gonzaga fully supports the decision of "Pinoy Big Brother" housemate Fifth Pagotan to reveal his sexual orientation on national TV, saying it made her doubly excited to reunite with him.
Alex was asked about Fifth on the sidelines of a press conference on Thursday for "Team Gonzaga," her mobile-exclusive reality show with sister Toni which will premiere on Saturday.
"Alam mo, kung ano man siya, kung ano man gusto niya, kung ano man gender niya, kaibigan ko pa rin si Fifth," Alex said. "Excited pa rin ako makita siya, pero hopefully, sana, mag-stay pa siya nang matagal kasi pangarap niya talaga 'to. So wala, walang nagbago."
In the episode of "Pinoy Big Brother" aired on Thursday, Fifth sought to speak with "Kuya" inside the confession room to clarify his sexuality. This, after he admitted being bothered by an anonymous comment from "the outside world" read to them earlier.
Explaining his sexual preference, Fifth said: "Ma-de-describe ko po ang sarili ko na kung iibig po ako, hindi ko po iisipin 'yung status ng buhay ng tao, 'yung itsura ng tao, o 'yung sekswalidad ng tao... Siguro po, bisexual po ako."
Fifth later admitted the same to fellow housemate Manolo Pedrosa, who responded that his sexuality is not at all an issue. "It's not being gay or straight. It's being good or bad. Dapat wala kang paki sa straight or bi," he told Fifth.
Admittedly, Alex said she was surprised when she learned of Fifth's sexual orientation. Similar to Manolo's reaction, Alex said Fifth's sexuality is a non-issue, and that they are good friends regardless of it.
"Nagulat ako, pero wala naman," she said. "Kasi, mas masaya ako na kasama siya. Hindi ko naman siya kinaibigan dahil lalaki siya o ano. Kinaibigan ko siya dahil same kami ng utak, same kami ng ano."
Alex added: "So if ever man na 'yon talaga siya, kung makausap ko siya in person, kung anuman ang sinabi niya, I think mas magiging close pa kami, so magiging excited ako sa kanya."
Alex stayed for seven weeks inside the "Pinoy Big Brother" house as a guest. She was seen to be closest to Fifth among the male housemates, with fans dubbing their tandem as "FiLex" online.
Asked if she noticed any "signs" of Fifth being bisexual, Alex answered: "Wala talaga. Honest, ha. Kasi hindi naman talaga ako marunong tumingin ng ganyan. Wala akong 'gaydar' talaga."
"'Yung mga friends ko lang, sinasabi nila, 'Ano ka ba, lapitin ka talaga sa mga gano'n.' Pero hindi ko talaga siya napansin sa loob, kasi mas enjoy ko 'yung company. Tsaka mahina talaga 'yung gano'n ko," she added.
Toni, who was beside Alex during the interview, shared that she had an inkling of Fifth's sexual orientation after noticing his closeness to Alex.
"Ako, nakapansin, kami na nanonood ng 24/7," Toni said. "Sabi ko, 'Parang ano siya... Siguro girl at heart si Fifth, kasi si Alex, lahat ng mga beki, nakadikit sa kanya, laging tuwang-tuwa sa kanya.' Walang lalaking tumatabi kay Alex. Siya lang!"
Outpouring of support
Fifth's confession has triggered an outpouring of support online, with netizens lauding the 22-year-old for being brave enough to open up about his sexuality on national television.
"Siyempre, natutuwa ako," Alex said, referring to the positive reactions to the housemate's admission. "Kung ano man 'yung nangyayari sa kanya ngayon, na tinanggap pa siya lalo na naging mas totoo siya, mas natutuwa ako sa kanya. Mas gusto ko siya mag-stay doon, kasi isa siya sa mga totoong tao and I'm sure marami siyang mai-inspire, kasi nagpakatotoo siya."
Fifth's confession is not the first time a housemate talked about his sexuality on "Pinoy Big Brother." In March 2006, former actor Rustom Padilla made headlines when he admitted on national TV that he is gay. Now, he identifies himself as a transgender and goes by the name BB Gandanghari.
"Pinoy Big Brother: All In" airs weeknights on Primetime Bida, and on Saturdays and Sundays as part of ABS-CBN's Yes! Weekend line-up. Afternoon updates are also aired via "Uber" on weekdays.