MANILA — Theirs is an “unexpected” friendship that started inside a reality show, and which will likely last “forever” beyond what’s seen on camera.
Anji Salvacion was admittedly intimidated by Albie Casiño in the early days of their stay inside the “Pinoy Big Brother” (PBB) house.
But that changed when Salvacion sought Casiño’s advice upon the urging of Big Brother, during a trying period for the music newcomer.
“How it started, our friendship, is very unexpected din,” she told ABS-CBN News. “He’s one of the people who came in my life in a very unexpected way.” (See the 17:47 mark of the video below.)
“Mainitin ‘yung ulo noon ni Kuya Albie,” Salvacion recalled, laughing, referring to a time when Casiño, by his own admission, was short-tempered as he adjusted to a new environment.
She nonetheless mustered the courage to approach Casiño, trusting that Big Brother had a good reason for suggesting that she initiate a conversation with him.
Salvacion specifically asked about how to be “truly happy,” she recounted. The answer she got has stayed with her since.
Casiño had told her: “You’ll be genuinely happy if you truly love yourself. Dapat unahin mo ang sarili mo.”
At the time, Salvacion was navigating her relationship with housemate KD Estrada, with whom she had romantic ties prior to entering the house.
That exchange effectively broke the ice between Salvacion and Casiño, whose friendship only deepened until the latter was evicted on November 13.
Salvacion would go on to stay for another month and a half, finishing as one of the Top Two finalists, along with volleyball player Alyssa Valdez, who have a chance of becoming this season’s Big Winner.
Salvacion and Casiño have since managed to reunite on different occasions, including their recent guesting with the rest of the housemates on “ASAP Natin ‘To.”
“Kuya Albie is the best! I will always and forever say this. Kuya Albie is my best kuya ever. I love Kuya Albie talaga. He’s the best kuya I never had. Kuya Albie’s just so sweet and so true and so very pure and genuine,” Salvacion said.
In a separate interview, Casiño similarly had affectionate words for Salvacion. Their friendship, he shared, has extended to their respective family members.
“I’m so proud of Anji talaga,” Casiño told ABS-CBN News. “I text her mom back and forth. Her mom reached out, thanked me for being a kuya figure to Anji and stuff. I would check up every once in a while.” (See the 18:10 mark of the video below.)
Salvacion referred to Casiño and his mother as her “second family,” saying that their parents are also in touch.
“His mom and my mom are always calling din. His mom showers me with compliments, she tells me to be brave. Their family is so sweet, and I’m very blessed to have them talaga,” she gushed.
Recalling Salvacion was at first “scared” of him inside “PBB” — as he belatedly found out — Casiño shared that he intends to teach her boxing, to hopefully boost her self-reliance.
“I don’t ever want her to be in that position where she’s scared of someone again and she can’t get away. I want her to be confident. May fighting spirit ‘yang batang ‘yan, e,” he said.
Salvacion described Casiño as a protective brother and a “blessing,” whom she hopes will be a part of her life “forever.”
“Palagi niya akong pinoprotektahan, palagi niya din niya akong pinagtatanggol,” she said. “I’m going to keep this person in my life. I’m going to have him forever. Hindi ko talaga iwi-waste si Kuya Albie. Super lucky ko talaga to have Kuya Albie. He’s a blessing to me.”